Send the Bill For the Shutdown to the Evangelicals

Don’t like the shutdown? Send the bill to the evangelicals. People schooled to live in a make-believe magical facts-be-damned world took over the Republican Party. The Tea Party is the pro-life evangelical subculture reborn with a few libertarian nuts thrown in. I’m talking about the bedrock mostly southern and mountain state evangelical conservatives that are anything but conservative. The pro-life, home-school, anti-government far right is the evangelical movement. And it’s radically anti American. Without this movement the 40 extremists in congress who are the radical right of the far right would not have been elected.

As Andrew Sullivan writes:

“But there is something more here. How does one party that has lost two presidential elections and a Supreme Court case – as well as two Senate elections  -   think it has the right to shut down the entire government and destroy the full faith and credit of the United States Treasury to get its way on universal healthcare now? I see no quid pro quo even. Just pure blackmail, resting on understandable and predictable public concern whenever a major reform is enacted. But what has to be resisted is any idea that this is government or politics as usual. It is an attack on the governance and the constitutional order of the United States.”

How did we get here?

Following the election of our first black president, the politics of the Evangelical, Jewish, Roman Catholic, and Mormon far right was not the politics of a loyal opposition, but rather the instigation of revolution, which was first and best expressed by Rush Limbaugh when even before President Obama took office he said, “I hope Obama fails.”[1] Mix in a dose of southern racial politics and we had the recipe for a disaster. It is upon us.

Ironically, at the very same time as evangelicals like me — as I used to be — and my late father Francis Schaeffer and home-school anti- government and anti-public school pioneer Mary Pride, were thrusting ourselves into bare-knuckle politics in the 1970s and 80s, we were also retreating to what amounted to virtual walled compounds. In other words we lashed out at “godless America” and demanded political change—say, the reintroduction of prayer into public schools—and yet also urged our followers to pull their children out of the public schools and home-school them.

The rejection of public schools by evangelical Protestants was a harbinger of virtual civil war carried on by other means we face today. All that was lacking back then was hatred of a black man that took the anti-everything fact free class of evangelicals and libertarians to another level of dysfunction. Protestants had once been the public schools’ most ardent defenders.[2] For instance, in the 1840s when Roman Catholics asked for tax relief for their private schools, Protestants said no and stood against anything they thought might undermine the public schools that they believed were the backbone of moral virtue, community spirit, and egalitarian good citizenship.

The Evangelical’s abandonment of the country they called home (while simultaneously demanding change in that society) went far beyond alternative schools or homeschooling. In the 1970s and 80s thousands of Christian bookstores opened, countless new Evangelical radio programs flourished, and new TV stations went on the air.[3] Even a “Christian Yellow Pages” (a guide to Evangelical tradesmen) was published advertising “Christ-centered plumbers,” accountants, and the like who “honor Jesus.”

New Evangelical universities and even new law schools appeared, seemingly overnight, with a clearly defined mission to “take back” each and every profession—including law and politics— “for Christ.” For instance, Liberty University’s Law School was a dream come true for my old friend Jerry Falwell, who (when I was speaking at his school in 1983 to the entire student body for the second time) gleefully told me of his vision for Liberty’s programs: “Frank, we’re going to train a new generation of judges to change America!” This was the same Jerry Falwell who wrote in America Can Be Saved, “I hope I live to see the day when, as in the early days of our country, we won’t have any public schools.”[4]

To the old-fashioned conservative mantra “Big government doesn’t work,” the newly radicalized evangelicals (and their anti-abortion Roman Catholic co belligerents) added “The U.S. government is evil!” And the very same community—Protestant American evangelicals—who had once been the bedrock supporters of public education, and voted for such moderate and reasonable men as President Dwight Eisenhower, became the enemies of not only the public schools but also of anything in the (nonmilitary) public sphere “run by the government.”

As they opened new institutions (proudly outside the mainstream), the evangelicals doing this “reclaiming” cast themselves in the role of persecuted exiles and victims of secularism. In my new book And God Said, “Billy!” I examine in depth the paranoid fantasy land of delusion this sort of thinking took me and millions of others into. What they never admitted was what my alter-ego Billy in my book never admits: we evangelicals were self-banished from mainstream institutions, not only because we evangelicals’ political views on social issues conflicted with most people’s views, but also because we evangelicals found ourselves holding the short end of the intellectual stick.

Science marched forth, demolishing fundamentalist “facts” with dispassionate argument. So science also became our enemy. Rather than rethink our beliefs, conservative religionists like me (and “Billy”) decided to renounce secular higher education and denounce it as “elitist.” Thus, to be uninformed, even willfully and proudly so, came to be considered a Godly virtue. And since misery loves company, the evangelicals’ quest, for instance when evangelicals dominated the Texas textbook committees, was to strive to “balance” the teaching of evolution with creationism and damn the facts.

In the minds of evangelicals, they were recreating the Puritan’s self-exile from England by looking for a purer and better place, this time not a geographical “place” but a sanctuary within their minds (and in inward-looking schools and churches) undisturbed by facts. Like the Puritans, the post-Roe (when abortion was made legal) evangelicals (and many other conservative Christians) withdrew from the mainstream not because they were forced to but because the society around them was, in their view, fatally sinful and, worse, addicted to facts rather than to faith. And yet having dropped out (to use a 1960s phrase), the Evangelicals nevertheless kept on demanding that regarding “moral” and “family” matters the society they’d renounced nonetheless had to conform to their beliefs.

In the first decade of the twenty-first century the Evangelical and conservative Roman Catholic (and Mormon) outsider victim approach to public policy was perfected on a heretofore-undreamed-of scale by Sarah Palin. She was the ultimate holier-than-thou evangelical queen bee. What my mother had represented (in her unreconstructed fundamentalist heyday as the leader of an evangelical commune called L’Abri Fellowship) to a house full of young gullible younfg people looking for answers and later to tens of thousands of readers, Palin became for tens of millions of alienated angry white lower-middle-class men and women convinced that an educated “elite” was out to get them.

Palin was first inflicted on the American public by Senator John McCain, who chose her as his running mate in the 2008 presidential election for only one reason: He needed to shore up flagging support from the evangelical Republican anti-abortion base. McCain wanted to prove that he was fully in line with the “social issues” agenda that my father, Dr. C Everett Koop, and I had foisted on our country over thirty years before with our anti-abortion book and film series “Whatever Happened to the Human Race?” Palin lost the election for McCain but “won” her war for fame and fortune and self-appointed “prophetess” status.

The evangelicals like Palin talked of bringing America back to our Christian heritage. Yet the post-Roe anti-abortion evangelicals ignored the Puritans’ actual ideas about government’s biblical mandated role.The Puritans’ theology of government was formed in the context of an embrace of all Christians’ duty to demand the “public good.” This was exemplified by such unquestioned well-established concepts as the “king’s highway,” a common road system protected by the crown (government) and a common law that applied to all. One’s common duty to others was accepted as the essential message of Christian civilization. Public spaces were defended by government in the early New England settlements, just as they had been in England.

What’s so curious is that in this religion-inflicted country of ours, the same evangelicals, conservative Roman Catholics, and others who had been running around post-Roe insisting that America had a “Christian foundation” and demanding a “return to our heritage” and/or more recently trashing health care reform as “communist” and demanding the shutdown of the government in order to overturn this “communist” invention by a “non-American” president, ignored the fact that one great contribution of Christianity was a commitment to strong central government. For instance, this included church support for state-funded, or state-church-funded, charities, including hospitals, as early as the fourth century.

Government was seen as part of God’s Plan for creating social justice and defending the common good. Christians were once culture-forming and culture-embracing people. Even the humanism preached by the supposedly “anti-Christian” Enlightenment thinkers of the eighteenth century was, in fact, a Deist/Christian “heresy,” with a value system espousing human dignity borrowed wholesale from the Sermon on the Mount.

In the scorched-earth era of the evangelical-dominated Republican Party of the “health care reform debates” of 2009 and beyond and now up to and including government shutdown, as a means to demand repeal of the reform, including anti-contraceptive provisions, the evangelicals seemed to believe that Jesus commanded that all hospitals (and everything else) should be run by corporations for profit, just because corporations weren’t the evil government. The right even decided that it was “normal” for the state to hand over its age-old public and patriotic duties to private companies—even for military operations (“contractors”), prisons, health care, public transport, and all the rest.

