INCOMPATIBLE VIEWS ON GOVERNMENT — PART 3B

The post continues where INCOMPATIBLE VIEWS ON GOVERNMENT — PART 3A off. Please refer to INCOMPATIBLE VIEWS ON GOVERNMENT — PART 1 for links to the other posts.

In the last post we looked at the comments of a particular Democrat Liberal, Tony. He was not especially happy with my review of his comments. Why? Well, others don’t see us as we perceive ourselves. The hard, simple fact is that we do not have such a capacity. Only God knows .

1 Corinthians 13:11-12 New King James Version (NKJV)

11 When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child; but when I became a man, I put away childish things. 12 For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part, but then I shall know just as I also am known.

What is more astounding is that God knows us, and He still loves us.

A Democrat Liberal’s Reply

Is right to complain about my review? Perhaps, but Conservatives have similar issue with what Democrat Liberals think of us. Sometimes Democrat Liberals package their reviews — comparisons between Liberals and Conservatives — as academic/psychological studies that purport to be “scientific”.

Here is an extract from Studies: Conservatives Are From Mars, Liberals Are From Venus (theatlantic.com).

Conservatives, argues researcher Philip Tetlock of the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania, are less tolerant of compromise; see the world in “us” versus “them” terms; are more willing to use force to gain an advantage; are “more prone to rely on simple (good vs. bad) evaluative rules in interpreting policy issues;”  are “motivated to punish violators of social norms (e.g., deviations from traditional norms of sexuality or responsible behavior) and to deter free riders.” (from here)

In fairness, theatlantic.com article doesn’t actually attack Conservatives, and it does make some effort at balance. However, the pictures at the front of the article depict former Speaker of the House John Boehner as the counterpart to former Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid. This is silly. Boehner lost his job as Speaker because he was not even Conservative enough for the GOP, which isn’t exactly a Conservative organization. Nevertheless, theatlantic.com article equates the Republican Party with Conservatism.

Are their more rabid reviews? Of course. What Are the Most and Least Religious States in the USA? (psychologytoday.com ) displays open hostility. This article uses statistics to demonstrate that religion is bad. Here is the first conclusion.

    * The most religious states are most likely to be full of Trump supporters. Not so much for the least religious states. Go figure. I thought religion was supposed to make you more loving and moral? Clearly not. (from here)

It could be funny, but the author is serious, and he has a Ph.D. He has piled it high and deep.

Why bring up such nonsense? Well, consider what the Democratic Party’s candidate had to say about Conservatives.

Since they have destroyed the Liberal label, what do Democrat Liberals call themselves these days? During their debates Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders argued over who is the most progressive (US election: Hillary Clinton insists she is a progressive (bbc.com)). In fact, H. Clinton’s website proudly proclaims as much here, Democrats just adopted the most progressive platform in party history. 5 things you should know (hillaryclinton.com).

What was the top item in the Democratic Party’s platform?

1. An unprecedented commitment to equal rights for LGBT Americans

The new party platform is the first in history to include transgender Americans. It’s also the most progressive platform ever for LGBT rights—endorsing federal protections against discrimination for the first time and pledging to address the crisis of violence against transgender Americans.

LGBT kids continue to be bullied at school, restaurants can refuse to serve transgender people, and same-sex couples are at risk of being evicted from their homes. That is unacceptable and must change.

The remaining items also emphasized the desire for more government problems of every possible description.

The donkey is the Democratic Party’s logo. Is this truly America’s symbol of tolerance?

So let’s not try to review the platform of the Democratic Party. Let’s just consider the top item. What is the problem with the LGBTQ plank? Well, lots of people object to being forced to take part in the irrational fantasies of sick, deranged, and even sadistic people. Imagine a parent taking their small child to a so-called “doctor” and having a sex-change operation done on the kid. How could that happen? Some mamas and daddies have problems. What if mama says her little five-year old Johnny thinks he is really a she and wants to be called Jill? Do you want to be forced to give verbal approval of such insanity just because it might hurt that mama’s feelings?

What if you worked with someone who did what Bruce Jenner (AKA Caitlyn Jenner) had done to himself? If you believe Jenner is just a mentally ill individual who has allowed himself to be neutered and shot up with hormones, you may honestly resent being forced to approve of his self-imposed genital mutilation. You may think it absurd to address Bruce as “Caitlyn” and speak of him as a “she”.  However, in the Democrat Liberal’s world view, your honesty just makes you a bigot.

In the America that use to be there was bigotry, and that bigotry has not and will not go away. Because we are all imperfect, all of us will always believe things we should not believe. What is the best we can do about this problem? Well, we can protect each others rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Note, however, that having your feelings protected is not on the list. If the people you work with hurt your feelings and you work for a private employer, complain to the boss. If that doesn’t work, try looking for another job or consider the possibility you are wrong and you need to change. If you work for the government — well, if you want your own freedom of conscience respected, you may wish to respect the rights of your fellow employees to exercise the dictates of their consciences instead of yours.

LGBTQ Special Rights

Does it sound like I exaggerated? Here is how an article in The Daily Caller starts.

The U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights issued an internal memorandum earlier this month announcing that it will investigate taxpayer-funded teachers and administrators who use biologically accurate pronouns for transgender students instead of the pronouns transgender students prefer.

Candice Jackson, the Trump administration’s acting secretary for civil rights within the Department of Education since April, issued the internal memo on June 6.

The memo explains “the effects of developments on the enforcement of Title IX” concerning transgender students.

Specifically, the memo declares, the federal government may investigate taxpayer-funded schools for “refusing to use a transgender student’s preferred name or pronouns when the school uses preferred names for gender-conforming students or when the refusal is motivated by animus toward people who do not conform to sex stereotypes.” (continued here)

Here are some other news articles on the same memo.

Here is how the Obama administration helped to confuse the issue.

U.S. Departments of Education and Justice Release Joint Guidance to Help Schools Ensure the Civil Rights of Transgender Students (ed.gov)

 

Other References

 

44 thoughts on “INCOMPATIBLE VIEWS ON GOVERNMENT — PART 3B

  1. ” If you believe Jenner is just a mentally ill individual who has allowed himself to be neutered and shot up with hormones, you may honestly resent being forced to approve of his self-imposed genital mutilation. You may think it absurd to address Bruce as “Caitlyn” and speak of him as a “she”. However, in the Democrat Liberal’s world view, your honesty just makes you a bigot.”

    What’s pretty astounding to me is how fast this has happened.
    This is a huge social change in only about the last ten years or so. Truly even 6 or 7 years ago a lot of public schools had dress codes that forbid cross dressing (it made headline news under titles like, “Lesbian couple denied prom!” to the admonishment of the chattering classes. It was really about dress code…one of the ladies wanted to wear a tux. The term transgender wasn’t even de rigueur yet and referred to (more accurately) as “cross dressing”.

    What bothers me far more than even the demanded acceptance of LBGTQ is the denigration of “normal” and the elevation of the disturbed and/or unhealthy. The trend to label anything normal as “vanilla” and “cis” (read: “boring”) isn’t an arbitrary coincidence. It’s carefully manufactured script to change social conditioning. And it’s very effective.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I cannot say I well understand the change, but I suppose I have the benefit of a few more years.

      I think that the pace of change is something of an illusion. Before people will accept changes in conventional social norms, they have to be prepared to do so. This period of preparation, indoctrination, is often little more than not teaching some thing and encouraging people to take seriously beliefs that use to be regarded as absurd.

      Consider. How do we learn the social norms of our society? Here is the traditional model.
      1. Family.
      2. Church
      3. Community.
      4. School
      5. Mass media
      6. Employer
      7. Government

      What has changed over the last century and a half is that the family, the church, and the community have become much less important in the instruction of children. Most people spend far less time with their families, their churches, and with the people in their local communities. Our government has grown immensely and taken over the schools, and it has sought to intensely regulate the mass media and employers. Thus, government indoctrinates both us and our children with increasing intensity. It is a bumbling thing. No conspiracy. At least not yet, but it is happening.

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  2. I for one have grown so utterly frustrated, alarmed and even somewhat fearful ….because more and more, the values I have held and lived by my entire life—those Judaeo / Christian values of the basic standard codes for living a just and moralistic life have become not only out of step with a modern society but are now deemed by the masses to be wrong and punishable by a societal death…
    the chants for tolerance are not to be afforded to those who still cling to such moralistic codes…only to those who opt for lifestyles in opposition.

    I love how a researcher rationalizes that those who view life in the more simplistic lenses of good vs bad are wrong for using such a simplistic approach—when in reality, life is indeed broken down to the simple nature of right and wrong….
    Oh we can flower it up all we want—use various labels, pull in think tanks, have a TED talk over it all…but when all is said and done—it simply boils down to right / wrong — bad / good…but the thing in all of this is that those who have opted for the wrong and the bad have to do what it takes to turn things around and rationalize these choices by making those who prefer the good and the right out to be the monsters…justifying every poor choice they now cling to….

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Well, we could have it much worse. Can you imagine being a Christian in the First Century? Some of those researchers would be contriving to burn us at the stake.

      As we understand these notions, good and bad are actually relatively new concepts. In much of the world today and in the ancient world in particular, might made right. Had those researchers proposed their concepts in ancient days, they would have gotten far less argument. Some governments would have happily funded their research temples and used the results to justify the state religion, the king is god.

      What I have trouble with is more personal. I have difficulty listening instead of shooting my mouth off. I think that is one of the reasons why I blog. It helps me to set aside the pride of self and read the comments I get and other people’s blog posts. I may often disagree with others, but blogging does force me to dialogue instead of lecturing. Hopefully, it affects others that way.

      To lecture without listening is tyrannical. To have a dialogue we have to try to understand each other.

