Thursday, September 04, 2008

Why am I a ...

Here is your chance to define the label you place on yourself. Why are you a conservative? A liberal? A moderate? A Democrat? A Republican? An Independent? What do you believe in politically, philosphically, and ideologically?

Enjoy ... and remain civil.

164 Comments:

Blogger TomR said...

Hmmm, I guess I'll start things off here. I am many things. Politically, I would consider myself fairly liberal. Socially, I'd say I'm more libertarian, in that I don't think the government really has much right to regulate people's personal activity unless it severely infringes upon the rights of others. Fiscally I support a modified version of socialism, similar to what Scandinavian countries have today (free health care, higher education, etc.). However, I would not identify myself with a party because I don't see much reason to. I'd rather vote on a candidate than by the views of a party (even if it is some random fringe group).

Another belief I value quite highly is the separation of church and state. I am an atheist, and I don't think any kind of religious views (or lack thereof) should be endorsed by the state nor codified into law. Of course, people should be allowed to practice whatever they want in private (to an extent--I think that sacrificing your neighbors to the sun god would qualify as infringing upon their rights). In recent years I have become quite alarmed with the worrisome fusion of religion and politics on a public scale.

It's a bit difficult for me to start of the discussion, since there's so many ways this could go, but I figured it's worth throwing a few ground things out there and going from there. I look forward to hearing what people have to say. Sorry that this post was fairly lame.

11:19 AM  
Blogger KylieYoum said...

I throughouly emjoyed reading your post Tom, so way to go.

I'd have to say I'm certainly more liberal than conservative, one reason being my religion as well. I'm Methodist, which is Christian but as far as my church goes, all views on many many things are accepted. My parents are democrats, but like Tom I'm not sure if I would officially register, for you can still vote either way!

I'll try to start the discussion here, relating to class today. I noticed that everyone who said they moved toward the McCain campaign mentioned how much they liked Palin and whatnot. It made me think, is this a good thing that she has a higher google-count than Obama OR McCain already in the 7 days she's been known as the VP candidate? And what do you think this means? Are people choosing between Palin and Obama, or McCain and Obama?

3:32 PM  
Blogger nathana said...

I agree with Tomr that religion is to often exploited for political purposes. (there is little doubt that Obama is extremely guilty of this, he has crosses on his pamphlets for crying out loud.) It is always offensive to be catered to so as a Christian it is no exception when all candidates always end their speech with “God bless America” as if it were that easy to get my vote. However, no idea should ever be dismissed because of its ties to religion. Too many people forget that homosexuality is unnatural and disgusting simply because Christians say as much. Allowing developing babies to live is sometimes seen as extremist simply because Christians support it. (In my book partial birth abortion is a nightmare, you are CRUSHING THE SKULL of a LIVE BABY just ready to leave the womb) KylieYoum has an excellent point regarding the Palin Obama comparison. Here’s my take. A ticket should have a master and an apprentice. The apprentice should watch and learn from the master and take over if the worst should happen. The fact that the Republican apprentice is arguably more qualified than the Democratic master speaks volumes. Palin is the Republican version of Obama, only she is where she belongs, in a support role, not as the actual commander in chief. Both of them are celebrities and rock stars with little record or substance. I’m voting for Mccain over Obama, not Palin over Obama.

7:21 PM  
Blogger TomR said...

I don't want to derail the intent of this blog with current election stuff (sorry Kylie) so I'll be sure to post my opinions on some of the previous stuff over yonder.

Something else I wanted to address, though:

"Too many people forget that homosexuality is unnatural and disgusting simply because Christians say as much."

I find this comment to be quite inflammatory. What exactly makes it "unnatural"? If you mean that it does not occur in nature, there are dozens upon dozens of well-documented instances of species that engage in homosexuality. As for disgusting, that is a personal opinion, but I think that might be something better kept to oneself.

8:04 PM  
Blogger adamb said...

I agree that religion is used too much in politics, but that is due to the environment usually created by conservatives. I also agree with Tom on most accounts because I also think that Northern Europe, including Germany and Denmark, have it right. They have some of the best economies in the world, and Norway has the most civil liberties of any country anywhere. All of them also have universal health care. As far abortion goes, I think it is the person's choice. Perhaps the period in which you could get an abortion should be shortened. Jon Stewart had a great point debating with Newt Gingrich about Palin's daughter's pregnancy. Palin is for making abortions illegal regardless of how the pregnancy came about, even if it was from rape. Stewart pointed out that when it came to her daughter's pregnancy, it was her choice whether to keep the baby or not.

9:40 AM  
Blogger MichaelH said...

Hmm, through some recent discussions, I've concluded I'm somewhat right, though some issues I feel very left about. Gay marriage and stem cell research, example. I believe strongly that both should be entirely legal, but at the same time, I feel pro-life (excepting rape, of course) about abortion. Yes, I know that pro-life and stem cell research work against each other somewhat, but I'm no scientist so I'm not busying myself with how that is possible. On the issue of troops overseas, I firmly believe that a strong military presence is necessary (now why it's in Iraq, as opposed to Afghanistan, I am unsure).

The separation of church and state I see as very important, and in talking with some very republican individuals, they view Obama's name and Muslim ties as very threating. I brought up the point that Islam is a great religion advocating nothing but peace and was rebuttled with grunts. But church and state should be separate, as the beliefs of one church, or any church, are never going to be the best choice for 250,000,000 Americans.

Tom, I'm feeling your viewpoint on the "inflammatory quote". You summed of most of my feelings in three sentences. But I am looking forward to ripping someone apart in class who wishes to discuss it.

However, Nate has a very valid point: "Palin is the Republican version of Obama, only she is where she belongs, in a support role, not as the actual commander in chief." I'll refrain from the chauvenistic jokes for now. But this is certainly a very valid point.

6:11 PM  
Blogger Sander K said...

When Nathan said: "However, no idea should ever be dismissed because of its ties to religion." I think that this is an excellent point, and that it should be extended further, to apply to people. People should never be disregarded as a result of their religion, whether they are Christian, Islamic, Jewish or a member of any number of other creeds.

However, the comment about homosexuality being "unnatural and disgusting" is way over the top. Our country didn't become great by forcing people to conform to a certain standard, so why should we start to do so now. As long as they aren't injuring you or wronging you in any way, what's the problem?

I would consider myself more of a moderate on most things, there is no one issue that I would solely base a decision upon and I don't really get upset about views on an issue unless people are being close-minded. In my book, being close-minded is the only stance on any issue that is 100% wrong.

8:23 PM  
Blogger nellert said...

i'm am my self i don't care what others think of what i believe. I believe in the things that i do because they are what i think are right and go with the morals that i have. I can agree with the views of a Democrat just as easily as i can with a Republican. though my beliefs probely lean more republican

11:36 AM  
Blogger kyle said...

I just wanted to expand on what adam and tom said. Many of the northern european nations have great policies (neutrality for example) and have good economies and lots of civil liberties, and it would be beneficial for america to mimic these countries. I feel that many of the people in america feel they are better than everyone else and dont listen to others, which means that they are too ignorant to listen to or comprehend the positives of such things as universal heath care. I think what i am trying to say is that maybe the united states should try following the examples of other sucessful countries, especially those in Northern Europe.

11:51 AM  
Blogger BenH said...

I agree with the previously expressed sentiment that an idea cannot be dismissed simply because of its ties to a religion. But I think another aspect of the issue that deserves mention is that government policy must not be enacted to meet the standards of religion.

I think the issue of a constitutional ban on gay marriage is a good example of this. Many believe that this ban is necessary because their religion teaches that homosexuality is unacceptable. However, there is no non-religious reason that gay marriage should be banned. It has never been demonstrated to harm our nation. Not only that but it is certainly not the role of our government, much less the constitution, to protect us from things that some may consider "disgusting."

11:55 AM  
Blogger Jessica w said...

I agree with Nate that religion is used by politicians to sway the vote. It is ironic though that they want to be viewed as Christians and yet many Americans seem to have negative thoughts about Christians. Like they’re narrow minded, stubborn, etc… Everyone says America is leaning away from religion yet many politicians want to have the image of following it. How much do you think politicians claiming to be religious helps them and how much hurts them?

2:32 PM  
Blogger Jessica K said...

I think I’m more of a moderate but do agree with some right beliefs like drilling in Alaska and no abortion. I do however agree with Ben on gay marriage. Although it is against some religions, it’s not the government’s decision. If church and state are separate than it’s not the government’s job to protect us from what some think is “disgusting”. Like Ben said, gay marriage doesn’t harm us. I think that altogether religion should stay out of the government. There are so many religions that it would be impossible to please every American.

I’m pretty open to most ideas and issues, and like Sander said, being closed-minded is the only type of stance I think is wrong. I don’t have a complete stance on every issue but I’m always hearing new sides and try to take that into account. I just want to have enough information on an issue before I make a decision.

3:08 PM  
Blogger drewb12 said...

im just saying hello like i am supposed to

3:45 PM  
Blogger LyndseyB said...

I would consider myself a fairly hard core republican, but not an extremist. In regards to the previously mention notion of religion and state, I do believe that religion should not be forced upon any individual. However I would consider religion/ideals when chooosing a candidate in the election. Religion forms the basis of your morals and principles which plays a large role in your political agenda. Government is conscience by extension. When you choose who to vote for you look at their opinions on issues that are important to you. For example with a conservative their religous views can be interlinked with there stance. It seems only necessary to consider all aspects of the candidate that might influence there choices in the white house.

To the comments about gay marriage, it seems contradictory to condemn those who are against gay marriage for religous reasons. To me I view religion and sexual orientation as a choice. To criticize those who have religous objections seems just as "close-minded".

4:00 PM  
Blogger Lauren H. said...

Hi! I don't have much time, but here are a few of my political beliefs. I would consider myself conservative on many issues, but don't always agree with Republicans. I believe that we should consider candidates that would make the best leaders and not always for one party or another. I would vote for a candidate that shares my views on some things, but it's more important that he/she would make a good leader and has a strong moral standing than whether we agree on most issues. Sorry if that's not very specific, but that's what comes to mind.

4:38 PM  
Blogger samlegrand said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

5:22 PM  
Blogger samlegrand said...

Interesting fact as far as seperation of church and state. "Did You know that 52 of the 56 signers of The Declaration of Independence were orthodox, deeply committed Christians? The other four all believed in the Bible as the divine truth, the God of scripture, and His personal intervention." These are the words of George Washington in his farewell speech September 17, 1796; "It is impossible to govern the world without God and the Bible. Of all the dispositions and habits that lead to political prosperity, our religion and morality are the indispensable supporters. Let us with caution indulge the supposition that morality can be maintained without religion. Reason and experience both forbid us to expect that our national morality can prevail in exclusion of religious principle." I find it sad that as a country we are straying from our roots and the beliefs of our own founding fathers. It has practically become a crime to say the word Jesus or God in public schools or governement institutions. What are everybody elses thoughts on seperation of church and state?

5:24 PM  
Blogger lhennings said...

just stepping in to say hi, i have an account and it works- and also this is an incredibly interesting thread, and kylie, i've been thinking that for days now- it's no longer a race between mccain and obama, it's all between obama and palin.

5:41 PM  
Blogger EricL2009 said...

i am more on the conserative side of things as to what the government should do but i do lean to the liberal side on some cases like abortion. I am mostly here to say hello

5:56 PM  
Blogger BenH said...

jessica w: Depending on how you define "many," it could be said that many people do view Christians as narrow minded, stubborn, etc. But 78.5% of America is Christian, and we are also the only nation where over half of its citizens say religion plays a "very important" role in their lives. So in the end, I think the candidates operate at a net benefit by appealing to Christians.

lindseyb: I don't believe that anyone so far has "condemned" those who do not believe gay marriage is acceptable, merely stated that it should be discussed in a civil manner and that it is not the government's place to outlaw it. And in the end, open mindedness is the ability to fairly consider new ideas, not necessarily to agree with them or really even accept them.

5:56 PM  
Blogger Julianna D.A. said...

I am a democrat but defiantly not extreme. When it comes to the separation of church and state, I realize that it cannot be complete because people get their ideas and beliefs partially from church, but I do think that we should keep religion and government as far apart as possible. People came to America for religious tolerance, and I think people should never be forced to believe anything. I think that the job of the government is to help the people in the best way for the individual, not necessarily the best way in the churches eyes. If I were looking at candidates, I would look at their religion but not vote for them because of it. A candidate could easily say they were Christian just to make them look better because almost all of our presidents have been Christian.

5:57 PM  
Blogger BenH said...

lyndseyb, I apologize for spelling your name with an "i" in my previous comment.

5:58 PM  
Blogger tony_j said...

I agree with those who have said they believe church and state should be kept as far apart as possible. I don't think it is realistic to completely seperate religion from politics in America becuase many take religion very seriously and politicians muct ensure that they don't alienate the Christian populus. I don't like that religion plays a role in politics but I feel that it is inevitable in America.

6:46 PM  
Blogger niccic said...

I guess I am a moderate on most issues, but I lean more liberal on cases like abortion and gay marriage. I also think that church and state should be kept separate because even if our nation was created on a Christian foundation, we have changed since then and there are many people with varying beliefs that should be accepted and those people should be allowed to follow their individual beliefs.

7:06 PM  
Blogger hanna h said...

As far as politics go, I would put myself on the left side of the scale. I am a liberal, but I do love being challenged. As many before me have stated that being open minded is crucial in this world I would completely agree. I add that challenging your beliefs as well as challenging others beliefs is truly a unique chance in which we can all stand in another’s shoes and truly try and understand the world as a whole.

