July 23rd, 2009

Selective Socialism


photo credit: kmrphotography

Barack Obama is turning America into a socialist nation!!!!!!

So go most of the ignorant economic critiques made by your average Republican in response to the policies and programs being promoted by his highness, the great President-who-can-and-will-fix-everything. Aghast at what’s being pushed through a complicit, Democrat-dominated Congress, so-called conservatives are dusting off their free market principles and marching to the latest battle between capitalism and socialism.

These capitalist-come-latelies, though, are hurting their professed cause more than they aim to help it. By directing their ire solely at the undesirable and obviously socialist programs, they allow the vast majority of social programs which are more subtle and sympathetic to gain root and lay the foundation for an overall socialist state. Universal health care is a popular and easy target these days, and Republicans of all degrees of party faithfulness are sounding the war cry. But where are the principled capitalists speaking out with equal determination against medicare, medicaid, social security, SCHIP, food stamps, free school lunches, prescription assistance, unemployment, and all the other equally socialist programs that continue to be funded?

Here we witness Republican hypocrisy on display. It is easy to call the leaders of the opposing party socialist, but who in the Grand Ol’ Party dared to label their own President as such when he pushed hard for a Medicare drug benefit, for example? The “S word” gets brought out when a few banks stand to benefit, but when the recipients are old, young, disabled, etc., Republicans rival Democrats in their socialist support.

You can’t have it both ways, and yet Republicans continue to misapply their seemingly limited economic understanding. If universal health care is socialism, then so is medicare; if bank bailouts are, then so is unemployment insurance. But in the narrow and incorrect definition embraced by almost all Republicans, a program is only socialist if a Democrat proposed it, it will increase taxes dramatically, or it’s just something they don’t like. With ideas like these ingrained in their minds, it’s little wonder that the balance sheets of Republican-led federal government do not look much different than what Democrats produce.

Until Republicans—and Americans as a whole—begin to oppose all forms and levels of government-imposed wealth redistribution, any feigned disgust will rightly be seen as disingenuous. Advocates of capitalism must apply their principles to every economic exchange—including the feel-good type that falsely masquerade as charity. You cannot be selective with your objection to socialism and still call yourself a fan of free markets.

62 Responses to “Selective Socialism”

  1. Krista
    July 23, 2009 at 3:11 pm #

    But where are the principled capitalists speaking out with equal determination against medicare, medicaid, social security, SCHIP, food stamps, free school lunches, prescription assistance, unemployment, and all the other equally socialist programs that continue to be funded?

    Personally, I’m trying to escape tarring and feathering, and alienating virtually everyone with whom I have any contact, LOL.

    Free school lunches – especially during the summer months – REALLY grate on me, and they’re ENORMOUSLY popular with moms in my circle, but the tack I’m choosing to take is:

    a) being involved in local political discussions and making the bolder, more directly-principled stands in an appropriate forum; and

    b) planting seeds by discussing principles at another level, allowing my friends and family to grow into the conclusion themselves. “Lunches are for Commies!” popping up in the middle of a conversation arranging a playdate is situationally inappropriate and won’t open many ears or hearts, LOL… but I don’t go to the lunches, either.

    We learn and grow at different rates; I know I appreciate the efforts others have taken to help me understand principles and apply them at the level I’m ready to, and I feel it’s still right to allow others to learn and grow in a similar fashion.

  2. Neal Davis
    July 24, 2009 at 7:19 am #

    I agree with Krista that the principles of opposition must be spread to everyone, and that on principle one should not participate in what one can avoid of the broken system.

    But here’s my question: acknowledging that the system is socialist and unprincipled, but having no other means to cover one’s costs (e.g., health care, which is egregiously expensive), to what degree would compromise with the devil be acceptable? On principle, I would say none; faced with my spouse’s health and well-being, it’s a subtler question.

    I’m a radical—I think the whole system of welfare, medicine, education, everything, needs to be scrapped and redesigned from the base. But what does one do in the meantime, when costs are out of control and yet participation in the system validates its existence?

  3. loquaciousmomma
    July 24, 2009 at 12:38 pm #

    Neal: I find your question timely. I have asked the same thing myself. I have long been (and still am) of the same mind as Connor described here. I was even heard to say “Bush is a socialist” throughout his presidency. (The whole ‘compassionate conservative’ thing is a great example, and you will find many examples of him using the ‘compassionate society’ buzzword used by socialists in the past 10 or so years)

    In any event, our family’s economic situation has taken a terrible nosedive this past year, and we have had to find ways to make it work. In last months Ensign, there was a pullout pamphlet discussing the issues of unemployment. One statement that stood out to me in their list of steps to take upon losing your job, was to take advantage of government programs. This shocked me because the Church has traditionally discouraged this in favor of relying on family and the church. I think these times are unique, however, and the it has become necessary to use whatever resources we can to survive.

    In any event, I winced when I read Krista’s reference to summer lunch programs. Although I agree with her one hundred percent and even got irritated when I saw a Dr bring his children to eat there, I have had to use it to help our family make ends meet. I feel that the Lord is not displeased with me because my husband has been underemployed and it has been a huge blessing to our family to have that one meal each day provided for our children. I hate taking it, because I know that every person who uses it gives more legitimacy to the program, and these types of programs in general. (I did find out that they are attempting to expand to serving breakfast, lunch AND dinner in the coming years…grrrr….) However, we needed to use it. We have no family here to help, and that statement by the Church in the Ensign helped me to feel better about it.

  4. Reach Upward
    July 24, 2009 at 1:38 pm #

    Some 65 years ago, economist F.A. Hayek observed that true proponents of liberty are always in the minority. He advised that their best hope is to ally themselves with those with differing interests that just happen to be going in the direction of liberty on a given issue or at a given moment, but to part company with them on their illiberal pursuits.

    Yes, the GOP is mostly just another group of socialists. (Hayek also observed that different groups of socialists save their most vitriolic rhetoric for other socialists. Does that remind you of any major political parties in the U.S.?) And many in the GOP are simply playing politics with their anti-socialist stance on health care. But perhaps this is the best opportunity for liberty-minded folks to make some slight progress on this front at this time.

  5. Clumpy
    July 24, 2009 at 4:46 pm #

    “But in the narrow and incorrect definition embraced by almost all Republicans, a program is only socialist if a Democrat proposed it, it will increase taxes dramatically, or it’s just something they don’t like.”

    I’m actually with Connor on this. These people are turning this into a political issue rather than one of principle and making themselves look like desperate, bitter whiners (as, of course, these particular Republicans are). Their fat kid forced into a Rob Zombie t-shirt, mom and the kids buying Lunchables, hot dogs and cold cereal at the supermarket and then sitting in lawn chairs holding up badly-misspelled signs telling us about how Obama is forgetting real Middle Uh-mericans and his So-shu-leezm is gonna make us give medicine to illegal alien terrorist Muslims and spend tax money on abortion stem cell affirmative actions.

    That was a grossly unfair caricature so I hope it’s taken with appropriate irony. I happen to think that the current insurance nightmare is far worse than anything Canada has, but I’m not convinced our system has enough integrity to pull off the same thing (after all, Canada essentially makes this the province’s concern and I’m convinced we’d centralize everything and muck it up). So I’m definitely open to being swayed based on real evidence and not raving ignoramuses.

  6. Greg
    July 24, 2009 at 10:59 pm #

    Your post is spot on. And Reach Upward’s comments are as well.

    Most people are unaware that “In the 1920s, England had a group of primarily wealthy heirs, writers and self-styled intellectuals who founded the Fabian Society, its aim to transform Britain into a socialist society. They were the authors of permeation which purpose was to infiltrate major political parties so that socialistic programs could be implemented no matter which party was in power. Shortly thereafter the Fabians assisted the formation of a sister society in the United States called the Intercollegiate Socialistic Society.” (Dr. Edward R. Annis. Former president of the American Medical Association. History of Socialized Medicine in America.)

    Consequently, there is little difference between the policies of the Republicans and Democrats regardless of who is in the White House.

  7. Clumpy
    July 25, 2009 at 1:19 am #

    See, all this time I had thought that New Deal policies and subsequent cultural progressive reforms of the 60s and onward had begun to foster a society in which individualism was celebrated rather than shunned, societal condemnation for violating historical mores was less widespread and, as a result, government and social focus began to move toward a sort of institutionalized altruism in terms of temporal welfare rather than the sort of cold functionalism that led society to sacrifice individuals for the artificial good of some sort of imagined “whole.”

