Republicans are from Mars, Democrats are from Hell

This month’s Sunstone contains an absolutely awesome reader letter explaining the relationship between Republicans, Democrats, politics, and righteousness. It goes like this:

That I and most Mormons are reliably Republican is an overdetermined fact. The data are clear. Were national elections decided by any of the following subsets of voters—those who are pro-life, opposed to dole welfare, supportive of traditional marriage, married (with or without children), active church-goers, strict constructionists, pro-military, or above average in donating money and time to charity—Republicans would always win. The prototypical Mormon is a member of all of these subsets of reliably Republican voters and therefore, unsurprisingly, is a Republican.

The Republican commitment to the hallmarks of political conservatism—choice, accountability, believing that the natural man is evil and that evil must be actively resisted, that salvation requires grace and thus secular utopias are an illusion—echoes the stance we all took during the Council and War in Heaven. There may be dark echoes of the great Council in the Democrats’ stance as well, they being the party of the state, which is distinguished from other institutions most clearly by its compulsory powers and monopoly on the use of force.

Democrats believe in using the power of the state, especially the macro nation-state, to compel citizens to do good—e.g., to give money to the poor. But as the Council made clear, compelled action has no positive moral content. Republicans have faith in free markets, a social institution which embodies choice and accountability. The evidence is in. North/South Korea, East/West Germany, and Mao/Deng China amply illustrate that compulsion by the state—no matter how well intended—cannot address the material needs of humanity. After World War II, it was Hong Kong, the freest of free markets, that most successfully lifted its masses out of abject poverty.

Like France’s Louis XIV, the Book of Mormon’s King Benjamin was the state, but he did not use his monopoly on force to seize the wealth of his people and distribute it to the poor. Rather, he kept taxes low and strongly enjoined voluntarily sharing with the needy. Republicans likewise oppose higher taxes but donate more time and money to charity, giving on average 30 percent more than Democrats, despite being a little less well off financially. (Arthur C. Brooks, Who Really Cares [Basic Books, 2006]).

King Mosiah warned that the few are more likely to go astray than the many, but when the few are in power, their moral degradation spreads (Mosiah 29:26). The U.S. under the judicial tyranny of recent years is a case in point. The courts are the least democratic branch of government, the branch in which just four (Massachusetts) or five people (United States) may force significant change. Generally supported by Democrats and opposed by Republicans, the courts have in recent years dramatically altered the moral landscape of the United States, denuding the public square of religious observances and symbols while protecting profanity, pornography,abortion, euthanasia, and sodomy, and foisting on an unsupportive public a redefinition of marriage. Unsurprisingly, when Zeezrom and others of his profession are given the power to reshape the moral landscape, general moral degradation follows.

While it is legitimate to create a context for choice, moral outcomes are usually optimized when parameters are provided by micro social units closely connected to the individual—the family, church, and local community. Democrats tend to support the flow of political power from society’s micro to its macro units while opposing the single most legitimate role of the macro state—protecting the people from colossal external evils. As the people of Ammon learned while uncomfortably sheltered behind Captain Moroni’s lines, in a fallen world, pacifism is not an option. Sons must sometimes be sent into battle. Evil must sometimes be forced from heaven. Republicans understand this truth more fully than do Democrats.

The arguments above notwithstanding, the Republican Party is at best an imperfect defender of the Mormon values I and others hold dear. It is ultimately entranced by power and is often seduced by Mammon. Its principal grace is its adversary, the Democratic Party, which so thoroughly, so consistently embraces one patently false secular gospel after another.

It’s a nicely articulated letter, and similar to statements I’ve heard over the years from any number of ward members. (How many of these arguments have you heard made in Sunday school? In the foyer after class?)

It’s also completely nuts. Now, a letter of this sort is mostly beyond parody. But I’ll mock it a little anyway, just for fun.

One of my favorite parts is this line:

“The courts are the least democratic branch of government, the branch in which just four (Massachusetts) or five people (United States) may force significant change. Generally supported by Democrats and opposed by Republicans, the courts have in recent years dramatically altered the moral landscape of the United States. . . “

Isn’t this great? I love the idea that Republicans oppose courts. Undemocratic, five-person court decisions that force significant change are clearly the fruits of the devil. And from there, we can clearly see that the George W. Bush presidency is pure evil. (Bu-dum bum).

