Wherefore, honest men and wise men should be sought for diligently, and good men and wise men ye should observe to uphold; (D&C 98:10)

Friday, November 22, 2019

The Two Parties are more Alike than Different

This graph shows where I fall in a four quadrant system. Most people think of only being Democrat or Republican, left or right. In reality there is a much bigger difference between the authoritarians and libertarians. Democrats want to spend money from the rich to give it to the poor. Republicans want to spend money on military. They both, in practice do not want to live within our means. They want us to spend more than we collect in taxes.

I believe that we need less power in our government and have its powers separated.

Income Inequality is Good if it is the Result of a Free Market


"What if everything you've heard about income inequality is wrong? What if it's actually a good thing for there to be people who are rich and people who aren't? John Tamny, editor of RealClearMarkets, clarifies one of the big misunderstandings of our time."

Thursday, October 3, 2019

Understanding Trump's Behavior

This is a good list of things to keep in mind when trying to understand Trump.
"Understanding Trump’s behavior", Geoff B 15 Jul 2018

I agree with the ending
" I disagree with Trump on many things — the increase in government spending is absolutely scandalous, and I don’t agree with his trade or immigration policies. But the economy is doing quite well overall, people are working, and government regulations are being taken from the books. Trump is appointing excellent federal judges, and he got tax reform passed."

This paragraph stood out to me when a friend mentioned how unacceptable his behavior is.

Isn’t Trump a bad, immoral man? Yes and no. As I said above, Trump is a New York real estate developer. Of course he has done and said very, very bad things during his life. But, strangely, he is a teetotaler, and his kids all love him. Even his ex-wives appear to like him. I happen to think almost all politicians, and certainly all U.S. presidents, are both good and bad. If you don’t like the way Trump talks, you should read a biography of LBJ and check out how he talked all of his life. If you don’t like Trump’s many affairs, you should learn a bit more about the private lives of FDR, Ike and JFK. I find the “Trump is a bad man” claims to be insufferable, to be quite frank. If you are expecting a politician to be moral all of the time, you will always, and I mean always, be disappointed — if you are honest with yourself. By all accounts, Obama was a good family man, but he had a personal kill list and he ordered the death of a U.S. citizen by drone. I could go on and on about the literally hundreds of horrible things Obama did as president, but if you are a partisan Obama supporter and Trump hater it would be a waste of time, and, again, life is too short. If you are interested in my opinion on the subject, I would encourage you to read this post titled “The inevitable hypocrisy of the political morality police.
Is Trump more blatant about his rudeness, his immorality? Yes. Is he worse than a list of previous Presidents? Maybe.

His bull in a china shop approach may be why he got elected and why he has been so politically effective. People are attracted to that.  It evidently has been effective.

It makes sense to me to analyze what the fruits are of the political things he has done. I disagree with his tariffs and his reckless spending though it may be better than the spending of any Democrat that would have been elected. I agree with his appointments to the courts of Brett Kavanaugh and Neil Gorsuch.

I am concerned with his "strong man" approach to politics. I think it is a dangerous trend. The doctrine of infallibility is a regress to ideas before the enlightenment., "notions like the divine right of kings, the Roman imperial cults, or the Chinese mandate of heaven" ("Trump’s Defenders Have Adopted a Doctrine of Infallibility", Jonah Goldberg, October 4, 2019 6:30 AM)

It is better to seek out what principles we are to defend and promote. Focus on them and not on concentrating power in any one human or human system. We must weigh the options we are presented with. We must do our best to encourage better options while balancing those efforts with our personal priorities.

Wednesday, September 18, 2019

Wrong Again: 50 Years of Failed Eco-pocalyptic Predictions

From "Wrong Again: 50 Years of Failed Eco-pocalyptic Predictions"
Myron Ebell, Steven J. Milloy • September 18, 2019

"Distraught woman at AOC town hall urges 'eating babies' to fight climate change"

Tuesday, August 27, 2019

Why We Are a Republic, Not a Democracy

From "Why We Are a Republic, Not a Democracy" Walter E. Williams | January 19, 2018

Many people whine that using the Electoral College instead of the popular vote and majority rule is undemocratic. I’d say that they are absolutely right. Not deciding who will be the president by majority rule is not democracy. 
But the Founding Fathers went to great lengths to ensure that we were a republic and not a democracy. In fact, the word democracy does not appear in the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, or any other of our founding documents.

