Huckabee as Political Heretic

Now that Mike Huckabee has climbed into the first tier of presidential contenders, he is attracting attacks from all sides, not just from the left but from the right. Robert Novak has written a column branding him a “false conservative.”

The rise of evangelical Christians as the force that blasted the GOP out of minority status during the past generation always contained an inherent danger: What if these new Republican acolytes supported not merely a conventional conservative but one of their own? That has happened with Huckabee, a former Baptist minister educated at Ouachita Baptist University and Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. The danger is a serious contender for the nomination who passes the litmus test of social conservatives on abortion, gay marriage and gun control but is far removed from the conservative-libertarian model of Barry Goldwater and Ronald Reagan.

Note the condescension oozing from that paragraph. But it marks a true division between the “country club Republicans” and the more populist Christian activists. The former have been quite eager to use Christians and other social conservatives to “blast” Republicans “out of their minority status.” But to actually elect someone like that should not be allowed.

Huckabee’s alleged heresies from conservatism include his calling the elite “Club for Growth” the “Club for Greed,” for having raised taxes as governor of Arkansas, and for being concerned with the environment.

But might a Christianity-informed conservatism be different from the usual kind? Or should two-kingdom Christians focus on these economic issues at the expense of issues such as abortion?

About Gene Veith

Professor of Literature at Patrick Henry College, the Director of the Cranach Institute at Concordia Theological Seminary, a columnist for World Magazine and TableTalk, and the author of 18 books on different facets of Christianity & Culture.

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  • Joe

    The trick in the post is that Novak is defining conservatism to his own liking, which is a bit more Rand and a bit less Buckley. In his own words he calls it conservative-libertarian. In other words he is arguing that Huckabee is not libertarian enough to be a conservative. It really makes no sense.

    The thing that is the most disturbing about the article is that other than not liking the club for growth (because they have attacked him) Huckabee’s sin is having raised taxes a few times. The Evangelical Outpost did a response to the specifics of the claims here. http://www.evangelicaloutpost.com/archives/004053.html

    For the most part the taxes that were raised were raised so the state could comply with an order of the State Supreme Court and a public referendum. He actually cut taxes over 90 times while in office.

    People like Novak view social conservatives, like many democrats view blacks. We are just a group of people who are necessary once every four years. In return for our votes and money we get a lot of rhetoric.

  • Joe

    The trick in the post is that Novak is defining conservatism to his own liking, which is a bit more Rand and a bit less Buckley. In his own words he calls it conservative-libertarian. In other words he is arguing that Huckabee is not libertarian enough to be a conservative. It really makes no sense.

    The thing that is the most disturbing about the article is that other than not liking the club for growth (because they have attacked him) Huckabee’s sin is having raised taxes a few times. The Evangelical Outpost did a response to the specifics of the claims here. http://www.evangelicaloutpost.com/archives/004053.html

    For the most part the taxes that were raised were raised so the state could comply with an order of the State Supreme Court and a public referendum. He actually cut taxes over 90 times while in office.

    People like Novak view social conservatives, like many democrats view blacks. We are just a group of people who are necessary once every four years. In return for our votes and money we get a lot of rhetoric.

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  • S Bauer

    A Christianity-informed conservatism should look different from Novak’s distorted idea of conservatism that seems to be the grounding principle of those who are in control of the Republican party. This blind, completely unnuanced opposition to taxes of any kind, while continuing to expand spending, does not stop the growth of big government at all. It just grows it in a different direction than it would under the Democrats. I can think of at least two directives from Scripture that would lead a “Christianity-informed” conservatism is a different direction: “Render unto Caesar the things that are Caesar’s” and “If any would not work, neither should he (or she) eat.”

  • S Bauer

    A Christianity-informed conservatism should look different from Novak’s distorted idea of conservatism that seems to be the grounding principle of those who are in control of the Republican party. This blind, completely unnuanced opposition to taxes of any kind, while continuing to expand spending, does not stop the growth of big government at all. It just grows it in a different direction than it would under the Democrats. I can think of at least two directives from Scripture that would lead a “Christianity-informed” conservatism is a different direction: “Render unto Caesar the things that are Caesar’s” and “If any would not work, neither should he (or she) eat.”

