More on Social Justice

April 14, 2010 | 185 comments
By

The Church Newsroom’s blog has a link to a post by Michael Otterson, Head of Public Affairs, on the recent social justice issue.

185 Responses to More on Social Justice

  1. It's Not Me on April 14, 2010 at 8:23 pm

    I like it.

  2. the narrator on April 14, 2010 at 8:28 pm

    “What’s missing in this exchange has been the fact that Glenn Beck and Jim Wallis haven’t sat down together to talk through the issues amicably and out of the glare of the media — a suggestion that Wallis has already made, and to which Beck has yet to respond. Men of good will can agree on a common problem but disagree on the best solutions.”

    I have it on good sources that Church Public Affairs has been trying to get Wallis and Beck together for a discussion. I wonder how much of this is Otterson publicly challenging Beck for a meeting.

  3. Chris Henrichsen on April 14, 2010 at 8:49 pm

    A Church employee writing for the Washington Post. I am disgusted. That socialist rag.

  4. Jared on April 14, 2010 at 10:06 pm

    It seems that these two are fighting over “social justice” but define social justice differently. Glenn’s definition is “Forced redistribution of wealth with a hostility toward individual property rights, under the guise of charity and/or justice.” Wallis’ definition is not that.

    I get out of the churches PR report is “it depends.”

    It’s hard for me not to relate social justice to the war in pre-earth when we had to choose between being forced to be good or choosing to be good, but maybe I’m wrong in relating this.

    Glenn Beck’s
    http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,589832,00.html

    Jim Wallis
    http://newsweek.washingtonpost.com/onfaith/panelists/sally_quinn/2010/04/interview_with_jim_wallis_about_glenn_beck_and_social_justice.html

  5. Chris Henrichsen on April 14, 2010 at 10:19 pm

    It brings me great comfort to know that Otterson doesn”t have the same thought process as Jared.

    Of course, Jared just accused me of being on Satan’s side. Jared, I have special hand gestures reserved just for you.

  6. Ardis E. Parshall on April 14, 2010 at 10:30 pm

    Yes, Jared, you are wrong in relating that.

  7. Christine on April 14, 2010 at 10:38 pm

    I don’t think Jared is off base in the least. Given that government always exercises coercive force it ought to be exercised sparingly and only when there is an overriding basis for governmental action. Social justice sounds like a moniker for redistribution of wealth by coercion. Those who are in the 43% of Americans who either pay no taxes or get more back than they pay are always going to promote such coercion in their own interests. If you rob Peter to pay Paul you can always count on Paul’s support — until Peter has been robbed so many times he cannot sustain his ongoing endeavor. But calling that social justice just seems like calling evil good and robbery benevolence.

  8. Chris Henrichsen on April 14, 2010 at 10:42 pm

    Did either Jared or Christine read the article by Otterson whiched is linked to above? Would you like some help with the big words?

  9. Zack on April 14, 2010 at 10:43 pm

    I find it kind of offensive that a man of such apparent faith an devotion who’s pretty much done nothing but work to help impoverished and otherwise disadvantaged people is being put on the same level as a man who told people to leave their church if its website includes a particular phrase that he doesn’t like. Suggesting that Wallis’ tireless work in pursuit of social justice and Beck’s vitriol against the phrase “social justice” are merely the result of similarly-committed, decent individuals’ difference in opinion about national priorities is incredibly insulting to Rev. Wallis. I don’t believe that Wallis has a hateful bone in his body. Glenn Beck is nowhere near his league ethically, intellectually or spiritually.

    I’m not surprised that Wallis would invite such a meeting. Nor am I surprised that Beck would ignore such an invitation. Wallis tries to help people. Beck deliberately attempted to tear down others’ faith.

  10. Zack on April 14, 2010 at 10:52 pm

    Wait, was Jared not being sarcastic? I just assumed that comment was tongue-in-cheek.

    This, from the link he provided to display how Satan-like Wallis is:

    Jim Wallis: “I was surprised that he went after me in the way that he has. But I also have pointed out to our people [that] If Jesus calls us to social justice he also calls us to love our enemies and pray for those who persecute us. So I’ve asked our people ‘Do not attack Glenn Beck personally no matter what he says or does to me or anybody else. Do not attack him personally. And we have to pray for our brother even when he attacks us. That’s part of what Jesus commands us to do: love our enemies. So we got to stay on the high ground here no matter . . . ”

    Jared, that message was sarcastic, right? Why else would you provide a link to content that so directly disputes a straight reading of your comment?

  11. the narrator on April 14, 2010 at 11:10 pm

    Jared. The notion that governmental social justice “forces” people to be “good” is ridiculous. It only requires people to provide for the public good through taxes. There is no forcing anybody to be moral or charitable. You can be a total evil jerk while paying your taxes. You can pay your taxes hoping that the poor choke on the food it puts on their tables. There is no forcing you to be good.

  12. Christine on April 15, 2010 at 12:10 am

    Chris: Are you always that condescending? I know that it will come as a surprise, but Otterson didn’t come out in favor of big government programs. Here is what he said:

    “Governments can and should act on the common principles of human compassion that afford individuals and societies a basic level of dignity without swallowing up the charitable initiative and effective spontaneity of individual people and religious entities. So the tough questions are, at what level and by what means?”

    I don’t disagree at all with that. Now defining what a “basic level of dignity is” without swallowing charitable initiative is precisely the issue that he doesn’t answer and says that these are issues that remain to be resolved. If you thought he resolved it in favor or a pan-government solution, then I believe that you are the one who has misread him and not me.

    Narrator: you miss the point of governmental coercion altogether. You are right that we can be total jerks while paying taxes; what we cannot be is charitable and act voluntarily in deciding what level and for what. Someone else made that decision and didn’t leave it up to me to decide for myself. You missed that distinction I’ll bet.

  13. Chris Henrichsen on April 15, 2010 at 12:18 am

    Christine,

    Yep, all the time.

  14. Chris Henrichsen on April 15, 2010 at 12:22 am

    Narrator,

    Why do you hate agency and Jesus?

  15. the narrator on April 15, 2010 at 12:42 am

    Christine: So are you against ALL taxes? Are you against ALL laws that punish murder, theft, fraud, rape, etc? Are you against public education, public libraries, public emergency services, medicare for the elderly, public parks, public roads, etc?

    ALL of those things are preventing you from “acting voluntarily in deciding what level and for what. Someone else made that decision and didn’t leave it up to me to decide for myself.”

    Church leaders are constantly saying that the agency fought over in heaven was moral agency. Paying taxes to help the poor does not make you a moral or immoral person. It just means you are a tax paying citizen. As I said before, you can be as immoral as you want and hope that the children being helped with those taxes get raped by the doctors paid to help them. That’s your moral agency at work.

    Chris:

    I’m just a satan-loving, agency-hated socialist who fought against Christ in the pre-existence and continues to fight against agency and Christ today by pushing for communal morality in helping the least among us.

    I’m also kind of selfish and want to be able to get health-insurance for my wife, who has a pre-existing condition.

  16. Ardis E. Parshall on April 15, 2010 at 12:59 am

    narrator, you are my satan-loving, agency-hating socialist hero.

  17. Christine on April 15, 2010 at 1:02 am

    Chris H: No I am not against all taxes and all criminal laws and your absurd approach is beyond overly simplistic. I’m against governmental efforts that represent a particular agenda not necessary to maintaining domestic tranquility and civil order and that go beyond that level of providing basic human dignity. I’m against governmental intrusion where the nature of projects that go beyond this necessary effort to maintain this basic level of government.

    Nothing that I can see justifies a vast governmental bureaucracy that is inefficient, larger than the private sector and growing fast and that redistributes wealth from those that earn it to those who don’t and who have the capacity to provide for themselves at more than the minimal level of human dignity. In fact, we insult human dignity when we reward irresponsibility as the present US government seems hell-bent on doing in massive ways. If we continue such massive levels of government spending then we will get more an more of it until the entire endeavor collapses on itself like Sweden did in the 90s before its economic and governmental reforms.

    You know, you were the one who equated moral agency and responsibility with political-governmental endeavors, so I’m surprised to see you separate so sharply the governmental endeavors of so-called “compassion” from moral responsibility. For the record, taking from those who earned it to reward a particular constituency (and let’s not pretend that hasn’t happened and isn’t happening now) is hardly a moral endeavor.

  18. Christine on April 15, 2010 at 1:04 am

    Whoops: I should have addressed #17 to the so-called narrator and not to Chris H.

  19. Matt Evans on April 15, 2010 at 1:19 am

    I was no fan of Otterson’s already, but his politicizing here is annoying: “Governments can and should act on the common principles of human compassion that afford individuals and societies a basic level of dignity” — so the church condemns libertarianism?

  20. Cameron Nielsen on April 15, 2010 at 4:14 am

    The social justice espoused by the civil rights movement and women’s suffrage are fully in keeping with eternal principles. This is not what Beck decries.

    Beck decries what he sees as excessive government control that compels people to ‘be good’ and the ‘social justice’ espoused by LGBT advocates and the increasingly morally relativistic causes that will follow.

    Did I include enough big words in my post to be credible? I fail to see how excessive gov’t compulsion is not similar in principle to Lucifer’s alternative plan. Please enlighten me, oh wise philosophers and post-graduate degree holders who have a much larger vocabulary than myself!

    =)

  21. Tim on April 15, 2010 at 5:01 am

    The newsroom link and the article are a good reminder that this is an international church, and that the whole “government compulsion to charity” argument is purely political.
    Cameron–no need for me to enlighten you. Go back and read the article instead.
    And please don’t call other people’s perfectly legitimate political government system “Lucifer’s alternative plan.” As the article says, it’s not theology–it’s just politics.

  22. chris365 on April 15, 2010 at 5:14 am

    Jared goes a bridge too far in tying in Satan’s plan. You could just as easily try to link Satan’s plan to some aspect of what Beck argues for.

    But I fully agree with Jared’s first assessment that they are both defining and choosing to ignore the other’s definition of social justice an then beating the crap out of the strawman. Beck, to my surprise, doesn’t do this as much, but he sensensationalizes it more.

    I see two dichotomies at work here.

    One sees injustice and says, the government must do something.
    One sees injustice and says, the individual people must decide on their own to do something.

    Conflating this point, is government seen as “we the people”, which might lead some to believe that if the government doing it, it is the people doing it and therefore I should support it, because I believe people have a moral obligation to help others.

    This might be true, but it does not have to be. It is inherently unjust to require all of society to be a part of administering some form of “social justice” be it food stamps, health care, etc. This is not to say the temporal end result for the individual receiving aid is not better off. But you have no right to require me to do it.

    Those who point to Jesus telling the rich man to sell all he has and give it to the poor are right to do so. Jesus did not tell the government to confiscate that which the rich man has and redistribute it for him.

    And here is the main point, dithering and bickering aside.

    The PURPOSE of this life is not to have a just equitable outcome at the end and make sure everyone has as good a ride as possible. The purpose of this life, as I see it, is for each of us to learn to Love god, follow his will, make his will our own, internalize it to such a degree that we love our neighbor so much as ourselves and we are willing to give everything we have to them, as the Savior did for us when he suffered and freely laid down his life.

    You do not learn this purpose if the government takes 20% of your check and confers it out in various forms and benefits to someone else. The most important thing for me is not whether or not someone ends up with 20% more income, 100% better health, 50% more food, 100% more living space, etc. through a nice distribution of, etc.

    But if we can love our neighbor as ourselves. We are willing to reach and and serve and share with them, especially in their time of need.

    For some people, they fully understand that and are desirous to impart what they have to the government as they see that as the most efficient, best possible way to help others. For others, they see the government has impeding that realization — sure you get it, and are happy to give to the government so others might receive a portion of it. But the nature of the government running and requiring the operation, rather than an individual first choosing to love their neighbor and willfully give makes all the difference to me.

    In the story of the widows mite, it’s not how much, or the ends that make a difference, but the motivation and desire to sacrifice and share. That can never be served by the government, only individuals (but as I said, some individuals can get to that point and be happy to let the government do it)

  23. Chris Henrichsen on April 15, 2010 at 6:14 am

    Matt,

    I think it is Otterson, and not the Church, that is condemning libertarianism. The argument seems to be a personal one.

    Cameron,

    If I have to explain to you why issues related to social welfare are not an extension of the war in heaven, I have no interest in trying to enlighten you. 1. You are likely not capable of enlightenment. 2. I would rather spend that energy trying to defeat those holding your views in the political arena.

  24. Matt W. on April 15, 2010 at 8:06 am

    Chris H. Go take your blood pressure medicine. Otterson sets an excellent example of being cool calm and collected. Your frothing at the mouth is disappointing.

  25. Chris Henrichsen on April 15, 2010 at 8:13 am

    Must be my time of the month.

  26. Bob on April 15, 2010 at 9:06 am

    chris365: It should be easy to carry your plan___just give all your money to the poor, and the Government can’t get to it.