The Religious Right/Far Right et al. favored private “facts,” too. They claimed that global warming wasn’t real. They asserted this because scientists (those same agents of Satan who insisted that evolution was real) were the ones who said human actions were changing the climate. Worse, the government said so, too!

“Global warming is a left-wing plot to take away our freedom!”

“Amtrak must make a profit!”

“Health care for all is communist!”

Even the word “infrastructure” lost its respectability when government had a hand in maintaining roads, bridges, and trains, let alone providing health insurance coverage to millions. 

In denial of the West’s civic-minded, government-supporting heritage, evangelicals (and the rest of the libertarian right) wound up defending private oil companies but not God’s creation, private cars instead of public transport, private insurance conglomerates rather than government care of individuals. The price for the religious right’s wholesale idolatry of private everything was that Christ’s reputation was tied to a cynical political party owned by billionaires. Today it’s come to the point where people calling themselves followers of Jesus are fighting AGAINST health care for all!

As Andrew Sullivan writes:

“When ideologies become as calcified, as cocooned and as extremist as those galvanizing the GOP, the American system of government cannot work… This is not about ending Obamacare as such (although that is a preliminary scalp); it is about nullifying this presidency, the way the GOP attempted to nullify the last Democratic presidency by impeachment.

Except this time, of course, we cannot deny that race too is an added factor to the fathomless sense of entitlement felt among the GOP far right. You saw it in birtherism; in the Southern GOP’s constant outrageous claims of Obama’s alleged treason and alliance with Islamist enemies; in providing zero votes for a stimulus that was the only thing that prevented a global depression of far worse proportions; in the endless race-baiting from Fox News and the talk radio right. And in this racially-charged atmosphere, providing access to private healthcare insurance to the working poor is obviously the point of no return.

Even though the law is almost identical to that of their last presidential nominee’s in Massachusetts, the GOP is prepared to destroy both the American government and the global economy to stop it… This is the point of no return – a black president doing something for black citizens (even though the vast majority of beneficiaries of Obamacare will be non-black).I regard this development as one of the more insidious and anti-constitutional acts of racist vandalism against the American republic in my adult lifetime… If we cave to their madness, we may unravel our system of government, something one might have thought conservatives would have opposed. Except these people are not conservatives. They’re vandals.”

The evangelical foot soldiers never realized that the logic of their “stand” against government had played into the hands of people who never cared about human lives beyond the fact that people could be sold products. By the twenty first century, Ma and Pa No-name were still out in the rain holding an “Abortion is Murder!” sign in Peoria and/or standing in line all night in some godforsaken mall in Kansas City to buy a book by Sarah Palin and have it signed. But it was the denizens of the corner offices at Goldman Sachs, the News Corporation, Exxon, and Halliburton who were laughing.

Only now in 2013, as the full insanity of the far right stand for “God and country” and against government “intrusion” (health care reform proposed by a black man) hits home, the fat cats are being hoisted on their own petard. The religious right’s religiously motivated foot soldiers have succeeded in installing forty extremists in Congress who aren’t listening to their Wall Street masters any longer and are ready to take us all over the cliff into their imaginary world.

Send the bill for the shutdown to the evangelicals.

Frank Schaeffer is a writer and author of And God Said, “Billy!” on Kindle and NOOK for $3.99 and in paperback.

[1] On January 16, 2009, Limbaugh told his listeners that he was asked by “a major American print publication” to offer a four-hundred-word statement explaining his “hope for the Obama presidency.” He reported, “So I’m thinking of replying to the guy, ‘Okay, I’ll send you a response, but I don’t need four hundred words; I need four: I hope he fails.’”
[2] See “Moral Education: A Brief History of Moral Education,” “The Return of Character Education,” and “Current Approaches to Moral Education,” http://education.stateuniversity.com/pages/2246/Moral-Education.html#ixzz0oefKiFH7.
[3] Christian product sales in the Christian Booksellers Association (CBA) alone grew to $4.63 billion in ‘06, according to CBA’s research. See <www.cbaonline.org/nm/timeline.htm>;.
[4] Jerry Falwell, America Can Be Saved (Murfreesboro, TN: Sword of the Lord Publishers, 1979), 17.

About Frank Schaeffer

Frank Schaeffer is an American author, film director, screenwriter and public speaker. He is the son of the late theologian and author Francis Schaeffer. He became a Hollywood film director and author, writing several internationally acclaimed novels including And God Said, "Billy!" as well as the Calvin Becker Trilogy depicting life in a fundamentalist mission home-- Portofino, Zermatt, and Saving Grandma.

  • gimpi1

    “Thus, to be uninformed, even willfully and proudly so, came to be considered a Godly virtue.”
    ” Like the Puritans, the post-Roe (when abortion was made legal) evangelicals (and many other conservative Christians) withdrew from the mainstream not because they were forced to but because the society around them was, in their view, fatally sinful and, worse, addicted to facts rather than to faith.”

    I’m desperately afraid you’re right about this. The trend of anti-intellectualism in American religion is burning through so much of what is going on right now. If we can’t agree on basic facts of biology, geology, history and physics, how can we hope to find common ground politically?

    I’ve worried about the “alternative universe” thinking that niche-marketing of media makes possible for years. It’s all together too easy to find “facts” that back up the pre-existing worldview someone holds rather than do the hard work of learning what the facts really are. Many of us have made ignorance into a virtue, and I’m not sure we as a nation can survive that.

    • thesauros

      I’m not sure that facts are the problem. It’s the conclusions that both sides have drawn from the fact that are illogical. Nevertheless, as an evangelical, fundamentalist (my definition), and a non American, this seemed to me like a very good post. A tragic story unfolds before us. As God said, “An evil will come upon you that you will not be able to charm away.” Evil thy name is corruption.

    • BillClintonsShorts17

      Hi there Gimp! I don’t believe that Noah’s Flood covered the whole earth. How about that? And we share some genetic data with lower primates which indicates that we most likely had some common ancestor. And the world warms up for a while, and then cools off. I think our depletion of resources is a more dangerous trend than increasing the very small percentage of the atmosphere which is CO2. I don’t believe that the Bible was written as a science text, and people who believe it was are as wrong as people who believe it is.

      Can I still be a Christian? According to you?

      • gimpi1

        I believe you can, but there are many who would say no. Ken Ham of the Answers in Genesis website and the Creation Museum, for one.

        I never said that this addiction to anti-reason is part-and-parcel with Christianity. I said that a niche of far-right wing Christianity has seized on anti-science as a cornerstone of their beliefs. I also explained why I think it’s dangerous.

        I’m married to a geologist who is a Christian. He knows the earth is around 4.5 billion years old, give or take. He also mostly votes Democratic, favors the ACA, and is pro-choice. He believes you are wrong about most of your politics, yet shares your religion. Do you have room enough for him?

        • BillClintonsShorts17

          Sure! The Church is for sinners. And the politically deluded.

          And I remain mystified as to how one’s view of the age of the earth (I agree with your husband) has anything to do with budgeting our expenditures. I think Frankie is finding another opportunity to beat up on the people who embarrass him.

          • gimpi1

            Well then, you should be comfortable there. News-flash, you don’t define reality. His views are fine, thank you.

            Really, all you have is snark. I’ve been civil to you, and you can seem to return the favor. I no longer want to bother.

          • BillClintonsShorts17

            You are correct. I do not define reality. I observe reality. And those observations lead me to conclude that no entity can forever spend money it does not have. And I observe that even by seizing every penney possessed by the ‘rich’ you would not have enough money to last a year. That’s all. As for my tone, please accept my apology for any incivility.

          • gimpi1

            I try to observe it as well. My husband, as a trained scientific observer in a natural science, has good observational skills. I think we most likely disagree about priorities.

            I don’t know your age, but I’m in my mid-50′s I know we were able to fund our infrastructure much better when we had higher tax-rates at the top of the totem-pole. We’ve cut taxes at the top and effectively raised them at the bottom, on the worker- bees as you call them, for over 30 years. I feel this is a mistake. I feel that part of society’s basic reason for existence is to correct injustice. I know that complete fairness is impossible, but I don’t accept that as an excuse for not fixing the injustices that we can. You most likely feel differently.

