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criminalizing dissent
Authoritarian Leftism Is Spreading

With Yale and the University of Missouri in the midst of high-profile free speech meltdowns, the national media is fixated on why left-wing college students have grown so intolerant of dissent. But far less attention is being paid to an even more dangerous example of this illiberalism: the growing determination among Democratic politicians to investigate and punish companies that dispute the majority view of scientists on climate change. New York’s attorney general Eric Schneiderman has subpoenaed documents from Exxon Mobil related to the company’s advocacy against greenhouse gas regulation, and both Sen. Bernie Sanders and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton have called for the federal government to get involved. Bloomberg View’s centrist editorial board is, appropriately, alarmed:

Regulating emissions is a job for politicians — and they’re failing. That’s frustrating, and in the absence of effective government action, there’s an added moral obligation on companies to act. Even so, engaging in scientific research and public advocacy shouldn’t be crimes in a free country. Using the criminal law to shame and encumber companies that do so is a dangerous arrogation of power.

As Jonathan Chait wrote yesterday, “it is possible—and, for many sympathizers on the left, convenient—to dismiss [the events at Yale and U. of Missouri] as just so much college high jinks.” But as the Exxon case shows, the illiberal left is not confined to college campuses—it is slowly spreading outward, and even starting to capture mainstream Democratic politicians. Campus “safe spaces” might not directly threaten America’s open society, but the same cannot be said of state and federal prosecutions of organizations for their political advocacy on one of the major public policy questions of our time. Threats to freedom of speech must be confronted wherever they arise.

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  • rheddles

    Where the left is, there is the one true threat to freedom of speech.

  • Beauceron

    With the rapidly changing demographics of our country, identity politics is going to spread like a cancer and lift the Left into a permanent majority (which is why, of course, the Left has fought so hard for illegal immigration for the past 3 decades). This is but a glimpse into our future. And it’s an ugly one.

  • Andrew Allison

    Let’s call it what it is: Totalitarianism. And please don’t blather about the majority view of scientists on climate change: the infamous 97% has long been exposed for the lie that it is (http://www.populartechnology.net/2014/12/97-articles-refuting-97-consensus.html).

    • AaronL

      You are of course right. I had the privilege of reading Professor J.L. Talmon’s book “The Origins of Totalitarian Democracy” . Here is a link to Wikipedia about the concept.

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Totalitarian_democracy

      Professor Talmon explains the differing philosophical roots of “LIberal Democracy” – (which America used to be) and “Totalitarian Democracies” like Revolutionary France and the Soviet Union.

      Liberal Democracies are based on liberal philosophers like John Locke and their belief is that there are few objectively determinable right paths, but rather that Democracies are made up of competing interests which should try to be balanced, in which the majority must ultimately decide the path but in which there are certain rights that even the majority can’t abrogate , e.g. The Bill of Rights.

      Totalitarian Democracy believes that the “right path” is an objective truth that can be determined by logical thought and that if you don’t agree then your rights can be ignored.

      The U.S. is rapidly moving from the path of classic Liberal Democracy to Totalitarian Democracy. The U.S. Constitution is the last defense to this and if you don’t defend it, and I am saying the as a American-Israeli living in Israel, than centuries of the gradual development of freedom and America and the whole free world will go down the tubes.

  • WigWag
  • Boritz

    “Threats to freedom of speech must be confronted wherever they arise.”

    This statement is now on a par with other unrealizable “must” statements such as Israelis and Palestinians must work together or Putin must behave responsibly.

    • Jim__L

      Not really. Your other two examples deal with agents Americans have no control over. There are still powers that regular Americans can use to confront threats to free speech. Speaking freely, for one.

      Join up with #NationalOffendACollegeStudentDay — keep its spirit alive every day!

  • Robert Bennett

    It is time to tell it like it is. These are the policies of fascism. Give it time and it will lead to concentration camps and eventually exterminations for the ‘good of society”. This must be stopped now. I note that even some long term leftists are begining to recognize the monster they have created.

    • John WB

      Very reminiscent of how the Nazis seized control of Germany in the 1930’s. That’s exactly what these people are Nazis.

  • FriendlyGoat

    You’re expecting NO ONE to try to control corporations?

    • M Snow

      No, I’m expecting elected government officials to respect the First Amendment. If they don’t like what Exxon Mobil has to say, counter their arguments. Don’t try to shut them up using government force.

      • FriendlyGoat

        Exxon Mobil does not (constitutionally) have First Amendment rights.

        • CosmotKat

          The people who are employed by Exxon do and ultimately a corporation is largely made up of citizens and these citizens have a voice.

          • FriendlyGoat

            There is nothing wrong with employees or stockholders “speaking” their minds about anything—–people literally speaking or writing. There is A LOT wrong with the amplification and repetition which goes with any incorporated entity “messaging” anything on a large scale. This is why the founders did not put any such rights in the Constitution.

          • CosmotKat

            “There is A LOT wrong with the amplification and repetition which goes with any incorporated entity “messaging” anything on a large scale.”
            Why? The founders did not put any such limitations in the first amendment that would disallow the opinions of people who are represented by a corporation. How does this differ from any other organization such as unions to voice their opinion on such things a minimum wage. You are making a two-faced political argument.