      Thank you for your posts and your comments.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. True words Tom– and I am very much the same as I tend to be a bit knee jerk— I read once that bloggers are, for the most part, a more polite lot verses those who are more apt to chatter on Facebook in more caustic terms ☺️

        Liked by 1 person

        1. I’ve never “done,” had or much less wanted a Facebook — as a high school teacher for 100 years I saw up close and personal the devastation and destruction of this latest bit of societal voyeurism — so when I retired I opted to blog as I found this teacher still had things to teach 😊

          Liked by 1 person

  3. For the record, I tend to agree with you in regard to the minority priority issue, not so much as to the limits of Christian acceptance (although I suppose everything, even acceptance, has limits), but rather as to making any minority such a priority, especially when we are talking about a political Party or movement elevating the sometimes inane and selfish issues of such a small minority to a top priority.

    I don’t claim to know where to draw the line between accepting people for who they are inclined to be (especially when it can’t be proven to tangibly harm me or society either way) and when we should shame someone who is being extravagantly different as basically just too full of themselves. However, in this case, I’m not talking about the LGBTQ crowd. Instead, I’m referring to the ostentatiously wealthy. You know, those certain “fabulously” wealthy people who gold plate their buildings with their names while their employees get paid bubkiss, and while their contractors file for bankruptcy.

    The two groups present similar moral problems, but it’s fitting that no one here is complaining that the Republican Party’s number one priority is making sure that the flamboyantly rich are not victimized by the poor and middle class majority into paying their fair share toward the maintenance and property of a society that they enjoy the most benefit from belonging to. No, what keeps us up at night here is making sure that we are fully allowed to victimize and ostracize those, for the most part, harmless minorities who afront us by expressing their sexuality in flagrant ways that cause our prudish sensibilities to blush.

    No, we worry about sex, sex, sex, because, of course, we know that the defining and narrowing scope and expression of human sexuality must be God’s number one priority as well, not poverty, not extreme resource inequality, because don’t you remember where the Bible says “Blessed are the vulgar rich for they deserve to own everything” and “Damned are the LGBTQ who decide to be conspicuously so for they will inherit only our condemnation”? No, I don’t remember seeing those in the Beatitudes either.

    Why don’t we just agree that both political Parties have screwed up priorities right now. Neither one prioritizes the poor, or especially, the shrinking middle class. Both Parties have a “vision for government”, but neither political Party has a real “vision for society”. Conservative columnist, David Brooks making this point mainly vents his ire toward his own Party, the Republicans, but I think the charge is equally true for the Democrats. Only, as you say, their priorities differ. See Brooks’ column titled “The G.O.P. Rejects Conservatism” here:

    Specifically referring to oblivious cruelty of Republican visionlessness, Brooks characterizes the underlying atomistic mentality as best described by Alexis de Tocqueville long ago:

    “They owe nothing to any man, they expect nothing from any man; they acquire the habit of always considering themselves as standing alone, and they are apt to imagine that their whole destiny is in their own hands. Thus not only does democracy make every man forget his ancestors, but it hides his descendants and separates his contemporaries from him; it throws him back forever upon himself alone and threatens in the end to confine him entirely within the solitude of his own heart.”

    I recommend the whole column even though it may have an “incompatible view” from your own. Personally, I don’t think that we have incompatible views at all. We actually are just stuck so far up our own dark silos, constantly congratulationing each other on the eloquent sound of our own echoes, that we no longer have any vision at all.

    BTW Tom, congrats on the new blog format – very catchy.

    Like

    1. @Tony

      The “Conservative” you always cite for expertise on Conservatism writes for The New York Times. Doesn’t that tell you anything?

      If you want to read a superb book on the United States, you cannot beat Alexis de Tocqueville’s (1805-1859) DEMOCRACY IN AMERICA. Brooks did well to cite it, but he missed the point.

      Tocqueville made considerable effort in his book to describe the character of the people who made democracy work in American. He tried to describe the virtues of the people.

      When we describe virtues, what we describe are traits. Thus, when Tocqueville spoke of individualism as he did in Brooks’ quote, he focused on a negative aspect of individualism to make a point. Here is another quote from the same book.

      I have already shown, in several parts of this work, by what means the inhabitants of the United States almost always manage to combine their own advantage with that of their fellow-citizens: my present purpose is to point out the general rule which enables them to do so. In the United States hardly anybody talks of the beauty of virtue; but they maintain that virtue is useful, and prove it every day. The American moralists do not profess that men ought to sacrifice themselves for their fellow-creatures because it is noble to make such sacrifices; but they boldly aver that such sacrifices are as necessary to him who imposes them upon himself as to him for whose sake they are made. They have found out that in their country and their age man is brought home to himself by an irresistible force; and losing all hope of stopping that force, they turn all their thoughts to the direction of it. They therefore do not deny that every man may follow his own interest; but they endeavor to prove that it is the interest of every man to be virtuous. I shall not here enter into the reasons they allege, which would divert me from my subject: suffice it to say that they have convinced their fellow-countrymen.

      Rather than write a lengthy reply, I will refer you to a couple of posts I wrote about Tocqueville’s book.

      This one deals with how Tocqueville saw America’s aristocracy.
      => https://citizentom.com/2009/11/22/americas-aristocracy/

      This one deals with how Tocqueville saw Americans working through private associations to help each other.
      => https://citizentom.com/2009/12/07/the-right-of-free-association/

      When Tocqueville visited the United States, we did not have a welfare state, and I don’t believe he advocated for one.

      Anyway, I will readily agree the leaders of GOP don’t much care for Conservatism. Politicians gain power by taxing and spending, and ambitious men and women find it difficult to give up power. However, Brooks misrepresents Conservativism. In this case his idea of Conservativism is just another excuse for class warfare.

      Am I envious of the fabulously wealthy? You mean Democrats? No.

      Have you ever looked at what Democrats do to the tax system? Here is a clue. They don’t tax the fabulously rich. They sock it to the middle class.

      You want to make it difficult for small businesses? Increase taxes and the number of and complexity of regulations. Big corporations and rich people will find ways to deal with such. They will get their loopholes, and hire some experts. Their small competitors, however, usually suffer. Hence, small businesses and working folk who depend upon small businesses tend to vote for reduced taxes and reduced regulations. That’s what the Republican Party offers. Unfortunately, the Republican Party is not terribly good at reducing the size of government. Trump, however, seems to be trying.

      Glad you enjoyed the new format. WordPress puts these “themes” out there. So far I have not bothered to pay for one.

      Like

    2. @Tony
      You brought up the LGBTQ crowd in your comments, once to point that you do not believe they harm you or society, and second time to observe that the LGBTQ don’t merit our condemnation because the Beatitudes don’t mention them.

      Since the Bible does address sexual perversion and fornication, your second remark is too lame to take seriously. The first remark does raise a question, however. What harm do people do when the disapprove of sexual perversion and fornication? What gives government the right to force people to approve of the actions and desires of the LGBTQ crowd?

      Let make a few simple things clear.
      1. The Bible is unambiguous about its disapproval of the LGBTQ lifestyle.
      2. Fornication spreads disease, and it messes people up in the head. Our natural instinct is to bond with the person (not people) with whom we have sex. Treating the matter lightly is just stupid.
      3. Children need role models. The LGBTQ provide unsuitable role models. As a practical matter (setting aside the religious issues), their sexual relationships don’t work. Recreational sex is an oxymoron. Same sex marriage is an oxymoron.
      4. Christians don’t hate the LGBTQ. The LGBTQ hate Bible’s disapproval of their sinning. Try to find a sinner who doesn’t get irritated when someone points to the wrong they are doing.

      Anyway, if you can demonstrate you have the Constitutional right to be addressed as President of the United States Abraham Lincoln, I will acknowledge that some man who wants to be called a “she” has the right to demand that everyone call him a “she” or suffer jail time. I will even throw in same sex marriage. If a couple of guys want be referred to as Mr. and Mr. Soandso, they must surely have the right to throw people in jail if they don’t abide by their innocent and harmless little wish.

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  4. As usual, my good brother, you choose to miss the point entirely. Rather than deal with Brooks’ criticism, you simply reclassify him as outside the purity of your tribe of one, thereby proving the very point that Brooks was making in quoting Tocqueville to begin with.

    When Tocqueville visited America, we didn’t have a welfare state? By today’s recognized standards, and despite the title of his books, when Tocqueville visited America we did not even have a democracy. It took dramatic changes in how we govern ourselves to evolve us into as much of a democracy as we are now. If you read Tocqueville for something other than to cherry pick a false nostalgia for an America that never was, then you would realize that what Tocqueville was describing was a new kind of cake very much still being baked, and that he was both critical of and fascinated by what he considered both the flaws of and the possibilities of this new kind of confection.

    You certainly think you know what you are “against” (although that mainly seems to be whether someone encamps firmly enough within the enemy encircled sacred tribal walls) but you really have no vision for what you are “for”, or any clue whatsoever how to get there. You just seem to want to regress to the 18th Century – “Please stop the world, I want to get off and return to a better time when only the elite ruled and voted, when nearly one third of the country was chattel and when one half the country was little more than the property of their men”.

    Do you have a future vision for bringing about a strong and vibrant middle class, other than just saying that if we let capitalists run ferel, they will just naturally trickle on the rest of us? What historical precedent do you have for such an ungoverned democratic government? One can look at most of the western world to see that there is plenty of precedent for the opposite.

    Democratic government simply does not exist in the wild. It is instead created slowly over time with steady reason and with plenty of hopeful love toward a vision. It didn’t exist in 1780 America. It certainly did not exist in the pre-Civil War America that Tocqueville wrote about. And it only reached some possibility of what it might become in the heady days of the late mid 20th Century, but has been regressing ever since.