            I believe making health-care more accessible could eventually lower costs, as costly late-in-the-game treatments become less necessary and costly emergency-room services are used less often. I believe results from around the world provide good evidence for this belief. You most likely believe differently. We simply see things differently.

            And that should be OK, no one is infallible. We should be able to learn from each other rather than just shout at each other. That’s easier when we talk, rather than snipe. I try to do that. I encourage it in others.

            Thank you for your apology. If I may suggest, you might want to consider proofing for tone, For instance I don’t know if you understood that in your last post, you were calling my husband both deluded and a sinner, a man you had never met, just because his politics don’t totally align with yours. Did you mean to?

            I generally check my posts for tone, to see if I’ve stayed on target, if I’ve gotten too testy, or just lost the thread. I don’t always catch myself, but I think it helps.

          • BillClintonsShorts17

            ‘The Church is for sinners’. That means for everybody. Most especially myself. So there is plenty of room for good people like your husband if there is room at all for me.

            As for ‘deluded’, yeah, I meant that. Anyone who thinks putting government bureaucrats in charge of their medical care and really believes there will be a better outcome is deluded.

            My mother suffered from increasing dementia in her last years. Before it got too bad she sat me down with her lawyer and put me in charge of all her affairs. The lawyer drew up a durable Power of Attorney which enabled me buy and sell property, among other things. Later on, when it became completely clear that she would never drive again I made the decision to buy her car as there was no reason for her to continue making payments on it. The California DMV insisted that my P.O.A. could not be used to complete the transaction. I pointed out that she was no longer able to speak in coherent sentences. Still not good enough. I asked if this would serve if she were dead. Oh, well, that would be a different case. The clerk went off to huddle with her boss in the back of the office and after about ten minutes they decided they would take the P.O.A. after all.

            That is my experience with government. One example of it, I should say. ACA? A big government insurance company with taxing authority and guns.

          • BillClintonsShorts17

            Oh. Speaking of Tone. Go over to this site and have a look at what some leading Dems have been saying. Then ask yourself if yours truly ever said anything even remotely as vicious. http://pjmedia.com/eddriscoll/2013/10/03/oh-that-punitive-liberalism-2/

          • BillClintonsShorts17
  • http://lotharlorraine.wordpress.com/ Lothar Lorraine

    Hello, I reject Evangelicalism and their belief that the Bible was an infallible revelation of God to us.

    That said you should overgeneralize like that.

    There are progressive Evangelicals out there who believe that the human authors of the Bible did mistakes.

    These are not anti-science and do not support irrationality, bigotry and homophobic hatred.

    • Kristian Alekov

      Really? Name one. “.progressive Evangelicals out who believe that the human authors of the Bible did mistakes” I dare to say that there is no Christian in the world that would think/stand behind this statement.

      • http://lotharlorraine.wordpress.com/ Lothar Lorraine

        Hello Kristian, I am a Christian and do stand behind this statement :-)
        https://lotharlorraine.wordpress.com/?s=inspiration

        Lovely greetings from Lorraine/Lothringen, at the boundary between France and Germany.

        2013/10/3 Disqus

      • thunder250

        Really Kristian? There are many if us. In fact, the debate has been hot between we who call ourselves Evangelicals about precisely what is included when we say the Bible is “inerrant” or “infallible.” As for “progressive evangelicals” try Jim Wallis, John Skinner or Tony Compolo. There are, in fact, many of us who call ourselves Evangelical who do not believe in the things Frankie says “evangelicals” do…. In fact, many who voted for Obama. I lead a church that is probably 50/50 … All who are evangelical.
        The problem is that the term “Evangelical” has been wrenched out of its historic and theological meaning and used to describe those on the political right. Totally ignored are the progressive movements that evangelicals were involved in historically; i.e. Abolition, suffrage, civil rights. Also ignored are the differences within this stream of Christian thinking.
        The article, to my view, does a good job at describing some of the factors, from some of the people, that led to some of the proble – all described as Evangelicals. That makes it misleading, and as more than one person has noted already, it sounds angry and personal to those who have been acquainted with the Schaffer family for years. who have been acquainted with t

    • guest

      I love the way people just throw around vague terms like “fundamentalist” and “evangelical” as if it were a monolithic thing. As if every Southern Baptist, Presbyterian or United Methodist must be interchangeable with any member of the Westboro Baptist Church. There is little understanding of the spectrum of religious practice and belief in our culture in this article. The author is clearly very ignorant, and ascribes the beliefs and practices of a few fringe people to everyone in a much larger group. It’s like the Hutus of Rwanda labelling Tutsis as “cockroaches.” This whole article is borderline hate speech.

      • http://lotharlorraine.wordpress.com/ Lothar Lorraine

        Frank Schaeffer is undoubtedly a great and very gifted man, but he gets sometimes carried away by the culture war and utters the same kind of sweeping generalization as the fundamentalists and new atheists he criticizes elsewhere.

        I think a vicious circle of hatred is going on. I see the same problem with racism in France:

        https://lotharlorraine.wordpress.com/2013/07/30/a-new-anti-racism/

        To break it, it is necessary that people from both sides of the battle will start trying to better understand each other and ALWAYS be respectful towards respectful opponents.

        2013/10/3 Disqus

  • Brad Millspaugh

    Chill man. Setting the histrionics aside, it’s simple – the Feds have lost their perspective and reason for being, overstepping their bounds big time. $18 trillion dollars in debt. The media is useless. The message to me – the Feds/Media are corrupt, enriching themselves and their “friends” at my/our expense. I don’t appreciate it. Respect the money, it’s not that hard, unless of course you’re addicted to power and the micro-management 300 million people. Feds gone wild.

    • smrnda

      I think we could close our funding problems if we went back to the tax rates on high earners we had during the Eisenhower era. The fact that we’re not doing this is why investors are making a killing but worker’s wages have stagnated.

      • BillClintonsShorts17

        Not enough ‘rich’ people smrnda. The math has been done. Their money wouln’t last you one year.

  • June Courage

    Fabulous post ! And I’m not even an American ! But this is very much how thinking people in the rest of the world do see the problem. A problem which may yet influence all of our lives, but about which we (outside of the USA) can do nothing, only watch in horror.

    • guest

      Which makes me wonder if “thinking people in the rest of the world” can be so easily duped by ad hominem screeds, the “thinking people in the rest of the world” must have very poor thinking skills indeed.

      • June Courage

        And to dismiss my comment with an anti-intellectual sneer is not in itself ad hominem ? Shame on you ! I could reply in kind by asking if such obviously circular logic on your part is not itself the result of home education – but will not reply in kind.
        Take a good hard look at the kind of ignorant, hysterical rage pumped out by Fox News any day of the week, and ask yourself – is this the mirror in which you want to see your own reflection?

        • BillClintonsShorts17

          The ignorant hysterical rage is pumped out by CNN and MSNBC. Fox is very neutral.

          • Nick Gotts

            *guffaw*
            Good one! But really, aren’t you taking the parody of far right delusion a bit far?

          • BillClintonsShorts17

            You never watched Ed on the ‘Ed Show’ foaming at the mouth in rage? Or the routine hysteria from Maddow about the ‘War on Women’? You have missed some prime entertainment.

          • Nick Gotts

            I was referring to your description of Fox as “very neutral”. You evidently have your head fixed on backwards.

          • BillClintonsShorts17

            I knew what you meant Nick. Someone whose head is screwed on backwards, as is yours, will of course see ‘normal’ as ‘perverse’. Spend some time out of your bubble.

          • Nick Gotts

            No, you quite evidently did not know what I meant, or your response would have had some relevance to my comment. Someone who considers Fox “very neutral” is clearly beyond the reach of either rational argument or parody, and living in the same kind of fantasy world as David Icke.

  • Thomas Johnson

    I think that many Americans are so frustrated by the unwillingness of Congress (both parties) to cut spending and return to fiscal responsibility that they are happy enough to just to save the money from having to pay all the government employees and fund government services for a while.

    • pennyhammack

      OK, would you donate all of your salary to help balance the budget? I thought not. Government employees need to eat the same way the rest of us do. My late husband was a government employee. He didn’t make as much as he could have in the private sector (as promised). The only way we managed (without shutdowns) was for me to work too. Balance the budget on the heads of Congress since their pay will not be cut.

