Saturday, September 20, 2008

Why I am a Democrat.

Let's get down to the real point of this little piece on Joe Republican. The conservative belief that the government should not regulate the economy, that it should not take an interest in the welfare of less-privileged citizens by constraining the greed of large corporations, presumably because the better the big companies do the more jobs they'll create, therefore benefitting the rest of the world, looks just false to me. It looks as if historically, interventions by government have at least on many occasions been a good thing. Social Security was identified with Socialism when it was proposed, and it is sometimes attacked today as a Ponzi scheme. But I can't forget how much things better were for my mother and father, both political conservatives, once they started receiving it. In my childhood Medicare was attacked as Socialism, but again, it has made a huge difference to many people, including my parents. So much so that Bush wanted to expand it when he got into the Presidency.

Bill Vallicella once criticized my use of this little piece by saying that it commits a diachronic fallacy; it implies that because liberals might have been justified in going for government assistance to the economy in the past, it doesn't follow that the kinds of things liberals propose today are justified. As Palin would say, perhaps so. Nevetheless the general principle that government should keep its filthy laws off our collective economic body seems just false, and there can't be any greater proof that what we have seen this past week. The bitter fruits of deregulation have been reaped this past week, and now one of the leading deregulators, a member of the Keating Five, wants the job of cleaning up the mess?

The Bible says those who won't work should not eat. But those willing to work should eat, and the weakest members of society, those who are too young, too old, or too sick, or too disabled, to work, should be able to eat as well. It would be wonderful it trickle-down actually worked, or if in particular Christians were so generous enough so that government action was not necessary. The evidence suggests otherwise.

The Day in the Life of Joe Democrat mentions mostly things that Rush Limbaugh, in his worst nightmares, images liberals as advocating, not the actual accomplishments of real liberals.
Let's take a look at something that was enacted in the Clinton years, the Family and Medical Leave Act, which was for the purpose of preventing companies from firing mothers who took of to have babies and spend time at home with their children before going back to work. I was pleased to see that McCain voted for this legislation, but I remember Limbaugh and other conservatives railing against it. But gee, if you're pro-life and you want women to carry their babies to term and not abort them, how can you be against this sort of legislation? Is overturning Roe all you can think of when you think about lowering the abortion rate?

For reasons I have presented earlier, while I don't subscribe to what I think is a doctrinaire commitment to "a woman's right to choose," I don't think that is an area where the President can make a direct impact. I am being told that if McCain is elected, we'll get a fifth pro-life justice on the Court, Roe will be overturned, and abortion will at least be prohibited the the red states. I think that won't happen; I think the abortion rate will actually rise if McCain is elected and fall if Obama is elected. So pro-lifers should vote Democratic this time.

In foreign affairs, again I am actually a conservative, I am very conservative about the traditional Just War theory, and skeptical of modernists who think that that its provisions are "quaint" because we live in a "post 9/11 world." Iraq was, in my view, a completely unjust war, and when I get in a bad mood I actually think it's a war we deserve to lose, since we invaded the country immorally to begin with. (Yeah, I don't like the sound of what I just said either). I don't care what the justification is, there are things you don't do to prisoners of war and things you don't do to criminal defendants, and the people we picked up off the battlefield in Afganistan should not have been put into some "neither fish nor fowl" category so that they we could do what we wanted with them.

So these are some of the main reasons why I am a Democrat.


Anonymous said...

There is no way abortion will fall under an Obama presidency. Bill Clinton sang the same tune and the day after he was elected, overturned every protection he could through executive order. E.g., He eliminated the Hyde protections under the Mexico City policy that forbade U.S. subsidy for foreign abortion. Obama will do the same. He will also overturn the ban on abortion at military installations. Why is he the champion of NOW and Planned Parenthood (which receives multi-millions in tax dollars for abortion)? Because he will champion their cause which certainly is NOT limiting abortion.

Anonymous said...

Nor will abortion disappear under a McCain presidency.

The fact of the matter is that a majority of people still believe there are some situations in which a woman should be allowed the choice to terminate her pregnancy. And they think that even if they view abortion as a bad thing.

Unless you can persuade those people to abandon that position, abortion in one form or another will remain legal.


RightDemocrat said...

The Republicans have used the abortion issue to win evangelical and orthodox Catholic votes. Social conservatives get the rhetoric from the GOP while the results are delivered to big business.