Amazon Burning Is Mostly Farms, Not Forests

"Don't Panic: Amazon Burning Is Mostly Farms, Not Forests"
Problematic deforestation continues, but the "lungs of the earth" are still breathing.
Ronald Bailey | 8.23.2019 4:35 PM

"A 2018 study in Nature reported that the global tree canopy cover had increased by 865,000 square miles from 1982 to 2016. As Brazilians become wealthier, the deforestation trend in the Amazon will likely turn around toward afforestation, as it already has done many other countries." Most of the burning today is on land that was already cleared for farming.

Defend the rights of others


If it has been demonstrated that I have been willing to die for a "Mormon," I am bold to declare before Heaven that I am just as ready to die in defending the rights of a Presbyterian, a Baptist, or a good man of any denomination; for the same principle which would trample upon the rights of the Latter-day Saints would trample upon the rights of the Roman Catholics, or of any other denomination who may be unpopular and too weak to defend themselves. It is a love of liberty which inspires my soul — civil and religious liberty to the whole of the human race. 
—Joseph Smith, 1843

Be it ordained by the City Council of the City of Nauvoo, that the Catholics, Presbyterians, Methodists, Baptists, Latter-day Saints, Quakers, Episcopals, Universalists, Unitarians, Mohammedans [Muslims], and all other religious sects and denominations whatever, shall have free toleration, and equal privileges in this city ... 
—Ordinance in Relation to Religious Societies, City of Nauvoo, [Illinois] headquarters of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, March 1, 1841

From "Church Points to Joseph Smith’s Statements on Religious Freedom, Pluralism", 8 Dec 2015

Tuesday, August 20, 2019

Marriage and Religion are good for Us

A former classmate from Yale recently told me “monogamy is kind of outdated” and not good for society. So I asked her what her background is and if she planned to marry. 
She said she comes from an affluent family and works at a well-known technology company. Yes, she personally intends to have a monogamous marriage — but quickly added that marriage shouldn’t have to be for everyone. 
She was raised by a traditional family. She planned on having a traditional family. But she maintained that traditional families are old-fashioned and society should “evolve” beyond them. 
What could explain this?
Some examples of 'luxury beliefs' that are harmful to those with less resources.
- monogamy is kind of outdated
- all family structures are equal
- religion is irrational or harmful

Sunday, August 18, 2019

Not Yours to Give


The power of collecting and disbursing money at pleasure is the most dangerous power that can be intrusted to man, particularly under our system of collecting revenue by a tariff, which reaches every man in the country, no matter how poor he may be, and the poorer he is the more he pays in proportion to his means. What is worse, it presses upon him without his knowledge where the weight centers, for there is not a man in the United States who can ever guess how much he pays to the government. So you see, that while you are contributing to relieve one, you are drawing it from thousands who are even worse off than he. If you had the right to give anything, the amount was simply a matter of discretion with you, and you had as much right to give $20,000,000 as $20,000. If you have the right to give to one, you have the right to give to all; and, as the Constitution neither defines charity nor stipulates the amount, you are at liberty to give to any and everything which you may believe, or profess to believe, is a charity, and to any amount you may think proper. You will very easily perceive what a wide door this would open for fraud and corruption and favoritism, on the one hand, and for robbing the people on the other. No, Colonel, Congress has no right to give charity. ("Not Yours to Give", fee.org, 18 Nov 2012)

The intro to the above article says

[The following story about the famed American icon Davy Crockett was published in Harper's Magazine in 1867, as written by James J. Bethune, a pseudonym used by Edward S. Ellis. The events that are recounted here are true, including Crockett's opposition to the bill in question, though the precise rendering and some of the detail are fictional.]

Thursday, August 15, 2019

Can't Be Evil


"Can’t Be Evil vs. Don’t Be Evil" hackernoon.com

"Can’t be evil", by Muneeb Ali

Cycles in the Climate

From a FB Post of Bjørn Lomborg.

One of the reasons climate alarmism works so well: when something bad happens, it gets blamed on climat, but when nothing bad happens — you don't hear about it. 
For instance: the US is right now experiencing the lowest amount of drought since 2000.  
Read more: http://ow.ly/8NvB50uSsrj



Thursday, August 8, 2019

Can ordinary people be trusted with democracy?

Brexit was voted on in June 2016. Over 3 years later and they are still a part of the EU.


I remember lecture I once watched by Larry P. Arnn that spoke of the separation of powers in the USA Constitution. Part of that separation is that the people only get power at the most every two years. It is not a democracy. It is a democratic republic. It is not mob rule, it is rule of law. The highest law is the Constitution. If you want to change the Constitution, you have to have enough support from the people to have it go through Congress as well as get a ratification by 3/4 of the states.

It seems like England needs a similar structure. I agree to some extant that the system of government should not change based solely on an election.

It is also important to follow through on your promises. The Brexit election was presented as a binding contract to the people that those in power would follow. 3 years later and they have not.