    What created an America more democratic, more equalitarian and more just than it had been in 1760 or in 1860 or in 1960 was not just some happy accident of nature. A more democratic (and still pretty darn prosperous) American society was hand crafted by dramatic, hard faught systemic changes to government by visiionaries for that better society, by abolitionists, by trade unionists, by suffragettes, by civil rights leaders, and yes, even by the LGBTQ movement. Christians innately have a vision for a more compassionate, loving and accepting society. And that is why visionary Christians living within the loving Body of Christ have always been at the sacrificial forefront of such movements. On the other hand, those who called themselves Christians while enflaming only hatred have ended up mostly forgotten in the wastebin of history, derilict monuments to hopelessness, injustice and hypocrisy.

    Like

    1. @Tony
      Brooks is what he is, and so is The New York Times. He is what you and The New York Times want a Conservative to be. One of the funny things about the “mainstream news media” is they always classifying their opponents and telling them how they should behave. So we get a so-called Conservative like Brooks and he is held up as a role model. Funny thing is that he looks like a Liberal to me.

      You have not even read the book, but you are all set to accuse me of cherry picking? Would you mind reading the book first? I also have other posts on it.

      Do you have a future vision for bringing about a strong and vibrant middle class, other than just saying that if we let capitalists run ferel, they will just naturally trickle on the rest of us? What historical precedent do you have for such an ungoverned democratic government? One can look at most of the western world to see that there is plenty of precedent for the opposite.

      This is just a twist on a stupid argument. Because Conservatives oppose letting Democrat Liberal have their way about everything and anything, we must hate government. Conservatives must an anarchists.
      🙄

      Conservatives have no objections to a more compassionate, loving and accepting society; it is your definition of a more compassionate, loving and accepting society I have trouble with. We each have the rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, and your definition does not include those rights.

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        1. @Tony
          If you think I cherry picked that quote, you did not read the book.

          I addressed the justification for what you want. You want a more compassionate, loving and accepting society. You keep voting for candidates who don’t respect the Constitution. Their idea of government is one that gives us our rights. Such a government will not respect our rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

          You want to call that circular? It is a circle you started.

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  5. Tom wrote:

    “Since the Bible does address sexual perversion and fornication, your second remark is too lame to take seriously. The first remark does raise a question, however. What harm do people do when the disapprove of sexual perversion and fornication? What gives government the right to force people to approve of the actions and desires of the LGBTQ crowd?”

    Actually, you seem to have read what you wanted me to write rather than what I actually wrote. I was talking about the obscene behaviors of the “fabulously rich”, not the fabulously gay, when I was discussing what should be the Party priorities. I’m really not interested prioritizing either minority, the LGBTQ or the fabulously rich, above the general suffering of the poor or the interests of justice and equal opportunity for everyone. If we are a society with that hopeful and loving vision and priority, then the interests of all the supposed victimized subgroups will take care of themselves to a large extent. You’re the one making your sexual mores priorities to your politics. If Bruce loving Bill is really wrong in God’s eyes, then it would seem minuscule in comparison to Bruce owning most of wealth created by society while Bill and his family as well as most other families work, scrape, starve, or die for lack of life saving health care.

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    1. ”You’re the one making your sexual mores priorities to your politics. If Bruce loving Bill is really wrong in God’s eyes, then it would seem minuscule in comparison to Bruce owning most of wealth created by society while Bill and his family as well as most other families work, scrape, starve, or die for lack of life saving health care.”

      “Life saving healthcare” has been available since EMTALA was passed by a Republican in 1986. It isn’t even legal to release a person from the hospital if they have a condition that requires continuous management and they have no access to it (for example, a homeless person in need of oxygen tanks cannot be released on the street…the hospital has to find a place that is willing to take them, that has hookups available.

      So one might argue the current system is terribly inefficient (I would agree…for example, a thousand dollars a day to keep a homeless person in a hospital room because they need oxygen and can’t find an appropriate shelter is a terrible expense to the taxpayers), but it is inaccurate in the extreme to imply they are dying on the street like a third world country. And it is inaccurate to the level of sheer parody to say “most families die for lack of life saving health care”.

      To be fair, the entire sentence was “most other families work, scrape, starve, or die for lack of life saving health care”. That is a very very odd statement in its entirety written in one bit as though these things are all linked. Yes, most families (I would hope) “work” for a living and some of them “scrape by” (I too have scraped by in the past), but that doesn’t mean they are starving (obesity is more a problem now) or “dying of for lack of life saving health care”).

      I could write a lot more but I’ll stop there…except to say your first statement likening any criticism of the rampant LGBTQ lunacy to tut-tutting “prudery” is exactly the sort of thing I was referring to in my first post. That “whatever Bob does behind closed doors with Bill” meme ship sailed about ten years ago. Now it’s loud, proud, ubiquitous, taxpayer funded and mandated (examples available upon request). As a parent with kids in the public school system this has an impact on our family…even if I didn’t have children in the public school system it would have an impact on our community, which impacts me.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. BTW, I gave to the San Fransisco AIDs Foundation a while back and am on the mail list now, forever. I know exactly what the agenda is because I read it from the source.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Just to add more, this is really many many topics that could fill a book. One topic is the pushing of social agendas, the other income “inequality”. Income inequality isn’t so much a problem (there was far more income equality in the 60s and 70s, for instance, a time of great social upheaval and unrest). Think I read somewhere that Sweden has a dissolving middle class as well (almost exactly our percentage).
        The problem is fluidity (the ability to advance). People are fine with large relative disadvantages, as long as they think that the borders between groups are reasonably fluid and there is hope for the future for their families. That is (essentially) the “American Dream”.

        Liked by 2 people

        1. Sorry, far LESS income inequality in the 1960s/70s. Point being income inequality itself isn’t really the problem.

          Like

  6. @anon

    I beg to differ with your statistics on increasing wealth disparity, but you do at least acknowledge of shrinking middle class and the loss of equality of opportunity. Regardless of how you measure the problem, I hope you can also see that concentrating the wealth of society in the hands of the few has dramatic political implications as to who has the power, even in a democracy. Look only as far as Putin’s Russia for wonderful example of where we are heading.

    As to health care, most working people are only one expensive illness away from being distitute. One in six working Americans are on Medicaid. If you include Medicare, the numbers are even higher. Why do you suppose medical facilities cannot and do not put the dying and destitute on the street. It is certainly not because of the generosity in their corporate hearts. It is because laws make it illegal and because facilities that take Medicaid are willing to accept them. If you strip away those laws and Medicaid what is your alternative?

    As you say this is not just one subject, but many, each of which volumes could be written about. The actual argument is one of focus and vision. Both political parties have focused too long on elites or their own, and have lost their focus and any vision whatsoever for the plight of poor and average Americans. The Republicans pretend that if we let everything run feral, the problem will magically take care of itself. The Democrats throw up their hands and say “Globalization” (as if that was impossible to control) and then expect everyone to learn how to build and fix the robots that replace them. As Brooks points out, both sides have different visions on the role of government, but neither side has any vision for a better society. And IMHO, neither side’s vision is particularly Christian.

    Half of the people in this country are, by definition, below average on every measure of meritocracy. In a rapidly golablizing economy, you can raise the average only so far on a worldwide and national level. After that only so many people will build and work on robots and the rest of us will be working at Walmart and MacDonalds. How do you plan to make sure that someone who works hard at Walmart every day can have a living wage and decent health care? What is your vision?

    Like

    1. @Tony

      No one refused to acknowledge that the middle class is shrinking. The debate is about the cause. Democrat Liberals come up with these big, grand, government solutions. When they almost inevitably create more problems, they then complain the “solution” was not big and grand enough.

      Frankly, the issue comes down to self-restraint. Society is highly complex. We don’t have masterminds or overmen capable of dictating to the rest of us how we should behave and make our world all better.

      Like it or not, people are entitled to make their own choices, and it generally works out better if they do. Just look at the economics.

      What if Walmart tried a new business model? When you arrive at the store, you check in with one of the greeters. You give him your cash, and you ask him to bring you what you need. Then the greeter goes into the store, and he comes back with what he thinks you need. That is pretty much how the government works except that the government doesn’t give you much of a choice. Whether you like it or not, the government takes your money, and it may not give you anything for it.

      Consider the options for spending money.
      1. Spend somebody else’s money on someone else. — Government does this.
      2. Spend someone else’s money on your self. — This could be a gift or thievery.
      3. Spend your own money on someone else. — This is a gift.
      4. Spend your own money on yourself. — In this case it is most likely you will try to spend as little as you can, and you will be most careful to get what you want.

      Each of those spending options has different possibilities, but for obvious reasons that has to do with the limitations of human nature the first option is highly inefficient and often ineffective. Moreover, politicians tend to find ways to spend taxpayer’s dollars to serve their own ends. Thus, what is suppose to be the first option effectively becomes the second. Thus, when we use government to do what could be done privately, the public’s interest is sacrificed to serve the ends of politicians and their cronies.

      Each dollar we spend is a vote. When we want more of something, we spend more on it. When politicians want more of something, they try to spend our money on what they want.

      Similarly, we effect each others behavior. If someone does something you don’t like, you can express your disapproval, or if someone does something you like you can express your approval. When we express our feelings to our neighbors, we help mold the consciences our neighbors (and we are all neighbors). When government tries to force us to express approval or disapproval, that is just a sign of severe tyranny.

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      1. It’s not that there is not some truth I what you are saying. I absolutely agree with a good bit of it. The problem is that you want to creat a silly and simplistic false dichotomy. You want say that it is either a free market or government Socialism; it is either pure individualism or pure collectivism. Western democracies, including our own, just do not exist in such perfect ideological dichotomies. They never have and hopefully never will, else they will cease to be democracies. The real truth is a balance of a good bit of the best of both and something far from perfect somewhere in between. We do need to work as a community in so so many ways, and especially we Americans, really have found dynamism in the incentives provided by rugged entrepreneurial individualism.