On another note, I agree with most of you that church and state need to be separate to the extent that allows. I believe it is truly impossible to completely eliminate church from state, however I feel it is wrong to base national decisions on a personal belief, especially if that belief is that all….. insert religion here…. should be exterminated/doomed. This is an extreme case yet worth noting.

Do we really ever want to look back and say we (the tolerating US) made a decision based on religion?

7:47 PM  
Blogger maddyg said...

Okay, Meyer you might not like this answer, but I'm low on time. I'm still figuring out what exactly I think, but based on what I know now, I'm conservative. That is mostly concerning social issues like gay marriage, abortion, etc. So yeah, there it is...and Hi.

7:58 PM  
Blogger Grant R said...

I consider my self as an independent however i will register republican so i can go to caucusses. But... when i look at issues i am on both democratic and republican side. As for the "time bomb" (as Meyer states it) of abortion, in my moral values i feel everyone should live and morally abortion may be wrong. However in government abortion is needed because whether it is legal or not people will find a way to have an abortion if they really want one. In order to create a nation where our women wont ship themselves to dubai or something to get an abortion, it must remain legal. Many issues are similar to this in my opinion...morally may be wrong but needs to be there to protect our people...the role of our government right? To protect it's people?

7:59 PM  
Blogger MeganOD said...

I think I understand what nathana meant by the comment on "Too many people forget that homosexuality is unnatural and disgusting simply because Christians say as much." Many vocal, fundamentalist christians take the position that homosexuality is a bad a thing, and that largely influences public sentiment on homosexuality. I personally believe that orientation should be a guaranteed freedom along with freedom of speech, religion, expression, ect. The fact that gay marriage is against the law in all states, besides california and massachussets, is sad to me. I don't believe government should interfere so far into american's personal lives that they can chose who people can and can't marry.

8:16 PM  
Blogger RachelL said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

8:51 PM  
Blogger RachelL said...

This conversation is so exciting!!! I strongly agree (and disagree) with many of you here, and I can't wait to discuss these issues in person! I really feel that Tom and I are on the same page in our thoughts on the government's role in one's personal life and the seperation of church and state. He said what I believe better than I could have myself.

In general, I'm fairly liberal when it comes to social issues (gay marriage, abortion, stem cell research, etc) and agree that keeping an open mind is crucial when discussing politics. And although no one has mentioned it yet, one thing I find very frustrating about our government today is that it seems to me to be mostly controlled by extremely powerful, wealthy interest groups that further their agendas by bribing and making deals with politicians, even if those agendas do not coincide with the best interests of the country. For example, when we began discussing "Who Killed the Electric Car" in class, it was so aggravating to know that certain groups were/are preventing us from moving forward and overcoming our dependence on foreign oil for the sake of profits.

8:52 PM  
Blogger BenH said...

rachell: Myself and I am sure a great deal of Americans agree with you that our government is too beholden to special interests and the wealthy. Too often the desires of a powerful few are enough to suspend progress for the majority whose interests dramatically differ.

I think even more unfortunately, it is a natural part of any political process. It certainly helps whenever this process can be stopped or delayed, but it is inevitable. The wealthy and powerful will always have more influence in any society, and it has been that way since the beginning of America and the beginning of civilization itself.

9:02 PM  
Blogger Christine B said...

I am a liberal on most topics however I am going to focus on abortion and gay marriage:
Abortions occur because the parent DOESN'T WANT the child. I think Meyer mentioned something like this in class but parents who don't want a child are not going to be good parents to that child. Yes, it is the mistake of the couple who got pregnant but it is going to happen whether abortion is legal or not, and like Grant R said, abortion will occur whether it is legal or not so why spend money trying to stop something that is going to happen anyway?

Also, I strongly agree with meganod on the topic of gay marriage. I believe that people are born gay, it is not a choice. If God were to make someone this way, why would He make he/she oppress a feeling that he/she can't change?

9:52 PM  
Blogger Maureen K. said...

Augh . . . this is so difficult. It seems like there is no clear way to define myself. The closest thing I could relate to is a moderate conservative.

Until I can understand how the government really works, I'll focus on the main two topics on this page: abortion and gay marriage. (Just for the record, I am a practicing Catholic.)

Gay Marriage: Honestly, I think that it's ridiculous to keep people who are in love from marrying eachother. Wouldn't that encourage more adoptions, anyway? Besides, I agree with Christine. Why would God purposely make a "mistake"?
Also, it used to be illegal for a black and white person to marry. And since that is legal now, that should indicate that gay marriage is on its way.

Abortion: This topic is truly foggy for me. I believe that it is acceptable in cases of rape or incest. But there is no way to really regulate abortion (who's telling the truth?). Apparently sex is SO fun, but what is it for? To MAKE BABIES. So don't go telling me that it was an "accident". From my knowledge, most people have sex on purpose. And I think if you're going around, purposely having sex, than you should accept your responsibility.
But there is one aspect of abortion that I could never tolerate, and why I could never truly support Obama, even if I wanted to - partial-birth abortion. I know we discussed it as a not-big-player in class, especially next to economy or healthcare. But like Nathan said, it is killing a child right before the birth.
Is that like saying that a fully-developed baby isn't human enough to live?
And Obama supports that? Even if it isn't a big deal to most, that would be enough to make me vote for someone else. And I agree with Obama on most everything else.

My other opinions mostly revolve around national defense. Instead of running around in other countries playing international police, we should focus on defense so we aren't attacked again.

And in response to Tom's post - I agree with you about separation of church and state. I don't think that government should endorse any religion. But, at the same time, I don't think that they can become completely seperate. That would require many politicians to think completely opposite of what they believe. Religion (or lack thereof) influences almost everyone's standpoints.

On a religious note, does it seem like this election seems to cater to Christians in particular?

Obama seems to be mentioning his Christian faith more than I would expect from a Democratic candidate. Not that Democrats aren't religious, but they seem to generally play that bit down. How does anybody feel about that?

(Sorry for the supreme wall of text - I got a little into it for a while)

10:29 PM  
Blogger Maureen K. said...

Also, how do you feel about religious groups trying to sway you one way or another? Should they be allowed to do that?

It isn't allowed for people to post political pamphlets at my church, but it keeps happening. It really pisses me off when I hear that I would go to Hell if I voted for Obama.

Who is to say that Obama basically equals the Devil? Do you think that a religious institution has any right to tell you who to vote for?

Personally, I don't think so, but if they can tell you what you should believe, can't they tell you who to vote or not vote for? Aren't they supposed to be your spiritual guidance?

What do you think?

(Sorry for the extra post/bringing religious questions into this. But I'm really curious.)

10:35 PM  
Blogger Tina L said...

why hello there. I will be back later, when I am not so busy and really rather frazzled.

10:44 PM  
Blogger Sander K said...

I think that when religion is brought into an argument about government policy the argument becomes inherently more polarized and that it should, if at all possible, be left out of the equation. It is well within the rights of the people to bring religion into their personal judgment. Samlegrand said that 52 of 56 signers of the declaration were Christians and that this should show us that "we are straying from our founding fathers." I tend to believe the opposite, that by trying to leave religion out of our lawmaking process, we support our founding fathers beliefs in personal freedom. People came to America to live free of religious persecution, and it would be truly sad if we allow the religion of the majority to suppress the rights and beliefs of the minority.

11:00 AM  
Blogger Annika_EP said...

Hey there! Like a lot of other people, I am a tad bit busy right now to write a full post. I promise that I will soon though!

I will say, however, that I do tend to be liberal and I support Barack Obama. And after reading some random comments on here, this is what I have to say:

- I agree that it has become a race between Obama and Palin, and I think that it is incredibly stupid. Since when has this been a race based not on qualifications but upon experience? We kind of discussed this in class, but it is frustrating because I think experience doesn't really matter that much. Look at Johnson... honestly!

- Maureen K put my opinion of gay marriage beautifully. Kudos, haha.

- It is a pet peeve of mine that now, not only must you be incredibly experienced, you must have gone through some extreme personal tragedy to run in this election. You can't have known your father, and your wife had to die in a car accident. Or you had to be a prisoner of war, and have a pregnant teenager daughter. Honestly, it just bugs me. Can we please just get down to some issues?

- And finally, I just have a question. Why is universal healthcare bad? I am not critisizing either side of this, I simply want to know, for a reason other than "it's communist".


Thanks! That was a lot for "I'm really busy". Oh well.

4:07 PM  
Blogger nathana said...

In response to Sanderk and meganod a quick clarification. I don't think homosexuality should be illegal, I just don't think it should be subsidized by the government. Hardly anyone thinks homosexuality should be illegal. This is the stance created by the left that never actually existed. The right just doesn't want the state to recognize it as a licensed marriage. That's all. It's actually a pretty moderate and rational position if you actually think about it. There's nothing extremist about it. There are no children involved, so its not the same thing as a marriage.

4:15 PM  
Blogger samlegrand said...

There is a quote by Winston Churchill that goes like this "If you're not a liberal when you're 25, you have no heart. If you're not a conservative by the time you're 35, you have no brain." Thoughts or comments?

4:53 PM  
Blogger Abby M. said...

I feel like I don't know a lot about actual political issues yet, but from an ethical standpoint, I am liberal. These views stemmed from my parents, as my family is full of stubborn Democrats (and a picture of Bill Clinton sits on the mantelpiece in my family room). While I am a Democrat, I am also Catholic - an unconventional combination.

Morally, I do have firm positions on issues like gay marriage and abortion. Several people have already summed up my beliefs, but just to cover them: I think our society is ready to legalize gay marriage - as much as it ever will be. It makes no sense to me that people who love each other are denied acceptance and the right to marriage just because their significant other is the same gender. Don't we have bigger problems in our world? As far as abortion, I am pro-choice. I understand that there are many views and circumstances to consider with abortion but as a broad issue overall, I believe that it is the woman's right to choose whether or not she wants to abort the child.

Since it seems like a common topic on this blog, I too agree with Tom R. on the separation of church and state. Because I am Catholic, I feel a lot of pressure from my traditionally conservative church to have certain beliefs and to vote certain ways. It feels wrong to sit in a pew and to be told, politically and socially, what is right and what is wrong. To me, religion is a sort of personal fulfillment, and politics don't hold an appropriate place there.

I also believe in protecting the environment. Watching "Who Killed the Electric Car?" disgusted me. There are so many issues regarding the environment that are necessary to address now, that it is one of the most important issues to me.

4:59 PM  
Blogger Christine D said...

So this is late, but here it goes.

One thing that i noticed in class today is that religious views are often associated with conservatives. I think that this is a generalization that can sometimes be taken too far. I think it is important to realize that there are religious and non religious people on both sides of the political spectrum.

I agree with abby m. about gay marriage. I am not positive if i support it or not in a moral, personal way. However, i think that gay or straight, we should all be given the same rights.

One topic that i have not seen yet, and that i care about, is how the government should aid the people of this country, and of other countries. Afer natural dissasters, i think that the government needs to help the affected people. I think this aid should be far more than a FEMA trailer. I went to New Orleans for a mission trip nearly two years after Katrina. What i found was heart breaking, and what i heard was worse. Over and over again we were told how the only true help people were recieving came from the efforts of churches and non-profit organizations. I think it is great that these organizations helped the people, but i think the government should have given more. I think that in any natural dissaster the government needs be able to efficiently help people.

6:03 PM  
Blogger BenH said...

I feel I should say something about partial birth abortion because it has been brought up several times now. nathana commented on how gruesome he thought it was, and maureen k said she could not support Obama because he supports it.

First, partial birth abortion was banned by the aptly named Partial Birth Abortion Ban Act. Second, Obama does not support it. His own words: "On an issue like partial birth abortion, I strongly believe that the state can properly restrict late-term abortions. I have said so repeatedly. All I've said is we should have a provision to protect the health of the mother, and many of the bills that came before me didn't have that."

6:27 PM  
Blogger BenH said...

I feel obligated to address an earlier comment samlegrand made.

He goes on to quote George Washington: "Let us with caution indulge the supposition that morality can be maintained without religion." As blasphemous and anti-American as this may seem, I think George Washington is wrong. It is perfectly possible to "maintain morality" without religion. Estimates indicate that approximately 14.27% of the world is non religious. I cannot believe that these 856 million, or even a substantial majority, are without morals. One prominent example is Albert Einstein, who even went so far as to say "The word God is for me nothing more than the expression and product of human weaknesses." Few people would say such a thing, yet it is hard to argue that Einstein was immoral, even wishing he would not have helped invent the atomic bomb.

Like many Americans, samlegrand laments that America is "straying from our roots and the beliefs of our own founding fathers." Our founding fathers were no doubt some of the greatest thinkers of all time, but they were not perfect. Even though they established the most successful democracy the world has ever seen, they were not gods themselves. Sometimes it is necessary to stray from one's roots. Slavery is the most obvious example of this. As the world changes our nation must change with it. Not to do so endangers the very values we seek to protect. But it is often forgotten that the majority of our famous founding fathers, including Jefferson, Franklin, and even Washington, were deists, who believed in a supreme being but were not even practicing Christians.

samlegrand finishes his comment with the sentence "It has practically become a crime to say the word Jesus or God in public schools or government institutions." This is false. Sessions of the US Congress start with a prayer (a procedure notably opposed by the "father of the constitution" James Madison), our national motto is "In God We Trust," and most members of public office are sworn in on the Bible. Not to mention the ubiquitous Pledge of Allegiance which contains the word "God."

7:07 PM  
Blogger Sander K said...

I think that it is important to note that we didn't even add the word "God" to the Pledge of Allegiance until the 1950's when we were in the Cold War against the "godless" communists. Apparently we didn't think that before the 1950's we needed the word "God" in our pledge. Is that significant in today's debate over our inclusion of the word today? Was the inclusion of the word "God" in our pledge more religious or just a propaganda tool to separate ourselves from the soviets?