          • FriendlyGoat

            A union is an incorporated entity too. It certainly would not be a problem to limit the messaging rights of unions if we were limiting the messaging rights of commercial corporations and those corporations formed just for (mostly political) messaging.

            Curiously, the founders never mentioned corporations at all in the Constitution. That can only be explained by such entities being thought somewhat unimportant.

          • Tom

            Technically speaking, they never mentioned churches or houses of worship, either, nor did they mention charities, or many other types of specific organizations.
            Your argument from silence is really reaching.

          • FriendlyGoat

            Most churches or houses of worship in the founders’ time were not incorporated entities. Today they all are. This also calls into question whether individuals have the exclusive right to worship as they please, or whether the incorporated churches themselves have a right to worship—–as though an incorporated entity even is capable of thought at all.

            My point is that the founders frankly had no idea how nearly everything in a distant future would seek corporate status for limited liability (and tax-exemption purposes in the case of churches). As a result they simply neglected to address corporations at all in the Constitution. We imagine these guys were all-knowing, but, of course they were not.

          • Tom

            Joint-stock companies existed at the time. And, logically speaking, an incorporated entity is capable of thought, as its component parts are capable.

          • FriendlyGoat

            But we can only conclude that the founders believed the joint-stock companies of the time had no rights worth mentioning in the Constitution. I think the absence of any reference is EXTREMELY telling of the mindset.

          • Tom

            For that, we go to the 9th Amendment, which flatly says that just because we didn’t mention it doesn’t mean it’s not a right.
            You’re flip-flopping in your argument, by the way.

          • FriendlyGoat

            You mean “The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people” has something to do with corporations? What would that be?

          • Tom

            You’re a smart guy.

          • FriendlyGoat

            I’d like for us to be smart together.

          • Jim__L

            If I may… the 10th amendment directly states that silence on the part of the Founders means that the Federal Government ***should not be involved***.

            “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.”

            If you disagree with their silence, that’s what the Amendment process is for. And that process is difficult for a reason.

          • FriendlyGoat

            There are currently people on the far right who wish to use an amendment to turn back the current gay marriage ruling which they perceive as not representing the will of the people. I have the similar feeling that rights given to incorporated entities through court rulings did not represent the expressed will of people.

          • Dale Fayda

            The gay “marriage” ruling existing overturned the laws of over half the states, which were passed by these states’ elected representatives through legislation and sometimes even by popular mandate (see Proposition 8 in deep blue CA). The decision was 5 – 4 in favor of gay “marriage”. In other words, it was imposed on the country in opposition to the expressed will of well over half the population by (5) unelected liberal justices. Fact.

            The Citizens United decision did nothing even remotely close to this. The United States Supreme Court held that the First Amendment prohibited the government from restricting independent political expenditures by a nonprofit corporation. The principles articulated by the Supreme Court in the case have also been extended to for-profit corporations, labor unions and other associations. That’s it – a tweak to the existing campaign contribution rules. Note – labor unions fall under this decision as well.

            But you knew all this, didn’t you? And I KNOW you are able to see the difference in the two decisions.

            Despite what your ilk bleats on the daily basis, “corporations” don’t control the government; the government controls them. A single rule change by the EPA can ruin an industry (see coal) and a few lines of text in Medicare reimbursement guidelines can (and does) drive million dollar companies into bankruptcy. Of course, since the US Federal government is corrupt, vicious and incompetent, it does a crappy job of it, just like it does in every other sphere of action. But that’s a conversation for another day.

            More importantly, no corporation may confiscate my property, my assets and my freedom. No corporation can mandate what I must buy, no corporation can detain me on a trumped up charge or deprive me of citizenship and no corporation can take my life with impunity. But the government can! It can and it does, all the time, ruining people’s lives with a stroke of some parasitic bureaucrat’s pen and wasting untold hundreds of billions (trillions?) of our dollars in the process every year.

            I’m not the least bit scared of “corporations”, but I am very much afraid of my government, especially when run by your kind.

          • FriendlyGoat

            When I spoke of corporate “rights” as persons as conferred by courts (rather than voters), I was speaking of more than just Citizens United. The root problem goes back to an 1886 case called Santa Clara v. Southern Pacific, without which Citizens United could probably not have been decided as it was (5-4).

            But since you mentioned Citizens United, there is a report out on a recent Bloomberg poll (http://www.occupydemocrats.com/new-poll-finds-everybody-hates-big-money-in-politics-republicans-democrats-and-ind)

        • rheddles
    • Andrew Allison

      No, we simply expect corporations and so-called “progressives” to respect the Constitution and the Rule of Law. Left-wing totalitarianism is an offense against both.

      • FriendlyGoat

        If corporations respected the Constitution, corporations would not pretend to be people. You may be old enough to remember the old commercial for Trix cereal. “Trix are for kids (not rabbits)”. The rights of the Constitution are for people, not corporations.