There are other confusing applications of this theory. For instance, look at the court’s recent sexual harassment jurisprudence. In a number of recent decisions, conservative justices have opposed sexual harassment liability (in the workplace, in school, and so on), while liberal justices have favored broader protections against harassment. Since the liberal justices work for Satan, this apparently means that Satan favors greater employee protection from sexual harassment, while God is in favor of more employer leeway to grab employee ass. Could that possibly be right?

It might seem counterintuitive, sure. But let’s look more closely. After all, what’s that woman doing in the workplace to begin with? Going against her natural role as a woman, that’s what. So it does make sense that God wants to allow her employer to grab her ass a little. This will encourage her to take her nurturing self back to the home where she belongs. (The same principle also explains the recent equal-pay lawsuits. If only we underpay women enough, maybe they’ll stop trying to work and go back to being homemakers.) Yay for conservatives!

Also wonderful is the letter’s broad condemnation of lawyers: “Unsurprisingly, when Zeezrom and others of his profession are given the power to reshape the moral landscape, general moral degradation follows.” Now, how many of our general authorities are lawyers again?

Oh. Yeah.

Anyway, I’ll leave the rest of the low-hanging fruit for others. Is this letter great, or what? (Is there any Republican party platform that isn’t tied to God here?) (Is the letter even legit? Is it too good to possibly be real?) I heart Sunstone. Keep it up, fellows.

What other problems can you spot in the “Republicans are from Mars, Democrats are from Hell” analysis?

Comments

  1. Mark B. says:

    How can you say it’s “nicely articulated” when the writer used “prototypical” when he clearly meant “archetypal”?

  2. Mark B. says:

    Or is that “archetypical”?

  3. Mark,

    Well, it’s the most articulate in-print expression I’ve seen of a general class of political argument that I usually hear made in ad hoc Sunday school comments.

  4. But as the Council made clear, compelled action has no positive moral content.

    So, feeding poor people, getting them education and healthcare… those are just valueless prospects since the recipients have no play in the moral equation, only the givers.

  5. Evil must sometimes be forced from heaven. Republicans understand this truth more fully than do Democrats.

    Is this guy proposing that Democrats were less valiant fence-sitters in the pre-existence?

  6. I’m glad that this letter reminded me of the agenda of the council in heaven. I’d been having such a hard time remembering, and all.

    I also loved this line,

    Republicans likewise oppose higher taxes

    If only they supported lower spending, as well. But then, perhaps it is also a Republican virtue to not exercise the principles of prudent living, and pass the debt on to our children and grandchildren, as well.

  7. mormonliberalblogocrat says:

    Apart from the bit about the lawyers, I’d think Adam Greenwood might have written this letter.

  8. #7-
    I don’t know–I think it looks Mark Butler-esque .

  9. Well, it’s worth pointing out that many of the letter’s factual claims are shaky.

  10. Thomas Parkin says:

    I’m so sick of the liberal (progressive) – conservative “conversation” I want to take a baseball bat to every internet ready computer in America. The only thing as insufferable as a true believer on the right in a true beleiver on the left. My only ‘problem’ is that the rest of you wanks aren’t as tired of this as this as I am.

    And, really, you should take me as your examplar. I am always perfectly rational, balanced and free of bias in every thing I say or even think of saying. I am literaly incapable of holding a view that is in the least degree tainted by my own wish that it be so.

    Amor. Nemo. Man in a coma, maam. Amen.

    ~

  11. Latter-day Guy says:

    Please expand, JNS. I am interested in your thoughts on this.

  12. mormonliberalblogocrat says:

    Thomas Parkin,

    In my case, it’s all posturing. I really am totally irrational, mostly unhinged, and biased in just about everything I say.

    Sorry, I took Kaimi’s post as kind of a fun look at the majority vs minority (polemical divisor alert) political spread in church members, and came down on the side that is easiest for me. I guess that I am with you in that in reality, political philosophies really don’t seem to be compatible with church doctrine, whichever side you are on. so I go for what feels right (or left, mostly).

    As I just pointed out elsewhere, using these either/or labels aren’t really helpful to understanding, they are refuges for us to deal with varying degrees of cognitive dissonance.

    On the other hand, you might just want to refer to my first paragraph, and ignore me. It’s not far from reality, often.

  13. The Republican commitment to the hallmarks of political conservatism—choice, accountability, believing that the natural man is evil and that evil must be actively resisted, that salvation requires grace and thus secular utopias are an illusion—echoes the stance we all took during the Council and War in Heaven.