    However, now I see that black mages from Britain are to blame. Occam’s razor (and my inherent mental laziness) leads me toward this simpler explanation.

  8. Jimmy Davis
    July 25, 2009 at 2:05 am #

    This is one of the best articles I’ve read in a long time. I couldn’t agree more. Where were all of these “conservatives” during the last administration? I guess people can rest assured when their elected officials have an (R) by their name but be furious when an official with a (D) does the same things.

    Though I am happy to say that I’m seeing more and more people chosing candidates based on their qualification rather than their party.

  9. Krista
    July 25, 2009 at 12:49 pm #

    From Reach:

    But perhaps this is the best opportunity for liberty-minded folks to make some slight progress on this front at this time.

    I agree completely. Chasing people away who are just waking up is… erm… counterproductive. The more people start to understand, the more real progress in defense of liberty can be made.

  10. rachel
    July 26, 2009 at 11:55 pm #

    I found it interesting that on the New American Freedom Index that just came out, my Senators from Utah, Hatch and Bennett, scored 71% and 80% constitutional voting, respectively, when for years they have both been in the 30-35% range. What’s up with that? Are they suddenly seeing the light? Are they posturing for an election? Are they noticing that their constituents aren’t happy? Or do they have the luxury of voting that way because the Democrats have a super majority and don’t need any help?

    I am glad Connor mentioned free school lunch. Thankfully, I have never needed help feeding my family, but where I live, they try to recruit people so they can keep the program, and it has nothing to do with income or a person’s ability to feed his family. I sympathize with those who feel they need it. We have never attended, even though my children have had a lot of social pressure to do so from the other children in our small town.

    My problem is my tax return. I get quite a bit more money than we pay out in taxes. We pay tithing on the excess, treating it as an earning, but I realize that we are being given money that has been taken from other people. What would the IRS do if I sent it back? Is there a way to do that? I thought about just taking the money to an acquaintance of mine who told me that because of his largely inherited fortune, he pays $600,000 in income taxes every year. I figured what I got could very well be his….

    We are into the socialism so deeply that we wouldn’t know how to function without it. The only way to get completely away from it would be to live the United Order as the early saints were asked to do, but with everyone also donating his expertise as a dentist, or a plumber, or a surgeon, or a builder, or whatever.

    Basically, we would have to live the true principle for which socialism is the counterfeit.

  11. rachel
    July 26, 2009 at 11:58 pm #

    I found it interesting that on the New American Freedom Index that just came out, my Senators from Utah, Hatch and Bennett, scored 71% and 80% constitutional voting, respectively, when for years they have both been in the 30-35% range. What’s up with that? Are they suddenly seeing the light? Are they posturing for an election? Are they noticing that their constituents aren’t happy? Or do they have the luxury of voting that way because the Democrats have a super majority and don’t need any help?

    We haven’t had to partake of most of the social programs already mentioned, although once I signed up for WIC to spite my husband. My problem is my tax return. I get quite a bit more money than we pay out in taxes. We pay tithing on the excess, treating it as an earning, but I realize that we are being given money that has been taken from other people. What would the IRS do if I sent it back? Is there a way to do that? I thought about just taking the money to an acquaintance of mine who told me that because of his largely inherited fortune, he pays $600,000 in income taxes every year. I figured what I got could very well be his….

    We are into the socialism so deeply that we wouldn’t know how to function without it. The only way to get completely away from it would be to live the United Order as the early saints were asked to do, but with everyone also donating his expertise as a dentist, or a plumber, or a surgeon, or a builder, or whatever.

    Basically, we would have to live the true principle for which socialism is the counterfeit.

  12. rachel
    July 27, 2009 at 12:24 am #

    I read a blog about why the church would now say it is okay to use government assistance programs. I can’t find the blog entry now, but the gist of it was that maybe the Lord is giving the saints what they want as he did in the days of King Saul.

    The people wanted a king. Samuel was not pleased, and he went to the Lord concerning the matter. The Lord said, “Hearken to the voice of the people in all that they say unto thee: for they have not rejected thee, but they have rejected me, that I should not reign over them.” The Lord then told him to tell the people what the king would do, which Samuel did. But the people still insisted that they have a king. The Lord told Samuel to “hearken unto their voice, and make them a king.”

    We as a nation have asked for the socialist state we are in, maybe not entirely realizing what we were doing (I’m thinking dumbed down public schools here). At the same time we have been warned by prophets who have spoken on this matter all along, and very prominently at times. Perhaps we still wanted it, and so the Lord finally said, “Give them what they want.”

  13. Carborendum
    July 27, 2009 at 7:31 am #

    Should we use the social services of the nanny state? I see it in two ways.

    1) They’ve won. We have the 12th article of faith.

    2) They’re forcing us into an agreement that we didn’t want. So we will force them to keep up their end of the bargain. I cried out NO! I want to be left alone. They say it’s for my own good. Fine, I’ll use them.

    If there were a way that only those who want it, could participate, that would be fine. But a system such as this will have ripple effects that will make doing it my own way impossible.

  14. loquaciousmomma
    July 27, 2009 at 9:03 am #

    Rachel: You may be on to something. I read a series on education on Meridian a while ago that said the same thing happened with education. The church at first told the saints to educate their children in LDS schools that had a relatively inexpensive price and avoid the secular public education that was just beginning to be established at the time. The members overwhelmingly chose the ‘free’ public schools and so the church ceased running the LDS schools for lack of interest. The members were given what they wanted, whether or not it was good for them.

    My question is, if this is indeed the case with government programs, am I wrong to take the help now that the church has counseled us to do so in the event of unemployment?

    I am inclined to agree with Carb on this, perhaps the situation is so tipped against us that we are simply unable to function in most instances without it.

    I don’t know. I am tempted to think that if we are prepared, we won’t need the help. My family, however would be an argument against this, as we had a good amount of storage, not a years worth of grain for our large family, but several months worth of short term storage and several months worth of grain, but when my husband lost his job, we had to use most of it to get by. Our resources have always been limited, so we have done the best we can in a society that is stacked against us. I just spoke with my branch president yesterday and he told me that since our society is now set up for smaller families, large families really have to struggle to get by.

    There are a lot of factors in this situation, and I don’t have all of the answers. I think this is a matter of personal revelation. We are each held to the standard we are able to live, at every moment. When we understand and are able to live a principle, we are expected to live it. When we aren’t, we are not accountable. Much as the saints were allowed to perform endowments in an endowment house until the temple was built. When the time came and they were able to live that law, the Lord gave them a deadline. Once that date passed, their endowments outside of a temple were no longer acceptable, because they were aware of, and deemed able to fulfill the commandment to build one, even if they didn’t think they were.

    It’s a personal thing. IMO

  15. Krista
    July 27, 2009 at 9:06 am #

    If there were a way that only those who want it, could participate, that would be fine.

    Yep. Perfect! :-) That’s the problem with socialism – it uses government force to take what some people think is a “right” amount of resources, from others, for a purpose that the takers esteem to be “right.” Freemen vs. Kingmen, but the Kingmen won’t leave the Freemen alone…

    I’ve been mulling this for a while – how would we get along, paying *voluntary* taxes? Let the community pool its resources if it wished, while not forcing others to contribute? Taxes & levies for, say, a new park or a school lunch program, are voted by a majority; how is that not, in essence, financial mob rule?

    To avoid that, people would have to be willing to stand up for what they believed and pay if they wanted it, while knowing that others who didn’t pay would also benefit.

    Selfless donation… hmm…

    There are some “foundations” that do that right now, but a lot of them receive tax funding, as well, don’t they?

  16. Connor
    July 27, 2009 at 9:10 am #

    I’ve been mulling this for a while – how would we get along, paying *voluntary* taxes?

    According to Harry Reid, (income) taxes are voluntary. Ha!

  17. Krista
    July 27, 2009 at 9:44 am #

    loquaciousmomma – Thanks for the info! I hadn’t thought much about why the LDS schools faded away – kind of eerie, isn’t it?

    I agree that it’s a personal-readiness question. And given the choice between actually starving and using a government program, I’d probably choose the latter…

    One caution that just occurred to me from Carb’s post was that if the government forces you into a program, you’re subject to whatever *real* agenda the power-mongers in charge of it have. From controlling school curricula to mass vaccinations (and Soylent Green ;-) ), we can’t necessarily trust ‘em to “do the right thing.”