Here is a lecture from a course from Hillsdale College on separation of powers.

Larry P. Arnn said that the majority is the most dangerous thing in American politics because we are the sovereign. Just like the King is the most dangerous thing in a monarchy, the people are the most dangerous in a democratically selected republic government.  How we protect from this is that we only have national elections every 2 years.

Only with a large effort can the Constitution of the United States be formally amended.  This was not an accident, but the intention of its framers. 
If the Constitution is changed too often and for the wrong reasons, the people of America, the Founders held, will lose reverence for its principles, and respect for its rule.  With reverence lost, they might cease to be a self-governing people.  Tyranny itself could topple liberty. 
The Constitution is difficult to amend not because the Founders distrusted the people.  In fact, they trusted the American people more than any other constitution-makers had ever before trusted a people.  They took pride in the fact that no separate or special class of persons would hold any authority under the Constitution.  They created no aristocracy or favored group, and their design did not pit one group of citizens against another. 
Instead, they rested all power in the hands of the people.  Then they divided that power so as to encourage fairness and deliberation in their judgments.  It is the “reason alone of the people that must be placed in control of the government,” writes James Madison in Federalist 49.  “Their passions must be controlled by the government.” 
Our American regime is the first in which sovereignty lies outside the government—in the people.  The Constitution’s structure in its original form was designed to bring power and restraint together.  The people must come to respect the restraint of the government so that its properly-limited power might be upheld.  The Constitution provides for limited government so that the natural rights of citizens can best be secured. 
In this sense, Alexander Hamilton noted that the Constitution itself, even before it was amended, was “a bill of rights.”  Adding the first ten amendments, which the First Congress did in 1791, marked a reaffirmation and an explicit statement of rights held by the people and the states, but all of these are affirmed in the original structure of the Constitution—with its separation of powers, representative form, and limited grant of power to the government.  All of these essential features of good government were stated with unmistakable clarity in the Declaration of Independence. 
Today, the Bill of Rights is often confused as the source of American liberties.  In fact, as both Madison and Hamilton knew, it is the Constitution’s structure that provides the surest bulwark of our liberties.  Destroy the structure, and liberty will be lost.  Alter the structure significantly (see the Seventeenth Amendment), and liberty is endangered.
Without reverence for it, the Constitution, like the Bill of Rights that is now part of it, will be but a “parchment barrier.” 
Out of the more than 5,000 amendments to the Constitution proposed in Congress since 1789, only 27 have been adopted.  There are two possible ways to amend the Constitution, both of them specified in Article V.  All of the current amendments to the Constitution have been adopted following the first path, wherein votes are required by two thirds of both houses of Congress, followed by a vote of three-fourths of state legislatures. 
The other path, to date not used successfully, is the convention method, in which two-thirds of the state legislatures can call a constitutional convention, after which three-fourths of the state legislatures or state conventions must then ratify the proposed amendment or amendments to the Constitution.  Conventions have been avoided probably for good reason, since it is not clear to anyone whether a convention would be bound to changing only one item in the Constitution.  We Americans have been pleased to have only one Constitutional Convention. 
The New York Times recently noted that outside of the defunct Yugoslavian constitution, there is no other constitution in the world so hard to amend as ours.  By coupling our Constitution with a failed state, the article seemed to imply that if we don’t get with the times, we will be left behind.  Our country, they quote a justice of Australia’s high court as saying, is becoming a “legal backwater.” 
For over a hundred years the Constitution has been assailed as undemocratic, and in need of an overhaul. 
Long is the list of books written recently suggesting ways—formal and informal—to make our Constitution better.  When formal amendment efforts fail, informal methods are advanced.  Efforts to informally amend the Constitution—to bring it into better congruity with fashionable legal and political norms of today—can be successful only if citizen reverence for the Constitution is lost. 
—Dr. Larry P. Arnn is president of Hillsdale College, and author of The Founders’ Key: The Divine and Natural Connection Between the Declaration and the Constitution and What We Risk by Losing It. Hillsdale’s “Constitution 101,” an online course which features lectures by Dr. Arnn and others, starts today.  For more information on Constitution 101, go to: http://constitution.hillsdale.edu (From https://constitutingamerica.org/february-20-2012-%E2%80%93-the-amendment-process-february-20-guest-essayist-%E2%80%94-dr-larry-p-arnn-president-of-hillsdale-college-and-author-of-the-founders%E2%80%99-key-the-divine-and-na/)

Tuesday, August 6, 2019

The Progressive Income Tax: A Tale of Three Brothers

From https://youtu.be/S6HEH23W_bM

"The Progressive Income Tax" is one of those economic terms that gets bandied about, but few actually know what it means or how it works. This tale of three similar brothers with three different incomes (but one shared expense) helps explain the tax system under which we live. Adapted from an article by noted investor and economist, Kip Hagopian, and narrated by actress Carolyn Hennesy of "General Hospital" and "True Blood" fame, this animated story will change the way you think about how you pay your taxes. 
Another way to teach the same lesson.