  • http://www.parentalrights.org Rich Shipe

    Well put, S Bauer.

  • http://www.parentalrights.org Rich Shipe

    Well put, S Bauer.

  • http://www.carltonclub.co.uk wrigley peterborough

    Novak isn’t really a country club conservative. He doesn’t golf. (Read his autobio if you have any doubts–he was the soi-disant scourge of the country club set.)
    Moreover, Novak is a hardcore Vatican I Roman Catholic (he was brought into the Church Rome by an Opus Dei priest), and probably differs not at all from Rev/Gov Huckabee on the social issues. Novak is close, however, to someone who is close to the director of the Club for Growth. That could explain the existence of this piece.

  • http://www.carltonclub.co.uk wrigley peterborough

    Novak isn’t really a country club conservative. He doesn’t golf. (Read his autobio if you have any doubts–he was the soi-disant scourge of the country club set.)
    Moreover, Novak is a hardcore Vatican I Roman Catholic (he was brought into the Church Rome by an Opus Dei priest), and probably differs not at all from Rev/Gov Huckabee on the social issues. Novak is close, however, to someone who is close to the director of the Club for Growth. That could explain the existence of this piece.

  • http://www.oldsolar.com/currentblog.php Rick Ritchie

    “Or should two-kingdom Christians focus on these economic issues at the expense of issues such as abortion?”

    The good thing about focusing on economic issues is that a President often does have a lot of influence on how much is spent. Those who promise to spend, do spend. Those who promise to cut taxes cut taxes—except when they spend. But we do at least sometimes see taxes cut. Since the government almost always spends much more than it takes in, we should not feed it more. Huckabee raised taxes 47 percent. That is no small heresy from conservatism. That is a major breach.

    I like what Jonah Goldberg had to say: “In this respect, Huckabee’s philosophy is conventionally liberal, or progressive. What he wants government to do certainly differs in important respects from what Hillary Clinton wants, but the limits he would place on governmental do-goodery are primarily tactical or practical, not philosophical or constitutional. This isn’t to say he — or Hillary — is a would-be tyrant, but simply to note that the progressive notion of the state as a loving, caring parent is becoming a bipartisan affair.”

    You don’t have to be a country club Republican to fear seeing the state become more intrusive both economically and socially. When you give the state power to do good, the only thing you can be sure of is that it will have more power. If it does the good you wanted with that power, you’re very lucky.

  • http://www.oldsolar.com/currentblog.php Rick Ritchie

    “Or should two-kingdom Christians focus on these economic issues at the expense of issues such as abortion?”

    The good thing about focusing on economic issues is that a President often does have a lot of influence on how much is spent. Those who promise to spend, do spend. Those who promise to cut taxes cut taxes—except when they spend. But we do at least sometimes see taxes cut. Since the government almost always spends much more than it takes in, we should not feed it more. Huckabee raised taxes 47 percent. That is no small heresy from conservatism. That is a major breach.

    I like what Jonah Goldberg had to say: “In this respect, Huckabee’s philosophy is conventionally liberal, or progressive. What he wants government to do certainly differs in important respects from what Hillary Clinton wants, but the limits he would place on governmental do-goodery are primarily tactical or practical, not philosophical or constitutional. This isn’t to say he — or Hillary — is a would-be tyrant, but simply to note that the progressive notion of the state as a loving, caring parent is becoming a bipartisan affair.”

    You don’t have to be a country club Republican to fear seeing the state become more intrusive both economically and socially. When you give the state power to do good, the only thing you can be sure of is that it will have more power. If it does the good you wanted with that power, you’re very lucky.