    Honestly, I’m not sure what the hell this means.

    Probably several contradictions in there, but I’ll just pick one.

    Like the GOP itself, this guy is a great fan of “choice” and individual freedom… except when it comes to gay marriage, or abortion, or allowing porn within city limits, or whether the city pool will be open on Sundays, or alcohol laws, etc., etc.

    Yeah, that’s the GOP for you. All about choice when it comes to not giving money to hobos, but all about state enforcement and control when it comes to your private life.

    Hmmm…

  14. bizarro kevin says:

    Ummm, I seem to be suffering from multiple personality disorder. Who am I in # 12?

  15. Adam Greenwood says:

    Apart from the bit about lawyers, Adam Greenwood might have written this letter.

    What, did the letter writer say something positive about lawyers?

  16. Busted, Kevin.

  17. OK, one clear problem is the claim that Democrats are, on average, a bit better off financially than Republicans. In the 2004 American National Election Survey, people who identify with the Democratic party are more prevalent than people with the Republican party for all income categories from 0$ a year through $50,000. Republican identifiers are more prevalent in all income categories above $50,000 except one; in the highest income category ($120,000+), Republicans are twice as prevalent as Democrats. Differences in charitable giving appear to essentially disappear away when differences in income are statistically controlled.

    Also, the “active churchgoer” differences exist but haven’t always existed, and should not necessarily be regarded as permanent features of the American political system. And I’m not sure what definition of “pro-military” the author has in mind, but it’s clear from the 2004 survey mentioned above that a solid majority of Democratic party identifiers believe that it is either “extremely” or “very” important for the U.S. to have a strong military: 83.9% of Democrats placed themselves in these two categories, which is less than the rate for Republicans (97.4%) but pretty similar to the rate for Independents (88.4%). It would be correct to say that virtually all Republicans are “pro-military.” However, it is clearly not correct to say that Republicans predominate among the group of “pro-military” citizens. A solid majority of such citizens are either Independents or Democrats.

  18. Thomas Parkin says:

    Sorry if my irony is a little too bitter.
    I’m a little too bitter.

    The bloggernacle has clearly demonstrated, to me, how far we are from real unity. It makes me feel awful – exhausted, actually – to see how willing we are to foreground poltical differences which can only, it seems to me in consdieration of the kinds of passions these views engender, aggravate those divides.

    It seems to me that some of these blogs do a really admirable job of allowing for, and even humanizing, differences in religious sentiment. How discouraging it seems to me that this blog ditches that posture when it comes to politics.

    I do have some sympathy for the idea that people who hold a minority opinion need a place where they can … commiserate. But, when a blog of this size, so public, potentially so helpful and even important, holds out a viewpoint that blows in the face of the zeitgeist, for the express purpose of having pot shots taken at it, especially after has been presented as the typical view of our supposed brothers and sisters – the more I feel like going on the warpath.

    Poltics itself no longer feel vital to me. I’ve been all over the board politically – voting for Bush I, Clinton, Perot, and Ralph Nader. I tend to be conservative when among liberals and liberal when among conservatives – an adolescent stance I’ve been trying to replace with a more genuine political agnosticism.

    Sorry for the vehemence which I often fail to overcome.

    ~

  19. Mark B. says:

    #8. I was about ready to go ballistic about that comment, but then I realized that nobody here knows me as Mark Butler.

    As to your Sunday school, Kaimi, all I can say is you shoulda stayed in the Bronx. My guess is you don’t hear that kind of crap in Sunday school there.

    And, as to calling people here “wanks”. I dunno if we can use British slang on here as if everyone is just a dumb ex-Colonial and doesn’t know what you mean, Thomas Parkin. Besides, is it the liberal-conservative sniping, or is it wanking, that you’re so tired of?

  20. Thomas,

    I agree that in an ideal world, we would be unified. My blog post was a pretty mean attack on the Sunstone letter. It’s not always helpful to engage in that kind of attack.

    In this particular case, though, I think it’s quite appropriate to single out this idea for attack. What exactly is this author saying? He’s saying that there is One True Political Party. He’s saying that good Mormons are Republicans, because Democrats are advancing Satan’s plan.

    And really, that’s a pernicious enough idea that it deserves to be put to scorn.

    This isn’t to say that members shouldn’t be Republicans (or Democrats, or Independents, or whatever else). Everyone makes their choices, as they see fit.