        • Andrew Allison

          Under the law, Corporations are, in fact, people. If you don’t like that, change the law, don’t break it.

          • FriendlyGoat

            “Under the law”, it is impossible for a paper entity to “in fact” be a person.

          • Andrew Allison

            “As a matter of interpretation of the word “person” in the Fourteenth Amendment, U.S. courts have extended certain constitutional protections to corporations. Some opponents of corporate personhood seek to amend the U.S. Constitution to limit these rights to those provided by state law and state constitutions.” Like it or not, it’s the law.

          • FriendlyGoat

            Yes, I am aware of the court interpretations. And I am in the camp in favor of rolling them back either by amendment or by reversal in other cases—-the latter being the most likely route. It’s one thing for a corporation to be treated “like a person” so it can be an equal party to a transaction with a person or another corporation. It is quite another thing for this to be extended to rights afforded to persons in the Constitution. Corporations are “in fact” paper entities created by statute—-and nothing else. This issue is in the top half dozen defining differences between us liberals and you conservatives.

          • Andrew Allison

            It pains me to have to constantly point out to you that somebody who doesn’t share your views is not necessarily a conservative. In fact, I despise the the far right almost as much as I despise the increasingly totalitarian left, but at least they don’t advocate trampling on the Constitution and the Rule of Law.

          • FriendlyGoat

            But you’ll vote with the conservatives and against the liberals.

          • Andrew Allison

            Wrong again. Besides which, as this post points out, there’s nothing “liberal” about the left.

          • FriendlyGoat

            At least I disclose what side I’m on and do not pretend to be on some imaginary side that does not exist in practice.

          • Jim__L

            Unless someone really does go with the talking points herd (and I’ve seldom met anyone who does, completely), most “sides” have no more than one or two people on them. The combinations of different takes on different issues are too many, and if you count gradations of opinion, the number of possibilities becomes truly staggering.

            That’s why the much-desired “centrist party” in American politics never quite coalesces, and explains why politicking seems to be an eternal quest to woo a sufficient number of anything-but-monolithic swing voters.

          • FriendlyGoat

            It’s certainly true that some conservatives are only mostly conservative and can find “something” to be liberal on and vice versa. In my own case, I consider myself quite liberal but I am not “open-minded” enough to be sympathetic to Islam AT ALL. I would like to be kind to Muslims (the ones who are not trying to kill us, that is)—-AND be in a never-ending messaging war with the message that Mohammad is not any kind of prophet period. I do not believe in any tolerance for the BS of it—-but some liberals evidently do..

            The “talking points herd”, as you called our organized (generally incorporated, BTW) political voices, does not help us be good thinkers. We are not well-served by purchased repetitions of short ads ringing in our ears—–but that’s what we get for allowing corporations to have the rights of people when nothing of the sort was ever intended by our founders. We have invited the equivalent of robots to rattle our brains—-and, sure enough, we’re rattled.

          • Jim__L

            Propaganda posters, political pamphlets (which were formerly known as “libels”), short ads… there is very little truly new under the sun. I am still not convinced that corporate money in politics is the be-all end-all.

            I am honestly more concerned with the education of those who are going to expect to be our future ruling class. Educating them correctly now would save our country enormous heartache (and possibly even bloodshed) compared to removing these ideas (or the people who hold them, or their heads) from power 20 years from now.

          • FriendlyGoat

            You believe you will need to remove liberal ideas, liberal people or liberal people’s heads from power positions? Or do I misunderstand your idea of educating “correctly”? Or maybe you misunderstand something? Good grief.

          • Jim__L

            Freedom of speech is worth fighting for. Simple as that.

          • FriendlyGoat

            The freedom of speech is not being removed. We know that because nearly everything is now prefaced with eff—- in some quarters—–arguably most quarters. That is a manner by which we all insult sex every day by applying the slang inappropriately to everything we DON’T like. What a marvelous use we make of free speech. We certainly don’t need any help with matters of expression.

            That personal editorializing aside, the most pressing defenses for “free speech” seem to be coming from people who want to retain an absolute right to speak critically of others—-all the while claiming we have a problem with a culture war because of too much “free speech” granted to the corporations constantly polluting us.

          • Jim__L

            Again, it seems like we’re seeing / emphasizing totally different aspects of the same issue.

            Students today are learning that stifling debate is OK, but stifling profanity is not. We are being offered something of trivial value in exchange for something profound… exchanging your soul for Wales, again.

          • FriendlyGoat

            We “see and emphasize totally different aspects of the same issue” because we are partisan or polarized. At least, I know I am. But the reason I am (here in the comment section—-not so much in real life) is because I perceive that the Left in many places is simply being steam-rolled by the Right. Talk radio and Fox News have been on the air for over two decades. My hobby is to use my little un-amplified voice to argue against the wave of what I perceive as smoke rolling in.

            As for stifling profanity, we can’t. We can only wait and hope for a pendulum shift away from “the eff” in particular, maybe just because everyone gets tired of it. As for our subject here, I’m still stuck on your characterization that we need to educate people “correctly” as though that itself would not be “stifling debate”. I’m also still concerned about “removing their heads”.