        It is a stupid argument that you constantly want to have because, although I tell you over and over again that I don’t believe in either absolute stupidity, if I don’t completely agree with your side of this falacious dogma, then you must classify me as the opposite extreme, which based on what I do for a living now, my military service in the past, and everything else about what I have done in my life, I obviously I am not any kind of extremist and you should know this by this point.

        At the national level, this extremism by either side leads to an inability to compromise and endless gridlock. Because lately they have been captured by the most rigid ideologues, it has led the Republican Party to an inability of govern anything or move forward on anything, even when they control everything.

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        1. The problem is that you want to creat a silly and simplistic false dichotomy. You want say that it is either a free market or government Socialism; it is either pure individualism or pure collectivism.

          Actually, that is not true. I realize that pure capitalism does not work. I understand that most utilities, for example, are natural monopolies. Hence, we have to devise ways to control such natural monopolies to prevent those who own them from abusing our rights.

          Where we differ is that I believe government exists to protect our right. I do not think your belief, that government gives us our rights, is either moral or practical.

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  7. Tony ”I beg to differ with your statistics on increasing wealth disparity, but you do at least acknowledge of shrinking middle class and the loss of equality of opportunity. Regardless of how you measure the problem, I hope you can also see that concentrating the wealth of society in the hands of the few has dramatic political implications as to who has the power, even in a democracy. Look only as far as Putin’s Russia for wonderful example of where we are heading.”

    True to an extent…but one only has to look as far as the USSR (the same place…Russia 30 years ago) to see where the opposite goes. And the power was even more…FAR MORE!..concentrated in the hands of elites (though impoverished elites by our standard), justice more arbitrary, and social mobility even less possible.

    I’m not sure what statistics you’re referring to? The 70s/60s wealth disparity ones? That’s easy enough to prove: http://www.leftbusinessobserver.com/GiniLong2004.jpg

    Per “Sweden’s dissolving middle class” it has been a while since I’ve looked into this, but here is a chart indicating the middle class share of wealth by country:
    http://www.businessinsider.com/middle-class-share-of-wealth-chart-2016-3
    Switzerland is almost identical to ours and Sweden is at 22 percent to our 19.6 percent. I think it is accurate to say that is “almost the same”. But more telling is the list in general. Sure, some affluent countries have a large concentration of wealth in the middle class. The lifestyle in Austria is pretty good….they’re at around 38 percent. But Mexico is 40. Is the middle class lifestyle better in Mexico than Austria? Japan’s country is in the crapper and it has one of the largest concentrations of wealth in the middle class. Spain has the highest. Ditto.

    Re healthcare, I’ll state now (most likely differing from our esteemed host) that I’m not an opponent of universal healthcare. I’m an advocate but not because I think people are in danger of dying in the streets. They aren’t. But I believe it would be more efficient, longterm. I agree we’re better served by a middle class that isn’t an unforeseen catastrophic illness away from having to declare personal bankruptcy.

    What Obamacare did was add another layer of bureaucracy over a thousand layers of bureaucracy. It’s so inefficient overhead eats up 22.5 percent of the overall federal expenditures for the program. That’s over ten times worse overhead than even Medicaid. And as I mentioned on another thread, healthcare facilities are increasingly rejecting it, even as the consumers are spending so much it is almost a non-issue since they either can’t afford it or never get to use it in the first place.
    TL/DR version: ACA is WORSE than nothing since a person can eventually recover from bankruptcy far better than living with the slow bleeding festering sepsis of Obamacare.

    Another reason (again, differing in my opinion from most conservatives) I’m in favor of Universal healthcare: It currently acts (indirectly) as a huge subsidy for other nations. In the US employee sponsored healthcare acts as a huge tax and regulatory burden. This is not a free market equation. The same company can go overseas and hire workers for higher wages and still come out ahead because those governments subsidize healthcare. So from my perspective Universal healthcare would not only be beneficial to US citizens but employers as well. Getting from here to there in an efficient and effective way is the rub.

    The difference I see between the two parties isn’t so much “focus and vision” but procedures versus results. ACA would be an example of favoring procedure over results. “Results are horrible, it’s monumentally expensive and crushing private businesses but, hey, lookit the new thing we came up with…”
    The USSR is the quintessential “procedures over results” example, but we find them everywhere. Italy is pretty Socialist, so it is a good example too.

    Many liberals people point to Italy’s generous benefits to women as something to admire and emulate. Italian law allows (if memory serves) eight months of paid maternity leave and I think along the lines of a two year grace period where the woman can return at any time with her job available. Obviously there are implications to employers and the remaining employees for this level of forced generosity. It’s no accident this has a resulting impact on businesses and their economy. Since half my family is over there, and some own businesses they told me candidly businesses try to avoid hiring women of childbearing age if possible. That not the only regulatory burden. There are many, and their economy is so bogged down with regulations in an attempt to “redistribute wealth” via government the economia submersa is the source of a large percentage of the nation’s gdp. Businesses simply operate after hours, off the books. It’s ubiquitous. That’s how most of their businesses survive in spite of crippling and crushing regulatory burdens. Note I didn’t say thrive, the word is survive. Things are looking increasingly dire over there.
    Other examples (there are innumerable ones but these come to mind):

    -Some branches of the military now allow 18 weeks of paid maternity leave. That’s very generous. What are the real results of that policy in a world of diminishing resources and people?

    -It’s a nice thing to take care of single mothers and pay for childcare for teenagers to go to school. So we set up organizations to form procedures to take care of that problem. And when the problem gets worse with that procedure we form another organization and another…all with procedures they can point to so politicians can say they’re doing something. But the result is worse and worse outcomes. Population demographics are changing, resources wasted, on wishes over results.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. @anon

      When I was younger, the idea of universal healthcare appealing. Eventually I realized why the welfare state was not working. Politicians use charity to buy votes. Once we accept the principle that politicians should buy our votes with other people’s money — redistribute the wealth — there is no limit. To get elected some politicians will promise anything. In our greed we want to believe, and some men can lie quite well, particularly when we want to believe.

      Universal healthcare is not an effective subsidy for business. Instead, universal healthcare is a tax hike on middle class.

      Big corporations started offering healthcare as incentive to get people to work for them. Then the cost started climbing because government regulation, law suits, expensive new procedures that folks wanted covered, and so forth. Universal healthcare is just a way for corporations to unload the expense onto the taxpayers. Effectively, it is a pay cut for everybody else that government negotiates instead of the big corporations with their workers, including the labor unions.

      What we need to do is get government out of the health care business and allow market forces to slowly bring down the cost. When government does charity, it just makes a mess.

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  8. @anon,

    You favor “universal coverage” (or is it “universal health care”?) and yet Tom likes to label me the “liberal”? Assuming that you are talking about a single payer government run system, even I am not ready to go that far, yet.

    However, I see your point. I always thought that it would be businesses, particularly small businesses, that would eventually demand that the government take over health care, and for many of the reasons that you give. Our businesses are competing with foreign companies that ultimately gain a competitive advantage because most developed nations’ governments already subsidize the health care of their businesses’ employees. Besides that, I think many businesses would like to get out of the health care providing business, and instead just do what they do best, like building airplanes or cars. Finally, as to low wage workers like Walmart employees, you and I are already subsidizing these businesses because so many such businesses don’t provide health insurance, leaving such workers on the Medicaid roles or dropping into emergency rooms where those fortunate enough to be insured ultimately pay the cost.

    All insurance, including health insurance, is a risk spreading scheme. The original way that risk was spread was through massive paternal employers where unions negotiated health insurance packages as part of the overall compensation of their employees. (I belong to such a union and such a scheme where health insurance is part of every RLA Section Six Collective Bargaining Agreement negotiations). As union shops received health insurance risk spreading deals as part of their compensation packages, other nonunion employers had to offer similar compensation packages in order to compete for tallented workers.

    The history of health insurance in this country therefore tended to link the available risk pools for health insurance coverage to employment. Most large employers are actually self insured (meaning they pay all the claims), but they do not want to handle the actual administration of their health insurance plans so they hire one of only a very few large, near-monopoly health insurance companies, like Aetna and Blue Cross.

    Smaller insurance providing employers simply pay a set premium and let these insurance companies take the risk or the benefit of their employees having few or many health care costs. Although the insurance company can spread actuarial risk over several such small businesses in order to creat a stable profit margin for the insurance company, you can be sure that, if a given small business’ health insurance claims are too high or too many, that company’s premiums will increase. Compare this employer linked health insurance scheme to other insurance risk pools such as life, car or the home owners’ insurance markets where the risk pool is not linked to employment.

    Unfortunately, because we have historically linked health insurance to employment, we don’t really have much of a market. Markets have many willing buyers and sellers haggling over the best price and value of the goods and services provided. Vibrant markets have free flow of information between buyers and sellers about best price and value. In our employment linked system, only a few insurance companies contract for all the prices for all the services provided for all the health care providers. There is necessarily an extreme asymmetry of knowledge and information about the price and especially the value of complex health services and products between the providers of health services (Doctors and Hospitals) and the end consumers (patients) with a middle man in between (insurance companies) in between. That is not a very good market.

    These problems with the market leave health care providers trying to gouge patients in any way they can, particularly uninsured patients who don’t have the benefit of a middle man insurance company negotiating prices for them – just try to go and pay cash for an operation at a hospital and you will see what I mean. This system also grants these insurance companies monopoly profit levels which is one of the reasons why the government run Medicare program has so much lower administrative costs than private insurance companies.

    These are just a few of the problems with our employment linked health insurance scheme. There are many, many more. However, if anyone thinks that we did not have a problem with spiraling health care costs and health insurance costs along with an increasing lack of health insurance coverage prior to Obamacare, then I have a bridge to sell you in London.