7:21 PM  
Blogger TomR said...

Maureen, since you reminded me to post here, I'll address your comments first. I agree that it's not plausible to ask politicians to separate their religious beliefs from their personal decision-making. However, as a politician, one has a duty to equitably represent his constituents. The primary concern should be the well-being of the general public, in whatever form that may be. Religion is typically a very personal thing, and a move to proselytize to huge mobs of people would probably seen as unwanted and slightly hostile.

As far as the hot-button issues, I somewhat touched on this earlier, but I follow with Ben's sentiments that the government has no logical reason to ban gay marriage, and I do believe that it will be a nationwide reality with a few decades. I also agree with Abby in that there are much larger issues out there--it doesn't have any severe negative repercussions on anyone else and would benefit those who want it.

The environment is also a critical issue. I am of the opinion that "global warming" is of no importance, because any regulations or actions that would take place to prevent the earth from becoming a crusty old McDonald's oven should be done in any case, be it to reduce pollution, costs, or what have you. Not to mention that fossil fuels are finite resources, and at our current rate of production of renewable fuel sources, there will be a major crisis when the oil dries up.

8:00 PM  
Blogger Spencer Z said...

Wow, so understanding that I am a tad late in posting, I would like to begin by saying I am thoroughly impressed by the breadth, depth, and (generally) rationality with which the issues are being discussed.

First off, I suppose, cliche though it is by this point, that my political views tend to be in general alignment with Tom. It is my personal opinion that socially, government should be incredibly small. The current "war on drugs" is an illustration of vast waste of funds on a moral issue. Yes, you can make the argument that we are protecting the citizenry from hurting themselves, but shouldn't they be able to choose for themselves? That said, I neither smoke nor drink, but a large number of my friends do, and that is their prerogative. Much of organized crime in the middle of the century was funded during the prohibition era; yet, we continue to allow a similar circumstance by outlawing marijuana that (debatably) is no more physically detrimental than alcohol.

I do, however, believe that it should be the government's responsibility to help their people back up when they can't help themselves (my grandpa would call me a commie; he also thought Roosevelt's New Deal was a joke :-)). Socialized medicine can be effective, but it also comes with its own set of issues, but even so, on some level, we need to make sure our people are protected: their health, their safety, their freedoms.

I tend to be a Democrat, but I've known too many people who just vote party lines and that sure isn't me. I would have no issues with voting for a Republican with whom I agree.

Sam, I respect both your faith and your devotion to it. The teachings of Christ have every place in a theology class (and often history), but perhaps not beyond that. I agree with you that the fight over separation of church and state can sometimes lend itself to being "anti-christian," but those people are hypocrites. Everyone deserves the right to worship anything, or nothing, at their discretion; I just don't think it ought to be part of subjects when it doesn't relate to the curriculum. Do you think that's fair?

As for this ongoing abortion/gay marriage discussion: If you are categorically opposed to abortion, then don't get one. Palin is an excellent example of this. Still, it is not our government's place to prohibit abortion (excluding partial birth). Abortion is a difficult choice, one I hope never to have to face under any circumstances, but it is a choice of the individual, not the government.

Grant's position on this seems very logical to me.

Lyndsey, you are allowed your own beliefs on gay marriage, and whatever your motivation, I acknowledge them as legitimate. However, whether or not homosexuality is a choice has little bearing on the issue. The person who an individual chooses to commit to, regardless of gender, is not a political issue. These partners deserve the same political rights whatever their sexual orientation. If you don't want to call it marriage, fine. Don't. But at least allow a loved one visitation rights in the hospital if they have been seriously injured. Reasonable enough, no?



Ben, you support your points brilliantly and discuss them rationally.

Sander K, your statements are awesome! I could not agree more with your views on closed-mindedness. "In my book, being close-minded is the only stance on any issue that is 100% wrong."
So true.


If you disagree with what I've said, I'd love to hear about it.

8:03 PM  
Blogger GraysonNiemeyer said...

As with Spencer I am also posting late. Before I post my views on certain issues I would like to say that I am a conservative. However I am not in agreement with all of the conservative ideas.

On the issue of Abortion, I beleive it is a person's choice to have the procedure or not. So I am obviosly pro-choice.

When it comes to religion, I beleive strongly in your right to practice whatever you would like to worship. However, I feel it is wrong for people to try to force their religious views upon me or try to convert me without my asking.

Also, on the issue of religious radicals. I do not understand why there is a stereotype against Muslim people because of the actions of a few Islamic Extremists. Why is this the case for Muslims only. For example, radical Catholics used the same terrorism tactics in Ireland against the British. So why dont we go around scared of all Catholics? (This is not a insult to any religion, I am merely bringing up a new topic of discussion)

Spencer on your comment about the "war on drugs". I agree with you in that it should be the individuals choice to use certain drugs or substances. However, many of these substances do not only affect the individual using them. Steroids, for example, can cause you to become extremly violent and have "roid rage". This can not only harm yourself, but hurt other people (Take the WWE Wrestler who murdered his entire family before killing himself last year). So I feel substances should be controlled when the use of it endangeres those around you. To add to this, I do not beleive that the "War on Drugs" is necessarily there to stop America using the substances, I beleive it is there to shut down the extremly violent Drug Cartels. As is the case in Mexico, the cartels are winning, and just last month the head of Mexico's Police was assinated. So I feel that we are trying to stop drugs coming to America for the purpose of cutting into the income of these extremely dangerous Cartels.

I hope my ideas are clearly presented.

9:47 PM  
Blogger DanH said...

Before I speak, I must say that I am impressed with the depth and civility of the course of these discussions.

I would love to touch base on all of the discussed topics thus far, however, for now; I will only my give opinions of the environmental issues surrounding politics.

I agree with Abby that the environment should be protected and preserved in every possible way meaning to switch gears to renewable energy and reducing carbon emissions, but it’s easier said than being done. I have not seen Who Killed the Electric Car but I understand the premise of the movie. Correct me if I'm wrong, but I see that a great invention went to waste due to the will of the "fat cats" of society. The existence of this electric car would have toppled over the oil industry. It is a shame to see a technological innovated specimen demolished, however this probably should have happened. If the economy could sustain this new innovation, then the electric car would be welcomed with open hands, but the economy wasn't ready to take it on.

The point I'm trying to make is that in order for us to be environmentally sound, renewable energy must be cost efficient before environmentalists can proceed to make environmental changes.

My proposal? If you want to save the environment, make economic reforms first; stray away from investing in oil companies.

10:27 PM  
Blogger justinb said...

Well, I am a conservative, pretty plain and simple. I believe that the government should be out of my life as much as possible. I believe that we should have lower taxes. It promotes good business. We should pull out of Iraq, ONCE WE HAVE ESTABLISHED THEIR GOVERNMENT and they are secure and ready to completely take over. Biology defines human life as a cell with 46 chromosomes. Yeah, I know you have the right to choose, but it appears that you chose to “jump in the sack.” If that choice resulted in a human life, where does that place our society when we arbitrarily allow the taking of that child’s life? If immigrants cross our borders, send them home. There is a reason it is illegal. We aren’t responsible for taking care of their healthcare, education, housing and other necessities if they aren’t even citizens of this country!

7:59 AM  
Blogger Maureen K. said...

Thanks Ben! I was misinformed.

Thank you for posting that link!

3:16 PM  
Blogger Alyse said...

Right now I do not know what I am. I used to think that I was a Liberal because that is what many of my friends are, but I had no idea of what that really meant. Now that I am figuring out some things, I tend to lean more conservative and I believe that the environment should be taken care of, although I do not have any idea of how that should happen. I would have to say that I am pretty much in the middle. On some issues I feel that the Conservatives address the issue better and on others, I feel that the Liberals are better. I tend to agree with JustinB on the issue of illegal immigrants.

4:58 PM  
Blogger KristinC said...

I am a Libertarian. I think the government should be a small as possible. I would rather see education and health care privatized, because then we would have to work for what we get. I would rather see more power be put into state legislators than see federal power skyrocket.
Socially, I tend to agree more with republicans. I am against abortion. In the case of rape, I think you should have to show police documentation of the crime in order to get an abortion.
I would rather see humanitarian aid sent countries like Afghanistan instead of military. I want to see the government back out of my business.

6:26 PM  
Blogger BenH said...

maureen k: You're very welcome! Now you are free to support Obama!

justinb: I quite simply cannot accept your definition of a human because I feel it is deeply flawed. You define it as a "cell with 46 chromosomes." If any single cell that contains 46 chromosomes is human, we come to some decidedly strange conclusions.

First off, every individual cell is its own human life. For example, a single lung cell has 46 chromosomes. Also, a person that has recently died still has 46 chromosomes in most of his or her cells.

It also means that every bunny (or at least bunny cell) is a human. Because they also have 46 chromosomes.

8:08 PM  
Blogger BenH said...

One more thing I would like to add: Sarah Palin's youngest son Trig would not qualify as a human under justinb's definition. Because he has Down's Syndrome, he has an extra 13th chromosome, bringing him to a total of 47.

8:20 PM  
Blogger Spencer Z said...

Justin, I feel like you are speaking in generalities and off of assumptions. Not all abortions are had because two people "jump in the sack" without using condom. Nor do doctors "take a child's life" by performing an abortion. We're not talking about a happy, smiling toddler, but rather a grouping of cells with the potential to become human. In vitro fertilization often involves many eggs being fertilized. The unused eggs (similar to the earliest stages of a fetus) are then discarded. Do you oppose that as well?

Also, if the economy in Mexico were stronger, we wouldn't need to worry about having as many immigrants, and, illegality aside, immigrants from Mexico perform labor for businesses that allow the business to flourish. If you really want less government, shouldn't small business owners be able to decide whom they hire?

8:51 PM  
Blogger TomR said...

Justin and Kristin, wouldn't opposition to abortion result in a larger government to enforce it? I don't really equate government intervention in this issue with "small" or "out of my life". Also, Kristin, though the idea of rape victims documenting their crimes in order to get an abortion would work in an ideal world, the baby would likely be born before the court proceedings went through. Obviously, this would defeat the purpose. My stance on abortion is similar to that on prostitution: it will happen in great number whether it's illegal or not, so unless draconian punishments are used to deter these, it would be better to legalize them so they could be better regulated, taxed, etc.

9:03 PM  
Blogger brian h. said...

I agree with Justin on these accounts. Spencer, although not all abortions are because two people "jump in the sack" without the use of a condom, all of them are because they had sex. Condoms are not full proof. So even if they were being safe, they run the risk of becoming pregnant. Now rape is a little more complicated. I agree that it is a hard decision. But there are options, adoption or foster care. I think that even though it might be tough, the baby-to-be deserves the right to live. Who knows, the baby could become the person who discovers the cure for cancer, or who fixes the environmental issues, or lack thereof.

9:07 PM  
Blogger justinb said...

Well... I was testing the waters and I figured out where people stand. Spencer and Ben I did leave it general in order to see how people would react to my comment. I do think that at conception(just like McCain) is when human life forms.

12:13 AM  
Blogger Sander K said...

I think that while we talk about illegal immigrants that it is important to remember that these are human beings, I think that too often Americans hide immigrants humanity by saying that they are illegal. A vast majority of illegal immigrants are harmless and are simply here to attempt to improve their lot in life, isn't this one of the principle's America was founded on? I am not particularly proud of the land grab that our government conducted against the Mexican government in the 19th century. Also, the EU has a free movement policy between many of the member countries. This seems to be working, along with several other of the EU's economic policies, as the Euro is now the highest valued currency in the world except perhaps the British pound. Why can't we try to set up a parallel system? Just a random thought.

11:56 AM  
Blogger michellem2009 said...

I am going to agree with Justin. I am also a conservative. I do my best to portray a conservative view but I think that I need a little bit more information about everything before I can say for sure. However, I do agree with Justin in the fact that we need to finish the war in Iraq. If we leave now, then it will be a 'loss' for no reason. All of the soldiers who have died, and risked their lives for us, would have died for nothing if we don't finish this. Also I think that illegal immigrants should be deported because they avoid things like taxes, which then working Americans have to pay for them. I believe that every life form is created for a reason, and there should be no reason to extinguish that life purposely.

1:34 PM  
Blogger nathana said...

I repeat, I don't think homosexuality should be illegal, I just don't think it should be subsidized by the government. Hardly anyone thinks homosexuality should be illegal. This is the stance created by the left that never actually existed. The right just doesn't want the state to recognize it as a licensed marriage. That's all. It's actually a pretty moderate and rational position if you actually think about it. There's nothing extremist about it. There are no children involved, so its not the same thing as a marriage.

4:23 PM  
Blogger nathana said...

I would much rather risk inconveniencing a WOMAN (as horrific as that may sound) then killing an infant. Pro-life is a much safer bet for those who actually care about the possiblility we have killed millions of children.

4:25 PM  
Blogger Clyde said...

First off, I like the “hot” issue justinb has dropped into this discussion. It is easy to see why it is hot.

I just want to play with a few definitions and connect them to familiar terms to try and answer tomr’s rhetorical question. Being conservative is often attached to being Republican. Republicans are often viewed as wanting little government interference and pro-life. They generally dislike “big” government when it involves large taxes and affirmative action, along with other things. HOWEVER, in some areas Republicans view big government as positive, the best example being military. The most basic explanation for Republican affinity for large military is protecting freedom, which can be tied to protecting the life of Americans. It can be concluded that because Republicans view unborn fetuses as a life, and because a child is an American citizen based on the citizenship of their parents, making abortion illegal is viewed as protecting an unborn American citizen. And if a larger government is needed to do so, then taking the steps becomes necessary, just like expanding the government to manage the military would be viewed as necessary.