  18. Krista
    July 27, 2009 at 9:48 am #

    Connor – LOL!!! :-) Why, of COURSE they’re voluntary – you can choose to allow them that percentage of your income (or purchase, or land, or, or, or…), OR you’ll be provided simple, fully-catered accommodations in an exclusive, gated community… ;-)

    Harry Reid is such an idiot, LOL…

  19. Reach Upward
    July 27, 2009 at 9:57 am #

    Re: Rachel (#10)

    Your analysis of Hatch’s and Bennett’s recent freedom tilt is quite perceptive. You ask if they’re posturing for re-election. No doubt this is true, but in reality, Utahans are not going to boot either of them unless they do something like Gov. Sanford or Sen. Ensign. These guys have enough resources to squash any challenger (including Mr. Shurtleff). And just because some of the grass roots folks are displeased doesn’t mean that Utah voters in general are displeased enough to vote them out.

    The question is posed, “Or do they have the luxury of voting that way because the Democrats have a super majority and don’t need any help?” Bingo. You’re right on the money here. The fact is that these guys are now in a position that they can now do well fundraising by playing the opposition.

  20. jeffersonian liberal
    July 27, 2009 at 12:06 pm #

    The government can only assess taxes for the limited and delegated powers delineated in the Constitution. If we would get back to that there would be no need for an income tax. Income tax does not pay for ANY of the services we think it does – read the Grace Commission Report.

    The free market and true voluntarism ALWAYS works. Look at history.

  21. Jimmy Davis
    July 27, 2009 at 4:57 pm #

    I’m sensing that some of the posts I’m reading are an attempt to justify past and present involvement in socialized programs. I understand being caught in the welfare rut but let’s talk about ways to get out, not justify our staying in.

    I’m a student working full time trying to pay my way through school. I pay my bills and other living expenses. I pay 1/3 of my income to Uncle Sam yet I refuse to participate in government welfare programs such as grants. Some people, who agree that socialism is an evil practice, tell me that since you’re being forced to pay into the system you might as well use it. I argue that this philosophy is only perpetuating the problem, not minimizing it.

    If you don’t agree with the problem, don’t be involved in it.

    “Be the change you want to see in the world.” -Ghandi

  22. Connor
    July 27, 2009 at 5:01 pm #

    Some people, who agree that socialism is an evil practice, tell me that since you’re being forced to pay into the system you might as well use it. I argue that this philosophy is only perpetuating the problem, not minimizing it.

    Agreed, as I argue here.

  23. Josh Williams
    July 27, 2009 at 8:31 pm #

    I feel that the Lord is not displeased with me because my husband has been underemployed and it has been a huge blessing to our family to have that one meal each day provided for our children. I hate taking it, because I know that every person who uses it gives more legitimacy to the program, and these types of programs in general.

    LoquaciousMomma……I’m not cognizant of your circumstances, so feel free to disregard this if I’m generalizing.

    first off, I’m going to assume you cook at least one meal for your family each day. In my experience it is generally a simple matter to double the size of a meal, and pack leftovers for lunch. Also, in my experience half an hour of cooking from scratch with basic ingredients, is worth at least $15 in prepackaged foods. Then again I’m a fairly good cook.

    If your kids object to leftovers, then just tell them straight why you can’t accept free lunches paid by the government from other people’s money. You will be teaching them a lesson which, I think, is more valuable than 12 years of school lunches.

    (I did find out that they are attempting to expand to serving breakfast, lunch AND dinner in the coming years…grrrr….) However, we needed to use it.

    This is easy to understand if you ask “Qui Bono?”

    School cafeterias are usually completely separate from the schools themselves, the districts having very little jurisdiction. They are usually their own business entity.

    The government wastes billions each year by buying prepacked “convenience” foods for school cafeterias from industrial purveying companies. usually the same companies that are contracted to feed prisons. Usually the districts are given little choice in the matter by the government. So the answer is, the processed food industry benefits, as they are basically given a state sanctioned monopoly. The same industry that is culpable in the national epidemic of obesity and diabetes.

    Schools could use the federal money that is wasted on industrial food to incorporate the cafeterias, hire two or three more staff, make an original meal plan, and cook their own food. They might even have money left over. Note: feeding kids high-quality school lunches, has been shown to increase standardized test scores.
    http://www.brown.edu/Students/INDY/archives/2005-03-10/articles/feat-hughes_school-lunch.htm

  24. Clumpy
    July 28, 2009 at 3:30 am #

    So stop me if you’ve heard this one. . .

    At this point in a near-unanimous conversation I start to lose a little focus. In my mind arguing against any regulation or taxation/effective redistribution through programs is the same as arguing that some people are inherently better than others. Specifically, we’re paid wages and wealth by the private sector, where those who hold power arbitrarily decide how much one’s time is worth independent of factors of personal character, work, or ability.

    Without inferring anything onto current policy, arguing that one man ought to get up early and ride the bus to a job paying 1/3rd the wage of a job an equally-skilled man cruises to in his Corvette, and that the first man should be forced to leave his family wanting medically, house his family in worse neighborhoods and spend less time with them than the latter man, smacks of the worst type of meritocratism. It’s God’s way for a handful of people to decide how much to pay 10,000 employees and how lavishly to reward themselves for having the good fortune to run enormous firms, but somehow Satan’s way to merely move the balance of power in another direction. There isn’t less freedom, even in outright socialism (of which we aren’t even close) – it’s just proportioned differently. After all, are people who work for peanuts while boardsmen who make the “tough calls” cut their benefits really free?

    We supposedly believe the story of the widow’s mite but are quick to discount the overwhelming influence of an individual’s environment on their temporal abundance (or lack thereof). So going off about my money and my property and my freedom seems pretty danged callous and shortsighted. The other argument (“Well, we SHOULD give others what we have, but it should be OUR choice, not the government’s!”) also smacks of a belief that we’ve somehow fully earned the spoils of our careers.

    My family refused reduced school lunch as a matter of pride. I still respect that. But I wouldn’t consider it “other people’s money” any more than I’d believe Rockefeller earned every dollar of his lavish, unworldly salary by managing to find a way to turn the labors of exploited men into oil more efficiently and ruthlessly than anybody else.

    Giving is a personal test only because it illustrates the way you view your fellow men and women, not because you have any blinking right to speak for whatever dollars and capital you’ve stumbled into.

  25. loquaciousmomma
    July 28, 2009 at 9:44 am #

    Okay, there is much to address here…

    First Jimmy Davis: I may be attempting to justify my usage. My children thought school lunches were way cooler than pb&J sandwiches or leftovers, and since we are on a severely limited income, it became a blessing to be able to use those leftovers for dinners, or my own personal lunches, during the time that the program ran.

    Second: Josh Williams: Last year my husband lost his job and we were forced to live on unemployment and part time/seasonal jobs to supplement it until he finally got a full time permanent job this January. That job, however, is much less than what he earned at his previous job and is not nearly enough to support our large family, but there are so few jobs out there with so much more competition that this is the best he can do in the circumstances, even though we live in the midwest, which seems to have been spared the worst of this crisis. In addition, we have had a string of misfortunes, such as having $1900 worth of car repairs, two failed water heaters (long story) amid other costs that have left us unable to make ends meet. I think that someone in our situation (not being able to get much help from family, and without any other resources) would have either been forced onto the streets or onto more government programs were they not blessed by the assistance of church programs as we are.

    This has been the most humbling of circumstances for our family. I do not know all that we are supposed to learn from this besides a deep gratitude, and humility. My husband feels that we are being prepared for the deprivations that may eventually come to most of us in the US (try washing dishes for nine people in water that you boil in the stove, a very time consuming process! We still do not have a water heater and we lost the old one a week ago Saturday.)

    Our family does not buy prepackaged foods, the only things I don’t make from scratch are spaghetti sauces, and the pre-cut stir fry vegetables they sell at Aldi(unless you count canned vegetables, tomato sauce, or soups-which we mostly buy for my husband to eat at work- as pre-packaged foods.) Both at Aldi are much less expensive than at a traditional grocery store. I don’t even buy canned biscuits. I could make my bread from scratch, that may save some money, so there is room for improvement. I will say that we have been spending lately $150 a week on food and most of our personal necessities. The USDA thinks that that is just a little more than what a family of 4 needs to spend on their “thrifty plan” to eat “nutritious” meals (whatever that means to them). Since we include toilet paper, paper towels, shampoo, dishsoap and toothbrushes in that amount, I am sure what we actually spend on the food comes out to around $130.00 a week.