    What’s absolutely wrong, and deserving of mockery, is not the writer’s Republican-ness — it’s his insistence that his Republican-ness is a sign of greater righteousness, and the idea that the opposing party is opposed to righteousness. (And the implication, then, that members of the opposing party are probably less righteous.)

  21. Mark B.–
    I know. I’m glad you clarified. I remember you’ve had to clarify that in the past too–which is good, because I thought you were one and the same, and was so confused as to how the same person could write your comments and then write the other Mark B.’s comments.

  22. Thomas Parkin says:

    Well, I can’t disagree there, Kaimi.

    I mock that kind of thing and take great joy in mocking it all the time. I mocked it pretty hard here just a couple evenings ago. I usually feel awful about it later, though. In fact, I feel pretty awful about it now.

    I don’t miss my booze and adultery, but I do miss being able to mercilessly mock people without feeling guilty – I truly do. :/

    ~

  23. Thomas Parkin,

    I’ve always liked this quote by Ed Firmage:

    “The Gospel is universal in space and time. It has existed within governments as simple as Lehi’s patriarchal community, and as complex as the Roman imperial system….Christianity has grown in vastly different societies as well, and the sociological differences are often more striking and difficult to adjust to than are the differences in governmental form….We must learn to distinguish between the timeless and universal gospel of the Master and the politics and sociology of a particular time and place. Not to do so would be to link an eternal message with political and social institutions, which contain within themselves the seeds of their own death….”

    Ed Firmage, Paul and the Expansion of the Church Today, pps 20-25 1979 Deseret Book

    It certainly implies that both sides need to be careful what they take from their respective political philosphies of men.

  24. Thomas Parkin says:

    I also apologize for quoting Geoffrey Hill earlier and failing to acknowledge that. I also apologize for revealing this mostly in hope that I’ll be able to quote him again.

    I should probably get my own blog. *g*

    ~

  25. Thomas Parkin says:

    Kevin,

    Thanks!

    ~

  26. Jeremy Jensen says:

    A huge theme of the Book of Mormon is the consequences of starting unnecessary wars. Seems to me that Republicans are the party most guilty of that.

    Another glaring falsehood in this letter is this:
    “The evidence is in. North/South Korea, East/West Germany, and Mao/Deng China amply illustrate that compulsion by the state—no matter how well intended—cannot address the material needs of humanity.”

    Is he completely unaware that Europeans practice “compulsion by the state” (as defined by him) and do a much, much better job of “address[ing] the needs of humanity” than we do?

    This guy is beyond ignorant.

  27. Oh my gosh. My sister-in-law got published in Sunstone!

  28. Matt W. says:

    Obviously, the letter is a fake, because republicans don’t read sunstone…

  29. He’s probably just trying to reach his liberal democratic brethren and figured that’d be the place to do so.

  30. I wish these sorts of opinions were limited to Mormons. Unfortunately, a lot of other stripes of Christians seem to also feel the republican party is the more “righteous” of the two, though for different reasons than those outlined in the letter. That Firmage quote is great–thanks for sharing.

  31. Aaron Brown says:

    Umm, Kaimi, no offense, but if there is so much low-hanging fruit in this letter, why haven’t you plucked any of it? Seriously. The Sunstone letter would seem to be a good opportunity to point out how Democratic public policy positions can also be defended from a Gospel perspective, as well (or better?) than Republican public policy positions. But all you’ve done is bring up the random issue of sexual harrassment liability, and then run with it in a manner I suspect not many Mormon Republicans would, and in a way that certainly doesn’t follow from the writer’s gripe about the undemocratic nature of American courts

    And other than a few factual corrections from JNS, we’re 30 comments in, and I’m not seeing any commentary that takes on the letter in a serious way. Snideness is fun; believe me I know, as a long time practioner of it. But this post, and the subsequent comments, seem to me largely a wasted opportunity. They leave the impression that opponents of the letter’s philosophy really don’t know what to say.

    AB

  32. I’m kind of disappointed too, Aaron. I would think that my minions of evil here at BCC would do a better job. I suspect that most of the commenters haven’t weighed in because they’re out drinking for the weekend.

    I’ll add a few more comments.

    For one, the letter’s simplified dichotomy of “Democrats believe in state coercion, while Republicans believe in free will and choice” seems cartoonishly wrong. On a whole host of issues — gay marriage, sex between consenting adults, abortion, and so on — Democrats tend to be more hands-off while Republicans are more in favor of government control of individuals.