      • Thomas Johnson

        Sure, pennyhammack, I could support suspending Congress’ pay and it would probably get them to agreement a lot faster, but you know that they are not going to let that happen. I am also one that believes that government services, such as regulation, is important, but it is highly immoral for us to permit our government to go own borrowing in order to spend and shifting the burden of repaying that borrowing to future generations.

        • smrnda

          I think a better way of closing the budget hole would just be (as I said up above) to return to the progressive tax rates we used to have on high earners. Right now, the highest earners use their money to consolidate ownership, which puts downward pressure on wages and erodes the middle class living standard and tax base, and since worker’s wages have stagnated, consumer spending is going to be low, and consumer spending is the thing that drives economic growth.

          • Thomas Johnson

            smrnda, I am one of those that believe to make serious progress on balancing the budge, we must do both–cut spending and increase income. So, I could support some tax increase if it was balanced by government spending cuts.

          • smrnda

            It depends, to me, on what is cut. The problem (to me) is that we’ve been going the ‘always cut taxes’ route for my entire lifetime. Overall, you need balance of both, but we’ve had an imbalance there for what, 30 years?

            Not that there aren’t wasteful areas I’m eager to cut. I’m all for ending the war on drugs and releasing all non-violent drug offenders, which would save a massive amount of cash and would remove an area of government spending that is pure waste, and if we expunged the records of these people, they’d have better access to jobs and would be able to earn more money and pay taxes. I think that we’re wrong to be subsidizing profitable businesses – if farm subsidies were about protecting small farmers from going under during a bad year, that would be fine, but I’m opposed to subsidizing huge, profitable businesses.

            On military spending, I’m less likely to editorialize since I don’t have all the information on what is spent where, but it’s been a long time since WWII, the former USSR is a mess, so I don’t see such a need for a military presence in Europe.

          • Thomas Johnson

            So, that’s the problem–Congress can’t agree on what to cut because there are so many lobbyists trying to protect their turf. I liked the “everybody takes a 10% cut” approach to all the government agencies.

          • BillClintonsShorts17

            I second your motion.

          • JLou2

            The solution there is to end lobbying by corporations.

          • JLou2

            Would you agree with cutting defense spending and ending the pointless expensive wars and occupations that this country is involved in? Would you support lowering the wages of congress to match the average wage in the country. To have their salary tied to how well the economy as a whole is doing. Would you support cutting the spending on the futile “war on drugs” which costs more money than it can ever take in to imprison people for petty non-violent offenses? The “war on drugs” has parts of the government feeding into both sides. Remember when the CIA was busted for smuggling drugs? What do you think those were going to be used for?
            Would you support cutting all subsidies and tax breaks to major corporations such as Big Oil?
            Would you support removing the cap for the Social Security tax on income?
            Would you support raising the tax rate on capital gains to be equal or higher than income tax rates?
            Would you support ending the subsidization of Executive bonuses paid as stock?

          • BillClintonsShorts17

            Not enough ‘rich’ people smrnda. The math has been done. Take EVERYTHING they own, not just their income, and you would run out of their money before a year was out. Then what would you do?

          • Nick Gotts

            “The math has been done” by whom? Where? On what assumptions? You keep making this claim, but you never even attempt to back it up.

          • BillClintonsShorts17

            Here is one link. The article has numbers from the IRS, so it should satisfy your request for further information. That is just one article. There are many others. You need to learn to read things published outside your bubble.

            http://www.americanthinker.com/2011/03/confiscate_americans_wealth_to.html

            Here is another: http://www.peterheck.com/libtree/liberty_tree/view/828/how_long_could_our_government_live_off_the_rich_

            And another: http://hotair.com/archives/2011/04/18/wsj-shows-taxing-the-rich-wont-cover-the-bill/

            And yet another: http://www.forbes.com/sites/danbigman/2012/04/03/john-stossel-tax-the-rich-the-rich-dont-have-enough-really/

            What is awesome is the way you Progs manage continue to stand upright in the withering machine gun fire of economic fact and data that proves you wrong. If there were an Olympic Medal for denial of reality you would all get some gold.

          • Nick Gotts

            As I thought, you’re relying on far-right liars to twist reality. No-one, of course, is suggesting either confiscating all the wealth of the rich, taxing at 100%, or ceasing to tax everyone else. The US deficit for the fiscal year to 30th September was $755.3 billion.Your own Hot Air link says:

            If you took all the income of people over $200,000, it would yield about $1.89 trillion.

            Hence, taking far less than that from the wealthy would replace the deficit with a fat surplus, allowing the debt to be reduced over time. Stop lying.

          • BillClintonsShorts17

            And you stopped reading, didn’t you? Your confiscation regime collapses after the first year because everybody stops working. Once you are done looting, how are you then going to live?

            And it is a hoot that you think Forbes and the WSJ are ‘far right’. Maybe in relation to you……

          • Nick Gotts

            Fair taxation is not confiscation or looting, and does not cause rich people to stop working. The time of the fastest growth in American prosperity was 1945-75, for all of which of which top marginal tax rates were at least 70%, and for much of it above 90%. In the last 30 years, the rich have systematically been looting everyone else, getting vastly richer while the middle-class and the poor have struggled to keep up with inflation. Stop lying.

          • BillClintonsShorts17

            I agree that we have been systematically looted. By the ProgLeft types in collusion with Crony Capitalists. Did you even LOOK at the graphs in the John Stossel article in Forbes? Or even THINK about the documented cases where an increase in tax rates has led to a decrease in tax revenues Or are you so committed to your world view that you instantly characterize any inconvienient data as a lie?

            And taking ALL or nearly all of a person’s income is indeed confiscatory looting.

          • Nick Gotts

            Your Forbes article is just the usual far-right whining about how the fat cats need to get even fatter, and contains exactly 1 graph. Graphs of the total tax as a percentage of GDP tell you next to nothing, because they conceal where the tax is coming from – as Stossel doubtless intended. As I said, and as you of course ignored because you can’t refute it, the period in which American prosperity rose fastest was that in which top marginal tax rates never fell below 70%. Your lies, as I have proved, are that taxing the rich could not wipe out the deficit, and that high marginal tax rates prevent the rich working (those of them that do work, that is). Stop lying.

          • BillClintonsShorts17

            Nick, nobody paid 70 % in those days
            either. There were a lot more exemptions and loopholes. And the special circumstance of the U.S. being about the only viable economic power standing after WWII.

            As for wiping out the deficit. Yeah, you could make a dent for one year. Looting is fun, at first. Then what?

            Funny how you characterize data from the IRS as ‘lies’.

            And again, the math. Confiscating all the income from the ‘rich’ [those with incomes above 200K] would yield that 1.89T (in a good year). Spreading the wealth around equally to all Americans would yield $5727 per person. A nice chunk of change, certainly, but not enough to significantly change a person’s economic well being. And, heh, the ‘rich’ earn money from overseas enterprises, so really you need to spread the money around worldwide. So now we are looking at $315 per person. And that only works in the first year as the source of wealth to loot dries up after that.

            Did you ever see ‘Evita’? There is a scene in which Eva Peron whispers something to a bejewelled member of the ‘oligarchy’ that her jewels could have been sold and the money given to the poor. Only problem with that is that in the world she was trying to create the jewels would have no value and could neither be sold nor eaten. That’s your world Nick.

          • Nick Gotts

            It may be true that few paid 70% marginal rates, but what is undoubtedly the case is that during that period of unmatched growth in prosperity, the USA was a far less unequal society than it is now, in terms of both income and wealth. The “only viable economic power” point applies only to the immediate postwar period, during which the USA, in a striking and admirable example of enlightened self-interest, was pumping huge amounts into reviving the European and Japanese economies – which it could afford to do. Now, after thirty years of concentrating more and more wealth in the hands of the very rich, and slashing taxes on them again and again, the USA is vastly in debt, and has suffered one of the most serious financial crises in history.