    We do have a garden. We have only gotten a few zucchini out of it, though, since the growing season has been so bad this year, with unseasonably cold temps. We may get a lot of tomatoes soon, as there are many ready to turn, so I will be able to can some for sauces. We eat very little meat, even hamburgers are a huge treat for our family, and pork chops a rarity. (steak? what’s that?)

    Okay, so now that I think about it, we DO buy boxed cereal, but again, I don’t pay more than $2.00 a box, and I only buy frosted mini wheat style, cheerios style, or raisin brand style. (I say style because we get the off-brand.) Our treat is frozen fruits, we don’t buy ice cream or popsicles except on birthdays and we don’t do dessert, except for our bags of chopped frozen fruit.

    And last but not least Clumpy: Okay, my friend you are clearly someone who is overtaken by the blinding inequities of our world, and our society in the US specifically. You are correct that the attitude of MY money, MY property, etc is a misnomer. We are stewards of blessings God has seen fit to endow us with. As such, we are to share it with those who have the need for it. If the government takes it away via high taxes and gives it to others they see as needing it, then the government is usurping your stewardship.

    I also agree that a person’s circumstances can heavily influence their ability to be successful. Nevertheless, I would rather have the opportunity to work three jobs and save up enough money to open my own small business, so that I can then provide jobs to others. The system breaks down when people are told that they can’t succeed. It also breaks down when a blinded citizenry allows large businesses to influence government so heavily that the success of small businesses is severely limited by heavy-handed regulations. The current inequity in the situation is the result of wickedness and greed on the part of a large group of people, not the wrongness of the system. The system works so long as people are willing to recognize the responsibility associated with their success.

    Sadly, the system you recommend is just as risky as the current one, only with more dire consequences. Government is the residence of the varying degrees of power in a country. The danger is that all of those powers rest on either the willingness of the people to respect that power, or the ability of the gun-wielding section of the government to enforce them. Should the government our citizens endow with the power to care for us abuse that power, it will require terrible sacrifices to amend the situation.

    It is far better that a rich man who is the head of a company can decide how much thousands of men can earn, than the government. You can always quit a job and find a better one, it is much harder to change your government. And, if you don’t like the way that the business owning class runs things, in a free country you can work your tail off and save enough money to run your own business, which you can then run the way you think would be more equitable.

    Freedom is always superior.

  26. rachel
    July 28, 2009 at 9:47 am #

    Clumpy, I’ve started three different responses to what you just said, but I have to admit, you have rendered me speechless.

  27. Bags
    July 28, 2009 at 10:03 am #

    Wonderfully said. It’s so refreshing to see someone showing others that there is an alternative way of thinking than that of the choice between Democrats and Republicans. It’s called Freedom, and I think we’ve lost sight of it.

  28. Connor
    July 28, 2009 at 10:08 am #

    Clumpy,

    I don’t think that the source of one’s riches is an influencing factor in determining the best use of that money. Whether the person “earned it” or feels it is a blessing from on high does not dictate what I, as his neighbor, can do with it. He is the owner/steward, and it is left to his discretion how best to use that money.

    I agree with your underlying principle in part, if only to say that we should freely give our money, as it’s not really “ours” to begin with. But I am frightened by the implications of your stance as it relates to public policy.

    What exactly are you advocating?

  29. Clumpy
    July 28, 2009 at 10:59 am #

    I’m not advocating anything in particular (I’m perfectly fine with what we have minus the corporatocracy), but the abolition of the idea that we’re completely, absolutely free now and any government intervention represents a proportional decrease in freedom. Though I stated things pretty strongly for effect my thesis would be the whole “not less freedom, just in a different place” thing.

  30. Connor
    July 28, 2009 at 11:05 am #

    …the abolition of the idea that we’re completely, absolutely free now…

    Who is arguing that we are completely free in our present circumstances?

    …any government intervention represents a proportional decrease in freedom…

    Nobody here is mentioning the abolition of any government intervention. Government has its proper role, but redistributing the wealth of its citizens is not one of them—even if done under the guise of helping the poor.

  31. Cameron
    July 28, 2009 at 12:20 pm #

    After all, are people who work for peanuts while boardsmen who make the “tough calls” cut their benefits really free?

    This is a great question. I’m a controller of a large company. As such, I have had to answer this question a number of times over the last year. Our revenue has fallen by 40+%. We’ve cut expenses in a variety of ways, but ultimately we had to lay off personnel. I’m sure many of them thought they were getting a raw deal from rich owners. What they don’t see are financial statements clearly in the red, with very real cash flow issues. We could be as benevolent as we want, but without layoffs and other cuts, paychecks would bounce. That’s just reality.

    So are those employees “free”? Well, not too many were complaining about freedom a couple of years ago when the unemployment rate was at historic lows and employers had to fight to find competent workers. And then that employee was free to jump ship to another company any time they chose.

    I’ve pondered this question a great deal over the last months. I think the only freedom is in being self sufficient. If you are prepared, even being laid off doesn’t have to mean significant hardship.

  32. Carborendum
    July 28, 2009 at 4:54 pm #

    Clumpy,

    At the risk of repeating myself, you have compelled me to bring up an old argument once again.

    First let me point out that this article was about programs that require that we ALL pay into a system for the benefit of all. You were referring to a system where the government appoints the leaders of companies instead of the free market. I believe these are different issues. But I’ll try to address them one at a time.

    GIVING

    King Benjamin reminded us that we are all beggars. So, in a way, you are right in pointing out that we should NOT feel like we have “earned” our means. Instead, we need to remember that everything we have comes from God.

    NOT our labor.
    NOT a corporate machine.
    NOT government.

    God owns everything and allows earthly wealth to come into the hands of good, evil, and everything in between to allow them to show exactly who they really are.

    Some show great generosity when they are given wealth. Others show great evil. And we have all shades in between.

    When government FORCES us to give to others, what does that say about us? Nothing. It doesn’t show whether we would have given of our own will or not. There is nothing learned about who we are.

    Further, it may take away from some middle class that WOULD have given if government didn’t take away to begin with. But without it, can we really know? Even if they say in their hearts,”I would give if I had, but because I have not, I give not” they still lack the good feeling they get when the DO give.

    Many who are on the financial borderline don’t have the opportunity they otherwise would have had to give to others.

    LEADERS OF COMPANIES

    The biggest problem I have with government run business is that government is inefficient. There are SO few exceptions to this. Yet I do admit there are exceptions. Politicians have already proven that

    1) They can’t balance books.
    2) They choose what they WANT rather than what they NEED.
    3) They are beholden to no one anymore.
    4) They care more about their own power more than their sacred honor.

    To be fair, I have to admit that when companies get insanely wealthy and big, they share some of the same characteristics as government. (look at Microsoft, Monsanto, Oil Companies). But that is a completely different discussion.

    To bring government into it is to take away the ONE factor that big companies must still adhere to in order to stay in business: keep people happy. They need to keep customers happy and their staff happy. If customers are not happy, they will not buy the product. If staff is unhappy, they will quit.

    Granted, there are certain levels of tolerance people have for mistreatment (both customers and employees). But there is a limit. With one employer for the whole country (the government) there is no limit. Employees become true slaves of the system.

    Cameron & Clumpy,

    I’ve just recently lost my job. And I’m a horse of a different color. I believe I’m both agreeing and disagreeing with both of you, but in different aspects.

    First, I could see the writing on the wall when our company lost half a dozen major contracts that were in the bag, and lost the bid on half a dozen more. I knew layoffs were coming. I just thought I had a couple more months. I had a chance to prepare. If others also prepared, they might be better off.

    Second, they first got rid of the dead weight. There were a lot of people not performing at the level their salaries warranted. Managers directly supervising the departments were the judges for this criteria. It wasn’t some corporate board, but people in responsible charge of those directly under their supervision and care.

    Then they were done. The direct supervisors said we have no more people that we don’t “need”. The board decided that we still had to cut. So, they first cut those that were unbillable.

    This certainly wasn’t arbitrary. It was a very pragmatic way of considering who was more important to the company. So, the idea that the heads of a company take some arbitrary whimsical approach to staff management is certainly not what I’ve experienced.

    I had, the week prior, just finished all the work I had. So, as a capitalist, I totally understood what was going on and I sucked it up and moved on. Yes, there was the time where I was sad, angry, etc. But after a time to cool off, I realized it was what needed to be done for the company to survive.

