The Democratic Party’s New Name

    The Democratic Party’s New Name

    Could the Democratic Party properly be re-named the Social Democratic Party, the same as a party in Germany? US Democrats promote social, rather than individual solutions to problems they have identified. Their solutions operate through government workers dispensing money burgled from earners. They act in the public sphere. They disparage market solutions in which individuals act in their spheres, solo. Democrats are social-ists.

Could the Democratic Party properly be renamed the Christian Democratic Union, the name of another German party? No. Democrats have few adherents among voters who are religiously enthusiastic. They are the party of atheists, secular humanists, agnostics and skeptics. Voters of these types voted 80% Democratic in the 2004 election. They were more faithful, if calling them “faithful” is not to offend them or abuse the term, than religionists were to Republicans. Democrats include members from some staid sects, but few evangelicals, fundamentalists, and charismatics. They would like to pull to their voting booth more members of the Religious Right, but they have an uphill battle owing to their advocacy of abortion and homosexual marriage, and their dismissal of individual responsibility. The name Christian Democrats will not accurately describe them.

Democrats spurn the name National Socialist Party for two reasons: first, it is the full name of the 1940’s party in Germany whose acronym was the NAZI Party- the association would be fatal-; second, intellectuals in the party hesitate to accentuate the word “national”, because nationalism, that is, preferring ones own nation to that of another, is for boors and simpletons. Nationalism sometimes justifies war and war is against the Democratic Party platform. The name National Socialist Party fails.

For a name, they had best stay with Democratic Party. Everyone is in favor of democracy, though “democracy” simply means the right to vote, and even Cubans have that right.

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Middle Age

Middle Age: Things I Never Thought I Would Do

Cross my legs

Change oil regularly, align tires, buy new tires, (not $10.00 tires)

File papers

Keep receipts

Read contracts

Savor opera arias, Bartok, Shostakovich, Prokofiev, Shakespeare, poetry

Floss daily

Read the Wall Street Journal occasionally

Use legal pads

Read introductions and prefaces of books

Walk for recreation

Concern myself to learn grammar, try to make transitions between paragraphs

Wear thin, nylon socks

Close to Nature

Close to Nature

Gardiner is place where you are close to nature; rockslides, boulder fields, raging rivers. Friendly, beautiful nature. Elk, buffalo, deer and Bighorn Sheep roam in town.

Someone had propped the front door of the church open to create a draft through the building. This morning, halfway through Sunday services, while singing Sweet Hour of Prayer, a medium-sized buffalo ambled to the door. He was attracted by the tuna casserole warming in the Food Serving Area. A luncheon was to be held. His eye was glassy, big as a light bulb. His step was slow. The singing stopped. All two dozen members fled their chairs and coalesced in the far corner of the octagonal chapel. The buffalo, property of nearby Yellowstone National Park, clomped down the short hallway, into the room, unphased by the screaming. In the far corner was a window. Its lower panel had been lifted up to allow air.

The Branch President heaved the pane to its utmost. He clawed at the screen. Then he kicked it with his wingtips. Little kids spurted out. The buffalo was now in the middle of the room, headed for the food, sniffing like a dog, his enormous, black, glistening snout twitching. Some of the clot of adults broke off from the main waiting group to speed their exit through a matching window in another corner.

The fragrance of salad greens and boiled beans tempted the brute. The kitchen door was closed, but it was not going to be closed for long. The brown head lowered. The buffalo lunged forward, ripping the door off its steel hinges. It clattered to the floor of the room holding casseroles, sweet breads and ambrosia. Now the flood of smells caused a stampede among formerly contented buffalo that had been grazing on the lawn just outside the entry; another dozen heavy monsters jostled in, knocking over the podium and scrambling the chairs. The Branch president was the last one out. His ankle was crushed by one of the border buffalo that was pushing on the scrum trying to get into the kitchen.

Three buffalo crammed into the kitchen. They downed the green salad first. They butted over the pan of noodle stroganoff. The floor became slippery and they slipped onto their sides, getting noodles tangled in their manes. It was mud wrestling, buffalo-style. Lasagna and French Bread mashed into a stew. An uproar was in progress among the ten that hadn’t gotten any greens.

The members sneaked around the building to the parking lot in front, got in their cars and went home, without even waiting for closing hymn and prayer. The Branch President lurked behind the building. He gathered dried buffalo chips, arranged them in a tower just inside the open window the members had crawled through. He ripped sprigs off a sagebrush and placed them on top of the pile. He lit the pile. The smoke, especially the acrid sage, forced the mob of beasts out. They went searching for dry grass.

The Branch President went inside, put out the fire, straightened the chairs and podium, and slopped the foods from the floor of the Serving Area. He limped to his car where his wife was waiting, drove home and poured a bowl of Cheerios. It was just another day “close to nature” in the Gardiner Branch of the Church.