    Obamacare was never meant to reform health care, although it definitely has an effect on health care costs. Obamacare was meant to reform health insurance. The plan was originally hatched in a Republican Think Tank (remember it was Romneycare before it was Obamacare) because Republicans could see the writing on the wall – the rest of the developed world had socialized medicine and it was inevitable that citizens would eventually demand it in America as well, that is if they could not come up with some more market based ulternative.

    Obamacare was meant to begin the delinking of health insurance coverage from employment and make it more like car insurance or home owner’s insurance. Ideally, numerous new insurance companies would join the exchanges and end the near-monopoly situation in the health insurance market. Assuming this worked and numerous cheaper and better health insurance plans entered the market, then even my unionized company might before long bargain with its employees and say we will just give you the money instead of compensation in the form of health insurance, and you take that money to buy a plan that works better for you. In other words, companies get to get out of the insurance business and focus on what they do best. Ultimately, if it worked we would actually create a true health insurance market, and we would delink health insurance from employment, a non-market based system that is ultimately bound to fail anyway and likely to become socialized medicine if it were not turned into an actual market.

    There are so many other factors involved in delinking health insurance from employment and creating a real market that it is impossible to list them all here, nor am I expert enough to do so, but some things just make sense for anybody who has two brain cells to rub together to create a spark of knowledge. For any actuarial system to work, you need carrots and sticks to make sure that the risk pool contains far more low risk people than high risk people. In other words, you need a way to make sure that the health insurance risk pool contains far more healthy participants than sick participants. Car insurance does this with state laws that require auto insurance and with higher premiums for people who are reckless or get into too many accidents and lower premiums for safe drivers. In many states, you also have uninsured motorists coverage (which BTW, as I used to practice some law in this area, I highly recommend as a very cheap insurance which I highly recommend to everyone). Obamacare uses subsidies and mandates as carrots and sticks to encourage universal coverage and thus to creat a large risk pool with lots of well people in it.

    Maybe there is a better way to provide effective risk spreading coverage rather than either Obamacare or universal health care, and I’d love to here it, but the farce that the Republicans is presenting is an even greater failure that will ultimately lead us to the universal health care that you are alluding to and for all the reasons that you give and more. You say that Obamacare is failing but is it actually failing in the states that have embraced it? I don’t think so. Also, even where Obamacare may be failing, how much of that is being driven by the market uncertainty promoted by the Republicans and Trump right now? I think if you are honest, you would have to admit that that this is at least part of it. If you were making an expensive investment as a entrepreneur in a new health care market exchange, wouldn’t you run for the door if the current government was saying it would not longer support that market and was threatening to pull the rug out from under you?

    I would prefer to have more of a market based system myself because, as a father of a grown daughter with Parkinson’s Desease, I think we need market incentives to provide the cure to such diseases. Wouldn’t all of us rather have a cure to, for example cancer, than have great hospital care while we die from that cancer? On the other hand, if Republicans are determined to let any hope of a market based system go down the toilet, then my daughter, as well as average consumers and businesses, are better off with a government run single payer system. Basically, their own ideological idiocy will inevitably bring about the thing that they claim to hate most.

    And I think that the core dogma in this ideological idiocy is this myth that the government is not absolutely necessary to the creation of vibrant market economics at every level. To use the baseball metaphor once again, without defined rules, umpires and a defined playing field, baseball is just dodgeball with a hard ball and bats to hit each other over the head with. Without government to define the rules, arbitrate disputes and enforce rights, then a market naturally reverts to “might makes right”.

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  9. Tom wrote:

    “Where we differ is that I believe government exists to protect our right. I do not think your belief, that government gives us our rights, is either moral or practical.”

    Tom, if government exists to protect our rights, does not government necessarily have to define those rights in order to resolve real world disputes and enforce against real world deprivations of those rights? At the most basic level, does not the Constitution define certain basic rights in its Bill of Rights and in the 14th Amendment? Once legislatures define certain rights (such as the bundle of rights that attaches to the use and exclusion from use of real, personal and intangible property), is it not the courts who arbitrate disputes over those laws and the executive that is charged with enforcing those laws and the courts’ judgements?

    You want to make this about whether God grants us certain rights. Well, as a Christian, at some level I not only have to agree with you, but say that you are not going far enough. God grants us everything. We can claim that we own “rights” to certain liberties and properties, but it all belongs to God.

    God’s love began and continuously suspends our very existence and the existence of everything. At a Christian theological level, we should not care if government taxes away our property (“render unto Caesar”?) because we never actually own anything in the first place – God owns everything, including us. Therefore the idea that you somehow claim to divine God’s infinite will on the endless intricacies of the bundles of rights and responsibilities to life, liberty and property that are exclusively yours and that you don’t have to lovingly share with the rest of the community of humanity is presumptuous in the extreme.

    As Christians, the one preeminent law that God has given us is to love God and to love one another. All our morality flows from our unselfish and loving submission to this “natural law”, not only commanded by God, but constantly manifested by God’s love through the air in every breath we breath, by the suspension in motion and attraction of every molecule of our very being. The virtue in our attempts to rank order the vast myriad of all the moral and material goods provided to us by God derives from our willing obedience to this God given law of love.

    On a practical level, “human will” forms our imperfect governments in an effort to moderate our relations with one another other. Governments write, arbitrate and enforce laws that create rights and responsibilities that moderate those relations. The degree to which this governmental legal systemic more virtuously facilitates the distribution of God’s moral and material goods, in the most general sense, depends upon the necessarily imperfect measure and balance that that system and those laws comport with God’s law of love. On the other hand, whether or not a given governmental system actually acts more virtuously (in other words more lovingly in keeping with God’s natural will for the universe) in general or as to specific cases as to certain rights and responsibilities, such rights and responsibilities simply do not exist, nor have they ever existed in the history of civilization, unless they are defined, arbitratable and enforceable by very imperfect human created governments.

    To get to the core of your misunderstanding of rights, look up the definition of “inalienable”. Something is “inalienable” if it cannot be taken away from, sold or even given away by the possessor. What do you have that does not belong to God? And on a practical material level, what of God’s massive universe do you momentary control that cannot be taken away by, given away to, or sold to others, including your life, your liberty and your property? When Jesus was telling us to store up our treasures in heaven (Mathew 6:20) do you think He was talking about the life, liberty or property that He specifically said was transient and able to be stolen? Or was Jesus really talking about the moral goods that come from love? If anything is “inalienable” isn’t it those kinds of moral and spiritual goods. And, if these spiritual goods are truely “inalienable” as I believe they are, then government could not define, arbitrate or enforce their ownership or theft even if it tried.

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    1. Tom, if government exists to protect our rights, does not government necessarily have to define those rights in order to resolve real world disputes and enforce against real world deprivations of those rights? At the most basic level, does not the Constitution define certain basic rights in its Bill of Rights and in the 14th Amendment?

      The answer to your question is no.

      This is a fallen world. When Adam and Eve sinned, they ran into the problem that Paul describes in Romans 7. They became slaves to sin, and only faith in God could free them — and now us.

      Think through this quote from James Madison again.

      But what is government itself, but the greatest of all reflections on human nature? If men were angels, no government would be necessary. If angels were to govern men, neither external nor internal controls on government would be necessary. In framing a government which is to be administered by men over men, the great difficulty lies in this: you must first enable the government to control the governed; and in the next place oblige it to control itself. — James Madison from The Federalist No. 51

      If we need government to define our rights, then whether or not we are angels makes only this difference. We do not need policemen, but we still need legislators and courts.

      Yet Madison says no government would be necessary because we know the difference between right and wrong. We know what sort of behavior is abusive to the rights of another. We each know what rights belong to our neighbor because the law is written upon our hearts.

      Unfortunately, we are fallen creatures.

      Romans 7:14-20 New King James Version (NKJV)

      14 For we know that the law is spiritual, but I am carnal, sold under sin. 15 For what I am doing, I do not understand. For what I will to do, that I do not practice; but what I hate, that I do. 16 If, then, I do what I will not to do, I agree with the law that it is good. 17 But now, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells in me. 18 For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh) nothing good dwells; for to will is present with me, but how to perform what is good I do not find. 19 For the good that I will to do, I do not do; but the evil I will not to do, that I practice. 20 Now if I do what I will not to do, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells in me.

      That is why for most of the history of man governments have operated according to the principle that might makes right, and people have accepted such governments because even a tyrannical government must maintain order. That’s why Jesus said we must render unto Caesar what is Caesar’s. Yet He also said we must render unto God what is God’s. In our sinful world, we must obey God and yet still find a way to satisfy the demands of men.

      Because the Caesars of this world rule so poorly, on occasion men have found the courage and the wisdom to attempt something different. They have conspired to create a government that serves the people instead of making slaves out of them.

      Those who founded this nation did not at first put our rights on paper. Because they feared they would be unable to list them, the framers did not seek to define our rights. At first they dealt with the problem simply by saying that what the Constitution did not authorize the government could not do. Yet other men, remembering the recent past and still fearful insisted upon a Bill of Rights. They wanted to be able to point to that list of rights so that those who connived for power over others would have no excuse. They, their victims, and their fellow citizens needed to know with certainty when the government had deliberately violated people’s rights. So they wracked their brains, trying to express on paper truths God has written on our hearts.

      Still, because we are sinners, putting our rights on paper is not enough to protect them. We must, as you say, love God above all and each other as we love ourselves. These are the preeminent laws. Yet these laws are contained in no laws codified by men. Instead, we prohibit crimes, the violations of rights that stem from them, because that is the best we can do.

      In our laws, when we are at our best, we strive to express God’s will for us. When we are at our best, we know that what we do is our own work. When we are at our best, we know enough to beg for our Lord’s blessing, and we know enough not to call what we have done a work sanctified by God.