    Since then I’ve found out a few things about why we haven’t won a major contract in over a year. This made me realize that perhaps it was good for me to leave while I could. That company is in for a huge fall.

  33. Clumpy
    July 28, 2009 at 6:14 pm #

    My point is less to be an apologetic for socialism (which I’m not, though I probably gave that impression) but to point out that corporate-led capitalism (as opposed to the type of capitalism envisioned by early capitalists like Adam Smith) represents the abolition of personal freedom for the benefit of corporations with the clout to earn favor with congressmen and congresswomen.

    Anybody who’s followed corporate-led law in America (copyright, political kickbacks, bailouts and incentives) can see that we’re particularly susceptible to this problem. Inequality is real and inherently unfair (without going into the question of whether making it fair is necessary or possible), and powerful people will always control our lives. Employees are an expense, like office supplies. Corporations have the luxury of throwing money at expansion when times are good, benefiting executives whose power and coffers grow. While lower-level employees may receive token rewards for company upturns, they’re the first on the chopping block when a company oversteps its reach or the economy goes south.

    Employees are a resource. The more control corporations get over law and the more favorable the environment gets for larger organizations to dictate a disproportional share of our lives, the fewer people actually have any freedom at all.

    So, to cut through my curmudgeonly ramble I’m for severely restricted corporations, making things as independent and producer-driven as possible (i.e. modern musicians using technology and social marketing to take a larger share of profits without needing to go through soulless labels) and the encouragement of smaller, nimbler businesses with as many people producing something as possible, not just “going to work.” This isn’t unprecedented – it wasn’t even until the 1800s that it was even legal to operate a business in more than one state – and I think it represents the “free”-est system of all.

    Sorry for stepping on toes and maybe being more acidic than the tone of the discourse required :).

  34. Carborendum
    July 28, 2009 at 9:00 pm #

    Clumpy,

    So, you’re saying that you’re not exactly promoting socialism. You’re actually asking for smaller capitalism.

    I can go along with that. (notice what I said about insanely large corporations).

    I had considered some time ago what it would be like if we only allowed businesses to operate in one state. It may not be libertarian, but it could be constitutional depending on how it was applied.

    There would certainly be a lot of issues with that system as well. But I believe it would prevent a lot more problems than it creates. For one thing, we certainly wouldn’t have a Central Bank that resembles its current form.

    A parallel issue that we have today vis-a-vis capitalism is that there aren’t enough entrepreneurs. Some say this is because big business crowds them out. That is certainly a factor. But I also believe that Americans themselves are being less creative, less risk-taking, etc. In short they’re lacking in entrepreneurship or leadership.

    I’m sure everyone’s got their theories on why this is. Big business, government restrictions, public schools, hedonistic entertainment, the media, the breakdown of the family . . . The list goes on.

    They all have a point. I believe it isn’t just one factor. It is a multiplicity of factors. That is what it takes to keep the human spirit down.

    Bringing it back to the topic. Socialism and it’s ugly twin communism are the ultimate antidote to economic creativity and entrepreneurship. What communist nation has been known for its endless list of inventions, and other contributions to mankind? I’m only aware of a couple of guns. Anyone else know of any?

  35. Connor
    July 28, 2009 at 9:07 pm #

    I don’t have any problem with large corporations, so long as they don’t attempt to use their power to lobby for special government favors. Large companies are not inherently evil; only when they use their power and deep pockets to influence government for their benefit do they become a menace.

    So, rather than “small capitalism” or whatever you want to call it, I would rather favor legislation that would restrict the types of laws and benefits that can be passed and conferred upon corporations. Then again, Congress ignores any previous and higher law so they can do whatever they want, so the effort would likely be a waste of time, anyway…

  36. Carborendum
    July 28, 2009 at 9:55 pm #

    Connor,

    I see where you’re coming from. Have you experienced working with/for any large corporations (nationwide or international)?

    When you work for oil companies and power companies, you begin to see the inherent inefficiencies that they produce. You also see the inherent corruption.

    Are they inherently evil? Is big government inherently evil? We learned from James Madison that only in LARGE republics is good government even possible. But you recently wrote your “Too big, to fail” article.

    The gargantuan companies have so many pitfalls that they begin to mimic governmental power and inefficiencies. If you saw the movie “In Good Company” with Dennis Quaid, you understand what I’m talking about.

    At the very least, interstate limitations would be constitutional. But, no, I don’t agree with the Filburn case.

  37. Clumpy
    July 29, 2009 at 12:00 am #

    I think I’d maintain that really large companies (particularly companies in brutal fields – oil comes to mind) create a cult of personality around upper management (businessmen who make deals that have little to do with the actual product) and a certain all-around lack of humanity that is inherently repugnant and disconcertingly impersonal if not evil.

    I have less of a problem with corporations that don’t twist the arm of government behind its back, but I also think they’re capable of some pretty nasty and destructive things all by themselves.

  38. Connor
    July 29, 2009 at 9:19 am #

    And how would this behavior be corrected? Isn’t this a natural byproduct of the freedom of association? Are you advocating that Congress put a cap on the number of employees a company can have, or how much revenue they can generate, etc.?

    I see these as merely manifestations of human nature. You encounter the same personality flaws among small business entrepreneurs, freelancers, mom and pop shops, etc. I don’t see any purpose in having the federal government even attempt to do anything about this. Just vote with your dollars, and don’t patronize the businesses who you disagree with.

  39. loquaciousmomma
    July 29, 2009 at 9:37 am #

    I see these as merely manifestations of human nature. You encounter the same personality flaws among small business entrepreneurs, freelancers, mom and pop shops, etc.

    The difference between the large corporations and the small businesses is that the large corporations have the means to do more damage to the country (as they already have) than the small ones. As I have said, they are able to “lobby” congress to create regulations that eliminate or severely limit the smaller businesses’ ability to compete.

    In addition, these large corporations have become multinational, but in effect have become extranational, which has presented serious problems.

    I see these as merely manifestations of human nature.

    This may be true, but so is the fact that when given power, men tend to abuse it. Even though this is a flaw common to man, our founders created a government that had what they believed were the best means to rein in this tendency. Why not use the government to rein in the tendency for corporations to get dangerously large as well?

    Everything and everyone needs limits, including, and especially, businesses.

  40. Connor
    July 29, 2009 at 9:44 am #

    Why not use the government to rein in the tendency for corporations to get dangerously large as well?

    Because not all large corporations are made equal. Not all try to court government in order to get benefits.

    As I said earlier, I’m all for restricting what government can do as it relates to large companies, but I see no principled argument behind forcing private companies to stay at a certain size, productive output, or geographical area. One need only look at Amtrak, GM, Chrysler, etc., to see how dangerous it is when government gets involved in the affairs of private companies.

    Equal treatment would be the ideal, in that there could be no legislation to favor one industry, company, or company size over another. After all, isn’t that what the proper role of government really is, especially as it relates to the economy? Get the government to stop favoring certain businesses, but let’s not try to arm the government with the ability to control those companies in their private economic pursuits.

  41. rachel
    July 29, 2009 at 10:05 am #

    I found the blog article I mentioned in comment #12 concerning what the author calls the “Samuel principle.” (The unrighteousness of the people leading them to ask for bondage)

    http://www.ldsfreemen.com/ezra-taylor/the-coming-apostasy-of-latter-day-conservatives.html

  42. Carborendum
    July 29, 2009 at 10:10 am #

    Connor,

    Now you’re just putting words into my mouth. I never said anything about limiting # of employees. I was pointing out that if the Federal Government wanted to limit interstate activities to have any company/corporation in one state only, then that would be a constitutional action.

    Then the States Rights experiment kicks in. Each state would have differing rules about how to conduct business and how big companies could be. Depending on the laws of the state, the economies would be enhanced or hindered by such laws. So, the states with the best laws would attract the most residents and thus get the most votes in national issues, etc.

    It CAN work well. I’ve already admitted that this is not without its problems. I’m just of the opinion that 1) it would be constitutional and 2) It would be a better system than we have today.

  43. Clumpy
    July 29, 2009 at 6:15 pm #

    The first thing I think we should point out is that things were initially limited in such a way. Rockefeller had to exploit legal loopholes before the system finally changed to allow national corporations.

    Because not all large corporations are made equal. Not all try to court government in order to get benefits.

    That’s certainly true but large corporations who pass some critical mass point create an environment in which it’s really impossible for anybody else with ideas that might improve the world to get off of the ground.