  27. Jeremy on April 15, 2010 at 9:15 am

    “Nothing that I can see justifies a vast governmental bureaucracy that… redistributes wealth from those that earn it to those who don’t”.

    “It is unworthy of us as Christians to blame those who suffer for their suffering.” -Dieter F. Uchtdorf

  28. Ardis E. Parshall on April 15, 2010 at 9:20 am

    Matt W., Christine is doing considerably more frothing than Chris is. At least Chris’s disdain is for stupidity; Christine’s scorn is directed toward the mere existence of entire swathes of mankind for whom she has no respect, let alone compassion.

  29. Christine on April 15, 2010 at 9:28 am

    Jeremy: wake up — I am hardly blaming the poor for their suffering. Do you really think that Uchtdorf is saying that we ought to adopt large governmental programs so that 43% of the country can pay no taxes and 32% get back more than they pay? If you do, then I think you’re reading a lot more into such statements than can be justified — and that is just the problem isn’t it.

    Note that I support programs that maintain a certain level of human dignity for those who are unable to generate income for themselves through no fault of their own. I don’t support government bailouts for those who have rendered themselves unable to do so through their own irresponsibility — like say paying off mortgages or abrogating mortgage contracts for those who bought a house that was simply more than they could afford. I also don’t support bailing out large banks who made wildly irresponsible loans — especially in light of the fact that those irresponsible banks are now giving thousands of million dollar bonuses to their irresponsible executives. I just don’t believe that their “suffering’ is what Uchtdorf had in mind. Supporting and rewarding irresponsibility only begets and fosters more irresponsibility. It is about all that the present administration has done since it took office.

  30. Chris Henrichsen on April 15, 2010 at 9:35 am

    Come on, Jeremy. President Uchtdorf would never disagree with Christine.

  31. Christopher on April 15, 2010 at 9:46 am

    I also don’t support bailing out large banks who made wildly irresponsible loans — especially in light of the fact that those irresponsible banks are now giving thousands of million dollar bonuses to their irresponsible executives. I just don’t believe that their “suffering’ is what Uchtdorf had in mind.

    Of course, neither Glenn Beck nor Jim Wallis are defining “social justice” this way, either. Neither, it appears, is Michael Otterson. So I guess the question is: what the hell are you talking about?

  32. Mark B. on April 15, 2010 at 10:18 am

    Perhaps we could agree that “social justice” has whatever meaning a person chooses to attach to it, so arguments about it are essentially useless.

    And, perhaps we could agree that there are different approaches to achieving fairer distributions of the world’s wealth, and that it’s likely that there is both good and bad in whatever approach is taken, but that neither those who advocate a greater role for government in wealth redistribution nor those who advocate a lesser role are heartless brutes, spawn of Satan, pre-existent fence sitters who have now sold out and gone straight over to the other side, godless atheistic Commies, etc. etc.

    Advocating more wealth redistribution through government does not mean that you are a kindler, gentler, more compassionate person. And advocating that government should get out of that business does not mean that you are the opposite.

  33. Jared on April 15, 2010 at 10:26 am

    Sorry. The more I think of it, the war in heaven was about Spiritual Justice for all, not about Social Justice for all. I admit, I am not an expert on politics or the war in heaven. I guess I should not have brought that up.

    I like what the narrator said,
    “There is no forcing anybody to be moral or charitable. You can be a total evil jerk while paying your taxes.” Good point.

    I am against Marxism in its extreme form and completely for Zionism. It seems Beck sees the Marxism and Wallis sees the Zionism in social justice. These two should really get together and get a common definition.

  34. Chris Henrichsen on April 15, 2010 at 10:28 am

    Mark, I think my blogging behavior over the years has established that I am in no way claiming to be “kinder” or .gentler.”

  35. Chris Henrichsen on April 15, 2010 at 10:32 am

    Jared, Marxism specifically rejects social justice, and my liberal conception of social justice very mich rejects Marxism.

  36. Paul on April 15, 2010 at 10:37 am

    Three cheers for Otterson. At least two for Chris H. None for Christine.

  37. Kevin Winters on April 15, 2010 at 10:42 am

    Chris,

    But is individual charitable donations really sufficient to assist those who have tens of thousands of dollars in medical bills? Or, better put, to assist the hundreds (perhaps thousands) who have tens of thousands of dollars in medical bills? I don’t think individual charitable donations is sufficient to really provide significant help.

  38. The Only True and Living Nathan on April 15, 2010 at 10:44 am

    Wow. I think this thread wins the 2010 award for “people talking ferociously past each other.” Congrats, guys!

  39. Mark B. on April 15, 2010 at 11:05 am

    As soon as donations “is” anything, it will be sufficient. :)

  40. Kevin Winters on April 15, 2010 at 11:40 am

    Mark, you caught me! I’m an ignorant mis-speller… ;o) Darn you stupid spell checker for not catching that!!!!!!

  41. Jeremy on April 15, 2010 at 11:41 am

    “But is individual charitable donations really sufficient to assist those who have tens of thousands of dollars in medical bills? Or, better put, to assist the hundreds (perhaps thousands) who have tens of thousands of dollars in medical bills? I don’t think individual charitable donations is sufficient to really provide significant help.”

    This isn’t a hypothetical question, unfortunately. Obviously it’s not sufficient. If it was, we wouldn’t have people in this country dying of curable diseases.

  42. DCL on April 15, 2010 at 11:46 am

    What I don’t understand about the self-styled conservative arguments against social welfare systems is the complete lack of a sense of community. The poor among us are a drag on all of us, not just themselves. Crime, drugs, gangs, prostitution, failure to seek preventative medical care, white flight, and lowering standards in public schools are all problems of poverty that impose enormous costs, directly and through externalities, on all of us collectively. In an ideal world all of us rugged individualists would suffer the consequences and reap the rewards of our own actions alone. But the mere fact of living in proximity to other human beings in a capitalist system that (rightly) creates tremendous income disparities makes it perfectly rational that we may collectively decide to ameliorate some of the problems of poverty for our own good.

    The notion that private donations would step in to resolve the worst aspects of poverty in the absence of government coerced programs is bull. Individuals are already free to choose to make private donations and correspondingly reduce the amount of tax paid, dollar for dollar. (I realize this only available up to 50% of or less of your individual income, though it is 100% for trusts and estates, but how many people are really at these limits anyway?).

    The USA is already one of the least redistributive developed countries, with one of the highest infant mortality rates among them. We allow entire cities (i.e. Detroit) to go to blight. I do not feel comfortable living with my family or even driving through large swathes of other major cities. Where are all of the(tax advantaged) private donations taking care of these problems?

  43. Clayton on April 15, 2010 at 11:57 am

    “And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold.”

    Matt 24:12

    The topic of this post and the comments on it are evidence of how cold our love has become.

  44. gst on April 15, 2010 at 12:15 pm

    42. “I do not feel comfortable living with my family”

    Quite mutual, I’m sure.

  45. chris365 on April 15, 2010 at 12:44 pm

    #26 Bob, my desire is not to win an argument here… there is no single “right” answer here, but there are plenty of wrong ones. I would have no problem giving all my money to the poor.

    And I don’t think the follow-through is what the savior is looking for. Were I asked, I would freely do it and my wife would stand right beside me in doing so.

    The point is not that anyone one side should get to feel superior about government doing this or government not doing that. I personally feel in our current system, especially a governmental system at times hostile to God, it does not make sense to take a religious approach to government. That is to say asking our government to take the role of our church/religious emphasis in providing charity, when the public stance of government is necessarily opposed to religious influence. That’s probably not worded properly, but I hope the point comes across.

    Others have no problem letting the government lead up the role. Personally, I look at how the savior approached things. He rendered personal service, ministered individually, and asked his disciples to do the same. I think mankind would be a lot better off if everyone of us had that kind of enthusiastic love for our neighbor and encouraged the same zeal for others by everyone else.

    If I could have a society where the governmental programs were perfectly and equitably run or a society where everyone was their brothers keeper, the irony is those two things would end up being equal.

    But all too often, that’s not what happens. We refuse to be our brothers keeper and we expect “the government” to do something about it so we don’t have to worry or do anything.

    Neither of those seem like a good approach to practicing what we preach.

  46. Martin on April 15, 2010 at 1:07 pm

    Personally, I thought Otterson’s response was excellent, and I appreciated it very much. Thanks for pointing it out, Julie.

  47. JamesM on April 15, 2010 at 1:32 pm

    Well said DCL

  48. lyle on April 15, 2010 at 1:37 pm

    Wow. More face slapping, cheek turning and general cage-match verbal fighting, without any of the administrators stepping in, posts that I’ve seen. Color me mutually appalled (lack of civility) and impressed (free speech).

  49. Chadwick on April 15, 2010 at 1:41 pm

    Christine says: “Supporting and rewarding irresponsibility only begets and fosters more irresponsibility. It is about all that the present administration has done since it took office.”

    It sounds to me like you don’t want to discuss the topic at hand, but have an Obama-bashing session. Your statement reeks of inaccuracies. Firstly, Obama is currently working on nuclear arms reductions. That means that Obama has done more than just foster irresponsibility. Secondly, you also mentioned bank bailouts. Lehman fell on September 15, 2008. I know because I work for the firm that audits Lehman and it was a big deal. Since the government didn’t want anymore failures, the bailouts starting taking place in early October 2008. Last I checked, Obama was not president in October 2008. He wasn’t even Presiden-elect.

    I just don’t understand how you can say that only individuals should give charitably. Its like you are saying “If we all did as Jesus did, then we wouldn’t need the government.” So, if I understand correctly, what you’re saying is individuals don’t help as they should, so neither should the government. Notice where that leaves the poor?

    Back on topic, I don’t think anyone here wants to overly reward the irresponsible. But unfortunately, to do something, anything, means that we inherently do. Fast offerings is no exception, even though the giver is not a beaurocracy that you despise. The good comes with the bad, and nothing will ever change that. King Benjamin saw it and told us to get over it. So. Get over it already.

  50. Zen on April 15, 2010 at 2:00 pm

    Just my two cents, I think that govt. welfare has done more damage than it has good. I know that sounds strange to say, but in most cases, it does not help people become self-sufficient. Further, it is just one more thing that has assisted the culture of single-parenthood. (I say this as a single dad of two)

    You guys can argue about which way social justice is better served, but I just see too much damage from having the govt. play breadwinner.

  51. Alison Moore Smith on April 15, 2010 at 2:44 pm

    Did we have to bring this up again? :-P

    I’ll take a wild guess that the comments to date show a 4-to-1 ratio of slap-Beck to defend-Beck. Chris H-something-or-other leading the former with typical “I’ll speak more slowly, you idiot” tone, egged on by some minor players with minor insults mixed with some thoughtful liberal views. Jeff Hoyt and Christine on the other side, most likely posting their thoughts followed by explanation followed by clarification. With Raymond eventually chiming in with a solid narrative followed by a liberal snark ignoring his content but complaining about how long his comments are. Then someone (me?) points out the business as usual and gets slammed for it.

    Am I close this time?

    Sorry, I can’t stay. I have to go to a Tea Party, where there will be thousands of people (which CNN will report as “perhaps dozens”) who will mostly talk, cheer, and smile (which MSNBC will report as “mob rule”) and unite to remove government corruption (which Pelosi will report as “violent rhetoric”). Then we’ll drink punch and eat cookies — because we are racist homophobes.

    Happy Tax Day all!

    Conservatives More Liberal Givers

  52. liberty on April 15, 2010 at 2:48 pm

    I don’t think Otterson listens to Beck very often. If he did, he’d realize that Beck’s rhetoric will haunt the Church (and the Republican party)for years.

  53. Dan on April 15, 2010 at 2:53 pm

    Christine,

    #70,

    I’m against governmental efforts that represent a particular agenda not necessary to maintaining domestic tranquility and civil order and that go beyond that level of providing basic human dignity. I’m against governmental intrusion where the nature of projects that go beyond this necessary effort to maintain this basic level of government.

    What the heck does this mean?

  54. Dan on April 15, 2010 at 2:58 pm

    I was waiting for Alison to come in and defend Beck. Right on schedule.

  55. Chris Henrichsen on April 15, 2010 at 3:05 pm

    Allison,

    You forgot to make some nasty comment aimed at Kaimi. That is usually my favorite part.

  56. Tim on April 15, 2010 at 3:48 pm

    Alison #51–”I’ll take a wild guess that the comments to date show a 4-to-1 ratio of slap-Beck to defend-Beck.”

    Actually, Beck is only mentioned a few times, and usually in a fairly neutral manner, before Alison comes along.
    This, people, is why it’s smart to actually read the comments before you say anything.

  57. Raymond Takashi Swenson on April 15, 2010 at 4:09 pm

    Have you listened to Nancy Pelosi waxing jubilant on how her health care law will allow people who think they should be artists quit their jobs (where they work so they can have health care) and spend their time “creating art”? I have no beef with an artist who makes art that sells sufficiently that he or she can support a family on the income. I have a problem with Pelosi’s notion that I should be forced by government, under threat of monetary fines and even prison, to subsidize a person’s fantasy that he is an artist, even when he can’t support himself doing it full time.

