Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

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Evangelicals and politics for the umpteenth time

There were two articles in this morning’s Atlanta paper about this report and this book.

Not surprisingly, much of the emphasis in both articles was on how the evangelical engagement in politics isn’t or shouldn’t be just about abortion and gay marriage. Fair enough; but the implication for the most part is that concern with the poor would lead evangelicals away from the Republicans, which is, to me, far from self-evident.

To be fair, neither article says simply that concern with poverty is an exclusively Democratic issue; indeed, one quotes Ron Sider to the effect that the Republican emphasis on personal responsibility and the Democratic emphasis on structure are complementary. But there remains little serious discussion of how market-oriented economic policies can promote the welfare of the poor.

Discussions - 7 Comments

The poor could work harder and smarter... and quit playing as much poker. Our preocupation with the poor as a political problem is simply the result of a thymotic imballance. The wish to do away with natural inequality is isothymic and can only be accomplished by eliminating or restricting megalothymic avenues of expression and opportunity. The "cultural wars" or isothymic wars are one and the same, and at root aim to bring about a luke warm nation of hollow chested last men.

Market- orientated policies cannot promote the welfare of those who are justly poor. Market-oriented policies can howhever promote the welfare of those who are unjustly poor.

I don’t intend to be flippant, but to me you are saying the equivalent of: There is no proof(or serious discussion) that better officiating will improve or promote the welfare of the worst teams.

More market-oriented policies means more beneficial outlets for megalothymia, more chances to prove oneself the best. More market-oriented policies will also do an equally good job of proving people the worst. So more market-oriented policies, more holding people responsible for failure, will not immediately do something in terms of the number of people who fail. In fact I would predict the number of failures or the number of poor to increase in the short run, as barriers to failure are removed.

As an instructor, try to conceptualize it in terms of a math test without a curve. Or college grades without grade inflation. If I told you that there remains little serious discussion of how removing grade inflation would impact the welfare of failling students, you would shake your head, and walk off. Or you would tell me that they would be forced to either watch less TV, drink less and study more, or else fail.

What about natural inequality? If they can’t do math I don’t want them designing the bridge I drive over because they showed exceptional effort. I have been on several loosing football teams, and lots of the time it wasn’t because we didn’t try...(althought I doubt anyone tried as hard as they could have year round) I used to work hard to be a good wrestler...but I ran into a lot of people who either worked harder or had more to work with or both.

People prioritize actions and these priorities determine how well they will preform in various events, competitions and tasks.

Unless you take from a man his ability to prioritize his own actions, you will never be able to be sure that he has maximized a particular event.

By moving towards more market orientated policies you remove barriers to sucess and failure and this alters an individuals opportunity costs. No longer is he guaranteed something for nothing, so if he is acustomed to that something and deems it worth his effort he will decrease his sloth. At the same time, no longer is a person capped at a certain level, and because more is now possible, some people will find it worthwhile to maximize that area.

There is no right to health care...that isn’t a direct contradiction of market orientated economic policies.

The only point of agreement I have with Ron Sider is ending corporate welfare. The man is like an austrich that ducks his head into the sand to avoid confronting micro-economic truths.

Today, poverty is almost exclusively caused by the breakdown of the family, crime and poor schools. All of these problems are exacerbated by the policies of the left.

The left has no interest in allieviating poverty. They are interested in expanding the nanny state.

Mr. Knippenberg: you were posting to that blog all morning. On a SUNDAY! Shouldn’t you put the political work aside then and go to church??

Sunday was made for man; not man for Sunday. . .

And . . . the poor you have with you always. . . .

There could be worse places in the world to be poor. I was poor, by other people’s standards, for many years. It was nice of the people on the news to remind me everyday because I didn’t feel poor. I was loved like few men or this earth have been loved. My wife was poor with me, but we lived rich lives. Now we have money, health, a grown daughter, and a growing bank account. Only a poor man can tell you if he is poor or not. We must help those who cannot help themselves and encourage those who can. But if you have problems money can fix, you don’t have any problems at all.


Mr. Newhouse,

I have two responses.

First, the timing of my worship (or lack thereof)is none of your business. Yes, I write a lot about religion and politics, but I could be doing so as a sympathetic secularist or as a believer. What matters is the quality of my arguments, not the state of the soul of the person who makes them.

Second, if you’re joking: ha! That’s a good one. Sorry I didn’t get it sooner, but I’ve been dealing with vomiting children all weekend.

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