    And how do we interpret corporate behavior? I happen to think that large companies and trade unions who squash the public domain and the natural use of technology in the narrowminded preservation of strict copyright and patent laws commit actual theft. They restrict liberty and attempt to control the discourse by claiming a mandate to society and technology.

    Even ignoring this, I’d like to see a system where as few people as possible maintain their entire livelihood by adopting the priorities of others, jumping through hoops to maintain the favor of those no more talented but far more savvy than themselves, administrators who make the deals without ever really producing anything.

    I’d love state-limited business (maybe with a sort of franchise model in some cases). What a way to open doors and empower people. Socialism, on the other hand, represents merely a transfer of power from confident, often-conniving “entrepreneurs” to confident, often-conniving politicians.

  44. Carborendum
    August 7, 2009 at 5:34 pm #

    You see I thought that the primary liberal argument FOR socialized health care was to save money and provide free health care for ALL.

    Not according to Zeke

    And here

    And I thought that rationing and restriction of health care would NEVER be implemented. After all it is supposed to be FREE to ALL.

    Heck our current system is so broken that a socialized system is critical to the maintaining of our population’s health.

  45. loquaciousmomma
    August 7, 2009 at 10:07 pm #

    Carb: I went on quite an excursion following your links and looking into this further. It seems that Dr. Emanuel has said that doctors are in essence, too attached to the Hippocratic oath.

    The situation in America right now seems to fit this description made in 1859 by Elder Charles W. Penrose:

    The Spirit of God Will Withdraw

    On the other hand, through the rejection of this Gospel, which “shall be preached to all the world as a witness” of the coming of Christ, the world will increase in confusion, doubt and horrible strife. As the upright in heart, the meek of the earth, withdraw from their midst, so will the Spirit of God also be withdrawn from them. The darkness upon their minds in relation to eternal things will become blacker, nations will engage in frightful and bloody warfare, the crimes which are now becoming so frequent will be of continual occurrence, the ties that bind together families and kindred will be disregarded and violated, the passions of human nature will be put to the vilest uses, the very elements around will seem to be affected by the national and social convulsions that will agitate the world, and storms, earthquakes, and appalling disasters, by sea and land will cause terror and dismay among the people; new diseases will silently eat their ghastly way through the ranks of the wicked; the earth, soaked with gore and defiled with the filthiness of her inhabitants, will begin to withhold her fruits in their season; the waves of the sea will heave themselves beyond their bounds, and all things will be in commotion; and in the midst of all these calamities, the master-minds among nations will be taken away, and fear will take hold of the hearts of all men.

    We are witnessing the fulfillment of prophecy at a feverish pace. It is mind boggling for me to see it happen so quickly.

    I hope our lamps our full.

  46. Carborendum
    August 8, 2009 at 7:56 am #

    I believe the first evidence of the “minds darkening” are people dismissing some of the damning statement made by these individuals (Emanuel, Obama, etc.) and just dismiss it and think,”No, he doesn’t REALLY mean that).

    Uhm. Yes, he does.

  47. Carborendum
    August 8, 2009 at 8:15 am #

    In essence, Emanuel said the following:

    1) Doctors are too attached to the hippocratic oath, wanting to do everything for their patients. And they shouldn’t.

    2) The overhead and single payer cost savings that the Obama administration advertises is mere window dressing or “lipstick” as he puts it.

    3) The real savings is when the “death board” will instead make decisions based on rationing of services to those who are most productive to society vs. the cost of the care required to treat the patient. Then there will be many who simply aren’t treated.

    Oh, don’t worry. They will just be the unwanted, undesireables.

    One link I posted indicated how Oregon is already socialized. And when a woman with cancer wanted treatment, she was denied treatment for cancer, but was allowed to have government paid assisted suicide.

    The last post I gave was how in Nazi Germany, they provided government health care:

    In the 1930s the German people began to have a preoccupation with death. Via abortion they killed forty percent of all babies conceived. Then they moved on to euthanasia (killing of the elderly), then to the killing of the crippled, deformed and handicapped, and then to the killing of Jews who were deemed as a sub human race by the Nazi regime. At one point in the 1930s, the Nazi emptied hospitals, clinics, and sanitariums, and killed up to 275,000 old, sick, crippled, retarded, or otherwise handicapped persons. This was well before the Nazi death camps opened.

    Folks, these conditions are just beginning to unfold. Look at our abortion rate. How many babies are aborted in ratio to those who are born? This was the first step. Look at how many more we have to go through.

    We’re already poised for the rampant inflation that the Weimar Republic experienced just prior to the rise of Hitler.

    I could be wrong, but if this truly is a parallel, I’m led to believe that Obama himself is not the one we need to worry about (although I would still worry about him). There will be someone else even worse that will be the Hitler of America.

  48. Josh Williams
    August 8, 2009 at 9:55 am #

    nations will engage in frightful and bloody warfare, the crimes which are now becoming so frequent will be of continual occurrence, the ties that bind together families and kindred will be disregarded and violated, the passions of human nature will be put to the vilest uses, the very elements around will seem to be affected by the national and social convulsions that will agitate the world, and storms, earthquakes, and appalling disasters, by sea and land will cause terror and dismay among the people; new diseases will silently eat their ghastly way through the ranks of the wicked; the earth, soaked with gore and defiled with the filthiness of her inhabitants, will begin to withhold her fruits in their season; the waves of the sea will heave themselves beyond their bounds, and all things will be in commotion; and in the midst of all these calamities……..

    When, in history, has this NOT been true? People living in any age would probably claim this applied to their recent history. Once you take off the glasses of “rosy retrospection,” these kinds of extremely vague statements seem like less of a cause for concern. This is perhaps a variation on the “Forer Effect,” which is the bread and butter of astrology and such.
    http://www.skepdic.com/forer.html

  49. Carborendum
    August 8, 2009 at 11:13 am #

    Josh,

    When, in history, has this NOT been true?

    How about MOST of the time?

    These things have happened quite often in the past. But when? Near the END of a civilization. It took hundreds of years for the Roman Empire to fall. How long will it take for the US (the greatest empir in history) to fall?

    These events are not to take place in one year or even a decade. These events start small and gradually get worse over the course of a century or more.

    You see so little and think you know more because you are cognizant of the Forer effect. But when you look even broader, you will see the cyclic nature of time repeating itself yet again. This is what we’re looking at.

    That prophecy was not to state what had NEVER occurred before. It is to point out what things to look for and in what severity & frequency.

    the crimes which are now becoming so frequent will be of continual occurrence

    Yes, there have always been kidnappings, rapes, murders, theft. But have they always been so rampant and widespread that law enforcement is barely able to capture 1% of perpetrators? (it’s just a number. I don’t know what the current stats are).

    Yes, there are always earthquakes. But how often does a 9.5 or greater occur? What would it be like if there was one every year for over decade? Or several in one year in multiple places around the world?

    Yes, there are always diseases that spring up. But how often is it a type that predominantly (hear me? predominantly) effect those with wicked behaviors?

    Yes, there are years when we have low crop yields. But what if it is worldwide effecting multiple types of crops?

    When MANY of these rare occurrences happens in severity all at the same time. This is when you begin to perk your ears up and say,”Hmm, maybe something is up. Maybe the prophecy is about to be fulfilled.”

  50. Josh Williams
    August 8, 2009 at 11:35 am #

    1) Doctors are too attached to the Hippocratic Oath, wanting to do everything for their patients. And they shouldn’t.

    This is a drastic oversimplification. Public perceptions aside, the doctors I’ve talked to generally weren’t stupid. They usually know what is and isn’t cost-effective. The Hippocratic Oath requires doctors to inform patients of their treatment options, so it’s usually the patients who make the major medical decisions, particular ones involving cost versus care. If doctors are overzealous in ordering costly and unnecessary tests and treatments, it’s because they’re afraid of getting sued for malpractice, which I think has been proven to be far too easy in this country.

    2) The overhead and single payer cost savings that the Obama administration advertises is mere window dressing or “lipstick” as he puts it.

    Keep in mind that Medicare and Medicaid have “Medical loss ratios” on the order of 97%; for every tax dollar that is collected, >97 cents are spent on care. In contrast, private insurers these days usually have loss ratios of 80% or less. (i.e. 20% overhead) Due to wall street expectations, insurers with higher loss ratios than that generally find it very difficult to attract investors and raise capital, and are consequently bought out by more “profitable” insurance companies.