            I am not characterizing the IRS data as lies, since those data support my case, quite clearly showing that taxing all income above $200,000 even well below 100% could more than wipe out the deficit. Your claim that “the math” shows increasing taxation on the rich to be pointless was thus itself a barefaced lie. Your statement that “the source of wealth to loot” would then dry up is not “math” but an empirical claim that the rich would behave in a certain way. Now it may be that they are indeed as greedy, selfish and lazy as you hypothesize, but I think you may be generalizing unsoundly from your own case.

            The rest of your comment is merely an attempt to distract from the collapse of your claim about “the math”. You surely can’t really be ignorant enough to think that jewellery constitutes a significant component of the wealth of the rich.

          • BillClintonsShorts17

            Another link for you Nick. From a real economist, Walter Williams.

            http://patriotpost.us/opinion/9582

            My point about Evita and the jewels is that without a market trading a commodity, the commodity has no value. The jewels couldn’t be sold for ‘millions’, and the money given to the poor, unless someone somewhere was willing to pay millions for them.

          • Nick Gotts

            You can link to as many stooges of the mega-rich and mega-greedy as you like, but since they all appear to be either liars or fantasists, I’m not impressed. Your latest favourite says:

            By the way, $250,000 per year hardly qualifies one as being rich.

            There speaks a man who is either a barefaced liar, or lives in a fantasy world. Median household income in the USA is roughly $50,000 – that is, half of households have an income lower than that. A household income of $250,000 puts you in the top 3%. It’s simply absurd to say that does not make you rich.

            Williams goes on to say:

            All told, households earning $250,000 and above account for 25 percent, or $1.97 trillion, of the nearly $8 trillion of total household income. If Congress imposed a 100 percent tax, taking all earnings above $250,000 per year, it would yield the princely sum of $1.4 trillion.

            The US deficit for the fiscal year to 30th September was $755.3 billion. Therefore taxing all this income at well under 100%, while keeping other taxes the same (and contrary to your lies and those of your sources, no-one is proposing that nothing and no-one other than rich households should be taxed), would wipe out the deficit. Stop lying.

            My point about Evita and the jewels is that without a market trading a commodity, the commodity has no value.

            Which has precisely zero relevance to anything we have been discussing, so it’s simply evidence that you have no adequate answer to the clear demonstration that your claim about “the math” was a lie. Stop lying.

          • Guest
  • Rick

    Regardless of your political views it seems that this post was written by a bitter individual who has unresolved issues with his parents.

    • pennyhammack

      I have read several of the author’s books and while he is adamantly against home schooling and other sins parents perpetrate against their children, he does not appear to have “parent issues”.

      • https://twitter.com/SoCalCMH christopher hubbard

        if he doesn’t like home schooling he’s perfectly free to send his kids to public school. he has no right and no place to tell another mom or dad how they are to raise their kids and what value system to bring them up with. once the leftists lose their near monopoly on molding and shaping young minds, their program is toast. and they know it.

        • smrnda

          There’s a lot of leftists who were former home-school students who say that their parents home-schooled them because their parents’ conservative agenda would have never seemed the least bit reasonable if they hadn’t been isolated from other sources of information. They’re saying the same thing – if people can’t isolate their kids at home and control everything they hear or read, the right wing program is toast. With both people saying the same thing, what to do?

          I’d say an approach in the middle is best – if you don’t think the school is teaching an issue properly, you’ve got the ability to supply your kids with facts that would expose the shoddy reasoning supporting the stance out of the book. Do you think I just agreed with everything my teachers in a public school said?

          I’d suspect that public schools contain far more conservatives than you realize. I had a fair number of vocally conservative teachers, some liberal ones, which I think is good as I got more than one perspective. Even two conservative teachers don’t necessarily think alike.

          • https://twitter.com/SoCalCMH christopher hubbard

            good. so i take it then they will make common cause with conservatives of all types who want to break up the near public school monopoly which deprives disproportionately kids from broken homes, of lesser means and of color an alternative to their failing local school? (http://www.laweekly.com/2013-08-15/news/parent-trigger-weigand-elementary/full/) why do i suspect all but a few brave leftists will side with the comfort and protection of the teachers unions time and again??

    • Kristian Alekov

      wearing a blue shirt and living in a two bedroom condo. Because any of that has something to do with the valid points made in the article… Ad Hominem

      • Rick

        Kristian, can you spell hypocrite? Your response that you are amazed at the sheer stupidity and complete lack of logic of the majority appears to be quite ad hominem. The vitriol in Schaeffer’s article incites comments such as the one you wrote.

    • June Courage

      Seems to me that anyone with a dad like his is NEVER going to resolve certain issues. That in fact, his sanity would depend on the absolute impossibility of resolving certain issues. But that doesn’t of itself invalidate a word he has written.

  • Kristian Alekov

    Great article! I’m sure it will be hidden and squashed and never see daylight, like any talk I’ve ever seen against the “moral majority” in this Country. I am absolutely amazed at the sheer stupidity and complete lack of logic of the majority out there…

  • guest

    “How dare anyone challenge the right of the federal government to take over one of the largest sectors of the economy! How dare anyone challenge the authority of anyone in authority!” What happened to the authority-defying liberals of the hippie generation? When did they buy in to such a servile ideology of blind obedience to a power-hungry, crony-capitalist-ridden and corrupt government? I’m aghast. Really.

  • guest

    Let’s not forget that Obama used the term “infrastructure” as double-speak in order to fund billions of dollars worth of “pork projects”. Shrimp on a treadmill anyone?

    • James

      Name one. I wager that you can’t name a single one..

  • guest

    “recent studies by more-or-less outsiders show there is no such thing as evangelicalism” – from the Chronicle of Higher Education: http://chronicle.com/article/Among-the-Evangelicals/125647/

  • https://twitter.com/SoCalCMH christopher hubbard

    if you didn’t include so many ad hominem attacks every other sentence your polemic would be no less credible though at least readable. when you end it with the typical leftist canard that this is all because barack obama is a black man (he’s not actually, he’s half and half and was raised entirely by his white mother and grandparents and abandoned by his kenyan father) as if conservatives (like me of the fiscal type and not at all a SoCon but who knows a neo-socialist when i see one) would have happily signed off on to obamacare had it been hillarycare or deancare or heaven forbid edwardscare or any other leftist democrat with a paler skin complexion you know not what you are talking about.

    • Oswald Carnes

      I didn’t hear too many complaints from whiny conservative trash like you when Romney implemented the same plan in Massachusetts. I hope you get what you deserve.

      • https://twitter.com/SoCalCMH christopher hubbard

        typical leftist response . . . don’t respond to a thing i said re: the author’s ad hominem attacks and use of THE RACE CARD, simply attack me from a basis that proves you only more ignorant than angry. i don’t live in massachussetts sir. i never have. i don’t ever plan to. romneycare doesn’t impact me one bit. if bostonians want to keep their romneycare they are free to do so. i have no dog in that fight. lefties like you might actually learn a thing or two about federalism. if you don’t like another state’s law, don’t live/move there!

        • smrnda

          There is a problem with this. I am free to live in a nice state where I like the laws, but not everybody has the $$$ to move. Bad economic policy means that poor residents of states, who have the most to lose from staying and the most to gain from leaving, can’t just pick up and go.

          • https://twitter.com/SoCalCMH christopher hubbard

            you make no sense at all. you are free to live wherever you want to. as am i. why do you think so many people have been leaving places like detroit for years and moving to places like texas?? it’s not just rich people who have the power to come and go.

          • JasonMankey

            No, completely wrong. People aren’t just completely free to get up and move on a whim. Moving takes money. It takes a lot of money to come up with a deposit and one month’s rent. If you’ve been poor and had credit problems it takes money to get the lights and the water turned on.

          • https://twitter.com/SoCalCMH christopher hubbard

            people aren’t free to get up and move on a whim? splain yourself please jason mankey before i come to the conclusion that you are arguing that people should have to get permission in order to go. the east germans tried that and put a great big wall up to cage folks in. it lasts for a while. but liberty triumphs in the end. google, berlin, circa november 1989.

          • Nick Gotts

            It’s already been explained to you twice: moving takes money. Got that through the concrete yet?

          • https://twitter.com/SoCalCMH christopher hubbard

            so what? buying clothes TAKES money. getting food TAKES money. why don’t you stop being coy and explain what you mean. saying that doing X (in this case moving) TAKES money is a non sequiter. this is a non-argument.