Thinking for Yourself in An Age of Unreason

There are many areas where we disagree. On one of the most important, we do agree. We must be willing to engage with people we disagree with in good faith.

I am looking forward to his book.


Wednesday, July 10, 2019

Distance Ourselves from the Team

I like this interview about where we are politically in the USA

We all think that "our" side has all this diversity. "Their" side all believe in X (being some horrible, extremist position)

Making Sense of Today's Political Culture (Dave Rubin Interview with Gregory Salmieri)

Common Sense Approach to Immigration

This is a common sense approach to immigration for me

John Allison: A Libertarian Solution to Our Illegal Immigration Crisis

See also

Thomas Sowell - Immigration and Diversity

Saturday, June 29, 2019

Left vs Right or is it Individualism vs Collectivism

I like this question from this episode of the Rubin Report.
"I'm turned off by the left versus right argument. It's meaningless. It's individuals versus the left and right together."

Fight for free speech.

Greg Salmeiri and Dave Rubin disagree on their sympathy of public education.

"If we get [the country] half way to where Dave [Rubin] wants it to be that would be huge progress." Greg Salmeiri

"Can BIG TECH Be Stopped? | Dave Rubin, Yaron Brook, Brian Amerige, Greg Salmieri | Rubin Report"
"Dave Rubin of the Rubin Report is joined by Yaron Brook, Brian Amerige, and Greg Salmieri LIVE from OCON to talk about big tech censorship, the Google leak, Project Veritas, free speech, YouTube demonetization, fake news, and more."

Thursday, May 30, 2019

Marriage, Family Law, and the Temple

Notes from "Marriage, Family Law, and the Temple" Bruce C. Hafen, BYU Devotional, 31 Jan 2014

 if man-woman marriage is no longer a big deal for society but just a matter of individual preference, it’s little wonder that many people would now say of gay marriage, “It’s no big deal—let people do whatever they want.” That’s what can happen when we lose track of society’s interest in marriage and children. We know that God loves all of His children and that we must treat one another with compassion and ­tolerance—regardless of private conduct that we may or may not understand. But it is a very different matter to endorse or promote that conduct by allowing the appropriation of a legal concept—marriage—whose primary and historic purpose is to further social interests.

There is no other single force causing as much measurable hardship and human misery in this country as the collapse of marriage. It hurts children, it reduces mothers’ financial security, and it has landed with particular devastation on those who can bear it least: the nation’s underclass. . . . The poor [have uncoupled] parenthood from marriage, and the financially secure [blast] apart their [own] unions if [they] aren’t having fun any more.
"Is There Hope for the American Marriage?", Caitlin Flanagan, Time Magazine, July 02, 2009
(Quoted in "Marriage, Family Law, and the Temple" Bruce C. Hafen, Emeritus General Authority Seventy, January 31, 2014)

Tuesday, May 21, 2019

The Pro-Life Reply to "My Body, My Choice"

Here’s how to tactfully shred the “My Body My Choice” argument with Kirsten Watson, wife of Superbowl Champion Benjamin Watson.


Another clear argument on why abortion is morally wrong by Ben Shapiro interviewed by Dave Rubin, Jan 2018.

"There has got to be some sort of objective definition of human life, at which, it is protected. You agree with that. You agree that it is past birth, right? I'm saying it's not past birth. I'm saying it's much earlier than that.
When they say safe, legal and rare, the question is 'why rare?' You wouldn't say the removal of a polyp 'safe legal and rare', you'd say 'safe and legal', right? I mean, it's a polyp. If your position is that a baby is not a baby, then who cares if you kill it? If your position is a baby is a baby then you got a whole world of hurt on your hands, morally speaking by saying it is OK to kill it."
https://youtu.be/s9IwamztdqA?t=3558 (59:18 - 1:10:06 )

Monday, March 4, 2019

Government is like Fire

"Government is not reason, it is not eloquence, it is force; like fire, a troublesome servant and a fearful master. Never for a moment should it be left to irresponsible action."
George Washington

Thursday, January 10, 2019

Should'd Be Surprised if that Power Would Grow and Grow

"If the government could determine the extent of its own power, we shouldn't be surprised if that power would grow and grow, no matter who's in charge" (Michael Boldin, Tenth Amendment Center, from twitter post, 13 Aug 2018)