    After all, I am trying to write a novel, and if I didn’t have to work so hard paying the extra taxes to allow Pelosi to realize her fantasies of being a patron of the arts like Lucrezia Borgia, I could have more time to complete my potentially Nobel Prize-winning book.

    Why is the anonymous guy’s art career more important than mine?

    You don’t have to penetrate very far into the writings and statements of the true believers of the Progressive Left (thought it helps if you live in San Francisco for a few years, like I did) to understand that they see themselves as great artists, who are about to create a great Utopia of “freedom” (doing what they want you to do) and “equality” (only receiving the income they allow you to have) through their own genius, thwarted only by the ignorant masses who are simply too benighted to understand that losing their control over the disposition of the money they earn is for their own collective good, and that they shouldn’t be allowed to spend it on unnecessary frills like churches and religion, and firearms. Pelosi believes that every dollar she does NOT collect from me in taxes is her gift to me, not my own money, and likewise that every dollar she does not collect in taxes from religious institutions is a de facto direct subsidy by the government to the churches.

    People like Pelosi think that ANYTHING they can think of to do with YOUR money is a more important use of it than EVERYTHING you want to do with it. It is therefore, in their eyes, UNJUST for you to keep your money from their control, either through direct taxation or control of how you spend it.

    “From each according to their ability (to earn), to each according to their need” is their goal. They don’t call themselves marxists and communists, but they are the same people who used to fawn over the Soviet Union and Communist China, and still fawn over socialist dictators like Chavez and the Castros.

  58. Chris Henrichsen on April 15, 2010 at 4:18 pm

    Whoa, maybe Allison is a prophet.

    “People like Pelosi…” Hey, that is me. Hello, Raymond.

  59. Tim on April 15, 2010 at 4:18 pm

    “I have a problem with Pelosi’s notion that I should be forced by government, under threat of monetary fines and even prison, to subsidize a person’s fantasy…”
    Thoreau had the exact same problem, and actually got thrown in jail for refusing to pay taxes. His problem wasn’t health care–it was a war the government was fighting using Thoreau’s tax money.
    We all disagree with some of the things the government does with our money (or, in the case of current wars, borrows with the promise of the money of future generations).
    I’d rather not pay taxes to pay for a war I disagree with (and have disagreed with from the start). But I belong to society, and part of my duty, as a member of that society, is to pay my taxes. Even if I don’t agree with what they’re going towards.

  60. Eric Russell on April 15, 2010 at 4:22 pm

    “After all, I am trying to write a novel”

    You don’t have to tell us that, Raymond.

  61. Kevin Winters on April 15, 2010 at 6:07 pm

    Raymond,

    Yeah, I don’t want to pay for the schmuck who wants to quite his job and be an artist. Thankfully for both of us, that is the *only* kind of person who will benefit from this bill…

  62. Sean on April 15, 2010 at 6:09 pm

    Alison’s prediction FTW!

  63. Dan on April 15, 2010 at 7:30 pm

    we’re following a pretty predictable pattern. Soon Adam Greenwood will get on here too snarking away

  64. Dan on April 15, 2010 at 7:32 pm

    Raymond nicely summarized the Republican/Tea Party talking point:

    People like Pelosi think that ANYTHING they can think of to do with YOUR money is a more important use of it than EVERYTHING you want to do with it. It is therefore, in their eyes, UNJUST for you to keep your money from their control, either through direct taxation or control of how you spend it.

    It of course, as usual, has no basis in actual reality.

  65. Christine on April 15, 2010 at 7:45 pm

    Dan: Re: #53 — it means that there are limits to what government ought to do. It means that government is limited and not for the purpose of redistributing the wealth.

  66. Ardis E. Parshall on April 15, 2010 at 8:37 pm

    Hey, Alison, I want you to know that I contained my disgust with tea partiers long enough to be kind to one today. A grandmother and mother with two tiny children totally innocent of the sins of their matriarchal line came into the library to use the potty. Grandma went into the restroom first while Mama stayed with the kids. But the plumber was waiting to close the restroom and Mama was just about to lose her chance to go, so I offered to wait with the babies while she went. She ran. I stayed with the babies and kept them from crying for her, despite the fact that her stroller was decorated with some of the most offensive signs imaginable calling for me to be sent back to whatever socialist continent my ancestors crawled out of before they stained the fair shores of this Land of Liberty and Justice for Rich White Folk.

    Which one of us — the po’ white trash who wants the chance to buy insurance so I can see a doctor, or the women who couldn’t have been doing anything dirtier in the restroom than what they had hanging from their stroller — better represents your vision for America?

  67. Sean on April 15, 2010 at 8:57 pm

    Ardis, I can’t speak for Alison, but I think your question is a false dilemma. There are plenty of people on both sides of this issue who do good deeds like you did, and there are plenty who say or write things that might be offensive to others. And most of us do both at different times.

  68. Chris Henrichsen on April 15, 2010 at 9:01 pm

    Ardis, you very existence threatens our agency. In the name of liberty, please die.

  69. SUNNofaB.C.Rich on April 15, 2010 at 9:23 pm

    Chris, what is the standard for achieving a state of “social justice”

  70. Dan on April 15, 2010 at 9:26 pm

    Christine,

    #65,

    Dan: Re: #53 — it means that there are limits to what government ought to do. It means that government is limited and not for the purpose of redistributing the wealth.

    Can you elaborate please. What are the limits to what a government ought to do? What does redistributing the wealth mean?

  71. Dan on April 15, 2010 at 9:27 pm

    Ardis,

    Did that Tea Partier pay the library for using its bathrooms?

  72. Ardis E. Parshall on April 15, 2010 at 9:40 pm

    Nope. She used water and electricity and the time of the plumber who stood around waiting, and may even have used toilet paper, soap and paper towels, requiring a janitor to restock and/or dispose of those products. Talk about redistributing the wealth!

  73. Ardis E. Parshall on April 15, 2010 at 9:43 pm

    Chris, I am doing my best to die and relieve the threat to the agency of all, but unfortunately a service missionary assigned to our ward may have found a doctor who will see me next week for cash even though I haven’t been able to pay approximately 70% of my annual income to keep up an insurance policy. Talk about a double blow — I may find out and be able to treat whatever is making me so sick AND I’ll be doing it partly with the encouragement and assistance of one of the servants of the Lord. What a bum deal for Mormon tea partiers.

  74. Chris Henrichsen on April 15, 2010 at 9:47 pm

    Ardis, you rock.

  75. Chris Henrichsen on April 15, 2010 at 9:49 pm

    SUNNofaB.C.Rich,

    My perspective is described here:

    http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/rawls/#TwoPriJusFai

  76. It's Not Me on April 15, 2010 at 10:34 pm

    Wow. Some of you people are, like, really smart and superior and stuff, and the rest are, like, stupid and stuff.

    It’s so nice to see that people who supposedly share the same faith can incorporate Christ-like virtues in their communication with each other.

  77. Chris Henrichsen on April 15, 2010 at 10:39 pm

    Wait, me and Ardis are on Satan’s side. Christine, Jared, and Allison are on God’s side. So, I guess we do not have the same faith. Bummer.

    I self-righteousness as Christ-like virtue? #76 seems to think so. I best check the topical guide.

  78. Chris Henrichsen on April 15, 2010 at 10:40 pm

    “Is self-righteousness….”

  79. Ardis E. Parshall on April 15, 2010 at 10:40 pm

    Yeah, It’s Not Me, but we stupid people need a forum where we can stand up to the smart people even if it’s only pretend, because we’re too polite to do it in person during Sunday School. Bless you.

  80. Dan on April 15, 2010 at 10:44 pm

    #76,

    Chris’s point in #77 is very important in the question of who is being respectful and who isn’t. Those who speak out against liberal principles accuse liberals and liberal-leaning folks of being in cahoots with Satan. By tying modern political ideologies to the war in heaven (an event we really don’t understand very well—that goes for every single person on this planet), and putting themselves on the side of God, anyone who disagrees with their position must be fighting on Satan’s side. Frankly, that’s not very respectful.

  81. Chris Henrichsen on April 15, 2010 at 10:44 pm

    Wow, Ardis. That was darn right Socratic.

  82. Chris Henrichsen on April 15, 2010 at 10:45 pm

    Dan, I have been rude. It is sort of a sport for me.

  83. JamesM on April 15, 2010 at 10:50 pm

    While we are working on the whole redistribution of wealth thing, don’t forget about tossing out the mortgage interst tax deductions and “socialized” road systems which favor those financially and physically able to operate a car. Surely the tea partiers aren’t overlooking such blatant examples of forced wealth redistribution as well! Right??

  84. Cameron Nielsen on April 15, 2010 at 10:52 pm

    I apologize for my earlier sarcasm.

    I submit that the primary evil of increased government compulsion is not that my tax money is going to people without their working for it. I see it as harming both the donors and the recipients by acting upon them, rather than encouraging them to act for themselves.

    I feel it is quite reasonable to have the position that the point at which appropriate compulsive laws (murder, public decency, etc) overreached into individual agency arrived or will be arriving soon.

    In practical public policy, this principle may be difficult to apply, but I don’t think that makes it complicated. Excessive compulsion is a vice that relates to both now and ‘the beginning.’ I think our main point of disagreement is where the point of excess lies.

  85. Bob on April 15, 2010 at 10:55 pm

    This I believe:
    This is a rich and wonderful country. I believe a man has the blessing to get rich, but that stops at about 5 million bucks for me.
    I believe a man who works an honest 40 hrs. a week, should get to walk in his front door without the worry of how he is going to care for his family. I can’t think of many better things for our government to be doing than “redistributing the wealth” (just do it right).

  86. Chris Henrichsen on April 15, 2010 at 10:55 pm

    ” I think our main point of disagreement is where the point of excess lies.”

    I think we can agree on that. :)

  87. Dan on April 15, 2010 at 11:01 pm

    Cameron,

    increased government compulsion

    What the heck does that mean?

  88. Kevin Winters on April 15, 2010 at 11:17 pm

    No, there can be no agreement on this issue. To do so is to crucify America, Christ, and little kittens…

  89. Chris Henrichsen on April 15, 2010 at 11:20 pm

    Don’t bring up kittens. That is the one issue that divide Ardis and I.

  90. Ardis E. Parshall on April 15, 2010 at 11:49 pm

    Yes, Chris H. The line between Satan and Jesus ultimately involves kittens.

    Now look at what’s happened. They have divided us and put us at each other’s throats. That shows how smart and superior and stuff they are.

  91. Peter LLC on April 16, 2010 at 1:29 am

    While we are working on the whole redistribution of wealth thing, don’t forget about …

    the fabulous water projects of the last century throughout the deserts of the American West to accommodate wealthy absentee farmers’ God-given right to tax-payer subsidized water.

  92. Dan on April 16, 2010 at 6:20 am

    and of course, liberal leaning states pay for for services provided to conservative leaning states, programs that tea partiers don’t want cut

    http://voices.washingtonpost.com/ezra-klein/2010/04/the_red_state_ripoff.html

    No surprise, Utah, Arizona and all those Southern States get the tax dollar from the coastal progressive states that have too much of a bleeding heart. I wish I could be cold-hearted enough to support the reduction of these services to poor conservative leaning states, but I don’t want to kill the little kittens.

  93. looking for a name on April 16, 2010 at 8:17 am

    After months of confusion, I thought I had finally figured out what the tea baggers wanted – fewer taxes.

    Then I heard a story yesterday about them protesting NASA’s budget – that it wasn’t BIG enough! Don’t Obama and Pelosi know that you can see Russia from the moon!?!?!

    I’m so confused…

  94. Chris Henrichsen on April 16, 2010 at 8:50 am

    They like rockets. Preferably the biggest rockets. It is a Freudian thing.

  95. Matt Evans on April 16, 2010 at 8:53 am

    Ardis, just be grateful for those of us who think caring for the people is not the government’s responsibility when you receive blood with your new Obamacare, as we’re twice as likely to donate blood as those who think government should take care of people. You’re welcome, genuinely, though I hate that Obama and Pelosi will take the credit. Taking the credit has been the strategy of politicians promising bread for milennia, and boy do people like politicians who promise that if they stick with them they’ll never go hungry again.

  96. looking for a name on April 16, 2010 at 9:38 am

    Chris H,

    I can’t stop thinking about the scrapped Ares rocket.
    http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/constellation/ares/flighttests/aresIx/index.html

  97. Ardis E. Parshall on April 16, 2010 at 10:11 am

    Matt, grateful as I am that you donate blood (although I’m not in need of any now, thanks just the same) the actual practice of your style of caring for the poor would leave me dead in the gutter. After three years of hunting, nothing has been available to me until now — and I’m not even asking for your money. Just the chance to see a doctor and pay cash when I can’t get insurance, and someday to be able to buy insurance.