          • Nick Gotts

            If you don’t have the money to do something, you are not free to do it. I wasn’t being coy, I just couldn’t believe you were really so stupid that you didn’t get the point.

          • https://twitter.com/SoCalCMH christopher hubbard

            no sir. when i said the word free in the context of my sentence “people are free to get up and move” it doesn’t take much more than a 6th grade education to understand that it refers to people having the legal ability to go without having to ask or get permission from another, say the state, in order to do so. that one person or a person at a particular point in time may not have enough money to move that particular day does not equate that “people” are still free to move and it doesn’t mean that said person can’t save up enough money so that s/he will too one day be able to exercise the same right. either you are being coy and playing games with words to try and be cute or you are covering a deeper, darker desire to in fact seek to deny people (and not just persons in particular circumstances) that very thing. got it?

          • Nick Gotts

            What I’ve “got” is your dishonesty, paranoia, and contempt for the poor. To say people are “free” to do something they cannot in fact do is playing with words.

            or you are covering a deeper, darker desire to in fact seek to deny people (and not just persons in particular circumstances) that very thing.

            As I said, paranoia. Of course I want no such thing.

          • https://twitter.com/SoCalCMH christopher hubbard

            now you’re just making up stuff and projecting on to me. what’s dishonest? you’re the one who 2X has now taken a word out of context, not me. paranoid??? there are no black helicopters circling above, i promise! and contempt!? have you ever moved mr. gotts? my guess is you have. were you not “free” to move about? no. am i able to live anywhere i want to regardless of the price of real estate? of course not! contempt my @$$. the right to travel is actually one of the best advocates of/for the poor for it allows them to legally escape their geographic place in search of a better one. why mr. gotts have so many from so many different countries immigrated to this country??? moving from california to arizona or nevada is quite easy when compared to those who have escaped cuba, north korea or the former soviet union. all are to be admired for their courage and their fortitude and their commitment to making a better life for themselves and most of all their children. i wouldn’t be here if not for that essentially american spirit. i rather doubt you would either.

          • Nick Gotts

            Ah, another lackwit suffering from the delusion that everyone else either is or wants to be American. I’m not, nor do I want to be. Yes, you do show contempt for the poor, just as you would show contempt for a person confined to a wheelchair by saying they are free to get up and walk. You probably find it very difficult to empathise with those having a raw deal that can’t be blamed on communists, but just try for a moment to put yourself in the place of, say, a single parent living in a slum, in precarious health, working two or three minimum-wage jobs and just about able to feed and clothe their children. To tell such a person they are “free to move” is simply insulting: how can they save the money necessary to move without risking ending up even worse off?

          • https://twitter.com/SoCalCMH christopher hubbard

            clarity, oh how i love it! you’re not an american. that explains a lot mr. gotts. we have a different idea of the word freedom than do our social-democratic friends up north, across the pond and down under. and therein lies the fundamental difference. sparring with you is all well and good sir, but you might not want to wait days in between posts before this conversation runs stale. you will notice that my original comment is going on 3 weeks now. good day!

          • Nick Gotts

            Ah, the ad hominem in its purest and most stupid form: “you’re not an American, so nothing you say counts”. But fortunately, you by no means represent all Americans – nor even a majority. More than 65 million of your compatriots voted to re-elect Obama, the man you call a “neo-socialist”, and fewer than 61 million voted to eject him from his office – so a large number of your fellow-Americans are either “neo-socialists” themselves, or don’t believe the ludicrous drivel you spew.

          • https://twitter.com/SoCalCMH christopher hubbard

            i’m afraid mr. gotts you don’t quite seem to know what an ad hominem attack is. i never attacked you. i don’t know you. you said you weren’t an american. correct me if i understood that wrong.

            if so, that does prove a lot, for how americans and non-americans (not all but many) see the world, particularly the meaning of freedom is different. our version is spelled out in the declaration of independence and reinforced by the constitution and it is this, political and economic freedom, from the coercive power of the state is what most americans, myself included, would call political liberty or simply liberty. and that is what we/i mean when we use the word free or freedom in any kind of a political or social context.

            not free stuff.

            so to go all the way back up top to my simple comment that seems to have gotten you all hot and bothered about how one is free to live where they want to (which was in response to a prior comment about living in this state, say florida instead of that one, say new york, for instance because of the warmer climate, as many a former new yorker have done in migrating southward for example) which MANY an american has and continues to do (moving around to whole different parts of the country due to climate, job opportunities, schooling, cost of living, etc.) one IN THIS COUNTRY absolutely is free to move about and live where one wants to. perhaps this is so in your country, perhaps not. i don’t know where you come from. and i know this is not so in certain other countries that don’t have the same understanding of freedom and liberty, as opposed to just free stuff, thus the fundamental right that we americans give to the right to travel, for it allows one to escape harsh and oppressive governance, be it confiscatory taxation, religious persecution, etc. and come here to our country.

            i think the migration into american from peoples all over the world, particularly from poor, destitute and yes non-free states proves my point mr. gotts. it shouldn’t take so many comments back and forth and this explicit an explanation to understand. i see immigrants, and therefore it, every day. good day.

          • Nick Gotts

            No, it’s you who do not know what an ad hominem (strictly, an ad hominemargument, I admit) is: it’s a dismissal of an argument or viewpoint on the grounds that the person putting it forward has certain qualities or properties – in this case, being a non-American.

            You make the arrogant claim to speak for all Americans. You don’t, of course: I know many Americans with views closer to mine than yours, and let me remind you once more: Obama was re-elected by a clear majority only last year. Oh and according to a recent poll, 39% of Americans (including 25% of those self-identifying as conservative) have a positive reaction to the word “socialism”. Of course, this doesn’t mean they are socialists, and positive reactions to other terms, including “capitalism” are more widespread – but it does suggest that your foaming-at-the-mouth reaction is far from universal among your compatriots.

            one IN THIS COUNTRY absolutely is free to move about and live where one wants to.

            In the same sense, as I have pointed out, that one is “absolutely free” to get up and walk, whether or not one has the use of one’s legs. I live in the UK, incidentally, and am legally free to live anywhere not just in the UK, but throughout the EU – an option I may take up in the near future; but I would not of course be actually free to do so if I could not afford to move.

            i think the migration into american from peoples all over the world, particularly from poor, destitute and yes non-free states proves my point mr. gotts.

            You’re presumably too ignorant to know, and I would guess too blinded by ideology to absorb even when informed, that there is as much migration into the “neo-socialist” hell-states of western Europe, Canada and Australasia (with which you have contrasted the glorious paradise of the USA) as those countries will permit. So all that is proved is that many people from poor countries prefer to live in rich ones.

      • BillClintonsShorts17

        Oswald. OSWALD! I deserve a BMW roadster.

    • Nick Gotts

      Come off it. I don’t know you personally, but the pretence that racism has played no part in hostility to Obama is ludicrous: witness the whole “birther” campaign, the lies about him being Muslim and supporting terrorists, calling him “B. Hussein Obama” or “Barry Soetero”, the racist insults aimed at his wife. And the test for whether a person in America is black is simple: would they have had to ride at the back of the bus in the segregationist south?

      “who knows a neo-socialist when i see one”
      You’re either a liar, or grossly deluded. As has already been pointed out, the ACA is near-identical to the scheme Romney implemented in Massachusetts.

      • https://twitter.com/SoCalCMH christopher hubbard

        he is a neo-socialist. clearly. i think it bothers him immensely that he has to hide it (as it does most progressives who have never gotten over the idea that the political elite should command and control how an economy, and therefore society, should work) and can’t come out and say so. i think most contemporary liberals are still socialists at heart. how else do you explain his many comments from “if you spread the wealth around, it’s good for everybody” to “at some point you’ve made enough money” to “milllionaires and billionaires” to “you didn’t built that????” each one evidences a mind that has NO IDEA how a free economy works. he doesn’t. he’s never worked in any way in the private sector. he is a thrice educated (occidental, columbia, harvard law) community organizer/politician. his life’s work is that of a professional agitator. he’s not an entrepreneur. he never sat on the board of a corporation or for profit entity. he has no concept of what economic freedom is about and how an economy can recuperate and function absent the constant meddling and intervention of the state. if you would prefer to call him a statist instead of a socialist, that’s fine. he’s both.