Continuing this argument from a different perspective, it is important to realize the difference between a Republican’s view of a big wasteful government and an effective government. As touched on in my earlier paragraph, Republicans view high taxes and affirmative action as “big, wasteful,” and shall we say “uncontrollable” government. In looking at the similarities between these and other aspects of liberalism, many further the government for the government’s purpose. The high taxes give more money to the government so the government can to more. In a sense (bear with me), it is taking the responsibility from the American citizen and allowing a government official dictate that portion of his/her life. I am not saying it is bad or good (at the moment), just an observation. This works if the government is unbiased, is unwasteful, and can manage an individual’s life better than he/she can. This worked for some things concerning race in the sixties when discrimination did not allow a cohesive friendly, “free” society and was better handled by a government official than by many individuals who could not work together. It also worked during the Great Depression when an official not working just for profit could step in and ask companies to not offer competing prices so the economy could get back on track. When situations have improved however, this control of the government can stifle the growth in many areas. Reverse discrimination of race and gender begins to appear where it is much better and easier to get into competitive colleges or get a job or receive scholarships when you are a minority (ex. University of California v Bakke). Once the economy is on track, not allowing competition stifles its growth. Just as tomr mentioned that documentation moves slowly through government, changing government so that it governs most efficiently, effectively, and properly is just as slow, if not slower. Having a strong government in tough times is great, but when its response time is slow and it does not back off when times are good, is it really helping? Does our government need to not only focus on different policy areas and issues, but also making itself more adaptable and able to govern the present time and not the past?

4:25 PM  
Blogger Clyde said...

Commenting on spencerz’s comment about illegal immigration, I am only partially agreeing. Only if the economic opportunity/gain were stronger in Mexico or very close to economic opportunity/gain in the United States would illegal immigration decrease at any significance. Otherwise, there would still be a pull to illegally cross the border in order to make a better living for yourself and family. Also, would not using illegal immigrants to make business flourish because they can be paid less than minimum wage and in conditions not compliable with labor laws be exploiting those people? Could not this be viewed as against the morals of valuing human life and individualism which were part of the founding of our country? If illegal immigrants take the jobs which Americans would hold, then the economy is weakened by the larger number of Americans who would not have a job but would if they could accept the job that was currently being performed by an illegal immigrant. I guess it depends if you are looking at if it benefits the country of America or the individual business you are considering. However, the part where I would agree with spencerz would be if he included the jobs that Americans would not hold in his definition of “small business.” Jobs I am referring to are being a farm hand, the “dirty jobs” created by the need to upkeep our society, and others. In this case, I think that the process should be simplified rather than eliminated. Currently, a person can obtain a temporary visa to work as a farm helper to help with the harvest or to help with the running of a farm. Many single farmers have found this to be beneficial and the worker helpful and quick learning. These workers can then take the skills they learn back to their home country to help boost the economy or stay, help our economy by working in jobs otherwise unfilled, and eventually become citizens. Where this process could become simpler would be in making the contact and selection of workers more direct. In other words, have a independent agency (it is a vocab word that will show up. Look it up and learn it) or possibly a privatized effort that gathered request from American business owners who need workers. Then, by maintaining offices on or near the border of a foreign country (for example, Mexico), that could post the offers and the wages and operate on a first come, first serve basis for potential workers. To maintain that jobs are not being taken away for Americans, the business owner must meet certain criteria (such as having a minimum wage they can offer) or by specifying which jobs are guaranteed to be allowed to use immigrant workers. This agency or private company would operate off of funds paid by the owner that allowed them to bring in an immigrant. Also, “Miranda Rights” (also a vocab word from an important Supreme Court case of Miranda v Arizona that you will need to know) of an immigrant could be created to protect the immigrants. While much more would go into it, I will stop to allow questions, comments, or concerns and to prevent confusion or excessive rambling.

4:26 PM  
Blogger nathana said...

I can not agree to the stance that if anyone is in the mood to simply walk into our country they should be allowed to do so. No checks, no order, no counting. Come on in! we wouldn't want to opress a minority.

4:27 PM  
Blogger GraceEM said...

Okay, So everyone has pretty much talked about all the hot issues, and not many will probably read this; but I thought I'd put my two cents in now that I finally found which blog we're supposed to be on! I would consider myself a moderate conservative in most areas, but there are some areas where I would lean more liberal. To address the "hot" issues I believe that life begins at the conception of the child; and if the parents do not want the child, they should at least let someone who does have it. If you are "inconvenienced" by a pregnancy, then you shouldn't be having sex. I do think that in cases of rape, incest, or in dealing with the health of the mother it is acceptable. Though, for my own part have decided that if that choice came to me I would chose life. But on behalf of the mothers as well I say chose life because of the emotional scars that abortion produces. I have heard several testimonies of women who realize what they have done and wish they could take it back every day.

On gay marriage; I am a christian; unaffiliated with any denomination and I do not believe that God creates people with that orientation. I believe that humanity was perfect when he created it, but since the fall of man our spirits were tainted with a "sin nature" and we were no longer the perfect creation. I believe that homosexuality is just another fall of man, no more horrendous than an addiction to shop lifting, but still wrong all the same. In the same way any other person must struggle with sinning, so must a homosexual person. I have heard stories of men and women who have done this and have gone to be happily married to a spouse of the opposite gender. Don't get me wrong at all; I love my gay guy friend, but I continue to believe that people are imperfect since the fall of man, and now we must deal with all these other issues that wouldn't have existed except for God giving us our own choice.

4:47 PM  
Blogger jessica m said...

It really is amazing to see everyone's comments on all of these topics. Just from reading them all it seems that the biggest issues are abortion and gay marriage. Obviously there will never be one answer to any of these because people's opinions differ so much, but I will throw my 'two cents' in just because I can.
For abortion, and to put it in simple terms, I really don't understand how anyone could force a woman to have a child. It's a personal and life changing choice and I don't feel that anybody but the woman has the right to make such an important decision.
On the gay marriage issue, as it has been said, if you love someone you should be able to freely show that. Again, whose right is it to tell someone else how to live their life, or who to love in this case. The one aspect of this that really does bother me though is when a member of a same sex couple is denied the basic rights of their relationship just because of gender choice. As it was said earlier, if one person is in the hospital because of a serious medical emergency, their partner should be able to be with them, hands down.
In terms of illegal immigration issue I feel it can be out of control sometimes. If anyone saw the news recently, an illegal alien caused the death of two women and a toddler recently by crashing his car into another one and then into an ice-cream store. This man had been arrested for 16 other misdemeanors, but never once was his background checked. This is crazy! "Officials say Hernandez passed himself off as a U.S. citizen. Even though he had been arrested 16 times in the past five years, he's never been deported nor raised the suspicion or scrutiny of the Immigration and Customs Enforcement." (Channel 7 News online http://www.thedenverchannel.com/news/17439115/detail.html?rss=den&psp=news)I feel like situations like these are completely unnecessary. People from other countries should be wecomed in with open arms, but there has to be some regulation. Maybe this is just a serious flaw in the system we have now, and maybe not even in the immigration department. Any thoughts?

Finally, to sum up, I defintely lean liberal on most issues, but I try to think of myself as a very open minded person. Thanks!

7:06 PM  
Blogger Clyde said...

Just an explanation to what I thought I implied. A Joe Smoe on the other side of the border could not just wake up one day, think “I believe I will go work in America today,” walk across the border, work, then cross back over to his home. The whole purpose of the independent agency/private institution was to do the background check, maintain the order, and if needed, count those crossing. This agency/company would deal solely with those wanting a temporary working visa instead of combined with a border patrol or custom office dealing in the movement of goods and commerce across a border. Quite frankly, I do not agree to having an open border for just anyone to come in, even if it somewhat sounded like it. The meaning of “oppressing a minority,” if taken in context, is pointing out the problem of allowing an open border and the possible implication it has for the person and American business, not advocating the unregulated free flow of people across the border. Sorry for any confusion.

7:21 PM  
Blogger TomR said...

Nathan: "I repeat, I don't think homosexuality should be illegal, I just don't think it should be subsidized by the government. Hardly anyone thinks homosexuality should be illegal. This is the stance created by the left that never actually existed. The right just doesn't want the state to recognize it as a licensed marriage. That's all. It's actually a pretty moderate and rational position if you actually think about it. There's nothing extremist about it. There are no children involved, so its not the same thing as a marriage."

I don't think anyone was implying that you thought homosexuality should be illegal, and if I said anything that was construed that way I'd like to apologize. However, you have failed to present a truly compelling reason why it should be legal. And as a matter of fact, there are children involved, as many same-sex couples do raise children (often without endorsement from the state). Often, these children are only "adopted" by one parent, and the other is a legal stranger--it seems as though marriage would, in fact, be beneficial to these children.

Jessica: About the situation with the ice cream shop, I couldn't agree more. It's quite ridiculous that charade went on for as long as it did. I think readily available false identification is probably a larger problem than many people think (this is just a hunch).

7:49 PM  
Blogger Clyde said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

8:03 PM  
Blogger Clyde said...

Picking up on the environment conversation. I have gathered that the general perception is oil companies are controlling our society through interest groups and prohibiting the advancement of renewable energy. True, but the blame is neither all on the “big bad oil company” and care must be taken in describing their control. While the interest groups of oil companies do have influence in congress, they did not get that influence by politely knocking on the door and offering an opinion. Rather, they donate money, gained by profit from the Americans addicted to the oil, to the people who support their cause to help them get elected. So, the blame partially falls on the American public for giving the oil companies their power. America has also created a system in which the biggest guns win, whether economically, politically, or socially. By giving oil companies power, we have given them the capability to have their voice heard in congress. Here, I compliment danh on his observation on the electric car, the economy, and financing oil companies. However, I also want to point out that oil companies are not the only ones with interest groups in Congress. A trip to D.C. would tell you that. Environmentalist have many interest groups in D.C., yet the many branches of environmentalism has fractured this group into many competing interest groups. If these groups found common ground and united, their voice would be stronger. Here, it is important to note that interest groups draw their power not only from monetary strength but also in strength of numbers. The more numbers you have, the more people you can convince to vote for a candidate. An area of government that has remained relatively hidden and undiscussed but which hold incredible influence over many societies is the bureaucracy (or as it will be revealed later, the “boreacracy”). I’ll leave it at that. Any comments?

8:04 PM  
Blogger AaronW said...

I feel bad jumping into this conversation so late...

That being said, I am a Libertarian, and consider myself a a strong practitioner of Constitutionalism. A lot can be said with that, but in short I believe the Constitution is a philosophically sound document that COULD create a responsible, ethical government if strictly followed.

I believe in strong rights. Gays should be allowed to get married. Women may have abortions. Stem cells may be ethically researched. Guns may be owned and maintained. Heroin may be injected, Weed may be smoked, Alcohol may be drank, etc. If there even needs to be laws on these issues, it should NOT be dealt with on a Federal level. Each state is different from the next, so it's needs should be dealt with internally. A liberal, industrialized state like New York does not have the same needs as agrarian, conservative states like Nebraska.

I believe a government should also be as small as possible. Our country is sliding slowly into a depression, and we are all to blame. The biggest factor in our recession is running the United States global empire. If America withdrew it's troops from their places of deployment, closed all it's foreign bases, and took up a strong Isolationist attitude our economy would rebound. We would no longer be wasting 1.5 billion dollars a day! Equally important would be to close down virtually ALL government services. Welfare, Education, Health care, Roads, EVERYTHING would be privatized. Don't worry, though! With a strong laissez faire economy free of government restrictions consumer demand will CREATE all these same programs. For example, public schools would closed and private schools would open. These private schools, however, would be affordable to attend due to competition in the education field, and they would have ultimately higher standards for educating than today's government run schools.

8:16 PM  
Blogger Clyde said...

Just adding a few thoughts to the conversation on religion, its importance in government, and the separation of church and state. As defined by Wikipedia, “A religion is a set of tenets and practices, often centered upon specific supernatural and moral claims about reality, the cosmos, and human nature, and often codified as prayer, ritual, or religious law.” So, by stating that 14.27% of the world is non-religious, religious must be defined or else it is a meaningless statistic. Does it only include monotheistic religions? Only major religions? Does it include every little sect and cult as well? So, religion can be quite a slippery and gray issue. As a result, determining separation of church and state becomes a fuzzy, nearly undeterminable line. If you want to get extremely technical, it could be argued that everyone is religious because everyone has a “set of tenets and practices” and a belief system to define how they should or could live their life and how to explain it. With this perspective, it becomes clearer to see why the Supreme court has set up this standard in determining cases about religion and government: if it goes to serve a secular purpose, it is allowable. However, if it serves only to the advancement or hinderence of a religion, then it is not allowable. Thoughts?

8:18 PM  
Blogger Clyde said...

If you don’t mind, I am going to play the devil’s advocate to aaronw, so please do not take anything personally. In a sense, what has been described is an extreme liberatarian view. Also, a state’s rights system similar to what the south wanted and what the Confederacy was formed on is also being discussed. I am just wondering if the strong individualism and the high competitiveness would eventually lead to the dismantling of a country that followed such practices, much like what happened when we tried something similar under the Articles of Confederation. There are many more things, most are minor, that might also be brought up against this system. I hope I have not misinterpreted anything. Please correct me if I have.

8:25 PM  
Blogger AaronW said...

Clyde, do you really think that giving people more rights is going to dismantle our country? The citizens of the United States are all "united" under one common aspiration: to be free. When you bring legislation down on to a state and local level you gain the power to be more involved in how you live. This freedom, the freedom to live basically how you and your neighbors choose, would be the glue that holds the Union together.