Snapshot of the Candidates

Each Republican and Democratic hopeful can be identified with an incident or characteristic. I read the paper infrequently, and watch no TV, except while dressing at the gym, so my one-line assessment of these candidates is barely tainted by media moguls. Here’s how I see them.

Hilary: Suffered in silence when Bill humiliated her. Could be just the president to lead the nation through a severe humiliation by terrorists.

Obama: Pretty boy of the wards of Chicago, the Tiger Woods of politics. Excessive smiling might be the best way to carry out the functions of the executive branch when you are shy on experience.

John Edwards: Good hair. Trial lawyer. Could get the nation a good settlement if the EU does something to harm us. (Who would pay?)

John McCain: Can suffer imprisonment by a Communist regime without cracking. Might also come in handy if we as a nation don’t learn to compete with China. He can lead the way, suffering.

Mitt Romney: Portrays himself as a whiz manager, rescuer of the Olympics. He’s too clean; do we really want our nation to be identified with a good family man?

Rudy: Chief commiserator, arm-around-the shoulder after NY’s terrorist attack. We may need this kind of leadership again if we don’t thwart terrorism.

So there they are, two sufferers, one suffering counselor, a trial lawyer, a slim, handsome black, and a turn-around exec. Take your pick.

Force or Freedom

Force or Freedom:

Which is compatible with the laws of heaven?

The obvious answer is Freedom. The modern welfare state operates through force, compulsion, threats and intimidation, all in opposition to the gospel, whose instruments are gentle persuasion, love unfeigned, and meekness.

The liberal program is paid for by taxes, which are taken by force, and by regulations, which come in two costumes, requirements and prohibitions. Here is a short list of programs and agencies who live only because a government agent has taken money from someone who earned it.

Low-income housing

Medicaid

Medicare

Social Security

National Public Radio

The National Endowment for the Arts

Historic Preservation programs

Child care subsidies

Children’s Health Insurance Program

Women, Infants and Children

Temporary Assistance for Needy families

Drug treatment programs

Early Childhood Intervention

Indian Health Service

Bureau of Land Management

National Park Service

Job Corps

Bureau of Indian Affairs

How do we know that the money for these programs is obtained by force? Because people don’t mail checks to these agencies. In order to get money, these agencies get the IRS to do the collecting. If it was a voluntary giving, government would not have to compel it. The Sierra Club has voluntary support, Medicaid does not.

Besides compelling the payment of taxes under threat of jail, the other liberal tool is regulation, prohibitions and requirements. You may not build a house beyond a city limit-type Growth Boundary, you may not build an office building over 30 feet high, you may not build within 150 feet of a stream, you may not pay regular wages to an employee who wants to work 30 hours one week and 50 the next, you may not mine coal, or cut certain trees on your own land, you may not close your factory without paying employees to go to college, you may not put up a big sign. Liberals author many picayune regulations; regulations are force.

Conservatives allow maximum personal choice. They expand opportunity and require responsibility. They allow owners to keep and spend their gain, whereas liberals spend other peoples’ money vicariously. Conservatives regulate as lightly as possible.

What school of thought aligns with religious teachings? The conservative one does.

  • We believe that men will be punished for their own sins and not for Adam’s transgression.”1 Each person bears responsibility for sins. The economic corollary to this is individualism and markets.

  • Urged by King Mosiah, his people opted out of the risky entrusting of public affairs to a king, for a system of judges.

  • Every man expressed a willingness to answer for his own sins.”2 We might also presume that each wanted to savor the fruits of their own successes.

  • Adam and Eve had to choose, that they might know good from evil, have seed, and”know the joy of our redemption”.3 Choice is opposite to force.

Satan planned a no-failure system assured by force. He concocted a plan under which “not one soul would be lost”.4

God’s plan was for his children to prove themselves. The earth was formed as a dwelling for His offspring. He said, “We will prove them now herewith, to see if they will do all things whatsoever the Lord their God shall command them.” 5 Some would; some would not. And each would receive glory in accordance. God allows failure, Satan blocks it.

Liberals smooth the natural consequences of failure. They want not one to fail. If students don’t study, they must still be given a free college education. Sixty hour-per-week workers must not have visibly more stuff, and better health care than thirty-five hours-per-week workers. No one should receive health care of a lesser quality just because they choose to buy skis, not health insurance. Gluttons should not pay for their own diabetes or heart disease treatment. Smokers get the same Medicare package as non-smokers. For liberals, consequences must not harm.