        • Nick Gotts

          You clearly have absolutely no idea what “socialist” means: it’s advocacy of collective ownership of the means of production. Calling Obama a socialist has as much relation to reality as calling him a Muslim or a terrorist, or claiming he was born in Kenya. It just shows that you are completely out of touch with reality.

          how else do you explain his many comments from “if you spread the wealth around, it’s good for everybody” to “at some point you’ve made enough
          money” to “milllionaires and billionaires” to “you didn’t built
          that????”

          Simple: he pays some attention to reality, unlike you with your ludicrous “free market can solve everything” fantasies. Does it not occur to you that in literal terms, millionaires and billionaires very seldom build anything – they employ others to do that – and they rely on those others, and on the infrastructure and security provided through taxation. That’s what Obama meant. It’s really very straightforward.

          • https://twitter.com/SoCalCMH christopher hubbard

            there you go projecting on to me that for which i never said, suggested or intimated at. i never said or called mr. obama a muslim. he is not. i don’t believe he was born in kenya. his father was. a terrorist? his friend bill ayers is but not him.

            have you ever read “dreams from my father” mr. gotts? why do i suspect you haven’t. i have. cover to cover. it’s actually a compelling read, particularly the first section which is all about his upbringing in hawaii, how and why his mother met and was attracted to his father and why he left and young barry knew him for all of a few days when he was 10 years old thus it was “dreams” from his father and not actual lessons or experiences for he grew up in a home without his father. if you had/have read it you would know that his father was a marxist and his mother well into the counter-culture lifestyle and rejecting of many of the norms of american society at the time. and it was her appeals to his non-existent father’s authority (to shape her son into being his father’s son despite having virtually no relationship with his father in the flesh) and the beliefs his father (a non-american, foreign exchange student) held that she most wanted young barry to grow up with.

            he most certainly has.

            i know exactly what the word socialist means. what part of neo-socialist did you not get mr. gotts? neo is a qualifier. classic eugene v. debs socialism is the state owning the means of production and allocating said resources according to the terms of the political class. neo-socialism is not classical socialism but emanates from the same place. different means but in pursuit of the same goal. when you regulate, tax and subsidize whole sectors of an economy to the point that they have to hire lawyers to fill out compliance forms for every aspect of their business (save for opening up a lemonade stand though i’m sure the food police are coming for them next) you have achieved pretty much the same result.

            what part of neo don’t you quite understand?

          • Nick Gotts

            You’re simply lying when you claim I said you believe Obama to be Muslim; I said claiming he was a socialist is just as ludicrous, which it is. As for “neo-socialist” – if it doesn’t imply that the target of the epithet is a socialist, it’s just meaningless drivel. You are still claiming above that Obama is a Marxist (because you say his father was, and that he has grown up with the same beliefs), which shows quite clearly that you are either lying or delusional, just like those who claim he is a Muslim.

          • https://twitter.com/SoCalCMH christopher hubbard

            you haven’t read “dreams from my father” have you mr. gotts? if you want to comment on the guiding principles and values of mr. obama’s life, and thus the premise for his presidency and desire to “fundamentally transform america” (his words, verbatim) you might want to start there. his father being a marxist, his mother being a sympathizer thereof and young barry being his father’s son is quite clear (thus the inclusion of the word “inheritance” in the title). the man is, was and probably always will be . . . a neo-socialist. read the book! (http://www.amazon.com/Dreams-My-Father-Story-Inheritance/dp/1400082773)

          • Nick Gotts

            No, I haven’t read it. Nor do I need to, since I can study what Obama has done during the nearly 5 years he has been President of the USA, and hence the most powerful individual in the world. He has shown not the slightest sign of being either a Marxist or a socialist, and as I’ve already noted, “neo-socialist” is just a meaningless fleck of spittle from your foaming mouth.

          • https://twitter.com/SoCalCMH christopher hubbard

            thank you for being truthful.

            “dreams” is not only a revelatory book but a compelling read. and contrary to what you seem to want to believe mr. gotts, mr. obama is quite certainly a neo-socialist. he was raised that way. he is his father’s son. and his mother’s too i might add.

            forgive this quick, little sidebar but i can’t help but notice mr. gotts you used the word “need” in reference to the book. that is your choice of word, not mine. why do so many liberals/leftists/progressives/neo-socialists use the word “need” particularly in a context such as this instead of “want”? need is a derivative of marx “from each according to his abilities, to each according to his needs.” where does want, dare i say freedom to want, enter into this equation? the great neo-socialist franklin roosevelt himself referred to want in his 4 freedoms address as “freedom FROM want.” libs/lefties/etc. never seem to grasp or pooh-pooh the concept of freedom TO want, and that an open, free and market based economy is the means by which to enable that. might a better saying be “from each according to his/her abilities, to each according to his wants”? it is human nature to want and desire. that seems to never quite make it into the marxist or neo-marxist worldview as if each of us has a set of needs, no more and no less and therefore only a powerful enough state is sufficient to provide them, and of course the state will do the apportioning. no thanks mr. gotts. you strike me as a neo-socialist too. correct me if i’m wrong if you’re not but liberty and want are essential for each other. and it is in this area where human beings don’t just subsist but thrive. neo-socialists all, including barack obama fail to understand this fundamental quality of human nature.

            my “foaming mouth” mr. gotts?? what is foaming? that i can readl, listen and hear words and know what they mean? “at some point you’ve made enough money” said president obama in his first term. tell me mr. gotts, what is one to believe when hearing this not just from a public official but the head of one’s country and the highest ranking officer in the government?? this is reflective of marxist thinking much more than adam smith mr. gotts. it is therefore perfectly fair and clear to say that it, as well as it’s speaker (mr. obama) is much more in line with a neo-socialist viewpoint than a capitalist (neo or not) one.

            even an honest socialist of all kinds would instinctively know that to be his or her rallying cry. implicit in such an un-american statement is that there is a certain amount of money by which you, i, any of us achieves and that our political betters know beyond that we are not to go. how is this anything other than a neo-socialist statement mr. gotts?

            comments are one thing, even though they reflect a mindset and a belief system. therefore, the notion that if you have health insurance, that you like, and more important, that you pay for with your own money, as many who have/had individual insurance plans themselves and not via their employers like most americans you aren’t going to get to keep because they are being priced and regulated out of business thanks to obamacare. his governance is entirely consistent with his rhetoric.

            he is therefore a neo-socialist in action and not just words.

          • Nick Gotts

            Obama can’t be a “neo-socialist” because there is no such thing. But according to you, Mitt Romney must also be a “neo-socialist”, since “Obamacare” is practically identical to the insurance scheme he introduced when governor of Massachusetts.

            need is a derivative of marx “from each according to his abilities, to each according to his needs.

            No, it isn’t. “Need” is an ordinary English word, that has been in use for many centuries. Anyone with a spark of decency considers that there are a number of human needs – for food, clothing, shelter, medical care, assistance to cope with disabilities, companionship, access to educational opportunities – which we ought to do our best to ensure are met for everyone. This is quite compatible with a wide range of political viewpoints, including conservative ones, although not with the “I’ve got mine, stuff you because I want more” ideology you appear to follow.

            might a better saying be “from each according to his/her abilities, to each according to his wants”

            I’m sure any Mafia godfather would agree with you.

            it is human nature to want and desire. that seems to never quite make it into the marxist or neo-marxist worldview

            You’ve clearly never read any Marx.

            you strike me as a neo-socialist too. correct me if i’m wrong

            You’re wrong, because there is no such thing. I’m a democratic socialist, which is how I know Obama is nothing remotely of that kind.

            “at some point you’ve made enough money” said president obama in his first term. tell me mr. gotts, what is one to believe when hearing this not just from a public official but the head of one’s country and the highest ranking officer in the government??

            That he recognises that unlimited greed is destructive of both the individual and society, as we’ve seen quite clearly in the corruption and near-collapse of the financial system in recent years. This followed, of course, 30 years of deregulation and the increasing concentration of wealth. Unfortunately, Obama has in practice done almost nothing to challenge the power of private and corporate wealth, which are threats to liberty at least on a par with that of the state.

            the notion that if you have health insurance, that you like, and more important, that you pay for with your own money, as many who have/had individual insurance plans themselves and not via their employers like most americans you aren’t going to get to keep because they are being priced and regulated out of business thanks to obamacare.