          • Jim__L

            For the record, I don’t partake of either Talk Radio or Fox News.

            An interesting anecdote — once I was in the middle of a news story, and it was fascinating to be in he position of knowing far more about the situation than any news outlet that was covering us. The Fox News writeup included about 12 facts, of which 1 was incorrect. The NPR writeup, on the other hand, included only 4 facts, *3* of which were incorrect.

            Only one datapoint, I know, but it was the only case I could use to personally verify which outlet was better.

          • FriendlyGoat

            I’m glad you don’t partake of talk radio and Fox News. For the record, I don’t listen to NPR or MSNBC, although I do like several things on PBS TV, especially the PBS News Hour, Charlie Rose, Frontline, Nova, and Religion & Ethics.

            As for Fox, I don’t criticize them for their straight-up news so much. Their opinion people bother me greatly as I remember them 4 years ago before moving and ditching cable. Just as my local city newspaper pretended to be balanced but had an undertone GOP spin (dropped them too, finally) I really don’t suffer Hannity and Bill O’Reilly well and believe their saturation is regrettable for the USA.
            Neither would I recommend anyone “living” on MSNBC.

            As for the campuses, I opined the other day on American Interest that people who are mad at too much perceived “PC” at colleges need only get the athletes (football in particular) on their side to complain about it. I happen to believe we nationally follow our athletes more than any of us admit.

          • Jim__L

            So where do you live? I get the idea that it is someplace very, very different than Silicon Valley.

          • FriendlyGoat

            Rural New Mexico. I call myself FriendlyGoat because we actually do have real goats who are quite friendly. Yes, everything here is very different from Silicon Valley.

            The paper I was complaining about is the Albuquerque Journal, the largest in this state.

    • Comrade Pootie

      This type of movement is inable to do that. They hate capitalism by default

      • FriendlyGoat

        It’s hard for ANY kind of movement to do that—-which is the reason lots of approaches are needed.

        • Comrade Pootie

          Thing is, groups like these exist for confrontation, not solutions.

          • FriendlyGoat

            So tell me about solutions.

          • Jim__L

            Scientific papers that are incorrect are resolved by presenting other scientific papers critical of the approach of the original paper. Prosecutors should not participate in policing shoddy science.

            If you are saying they should, you are saying social science faculties around the country should be thrown in prison. Which would probably get you some upvotes here at TAI, come to think of it. 😉

          • FriendlyGoat

            Are you talking about the ones from Berkeley, or the ones from Liberty University? “Social Science” is “all over the spectrum”.

          • Jim__L

            The social science spectrum has a very, very high spike at the Red end.

          • FriendlyGoat

            That needs clarification. If you’re talking about an increase in interest in the social sciences at the red end, I’d be interested in hearing about it. If you’re talking about the tip of some imagined spear, you’re going nuts.

          • Jim__L

            Spectrum analyzer reference.

            Reference to severe Leftist tilt to social “sciences”…

            http://blog.acton.org/archives/75202-yep-social-sciences-really-biased-conservatives.html

          • FriendlyGoat

            If we take it as axiomatic that liberals disdain the views of (modern political) conservatives, isn’t it equally true that conservatives are not very tolerant of admitted liberals? I know from some experience in comment sections after all, that my talking the liberal line is not particularly appreciated.

            As for the “science” of observing societies—-one simple definition of social sciences—–if the conservatives’ world views were correct, why wouldn’t the social scientists have mostly agreed by now that that’s the case?

          • Jim__L

            Answer to your first question – there is a difference between intellectual understanding of another’s views (which conservatives have of Leftist fantasies), and agreement (which we do not.) That particular issue is something that inflames Leftists to the point of shutting down businesses and hounding people out of academia, when Leftists gain power.

            Social Scientists’ methods are not rigorous. It is standard practice in those fields to gain fame and standing by rigging experiments, exaggerating noise in data, or faking data entirely to “prove” provocative and transgressive positions. Contrarianism against conservative positions is the rule, because their funding and notoriety depend on it. That’s the answer to your second question.

          • FriendlyGoat

            When (some) liberals get haughty, roll their eyes, and call conservatives dumb, disingenuous, or both, the conservatives often have a negative reaction. Would you be surprised if I suggested that liberals have both brains enough and emotions enough to do likewise? Your side claiming to “understand our fantasies” is both a slap and a crock—-if you didn’t know.

            Conservatives are free to disprove all liberal theories using all the rigorous methods they can think of. I’m more used to right-side “social science” conclusions such as 1) we can deport all the undocumented immigrants and then let the good ones come back,
            2) USA wages are too high, 3) a Tithe Tax will work fine in America, 4) Health Savings Accounts will protect everybody from financial ruin by illness or injury, 5) corporations are people, 6) tax cuts create jobs, 7) human-caused climate change is a hoax, 8) evolution is a hoax. (There are reasons for liberals’ contrarianism.)

          • Jim__L

            Sorry about using the word “fantasy”… old habits die hard sometimes.