With a simple majority vote, Congress could remove abortion from the jurisdiction of the Supreme Court. During the 1980's and the early 2000's, we had professed pro-life Republicans in control of Congress and the White House. There was no effort to seek a vote to remove jurisdiction.

Furthermore, we have seen Republicans (while in control of Congress) bring up symbolic votes to pass Constitutional amendments banning flag burning and gay marriage but never the Human Life Amendment to ban abortion.

Many Democratic politicians are very wrong about the abortion issue but most do favor a strong safety net for mothers and children which can help to reduce the abortion rate. Many women have abortions for economic reasons. Republican talk about being pro-life while cutting health care programs for children and expectant mtohers.

I am a Democrat because of a belief in an activist role by government to protect workers and consumers, regulate the greed of the marketplace and provide a social services for the less fortunate.

We need to have Christians and pro-lifers working within both parties.
The notion that all Christians are morally obligated to support the Republican ticket is absurd.

Anonymous said...

Reppert, it really helps when you back up your argument with actual empirical evidence (statistics, economics etc). You made so many personal observations, assertions and outright false statements, I don't know where to begin.

Actually yes I do. Read John Lott's FREEDOMNOMICS, Milton Friedman's CAPITALISM AND FREEDOM and anything by John Stossel. They discuss and debunk much of what you claim.

And that's just how wrong you are on the economic issues... I have yet to hear your views on social issues. Do us a favor: get back to philosophy; politics are not your strong suite.

Anonymous said...

Reppert, it really helps when you back up your argument with actual empirical evidence (statistics, economics etc).

There are three types of lies - lies, damn lies, and statistics.


Victor Reppert said...

Sorry folks. This is my blog, and I want to discuss these issues.

Ron said...

The main problem I have with Democrats (besides abortion) is the role of government. Charity should be the province of individuals and voluntary organizations, not something that is imposed by the government. There are multiple reasons why this is a bad idea. One is that it fosters a dependence mentality in portions of the electorate, which does not make for happy people. Government also tends to be inefficient and wasteful. Part of this is because the moral benefit of helping the poor isn’t really distributed to anyone in particular. People feel that it is the government’s responsibility and not their own to help the poor. The moral good that benefits both the giver and the recipient is lost because the giver is a giant bureaucracy and the recipient tends to get an entitlement mentality about the whole thing.

The better way is for private people and private organizations (churches for example) to do this. You get the moral benefit for both parties and more efficiency. Also private organizations tend to be interested in ‘teaching a man to fish’ rather than just making him dependent. Often you have the opposite going on with politicians who desire to win elections through promising ‘bread and circuses’ for the populace. (Obama)

Unless we want to go down the path of decline that Europe is now going through, we ought not take the easy way out. Unfettered capitalism is not the answer, but neither is the path that the Left wants to go down.

Mike Darus said...

VR: Nevetheless the general principle that government should keep its filthy laws off our collective economic body seems just false, and there can't be any greater proof that what we have seen this past week. The bitter fruits of deregulation have been reaped this past week,

I don't buy the Democratic spin that the mortgage crisis is caused by deregulation. I am not convinced that the forces that caused the crisis have ever been regulated in a way that would have prevented the crisis. I don't want government price-fixing on home values. Nor do I want government makint it too difficult for people to get mortgages. This is bigger than partisan politics. There is a balancing act between government regulation to protect people and keeping government out of the way so there can be real growth.

Anonymous said...

The free market fundamentalist ideologues here are twin brother to the Marxist ideologues after the fall of the Soviet Union.

Clayton Littlejohn said...

Charity should be the province of individuals and voluntary organizations, not something that is imposed by the government.

But in a deontically perfect world when you know that individuals and voluntary organizations aren't going to help the world's poor, what do you do?

I know what I'd want to happen if I were part of the world's poor. I'd want _someone_ to help if I can't help myself. Knowing that about myself, if I _then_ say that I won't support governmental intervention I think I'm failing to vote in accordance with the golden rule. That's cool with me, I'm an atheist, but this is supposed to count for something with the religious folk.

Ilíon said...

You're a Democrat because being so gives you permission to engage in moral preening on the cheap ... and on someone else's dime.

Much as a certain anti-American candidate for high office does.

Dinesh D'Souza: [] Obama, Start Packing

Ilíon said...