Now, when you move these issues into the Federal arena many states loose their voice and their rights. There are VERY FEW things that need to be debated on the national scale, the war and the economy being the only two current issues that demand national interest. My reason for this is simple; Why should a state be forced to follow a law that it's citizens never supported anyways?

8:55 PM  
Blogger chrisb said...

I figure that I am a very moderate person with views that tend to veer both ways. Abortion: I'm very pro choice. Sometime accidents happen in teenage lives, and those incidents sometimes include not being able to carry the baby for nine months. In cases like those, I believe abortion is a good outlet. Obviosuly, that is a left wing view point. Gay Marriage: While I am not opposed to gay reltionships in any way (I have a gay uncle, and he's a cool guy), I am opposed to gay marriage. Marriage is defined as a union between a man and a woman. I do believe it is wrong though that a gay man or woman cannot go see their significant other in the hospital becasue they are not married. Gay relationships: Yes. Gay Marriage: No. Right wing view. I belive that we should drill in america for oil. I think its great to look for alternate ways for fuel, though that would take quite awhile, cost A LOT of money, and so while we're spending money on finding new resources, our gas prices continue to increase. Bad.
Right Wing.

While I am not a Hillary fan myself (not in the slightest) I do agree with her universal healthcare plan. I don't understand why ANYBODY has the right to an atorny, though when you are injured, you don't neccessairly have the right to a doctor. Left wing. As you can see, I am moderate. I could go on longer, but I shall leave it at this for the time being.

9:25 PM  
Blogger shannon a. said...

Honestly I dont have any idea what I am. I mostly just go with independent because I agress with some views from both sides and have my own thoughts on things.

I know it is not important to a lot of people but I really care about gay marriage and abortion rights. I feel that the government shouldnt say who you can love and who you cant. We are all human and all have feelings of love. Just because its two men or two women that love eachother and want to finalize with love through marriage..what makes it any different from a man and a women wanting to get married for the same reasons. People can look down on them all they want but who is to say you cant love somebody may it be of opposite sex or same sex. I probably have these feelings because I am around gay men all the time with my dancing and they are just the same as the rest of us.

With abortion I am prochoice. I realize that it is the killing of an unborn baby but there are some cases where the person cannot have the baby. Its not the right time or they have goals they want to succeed and they can not do it with a baby. It is up to the mother whether or not they can give this child a good life not the governments.

9:35 PM  
Blogger AaronW said...

I got back on because I was really bothered by something Justinb said, and would like to address it.

"We should pull out of Iraq, ONCE WE HAVE ESTABLISHED THEIR GOVERNMENT and they are secure and ready to completely take over"

Justin, I think it's noble that you would "finish the job" rather than "cut our losses and get out of Dodge". Nobility, however, is not effective foreign policy. I think that most Americans are horribly ignorant of the world outside this country, and your statement exemplifies this.

We should not be establishing an Iraqi government. As Westerners we fundamentally believe that Democracy is the best form of government, and hell yeah, I love it. However, this was our CHOSEN form of government. By chosen I mean that a foreign entity did not overthrow a previous American government, I mean that the people of our great nation chose it. America is forcing Democracy on the Middle East. Culturally, the Middle Eastern countries have revolved around a theocratic system of government for THOUSANDS OF YEARS yet the region has only been volatile roughly since the end of WW2, or, since the beginning of a period when the Western World has tried to impose their values and ideals on this area.

I say let the Iraqi people set up their government. I say, instead of forcing American morality on a people who's culture is different from our own we empower them by laying our guns down and entrusting them with the responsibility to rule themselves.

America is not the baby sitter of civilization. This war has evolved from a conflict that a clear cut majority of Americans supported into a conflict that a clear cut majority of Americans do NOT support. We should follow popular opinion and withdraw ASAP, because Operation Iraqi Freedom has now turned into Operation SMOKE SCREEN TO DISTRACT YOU FROM IMPORTANT DOMESTIC ISSUES.

10:50 PM  
Blogger Anoel said...

Wow, what a heated discussion. As far as I know, I have no idea what I am. Economically, I am conservative, but socially I am somewhat liberal. I guess half of my reason for taking this class is to find out what the heck I am politically! I am not going to comment on anything being said thus far, I would far rather sit back and enjoy the show.

6:02 AM  
Blogger Amy B. said...

Hi Mr. Meyer it is Amy Barczuk.

5:07 PM  
Blogger Patti S. said...

Hi, this is Patti Shumate! I have not firmly decided which side I belong to, I feel that I am still trying to figure out what I believe and for what exactly I want to stand for. I feel that my views on politics have been influenced from living with my family but lately I have been learning to tune them out out and focus on what I am interested in. My views of abortion have started to evolve to more of a pro-life stance but I also believe that gay marriage should me more commonly legal. I am across the board on many subjects but am still interested in what is going on and researching things more.

6:08 PM  
Blogger Sander K said...

Short of accusing anyone of being internationally ignorant, people's opinions over the Iraq War have not surfaced in a major way yet. So, just to see if we can get the ball rolling here are some questions:
1) Who should ultimately decide the course of the Iraq war, the United States, the occupier, or Iraq, the occupied?
2) Should the Iraq War be, or is it, a single issue that swings a hefty number of votes?
And the biggies:
3) Should we be in Iraq? Why or why not?
4) Was it a wise decision in the first place? Why or why not?
5) Is it really mission accomplished? Why or why not?

6:10 PM  
Blogger adamb said...

I think that we have some obligation to Iraq, but it is ultimately their say seeing as how that is what we want, the Iraqi people to have a say in their fate. They want us out, we leave.

It should be a big issue in the election because a large amount of our resources go there, and Americans are spilling their blood over there. Plus, it has had huge effect on our standing in the world.

I don't think we should be in Iraq for much longer. They have money and somewhat of an army, and we just seem to bring violence and unease to them.

It wasn't at all a wise decision. There were no nuclear weapons. There were no terrorists, and it ruined our position globally.

It is nowhere close to mission accomplished. We disrupted the local governments that set up after Sadaam fell, and now have trouble rebuilding them. Iraq has now become a hotbed for terrorists and extremists. We dismantled their army which was the fourth largest in the world and had surrendered. Now we are struggling to rebuild it at all. We have made Iraq a dire situation because we handled it in the worst possible way.

7:16 PM  
Blogger Bri B said...

I just want to make a quick reply to Sam's issue of church and state separation. I too find it sad that our nation has moved farther and farther away from it's Christian heritage.
Look where our nation came from--The Founding Fathers, the majority, professed to be Christians with Judeo-Christian values. These men believed that man is flawed, corrupt, and change is needed internally. These men founded our country from a humble stance and believing that man could improve himself. Today our nation is very focused on the "good" in people. I think we are too blinded to the fact that humans always need improvement...Republican or Democrat, Liberal or Conservative.
This is just a small list of things in our nation's history that support the institution of church and state:
Mayflower Compact..."In the name of God. Amen."
Continental Army battle cry, " No King but King Jesus"
Harvard University-"Veritas"- means "Truth of Christ and the Church" ( Harvard has now changed their symbol and Christian roots
Father of the Constitution- strong man of faith and religion- James Madison
Look around Washington D.C...Every building will have something along the line of being founded upon God and having God by the nation's side:
Washington Monument-"Praise be to God"
"In God We Trust"

Evidence that our nation has Judeo-Christian roots that we have left are there...the question is why?
How has our nation turned from church to just rely on the state?
Is it right that prayer in public schools should not be allowed? Is that not freedom of speech?
Does it seem logical that Creation is not taught in public schools, only Evolution? Creationism is hardly allowed to be taught in comparison to Evolution! In a free country where freedom is so prized, how do simple matters such as these play out?
Basically, it makes no sense to me, nor do I think it has done our nation any benefits, that the institution of church has continued to play less and less of a role with the state.

7:51 PM  
Blogger TomR said...

Sander, I want to address your points about the Iraq War but it will take me some time to collect my thoughts so I'll leave that on the table for now.

Bri brings up another fairly hot topic of creationism being taught in schools, which I'd like to address as I feel that my point sums up my thoughts on church/state fairly well. While creationism might have a place in a theology class, and perhaps certain parts of history, it is not science. I firmly believe that with regards to science, the state has an obligation to teach students the most accurate information of the time--many of these happen to be theories. It is your right to believe that evolution is false, just as you have the right to believe that string theory is shoddy at best or that much of history is an elaborate fabrication by our government to brainwash us (not that I've thought that or anything). As a matter of fact, you don't have to believe a single word you hear in school.

However, evolution a theory that best explains the origins of modern life (in terms of being accepted by the large part of biologists)--but it is just that, a theory, and should be taught as such. The major difference between evolution and creationism is that creationism is not subject to the scientific method or review by those who study the area; it is simply accepted on faith. There's nothing wrong with doing so personally, but the school should not be one to endorse that.

8:41 PM  
Blogger justinb said...

PLEASE READ AND TELL ME WHAT YOU THINK


Just to get it out, I believe that gay marriage is wrong. As a strong christian believer I base my opinion off of the bible. I also base it off of some simple biblical facts. In the bible God didn't create Adam and John, he created Adam and Eve. He created them so that they would compliment each other and create a family. I don't really see the point in Gay Marriage if you can't create a family. Obviously, they can adopt which is great and I understand that they want to be happy but I still don't get it.

Also, another reason that I am against abortion is because I have seen some of the effects that an abortion has on a woman. I really don't want women to encounter those feelings. When you hear of a miscarriage and of the after affects, it is apparent how she is crushed. I would hate to see the woman suffer. My aunt went through a miscarriage and it affected all of us in the family. Now imagine an abortion! It would really hurt the mom as well as the family. One more example: Women glow when they are going to have a child and this is because they have a baby growing in the them.

Now (democrat or republican it does not matter) ask yourself this, when their child is dead how do they look even if they didn't want the child? Is that what we want? I would rather see that child grow up in a foster home and still experiencing the blessings that you and I encounter everyday.

The question is whether or not we agree with abortion, but rather, how are we going to fix it?

11:00 PM  
Blogger Thomas_N said...

Sorry I’m late for responding to this blog.
I consider myself to be more on the liberal side but that doesn’t necessarily mean I will vote for the Democratic Party. Since abortion and gay marriage seem to be the hot topic I will discuss those. I think all women should have the right to choose if they want an abortion. If you think that abortion is morally wrong then the solution is simple, just don’t have one. If abortion were made illegal it would only deepen the controversy and I don’t really think that people would stop getting abortions. As for gay marriage I think anyone should be allowed to marry who they want. It is neither mine nor the government’s decision to put restrictions on this. If you think gay marriage is morally wrong then don’t marry a gay person.
Stem cell research is another issue that I think should be considered in the upcoming election. I feel that it is important that America becomes involved in this science that could potentially change how we look at healthcare. I don’t understand why this is even controversial, it’s ironic that people want to save embryos but not allow for sick people to potentially be cured. I say at least give it a chance.

11:53 PM  
Blogger AaronW said...

Bri-

1. Veritas simply is Latin for "Truth". There are NO Christian connotations to the word. I know that's trivial to point out, but it bothers me that you are posting misinformed, incorrect facts.

2. There is a reason Creationism isn't taught in schools. The argument for evolution is buttressed by hard evidence. We can literally line up the skeletons of our primate ancestors and observe the progression towards Homo Sapien. Creationism, on the other hand, hasn't a single bit of proof. You can't use the Bible as proof either, it's a book that does not resemble it's original manuscript at all. Through the years corrupt church officials have taken the liberty to edit the bible, take things out, throw things in, you know. Simply put, THE BIBLE IS NOT CREDIBLE AS A SUPPORT FOR ARGUMENTS. If you are willing to link me to legitimate scientific studies that have been published supporting the bible, I will accept it in arguments


Now, to address Secularism in our government. Bri, our country is not a "Christian Nation". In fact, here's nice quote from one of our Founding Fathers, President John Adams:

"As the Government of the United States of America is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion; as it has in itself no character of enmity against the laws, religion, or tranquility, of Mussulmen [Muslims]; and, as the said States never entered into any war, or act of hostility against any Mahometan [Islamic] nation, it is declared by the parties, that no pretext arising from religious opinions, shall ever produce an interruption of the harmony existing between the two countries."

This, written in the Treaty of Tripoli, is a prime example of the Founding Father's goal of Secularism. The Separation of Church and State is hardly a bad thing either! First of all, it prevents either institution from affecting the other. How would you feel if the government started meddling with religious affairs? Probably bad, but it's illegal so don't worry! Inversely, it's ILLEGAL for religion to play with the affairs of the government. Second, Secularism helps defend our nation. Yes, I said it, SECULARISM KEEPS AMERICA SAFE FROM TERRORISM. Why, you ask? By labeling America a "Christian Nation" we have drawn the ire of extremist Muslims. However, if we were to get rid of this title, we could significantly reduce religious terrorism. Would you like historic proof to back this up? Once again, let's go to the Treaty of Tripoli. Barbar pirates (Muslims) terrorized American merchant vessels in the Mediterranean during the period after the American Revolution. As soon as President Adams declared that we are in fact NOT a Christian nation, the attacks MAGICALLY stopped. A few years later the label was once again placed on America, and the Barbar attacks started once again. The Treaty was retooled and revamped, we once again reiterated our political philosophy of Secularism again and guess what happened? THE ATTACKS STOPPED. AGAIN.

Bri, I respect your piousness, but having religious motivation behind legislation is, to be blunt, corrupt. So, I'll leave you with a wonderful quote from Barack Obama!

"I support [the separation of church and state] not just for the state but also for the church, because that maintains our religious independence and that’s why we have such a thriving religious life."