            Addressing your points… (trying to use the principle, “Never deny, seldom affirm, always distinguish”)

            1) May not be feasible, but you have to start somewhere. Doing nothing is not a good option, and if a government does not look after the interests of its own citizens first, what good is it? That’s basic Social Contract stuff. Some deportations will probably be necessary; starting with criminals is not a bad idea (sanctuary cities are a bad idea).

            2) US wages are *uncompetitively* high; it would be nice if that were not the case. That’s why I advocate unionizing China and other low-wage countries, although that idea seems to gain little traction here.

            3) If the functions of the federal government were limited to what’s explicitly in the Constitution, Federal taxes could be reduced to 10% of American income. I am aware of the implications of those sorts of limitations, and aware that they are frequently glossed over by tithe tax advocates.

            4) Health Savings Accounts must be combined with Catastrophic Insurance policies. I’m not sure I’ve ever seen anyone argue otherwise, though various speakers may neglect to mention the two together.

            5) People individually have free speech. There is no reason for those rights to be abrogated because people are participating in a corporation.

            If this is about money in elections, see my earlier points on the limits of the efficacy of that. If it’s about money directed to the legislative process, that’s what bribery and corruption laws are for. If you want to talk about exercising those more effectively, that could be a useful conversation. Also, please consider the role of an unlimited impulse to “supervise” (regulate, fine, imprison) on the drive to commit regulatory capture, and the fact that bureaucrats alone (or worse, influenced by special-interest groups) often have no sense of business realities whatsoever.

            6) Tax cuts have the potential to allow industries that are poised to expand, to expand. Tax increases (and minimum wage hikes) can (and do) eliminate the economic rationale for marginally productive jobs.

            7) AGW, as it is argued in the media, (and frequently as it is argued between the scientifically literate, who should know better) has more the character of a revealed truth or peer pressure than scientific inquiry. For me personally, I’ve used too many stochastic models to trust them. They are in no way truth tests, as the AGW crowd relies on to “prove” their point. Skepticism is perfectly justified.

            8) Creationists are frankly harmless, and persecution of them is mean-spirited intellectual snobbery — especially when you consider the damage that Darwinism has done to humanity, from Eugenics alone. (Throw in the teleological ideologies of the 20th century, and the Darwinist bodycount easily clears 100 million.)

            Show me someone who wants to be a doctor or pharmacist who denies evolution on religious grounds, and I’ll say, “OK, so what?”. If you can actually manage to show me someone who wants to be an engineer who denies F = ma on religious grounds, *then* I’ll say that could disqualify him. I haven’t seen it happen yet.

          • FriendlyGoat

            1) “Some deportations will probably be necessary” has been on-going action in the Obama administration. See http://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2014/10/02/u-s-deportations-of-immigrants-reach-record-high-in-2013/

            2) I’m glad you advocate unionizing China and any other low-wage countries. A big push on that from Americans would help remind us why unions are not all evil.

            3) There is no good reason on earth to limit the functions of the USA government to the list specified in the Constitution. Nothing would happen from that other than rich people getting much richer, poor people getting much poorer and nearly everything important being either ignored or addressed ineptly.

            4) HSA’s have little value or purpose for people who have no money to put in them. They are a dandy form of self-insurance for people who have money and need a tax shelter.

            5) I’d like your #5 better if you stopped at the first five words.
            That’s the Constitution’s position, after all.

            6) If an employer’s jobs were “minimally productive”, he/she/it would not be too worried about income taxes—–because he/she/it would have little or no income to tax. If we were REALLY seeing tax-cut money spent on expansion, we would not have had stagnation of wages, the recession of 2008, the seven years of zero interest rates, the multiple QE operations of the printing press—–BECAUSE—–we DID have tax cuts in spades and they do not/ did not/ will not work as advertised.

            7) I’ve decided to pay attention only to the words and actions of profit-making corporations (including property insurers) on the AGW issue. If they are prepping for AGW effects, it’s real. The rest of the debate will be Rachel Maddow vs. Sean Hannity for the purpose of selling TV ads.

            8) I have no desire to persecute creationists. The problem is when creationists attempt to persecute everyone else by stipulating in politics and education that everything not fitting with Genesis is a lie. You and I both know we have this going on all the time and actually used mostly to advance the Republican policies of tax cuts and de-regulation of business practices—-often with the creationists just used as unwitting stooges.

          • Jim__L

            1) Of course, all this depends on how much “some” is. Whatever level of deportation is necessary to serve as a deterrent is the “some” I’m referring to.

            2) Unions have wrecked their brand, by insisting on crazy work rules and being some of the most fanatical D-donors in the country. If they instead had a brand that focused on excellence and a budget that focused on member training instead of political activism, there would be a LOT more support for them.

            3) Your statement is loaded up with so many vague ideological generalities I’m not sure where to begin. The idea that only people as many as 3000 miles away know best is absurd on the face of it, as is the idea that 500-odd congresscritters, a handful of staggeringly arrogant judges, and a narcissistic executive can do more for 300+ million people than we can do for themselves is not just absurd, it is offensive.