    You’ve worked as hard as possible to prevent that, haven’t you? All your talk about leaving it to the private sector will leave too many of us maimed or dead, because the private sector doesn’t give enough of a damn to matter. You give a pint, and think your obligation is fulfilled, and think that somehow all the elaborate medical care you and your family have used over the years is because you EARNED it, because you DESERVE it, when in fact you personally have done virtually nothing at all.

  98. Peter LLC on April 16, 2010 at 10:11 am

    just be grateful for those of us who think caring for the people is not the government’s responsibility when you receive blood

    I live in a country in which the government feels it has a responsibility to care for people (universal health insurance paid by taxes on labor) and yet 95% of the demand for blood is met by Red Cross donations. Go figure.

  99. Geoff-Australia on April 16, 2010 at 10:58 am

    I thought Mike Ottersen’s effort was pretty wishy washy he seemed to be trying not to offend any constituency and in the process said nothing. Very politically correct and safe.
    Do You believe in democracy? Is that where the majority of the people vote for a particular government and although you may not have voted for the elected goverment yourself you accept their policies as the will of the majority?
    There are a group that will always Republican and a group that will always be Democrat and the swingers who change with the circumstances. During the Bush terms the fixed Republicans were happy and the fixed Democrats unhappy now the tide has changed, stop winging that’s democracy. The alternative is to live in a one party state where your party will always be in power. Not usually happy states. Did you complain when Bush doubled government spending and debt?
    This concept that a particular policy is supported by God and consequently those who oppose are evil is a particularly American method of putting down your opponents and not requiring justification for your arguments. As are the sarcastic put downs above that presumably you think are humorous.
    Some of these other concepts that go unquestioned such as that private enterprise is more efficient than public, (all the socialist (government run) health care systems cost less than the American Insurance based (free enterprise) model), that initiative, inventiveness, and productivity are all a result of unfettered free enterprise. That what makes a society family friendly is the denial of anything related to sex (especially gay sex and abortion), rather than the Government mandated working hours, minimum, or even living wage(where by reverse taxation government tops up your wage to a reasonable level), universal healthcare, paid maternity leave, and holidays for families to spend together. (in germany 8 weeks)

    The easiest example is to compare the products of socialist countries Mercedes, Porsche, BMW, Audi, Volvo, Saab for quality, innovation etc with the typical American car or preferably pickup. To which do you aspire?

    It seems to affect your agency to have your government help the poor of your country, but is not a question of agency if you decide it is immoral and therefore should be illegal to have an abortion or be gay, even for someone who doesn’t hold your moral views.

    From the outside, and living in what to you is a socialist country, it is difficult to comprehend that members and followers of Christ can let the Republican party determine for then what is moral rather than the Lord. Did poverty in America increase or reduce under Republicanism? Did Bush redistribute income from the poor and middle class to the wealthy? Yes! (Tax breaks for wealthy) no problem? If Obama wants to redistribute the other way immoral, attack on agency? Don’t understand? Obama seems far more moral and Christlike than Bush even based on domestic policy alone.

  100. Reed-O on April 16, 2010 at 11:20 am

    I know, lets keep ignoring this one little gem below by Oaks. And lets keep ignoring Pres. Hinckleys June, of 2007 comment on the War in Heaven being fought over bondage or compulsion.

    Quit compelling me to pay for your idea of social justice programs. I voluntarily pay for them through my church and I get the blessings, not, some nameless/faceless poorly run government bureaucracy.

    Where did Jesus say the Roman government should take care of beaten men, like in the story of the good Samaritan? Where did Joseph Smith Jr. favor compulsion to take care of the needy?

    http://speeches.byu.edu/reader/reader.php?id=7087

    Dallin H. Oaks, this fireside address was given at Brigham Young University on 7 June 1992.

    7. Some persons have a finely developed social conscience. They respond to social injustice and suffering with great concern, commitment, and generosity. This is surely a spiritual strength, something many of us need in greater measure. Yet persons who have this great quality need to be cautious that it not impel them to overstep other ultimate values. My social conscience should not cause me to coerce others to use their time or means to fulfill my objectives. We are not blessed for magnifying our calling with someone else’s time or resources. We are commanded to love our neighbors, not to manipulate them, even for righteous purposes. In the same way, we should not feel alienated from our church or its leaders when they refrain from using the rhetoric of the social gospel or from allocating Church resources to purposes favored by others. We should remember that the Lord has given his restored Church a unique mission not given to others. We must concentrate our primary efforts on those activities that can only be accomplished with priesthood authority, such as preaching the gospel and redeeming the dead.

  101. jenni on April 16, 2010 at 12:08 pm

    That quote from Oaks is pretty interesting, Reed-O. I couldn’t help looking at how his statements relate to Prop 8.

    That’s an example of the Church using other people’s time and resources to fulfill a specific objective, allocating Church resources to purposes favored by others (whatever that means), and ‘coercing’ (if instituting a government policy through democratic means can really be called coercion) some citizens to, in this case, define their relationships in a certain way.

    If our leaders (Oaks included) have no problem promoting the use of government to ‘compel’ people to submit to certain policies in the interest of creating a better, more righteous society, why am I not justified in supporting healthcare reform, since I think it is a means to the same ends our leaders sought to achieve through Prop 8? If I think healthcare reform benefits society, cares for the poor and needy, and strengthens families, I am obligated, as a Christian and a Mormon, to fight for it, even if doing so ‘compels’ those who disagree with it to accept the change.

    Either Oaks was mistaken when he said what he did, or the Church was wrong in supporting Prop 8. Either way, I don’t think that one isolated quote has much to offer in support for your argument.

  102. Dan on April 16, 2010 at 12:42 pm

    Reed-O,

    In what way do you feel compelled against your “freedom?”

  103. Martin on April 16, 2010 at 1:23 pm

    Reed-O,

    I loved Elder Oaks’ talk, but it was about how Satan can turn our strengths into our downfall, and he pretty much made any type of extremism look bad.

    Otterson’s piece was brilliant. I get the impression a lot of people here are missing his point.

  104. liberty on April 16, 2010 at 1:39 pm

    If my “social conscience should not cause me to coerce others to use their time or means to fulfill my objectives,” what about my political conscience? Or my economic needs? Businesses demand new roads or other bits of infrastructure and they pick my pocket to get it. Why separate social issues from other issues? A restriction on my social conscience is a restriction on my religious and political voice, is it not?

    We can tax to build a military, a transportation system, an education system and they are all justified because they serve us all in some way, but then we can’t apply tax dollars to healthcare unless people are elderly or so impoverished they need an existing federal program?

  105. Ben S on April 16, 2010 at 2:28 pm

    What a disappointing thread.

  106. Rick on April 16, 2010 at 3:54 pm

    I’m tired of this debate. I’ve heard too many times that I’m on Satan’s side, even though “every fiber of my being” says that universal health care is the right thing to do. Maybe I’m just letting my past experience cloud the “still small voice” to understand the cosmic good of letting people die or be bankrupted for the crime of getting sick while self-employed or under-insured. You know, the experience where my wife and I were both working full-time and yet we were still brought to the brink of bankruptcy because our insurance would only cover 80% of the $3,000 treatments needed for my children every three weeks. (Not to mention the multiple hospitalizations – 20% of $100,000 is an awful lot of money – especially when it happens several times each year.)

    All I really wanted to do was give Geoff-Australia bonus points for using the word “winging.” It’s been far too long since I heard it. Thanks!

  107. H.Bob on April 16, 2010 at 4:47 pm

    I think a close reading of the statement from Elder Oaks shows where the “anti-compulsion” crowd are getting it wrong. They’re equating the “means” in his statement with “money.” Christ told the tea-partiers of his day to “render unto Caesar” Caesar’s money, and to God what belongs to God. Goverment sets up the system whereby I get money for my labor and trade that money for stuff. Taxes are the tribute I pay for the privilege of living in a free country where I and others like me can decide how best to spend those taxes.

    God asks for something else–my time and means, all of it, to help everyone else but myself. Means is much, much more than just money. If I, as part of a system of government by, for and of the people, can use my vote and influence to get that collection of people to help others, how is that a bad thing? How is that NOT using my time and means to help everybody else but myself?

    Is compelling a selfish person to be selfless evil? I don’t know–is it evil to compel drinkers to fund a state’s school lunch program? Is it evil to compel smokers to fund smoking-cessation programs? Depends a lot on whose ox is being gored, I suspect. And also where some people’s treasure and hearts are.

  108. Chris Henrichsen on April 16, 2010 at 6:06 pm
  109. Jim Donaldson on April 16, 2010 at 6:39 pm

    I think it is a purely political argument. What is best for the common good? Is it best for the common good that all people, even lazy drug addicts, have food and shelter, and that all taxpayers contribute? If so, advise your local representative to vote accordingly; if it is best for the common good that personal freedom be minimally disrupted and that taxes remain at the bare minimum, advise your representative of that. Majority, as usual in political questions, prevails, even if you aren’t among them. Reasonable people can and do disagree, as with all political questions. Your personal morality has, in my opinion, little to do with the political question. Satan has little to do with it, either. Give what you want to. Respond to whatever personal obligation you feel. Don’t worry about the morality of others. Try not to judge them. It isn’t up to you.

  110. WJ on April 16, 2010 at 7:26 pm

    I think the whole matter of the government taxing and spending to further “social justice” implicates two (at least) main arguments. The first is the constitutional argument, and the second is the social argument.

    The constitutional argument is usually all but ignored in discussions such as this one. It seems a lot of people want their brand of social justice implemented so badly, that they entirely disregard the constitutional implications of Congress’ actions (anecdote alert: for example, the other day I watched an interview with a Phd. She was asked if the federal government has the constitutional authority to require all citizens to purchase healthcare. She responded that in order for the system to work, everyone needs to be enrolled. But her answer is irrelevant. It doesn’t matter how good someone thinks a program will be because the question about whether the government has the right to enact the law in the first place is still unresolved).

    To the social aspect of the issue, a common exploit is to tell sad stories, such as Ardis’s and Rick’s. They are sad stories, and there are more out there. But I think these stories obfuscate the issue we should all really be focused on: why can’t Ardis simply pay with cash? Or why are Rick’s medical expenses so high in the first place? Etc.

    We need to get to the root of the problem and figure out ways to lower these costs in the first place, for if they are lower, people like Ardis can pay out of pocket and people like Rick can cover their costs without risking bankruptcy. Throwing more money at the problem isn’t going to reduce costs, it will only make them higher and more troublesome, and thereby lead to greater social injustice. Now that our ox has splashed into the mire, it makes little to sense to start spreading the mire around.

  111. Jared on April 16, 2010 at 7:57 pm

    I do regret bringing up the war in heaven because we don’t know much about it. Both recent Republicans and Democrats can be accused of violating complete liberty. Democrats being more controlling on the financial sector and the Republicans being more controlling on moral choices. I’ve concluded after reading all this, that the war in heaven and politics don’t mix.

  112. Ardis E. Parshall on April 16, 2010 at 8:05 pm

    ‘s all right, Jared. If you hadn’t said it first, someone else eventually would have.

    I think that brotherhood and politics don’t mix, especially when everybody acts like he’s bringing up a brand new point when all he’s doing is rehashing the same done-to-death arguments of the last two hundred political “discussions.” That’s why I got silly and superior and stuff with Chris H. — that was the only way to interject something new once the original thread was derailed by the same old arguments.

  113. Aaron Brown on April 16, 2010 at 8:18 pm

    I was a general in the War in Heaven, and I distinctly recall that the various battles in said War had been specifically waged so as to thin down the herd on both sides, so that when the choice spirits who remained, like moi, finally made it to Earth, we’d have more square mileage per head in which to romp and play. All this “agency” nonsense was just a pretext for the real agenda. Read your Chomsky, if you’re still confused.

    There. Bet you haven’t heard that one, Ardis.

  114. Liberty on April 16, 2010 at 8:31 pm

    Ardis,

    I don’t think anyone was acting like we were bringing up new points, I think we were reminding each other of the moral and philosophical dilemmas we face in modern politics and of how incapable human beings are at this time of really establishing a “brotherhood” when even a mediocre political discussion wipes away our collegial feelings.

    Ouch, did I really write that?

  115. Liberty on April 16, 2010 at 8:40 pm

    Aaron,

    I remember that war, and you held a brevet commission… you were really just a colonel.

  116. Dan on April 16, 2010 at 10:10 pm

    WJ,

    I think the whole matter of the government taxing and spending to further “social justice” implicates two (at least) main arguments. The first is the constitutional argument, and the second is the social argument.

    Tell me about the Constitutional argument, please.

  117. Dan on April 16, 2010 at 10:12 pm

    In #70, #87, #102, and #116, I ask very sensible questions of my political opponents, to better elucidate their position. I am disappointed that as of yet, none of those who I queried have responded.