Justin- Yet again I have several things about your argument I'd like to comment on.

1. The bible is not credible as a legitimate source of facts, and it is not a history book.

2. I respect you disagree with Gay Marriage, but you have some skewed views on what a "family" is. You do not need a Dad and a Mom for a family! You need LOVE. I live in a home run by a single parent. Does that mean that my family is not a "family" in your eyes? If my siblings and I were raised by two men or women would we still not be a family? You don't need to be a biological parent to be a father or a mother to someone. "All you need is love!" Please reconsider what you said.

3. Yes Justin, there are many effects of abortion. Women MAY be devastated by it. They may also be devastated by having the baby. Case in point, my cousin got pregnant her senior year, but she was also accepted into Yale. She was her class Valedictorian, captain of Diving and Lacrosse, and ran several clubs. Clearly, she was a girl with a bright future. With the baby, she wouldn't be able to go to Yale and pursue her dream of being a professor. She had the abortion and is COMPLETELY OK. As in, not devastated. She is now well on her way to achieving her dream. Having the baby would have devastated her. Truth be told, we have discussed this at length and she, along with many other women I know, are happy they had an abortion. They still think about what might have been if they had the baby, but if they had the baby they would think about what might have been if they had the abortion.

4. Now, to answer your question as to how someone would look after getting an abortion. My answer is simple: I would admire them. It takes an insane amount of courage to actually have an abortion regardless of the harsh judgment Christians would lay down on them, and having an abortion says NOTHING of a persons morals. In fact, it is pretty ignorant to make assumptions on people's character based on whether they had an abortion or not.

5. Abortion is not an institution that needs to be fixed. I believe you have your statement mixed up. It's the attitudes and views towards abortion that need to be mended.

1:47 AM  
Blogger EmilyL said...

Having grown up in a conservative family, I tend to lean that way on most matters. However, I love hearing both sides of an issue—diehard liberals or conservatives who refuse to address the other side of an argument infuriate me. The following are my thoughts on a few subjects that have been discussed earlier:

In regard to abortion, it is a moral matter. Although I believe in the separation of church and state, there is no escaping the issue of morality in government (and from our discussion in class Wednesday, morality and religion seems to be linked). Murder and theft, for example, are punishable by law, and both are moral issues. You can argue that these are also ethical issues, but I believe abortion is also a question of ethics. I believe life begins at conception, and thus abortion is the killing of the innocent. Again, it’s my personal belief.

To address sander’s question about the wisdom of invading Iraq, I believe we went in with good intentions, but with a horribly simplistic understanding of their country. I cannot see how a democratic government will survive in a country where hatred between Sunni and Shiites has existed for hundreds of years. A democracy has to be united. The chances of Iraq remaining unified for any length of time are, in my mind, slim to none.

And Meyer, you will be pleased to know that my post brought about a lengthy political discussion between me and my dad.

1:57 AM  
Blogger Sander K said...

I would like to believe that our country has roots of religious freedom, not of Judeo-Christianity. Last time I checked, one of our rights is to any religion that we so choose. To impose an adjective, such as Judeo-Christian, goes more against our founding fathers than to believe in different things. Forbidding prayer in public schools is a wise move as it protects members of the minority from being needlessly alienated. However, the banned prayers are only ones lead by members of the staff, if you want to pray with other students in school then hey, go ahead. I would agree with aaronw when he says that evolution is buttressed by hard evidence. There are so many small proofs of evolution that more and more it is becoming the standard and creationism is slipping of the radar.

6:49 AM  
Blogger adamb said...

I entirely agree that America should not be associated wit any religion. And these "Christian" beliefs can go along with many of the other major religions. All of them preach peace and understanding. Which is why it amazes me that some people use the Bible as an argument against Gay marriage. I think Jesus' message of understanding and acceptance is more important than the definition of marriage in the Bible.

10:56 AM  
Blogger Sander K said...

Also, I think that it is a shoddy argument to link morality with faith like some people do. Who says that people can't want to improve themselves without the aid of religion. Not every atheist is self-obsessed and not every church-goer is all that pious and oriented towards becoming better. In fact, in some cases it is reversed, with the pious constantly claiming how good they are. To label our founding fathers puts bounds on our rights, and the interpretation of the constitution is limited and discouraged by forcing a religious mold onto our free society.

11:01 AM  
Blogger EmilyL said...

In response to Aaron W:

Just for background, I am Christian who attends a Baptist church.

The argument for evolution is buttressed by hard evidence. We can literally line up the skeletons of our primate ancestors and observe the progression towards Homo Sapien. Creationism, on the other hand, hasn't a single bit of proof.

Have they ever found a full human skeleton from early man? For instance, there have only been discoveries of parts of Java man. Here is a link. (I am sorry it isn't in link format; I can't figure that out.) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Java_man
Without a full skeleton, it seems that the evolution some parts of the skeleton, such as the arms, must have had to be hypothesized.

In addition, I would be careful when saying there is no proof for creation. Humans require a very specific environment. If the value of gravity for instance were just a little unbalanced, we would die. To me, the specific conditions required for life show that there must a creator controlling them.

The bible is not credible as a legitimate source of facts, and it is not a history book.

You may not believe in the teachings of the Bible. That is fine. In America, we are free to believe whatever we so desire. That is one of the best things about this country.

The Bible however is credible as a history book. Here's another link about some of the archeology that proves the history in the Bible. http://www.christiananswers.net/q-abr/abr-a008.html

4:34 PM  
Blogger Sander K said...

I think that some of the bible is probably factually true, but to immediately assume that it all is is not only foolish but it leads to forcing religion upon people. If something is taken as truth it rules out all opposing theories, isn't that a little presumptive. Also, just because human couldn't survive with a different gravity doesn't mean that a different form of life wouldn't have arisen, to assume that humans are the culmination and reason for the universe and a certain gravity is very self-centered and is one of the things that I dislike most about the humans-as-proof method of creationism. Why should we assume that things are the way they are because we need them to be. We may have evolved to fit the conditions, the conditions probably didn't evolve to accommodate us.

5:49 PM  
Blogger MichaelH said...

In response to those in the Creationism/Evolution Argument:



SCIENTOLOGY!!!!! Here is a link proving it's the truth:
http://www.scientology.org/index.html

11:59 PM  
Blogger AaronW said...

Emily, Sander addressed exactly what I was going to say. Your website offered up a few (6 or 7 ish) "facts" that really are just vague and shoddy arguments for biblical credibility.

Picture this: You're a Pope in the forming years of the Catholic Church (300 ad ish). What better way to control people than to edit the bible. But what would be edited? Definitely not the trivial facts your website presents, but rather the more important parts (i.e. Jesus's "miracles" and what not).

Remember Friday's in class discussion on the dynamics of power? The most effective way to create power is A directly influences and molds the views and opinions of B creating a belief system. Sounds a little like Christianity to me...

2:09 PM  
Blogger EmilyL said...

Wow, there are two EmilyL's on this blog. For the record, the first Emily post was from the harp Emily, and the second one was not.

Perhaps one of us should change our user name...or just specify who's who from now on.

6:34 PM  
Blogger Clyde said...

Just a few questions to ponder.
Do we know that the bible was “edited” as being argued?
Is something uncredible just based on the fact that it is a religious book?
Has not regular history been tinkered with by political leaders to best fit their purpose?
Does some bones that can be put together and speculated they belonged to an evolutionary man be considered hard proof for evolutionism when it is mainly speculation without DNA evidence to prove the transition?
Is something untrue just because it is perceived as improbable?

7:13 AM  
Blogger Sander K said...

To what clyde said: Being a religious book doesn't make it unbelievable, it merely makes it suspect. We must assume that whatever religious book it is, it has a secondary purpose to teaching about that faith: converting new members. And as we are seeing with political candidates now, they will promise much to get your vote, or in this case, faith. So we must be very careful in sorting out historical facts from altered "vote-gathering" information, just as we must in this election. And yes, we do know that the Bible has been edited as is being stated. Several times the Bible has had sections revised. The most obvious case of alterations to the Christian faith is the First Council of Nicaea. Here clergymen voted on whether or not Jesus Christ had divine status. Voted! I think that counts as a major alteration to the Christian faith. And as a result of this, they naturally had to remove all books of the bible that portrayed Christ as human. If you have ever read the Nicenean Creed you would understand how they had to back this up.

5:20 PM  
Blogger BenH said...

Even beyond edits, the language of the Bible has been changed many times over. And any text that old cannot be exactly the same as the original.

And on the subject of evolution, it is not something that you "prove." It is a theory that has so far performed extremely well. The vast majority of data fit the theory, and it is supported by logical reasoning and the scientific evidence we do have.

Something like creationism or intelligent design is just fine, but they rely on faith. They are quite simply not supported by evidence. This is why they have no place in the science classroom.

And in the end, the Bible is just one source. Scientific theories like evolution take their validity from many sources of scientific evidence and reasoning.

7:26 PM  
Blogger AaronW said...

Clyde: Anyone who would even contend that the Bible has been untouched should seriously delve into the matter a bit more! The Bible was written by amateur christian scribes given certain jobs by the Council of Nicaea such as downplaying the role of women, harmonizing the different Jesuses portrayed in the four gospels, and opposing certain "heresies" like Adoptionism, a popular movement of early Roman times which espoused a belief that Jesus was not born divine, but rather achieved it through hard work in life. All the evidence presented to you cannot be ignored, the Bible IS quite fallible.

10:10 PM  
Blogger MichaelH said...

Clyde, I'm pretty sure I heard something along the lines of: If the Bible's timeline were to be perceived literally, the Earth is about 6,000 years old.

Now this sounds factual and accurate to me, as well as any other free-thinking individual.

10:27 PM  
Blogger KWallace said...

I am a republican because I favor their politics on taxing. This isn't the only reason why I am a republican but it is one of the main reasons. I like the way Republican's tax more than the Democratic way because it doesn't take more money away from you if you make more. Most Democratics including Barack Obama want to tax the middle and upper class rediculous amounts of money. This is stupid because it discourages being successful because the more money you make the government will just take it away. Barack Obama's tax policy will use this tax system to the degree of a socialistic tax policy. No one will work hard if everyone recieves roughly the same amount of money. This tax policy leans towards everyone getting the same amount of money no matter what their job is. Although this is not exactly what the democratic tax policy is it certainly is the motivation behind it.

8:50 AM  
Blogger Chris A said...

Right now I do not really have a party stance. I am trying to look into which best suites me.

9:50 AM  
Blogger Clyde said...

I find it interesting that of my "questions to ponder," only the ones dealing directly with religion and evolution were commented on but the third one concerning politics and history remained untouched. Is this significant, or merely coincidental? If significant, why?

4:31 PM  
Blogger kyle said...

In response to what kwallace said about taxes, I would like to say that is totally wrong. Many minimum wage workers work in much more physically taxing condidtions, meaning they often spend more time on their feet, in more hazardous working conditions, than a person making tons of money at a desk job, yet they meke less money. A person in the middle or upper class, for the most part, works less hours than a person in the lower class, and makes more money and can easily survive on the money they make and afford to pay more taxes. Those of the lower class have no extra money to devote to anything but their own survival. So why would you tax a lower class person who works harder and longer the same amount as the people making a lot of money?

7:13 PM  
Blogger Sander K said...

It is highly significant that only your religious questions were commented on. This could either be because we already know that modern leaders tinker with history for their benefits whenever possible or because we liked the fact that religious discrepancies are much more exciting to argue about.

7:36 PM  
Blogger Clyde said...

Saying something is totally wrong is not totally correct. I definitely agree that in many instances, some people working in arduous and hazardous conditions deserve to be paid more. Thinking about it economically, however, the people who are earning more money have invested plenty of money and time to get the the position they are at. Is it right they should be paid a whole bunch of money? Some cases yes, some cases no. The question of the fairness of a progressive tax, a regressive tax, or a fair tax now become relatively hot issues and no answer is 100% correct. The best answer? Avoid absolutes and be a friend of moderation.

8:13 PM  
Blogger AaronW said...

Lol, Kevin, you couldn't be further from the truth with your declaration that Obama will heavily tax the middle and upper class. Basically, his plan would tax people who's money SHOULD be taxed for a succesful US economy, aka the rich; however his tax plan benefits lower middle class and low class families much more than Mccain's.

Want Proof? Here's how much more or less you would be paying with each candidate in taxes (source: Tax Policy Center)

If you earn.........M.........O
>19,000...........-$19.......-$576
19k-38k...........-$113.....-$892
38k-66k...........-$319.....-$1042
66k-112k..........-$1009....-$1290
112k-161k.........-$2619....-$2204
161k-227k.........-$4380....-$2789
227k-603k.........-$7871....+$12
603k-2.8m.......-$45,361..+$115,974
2.8m up........-$269,364..+$701,885


"This is stupid because it discourages being successful because the more money you make the government will just take it away."

WRONG, the government never discourages people from being successful, such generalizations are false.

"Barack Obama's tax policy will use this tax system to the degree of a socialistic tax policy. No one will work hard if everyone recieves roughly the same amount of money"

WRONG, first of all your knowledge of socialism is lacking. There are Rich AND Poor in a socialist society, Socialism just aims to lessen the gap between classes. This discredits the "everyone makes the same" argument. Second, Socialism still is Capitalistic. In this system of government you would still be fiscally rewarded for hard work, and there is no lack of motivation among the populace.

"This tax policy leans towards everyone getting the same amount of money no matter what their job is."

WRONG. Again. It's still capitalistic, everyone still makes varying amounts of money.