            4) My original point about HSAs and catastrophic insurance stands.

            5) See the 10th amendment for the rest of the Constitution’s position.

            6) *Marginally* productive jobs are jobs whose benefit to a company barely covers the company’s expenses for employing them. These are eliminated when taxes or mandatory wages go up.

            Picture someone who’s self-employed realizing that they can’t afford to, say, live in Silicon Valley because the money they bring in doesn’t cover living expenses. Forcing them to stay in that situation is untenable (and in the personal case, even a bit cruel.)

            As far as the obstacles facing American economic expansion and wages that have nothing to do with tax policy go, I’ll refer you to my previous posts on the subject. There are significant (overwhelming) countervailing forces that your generality about tax policy fails to take into account.

            7) I’ll go ahead and bite — corporations are wrong sometimes. =) Particularly corporations chasing massive Green subsidies.

            8) That’s like saying politicians who are genuinely Cubs fans shouldn’t let on in public that they are Cubs fans if Leftists disagree with their politics, because that might appeal to other Cubs fans.

            Again, we have a case where people are at least as aware as you are of what’s going on, they just have priorities different than yours. Frequently that is a majority. This will happen in a pluralistic society.

            As an aside, I suspect that if the Eugenics sections of the textbook that Scopes was teaching from were read during performances of “Inherit the Wind”, Lawrence and Lee’s little propaganda piece would have a dramatically different effect on audiences.

          • FriendlyGoat

            G-morning, Jim. Just noticed your current reply. I’m probably going to be delayed a few hours. Will be back.

          • FriendlyGoat

            1) Somehow, with the Obama administration’s quantity of deportations, I’m just not convinced we need the GOP for this.

            2) When the business community turns off its political-money spigot, the unions will too. Members are not all that nutty about giving money to political ads. But losing national elections by default is not a natural tendency for workers—-considering the always-high stakes for them to lose money and rights at the hands of the GOP.

            I still think your advocacy of unionizing the workers of other countries is interesting for a variety of reasons.

            3) It’s not my intent to be offensive in simply noting that states do not do NEARLY as good a job at protecting human rights as the federal government does. They likewise are not up to big tasks of other kinds on their own. You just don’t regulate aviation from state capitals when the planes fly over state lines.

            4) I know conservatives like HSA’s. I personally think they are overblown—–basically because we currently use our insurers on the lower-level claims to keep the providers’ pricing in line. My wife has routine blood tests every year for her doctor’s use in prescribing heart maintenance meds (heart attack 15 years ago, now doing very well). This year’s lab work was priced at $202.85 which the Blue Cross administration of the claim knocked down to $21.27 as the “allowable” charge for the test. Seriously, those are actual numbers from a month ago—retail price “discounted” by 89 1/2% by the mechanism of insurance. If/when claims are paid out of HSA’s exclusively, no one will get the “hammers” we have now to knock the prices down. Everyone says that people paying their own initial claims would drive pricing down. I think the opposite is more likely.

            5) The tenth amendment does not speak to corporations being people for the purposes of “speech”. I would feel confident, though, in saying that if that issue had been left “to the people”, corporations would not be people. That’s because a recent poll of both Democrats and Republicans has revealed that only 17% of people in both parties agree with the Citizens’ United ruling. BUT, even though the tenth amendment makes mention of leaving issues to the states or to the people, we really do not have a national mechanism for people to decide anything. Obviously we could not function if 50 states were individually deciding whether corporations are people or not.

            6) I have never been sold on the idea that corporations eliminate jobs when their income tax rates go up. I think they run with the people they need to fill the orders they have, period.

            7) Some corporations may be right or wrong in their prepping plans. I’m just saying that we would be better served to know what State Farm and Monsanto think of climate change than to hear conservative talk radio argue with the Sierra Club about it.

            8) Some people believe that the teachings of Jesus about how we should treat each other DEPEND UPON whether the Genesis creation account is literally true in its plainly-stated detail. I don’t.

            We can apply “love your neighbor as you love yourself” as a moral standard and a foundation for human rights, including a prohibition on excessive ideas from Eugenics, without telling people that everything conflicting with Genesis is a lie. We have already (thanks to Jesus) tossed the ideas of animal sacrifice and stoning people, and we can keep the best from Him without having to believe other OT ideas that become more unlikely with each year of scientific discovery. Political insistence on literal Genesis creation is almost always associated with the tax-cut and anti-regulation agendas of Republicanism and that’s why I think creationists are off base. If they had any discernment they would not align their creation beliefs with the rest of the questionable nature of modern political conservatism.

          • Jim__L

            1) If it stops being a problem, it stops being a problem.

            2) Discerning union members are currently wondering whether supporting the race- / gender-obsessed D-side is really going to help them. Happy to hear you like the international unionization idea. Gosh, between that and the common ownership of the means of production through 401(k)s, I’m sounding like a commie, aren’t I? 😉 Seriously, though, I think there’s still more oomph in Fordism than TAI believes, but it takes some creativity to find it. =)

            3) I suspect we’re simply going to disagree on what aspects of life really need DC interference.