  118. SUNNofaB.C.Rich on April 17, 2010 at 12:12 am

    #117 Maybe your questions were so wise and penetrating that they just impaled your political opponents with explosive arrows like on that one episode of Dukes of Hazzard and then they just exploded. Or the intense light and heat of the flaming sledge hammer of truth (like Thors but like bigger and heavier and on fire) caused them to melt like that one dude on Raiders of the Lost Ark.

  119. WJ on April 17, 2010 at 6:39 am

    Dan, lo this drag out fight over healthcare and you are still asking about the constitutional aspect? I already indicated the main constitutional issue above (i.e. the individual mandate), but I’ll expound a smidge. The most common defense of the bill is the commerce clause. Congress loves this clause because it enables them broad reach in regulating business, first from actual interstate transactions, then to the modes of transportation by which commerce is conducted, then to any activity that even indirectly impacts interstate commerce (oh the beautiful and steady accretion of power).

    But even Congress has outdone themselves on this one, going one step further to not only regulate an industry (one that prior to this has been largely state bound, mind you), but by requiring that private citizens participate in the industry whether they want to or not. There is no consitutional basis for this requirement. People like to point to Massachusetts as a rejoinder, or to highlight the mandatory nature of car insurance, but these are irrelevant because they are handled at a state level, and not the federal level. That distinction makes all the difference in the world because state governments wield powers that were never intended for the federal government.

    Now to the Supreme Court. We know many states are fighting the legislation and the odds are that this matter will find its way to their desk. As much as we like to believe the Supreme Court is an impartial arbiter of legal disputes, we know this has never been the case, and has been even less so since the middle to latter half of the 20th century. Any monkey can read Roe v. Wade and its associated cases to realize that if the court desires, it will find penembrus buried under penembrus under which, to their delight, a whole slew of new rights lay smoldering. The court attempts to bind itself by stare decisis, but even then, bad decisions spawn more bad decisions, and even the court is willing to ignore this limitation and throw off precedent if they think it will lead to the right outcome.

    Accordingly, while I would like to think otherwise, the composition of the court will be the biggest determinant on this issue, and if it happens within the next several years while the Roberts/Alito wing is still running the camp, my bets are on the court striking down at least the individual mandate as unconstitutional. Especially in light of the rancor over this bill, the public opposition, and the ignominious way in which Congress rammed the bill through.

  120. Chris Henrichsen on April 17, 2010 at 7:31 am

    Dan,

    Do not encourage them.

  121. Matt Evans on April 17, 2010 at 9:48 am

    #97 Ardis,

    If you think there’s no way for you (a Mormon in Salt Lake City, for crying out loud!) to get into see a doctor, you haven’t even tried.

  122. SLO Sapo on April 17, 2010 at 9:48 am

    “But even Congress has outdone themselves on this one, going one step further to not only regulate an industry (one that prior to this has been largely state bound, mind you), but by requiring that private citizens participate in the industry whether they want to or not.”

    I think you’ve got this wrong. The legislation actually requires that everyone pay a tax to cover the cost of medical treatment for the uninsured. This tax can be avoided by purchasing health care insurance. The federal government has the constitutional power to levy taxes, no?

  123. Chris Henrichsen on April 17, 2010 at 9:55 am

    Wow, Matt, really?

  124. Ardis E. Parshall on April 17, 2010 at 9:55 am

    Thank you, Matt. I’m sure you understand a peculiar combination of problems much better than I — the one who has been trying — could possibly understand them.

  125. Chris Henrichsen on April 17, 2010 at 9:57 am

    He did go to Harvard. I am sure he knows everything better that you, Ardis.

  126. Chris Henrichsen on April 17, 2010 at 9:57 am

    “…than you…”

  127. Dan on April 17, 2010 at 10:06 am

    WJ,

    But even Congress has outdone themselves on this one, going one step further to not only regulate an industry (one that prior to this has been largely state bound, mind you), but by requiring that private citizens participate in the industry whether they want to or not. There is no consitutional basis for this requirement

    First of all, thank you for a sensible response. I prefer discussing the issue of social justice within the framework of the United States of America through better debates like this. Now, there actually is a constitutional basis for this requirement. It is called a tax. And that is exactly what this new health law has, as SLO Sapo indicated in #122. Congress has the Constitutional right to tax the hell out of the populace. So for example, in the height of World War II, the richest Americans were taxed at 94%. No one doubted the constitutionality of those taxes because there is no doubt on it. The requirement in this new law is that you either get insurance or pay a tax to cover the cost of you not getting insurance. It’s a brilliant idea. And, frankly, it is a conservative idea. It was first introduced back in 1993 by the Heritage Foundation as a counter to Hilarycare. Republicans and conservatives back then were fine with this. In fact, they were fine with this in 2002-2006 when Mitt Romney created Romneycare in Massachusetts with the individual mandate at its core. In fact, candidates running for the Republican party in the 2008 election still endorsed the individual mandate, including Mitt Romney and John McCain, the eventual Republican nominee. Those attorney generals of various states who have signed on to challenge the constitutionality of this bill are only grandstanding (and it should be noted, nearly all of them are up for reelection this year, thus tainting their “noble” cause).

    if it happens within the next several years while the Roberts/Alito wing is still running the camp, my bets are on the court striking down at least the individual mandate as unconstitutional.

    If that is the case, they will go against their own ideology which created the individual mandate in the first place, and thus increasing the charge that the Roberts/Alito wing are activist judges ramming through their ideology rather than adjudicating according to the actual law.

    Especially in light of the rancor over this bill, the public opposition, and the ignominious way in which Congress rammed the bill through.

    No one rammed anything through. There was nothing ignominious in the way in which this bill was formed, written, or eventually passed. Everything was according to the laws and rules of this great country of ours. In November 2008, Americans had a choice in whom to represent them. They chose the Democrats. Thus they gave the Democrats 2 years in the House, 6 years in the Senate and 4 years in the White House to do something about the nation’s problems. Democrats had the votes necessary, got all the votes required, passed the law according to the rules of the House and the Senate and had it signed by the President. There is absolutely nothing ignominious about that process.

    What was ignominious was the visceral hate by those on the right over the process, WJ. And that is something you cannot deny. “Death panels?” Really? “Pull the plug on granny?” Really? What utter nonsense. Cries of socialism for an otherwise fairly conservative health insurance reform law. The right has gone way over the cliff on this one, WJ. I wish for a more sensible opposing party, but at this point, I do not see one here in America. As long as Republicans are led by Glenn Beck, Rush Limbaugh and Sarah Palin, sensible Americans should never trust the Republicans in power. I say should because sadly Americans fall for a lot of crap very easily. It’s something in our nature. I don’t get it, frankly, but I have to live with it.

  128. Liberty on April 17, 2010 at 10:16 am

    Dan,

    Nicely presented and argued.

  129. Matt Evans on April 17, 2010 at 10:53 am

    Chris and Ardis, I know because I grew up in a family without health insurance. Getting in to see doctors is the easiest part because there are so many doctors willing to donate their time to help someone who needs them. Mormons in need of help should talk to their bishop, as bishops aren’t going to let someone suffer for want of paying a doctor bill.

    LDS Hospital has a team that helps people with expensive health needs (they met with us when our baby was born prematurely, to go over our insurance and see what programs we were eligible for — they have their own endowment to pick up the slack).

    Medicaid and many charities do require you to disclose your assets, and require you to spend a specific amount towards your care before they’ll pay the difference, so everyone is eligible for these programs. The problem is that most people don’t want health care enough to pay for it themselves because it’s so expensive.

    Because Medicaid covers the health care of the poor, those who refuse treatment are those who would rather spend their money on something besides their health care.

    The best diagnosis of the health care problem — and Obamacare only compounds the problem — is in the article “How American Health Care Killed My Father”, from the Sept 2009 issue of The Atlantic.

  130. Dan on April 17, 2010 at 11:02 am

    Matt,

    Chris and Ardis, I know because I grew up in a family without health insurance. Getting in to see doctors is the easiest part because there are so many doctors willing to donate their time to help someone who needs them.

    Isn’t it sad that doctors have to donate time and not get paid for their work in order to service the population? What if you had, instead, a system where doctors got paid for all their efforts, and everyone gets the service they need? It does work, Matt.

  131. WJ on April 17, 2010 at 11:14 am

    Dan/Sapo, your argument that this is a tax is a disingenuous sleight of hand. The bill calls for a fine, which is merely masquerading as a tax. And its inaccurate to say that congress has the authority to tax the hell out of people. If this were the case, Congress could simply levy a penalty on all citizens for any behavior Congress deemed appropriate or inappropriate and just call it a tax. Its a ploy that is easy to see through. Healthcare supporters think this is an acceptable exercise of congressional power only because they happen to agree with the policy. This is, however, a highly short-sighted view with severe and negative longterm side effects. How would healthcare supporters feel, for instance, if congress passed a law requiring all citizens to purchase and carry a firearm, and if they didn’t, they had to pay a fine, which was called a tax. Or if all women pregnant with girls had to abort or else pay a tax. The absurd examples go on ad naseum. We need to think seriously about how much power we want a whimsical congress to have, and whether that includes the power to fine people for commercial “inactivity” (not activity mind you, but inactivity). Thats something the court will need to review, and indeed it has, indicating that there needs to be some limits on congress’s ability to tax. Its hard to conjure up a better scenario than the current one to impose limits on the congress.

    “And, frankly, it is a conservative idea. It was first introduced back in 1993 by the Heritage Foundation as a counter to Hilarycare.”

    If I had a policy of agreeing with every policy advocated by conservatives, then this argument would be relevant. But since I have no such policy, it is sadly irrelevant. I’m less concerned with who stands where on the issue than I am with the issue itself.

    “No one rammed anything through. There was nothing ignominious in the way in which this bill was formed, written, or eventually passed.”

    Buying off other elected officials to get their support is in fact ignominious (of course these shenanigans are not unique to the healthcare bill, but that is beside the point). The use of the reconciliation process to pass this bill was also ignominious. While the process is technically legal, it was highly abnormal, especially for a bill of such consequence and a bill that did not deal purely with budgetary matters. Even notoriously liberal elected officials acknowledged such. If healthcare supporters were so confident in the merits of their bill, it should have been approved by both houses without gimmicks, as it was originally intended until the senate election in Mass threw everything off the rails. This is hardly the transparency promised when the democrats were voted into office in ’08.

    “What was ignominious was the visceral hate by those on the right over the process, WJ. And that is something you cannot deny…. Cries of socialism for an otherwise fairly conservative health insurance reform law…. I say should because sadly Americans fall for a lot of crap very easily.”

    If I didn’t know better, I would think you were being sarcastic here. Its a difficult argument to make that liberals have all been model citizens and conservatives have all gone looney tunes. Is that generalization really a sensible one to make? This statement inadvertently reveals your own visceral distaste for conservatives, while chiding them for the same. I agree, lets be sensible.

  132. Chris Henrichsen on April 17, 2010 at 11:15 am

    Matt, both Ardis and I have own experiences (none of which I feel safe sharing at T&S). I also have professional and academic experience in the area. My issue is not so much a policy one, but with the tone that you used with Ardis, a former perma here.

  133. WJ on April 17, 2010 at 11:21 am

    Chris H, spare us the lecture on tone. It goes without saying you lack the moral authority on the subject.

  134. Chris Henrichsen on April 17, 2010 at 11:36 am

    WJ,

    I was not addressing you. Shove off.

    All,

    Attack me. Say goofy things about social justice or socialism Do not mess with Ardis.

  135. Dan on April 17, 2010 at 12:02 pm

    WJ,

    if congress passed a law requiring all citizens to purchase and carry a firearm, and if they didn’t, they had to pay a fine, which was called a tax

    Because Congress has that right, I would be fine with it. Of course, I would vote representatives to office who would not levy such a tax because of course that is a ridiculous tax. :)

    We need to think seriously about how much power we want a whimsical congress to have,

    What the hell is a “whimsical” Congress?

    Thats something the court will need to review, and indeed it has, indicating that there needs to be some limits on congress’s ability to tax.

    Show me examples please.

    The use of the reconciliation process to pass this bill was also ignominious.

    Um, no, it wasn’t. The House bill and the Senate bill had to be… wait for it… reconciled! What other process would you use to reconcile bills other than reconciliation. :)

    While the process is technically legal, it was highly abnormal, especially for a bill of such consequence and a bill that did not deal purely with budgetary matters.

    That’s utter poppycock and not reflective of Congressional history. Just look at Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA) as an example.

    If healthcare supporters were so confident in the merits of their bill, it should have been approved by both houses without gimmicks, as it was originally intended until the senate election in Mass threw everything off the rails.

    But it was approved by both Houses. The House voted for it in November with enough votes. The Senate overcame a filibuster and voted for it with 60 votes in December. The reconciliation process provided the reconciliation of the two bills into one, which both Houses voted for it AGAIN! How much more do you want them to do dude? You cannot have a better example of a major bill running through all the hoops of Congress than this new health care act.

    This statement inadvertently reveals your own visceral distaste for conservatives, while chiding them for the same. I agree, lets be sensible.