    It’s a simplification, but one common way that the issue is framed is that Republicans are hands-off as to economic issues, but in favor of government control on social issues; and Democrats are the opposite. There are problems with that characterization, too, but it seems much more accurate than “Republicans hands-off, Democrats controlling.”

    If that’s the framework, then, paradoxically, it may be Republicans who are closer to Satan’s plan. Satan wasn’t really trying to force economics, he was trying to force morals.

    But comparing either party to Satan’s plan seems like a hopeless stretch.

    The courts analysis is similarly silly. The courts are not democratic, that’s correct. They’re counter-majoritarian. This is because that’s what a guardian of constitutional rights has to be. If it’s only guarding constitutional rights as long as the majority agrees, then the rights aren’t worth the paper they’re written on. “Congress shall not abridge free speech (unless it has majority support)” isn’t any protection at all.

    The courts have handed down a number of strongly countermajoritarian decisions. Probably the most countermajoritarian decision in the past century is Brown v. Board of Education. The court went ahead and overruled the will of the electorate in many Southern states. And it was a damn good thing, too.

    The cartoonish idea that courts are all bad shows a lack of understanding of the role of the judicial branch.

    And why do I get the feeling that, should the court strike down (majority-passed) laws against gun control, our letter writer will suddenly decide that he doesn’t dislike courts quite so much?

  33. Don’t we have Democrats because there must needs be opposition in all things? As an independent, there aren’t enough of us to fill that requirement.

    The letter is worthy of parody, I agree – no matter the political party of the one doing the parodying.

    My favorite part:

    “Its principal grace is its adversary, the Democratic Party, which so thoroughly, so consistently embraces one patently false secular gospel after another.”

    So, the Republican party has no real worthwhile agenda of its own but should be selected simply as the alternative to the Great Satan – the Democrats. It sounds so much like the shrill “Bush is the election stealing Anti-Christ, so vote Democrat” screeching of many Democrats (Howard Dean) that I had to wonder if they went to the same Vacation Bible Schools as children.

  34. matt w. says:

    I think the best part about it is the fact that it shows that democrats can be funny about everything except being democrats, and that republicans treat the whole thing like the red sox/ yankees rivalry. Maybe that’s because only republicans really get into sports rivalries.

  35. The problem with the letter is that it promulgates a cartoonish, outlandish depiction not just of Democrats but of Republicans and Mormons as well. In the clown-fantasy universe where Mormonism can be reduced to X, Y, and Z (which just happen to coincide with the easily reducible polarities of the contemporary American political spectrum), this is probably an accurate representation. It’s like saying “the reason Mormons read DC and not Marvel comics is that Mormons tend to love babies. So do the fine folks at DC. Unlike those barbarous bastards at Marvel who not only torture but eat babies. Not torturing and eating babies was a major sticking point of the war in heaven, and because Mormons were most valiant on the side of virtue then, we read DC comics now (except those of us who were fence sitters — most of them are on welfare and vote Democrat, er, I mean, read Marvel). It’s really simple.”

  36. C’mon, it’s a Friday night! The minions of Satan are all out having sex and killing babies.

  37. One of the problems with the letter is it goes by some ideal version of the Republican party. Can we really say Republicans are hands-off anymore? Can we say they are for small government? Can a Republican administration that is so intent on keeping information hidden really be about accountability?

    The author of the letter is caught in a past glorified version of the Republican party that may have existed at one time, but is no longer around. Accountability and small government are nowhere to be found among the administration or many members of the Republican party.

    Enjoy living in the past LDS Republicans, keep ticking that box next to the big R on the ballot while believing your guy is the latest version of Ronald Reagan Republican. Your candidate may agree with your church on abortion or gay marriage, but it doesn’t mean he represents the Republican party you’re so fond of daydreaming about. That Republican party of thirty years ago is no more represented in 2008 than some idealized version of the JFK Democratic party is by todays Democrats.

  38. Amen, Ann! Frank McIntyre and I are just sitting down to a nice bowl of monkey-brains sorbet; that’s two of Satan’s minions accounted for in one go.