            4) “Big hammer” negotiation doesn’t require DC. Wal-Mart (and other private enterprises) manage that just fine. What you’re describing is the irrationality of the pricing system in the healthcare market. A bit of transparency there, and allowing consumers to shop around, would go a long way to solving that problem. No DC required.

            5) We actually *do* function with different state laws applying to companies. In fact, consolidating laws at a national level helps the biggest-scale business most.

            6) If a company can’t profitably fill an order, they have to renegotiate the order or take a loss (and stop taking orders like that). If a customer can’t afford to make an order because a vendor’s costs have gone up, the customer won’t make the order. (Or more frequently, it will place the order with a foreign company with lower costs.) US employment hurts, in any of these cases.

            7) So… State Farm increases premiums (increasing their profits), and Monsanto develops heat-tolerant strains (as they already are, to take advantage of new arable land in the tropics.) Neither convinces me that AGW is the sole reason for their actions. Making this sort of show is certainly the path of least resistance, considering the government coercion that AGW zealots want to apply.

            8) I’ve heard the argument that if humans are not God’s creation (instead we’re simply a product of random processes) that undermines the rationale for following Christ’s morality, and encourages Thrasymachus’ “to the victor, the spoils” justice (see Plato’s Republic). I think Creationists have a point there. Darwinism certainly lends philosophical support to tyrannical behavior in individuals (and corporations) in both Big Business and winner-take-all Big Government.

          • FriendlyGoat

            We’re not going to agree on all these eight points. I think I’ll just skip to number eight. A lot of people believe we are God’s creation without being stuck on the “every word of the Bible is literally true” thing—-to include literal 6-day creation on a timeline that works backwards in time about 6,000 years based on stated family lineages in the Bible.

            To me, Jesus is more beautiful to us for what he fixed with respect to religion than for being the glue between modern people and the OT.
            Some people believe that stories of the virgin birth, walking on water, turning water into wine and so forth are necessary for us to see him as a savior. Not me. Anyone who could pluck Deuteronomy 6:5 and Leviticus 19:18 out of the known scripture of the time and elevate them over everything else (613 Jewish commandments, they say) has worked miracle enough for me.

            I really, seriously don’t know why many of the church people are not more attuned to the attitude of Pope Francis on social affairs. To my way of thinking, he is doing his best to model Jesus to an entire world—and I’ve run into several conservatives who don’t like him. (I was personally in several different Christian churches for 2/3 of my life until we entered the era of churches being politically allied with Reaganomics and the rest of the “right” agenda. Didn’t work for me. Still doesn’t. So I ditched them and kept Jesus. For the record, not all liberals are atheists.)

          • Jim__L

            In terms of religious peoples’ political leanings, it’s a matter of giving different weights to different aspects of the same situation. Social conservatives see values as more important than economic ideology, even if the economic ideology holds some monetary benefit for us. (Middle Class culture says that those values are of economic benefit, and to a great extent it’s right.)

            Even if someone could produce a fully integrated, calibrated scale to calculate trade-offs between values and economics, consider the question — What economic bribe would you accept to look the other way when millions of babies are being killed? What economic cost would you bear to ally with someone who would stop it? On top of this, many have a severe distrust of “progressive” governance in terms of religious freedom, a distrust which has been more than fully justified in the past year.

            What should Christians think of Social Justice — inequality, preferring the poor, etc? Not too much. See John 21:22, which could be sensibly be construed to mean, “What is it to you if someone else has benefits you do not? Does that stop you from following Christ?” Then look at Leviticus 19:15 — “Do not pervert justice; do not show partiality to the poor or favoritism to the great, but judge your neighbor fairly”.

            That said, it’s an incompetent theologian that can’t come up with verses that speak highly of giving to the poor — “Whoever is kind to the poor lends to the LORD, and he will reward them for what they have done.” (Prov 19:17), “Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.” (Matthew 25:40), “But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving may be in secret. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.” (Matthew 6:3-4). An important question — is all of this government’s job? No, not really.

            Democrats are not on the side of “undomesticated” religion, religion that follows its own conscience apart from what the Democrats think that conscience must be. Using basic political logic, why should religion be on the side of Democrats? It shouldn’t. Period.

            In terms of Christ’s impact on Mosaic Law… there’s a very useful area of theological discussion, that talks about the necessity of and the seeming paradox of both the Law and the Gospel. This point was one of Luther’s 95 Theses, and is fundamental to Protestantism — sin, indulgences, forgiveness, grace. (Law/Gospel duality is also fundamental to Western Culture, permeating even our music and literature with patterns of dissonance and resolution).

            The reason many conservatives are skeptical of Francis is because he appears to be neglecting the Law. Christ Himself said not one iota of the Law is to be changed (although it is both critical and relevant to today’s debates to note His take on where corruption comes from — inward urges, not eating the “wrong” food). The Law should be followed, both out of gratitude for Christ’s sacrifice for us, and also because that Law is an expression of God’s love for us.

            OK, that all was somewhat rambling, but it gives you some idea of what I think are the important aspects of the debate, even if there isn’t a sharply drawn thesis.