      When we are proud, however, we become more demanding. Instead of respecting the rights of others, we use whatever power we have to force others to conform to our will. The finest excuses are altruism and the will of the majority. Yep! When we boss our fellows around, we are doing them a big favor, and we crow about the fact the majority of the people think what we would do is good. Yet these are abuses of love and majoritarian power.

      Romans 14:4 New King James Version (NKJV)

      4 Who are you to judge another’s servant? To his own master he stands or falls. Indeed, he will be made to stand, for God is able to make him stand.

      Our rights are “inalienable” because we cannot take them away from each other. Because God granted them — because He is our master and we all belong to Him — we have no right to take from each other what He has given us. Yet God allows us to sin. So until the final judgment we will sin.

      As you said, we belong to God. This world belongs to God. We have responsibilities to each other, but we don’t have the right to take from each other just to give away what rightfully belongs to someone else.That is not loving, and it is not charity. It is just buying votes.

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  10. Tom,

    Sorry it’s taken so long to respond, but been working a lot lately.

    You have not proven that someone has a God given right to anything. Instead, you have proven that we have God given responsibilities to each other. Take your example for a supposed right to life.

    We do not have a right to our material life. We have a right not to be killed which derives from others’ moral and legal responsibility not to kill us. The right not be killed obviously does not survive our death, but the moral and legal responsiilbity remains for the killer even after that death. Saying that one retains a material God given right to life after one’s death defies language, logic and reality. We are dead and our spirit returns to God, but our body goes to dirt. And let’s not confuse one’s God given eternal soul which someone cannot take, purchase or sell with someone’s material life.

    When we start talking God given property rights, this gets even more absurd. Do you seriously believe that God assigns corporations complex patent rights? Seriously?

    The word “inalienable” is important. It comes from the fact that at one time land and other property rights were inalienable – they legally did not exist in a form that could be bought, sold, given or taken away. The King granted fiefdoms to certain noble families. These were grants to use and exclusion of set manors that could not be sold or taken away from that family. Market systems depend upon the alienability of such property because it allows fertile property to be utilized by those who can use it most profitably, rather than allowing it to be endlessly retained by oldest sons who may or may not be particularly talented or smart. As the Industrial Revolution got into full swing, the laws were changed so as to allow greater alienation of property, and, for all practical purposes, the surfs that went with that property.

    There simply is not such thing today as inalienable material property rights in this country. Everything can be sold, bought, taken or given away. Our economy would collapse if it were not so. There are such things as inalienable and God given “spiritual rights” but no such thing as inalienable and God given “material rights”, and that includes to your life, liberty, property, and your “material” happiness. The whole concept of inalienable rights is a practical, logical and theological absurdity.

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    1. @Tony

      Looks like you are having trouble catching up.

      I responded to most of the things you said in this comment in my last comment.

      https://citizentom.com/2017/06/30/god-given-rights-or-government-given-rights/#comment-74816

      The word “inalienable” is important. It comes from the fact that at one time land and other property rights were inalienable – they legally did not exist in a form that could be bought, sold, given or taken away.

      As I explained in my last post, we have the God-given right to own property.

      In hunter-gatherer societies, tribes owned lands, not individuals necessarily. The advent of farming, made it necessary to adapt different rules for owning property, but the principles remain much the same.

      Do you want to go back to the feudal system. I sure don’t. When the guys who wrote the Declaration of Independence wrote of inalienable rights, I think they understood what they meant.

      Anyway, please catch up before you write more, and take your time. You don’t need to apologize. The subject is serious, but we don’t need to take ourselves too seriously.

      Hope that work was enjoyable and profitable.

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      1. Actually, you are right. This response was meant for your more current iteration, but I accidentally posted it on this one. As Rick Perry might say “oops”. Feel free to move it elsewhere.

        However, in none of these iterations have you explained where these supposed “God given” material rights come from. The proof that we have no such holy right to any of these material things is the obvious fact that none of us get to keep any of them, not even our lives. This fallen world is a place of corruption and entropy and death. God does not grant us a permanent material right to life in this world (at least not until the second coming).

        Consider this verse from Matthew 6:19-21New International Version (NIV) about Treasures in Heaven:

        19 “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. 20 But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. 21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”

        If we really had a God given right to material treasure why would Jesus say this? And as you know, this is one of many places where Jesus said not to worry so much about the material world and what we may or may not own here, including our own lives.

        Consider this verse which appears in similar form in all four Gospels:

        “For if you want to save your own life, you will lose it; but if you lose your life for my sake, you will find it.”

        Consider also this verse from John 15:13 New Living Translation (NLT):

        “13 There is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.”

        To lay down one life is to “alienate” it. But even our physical life is not our own to keep, and God gave it to us to be lost one way or another, whether it is taken from us, we lose it to disease and decay, or we give it away. By definition, that not only makes even our lives quite “alienable”, but in fact it means that our material lives are meant by God to be very alienable indeed – it is our eternal souls that are not alienable.

        People have a very clear God given “responsibility” not to murder (which is quite different legally and morally from the responsibility not to kill). Any human “rights” that we have legally and morally indirectly derive from God given responsibilities. It is the “responsibility” that has eternal implications, not the material “right”. Material rights are transient and even although all material things, including our lives, come from God, God has never guaranteed them in this life, but has instead told us just the opposite about this material world.

        You are misusing the Protestant concept of a “calling” if you think that property righteously earned is yours by God given fiat. No material thing has a God granted fiat. The material blessings of our labors that God grants us are not eternally ours – they are not the goal in and of themselves. The goal is the eternal spiritual treasures that one acquires by sharing those transient material goods with others in love and toward our praising and loving of God. It is this profound difference between moral goods and material goods that you are confusing.

        The concept of a calling was the Protestant recognition that labor, any type of righteous labor no matter how menial, could be a holy calling if that labor and the fruits of that labor are a loving sacrifice toward the greater glory of God. You’ve taken the “greater glory of God” out of the formula of the “calling”, and made the material things themselves (our lives, our stuff, our physical freedom, and our material happiness) somehow holy. They are not holy, and to believe so is a form of idolatry. It is the motivation and direction of their use that is holy, not the material things themselves.

        You claim to be the Biblical scholar. Where in the Bible does God explicitly grant such material rights? This is not ancient traditional biblical theology. This a modernist concept by philosophers who had made a god out of materialist rationalism at the expense of sacred spiritualism.

        Finally, if these rights are stand alone God given (and therefore holy) material and physical things, then they should be definable separately from our responsibilities, however, we are yet to hear such an argument. There are no rights to life after we’re dead. If anything actually is a “self evident”, the fact that we are dead makes our God given right to life a self evident absurdity. We attach “responsibilities” to the person who murders and we punish them sometimes unto death for that moral and legal crime. What happened to that criminal’s inalienable and God given right to life? It seems like we think that the murderer managed alienate his life pretty good, don’t we?

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        1. @Tony

          Are you certain you read following comment?
          => https://citizentom.com/2017/06/30/god-given-rights-or-government-given-rights/#comment-74816

          You may have, but I don’t think you tried to digest it. Do you have any questions? I don’t see any point in repeating what I wrote there.

          However, in none of these iterations have you explained where these supposed “God given” material rights come from. The proof that we have no such holy right to any of these material things is the obvious fact that none of us get to keep any of them, not even our lives. This fallen world is a place of corruption and entropy and death. God does not grant us a permanent material right to life in this world (at least not until the second coming).

          You do know that there are prohibitions against stealing, enslavement, and murder in the Old Testament?

          Our God-given rights come from the Bible, especially the Ten Commandments. Because we belong to God, He has commanded us to love each other, not to hurt each other. In The Sermon on the Mount, Jesus restates the Ten Commmandments. He almost makes them “thou shalt does” instead of just “thou shalt nots”.

          What John Locke did when he defined natural rights is he restated the prohibitions against stealing, enslavement, and murder as rights protected by the prohibitions, rights to property, liberty, and life. If property does not belong to anyone, how does anyone steal it?

          The words “property”, “ownership”, and “stealing” have distinct meaning. Are you insisting that these words mean nothing?

          Consider those commandments which deal with love of neighbor.

          Exodus 20:12-17 New King James Version (NKJV)

          12 “Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be long upon the land which the Lord your God is giving you.

          13 “You shall not murder.

          14 “You shall not commit adultery.

          15 “You shall not steal.

          16 “You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.

          17 “You shall not covet your neighbor’s house; you shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, nor his male servant, nor his female servant, nor his ox, nor his donkey, nor anything that is your neighbor’s.”

          Verse 12 is usually expanded a bit. In addition to our parents, we are suppose to honor those in authority. Thus, Jesus spoke of rendering unto Caesar what is Caesar’s, but He did not demand that we render unto Caesar what Caesar has no business demanding.

          When we murder, we deny our victim the right to life.

          When we commit adultery, we do not respect the responsibility that comes with the gift of giving life.

          When we steal, we deny our Lord’s authority to make our neighbors stewards of what is His to give and take.

          When lie, we deny God is Truth.

          When we covet what belongs to our neighbors, we put more value upon what the Creator created than we do the Creator. Note that verse 17 specifically addresses the concept of ownership.

          The sin of Socialism is covetousness. Instead of seeking salvation in God, we seek salvation in mastery of things, and we try to us the government to master all things, even that which rightfully belongs to our neighbor.

          “Rightfully belongs to our neighbor”? Does anything rightfully belong to any of us? Here the limits of language make understanding difficult. The answer is no, but God has made each of us stewards of something. You cited Matthew 6:19-21 as some sort of proof we own nothing, that the government has the right to take what we have and redistribute it. I think you missed the point. Consider.