I haven't read your rationalizations, but I know without even skimming them that most (or perhaps even all) of them can't stand up to rational scrutiny. I know that, just as with most (*) of the political posts you've been making recently, you will be engaging in special-pleading and ad-hoccery, in double-standards, in improper inferences, in question-begging, in selective presentation of the facts, and so on and so on and so on. I have, over the past couple of weeks, skimmed (and, infrequently, read) your other political posts ... I already *know* that you have nothing at all to say which cannot be turned more effectively against the Democrats, frequently individually and always collectively.

You've conflated your political views (which happen to be silly, at best, and frequently far worse than silly) with Christianity and the Gospel. This is you vulnerability; you need to look to it.

Really, when it gets down to it, how are you really much different from Mr Loftus in regard to intellectual integrity? *He* understands that he stands a greater chance of "flipping" you through the political door than through the strictly religious door.

(*) I do give you credit for not blatantly taking as gospel all the Palin Derangement attempted smears -- even as you have tried to have it both ways with some of it.

Anonymous said...

ilion, if you had any earthly idea how much your rants in the political threads hurts your witness, you would find a way to disagree in a more Christ-like fashion, or you'd stop commenting on political threads altogether.

Anonymous said...

Mike Darus,

As I understand it, there was a regulation that would have prevented the current crisis, the Glass-Steagall Act. McCain's political advisor, Phil Gramm, pushed through a law repealing that act, and that made it possible for banks to take out bad loans, package those loans with other securities, and sell them at a profit. According to many, if Glass-Steagall had remained in place this whole mess would have never happened.

Ilíon said...

Anonymouse, I really am not concerned with your foolish -- and stupid -- rant. I mean, really! Where did you ever get the impression that calling what I've said a rant means anything other than: "Boo-hoo! That meanie said stuff I don't want to know!"

False is false; illogic is illogic; irrationality is irrationality; intellectual dis-integrity is intellectual dis-integrity. And I am not partisan in pointing those things out when I see them.

Christ didn't call us to be "nice" and "polite;" Christ didn't call us to be milquetoasts; he called us to integrated/whole. And Christ wasn't "nice" or "polite" at all -- I strongly suspect you'd not have cared for him.

Ilíon said...

Anonymouse: "... you would find a way to disagree in a more Christ-like fashion ..."

ps: Clearly, you've never actually *read* the Gospels and haven't the faintest idea of what "Christ-like" means. Here's a hint: Christ was nothing at all like that Victorian-era sissy you apparently imagine is Christ.

Anonymous said...

You mean Christ was akin to an internet troll?

Ilíon said...

Isn't it amusing how quickly someone who doesn't even have the decency to establish the most perfunctory of identities is so quick to call someone else a "troll?" This has no more actual meaning than your silly mischaracterization of what I've said as "ranting."

Anonymous said...

Ilion penned:
"You've conflated your political views (which happen to be silly, at best, and frequently far worse than silly) with Christianity and the Gospel. "

Hmmn, isn't it the Republicans who usually claim to be following their Christian beliefs?

As another poster has pointed out, your ranting is speaking louder than the arguments you claim to be making.


Anonymous said...

Oh, that's right. You're the only one here who's ever read the Bible. So, of course, you have some unique insight on what Christ was like that the rest of us don't have.

Since I'm pointing out that you're coming across like an arrogant, insufferable ass, I must be an atheist who gets his ideas on what Jesus was like from Victorian-era paintings of him as a serene hippie, right?

And since Jesus was occasionally forceful with his critics, that must mean he'd approve of you being a complete jerk to everyone who disagrees with you, regardless of how many souls are lost in the process, and no matter how much you sully his name by representing him with such a crappy attitude.

I know Jesus the same way you know Him. Through the word, prayer, and communion with my Church. I love Jesus. I don't see anything about Him in the way you treat people who disagree with you on this board. Jesus was wrathful with people who pretended religion. He was never just plain mean to people who didn't yet know Him, or yet understand who He was or what He came to do. I don't believe He'd be dismissive or insulting towards people who honestly and sincerely disagreed with him on a political topic, and I don't believe He'd condone that behavior in His followers.

But your response is typical of "Jerks for Christ". They always say "But Christ was a jerk, too!" As if that would make Christianity more attractive to the lost.

Rose Red said...


Congrats for offering a lot of bitching and zero rational arguments.


Ilíon said...

Congrats for being unable -- or quite unwilling -- to think rationally. Who better that *you* to bitch about what I've said?

Rose Red said...

Illion drops in with another stupid comment. What's new?

Ilíon said...

Ah! I get it: "Charlie" is not only illogical (and likely irrational), he's also a hypocrite.