          • FriendlyGoat

            You have explained your theological views and I have explained mine. I don’t think it would be either tasteful or productive for me to argue with yours. When one of us likes Francis and one not so much, we’re not going to bridge that because it a basic disconnect in what witnesses to your spirit and what witnesses to mine.

            As for abortion, the notion that church people must “bear an economic cost to ally with someone who will stop it” is one of the most telling things I have ever heard with respect to the sick relationship between Republicans and church people. The church folks have supplied votes for ridiculous tax cuts at the top end for decades —-cuts which have completely screwed people and the entire economy and you STILL have abortion. You have six Catholics on the Supreme Court now who are not going to overturn Roe. You will ALWAYS have abortion—-either legal or done illegally. No one is going to “stop it”. The church people have indeed borne an economic cost on this and shoved it down the throats of everyone else as well. They have been tricked in election after election for most of my life and we have no reason to believe 2016 will be any different.

          • Jim__L

            We will always have theft and murder as well. Is that a reason to repeal laws against them? Of course not; no more than the fact that they’re part of religion is a reason not to have laws against them. Making something illegal makes it more rare, even if it can’t eliminate it.

            In terms of GOP political cynicism, we’ll see. The courts follow popular opinion among the top 10% more than anyone would like to admit, and popular opinion on the subject is changing. Besides, any court case that rules against Roe will be under relentless attack, and will need defending (which can attract votes too.) And, as I’ve said before, the financial benefit of confiscatory taxes is not as great as you imagine.

            Respectfully, I think it would be very interesting to see which passages of Scripture you base your priorities on.

          • FriendlyGoat

            To your last sentence, I already told you. Jesus, when asked, identified the two most important commandments as loving God (Deut. 6:5) and loving neighbors (Lev. 19:18), adding that all the law and teachings of the prophets depend upon these two, also adding the story of the Good Samaritan to illustrate who is neighbor to whom.

            The remarkable thing about this is that Lev. 19:18 in the context of what surrounds it closely in our Bible most certainly would not be suspected by most people as one of the two “most important” things.
            Absolutely no one in the religious establishment of His time thought that the 611 other Jewish commandments “hang on” (KJV) those two. The more official pronouncement of the Ten Commandments and much of the prescribed law with respect to worship and sacrifice were thought much more important.

            As far as I’m concerned, Jesus came along and completely upended religious priorities—in His time and ours. Some people in some churches today are much more adamant about defending their belief that “every word of the Bible is literally true” than in concentrating on the root of what the whole thing is to be about according to Jesus.

            If you asked any of those if they are concerned about the sin of breaking the “law” described in Lev. 19:19 (the VERY NEXT verse after one of the top two) by wearing a polyester-cotton blend shirt—two kinds of material—-most of them would say “Of course not”.
            And I say, we are not to confound ourselves dwelling on the futile attempt to reconcile every scripture verse to all the others—-we are to dwell on the substance of loving all of our neighbors.

            That’s my scripture nutshell. (Obviously, I also could point to a lot of other scripture that I “like”—-as everyone can who appreciates Jesus for who He is and what He did for us.)

          • Jim__L

            When my church taught me the Ten Commandments, they were divided up into “Love God” and “Love your neighbor” sections, so that point of view certainly serves as an organizational principle.

            Still, it is useful to use the rest of the Bible to help define what love actually is (patience, kindness, etc per 1 Cor 13)*. If we’re also going to talk about blended shirts, it’s useful to pay attention to verses about what sin is and where it comes from, in relation to the Law (Matthew 15). It isn’t so much a matter of reconciliation as it is of filling in the whole picture. Taking part of the Bible out of context, when there is context to be had easily, does a disservice to the gift God has given us in His Word.

            By the way — It’s fascinating and refreshing to see someone openly and articulately worshiping (praising, speaking well of) Christ on the internet. Thank you for that example!

            *Maybe someday I’ll break my habit of gong-clanging. Pray for me. It’s better than it was, but that’s not saying much.

          • FriendlyGoat

            I just did pray for you because you asked—-and NOT because I think there is anything wrong about you for me to somehow fix. I hope you will pray for me too. As for the Internet, I have also noticed that very few people will talk about Jesus at all in comment sections. We who feel grateful to Him should say so, even if the larger community of readers think we’re nuts.

  • Blackbeard

    Since leftist policies generally don’t work voters will ultimately reject leftism if they are allowed to do so. Therefore leftists must control the media, suppress dissent and, ultimately, destroy democracy.

  • http://holdingmynose.com Holding My Nose

    If you think there is a “majority view of scientists on climate change” you need to read Mark Steyn’s book “A Disgrace to the Profession”.

  • CosmotKat

    The kind of misuse of power by the illiberal left and the Democratic party is what gave us Obamacare. Without the fraudulent and egregious prosecution of Ted Stevens and the dishonest election in Minnesota the Democrats would not have had the senate majority to pass the legislation they crammed down our throats in Obama’s first term. It’s amazing the alarm bells took so long to go off.

  • Comrade Pootie

    They are sure getting scary.

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