          Luke 12:13-21 New King James Version (NKJV)
          The Parable of the Rich Fool

          13 Then one from the crowd said to Him, “Teacher, tell my brother to divide the inheritance with me.”

          14 But He said to him, “Man, who made Me a judge or an arbitrator over you?” 15 And He said to them, “Take heed and beware of covetousness,[a] for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of the things he possesses.”

          16 Then He spoke a parable to them, saying: “The ground of a certain rich man yielded plentifully. 17 And he thought within himself, saying, ‘What shall I do, since I have no room to store my crops?’ 18 So he said, ‘I will do this: I will pull down my barns and build greater, and there I will store all my crops and my goods. 19 And I will say to my soul, “Soul, you have many goods laid up for many years; take your ease; eat, drink, and be merry.”’ 20 But God said to him, ‘Fool! This night your soul will be required of you; then whose will those things be which you have provided?’

          21 “So is he who lays up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God.”

          The average person looks forward to retirement like the rich fool. Instead of thinking about the life to come, we dwell too much upon our own needs in this one. Jesus reminded us that we are only stewards of what He has given us. He expect us to use what He has given us (even our lives) to store up treasures in heaven by giving of ourselves (not belongs to our neighbors) in love to Him and our neighbors.

          Socialism exists to defeat God’s purpose for us. Socialism is about giving what belongs to other people, not of ourselves. Jesus spoke to individuals about storing up treasures in heaven, not government officials. Obama did not store up any treasures for you or for me in heaven.

          So how do we each determine what belongs to each of us? John Locke wrote about this, and I suppose you have read what he wrote. Perhaps it will help if I provide a simplier explanation. I suppose I could tell my little fable about 10 guys shipwrecked in the summertime on a lush and verdant island. One guy plans ahead and stores up foodstuffs for winter. When winter arrives the other nine guys grow hungry and implement Socialism, but the Ant and the Grasshopper is a more traditional tale. Aesop was also a better storyteller.

          Aesop – The Ant and the Grasshopper

          In a field one summer’s day a Grasshopper was hopping about, chirping and singing to its heart’s content. An Ant passed by, bearing along with great toil an ear of corn he was taking to the nest.

          “Why not come and chat with me,” said the Grasshopper, “instead of toiling and moiling in that way?”

          “I am helping to lay up food for the winter,” said the Ant, “and recommend you to do the same.”

          “Why bother about winter?” said the Grasshopper; “We have got plenty of food at present.” But the Ant went on its way and continued its toil.

          When the winter came the Grasshopper had no food and found itself dying of hunger – while it saw the ants distributing every day corn and grain from the stores they had collected in the summer. Then the Grasshopper knew: It is best to prepare for days of need.

          The ant acquired what he acquired just by foraging for it on God’s green earth. Does the fruit of his labors belong to only him or does the grasshopper rightfully have a share in it according to his need?

          You suggest I am a poor Bible Scholar. Since I have not dared to call myself one, I suppose that is true. If I was a great Bible Scholar, perhaps I would have convinced you by now that the Bible does not provide any support for Socialism.

          Consider the depth of my failure. Consider the unmitigated irony. When I try to use the Bible to justify limited government, you holler foul. “Jesus never said anything about government!” On the other hand, here you are trying to use the Bible to prove we don’t own anything. So in the name of love, the government has the right to redistribute the wealth. Then, after making that outrageous claim, you try to put the burden of proof on me.

          Here is a bit of history. The Pilgrims were devout Christians. When the Pilgrims got off the Mayflower at Plymouth Rock, they implement a compact that required them to share everything they owned equally. They starved in the hard winter that followed. After that hard winter, each family took responsibility for its own plot of land and the fruit it produced. Then they propered.

          Don’t believe me? Their story is told in the writings those people left behind.

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    2. @Tony

      BTW. You mention patent rights. Suppose a drug company invents a life-saving drug. What gives that company the moral right (not legal right) to charge patents a premium.for using it?

      Like

      1. And thus, you make a good argument for socialized medicine.

        However, no one has a God given right to this hypothetical life saving drug, but as you say, the people who own the drug manufacturing company probably have a moral “responsibility” to do the right thing. And because corporations are not moral beings, but instead legal fictions, we try to draft laws that make them do the morally right thing. I think that you mentioned a fact earlier that is quite true and when I practiced law, I would tell it to my clients: “If you think something is morally wrong, then there is a good chance that it is also illegal.” This may not be true all the time, but it is a pretty good rule of thumb if one wants to stay out of both moral and legal trouble.

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        1. Socialized medicine would definitely “solve” the moral problem. Without the financial incentive to be inventive, the drug companies would have little reason to invest in R&D.

          That investment in R&D, the time, the labor, and the risk, has to be paid for. That is the moral justification for the premium.

          So what about the problem of the people who cannot afford it getting access to that life saving drug?

          There is charity.

          There is also the simple fact that those people are no worst off than they would have been if the drug had not been invented. Eventually, however, the cost will come down and latter generations will benefit.

          However, we are covetous, and we enjoy hating villains. So we see the success of the drug companies. Instead of congratulating them, we find excuses for envy.

          Like

  11. Tom wrote:

    “Our God-given rights come from the Bible, especially the Ten Commandment.

    Unless I have missed the “commandment” that “commands” right to my physical life, liberty, happiness and property, then I think that you are once again conflating God given “responsibilities” with God given “rights”. They are not the same thing.

    If “we” meet our God given responsibilities to love, then we don’t steal from others and we don’t murder others. The difference is important. Murder is both a moral and a legal “injunction” that very much depends upon how one both morally and legally defines the killing, not the right. One may kill in defense of self or in defense of others and, although a God granted life is physically destroyed, it is not a legal murder and quite arguably not a moral murder either. If the killed person’s physical right to life were truly “inalienable” then my taking that person’s life from him/her I self defense would neither be moral nor legal. Whether a taking is an illegal theft is similar in that it very much depends upon how one morally and legally defines the moral and legal bundle of property responsibilities to ones use and exclusion of use by others. With regard to the material world, the commandments say “thou shall or shall not DO”. They not say “thou shall inalienably HAVE”.

    Like

    1. @Tony

      You are stuck on the word “inalienable”. Frankly, I don’t think it is that complicated. Is it more important to understand the concept or to get the semantics perfect?

      Love is an important concept. God cared enough to create us. All we are flows from Him, not something we created, like our government.

      1. Who is our master? Is it God or our government?

      2. God commanded us to love Him and each other.
      a. When did God put our government in charge of making us obey His command to love Him and each other?
      b. In practice, redistributing the wealth is just a method politicians use to buy votes. Do you really think God would be so stupid as to put our government in charge of making us obey His command to love Him and each other? Letting a politician buy your votes is loving your neighbor?
      c. What has forcing people to pay taxes and giving their money to someone else have to do with love?
      d. Have you ever seen a taxpayer thrilled to pay taxes because it shows our much he loves his neighbor? Was he in the loony bin?

      3. Unless we have a right to own property, how can we steal from each other? When nothing belongs to anyone, why do we need to “steal” to take possession of something?

      4. Unless we have a right to liberty, how can we enslave another? Where people don’t understand they have a God-given right to liberty, does the government waste any time enslaving them?

      5. Unless we each have a right to life, how can we murder another? Have you ever noticed the number of people some governments have killed? When the government says we have the right to life, is that really something worth taking seriously?

      6. Because God wants us to understand He is serious about His prohibitions against infringing upon the rights of others (stealing, enslavement, and murder are examples), God has given government the authority to sanction our disobedience (This is just about the only thing government has the capacity to do well.). In that sense, it would seem that our rights are not inalienable.However, inalienability is not the issue. The problem is that when we deliberately choose to violate the rights of another we create a conflict human beings to do not have the capacity to resolve. Government can only stop a lawbreaker by using force to restrain the offender. Nevertheless, because we still retain our rights, lawful government use due process in deference to those rights. When those guys wrote the Declaration of Independence, don’t you think they knew that?

      Like

      1. Words are important. Without a clear concensus on the meaning of each word, then we cannot communicate ideas. You are not communicating with me but with your favorite straw man when you cast me as a colectivist socialist or a communist. You seem to read a meaning that you want to read and not the common meaning words. “Inalienable” is just one word where you are making up your own language. The Founders knew the meaning of the word when they used it polemically in the Declaration, and because they knew the meaning, they also knew not to use it in the Bill of Rights of the Constitution.

        Let’s look at another example of a word that you are using in a way that appears to purposefully distort common understanding. dictionary.com defines “economics” as:

        “the science that deals with the production, DISTRIBUTION (emphasis mine), and consumption of goods and services, or the material welfare of humankind.”

        Capitalism is a market based economic system that distributes the wealth of the production from that system in certain ways. How we define property laws within that system has a dramatic effect on distribution of wealth. If you are in favor of a market based capitalist system, then you are, by the definition of that economic system, in favor of the constant distribution of the wealth of capitalistic production of goods and services. Because wealth is not static in a market economy, it is constantly also being “redistributed”. (“Alienability” is also a necessity of capitalism because, without it, these scarce resources cannot be redistributed to their highest and best use).

        I am very much in favor of regulated, market based capitalism. Because a perfect God has not directly decided to come down and define our property rights and responsibilities, imperfect human government seems the likely standin for now if we want this capitalistic economic market system to distribute scarce resources towards their highest and best efficient use and also in a way that is the most fair and equitable so that many consumers have the resources to buy the most variety of goods that the many sellers can compete to sell. This is why a broad middle class is so important and beneficial to a vibrant capitalist economic system.

        The laws and rules that govern production, distribution and define property within capitalism can either concentrate wealth in a manner that will utimarely be self destructive to our capitalistic system, or those laws can spread the wealth of production of goods and services in a way that is self perpetuatingly vibrant to this economic system.