    3) The real savings is when the “death board” will instead make decisions based on rationing of services to those who are most productive to society vs. the cost of the care required to treat the patient. Then there will be many who simply aren’t treated.

    Oh, corporate bureaucrats at private insurance companies do this kind of thing ALL THE TIME, denying care and rescinding coverage at the first sign of a major medical problem. However in this case the impetus is pure profit, the political status of patients is generally not a factor, only how sick they are. Insurance isn’t profitable when it actually pays for care. Insurance companies have spent the last three decades slowly eroding their legal obligations to their members, state by state, while at the same time growing their profit margins.

    In comparing all public health care systems care to NAZI-era Germany, you are committing the fallacy of hasty generalization. One would do well to examine the pros/cons not only in systems that worked poorly, but also systems that work well, such as those found in Sweden, the UK, Canada, or Taiwan.

    It’s ironic that most of the major scare-tactic criticisms of government-run public health care, are actually far more applicable to the private for-profit care that we have now.

  51. Carberendum
    August 8, 2009 at 1:06 pm #

    First, let’s look at the character of the people we are talking about.

    In this video, we see the accusation of euthanasia & the comparison to Hitler using DIRECT QUOTES. At the end of the video, we see:

    1) Emanuel stating that he has a 25 year history of writing AGAINST euthanasia.
    2) Getting up and leaving without discussion.
    3) The moderator refusing to allow debate on the subject.

    Items #2, & #3 are bad enough. But let’s take a look at #1.

    In Emanuel’s book “The Ends of Human Life” (1998) Pages 19 & 20 he gives a dissertation on what ethical issues to consider when a doctor administers death. His arguments are:

    1) When a doctor administers a lethal injection, that is wrong because it does not cure the “patient” of any pain or suffering.
    2) When the same is done to a terminally ill patient, THAT’S OK, because it relieves the suffering.

    Let me see if I’ve done my math correctly 2009-1998 = 11 years. 25>11. So he was LYING. (No, you don’t understand. He’s telling the truth NOW. He really didn’t mean it before.)

    You can spout off how it is an oversimplification of the comment on the hippocratic oath. But consider page 19 of the above book. Read what he says of the hippocratic oath.

    As far as overhead costs, read “Myth #3″ of this article co-authored by Emanuel.

    Both your and Emanuel’s arguments are really arguments against HMOs (a position which I agree with). They are not arguments FOR socialized medicine. Just because our system is bad, does not mean socialized medicine can’t be worse.

    Other socialized countries:
    Sweden
    UK and UK & Canada

    I’m having difficulty finding substantive information on Taiwan. Searches provide a lot of data about how “good” the system is. But the data advertised is not indicative of the effect on the actual patients.

    Refer back to the article that Emanuel co-authored (above). You’ll notice “Myth #1″: He mentions life expectancy at birth.

    I looked up the US, UK, Canada, France, & Germany in the CIA world fact book. I find it interesting to hear that the difference in life expectancy between 78.11 yrs (US) and 81.23 yrs (Canada) is significant (a difference of 3.12 yrs). We’re all well above the 66.57 worlwide average. That puts things more into perspective.

    You continue to complain about being in the frying pan. And you should. But you’re asking to jump into the fir. I’d rather get out of the kitchen myself.

  52. Josh Williams
    August 8, 2009 at 2:59 pm #

    Thanks for the response, Carb.

    My opinion is, predictions of disasters and doomsday have a long and troubled history. A common thread is the ability of believers to interchange coincidence with cause-and-effect. From my perspective as an outsider to the religion, I have no reason to assume that the apocalyptic prognostications found in the Bible and in Mormon literature are any more or less accurate than those made by anybody else. In my experience, most “prophetic” statements try to get around the risk of being proven inaccurate in the future, by using extremely vague and ambiguous language; The quote given by Loquatiousmamma is great example of this.

    These events are not to take place in one year or even a decade. These events start small and gradually get worse over the course of a century or more.

    Forgive me for not taking your word for it.

    You see so little and think you know more because you are cognizant of the Forer effect.

    I would hope that my arguments were considered for their merit alone, not because I have claimed or implied I know the “real truth.” If I imply this in the future feel free to ignore it.

    I wish i had the time and attention to respond in full, I’m not a very fast writer.

    Yes, there are always earthquakes. But how often does a 9.5 or greater occur? What would it be like if there was one every year for over decade? Or several in one year in multiple places around the world?

    You’re implying that the arbitrary status of human civilizations somehow have an influence on earthquakes, and by extension, the underlying cause of earthquakes which is fault motions and plate tectonics. This is no small claim. I don’t like supernatural explanations for natural phenomena, you might as well be saying you have no idea what the real underlying cause is. “Caloric” theory, for example.

    Earthquakes are almost by definition, random; so it’s hard to make general statements about their overall pattern. With very large and powerful earthquakes, you run into the problem of “representative sample.” In other words, they don’t happen often enough to make a statistically significant claim that they are happening more or less frequently. I wouldn’t trust anecdotal historical reports about earthquakes as a guide to their frequency. However if we assume that very weak earthquakes happen for exactly the same reasons as very strong ones, then you can conclude that the overall probability of strong earthquakes is directly proportional to the probability of weak ones. Small earthquakes happen hundreds of times each day.

    I can say with some confidence that the frequency of small earthquakes, globally, has not changed significantly since large scale seismographic monitoring has been going on. http://ldolphin.org/quakes2.html

    So at least according to the Bible, we have little cause for concern.

    But how often is it a type that predominantly (hear me? predominantly) effect those with wicked behaviors?

    Don’t equivocate. Assuming that HIV was “created” to “punish” “sinners,” then we are forced to accept the following conclusions:
    1)A mindless virus can detect and arbitrate “guilt.”
    2) Adultery and Sexual promiscuity are not sins, it is merely a sin to have sex with anyone, without a condom.
    3) Abusing drugs is not sinful. Sharing and reusing needles is a sin.
    4) Unborn fetuses from mothers with HIV are sinners.

    Justice is supposed to be blind, not indiscriminate.

    It’s true that HIV is relatively new, but other venereal diseases like HPV, syphilis, herpes, or pubic lice….. those are probably prehistoric.

    This is off topic so I don’t want to risk commenting further on this thread.

  53. loquaciousmomma
    August 8, 2009 at 8:58 pm #

    Josh Williams: I will say that you are misinterpreting Carbs statement regarding diseases. God created them, and in particular STD’s are specifically transmitted via sexual contact-most often the result of promiscuous behavior. Every person who was infected without such activity can usually be traced to someone who had behaved promiscuously. Even the poor kids with hemophilia got it as a result of blood donors who most likely got it from promiscuous sex. If everyone were celibate until marriage, and then totally faithful to their spouse, there would be no STD’s, period.

    I have to shake my head at your logic. First, Carb was not saying that the diseases were created to punish sinners, but rather that they are the result of sin. Sin has consequences. Everything we do has a consequence, either good or bad. Sin often leads to unwanted consequences.

    Second, the conclusions you say his logic forces us to accept are just plain silly.

    Ultimately, it amazes me the mental boxes some people place themselves into, in order to feel mentally superior and rational. I have had discussions with several people of this mindset. I have come to realize that there is no common ground in discussing religion with them because I do not accept their ground rules, and they refuse to acknowledge any arguments that don’t play by their rules.

    What I am getting at is that you are welcome to your view of the world. I hope you will respect the views of those who do believe in God as well.

    Unless of course you are a follower of Dennett And Dawkins and believe it is your job to evangelize the world to your religion of non-belief. Then, you are just going to have to accept that you will find no converts here.

  54. Carborendum
    August 8, 2009 at 9:06 pm #

    From my perspective as an outsider to the religion . . .

    Why on earth are you trying to criticize a statement from one believer to another believer. If you don’t believe in the faith, fine. Ignore it. We’re not forcing the belief on you. We’re just having a conversation.

    And I’m not going to try forcing the issue on you. Trying to convince an outsider of the validity of a prophecy is like trying to explain the practicality metropolitan US traffic laws to rural Kazhakstan.

    Forgive me for not taking your word for it.

    Again this item of discussion would be for someone with the background and belief system to integrate it into their life. You obviously don’t. So, just ignore it. Apparently you have. But I still wonder why you are commenting on it.

    I would hope that my arguments were considered for their merit alone

    What merit? All you did was criticize a belief system that you obviously do not subscribe to (directly to those who do believe in it) and state that the prophecy was meaningless because you didn’t have the background to understand it.

    you run into the problem of “representative sample.”