  • David Thompson

    Even if Novak is guilty of a “country club” mentality, he is on to something regarding Huckabee. And it has a lot to do with the two kingdoms.
    Most conservatives in 2000 thought Bush was conservative and voted for him. He was in one sense, but not in another. He was in line with us on the social issues, but not on the two kingdoms. This doctrine recognizes that the kingdom of the left, the State, has its God-ordained role and brings great blessings. But by implication the State has great limitations attached to it, as Scripture makes clear. This kingdom is not to intrude upon the realms of the God-ordained estates of the Family and Church. These two estates are to reign over their given realms — they have responsibilities which only they do best. So when the government attempts to involve itself directly or indirectly as parent or as the church, realms and estates are confused. In other words, biblical Christians support limited government out of respect for the the rights and responsibilities God has given to the Family and Church. When government is not limited it will necessarily encroach on one or both of these.
    Some of us saw this coming with Bush before he was elected. It came out in several ways, one of which was his ideas about education – he wanted to involve federal government in education to a degree unseen before, even more so than Clinton!
    That brings us to Huckabee. He has no qualms about the feds role in education. Here is how he answered a question from the NEA about No Child Left Behind: “As President, I will lead this transformation by putting more focus than ever before in our nation’s history on creating a public school system that is designed from the ground up to leave no child behind. The federal government can help fulfill my vision and ensure that every student attends a great public school by supporting art and music programs and personalized learning, both conceptually and financially. The federal government is in a unique position to survey the national field and serve as the clearinghouse for great models in the “laboratories” of our states and provide incentives aimed at ensuring that “No Child Left Behind” is more than a slogan.” This is not a benign promise. It is a promise that could only be made if one does not recognize the limitations of the State. Huckabee is a half conservative. He is also a half liberal – he envisions the federal government solving problems regarding children, and thus he diminishes the role of parent and the Family Estate.

  • David Thompson

    Even if Novak is guilty of a “country club” mentality, he is on to something regarding Huckabee. And it has a lot to do with the two kingdoms.
    Most conservatives in 2000 thought Bush was conservative and voted for him. He was in one sense, but not in another. He was in line with us on the social issues, but not on the two kingdoms. This doctrine recognizes that the kingdom of the left, the State, has its God-ordained role and brings great blessings. But by implication the State has great limitations attached to it, as Scripture makes clear. This kingdom is not to intrude upon the realms of the God-ordained estates of the Family and Church. These two estates are to reign over their given realms — they have responsibilities which only they do best. So when the government attempts to involve itself directly or indirectly as parent or as the church, realms and estates are confused. In other words, biblical Christians support limited government out of respect for the the rights and responsibilities God has given to the Family and Church. When government is not limited it will necessarily encroach on one or both of these.
    Some of us saw this coming with Bush before he was elected. It came out in several ways, one of which was his ideas about education – he wanted to involve federal government in education to a degree unseen before, even more so than Clinton!
    That brings us to Huckabee. He has no qualms about the feds role in education. Here is how he answered a question from the NEA about No Child Left Behind: “As President, I will lead this transformation by putting more focus than ever before in our nation’s history on creating a public school system that is designed from the ground up to leave no child behind. The federal government can help fulfill my vision and ensure that every student attends a great public school by supporting art and music programs and personalized learning, both conceptually and financially. The federal government is in a unique position to survey the national field and serve as the clearinghouse for great models in the “laboratories” of our states and provide incentives aimed at ensuring that “No Child Left Behind” is more than a slogan.” This is not a benign promise. It is a promise that could only be made if one does not recognize the limitations of the State. Huckabee is a half conservative. He is also a half liberal – he envisions the federal government solving problems regarding children, and thus he diminishes the role of parent and the Family Estate.

  • http://www.cockahoop.com/ tODD

    I’m sorry David (@8), but you seem to be confusing the question of church vs. state, or the Two Kingdoms, with the question of federalism, or state vs. national government. They are not the same — the federal power grab you dislike does not take control from the church (or the family), but just a different level of government.

    For what it’s worth, I also dislike NCLB, mainly due to its being an unfunded mandate, not to mention its reliance on standardized tests over and above human judgment.

  • http://www.cockahoop.com/ tODD

    I’m sorry David (@8), but you seem to be confusing the question of church vs. state, or the Two Kingdoms, with the question of federalism, or state vs. national government. They are not the same — the federal power grab you dislike does not take control from the church (or the family), but just a different level of government.

    For what it’s worth, I also dislike NCLB, mainly due to its being an unfunded mandate, not to mention its reliance on standardized tests over and above human judgment.