What do scriptures say about charity, one of the favorite subjects of liberals? Charity is commanded. But charity is from a good heart, not coordinated by the tax collector. Liberals think of welfare programs as government-mediated charity. And since they are the shepherds of activist government, they feel that it is they who are being charitable. But charity is only worthy of the name when it is volunteered. Liberals lose when charity is examined.

Examining God’s plan, we learn that men are free to choose liberty and happiness6, or captivity and death, addiction, poverty and misery. No person is left without choice. Liberals want assured outcomes. Conservatives allow choice with consequences. Liberals lose this comparison.

We might compare modes of public administration. Liberals centralize administration. They suck functions states once handled into the federal quagmire. Reflect on the Environmental Protection Agency, Housing and Urban Development, the Department of Transportation, the Department of Energy, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Health and Human Services, the US Fish and Wildlife Service.

The conservative way is to decentralize, to provide public services at the lowest possible level. A conservative wants the individual to carry his or her own burden. If trials come, family ought to assist. If family cannot, neighbors should. The city and state should be called in only as a last resort. The welfare plan of the church follows this protocol: Individual-Family-Church. A liberal cries for the federal government to solve all individual problems.

Conservatives believe in addressing problems in competing legal and legislative jurisdictions. They believe in branches of government vetoing each other. They believe states should view the federal government warily. All of these are brakes on a clumsy, distant,out-of-touch federal government. The big boy has a terrible appetite. He is obese, yet insatiable.

Samuel warned of ravenous kings.7 So did Nephi8. Noah’s tenure proves Samuel right9. Good kings are hard to find.

When good king Mosiah retired, he recommended, as we have already noted, an end to the kingly system of government10. Kings simply cannot be trusted, and neither can governments who have too much latitude. The judge system included mechanisms to restrain the judges. A judge’s opinion can be appealed to a higher judge. A higher judge’s decision can be appealed to a panel of lower judges. Even this judgment can be overturned by the vote of the people, whose voice is the highest court. Commonly the greater part of the people desire that which is right. But if the majority chooses iniquity, destruction ensue. Heaven has a veto.

The liberal tendency to centralize is like the fearful rule of kings. The conservative ideal is unobtrusive government; liberals seek powerful, all-purpose government. Mosiah’s system keeps most decisions local, at the lower judge, and provides mechanisms to restrain every officer of government. This is conservative, not liberal.

Point by point, we see that the liberal approach is out of harmony with religious teachings. Force is the “enemy of all righteousness”; freedom is the law of heaven.

Tom Burnett

March 6, 2007

1Articles of Faith

2Mosiah 29:31-38

3Moses 3:17

4Moses 4:1

5Abraham 3:25

62 Nephi 2:27

7I Samuel 8: 10-12

82 Nephi 5: 18

9Mosiah 11:1-3

10Mosiah 29: 20-29

Radical Evolution

Radical Evolution

by Joel Garreau

Book Report

02/27/07

It is written in a journalistic manner. The actors, their interests, writings and opinions, pasts and personal characteristics are interesting. But not as interesting as the moral and philosophical dimensions of the problems presented. I was more intrigued by Kass’ approach in Life, Liberty and the Defense of Dignity, and his writings on the President’s Council on Bioethics. Some of these actors were Bill Joy, Ray Kurzweill, DARPA, and Jaron Lanier.

I kept thinking about how all the inventions and tinkeringsare for the fulfillment of human desires, thinly understood. If our purpose is please, that is easy to grasp and pursue. But Lanier says that the great craving is for meaning. His hope is that the new technology will increase connections between people and so it will be fine and dandy. Increasing connections between people is his only criterion for meaning. But the connections he speaks about are shallow, reminding me of singles bar evenings, and cell phone networking, fund but flimsy, fleeting and insubstantial. Ah, insubstantial vs. substantial. They come from the word substance. Substance; that’s what we are after, and what biotechnology, engineering, drugs and nanotechnology cannot deliver. We crave to know who we are, why the earth even bothers to have people, and what we should do with our lives. “Beef: It’s What’s For Dinner”. “Meaning: It’s WhatWe Want”.

About two thirds of the way through the book, I realized that the idea of family had not come up, though a father’s concern that his daughter get biomechanical aids from the new brain/computer technology is the beginning point of the first chapter. That’s as close as we get to family until much later. This omission is glaring. Garreau’s dismissal or oversight of family tells me much of what is missing from the debate about the wisdom of employing these new technologies. Fleeting friendships and collegial associations pale compared to the substance that we know in the relationship of a family, built on marriage, forged in the fires of commitment.

To me, family is the focal point of the debate and concerns. Loss of family relations, as we have seen since the advent of birth control, and the sexual liberation, and as will only increase with the genetic technologies, is the prime worry. We will not even need to do genealogy, nor will we be able to , because our relationship to our predecessors will be so undefined. This is where we will lose meaning, and humanity.