Now, it seems like you've been indoctrinated with the ol' American attitude of "GET YOUR GUN, THEM SOCIALISTS IS COMIN". Past prejudices should not be a factor here, though. Currently some of the most successful countries of the world run a socialist government. Northern Europe is very prosperous right now, and almost every one of those countries is Socialist.


Also, on a side note, under Barack Obama's financial plan senior citizens with taxable earnings of 50k or less would pay NO Federal income tax.

10:00 PM  
Blogger clayw said...

To BenH about Obama and partial-birth abortions: I don't know if you are aware or not but while in the Senate, Obama voted four times against the Infant Born Alive Protection Act. If you are unaware of what that act stated, it said that if an abortion fails and the child is born alive, it is the responsibility of the doctors to save that infant and the parents have to let it happen. Obama voted against it, saying that if an infant is born alive that was intended to be aborted, the parents can still choose to let it die. The procedure, if you care to know, is to leave the baby in a room until it starves to death. So Obama may have stated that he was against partial-birth abortions, but he seems to have no problem letting a baby die after it is born of "natural causes."

Also, in most cases in the while in the Senate, Obama did not vote "yes" or "no," but rather voted "present." This was well over 70 cases. He was completely fine with having no opinion when it came to well over 70 topics, but in the interests of keeping born-alive babies alive, he was opposed.. 4 times.

1:46 PM  
Blogger BenH said...

clayw: First of all, I think you are referring to the Illinois State Senate. A similarly named bill went through the national senate at about the same time one went through the Illinois state senate.

I am not sure how he could have voted against one act 4 times (you might be including some other somewhat related acts) but I will respond to the contention about the Infant Born Alive Protection Act.

There are several justified reasons Obama voted against the act in the Illinois state senate. First, Illinois state law already mandated that doctors provide care for infants in such a condition, meaning the law essentially changed nothing. Barack Obama voted against it, however, because it the wording of the bill could have been interpreted to limit circumstances in which an abortion could be performed.

As far as leaving babies to starve to death, I have never heard of that before. Not to be accusatory, but could you direct me to a website or other source to validate that?

I am also going to respond to the often mentioned issue of Obama's voting "Present." I'm going to start with a little bit of background on voting systems in state senates.

In the Colorado State Senate, most votes are conducted via a voice vote. This means that those in support of a bill yell, then those opposed yell. Whoever is presiding over the session declares a winner (based on volume). This seems ridiculous at first, but it actually expedites voting because most issues are not contentious enough. When they are, a count of hands can be called.

No such system exists in the Illinois State Senate. Senators always vote by pressing one of three buttons: "Yes," "No," and "Present." This means you must always log a vote, where here in Colorado you could just not yell if you don't care.

For a bill to pass in the Illinois Senate, it must receive 30 votes from the Yes category. What this means is that a "Present" vote has the exact same effect as a "No" vote. So every time Obama voted present, he was taking a stand, specifically a stand against the bill.

So the question arises "Why vote present when you could just vote no?" Obama developed a habit of voting present to signal a special protest against the language or structure of a bill. For example, he sometimes voted present instead of no on bills he felt were misguided or contained language that could cause problems outside of the bills scope.

In summary of that huge explanation, voting present is misinterpreted. It is really just a special way of saying no.

5:27 PM  
Blogger Clyde said...

Once again, avoid absolute statements. Saying the government never discourages people from being successful is not accurate. We have a whole bureaucracy and plenty of interest groups ready to limit the success of some American citizens for the greater success of others. If this were not true, there would be no conflict between environmentalist and extractive industries, or animal rights groups and hunters, or big business and small business. Our government is in place to try compromise and fairly limit the success of each group to better the interest of the country and allow cooperation between differing viewpoints. Also, socialism is not capitalism. Otherwise, there would not be socialism. Rather, socialism entails a larger government more active in the affairs and relations of the people economically and socially. Where capitalism is survival of the fittest, socialism provides safety nets of subsidies and programs to try and ensure the betterment of society by helping those in a tight spot ride out the storm instead of being devoured by competitors. Socialism and capitalism fall on the scale of governments that includes communism. Capitalism is little government involvement, Socialism is moderate government involvement/control, and Communism is complete government control (at least in the beginning theoretically). The type of government appropriate for different countries depends largely on the population trying to be governed. Communism works in China. Socialism works in Europe. And for America, democracy has worked. To say our government is a failure discredits the fact that we have created an intelligent, motivated society with great wealth in economics, knowledge, and industry. Have we had our blunders? Of course, but the United States did not become a MDC and a superpower off of nothing. The United States is definitely at a crucial point in its history. In trying to define our success, our failures, and our goals, we are determining whether we remain a dominating world power or decline to significant world influence as many of the European countries who had their hay day during the period of mercantilism and imperialism.

7:05 PM  
Blogger Spencer Z said...

I would like to begin by applauding Justin Byrd. I met with him at 7-11 today when my friend Christian and I were grabbing a slurpee, and we ended up having a rather long talk.

Above all, I respect Byrd's open-mindedness. He and I have very different views on a number of topics, but he listened to what I had to say respectfully, genuinely considering my points.

At one point in the conversation, we made the realization that if we were in several nations across the world, we would not have been allowed to have that conversation. Though we may differ, we are afforded this wonderful opportunity to discuss, for which we can all be thankful.



We have focused on a great number of social issues in recent posts. Here is my view simply stated: The government is not responsible for regulating the social choices of its citizens.

If you are fundamentally opposed to homosexuality, that's fine, but shouldn't two people who have made a lifetime commitment to one another be afforded the same rights regardless of their orientation? Calling it marriage is unimportant. Homosexuals deserve the same rights. Regardless of whether it is a choice or not, it is not the government's place to tell a citizen whom they should love.

Grace, I would like to add that your comparison of homosexuality to cleptomania is rather offensive.

Bri, I am thoroughly impressed with your strength and faith. However, realize that you are entitled to your opinions just as others are entitled to theirs. While I know your family would probably never have an abortion, it is a personal choice.

Tom, I could not be more in agreement with you on evolutionism/creationism. Evolution is a scientific theory; creationism is a religious principle.

7:37 PM  
Blogger AaronW said...

Clyde, I never know to whom you are addressing when you respond, but I know the Socialism part is to me.

And in response to

socialism is not capitalism

I would agree. But if you look at the world today you see a whole lot of countries identifying themselves as socialist. None of them are pure socialists, though. In fact, every country perceived to be socialist has very capitalist leanings, because pure Marxism is not practiced. So, although Socialism (the worldly definition) is not Capitalism, it certainly exploits capitalism.

7:46 PM  
Blogger Clyde said...

aaronw. For the most part, not addressing to whom I am responding leaves the response open to anyone and to me is a way of throwing my thought into the conversation while mostly avoiding bad, offending accusations. Generally, I am making sure that the good points being used in our discussion are not being degraded due to a generalization or unsupported perception. Kudos on your description on the relationship of capitalism and socialism.

8:21 PM  
Blogger LyndseyB said...

I didn't try to read all of them so sorry if random.

BenH: Actually according to Merriam Webster Dictionary, open-minded is defined as “receptive to arguments or ideas”, not just new ideas. Even though christian ideals date back thousands of years doesn't mean that if I consider religion I am being close minded. My comment was that if one is too criticize those with religious beliefs they are not being “receptive”. But thanks for correcting my name! :)

To the controversy of religion/founding fathers. I agree with Samlegrand, to me it seems contradictory to accept the constitution and DOI (declaration, didn't feel like spelling it out) and still use that as a regulator of our law but disregard their religion and warning of morality without religion. If we use their words to govern, isn't it plausible that the founding law was based on morality? Not that I am arguing you can't be moral without religion, but generally the basic principles of humanity can be dated back to the ten commandments, or the pillars etc. It is hard to recognize the discrepancy of law and morality. Generally laws try to prevent the masses from becoming corrupt. i.e. murder, fraud...

SPENCER: My statement about sexual orientation being a choice is not beside the point. Logically it is not possible for it to be passed through the generations, right? Too often gay marriage is compared to racism, if I oppose gay marriage I am viewed as a terrible being. This may provoke a large reaction but the declaration only states that everyone is born equal. Race is not a choice, orientation is.

“Let's not mistake rational restriction for unconstitutional discrimination. Just as we rightly restrict marriage against polygamists, there is no constitutional reason why we cannot continue to restrict marriage to what all civilizations have defined for millennia: the union of a man and woman. This does not deny anyone the "equal protection of the laws," since this restriction applies equally to every individual.”

Hope I don't upset anyone too much! Happy weekend!

3:46 PM  
Blogger Kevin said...

A broad range of topics have been discussed, many involving social topics and government’s handling of them. To start new discussion, I’ll offer a few new questions:

What is the use of the bureaucracy? Is it positive? Negative? A waste of money? A necessary institution?

When forming a ruling, should a judge follow strict contructionism or be an active court and rule based on the view of the Constitution being a living document?

Should the President have strong power to rule the nation or a more passive role?

Should Congress be run by legislators who are trustees or delegates (Trustee- based on the assumption that the common people do not fully know the details of specific policies, a legislator uses his or her best judgment to make policy in the interests of the people. Delegate- take a poll of constituents and make decision (stick finger in wind and decide how they should decide)? Which is more democratic? Which is better for the country?

3:58 PM  
Blogger AaronW said...

I'm just getting off work so please forgive any flagrant typos :)


Lyndsey, didn't we learn about Hammurabi's Code in sophomore year? It's the oldest written law, even older than the 10 commandments. Sooooo... I believe a correct statement would be "Hammurabi's Code effected the 'principles of humanity', while the ten commandments only buttressed these laws that were already in place ".

For me to say Hammurabi's code effected the whole of humanity is ignorant as well! A code of "life rules" (laws) has been integral in Human culture ever since our Cavemen ancestors started living together.


Onto gay marriage. First, you may find it "logical" to believe that it is impossible to pass on a gay gene, but that is ignorant. Gays sleep with women. Bisexuals probably weren't taken into account either when you said that. The long and short of it is, it's very likely a gay gene can be passed through generations.

Second, orientation is not a choice. You don't wake up and decide you're gay. Most gays and bis have known their orientation their whole lives, but been afraid or confused until coming out. Homosexuality has been in human culture for as long as we've existed. It's been in nature since the dawn of animals. Humans are animals, after all. It's natural.

Third, polygamy is restricted, true, but it's still practiced by people whose religion dictates they should. For the most part, the government leaves these people alone (besides the recent FLDS scandal. But you have to see that these polygamists make up a fraction of a fraction of the US population. 1 in 10 people are homosexual. I don't have a definitive source for this yet, but it's the number I always hear. 1 in 10 Americans means roughly 30 million of your fellow Americans, your countrymen, are being denied the fundamental human right to pursue their own happiness. Even if it's 1 in 20 or 1 in 100, it's still a huge amount of people. That makes this issue much bigger than polygamy. Since Gay Marriage is a Religion vs Secular issue, I think the right choice is clear. Cut the religion out (Government should be SECULAR), stop forcing Christian morals on your fellow citizens, and make your own choices, not your peers'. I mean, you aren't going to marry a woman (from what I gather, I could be wrong after all)so why would legal gay marriages effect you?

3:28 AM  
Blogger EmilyLu said...

To EmilyL

I am sorry for the confusion the same user name caused. The comments on the Bible were mine. I have also changed my user name to EmilyLu. Hopefully, this makes things clearer.

A question for AaronW:

Could you please explain your statement "'Hammurabi's Code effected the 'principles of humanity', while the ten commandments only buttressed these laws that were already in place ".'
I am a little confused on what you mean by principles of humanity.

4:49 PM  
Blogger Kevin said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

5:26 PM  
Blogger Kevin said...

aaronw

I was just wondering if you left the refrence to the five pillars of Islam out of your argument purposefully or not when you were challenging lyndsey's comment?

5:27 PM  
Blogger BenH said...

The five pillars of Islam are actually much more recent than the ten commandments. Mohammad himself was not even born until 570 CE.

7:02 PM  
Blogger Sander K said...

Benh, that is an excellent use of the somewhat uncommon CE, even though it might be silly to have BC and CE start at the same point. And once again, AMERICA IS NOT A CHRISTIAN COUNTRY. This country was founded on the principles of religious freedom, not Christianity. Since when has Christianity been a necessary tool for understanding, interpreting or utilizing our constitution?

"This may provoke a large reaction but the declaration only states that everyone is born equal. Race is not a choice, orientation is." Lyndseyb said this and I am somewhat mystified by its meaning. I will not presume that this is intended to mean that although everyone is born equal, that you can make yourself less equal by being homosexual. That would be skewed and overly ridiculous and literalistic interpretation of the Declaration that it's writers would scorn. So please, explain this to me so I can understand it a little better from your viewpoint.

8:55 PM  
Blogger justinb said...

HOW DO U EXPLAIN THIS?

http://commontater.wordpress.com/2008/09/08/barack-obama-freudian-slip-you-decide/

9:14 PM  
Blogger BenH said...

How do I explain it? He said the wrong word because people spent so much time spreading rumors that he was a Muslim, despite the fact that there was no evidence to suggest it.

And in the end, it's not as if it matters. Surely he wouldn't be less able to run the country purely because his religious beliefs are different. Right?

10:22 PM  
Blogger AaronW said...

Emily: "Principles of humanity" is in quotes because it's lyndsey's term, not mine. I think she meant the moral and ethical guidelines of mankind.

Kevin: Like Ben said, I left the 5 pillars of Islam out because they are much more recent, and therefore not relative.

Justin, a slip of tongue is not really a big deal. I misspeak all the time, it's not because I have a hidden agenda but rather because when I try to translate my racing thoughts into spoken word I get a little mush mouthed. Barack Obama has a history of attending protestant churches, but in the larger picture his stance on issues, not his religion should be the focal point of criticism. At least for an enlightened and rational individual, anyway.