    I have an utter distaste for the stupid. And nothing better exemplifies modern stupidity than Glenn Beck, Sarah Palin and Rush Limbaugh. That Republican leadership and sadly most conservative leaning Americans follow their lead makes me consider most conservatives stupid. It’s their choice to follow whom they will. If they follow the stupid, they are therefore stupid, and there is no way around it.

  136. Fred Gedickds on April 17, 2010 at 2:59 pm

    Re WJ #119 & #136 + others

    More detail below, but the bottom line (for those of you with short attention spans) is that health care insurance is unconstitutional only if the Supreme Court returns Commerce Clause, Necessary & Proper Clause, and Taxing/Spending Clause doctrine back to the pre-New Deal era. It could happen—just like Martians could invade tomorrow—but neither is the way to bet. At the end of the day, WJ would be right, but that would be the equivalent to completing the proverbial “Hail Mary” pass (and, indeed, some are occasionally completed), so he should at least remove the tone of “it’s obviously unconstitutional” from his arguments.

    Some details (and apologies for the long post, but it’s a necessarily long answer).

    1. “It’s a fine disguised as a tax.”

    The motivation or the functional effect of a tax is irrelevant to its constitutionality. Since the New Deal (and, actually, for a generation or so before, during the Progressive Era) the Court has held that if a tax raises revenue, it’s a tax, regardless of whether the principal motivation is regulatory, punitive, or revenue-raising. (There actually used to be a tax on marijuana sales, back in the day; the motivation was to facilitate drug prosecutions, cf. Al Capone—still constitutional.)

    Some folks will not purchase health insurance, but will pay the tax–Bill Gates and Warren Buffet, for example, some tea party folks, others who will never get around to it. It will raise some revenue, and that’s all that’s necessary to pass the constitutional test.

    2. “You’re forcing people into an industry, this is unprecedented.”

    First of all, if it’s a penalty tax, which it is, no one is being “forced”–buy insurance, or pay the tax. Take your choice. The fact that one side of the choice is incentivized doesn’t mean it’s not a choice. Cf. “agency,” which Mormon GAs no longer call “free” for the same reason.

    And it’s not unprecedented. See, e.g., federal fines and pollution taxes on industries that fail to purchase pollution control devices, clean up their smokestacks, etc. Penalty taxes for failing to take a federally preferred action are not common, but they’ve been around for awhile.

    3. “The Roberts Court is conservative and will strike it down on nakedly political grounds, if it has to.”

    Not that plenty of conservative (and liberal) courts haven’t been nakedly political, but this is very unlikely. Gonzalez v. Raich, barely five years old, is directly on point, and both Justices Kennedy and Justice Scalia concurred. Six justices in that case held that Congress can regulate even noneconomic behavior if necessary to implement a larger regulatory scheme that is clearly within its commerce power—in Gonzalez it was a comprehensive scheme to regulate the interstate market for drugs–illegal, legal, prescription, you-name-it, which is clearly within Congress’s interstate commerce power. The regulatory scheme banned medical marijuana grown by oneself on one’s own property for own’s own personal use—clearly not commerce, clearly not interstate, not even economic. The Court nevertheless held that Congress could ban that activity anyway, because home-grown medical marijuana risked leaking back into the illicit interstate illegal marijuana market and undermining the comprehensive regulatory scheme on that Congress clearly had the power to enact.

    It is beyond question that the health care industry and the health insurance industries constitute commerce–they each constitute the sale of goods or services for money. It is also beyond question that these industries are critically dependent on interstate “channels and instrumentalities”—the internet, the telephone system, the postal service, interstate rail and highway systems. It is also virtually always the case that the delivery of health care and health insurance services crosses state lines—it uses supplies manufactured out of state and distributed interstate, it collects bills using out of state services, it collects premiums from out of state, etc. So it is clearly within Congress’s power to regulate the health care and health insurance industries as interstate commerce by passing a comprehensive regulatory scheme like the reform act.

    What about the individual mandate? It’s like medical marijuana–necessary to the efficacy of the comprehensive regulation of health care/ins. For example, if you prohibit denial of insurance based on preexisting conditions, you must require everyone to buy health insurance–if you don’t, people will wait until they get sick to buy health insurance, which makes it obviously impossible to spared the risk and premiums among the healthy and the sick, which is the whole point of insurance. The fact that it’s a tax and not a prohibition makes the analysis even easier. Justices Kennedy and Scalia might both change their minds about this but, again, just five years later, it’s not the way to bet.

    4. “Not buying health insurance is not activity, it’s non-activity.”

    This is metaphysical silliness. People don’t wake up one morning and think, “Whoa! I don’t have health insurance! How did that happen!?” Folks make a decision to buy or not to buy (assuming there’s a policy available, which the reform act seeks to ensure)—a decision not to buy is a decision either to self-insure, as Jack Balkin describes it, or to rely on whatever services might be available for the indigent and uninsured. The individual mandate merely taxes that decision.

    There are lots of things to complain about in the reform act, but it’s constitutionality is not one of them.

    A spaceship just landed in my yard . . .

  137. WJ on April 17, 2010 at 3:12 pm

    “Um, no, it wasn’t. The House bill and the Senate bill had to be… wait for it… reconciled! What other process would you use to reconcile bills other than reconciliation. :)”

    The problem here is linguistic. Yes the two bills were “reconciled,” but this is misleading. For your background (and the other five people who are still following this thread), when the house and senate pass a bill with differences, a conference committee, composed of members from each house, get together and resolve (reconcile) the differences. Once resolved, they draft a new bill, which is sent back to the house and senate to be voted on anew. This vote, as with the previous vote, requires a filibuster proof majority (60 in the Senate). This is the process that most bills go through, and is the proper procedure for the healthcare bill to have gone through as well.

    “Reconciliation” as used by the congress, however, is a term of art that refers to an entirely separate process. This process is intended only for budgetary items. Indeed, your boy, Senator Byrd himself, said as much by noting that healthcare falls outside the scope of reconciliation. The history of bills passed via the reconciliation process shows just that; for the most part they are budgetary and fiscal bill intended to reduce deficits and or increase surpluses. Perhaps the most relevant aspect of the reconciliation process, however, is that passage requires a mere simple majority, not the filibuster proof majority that would normally be required.

    Before the voters of Mass messed up the democrats well-laid plans to pass healthcare, the plan was to run the healthcare bill through the regular process: passage by both houses, conference committee, and then back to each house for a revote. And thats the way it was supposed to be. But after the election, the democrats decided to sidestep this entire process and exploit the reconciliation process for a purpose for which it was never intended. That is ignominious, it is deceitful, it is disenguous, it is whatever other negative adjective you want to add, plain and simple. Of course, the argument is that healthcare does in fact reduce the deficit, etc., but these are ancillary benefits and it is merely another disingenous argument employed.

    “Because Congress has that right, I would be fine with it. Of course, I would vote representatives to office who would not levy such a tax because of course that is a ridiculous tax. :) ”

    I doubt you would be as sanguine as you claim, but it is a good example of the short-sightedness that pervades our politics. I don’t share your lack of interest in separation of power of limitations on government control. If you think constitutional limitations are a quaint notion of a bygone era, then we’ll have to part philosophical ways.

    “What the hell is a “whimsical” Congress?”

    It is a congress that is erratic or unpredictable, as the plain meaning of the terms indicate. It is a congress composed of individuals who are more interested in their own neck than the long term interests of the country overall. And one who is willing to accomodate whatever harebrained if it will improve their chances of maintaining their office.

  138. Brad Kramer on April 17, 2010 at 5:10 pm

    It is a congress composed of individuals who are more interested in their own neck than the long term interests of the country overall.

    Right, because we all know congressional democrats passed health care reform primarily in the service of their own political interests–they did what they thought would benefit their chances for re-election and retained majorities regardless of what they perceived the actual benefits of the legislation to the country’s general welfare to be. Republicans, on the other hand, opposed the bill despite its popularity, a principled act that they were courageously willing to take despite what it would cost them politically. Their flagrant, uncompromised non-cooperation and obstructionism were rather stunning demonstrations of apolitical idealism. Come to think of it, working with the above definition of “whimsical” (as opposed, say, to a definition that equates it with a willingness to enact legislative policy with which conservative idealogues disagree), I think that it should be obvious that the best thing we can do to reduce this problem is to give congressional Republicans more power.

  139. Dan on April 17, 2010 at 5:53 pm

    WJ,

    The problem here is linguistic.

    I was making a joke, hence the smiley face. I am quite well aware of the various Congressional rules and maneuvers.

    not the filibuster proof majority that would normally be required.

    Really? Where is that in the Constitution? Where is the filibuster in the Constitution? Since when is 41 > 59? That is utterly undemocratic and, frankly, unconstitutional. But I’m not going to win that argument in today’s environment.

    But after the election, the democrats decided to sidestep this entire process and exploit the reconciliation process for a purpose for which it was never intended.

    Actually, you’re wrong again, WJ. The parts that were put under reconciliation deal specifically with budgetary matters. It was ruled on, remember, by the parlimentarian. Then the House passed a specifically different law that finished the differences between the Senate bill and the House bill. The Senate voted on that and the bill was passed. Perfectly fine. You’ve got nothing, WJ.

    If you think constitutional limitations are a quaint notion of a bygone era, then we’ll have to part philosophical ways.

    That depends on what you want limited. Personally I disagree quite vehemently with the Dick Cheneys and John Yoos of the world who think a president ought to have unlimited powers in wartime. And yet that ideological group was reelected by the conservatives of America and supported by libertarians as well. Where was the outrage over the use of torture by libertarians, particularly on an American citizen!

    It is a congress that is erratic or unpredictable, as the plain meaning of the terms indicate.

    I don’t know of any whimsical Congress, at least not the current one. They are not erratic, and they’ve been quite predictable. You may not like them but calling them whimsical is not descriptive of reality.

    And one who is willing to accomodate whatever harebrained if it will improve their chances of maintaining their office.

    You mean like backing banks against financial reform? That would be the Republicans. :)

  140. msg on April 18, 2010 at 12:14 am

    Matt–FYI–Mormons in Utah may be able to rely on LDS doctors for free
    care but not outside of Utah. In fact, LDS doctors in my ward won’t
    unless they have the specific insurance they affiliate with.

  141. Matt Evans on April 18, 2010 at 9:49 am

    #130: “Isn’t it sad that doctors have to donate time and not get paid for their work in order to service the population?”

    You’re sad that people volunteer their services? Are you actually sad when you hear stories about your Elder’s Quorum redoing a widow’s roof and learning that there’s no government program that will reimburse the men for their time?

    I frequently receive calls from people asking for free legal advice, most often about their rights as a tenant or landlord, but also questions ranging from divorce and child custody to contracts and business formation. Some presumably wish there were a government program I could submit my invoices to so I didn’t have to donate my time for these people to receive legal services, but I don’t mind a bit.

  142. Dan on April 18, 2010 at 4:08 pm

    Matt,

    Yes, I actually believe that much in capitalism that I think people should be paid for their services. Now, free legal advice is different than a doctor servicing a patient. The better comparison is with a lawyer acting pro bono. Offering free legal advice is no different than a doctor offering free medical advice and should not be compared with, say, surgery or something. When doctors have to spend a good amount of their time offering their services for free because people simply cannot afford to pay for it, that signals to me that the economic model for the service of doctors is flawed and not workable, certainly not sustainable in the long run. As we have examples of having doctors paid for all their work, and those examples working fairly well, I see no problem executing such a plan here in America.

  143. WJ on April 18, 2010 at 4:08 pm

    Fred,

    “No one is being forced into the program and its not unprecedented.”

    Its ironic that you would fuss over “metaphysical silliness” while apparently maintaining that a fine (tax) imposed on people for not having health insurance has little impact on their ability to choose. Perhaps if the world were exclusively theoretical this would be true, but in the word we live in, this will push a lot of people into the industry that otherwise would have chosen to remain out. Sure, you think its just an “incentive,” and it is, but in the worst sense of the word. But in any case, despite how you want to classify it, fining people who opt out of the insurance system is tantamount to forcing them to pay an insurance premium. Its a distinction without a practical difference. And while you might think its just a form of self-insurance, the federal government doesn’t have any more right to require its citizens to self-insure than it does to compel them to purchase health insurance. Again, it’s a distinction without a practical difference.

    And this healthcare bill is in fact unprecedented. You cited, as authorization for an individual mandate, federal taxes imposed upon a company for its failure to purchase pollution control devices or to satisfy other federally desirable activities, but apparently you missed the rather significant distinction between the situations. A company that emits pollution is a company involved in commercial activity. They are being taxed for their omission to adequately equip their facilities, facilities that are being used for commercial purposes. They are not, however, being taxed because they chose NOT to operate a facility that could possibly emit pollutants. Of course not, because that would be a bizarre and constitutionally dubious tax policy, wouldn’t it? I mean, taxing someone because they chose not to engage in commercial activity, or in this case chose not to purchase a product in the market, would be intolerable, right? And yet, that is exactly what the healthcare bill does. That’s why its unprecedented. Distinctions are important Fred, perhaps you should pay more attention to them and spend less time pooh-poohing them.