        As to this discussion, we are not disagreeing on the economic “redistribution” of property. We both agree on having a government regulated capitalistic redistribution system. For the purposes of this discussion, the only actual thing we are disagreeing on economically is that God, rather than mere humans, somehow “inalienably” writes our complex property laws that detail the bundle of rights and responsibilities to the use and the exclusion of use of the innumerable varations of tangible and intangible, real and personal property that is a necessary feature of market economies.

        We also disagree on whether God has clearly defined for us other such material rights such as our physical right to life, physical liberty and physical happiness. It does not inexorably follow that your being nonsensically wrong on this important philosophical point of our having “God given rights” will lead to a collectivist totalitarian state anymore than my believing that we have a “God given responsibility” to love each other will bring down the better features of market capitalism. It would be nice, however, if we could stick to the issue at hand (God given rights) using common words with common definitions to prove or disprove each other’s actual points rather than going down so many other rabbit holes. You’re the host here, however, and this is just a request.

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        1. @Tony

          Words are important.

          We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

          When the Thirteen Colonies published their declaration, what was self-evident about the unalienable Rights of men. When Cain slew Able, was it not self-evident there was no one who would hold him accountable?

          When the Thirteen Colonies published their declaration, how could the Rights of the colonists be unalienable? When King George sent army to America that was larger than their largest city, was it not self-evident he had the power to take those rights away? How then, if they were King George’s to take away, could the rights of the colonists be God-given? Yet the colonists insisted that our Creator cares about such matters, and that it is His power that is absolute.

          Where is the evidence that makes these things self-evident? Does not the ends justify the means? Consider your words.

          I am very much in favor of regulated, market based capitalism. Because a perfect God has not directly decided to come down and define our property rights and responsibilities, imperfect human government seems the likely standin for now if we want this capitalistic economic market system to distribute scarce resources towards their highest and best efficient use and also in a way that is the most fair and equitable so that many consumers have the resources to buy the most variety of goods that the many sellers can compete to sell. This is why a broad middle class is so important and beneficial to a vibrant capitalist economic system.

          If God has not told us what is right, then it is for the strong to decide. Might makes right, or should I say a seemingly loving, altruistic sounding might makes right.

          Still, many persist in the belief that God has revealed to us — made self-evident to us — the difference between right and wrong, good and evil.
          1. We see the glory and majesty of the Creator in His Creations. We see His craftsmanship, His concern for the tiniest details. The more we know of His works the more we know of His concern for us. Without His Will we would not — could not — exist.
          2. We know the difference between good and evil because His moral law is written upon each of our hearts. When we do good or evil, we know. No one has to tell us. Perhaps it does take effort and the power of good examples to construct an admirably good conscience, but when we destroy our conscience — deaden it and finally kill it — each step of the way our guilty heart cries. There is no rest for the wicked.
          3. God has also revealed Himself in the person of Jesus Christ. The Bible records and explains this revelation, and the Bible has much to say in great detail about our rights and responsibilities.

          So, yes, a perfect God has come down and told us our rights and responsibilities. Given that, why would we persist in believing otherwise? There are basically two ways to achieve that something we refer to as salvation. There is Jesus, and there are all the other ways we can devise. Jesus requires our trust, that we let Him perfect us. All the other ways put us in charge. All the other ways are much more satisfying to our egos. All the other ways seem far more safe.

          When those men signed the Declaration of Independence, I suppose that too was big ego trip. Doesn’t John Hancock’s signature scream: “Look at me! I am defying the most power king in the world.” Yet the betting was on the King George III. So it was not very likely that many of those men signed a document that they did not believe spoke the Truth.

          Our Constitution is remarkable. Its signers did not assign their work to God. Still, they gratefully attributed the success of the Constitution to divine providence.

          What was it that these men had in common? Normally, men seek high office largely out of ambition. These men had all taken a huge risk. For the sake of principle instead of reward, these men had taken a stand and supported the Declaration of Independence. Thus, because they had stood for something noble, that generation left us a lasting legacy, the belief that it is self-evident that God gives us our Rights.

          Zechariah 13:7-9 New King James Version (NKJV)
          The Shepherd Savior

          7 “Awake, O sword, against My Shepherd,
          Against the Man who is My Companion,”
          Says the Lord of hosts.
          “Strike the Shepherd,
          And the sheep will be scattered;
          Then I will turn My hand against the little ones.
          8 And it shall come to pass in all the land,”
          Says the Lord,
          “That two-thirds in it shall be cut off and die,
          But one–third shall be left in it:
          9 I will bring the one–third through the fire,
          Will refine them as silver is refined,
          And test them as gold is tested.
          They will call on My name,
          And I will answer them.
          I will say, ‘This is My people’;
          And each one will say, ‘The Lord is my God.’”

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    2. It is funny Tom that you would mention the fable of the ant and the grasshopper because I too have been thinking of that same fable in relation to this discussion. As the fable suggests, let’s assume that the ant and the grasshopper are both sentient beings who have each their own ant and grasshopper natures as well as the same universal moral code of love that we have. Here are some questions that you might ask yourself in relation to that fable:

      1. Was the ant hoarding food only for himself or for the sake of an entire colony? In other words, did the ant have a God given “right” to the food, or a God given “responsibility” not to be a selfish burden on his community, but instead to be a unselfishly positive benefit? Didn’t the ant’s moral virtue in the fable come, not from the material food itself and his supposed right to it, but rather from the ant’s willingness to provide for his community? And, assuming that your answer is “yes”, then which was the more holy of goods – the material goods themselves or the spiritual goods that the ant obtained by acting with unselfish virtue?

      2. Some of us are blessed with more talent and a better upbringing than others. You and I, for example, were gifted by God with industrious parents who gave us all the DNA we need to do well in life. Should their very natures be a factor in how we judge the ant and the grasshopper because, after all, they both were simply living up to the natures that God ordained for them?

      3. Let us assume that, through thier industriousness the ants had more than enough to share. As the winter cold and famine closed in around the grasshopper, would the ant have a God given moral responsibility to help the grasshopper and save the grasshopper’s God given life? Granted, in doing so the ant would be enabling the grasshopper’s vices. On the other hand, although a dead grasshopper may be getting his just deserts, a dead grasshopper also learns nothing redemptive. In any event, which do you think is actually God given – the ant’s personal material right to the food or the ant’s moral responsibility to share his material abundance with a dying sinner?

      4. Finally, assuming that the ant has a God given moral responsibility to love and share his abundance with the dying grasshopper, does that “responsibility” then creat a God given “right” for the grasshopper to be entitled to the food? This is exactly why we should not too easily presume “God given rights” out of “God given responsibilities”. The relationship between rights and responsibilities is not linear and direct. The path is fraught with moral complexity. And because our moral duties should pragmatically be reflected in our human created legal rights and responsibilities, isn’t it dangerous to assume that such human laws always have a sacred blessing? Who gets to decide?

      Ultimately, I think one has to ask oneself what is the spiritual flow of virtue and where do material goods come into that flow. The flow of virtue toward the creation of spiritual goods is first motivated by unselfish love. Material goods and our physical lives are never the end in and of themselves, but only part of a means toward something greater. The end product is the spiritual treasures one stores in Heaven when one is directed toward God’s will, and God’s will is love.

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      1. Love is spiritual. So are our rights. Here is the crux of the misunderstanding we are dealing with.

        Was the ant hoarding food only for himself or for the sake of an entire colony? In other words, did the ant have a God given “right” to the food, or a God given “responsibility” not to be a selfish burden on his community, but instead to be a unselfishly positive benefit?

        This statement contains a flawed premise. You are equating a God-given rights with selfishness and God-given responsibilities with love. Yet we have both. We have God-given rights so that we can make choices. Without rights we cannot be responsible. We cannot demonstrate we love meaningfully.

        Consider how you posed the problem.

        Finally, assuming that the ant has a God given moral responsibility to love and share his abundance with the dying grasshopper, does that “responsibility” then creat a God given “right” for the grasshopper to be entitled to the food? This is exactly why we should not too easily presume “God given rights” out of “God given responsibilities”. The relationship between rights and responsibilities is not linear and direct. The path is fraught with moral complexity. And because our moral duties should pragmatically be reflected in our human created legal rights and responsibilities, isn’t it dangerous to assume that such human laws always have a sacred blessing? Who gets to decide?

        The Book of James is very practical, plain spoken, and mercifully short. If you have not read it you should Consider this passage.

        James 2:8-17 New King James Version (NKJV)

        8 If you really fulfill the royal law according to the Scripture, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself,” you do well; 9 but if you show partiality, you commit sin, and are convicted by the law as transgressors. 10 For whoever shall keep the whole law, and yet stumble in one point, he is guilty of all. 11 For He who said, “Do not commit adultery,” also said, “Do not murder.” Now if you do not commit adultery, but you do murder, you have become a transgressor of the law. 12 So speak and so do as those who will be judged by the law of liberty. 13 For judgment is without mercy to the one who has shown no mercy. Mercy triumphs over judgment.

        14 What does it profit, my brethren, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can faith save him? 15 If a brother or sister is naked and destitute of daily food, 16 and one of you says to them, “Depart in peace, be warmed and filled,” but you do not give them the things which are needed for the body, what does it profit? 17 Thus also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.

        We each get to choose, and He will judge us according to our personal choices.

        If we love our neighbors, we will not harm them. If we have faith in the love of God, we will help our neighbor.

        Like

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With God we will gain the victory, and he will trample our enemies. Psalms 109:13

atimetoshare.me

My Walk, His Way - daily inspiration

Nickel Boy Graphics

Comic Strips (Some Funny, Some Serious)

Rudy u Martinka

What the world needs now in addition to love is wisdom

Truth in Palmyra

By Wally Fry

Kingdom Pastor

Living Freely In God's Kingdom

The Life Project

Finding Clear and Simple Faith

In My Father's House

"...that where I am you may be also." Jn.14:3

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