    The connection between freedom and economic systems is of course contested and difficult terrain. For example, from one point of view, laissez faire economic systems maximize freedom by removing state controls over the economy altogether. Yet from another point of view, such systems may reduce the freedom of many or most individuals by permitting unlimited private control over the economy and other aspects of life by those with control over economic resources. These are hard debates, and I readily acknowledge that there are sophisticated and potentially credible arguments offered from various directions. But to superficially conclude, without apparent thought or analysis, that the state is always the only or major threat to choice and accountability in a society is, well, naive. Even absolutism can look positively liberating in comparison with feudalism, in which power (economic, social, etc.) is almost wholly vested in private societal elites.

    But, hey, why have a complicated argument in which we exchange nuanced positions and potentially learn from each other when we can instead just smash ideologies into one another?

  39. #32 “If that’s the framework, then, paradoxically, it may be Republicans who are closer to Satan’s plan.”

    No Child Left Behind…Not One Soul Shall be Lost…hmmmm

    (me, seeking Libertarian utopia…)

  40. Extreme Democrats are just extreme Republicans with a wider variety of friends.

  41. As a paleoconservative, I think jjohnsen’s comments are spot-on.

    The Republican Party: A proud tradition of growing government at a slower rate.

  42. Not that anyone was breathlessly awaiting the opinion of a lurker, but here’s my reason for not dissecting that letter point for point — mingling the philosophies of men with scripture is not so much my thing.

  43. Sterling says:

    What the letter misses is the fact that most voters in Utah are neither Republicans or Democrats. Seriously. Sixty-one percent of all registered voters in Utah are “unaffiliated.” Thirty-two percent are Republicans. Seven percent are Democrats. The Deseret News ran an article on this back in January. The big question in my mind is why so many Mormons in Utah have distanced themselves from the Republican label.

  44. I accidently used prototype when I meant archetype today in a conversation with my 17 year old. He corrected me. Now, I’m even more embarassed when I see what company I’m in.

  45. Thomas Parkin says:

    Cathy,

    The sister-in-law bit was really funny.

    ~

  46. Aside from the astonishing lack of understanding of the purpose of lawyers and a counter-majoritarian court, what struck me in the letter when I first read it was the common idea I hear from many Republicans that somehow the state is evil when it exerts compulsion over economic issues but it is not evil when it exerts compulsion over moral issues.

    Perhaps my biggest gripe with the letter comes form my own pacifist leanings. The author states that pacifism is not an option

    As the people of Ammon learned while uncomfortably sheltered behind Captain Moroni’s lines, in a fallen world, pacifism is not an option. Sons must sometimes be sent into battle. Evil must sometimes be forced from heaven. Republicans understand this truth more fully than do Democrats.

    Here is my problem. Pacifism has been shown the be an option historically (Ghandi, MLK jr., etc). This however only shows that pacifism can be an option not that it should be the option. My real issue is with the assumption that the highest good is preserving ones own life. Under this assumption pacifism loses some of its moral rigor. However, for the people of Ammon, preserving their own life was not the highest good. For Christ, saving his own life whether by calling down legions of angels or by a zealot revolt, was not the highest good. The authors dismissal of pacifism and non-violence assumes that saving one’s life in this sphere of existence is more important than not taking one’s life. It forgets that God is in the business of changing hearts and minds. Sending someone to the spirit world merely changes the landscape not the disagreement. The author also elevates Captain Moroni and his example above that of Christ. I dont know what the people of Ammon learned, maybe they learned war was hell. Then again maybe they were all Republicans.

    Is this author the same individual who wrote in FARMS about Nephi slaying Laban and the parallel to King David?

  47. Peter LLC says:

    Republicans have faith in free markets…North/South Korea

    Never underestimate the role that thousands of years of foreign tyranny play in convincing the population that 90 hour workweeks are your debt to society.

    I was speaking to a representative of the ROK’s government yesterday and he was having a hard time believing the government of the western European country we live in has no price setting mechanism for petroleum products beyond taxes. Clearly South Korea has done well for itself but even after shedding its dictatorship in 1987 (!) government intervention is the name of the game.

  48. kmillecam says:

    Kaimi,
    I agree wholeheartedly with your assessment that:
    “What’s absolutely wrong, and deserving of mockery, is not the writer’s Republican-ness — it’s his insistence that his Republican-ness is a sign of greater righteousness, and the idea that the opposing party is opposed to righteousness. (And the implication, then, that members of the opposing party are probably less righteous.)”
    I think this is at the center of what I struggle with in Mormon culture the most. I enjoy a good joke with Democrat friends at the expense of Republicans, but I also have some good friends who are Republican, and they don’t assume they are more righteous that I am. It’s the people who DO think they are more righteous (is it supposed to be a contest?) that really get my goat.