            Of course nothing of the kind has happened, since the ACA has only just been implemented, so you’re squealing before you’ve been hurt. But let’s suppose you’re right – that some people will have to change their health insurance when they’d rather not. Evidently, you consider that the preferences of the well-off (since they are the only people who could afford to buy their own health insurance in the former system) are infinitely more important than the fact that many millions of people have been without any health insurance at all. I consider that utterly contemptible.

            this is reflective of marxist thinking much more than adam smith

            You’ve evidently never read Adam Smith either.

            To feel much for others and little for ourselves; to restrain our selfishness and exercise our benevolent affections, constitute the perfection of human nature. – Adam Smith, The Theory of Moral Sentiments

            No society can surely be flourishing and happy, of which the far greater part of the members are poor and miserable. It is but equity, besides, that they who feed, clothe, and lodge the whole body of the people, should have such a share of the produce of their own labor as to be themselves tolerably well fed, clothed, and lodged. – Adam Smith, The Wealth of Nations

            Hmm. It seems Adam Smith was a “neo-socialist”!

          • https://twitter.com/SoCalCMH christopher hubbard

            YOU: “obama can’t be a neo-socialst because there is no such thing”

            ME: come again? i guess you’ve never heard the term neo-liberal (much more common in europe than here in the US) or it’s american cousin neo-conservative. the prefix neo simply means “a combining form meaning “new,” “recent,” “revived,” “modified,” used in the formation ofcompound words: neo-Darwinism; Neolithic; neoorthodoxy; neophyte” and can be applied to almost anything that is already in existence and make it current or updated. in that context, neo-socialist simply means an updated form of classical socialism. obama was born to and raised by socialists and grew up around socialist sympathizers. to call him a neo-socialist is quite consistent mr. gotts with his upbringing and his value system. you really should read “dreams from my father.” this is unambiguously clear.

            there is most definitely such a thing mr. gotts and mr. obama is it.

            QUESTION FOR YOU: why do you seek to deny this? is it because socialism has become such a dirty word in common usage or polite society? is it because the political left in your country and my country, and particularly in the less anglo-sphere of continental europe continues to believe in the collective power of the state to distribute scarce resources even though the soviet union, east germany, cuba, north korea, etc. prove it a failure and they just can’t seem to bring themselves to admit that that which they believe in was a giant failure??

            i’m not a psychologist mr. gotts but i would guess that to be the reason. liberals in my country are having just as hard a time comprehending why obamacare has been such a disastrous roll out and why individuals are seeing their insurance policies cancelled. they still don’t quite get how markets, when freed of micromanagement by the state can work and work quite well. apple, google, amazon, et al. are the counterpart to the list of failed countries above.

            the former produced bread lines and starvation because their policies were so bad and led to human misery. the latter produce waiting lines around the block for the newest iPhone 5 because their products are so good and enrich people’s lives.

            capitalism mr. gotts, even the neo-kind beats neo-socialism every day.

            the rest of your post is simply coy and playing with words.

            the cause of the collapse of lehman and aig and others in 2008 wasn’t “deregulation” mr. gotts but a housing bubble that went pop. and said housing bubble was the product as much of government intervention as anything; the changing of lending standards, the lowering of credit scores and the requirement of down payments, etc. going all the way back the early 1990s and the early days of the clinton administration. you can learn all about it here (http://www.amazon.com/Reckless-Endangerment-Outsized-Corruption-Financial/dp/1250008794)

            i’ve read adam smith. the theory of moral sentiments as well as the wealth of nations were both alternatives to the then collectivist zeitgeist taking hold in france that led to the french revolution that has inspired the political left in the western world ever since and instructive to the power of individual ethics and virtues to produce a decent society without the heavy hand of the state.

            your comparison between adam smith and karl marx is inaccurate for the latter came about much later. a better comparison between competing ideas and philosophies would be smith and jean-jacque rousseau. rousseau is much closer to french revolution thinking. adam smith much closer to the anglo-american and english way of thinking at the time.

            essential to market systems mr. gotts is the fundamental idea of voluntary actions and exchange, not the coercive power of the state telling one what to do, how much they have to pay for something, how much they have to sell something for, etc. mr. obama and neo-socialists all seem to have never learned that fundamental distinction and it’s why their collectivist experiment never works.

            dont’ take my word for it, another european, f.a. hayek was equally convincing as smith with his twin works “the fatal conceit” (http://www.amazon.com/Fatal-Conceit-Errors-Socialism-Collected/dp/0226320669/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1383168246&sr=1-1&keywords=the+fatal+conceit) and “the road to serfdom” (http://www.amazon.com/The-Road-Serfdom-Documents-The-Definitive/dp/0226320553/ref=pd_bxgy_b_img_y). you might want to check them out.

  • Brad Millspaugh

    Via Ace:
    And finally, to depress you, Robert Samuelson writes of the Dawn of the true Spoils Society:

    “There are two ways to become richer. One is to provide more goods and services; that’s economic growth. The other is to snatch someone else’s wealth or income; that’s the spoils society. In a spoils society, economic success increasingly depends on who wins countless distributional contests — not who creates wealth but who controls it. This can be contentious. Winners celebrate; losers fume.

    …the relevant question is whether productive behavior (generating economic growth) is losing ground to predatory behavior (grabbing existing wealth and income). There are good reasons to think it is.

    The smaller the gains [in GDP net national wealth each year], the more people will fight over existing income and wealth, because — as has been said — that’s where the money is.”

    • smrnda

      Totally, the wealthy aren’t creating jobs, they’re making money by destroying them. Don’t build a new hotel, buy an existing one, cut the staff and make the remaining people work harder is the new ‘business’ strategy, and in the long run, it’s a bad strategy since by reducing the incomes of workers, consumer demand is weakened. The gains from labor are being appropriated by investors and rent-seekers. You do understand that the wealthy aren’t necessarily gaining money by creating goods and services, but through consolidating ownership?

      If we raised taxes and used the money to put people to work, it’s not wasted down some hole or just ‘redistributed’ and even redistribution would work fairly well. If you give poor people money, they spend it on goods and services, which fuels economic growth. If the wealthy have it, with consumers not having much $$$ to spend, they just consolidate ownership, which does not fuel growth. Even blatant income redistribution is better for the economy than slashing taxes on the so called ‘producers.’

  • http://contemplativemonk.com/ Bob Holmes

    Frank, I understand your anger, but you sound just like your dad. Dogmatic. Beating people over the head with your facts. It’s not all black and white. Take a couple of deep breaths and chill. You sound like you’re drinking poison, waiting for your enemy to die. Hey, try a little forgiveness. It works an incredible grace if you give it half a chance.

  • f_galton

    Send Sullivan a bill for all the GRIDS he’s spread.

    • radiofreerome

      How about sending evangelical leaders to the Hague for crimes against humanity because the Southern Baptists in Lousiana tried to ban gay students from publicly funded schools and their constant hate mongering get gays killed and drives gay youth to suicide? How are they different from the Al Qaeda terrorists who shot Malala for wanting an education?

  • John Smith

    “Frank Schaeffer is an American author, film director, screenwriter and public speaker” starts the bio. What’s not included is “Frank is also an angry leftist and hothead.” If you copy yourself, which you do a lot Frank, it’s not plagiarism, it’s merely repetition. “Merely” is the word I believe best describes your “thoughts” – “merely another silly rant pointing fingers at any and all with whom you disagree.” Now it’s evangelicals. Those silly bastards must think they’re citizens, must think they have something to add. If only they were as intelligent and oily as Frank they’d be able to avoid standing for anything and they could get along with all the really cool kids. You’re stuff remains childish and petulant Frank, but as always, you manage to repeat yourself. Nice work.

  • Seb

    There is a lot of vitriol and venom aimed at the author by the folks in disagreement, but no one is disputing what he’s written. The majority of the comments pick on Schaeffer’s upbringing and problems with the government. It would be interesting to me for one of you to argue point-by-point and tell us why he’s wrong. That would be more productive and make for better discourse.


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