  • Joe

    David,
    you also seem to read what you want to read in Huckabee’s quote instead of what it actually there. He did not propose that the federal gov’t be in charge of education. Instead, he said, “The federal government can help …” and that “The federal government is in a unique position to survey the national field and serve as the clearinghouse for great models in the ‘laboratories’ of our states …” This leaves the states in charge of education with help from the feds and with the feds making successful models adopted by some states more easily distributed to the states that may want to barrow them through the dept of education.

    In and act of disclosure, I admit I am a Huckabee supporter. I think he is the most right of any of the candidates. As a homeschooling parent, one of my problems with him is his willingess to embrace a large federal role for education but I really think your interpretation of his position greatly inflates the role he envisions the feds playing.

  • Joe

    David,
    you also seem to read what you want to read in Huckabee’s quote instead of what it actually there. He did not propose that the federal gov’t be in charge of education. Instead, he said, “The federal government can help …” and that “The federal government is in a unique position to survey the national field and serve as the clearinghouse for great models in the ‘laboratories’ of our states …” This leaves the states in charge of education with help from the feds and with the feds making successful models adopted by some states more easily distributed to the states that may want to barrow them through the dept of education.

    In and act of disclosure, I admit I am a Huckabee supporter. I think he is the most right of any of the candidates. As a homeschooling parent, one of my problems with him is his willingess to embrace a large federal role for education but I really think your interpretation of his position greatly inflates the role he envisions the feds playing.

  • David Thompson

    Joe and Todd
    There was a time when confessional Lutherans complained about the role of the federal government in education. To be more precise, as far back the 19th century. That was one reason they pushed so hard for the parochial schools in the LCMS, the WELS, the Norwegian Synod, and some other confessional synods. If that was a concern back then when, what would be the conclusion now? I was executive director of an organization that carefully studied the encroaching role of Goals 2000 (under Clinton) and then NCLB (under Bush). State governments and local school boards, let alone parents, have much less say in both the content and teaching methods in public schools. They are beholden to numerous federal mandates — with financial strings attached. One of the leading researchers and presenters on the topic of the role of federal government in local schools is a confessional Lutheran by the name of Allen Quist, a member of the conservative Evangelical Lutheran Synod (the ELS, not the ELCA). He has several books on the subject and many of his articles you can find at edwatch.org. To say that federal government has not taken a more invasive role in general in the lives of citizens, including families and children, is naive. It is not merely a case of federalism v. statism. We have always had and will always need a federal government. That’s not the question. The question is in what areas and to what extent should the feds be involved? Goals 2000 and NCLB have lessened the role of parents, school boards, and local education and increased the role of the federal government. We are a far cry from Luther’s words in the Large Catechism in which he clearly recognized the responsibility to educate children is given to the father, and then to others — but only when the father confers this responsibility to others: “Where a father is unable by himself to bring up his child, he calls upon a schoolmaster to teach him; if he is too weak, he seeks the help of his friends and neighbors; if he dies, he confers and delegates his responsibility and authority to others appointed for the purpose.” (4th commandment)

    Regarding reading too much into Huckabee’s statement, I will simply say that until I see him acknowledge that NCLB (which he he has supported) has to some extent usurped (to put it mildly) the state’s role in education (the X Amendment), the local school board’s role in education, and ultimately the parents’ role in education, he will be of no help in limiting the growing role of government in our lives and he will hinder the God-given role of parents. If it’s any consolation, Romney is even worse than Huckabee. The best I have seen so far is Thompson (no, I’m not related). When Christians look for candidates to support they should see where they stand on the social issues AND whether or not they will fight against the usurping of the parental responsibility by government. History is replete with examples of where the State has taken over the role of parenting.