  49. And the real question for me is why did Sunstone publish the letter to begin with? Was/is it “real” or something made up to reflect the on-going saga of those whose personal political convictions have made them view all things in that particular monocular, even the Gospel and doctrine of the Church?
    I realize this was allegedly from a true Republican but a similar letter with the opposing viewpoints of a true Democrat could just as easily be insane, e.g., the Republic Party is truly the “wolf in sheep’s clothing” for on one hand it claims to protect the individual at the same time forcing the individual to abide by its standards.
    It claims “faith based” organizations can help the poor, the downtrodden, the homeless but ignores the obligation the government “by the people, for the people” should bear in providing assistance because we as individuals do not have the same power as a government can have….

    And so on and so forth.

    So again, why the letter?

  50. “The Republican Party: A proud tradition of growing government at a slower rate.”

    Not even this is supported by the data

  51. Mark IV says:

    Sam K.,

    I have no doubts whatsoever that the letter is genuine. And as for your question why Sunstone published it, well, put yourself in their position. If they hadn’t published it, they would have been accused of censorship, right?

    I like to think that they published it as a public service, to provide equal time to balance out all the nutty lefty stuff. It has already been pointed out in this thread that the letter presents a lot of low-hanging fruit. Without making too big a deal of it, I will also point out that some of the comments in the current thread which deride the letter writer are every bit as smug and insufferable, and take positions that are every bit as indefensible as those taken in the letter.

    If we think our political opinions are congruent with the personal opinions of Jesus Christ, we belong in the mental hospital. If we think that our political positions are the only ones the available evidence allows, we are a walking, living, breathing examples of confirmation bias. And if we don’t know, respect, and love many people whose opinions are different from ours, we are to be pitied, because our lives are not as rich as they could be.

  52. “If we think our political opinions are congruent with the personal opinions of Jesus Christ, we belong in the mental hospital. If we think that our political positions are the only ones the available evidence allows, we are a walking, living, breathing examples of confirmation bias. And if we don’t know, respect, and love many people whose opinions are different from ours, we are to be pitied, because our lives are not as rich as they could be.”

    Amen, brother.

  53. I had no idea the Lord was so interested in American politics, to the exclusion of all other countries.

    That, and Hugh B. Brown and James E. Faust must be burning in hell, right about now…

  54. Has anyone considered the possibility that the problem is not in that the two parties cannot see eye to eye, but rather the fact that we only have two parties? Doesn’t it eventually become painfully obvious even to the casual observer that both parties are in it together to distract us from even trying to deal with the real issues?

    Why is is that for the past 30 or more years the Republican party has gotten major milage just by being opposed to abortion during election season, then proptly forgets about it until the next election season?

    Why is it that there appear to be only two solutions for everything? Really? Can that really be true? Of course not. But when the electorate comes to believe just that (for over half a century) eventually it just sets Americans against eachother…as well as members of the Church. I agree with Thomas in that there is virtue in being a-political. It seems like the only real way to be. Anything else is just buying into more of the same destructive dynamic so popular on AM radio talk-shows both liberal or conservative.

    The sooner we figure out that the sysem is what is messed up and that a 3rd, 4th, or 7th party is the solution, the sooner we can convince our friends of the same. Then we begin to turn the tide in Washington.

  55. I have a SIL who is a “blindly vote Republican” republican. And every time she extols the greatness of the GOP, I dig at her by pointing out how little she knows about her party.

    That said, I’m supporting McCain, so I must be an idiot.

  56. Peter LLC says:

    That said, I’m supporting McCain, so I must be an idiot.

    No way–you’re a hero!

  57. Latter-day Guy says:

    Won’t happen JZ. We’re going to descend into tribalism and usher in the new dark age before a third party will get any traction. (Á la Neal Stephenson in Snow Crash, and the Diamond Age… which are very cool, btw.)

  58. (Lest anyone think I’m a real Republican, I would have supported Hillary over Huckabee/Romney/Guiliani. And if I would have had to pick between Huck/Rom/Gui vs. Obama … I might have stayed at home this year. Clinton and McCain were the only two I really found acceptable.)