    “Congress can disguise a tax however it wants”

    You are right that congress has (been given) substantial leeway in its power to tax, and I had forgotten the broad scope of that power. Same-same if the taxes collected are small in proportion to the regulatory purposes of the tax. That’s all permitted. Agreed.

    But your point that because congress has had such broad authority in the past, therefore the healthcare tax is merely an extension of that authority, does not necessarily follow, due primarily to its unprecedented nature, as noted above. Another reason is the current composition of the court (as alluded to in a prior post). You are assuming the current court will rule in the same manner as its predecessors. But this is a rather big assumption, and an unfounded one, in a couple of ways.

    First, we have already seen this current court indicate a willingness to break from the strictures of stare decisis in a somewhat controversial manner. The biggest example was the ruling in Citizens United, which overruled both Austin and McConnell. But breaking from the past is nothing new for the supreme court. If possible, the court will try to stay close to home, but they will break from precedent if they feel that will lead to the best outcome.

    But this is all beside the point. In this case, the court wouldn’t even need to break from precedent, because yet again, there is no precedent for this type of situation. The health care bill stretches congress’s article I powers for further than they have been stretched before, so the court would be breaking new ground. Rolling back decades of new deal jurisprudence wouldn’t even be necessary. The court would have the opportunity to decide whether limitations on congress’s taxing authority exists, and whether the health care mandate is an instance of that authority hitting its outer limit. Of course, you think there is no way they would embark on such a dastardly endeavor. But, at some point, the court is going to have to think about the long term implications of congress’s decision/power. As noted before (and you already agreed that use of the tax as a penalty has been rare), if this practice were to be permitted unrestrained, congress could force people to do whatever it wanted and no one could do a thing about it (much to Dan’s delight).

    I don’t think the court will want to permit the individual mandate for the primary reason that this is one of the most conservative courts the nation has had in roughly 60 years. Indeed, statistically speaking, when measuring non-unanimous voting (err judging) by the court, nearly half of the current nine justices rank in the top ten as most conservative since 1937. Thomas is at the top, Scalia, Roberts, and Alito are 3 through 5 and Kennedy is 10. That doesn’t bode well for health care (and by the way, Obama sticking his finger in the courts’ collective eye during the state of the union didn’t help anything either). This bill is a political hot potato and its unreasonable to think the court isn’t well-aware of the much-debated intricacies of the bell.

    Your counterpoint to this claim is Gonzalez v. Raich, from “barely five years ago.” The problem, however, is that this barely-fives-years-ago-case manages to fall outside of Roberts’s and Alito’s tenure. A lot has happened within the last five years. And even more specifically, in Raich, Scalia (and maybe Kennedy too, but more likely Scalia) was caught between a conservative rock and a hard place. On the one hand he had to side with marijuana, on the other hand he had to side to intrusive congressional regulation, neither of which, I presume, were easy for him. Though it should be noted Scalia wrote a concurrence, and did not join in the majority opinion, a notable separation from the other justices. Health care, however, is not structured nearly as lose-lose as Raich for a more conservative justice like Scalia.

    “It is beyond question that health care constitutes interstate commerce”

    Maybe in terms of the overall health care system, but that’s an improper way to frame the current issue. Congress is not regulating the system, congress is forcing (or incentivizing, however you want to put it) citizens to buy in through a mandate. The mandate itself does not regulate or prohibit economic activity (health care) in any manner. The provision of health care, the instrumentalities and modes of transportation, etc. are all entirely separate and distinct from an individual mandate. The mandate doesn’t regulate this activity. Instead, the mandate is designed to regulate “inactivity,” or to regulate the absence of commercial activity. And if you are again rolling your eyes at such metaphysical tripe, keep in mind that the bread and butter of these controversial supreme court decisions are all completely run through with these fine distinctions.

    “The mandate is necessary to the efficacy of the overall regulation”

    This is, again, irrelevant to the constitutional question mainly because it’s actually not necessary for the efficacy of this so-called comprehensive regulatory scheme. Health care can still be provided to everyone without a mandate. The lack of a mandate, however, will likely make things more expensive, but that doesn’t constitute necessity, that constitutes convenience. It’s a ploy to make the plan more affordable and more palatable, but it is not necessary.

    “There are lots of things to complain about in the reform act, but it’s constitutionality is not one of them.”

    Thanks, but no thanks. While, of course, no one can be sure one way or the other how this will come out, there are substantial and legitimate grounds for an argument that the federal government has outdone itself on this one. That’s why I’m throwing in with the unconstitutional argument.

    “A spaceship just landed in my yard . . .”

    You better go check on it.

  144. Dan on April 18, 2010 at 4:21 pm

    WJ,

    but in the word we live in, this will push a lot of people into the industry that otherwise would have chosen to remain out.

    As that is exactly the point, this works out well. See, every single person in America, whether they have insurance or not, will eventually use medical services in this country. If they don’t have insurance and they go to the doctor, they have a choice to make. Either pay the massive costs or not pay. Most likely they will not pay, leaving the doctor/hospital left high and dry. Except of course that the government provides support for doctors/hospitals in such a case because those are essential services to a community. Thus the eventual cost goes to the taxpayer for those individuals who do not pay doctors for their services. Because the taxpayer eventually is at risk for paying, the taxpayer then has a right to demand a tax on everyone who chooses NOT to have health insurance who will eventually rely on the taxpayer ANYWAYS for services they won’t pay for. I don’t know any responsible person who is against this.

  145. Dan on April 18, 2010 at 4:23 pm

    Another reason is the current composition of the court (as alluded to in a prior post). You are assuming the current court will rule in the same manner as its predecessors. But this is a rather big assumption, and an unfounded one, in a couple of ways.

    Yep, you admit here, conservative judges are activist judges and do not adhere to the law.

  146. WJ on April 18, 2010 at 4:29 pm

    Brad,

    I agree with you that both parties act in their self-interest. I’m not an advocate for the Republicans. I do think, however, they were more capable of seeing the serious downsides of the health care bill than their counterparts.

    You disagree. It is what it is.

    I’m not willing to lump all officials into the same category, but I don’t believe it’s a stretch to say that most members of congress (or a significant enough number of them) are more concerned about their own ambitions than the long term interests of the country. You can’t make a case that the Democrats are innocent of this accusation any more than the Republicans (or maybe you can, that would be interesting to witness).

  147. WJ on April 18, 2010 at 4:33 pm

    Dan, try to take an argument at face value without trying to delve into all of the other assorted beliefs of its author. I understand your enthusiasm for a potential “gotcha” moment, but I’ve never made a claim that conservative judges are not activist, which you seem to assume. We’ve seen a substantially lot fewer activist conservative judges over the last half century, but they do exist.

  148. agnes on April 18, 2010 at 5:00 pm

    WJ, sorry to burst your bubble, but the current Roberts Supreme Court is by far the most activist court we’ve seen in since forever. For example, they just overturned a hundred-year old precedent.

  149. Brad Kramer on April 18, 2010 at 5:38 pm

    You can’t make a case that the Democrats are innocent of this accusation any more than the Republicans

    In general, no. In the particular case of the health care bill, however, I think the case makes itself. Congressional democrats and Obama knew that enacting this would entail serious political costs. Whereas Republicans made clear that their opposition, and in particular their rather flagrant non-cooperation, non-participation, and obstructionism, were basically acting politically. Which isn’t some huge evil—our political system is in many ways designed to reinforce such behavior. Nonetheless, in this case, you have party A which acts despite the political harm acting will likely bring it, and party B which acts primarily in the service of what it perceives to be its chance to deliver Obama his Waterloo. Yet, given the fact that party A’s unpopular actions find considerable more public support when you control for how aware the respondents are of the actual contents of the bill—across the board—party B depends for its desired political outcome on the ignorance of the angry citizenry. Again, in general I don’t think one party wears white hats when it comes to acting primarily out of political consideration, even at the expense of enacting the most beneficial policies; but in this case, accusing Democrats of acting in this manner strikes me as facially absurd. The easiest thing Harry Reid could have done to insure his reelection next fall was to scrap the bill entirely.

  150. Dan on April 18, 2010 at 6:27 pm

    WJ,

    We’ve seen a substantially lot fewer activist conservative judges over the last half century, but they do exist.

    Roberts, Alito, Thomas, Scalia.

  151. Brad Kramer on April 18, 2010 at 9:15 pm

    I don’t think Roberts is much of an activist. I also don’t think that what we’re describing here as activism is necessarily a bad thing, though I am bothered by the hypocrisy from the Right on this front.

  152. Kaimi Wenger on April 18, 2010 at 10:28 pm

    “Activist judge” is a mostly useless label — the only consistency I can see in its application is “a judge whose rulings I don’t like.”

  153. Kaimi Wenger on April 18, 2010 at 10:34 pm

    I suppose that if a judge openly ruled based on stated political preference, that would qualify. But no one really does that.

    So we’re left with activist as:

    -Someone who doesn’t give valid reasons for a decision (but this is a highly subjective assessment)
    -Someone who overturns well established past precedents. (This is a little more open to objective assessment, but still a very subjective question)

    (For instance, when Justice Stevens states in the majority opinion in Hamdan that the 1950 Johnson case (holding that German POWs had no access to U.S. courts) did not apply, was that “ignoring past precedent” or “applying the law differently to a different set of facts”?)

    -Someone whose rulings are very intrusive to other government entities (again, sometimes open to some objective assessment, but often a very subjective question)
    -Someone who makes “broad” rulings when “minimalist” rulings would be an option (a very subjective assessment)

  154. Dan on April 19, 2010 at 5:39 am

    Kaimi,

    There really aren’t any “activist” judges of any stripe. But if those on the right are going to use that as a smear against liberal judges, the same shall be returned in kind. The reason is, of course, that if that label is not countered or resisted, it tends to, over time, become the norm belief, even among liberals.

  155. Jared D on April 19, 2010 at 4:02 pm

    As a european, I believe that US healthcare provision is a shame and a slur on the people of America. Not having universal healthcare is unchristian, let’s not beat around the bush, most people’s real problem is they resent paying more taxes for the benefit of the less fortunate. However, that said, America you cannot afford it (universal healthcare) right now – you need to cut your budget defecit and end your reliance on foreign funds, goods and energy. If you do not, never mind social programs, you are in very real danger of being destroyed and losing everything.

  156. Sean on April 19, 2010 at 5:45 pm

    “Not having universal healthcare is unchristian”

    This is a remarkable statement. Governments are neither Christian nor un-Christian, at least until the Savior comes. The rhetoric on all sides of this issue is disappointing.

  157. Chris Henrichsen on April 19, 2010 at 6:12 pm

    Not sure what is more annoying:

    1. People claiming that God endorses their politics.

    2. People acting “disappointed” by the rhetoric on this post.

  158. Sean on April 19, 2010 at 6:36 pm

    Chris, I’m not going to get into personal attacks. You pointed out in several comments that others were putting you “on Satan’s side”. I was pointing out that the rhetoric goes both ways, and gets in the way of making actual progress on the issues. That’s all.

  159. Kevin Winters on April 19, 2010 at 6:44 pm

    Sean,

    I believe the claim was not that our Government was not Christian but that the particular act of not having universal healthcare is un-Christian. Unless you buy into the whole universal healthcare = socialism (i.e. is anti-democratic and anti-American), then you are misinterpreting Jared’s comment.

  160. Sean on April 19, 2010 at 6:48 pm

    Kevin, I don’t buy it. What is the “particular act of not having universal health care”? What does that mean, other than a governmental policy?

  161. WJ on April 19, 2010 at 7:48 pm

    Brad,

    “Congressional democrats and Obama knew that enacting this would entail serious political costs. Whereas Republicans made clear that their opposition, and in particular their rather flagrant non-cooperation, non-participation, and obstructionism, were basically acting politically.”

    The problem with this assessment is that the democrats believed that if they just passed the bill, no matter how controversial, by the time the elections rolled around the public outcry would have died down and they would be safe. The most obvious revelation of this view is Obama’s statement that while people oppose the bill now, once its passed they will come to appreciate it. We’ll know if this will hold true in several months, and it may well be the case, as there are a several social programs that were uber controversial when passed, and are now unquestioningly accepted by most. But frankly, I’m not convinced many of the democrats believed that the political consequences were real. We’ll know soon enough.

    What is facially absurd, however, is to assert that Republican non-cooperation was somehow flagrant. As if there is some requirement that they cooperate on a bill that they find wholly reprehensible.

  162. WJ on April 19, 2010 at 7:53 pm

    ““Activist judge” is a mostly useless label — the only consistency I can see in its application is “a judge whose rulings I don’t like.””