2:16 AM  
Blogger adamb said...

lyndsey - We don't know if it is a choice or genetic. As aaronw already said, most gays know they're gay, the don't choose, just like you know you're not gay. There are also 1,500 species in which homosexuality has been documented, which would lead to the conclusion that it is natural.

It is somewhat similar to racism because gays are openly persecuted and don't have the same rights as most Americans. They don't have family visitation privileges for when the one they love is in the hospital. They don't have "next of kin" abilities to make emergency medical decisions. The fact that they don't have these rights should make Americans ashamed, just like when Africa-Americans didn't have rights.

11:55 AM  
Blogger Lauren L said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

7:14 PM  
Blogger Lauren L said...

Less government means more equality. More military means more protection. I vote conservative republican!

7:22 PM  
Blogger kyles said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

7:55 PM  
Blogger kyle said...

Can someone explain why legally accepting/allowing gay marriage is wrong? People have said they are against gay marriage, but I havent seen anyone explain why they think so. Do the arguments not have enough power to be stated?

7:57 PM  
Blogger adamb said...

Lauren - doing that would just lead to a large debt. You can't build the military without money, and governments don't get money from being small, they get it from taxes.

9:13 PM  
Blogger BenH said...

lauren l: I disagree that less government means more equality. I think that to a large extent government serves to arbitrate between majorities and minorities and by extension create equality. If it weren't for the government, minorities would not have an equal right to vote (would the South have accepted that on their own?) and women would not be able to vote in the entire country (surely some communities would be continual holdouts). Not every child would have an equal opportunity at an education if it was not payed for by the government. The wealthy would go to school and be ready for high paying jobs while the poor would be stuck in an uneducated cycle of poverty. It takes a government program as massive as public education to make the American dream possible.

How would reducing the government increase equality?

You also say that more military means more protection. I agree in theory, but isn't the military the government? So if military = government = less equality, does that mean the military makes us less equal?

9:48 PM  
Blogger Clyde said...

Just a few questions for the conversation.

Can democracy survive in disunity?
Is suppression by either the majority or minority in any aspect democratic?
Can democracy survive in a country in which democratic values conflict with cultural identity and tradition?
Which government is best in theory? Which is best practically?
How has the evolution of democracy, especially American democracy, made it a difficult type of government for some modern countries to adopt manage, and make work?

2:49 PM  
Blogger GraceEM said...

Cool questions Clyde and I'd definitely like to get some things up here about whats going on with Democracy in the middle east. Can democracy survive in a country in which democratic values conflict with cultural identity and tradition? I would say the answer is no. Though I don't have a problem with defending our nation; I do think that trying to turn the middle east into a bunch of democratic countries was a naive mistake. Because as you stated in your question; it goes against the very culture and the THEOCRACY that is Islam. This government is in the very soil of their religion and unless we are out there to change that, we cannot expect to truly change a country like that into a democracy. It simply doesn't work. No matter which way you slice the bread.

To answer your question about government, I would probably say that in Theory all of them are beautiful; including the dreaded communism. But when it comes down to it I think that Democracy is best in practicality because there are checks and balances to every persons power(hopefully) and it is divided more than most governments if not all. The problem with government is that it assumes that people are basically good, and that even with great amounts of power at their control, they will not become corrupt. The saying is that absolute power corrupts absolutely, but I think that power is something that even in small amounts, or perhaps even just the DESIRE for power, can corrupt a person and make them do things for their own benefit versus the benefit of the people. I think that the world could be a better place if politicians would stop making the choices that will keep them in office and start making the choices to change the world. Unfortunately, the world that is in such need of change would not suffer such people to exist for its changing.

8:27 PM  
Blogger Zach N said...

Just saying hey like were suppossed to

10:42 PM  
Blogger Lauren L said...

Military is government and military is protection. That is all the government should so is protect us. If we are protected then a person should be able to make their own decisions which if they work hard they will be able to create enough money for themselves. The world is run by those who show up and the choices you make for yourself will inevitably decide your life.

Democrats are the kids who get picked last in kickball (they can change that by practicing instead they choose to complain about it)

10:10 AM  
Blogger Lauren L said...

YES TO DEATH PENALTY!!!

10:15 AM  
Blogger adamb said...

Lauren, do you think that Rush Limbaugh would be picked first in kickball? Democrats aren't communists, people still work hard and still make money. Democrats just give the money to help people, people who need health care, people who have been displaced by a natural disaster, wounded veterans, people who might not have the same advantages as you.

10:54 AM  
Blogger BenH said...

lauren l: You contend that "all the government should so is protect us." I will assume you meant do, but I would very much like to know who you would propose build roads?

The private sector? What if they did? Couldn't they just make obscene profit by charging huge tolls. After all, they own the road. Companies that wished to transport their goods would have to spend money on their own roads or pay the tolls (stifling growth). But the lower class American, who fills the necessary job of working in the factories where those goods are produced? They can't afford the road. I guess they will just have to walk miles to school.

Actually, all the schools would be private. And only the affluent would be able to afford it. So the poor would never have the chance to "practice" and improve their status.

It is an oversimplification to say the only purpose of the government is to protect us. They perform many useful functions that are all too easy to take for granted.

7:27 PM  
Blogger BenH said...

lauren l:Although I, too, agree that in theory there should be a form of capital punishment, your spontaneous and forceful pronouncement of support for the death penalty caught me a little off guard. Care you elaborate?

7:29 PM  
Blogger kyle said...

Lauren: Republicans are the ones who let kids get picked off in Iraq because they seem to think it is some kind of game. Maybe if the Republicans practice this game they will get really good at getting picked off and there will be none of them left to continue this war game of theirs. Then the Dems can maybe do something less childish than play a game.

9:12 PM  
Blogger Sander K said...

In the debate, I have Tom Brokaw picked to win. How 'bout you guys?

6:15 PM  
Blogger Lauren L said...

ha ha ha suckaz!

10:20 PM  
Blogger Lauren L said...

When I said all government should do is protect us you guys obviously did not look deeper into the meaning, when you go to school you are arming yourself with knowledge. Think hard!

10:50 PM  
Blogger BenH said...

If "thinking hard" about the "deeper meaning" of your comment is necessary to understand it, you probably could have done a better job phrasing it. This is more of a political debate than a philosophical discussion.

8:25 AM  
Blogger adamb said...

Lauren, why the "ha ha ha, suckaz"? Also, say what you mean, or defend what you said, don't make excuses, even if it is a joke.

9:05 AM  
Blogger Sander K said...

Lauren l, if you are going to backpedal so magnificently as that, with the education thing, then just turn the entire bike around and apologize. It is terribly obvious that you meant the military in your comment.

11:38 AM  
Blogger AaronW said...

KEEP RELIGION COMPLETELY OUT OF EVERY ASPECT OF OUR GOVERNMENT

LEGALIZE ABORTION
LEGALIZE HOMOSEXUAL UNIONS
LEGALIZE...IT

OUTLAW THE DEATH PENALTY

FIX SOCIAL SECURITY

WITHDRAW TROOPS FROM THE MIDDLE EAST

7:31 PM  
Blogger Sander K said...

Aaronw, merely out of curiosity, when you said "LEGALIZE...IT" I was just wondering what you meant.

11:03 AM  
Blogger Clyde said...

What are the plans for replacing the death penalty? Use more of the money the government has stored away to build new prisons and interment centers to house the criminals and adequately staff the prisons to prevent violence and break outs? OH, I forgot. WE DON'T HAVE ANY MONEY! So, are you saying lets go more in debt (three trillion dollars isn't enough any way). Tax the American people? Good luck being re-elected. Convince me WHY the death penalty should be outlawed.

4:19 PM  
Blogger Clyde said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

4:29 PM  
Blogger Clyde said...

Rush Limbaugh would not need to be picked in dodgeball. He would convince some that dodgeball is a waste of time and that we should do as he wants/says and the others he would annoy so much or make them so mad that they would want to play dodgeball anymore, especially if he is around.

I am glad that the democrats have a heart and will give money to help those in need. On the other side, however, does every single person deserved/need to be helped? What is the limit on how much the successful have to dig out those who make just plain stupid mistakes? The age of helicopter parents has proved that trying to protect your little children from every disaster keeps the child from failing, learning from mistakes, growing up, and becoming independent. Our government should definitely be there to help out those who really need it. But should it be a large safety net trying to protect us from all failure and "evil"?

4:31 PM  
Blogger adamb said...

Clyde, I agree that the government shouldn't be a large controlling entity, even if it starts out with good intentions, that would turn bad pretty quick. I just think that a government should give a safety net in a situation such as our current economic one. A government should also give all of it's citizens heath care. it's ridiculous that a country such as America allows it's citizens sit around dying because they aren't covered. We as a civilized country and as a moral populace should notice this and do something about it. People should have to deal with their mistakes economically, but the government can help make sure that these mistakes don't happen.

As far as health care goes, it is just crazy that some people get so worked up over a fetus getting aborted, and there is talk of the government outlawing, even if that may be unconstitutional. But these people don't get worked up about a fully developed human being denied care and their government doesn't do too much about it.

9:53 PM  
Blogger AaronW said...

Clyde, listen up homie!

Legalize drugs
- The government has no right to tell people what they can and can't put into their own bodies.
-A major percentage of prison populations is made up of drug convictions.

So, logically if we made the illegal law into a legal law establishing the legality of drugs we can assume the drug arrests end, right?

If the drug arrests end, we clear space up in prisons, allowing the convicts who deserve to live there a chance to LIVE out a life of imprisonment for their wrong doings.

BUT... money isn't an issue with the Death Penalty, really. I'd say using money as an excuse is more of a smoke screen. We don't execute enough criminals to make a fiscal impact on our prison system. Saying money is why we should keep the death penalty is malarky, and just covers up how hypocritical the death penalty policy is. Killing a killer? psssshh, let the jerk live out thousands of days where he is constantly reminded of the crime he caused. It's humane and ethical, and it exemplifies the christian morals the conservative right holds so dear.

10:44 PM  
Blogger TomR said...

Aaron, many drugs lead to erratic, violent, irrational behavior that can jeopardize others, not to mention the huge underground trade system established with corrupt drug lords across the globe. Even if the drugs themselves were not harmful, they still come with an awful lot of baggage.

As for the death penalty, I can't say I really have a strong opinion, but I do oppose it. I find it a bit hypocritical to deprive someone of their life for murdering someone, no matter how heinous the crime. I don't know what other crimes the death penalty might be used for, if any, but I'd assume they're fairly heinous, and as such, make up a relatively small portion of the prison population, making their financial impact pretty negligible. (Not to mention that many inmates stay on death row for a number of years.) The thing I find truly appalling is the gruesome ways of capital punishment that are still around today. Though lethal injections are the de facto method for most states, many offer electrocution or even a firing squad as a backup. I have no idea why; if someone could clarify that would be great.

9:19 PM  
Blogger adamb said...

Tom, I would argue that firing squad is more humane than electrocution and lethal injection. It is quick and painless, whereas electrocution causes pain and lethal injection is a complex cocktail which can easily go wrong and cause immense pain. I don't agree with any of these methods, but I think firing squad is the most humane of those 3. I think that some sort of natural poison is the best way to kill them easily and painlessly. Although, ideally for me anyway, execution would only be used in very extreme cases, no where near our current rate.

10:55 AM  
Blogger Sander K said...

Adamb, firing squad would not be the best way to kill people. The mental duress for both the executed and the executioner is far too high to be permissible. It would be more human to simply inject a person with a fatal injection so that they die without pain. You could just as well say that the guillotine is the way to go. If that is, the death penalty is to continue. Bear in mind that a great deal of the world has banned the death penalty.

11:04 AM  
Blogger 5thhrsuprise said...

You guys should respond to something.

9:13 AM  
Blogger adamb said...

Sander, I am not proposing firing squad or even death penalty, I was just saying of those three, it would be the most painless. People can have brain surgery and still be awake, so if they are shot in the head, they will die instantly and not feel it. Lethal injection can go wrong if a small mistake is made, and can sometimes cause intense pain, but the victim would be unable to scream.
Personally, I think we shouldn't have a death penalty unless a grievous crime such as genocide or mass murder, as in over 20 people killed. And if they are convicted and sentenced to death, we should just use a natural poison, such as hemlock.

Also, 5thhoursurprise, respond to what specifically?

9:46 AM  
Blogger BenH said...

"You guys should respond to something."

I am not sure who exactly you mean by you guys, but most of us have responded to a lot of things. If you have anything specific in mind I would appreciate the advice though.

4:38 PM  
Blogger 5thhrsuprise said...

Geez, all I meant was that this blog had been quiet for a while. It wasn't any sort of deep philosophical nonsense. And I didn't comment because I could think of anything to say about the topic.

8:06 PM  
Blogger AaronW said...

Since my original post, I will say that I have changed my political affiliation. I was Libertarian, but since the summer all I have seen is corruption, scandal, and recession due to less regulation in our government. In response to this, only my economic views have changed, aligning me more with Democratic Socialists. I still am down with every right given to us by the Constitution, especially ones looked down upon by liberals like arms rights.

8:06 PM  
Blogger Corey C. said...

"you guys should respond to something."

In all honesty that is one of the stupidest remarks I have ever heard. Here you are contributing nothing to this blog and you ask US to say something? So you ask us to contribute to this blog, while in the pas 163 posts you have contributed nothing, not a single thought? Please use your head, if you have something meaningful to contribute then by all means do so. But do not come here asking us to "respond to something" when you have not posted a single word on this post until then. THINK.

10:48 AM  

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