  59. Latter-Day Guy,

    I appeciate you arguably accurate cynicism…but I still want to believe that the problem is lack of education (and the infintile and petulant propaganda that replaces it.) I have to believe that people do make the correct decisions when they are presented with the options clearly. We are far from such a place in American politics, but I do believe that the worse it gets, the more people want to exercise and retrieve their rights. In other words, if I am right in the fact that we need a 3rd party like our next breath of air, those of us who realize this should open our mouths…and vote accordingly.

  60. Has BCC’s comments section having problems? I tried unsuccessfully, to post a comment on this topic earlier today,and was rejected twice- timed out.

  61. If I am right in the fact that we need a 3rd party like our next breath of air, those of us who realize this should open our mouths…and vote accordingly.

    Of course, the natural reaction is to say, “OK, which third-party candidate do I like?” And frankly, I don’t like any of them. I actually think McCain is my third-party candidate this year…

  62. Liberal democrats favor state coercion (taxes) to fund their great remaking of society. Liberal welfare programs destroyed families, personal initiative and industry, created generational welfare. Neighborhoods became ghettoes, people were stored in hi-rise complexes that became incubators for gangs and other social maladies. I believe even Patrick Moynihan took fellow democrats to task for blindly pursuing welfare policies that created social dysfunction during the 60’s and 70’s.
    The “humanitarian” efforts the europeans are supposedly better at are creating friction between those who work (and are highly taxed) and those who draw funds from the system and don’t contribute (i.e. work). The resentment is not all based on race or culture, but on the attitude of people who take, don’t give back, and accuse the industrious of hate crimes if they complain. State coercion is used against people who disagree with these policies. Multiculturalism and speech codes are trumping freedom of speech.
    As to republicans being “big spenders”, that is one reason they got hammered in the 2006 elections. Voters were fed up with them. And when some “big spender” republican incumbents are threatened or unseated by more conservative republican challengers, they threw their support to democratic candidates in the general election. Liberals now plan to buy the Hispanic vote with entitlements. Will Hispanics suffer the same fate of other communities that have been infected with the welfare culture?
    In any event, liberals just want to become the permanent government of this country, create dependent citizens, control education, information, health care, what a family is, etc. and a portion of the republicans has decided to go along with it to retain prestigious and rewarding positions.
    Its the rebuilding of the tower of babel-trying to gain power and perfection without the help of God at all.

  63. Hey, thanks for clearing that all up, frankg! You are clear and concise. B+.

  64. #62: I guess there will be civil war in Sweden within a few days?

  65. Best comment of the year: frankg excoriating Democrats for trying to “control…what a family is.”

  66. Haven’t you people figured out that multi-national corporations are the anti-Christ and they control both of the political parties in this country. The corporations decide the nature of our culture, not the politicians. As the adversary said, “Money makes the World go round.”

  67. Jeremy Jensen says:

    “The “humanitarian” efforts the europeans are supposedly better at are creating friction between those who work (and are highly taxed) and those who draw funds from the system and don’t contribute (i.e. work).”

    How much friction? And why is “friction” a justification for not implementing policies that benefit entire societies, as evidenced by the amazingly high standard of living enjoyed in the countries you’re criticizing?

  68. Still, Jeremy, you gotta admit that it’d be pretty great living in a Republican-run country without friction.

  69. I heart the Father-Knows-Best, conflict-free, fair and balanced 1950s of faith.

  70. Steve Evans says:

    #68, I will only vote for a party that respects the laws of thermodynamics!

  71. 1860 was a great breakout year for more than two Parties.

  72. #69 – Did you mistype? Did you mean to say the 1350’s?

  73. #64: Give it ten or twenty years rather than a few days, and that sounds about right.

  74. MikeInWeHo says:

    I’m voting Republican.

  75. I think the Constitution is one big, inconvenient headache AND I want more cheap plastic crap from China. Awesome!

  76. #74: Mike, the only thing wrong with the video…is I can’t hang it on my wall…or put it in my front yard.

  77. RickFFM says:

    #70 – i heart entropy.

  78. Funny, Mike!

  79. I just need to point out that the Provo Freedom Festival on Sunday, 29 June, will feature Glenn Beck and Michael Ballam. Coincidence?

  80. “That I and most Mormons are reliably Republican is an overdetermined fact.”

    Since over 50% of Mormons live outside of the United States, the above statement cannot be true. I imagine Mormons throughout the world have varying political views, many of which may be contrary to the basic conservative/republican views of most Utah mormons. In particular I doubt Mormons in other countries support the Iraq war.
    http://www.themormonworker.org

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