    I wholeheartedly agree with this assertion. Justices are all grappling to come to a conclusion that they find most appropriate. Sadly there is no “Supreme Court Decisionmaking For Dummies” to educate the justices how to rule in a completely objective and unbiased manner. They are subject to the same biases we are, and we only accuse them of activism when we don’t agree with the outcome. Of course, some activism is better than other activism (also a subjective conclusion), but its all activism just the same.

  163. Brad Kramer on April 19, 2010 at 8:21 pm

    a bill that they find wholly reprehensible.

    A bill that bears more resemblance to the alternative health care reform plan put forth by Republicans in the early 90s and to RomneyCare than it does to HillaryCare or to a market based universal system like Switzerland’s. Seriously, if in 1994 you informed 1000 political analysts that in 2010 a political party would succeed in reforming health care and laid out for them the basic contours of this bill and asked them to guess which party managed to pull it off, 999 of them would say it was a Republican bill.

    You’re up in the night if you think that Republican opposition, obstructionism, and non-cooperation here were proportional to their substantive policy concerns with the actual provisions of the bill…

  164. Iowa_Pilot on April 19, 2010 at 8:44 pm

    “Not sure what is more annoying:

    1. People claiming that God endorses their politics.

    2. People acting “disappointed” by the rhetoric on this post”

    More annoying than either: the fact that the time and energy spent on this blogtopic was spent on this blogtopic. There is NOTHING to reconcile the general theological tenets of a religion to a flawed social framework such as universal healthcare, other than a specific prophetic utterance so compelling and distict as to leave no doubt that the prophet is speaking for God. Don’t look for the First Presidency to issue a proclamation regarding your need to accept the health care bill anytime soon.

  165. WJ on April 19, 2010 at 9:54 pm

    “A bill that bears more resemblance to the alternative health care reform plan put forth by Republicans in the early 90s and to RomneyCare than it does to HillaryCare or to a market based universal system like Switzerland’s.”

    Yeah, except that now the Republicans have empirical evidence on which to base their opposition. Universal health care is no longer just a theoretical utopian notion. We’ve seen it in actual practice, in Mass for example, for which Romney was chided time and time again during the presidential elections. And we’ve seen the failure of health insurance exchanges/connections in Texas and (I believe) Tennessee and maybe another state or two. Overall, the results haven’t been stellar. Oh, and there is also the substantial deficit to consider, despite the fact that health care supporters managed to argue that this bill is one of the greatest deficit reducing measures known to man, all while keeping a straight face. Up in the night indeed.

    And while parallels to Switzerland are nice and quaint (even though the parallel quickly breaks down as the country is tiny compared to the U.S. and the administrative aspects of health care would likely be significantly more onerous in the U.S.), at last check, Switzerland has a governmental system distinct from ours, and thus has a different way of handling checks and balances than our own constitution does, again making the parallel less than persuasive.

  166. Chris Henrichsen on April 19, 2010 at 10:12 pm

    Iowa_Pilot,

    WTF are you talking about?

  167. Ardis E. Parshall on April 19, 2010 at 10:51 pm

    Nothing, Chris. Nothing.

  168. Brad Kramer on April 19, 2010 at 11:48 pm

    If you think I attempted to equate our system with the Swiss system, you need to reread my comment. I also didn’t defend the deficit implications of the bill.

  169. agnes on April 20, 2010 at 12:11 am

    Kaimi, an activist judge is one that overturns many long-standing court rulings. It’s an easy definition. Also, an activist court is one that makes rulings that make no sense at all legally to pursue a political end. I give as an example Gonzales v. Raich and US v. Morrison.

  170. Peter LLC on April 20, 2010 at 1:30 am

    a flawed social framework such as universal healthcare

    No need to throw out the baby with the bath water. Imagine where we’d be at today if Joseph Smith had had such an allergy to organized religion.

    Universal health care is no longer just a theoretical utopian notion. We’ve seen it in actual practice…. Overall, the results haven’t been stellar.

    Overall, the implementation hasn’t been stellar, so I’m not surprised.

  171. Dan on April 20, 2010 at 5:34 am

    Brad,

    #163,

    You’re up in the night if you think that Republican opposition, obstructionism, and non-cooperation here were proportional to their substantive policy concerns with the actual provisions of the bill…

    Exactly.

  172. Sean on April 20, 2010 at 9:13 am

    Iowa_Pilot, your comments aren’t helpful to this discussion either. This is what I mean Chris. Both sides could stand to tone down the absolutist rhetoric tying together religion and their views on universal health care.

  173. Ardis E. Parshall on April 20, 2010 at 9:34 am

    Sean, there’s such an enormous difference between what Chris has been saying and what Iowa Pilot said in his last that you’re unfairly condemning them together.

    One scenario under Iowa Pilot’s 164 is that a good and honest man who works hard and always pays his bills, but who is denied health insurance because of a pre-existing condition (let’s say he had the gall to survive childhood leukemia), has no right to look to any power for relief. The idea of the government stepping in to say that insurance companies cannot deny insurance to such a man is so monstrously evil, he says in his last paragraph, that it would take “a specific prophetic utterance so compelling and disti[n]ct as to leave no doubt that the prophet is speaking for God.” He demands an angel with a flaming sword before he would allow a national law to curb the financial greed of monopolistic insurance companies!

    Show me, please, where Chris (or any other proponent of health insurance reform) has asserted anything remotely equivalent on the other side.

  174. Jared D on April 20, 2010 at 12:17 pm

    A viewpoint on universal healthcare is not necessarily political – i.e. republican or democrat (I couldn’t give a hoot, about what political flag a person flies under). I am more concerned about the provision of healthcare for everyone, including the disadvantaged and desperate. If that healthcare could be provided by local communities, then it would not need to be governed by a political process. In reality, because of our imperfect human condition, we are not able to do this, and therefore provision of healthcare by the state seems to be the most viable option. I’ll stand by my premise that not providing healthcare to individuals is unchristian. Christ used the example of the Good Samaritan to explain the principle of extending care, and in that case healthcare, to everyone regardless of circumstance. The arguments I usually hear against universal healthcare talk about the evils of socialism and the restriction of agency, but in reality what I hear is ‘am I my brother’s keeper?’ and ‘The man has brought upon himself his misery; therefore I will stay my hand’. Also the argument of inefficiency of universal healthcare as an excuse not to provide healthcare is weak at best, the alternative is to let people suffer and die which—call me crazy—is surely even less effective. I don’t mean to be preachy, but I find my reading of the scriptures, difficult to reconcile with the blanket withholding of healthcare to those, who for whatever reason, might not be able to access it with their own means. Then and again, that’s what is great about the church, despite the accusations made against it of cultism and mind-control, there is scope for many interpretations and viewpoints (I am merely stating mine.

  175. Brad Kramer on April 20, 2010 at 12:46 pm

    Jared D,
    You’re missing the point. Jesus taught that fighting wars, defining marriage, sponsoring days of prayer, and protecting gun rights were the responsibility of the modern, democratic nation-state, whereas helping the poor, caring for the needy, etc., was to be left to the private sector. It was really just a rehashing of the eternal principles He fought for during the War in Heaven.

  176. Jared D on April 20, 2010 at 12:56 pm

    Brad

    sorry, must try harder.

  177. Jared D on April 20, 2010 at 1:29 pm

    I add a further apology for not closing the parentheses in #174

  178. Sean on April 20, 2010 at 3:14 pm

    “Sean, there’s such an enormous difference between what Chris has been saying and what Iowa Pilot said in his last that you’re unfairly condemning them together.”

    Ardis, I wasn’t addressing anything Chris said. Above, I addressed Jared D’s “unchristian” remark (I’m not sure what comment number it is since my browser doesn’t show the numbers). Iowa_Pilot’s remark was over the top, no question. I was including his remark, not weighing the outlandishness of each comment against one another on a scale. Chris’s comments above tend to use sarcasm and ridicule rather than equating politics and religion.

    Aside from the nature of Iowa Pilot’s remark, the issue of health reform is not a black and white issue of (a) the status quo vs (b) guaranteed universal health care at a federal level. There are a myriad of issues to consider, including: U.S. constitutionality, financial sustainability, and impact on human behavior. At one extreme, government provides no goods and services at all. At the other, government provides all goods and services. Neither one is reasonable. There are costs and benefits to every option before us. Matt referred to an Atlantic article above; I think it does a good job of expounding on the costs and benefits of various aspects of health care.

    The main problem with health care is that it’s too expensive generally speaking. This problem colors several related problems, for example: coverage becomes more elusive for individuals and families, and local communities and smaller organizations have a more difficult time financing it. True health care reform would get to the root of why it’s so expensive, addressing some of the following: tax-subsidized employer health insurance, huge barriers to entry in the health professions, and public federal programs (Medicare and Medicaid in particular) that have cost many multiples higher than original projections (resulting in price freezes and cost shifting to other payors). The unintended consequences of these past governmental policies have led to today’s problems, mainly expensive health care and health insurance.

    Jared D, I agree with much of your analysis in your recent comment at 12:17 PM. Note that you said there that “not providing healthcare to individuals is unchristian”. This is a different statement than what you said originally: “Not having universal healthcare is unchristian”. I think it is a problem that many people oppose universal health care and other social programs because they “want to be left alone”.

    But that doesn’t meant that everyone who opposes it *through a federal mandate* feels the same way. As you suggest, there are other ways to seek to provide care (health and otherwise). And we should work toward those: individuals, families, communities, and even states have much improvement here. Pushing the solution up to the federal level introduces a whole new level of complexity. To name a few: the federal government funds programs not only through taxes and debt (like states and local governments) but also the far less accountable method of the central bank printing press, people are much further detached from Washington than from their own communities, and our constitutional system of government creates a structure that looks to the most local level of government possible to address an issue.

    Sorry to be long-winded. There really is so much here that it’s difficult to tackle in a blog, especially when much of the discussion is name-calling and overly conflating religion and politics.

  179. Chadwick on April 20, 2010 at 6:27 pm

    Re Brad #175:

    You say: “Jesus taught that fighting wars, defining marriage, sponsoring days of prayer, and protecting gun rights were the responsibility of the modern, democratic nation-state, whereas helping the poor, caring for the needy, etc., was to be left to the private sector.”

    So let me make sure I understand here. The private sector isn’t caring for the poor the way they should, so the government should just butt out. Notice where this leaves the poor? Still in a not good situation.

    If only we could all care for one another. But we can’t, and we don’t. So we go with the vehicles that have the means and the power to provide what we in the so-called private sector neglect to tend to.

    I really don’t mind my taxes going up. Don’t get me wrong. I’m a CPA. Money is my life. But it’s just money. I’d rather people are allowed to come to earth and actually have a quality experience here than for me to own a boat. Or a snowmobile. Or a clown at my kid’s birthday. It’s just money. What’s not to share?

    And please spare me the undeserving schpiel. I’m not interested. Neither was King Benjamin.

  180. Brad Kramer on April 20, 2010 at 6:31 pm

    Stand down, Chadwick, my good man. I was typing sarcastically. I do think it speaks volumes of the positions I was trying to skewer that it can be difficult to distinguish their sincere expression from a lampooning thereof. Then again, maybe my lampooning skillz are just not up to snuff.

  181. Ardis E. Parshall on April 20, 2010 at 7:45 pm

    Well, gee, thanks, Sean. I’m sure that by now, after literally years of discussion of this issue, I’d never, ever, ever before realized that there were financial costs associated with health care, or that there could be any difference of opinion among reasonable people as to where the line should be drawn as far as government involvement in anything is concerned. Thank you for mentioning those ideas to me for the very firstest time.

    As bad as it is for discussants to call each other evil minions of Satan for having the slightest difference of opinion, is treating discussants as idiots by spelling out for them the most obvious, most basic elements of a debate that has been endlessly rehashed, no matter how civil the tone is.

  182. Chris Henrichsen on April 20, 2010 at 11:12 pm

    Ardis, I am very dissappointed….

  183. Chadwick on April 21, 2010 at 8:56 am

    Hey Brad! After I posted, I considered the fact that your post was perhaps in jest. Unfortunately, my computer does not have an un-post button.

    Happy to hear the post is sarcastic; sorry to report I did not pick it up at first.

    In my defense, however, I am a recent SoCal transplant now living in SLC. As such, I have gone from a world where conservatives did not believe the types of things you post, to a world where they believe the types of things you post, plus ten. I suppose I projected your words in the voice of my colleagues and neighbors here, and can easily see them saying these things with a straight face. It’s been an interesting experience to say the least.

  184. John C. on April 21, 2010 at 10:11 am

    The reason that I hate social justice is because chupacabroi use it to take advantages of our system. They come here, use up our money, and send any goats they suck back home to Mexico. We need a wall to keep the chupacabra out. Also, rednecks with rifles.

  185. Brad Kramer on April 21, 2010 at 11:16 am

    Wait, we need rednecks with rifles to keep chupacabroi out, or we need a wall to keep rednecks with rifles out?

WELCOME

Times and Seasons is a place to gather and discuss ideas of interest to faithful Latter-day Saints.