    Seismology is more than recording the current quakes with tectonic sensors. You can also take from known history and correlate it with geological data to determine when major earthquakes have occurred before. Thus far, 9.5 or greater earthquakes are extremely infrequent in the entire known history of the earth.

    To have several in one year would be an event of (excuse the expression) “Biblical Proportions”.

    You’re implying that the arbitrary status of human civilizations somehow have an influence on earthquakes

    Not at all. Again you show your lack of understanding and background to the issues at hand. Which is why you should really just ignore it.

    The laws of physics are unconscious. Earthquakes happen for the random causes you are well familiar with. No one here denies this. Just like any finely tuned machine, the Creator/Operator can choose to alter its function for a time in order to accomplish his desired goals. The example of earthquakes is a good example.

    If you saw (5 or 6) 9.5 or greater quakes within a single year, that should be something that at the very least makes you go,”hmm”.

    the frequency of small earthquakes, globally, has not changed

    The fact that quakes have not varied all that much in recorded history would even more greatly underscore the singularity of occurrence of said high magnitude quakes.

    Don’t equivocate. Assuming that HIV was “created” to “punish”

    Actually, I was NOT talking about HIV per se. Although I would put it into the category of not just diseases, but all behavior which I was referring to.

    To your points:

    1) Let me direct you once again to the statement I went OUT OF MY WAY to point out and that you copied and pasted:“hear me? Predominantly”.

    Forces of nature and society are random and can hurt the innocent as well as the guilty. No one here denies that. But you cannot deny that those behaviors which are normally deemed wicked (and I’m not just talking about sexual promiscuity) end up making it a lot easier to mess up your life.

    2 & 3) Again your coming from the “background of poor assumptions” that all earthly punishment is perfect. That is not the way of things. No one here denies that either. Perfect justice is only to be found in the afterlife, not here. That is to say: There are always going to be plenty of exceptions.

    In this life, however, we have the (what I might call) “punishment of guidelines”. That is to say, if you follow these rules, you’ll generally be happier. If not, you’ll generally be sadder.

    How? For any given choice/act, there are multiple consequences. Artificial safeguards (such as the use of condoms or clean needles) may protect against ONE bad consequence (HIV) or even a few (unwanted pregnancies or spreading of still other infections). But NO artificial safeguard will protect you from ALL the negative consequences of your choices.

    So, for a single gospel principle (chastity for example) a multitude of negatives are automatically, naturally nullified. To replace a single gospel principle, you’d have to come up with multiple artificial rules to nullify all the same consequences.

    Yes, there are exceptions. But it is the difference between exceptions in English grammar vs. exceptions in Korean pronunciation of the written word.

  55. Carborendum
    August 8, 2009 at 9:17 pm #

    BTW, Josh. Why did you not even comment on my research on the subject at hand? Socialized Medicine (specifically Ezekiel Emanuel).

    Did you have a problem with my data?

    Did you find a flaw in my logic?

    Do you just believe that those pieces of data don’t matter? But for some reason YOUR data DOES matter? What are your data on this subject anyway? You haven’t shown any. You’ve just thrown around a lot of propaganda. But no facts.

    Or are you just shaking your head and brushing off these FACTS as “scare-tactics”?

    What was I saying about “darkening of minds”?

  56. Josh Williams
    August 11, 2009 at 11:17 pm #

    Thanks, guys and girls.

    I admit I’m guilty of responding selectively to things that catch my interest. (Oooh, shiny!) If I took the time to respond to every thing that was posted here, even things aimed at me, I’d be here all day and so would you.

    I’m not familiar with Ezekiel Emanuel. If you think it’s important, then I’ll look him up and comment more if I have the time.

    Loquacious, I think you’re right, in that on certain points, our views and beliefs are implacable. It’s gonna happen, don’t let that discourage you. I actually do appreciate that; and I think there’s a truly great danger in associating only with people whom will never conflict with your views. On the other hand, why are you posting your religious views and beliefs on a public forum if you’re not ready for people to criticize them in turn? Even in ways which you might not consider fair? As George Carlin said nothing is sacred. I hate social correctness. For my part I try my hardest to criticize only ideas, not people, thought I’m embarrassed to say I slip up from time to time.

    Sure, I post things on here because I have an ego and I want to sound smart and think I’m right. Admit it- that’s why you guys are here too! At least a little bit!

    Am I wrong?

  57. loquaciousmomma
    September 20, 2009 at 12:28 pm #

    I’m not sure if I am being ignored or if everyone is just busy these days.

    In any event, I thought it would be important to explain a little bit about myself in order to hopefully shed some light on my inconsistencies.

    I am the oldest of 7 children raised on welfare in SoCal. My mother is a staunch democrat. I was introduced to personal responsibility and the evils of socialism by my HS World History teacher. That was the beginning of my journey of understanding the world apart from my upbringing.

    As a teen, I understood clearly the trap welfare was. It was very hard to break free of it, once you began, as savings were discouraged. I vowed to avoid welfare at all costs. I even raised my children to never expect others to give them anything. Something I think I took too far as my oldest son has told me he feels guilty even asking friends for a ride to places to which they are both going.

    In any event, even with such strong convictions I didn’t fully understand the principles.

    I began learning more about the constitution in the past seven years. I became a purist somewhere along the way, and understood the depths of socialism to which our country had sunk.

    Even though I had a firm belief in the evils of the dole, I had been told by those around me, even in the church, that as long as my husband was working and we were doing all we could ourselves for our family, using government assistance was okay. We were paying taxes after all.

    So, throughout the years we have used medicaid as a backup when we have had insurance and as our sole coverage during times without.

    We have used WIC to spread our food budget, and we have gotten free lunches for our kids.

    We have seven children and money has always been tight.

    I stopped using WIC about two years ago as I came to understand the things taught here and elsewhere. I haven’t been able to feel safe getting rid of medicaid since our budget has no room for extra medical expenses.

    I suggested to my husband not applying for free lunch, but since along with the free lunch school registration fees are waived, my husband and I knew we wouldn’t be able to pay the extra $120, in addition to buying school supplies. (This number is only for two kids. We are homeschooling three others, so the number would be much worse if they were all in public school).

    In any event, I am telling so much about my situation so you can see that I am still learning. I pray constantly for help from the Lord to find a way out of our current financial straits.

    My heart was seared recently when I read this scripture:

    17 Wo unto you poor men, whose hearts are not broken, whose spirits are not contrite, and whose bellies are not satisfied, and whose hands are not stayed from laying hold upon other men’s goods, whose eyes are full of greediness, and who will not labor with your own hands!

    D&C 56: 17

    One thing that helps me is the fact that we do not meet the criteria of the last part of the verse. My husband has one full time and two part time jobs, and I have a paper route and assist my husband with one of the part time jobs. We are certainly willing to labor with our own hands!

    I respect the people on this board. I feel that somehow I have lost your respect with my admission of taking the kids to the free lunch this summer, and other things I have said on this post.

    I am a work in progress and I am still learning.

  58. Connor
    September 20, 2009 at 3:53 pm #

    I feel that somehow I have lost your respect with my admission of taking the kids to the free lunch this summer, and other things I have said on this post.

    I can only speak for myself, but I certainly don’t feel that way, nor did I have that reaction to reading your story…

    I am a work in progress and I am still learning.

    As are we all! :)

  59. loquaciousmomma
    September 20, 2009 at 6:41 pm #

    Thanks, Connor!

    :-)

  60. rachel
    September 20, 2009 at 10:35 pm #

    Wow, loq mama, I don’t know you personally, but I respect you. Your comments are always great and well though out.

    If anyone doesn’t respect you because of your personal choices on social programs, they need to relax a little and walk a mile in your shoes. This isn’t a competition, and we are all far from perfection. Keep commenting because I think you have a lot of great things to say.

  61. Krista
    September 21, 2009 at 1:57 pm #

    LoquaciousMomma -

    Ditto to Connor & Rachel; and I’m still learning all sorts of things, too – that’s one reason I don’t pipe up very often, LOL…

    At any rate, I haven’t lost respect for you! :) We need honest commentary about the difficulties of implementing principles, too – thanks! :)

  62. loquaciousmomma
    September 22, 2009 at 11:55 am #

    Thank you Krista and Rachel! I have appreciated the things we have discussed here immensely and it really worried me that I might have offended anyone or lost respect.

    It is good to know that I was wrong.

    I hope we are able to continue this community for a long time!

    :-)

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