  • David Thompson

    Joe and Todd
    There was a time when confessional Lutherans complained about the role of the federal government in education. To be more precise, as far back the 19th century. That was one reason they pushed so hard for the parochial schools in the LCMS, the WELS, the Norwegian Synod, and some other confessional synods. If that was a concern back then when, what would be the conclusion now? I was executive director of an organization that carefully studied the encroaching role of Goals 2000 (under Clinton) and then NCLB (under Bush). State governments and local school boards, let alone parents, have much less say in both the content and teaching methods in public schools. They are beholden to numerous federal mandates — with financial strings attached. One of the leading researchers and presenters on the topic of the role of federal government in local schools is a confessional Lutheran by the name of Allen Quist, a member of the conservative Evangelical Lutheran Synod (the ELS, not the ELCA). He has several books on the subject and many of his articles you can find at edwatch.org. To say that federal government has not taken a more invasive role in general in the lives of citizens, including families and children, is naive. It is not merely a case of federalism v. statism. We have always had and will always need a federal government. That’s not the question. The question is in what areas and to what extent should the feds be involved? Goals 2000 and NCLB have lessened the role of parents, school boards, and local education and increased the role of the federal government. We are a far cry from Luther’s words in the Large Catechism in which he clearly recognized the responsibility to educate children is given to the father, and then to others — but only when the father confers this responsibility to others: “Where a father is unable by himself to bring up his child, he calls upon a schoolmaster to teach him; if he is too weak, he seeks the help of his friends and neighbors; if he dies, he confers and delegates his responsibility and authority to others appointed for the purpose.” (4th commandment)

    Regarding reading too much into Huckabee’s statement, I will simply say that until I see him acknowledge that NCLB (which he he has supported) has to some extent usurped (to put it mildly) the state’s role in education (the X Amendment), the local school board’s role in education, and ultimately the parents’ role in education, he will be of no help in limiting the growing role of government in our lives and he will hinder the God-given role of parents. If it’s any consolation, Romney is even worse than Huckabee. The best I have seen so far is Thompson (no, I’m not related). When Christians look for candidates to support they should see where they stand on the social issues AND whether or not they will fight against the usurping of the parental responsibility by government. History is replete with examples of where the State has taken over the role of parenting.

  • http://www.cockahoop.com/ tODD

    David (@11), you appear to be confused again. Having left behind talk of the Two Kingdoms (which I still maintain has almost nothing to do with NCLB), you now confuse NCLB’s issue of federal vs. state control with government vs. parochial schooling. The two issues remain unconnected. Think about it — even if NCLB was repealed and states had more control, what effect would this have on our Lutheran schools? My wife works at a private school, and though she does not like NCLB, nor is she affected by it at her workplace.

    And while I appreciate your bringing up Luther’s words, I don’t see that they apply to what you’re advocating. NCLB doesn’t take away from a father’s responsibility to teach and raise his child as best he can, nor alter his ability. It only has an affect inasmuch as the father defers to the school to do this job. In short, NCLB only “lessen[s] the role of parents” when parents themselves lessen that role.

    I really think you’re best off sticking to criticizing NCLB on the fact that it cedes more power to the federal government.

  • http://www.cockahoop.com/ tODD

    David (@11), you appear to be confused again. Having left behind talk of the Two Kingdoms (which I still maintain has almost nothing to do with NCLB), you now confuse NCLB’s issue of federal vs. state control with government vs. parochial schooling. The two issues remain unconnected. Think about it — even if NCLB was repealed and states had more control, what effect would this have on our Lutheran schools? My wife works at a private school, and though she does not like NCLB, nor is she affected by it at her workplace.

    And while I appreciate your bringing up Luther’s words, I don’t see that they apply to what you’re advocating. NCLB doesn’t take away from a father’s responsibility to teach and raise his child as best he can, nor alter his ability. It only has an affect inasmuch as the father defers to the school to do this job. In short, NCLB only “lessen[s] the role of parents” when parents themselves lessen that role.

    I really think you’re best off sticking to criticizing NCLB on the fact that it cedes more power to the federal government.

  • Joe

    “There was a time when confessional Lutherans complained about the role of the federal government in education.”

    This is still the case today. Personally, as a confessional Lutheran myself I home school because it is my God given duty to raise my kids and I can’t trust the public schools.

    But, the point of my post was that you were reading more into Huckabee’s statement than is there. I think I was pretty clear that I think even taking what Huckabee did actually say that he was in favor of too much involvement by any level of government in education.

    As an aside, you should also checkout Huckabee’s stance on home schooling. He has the strong support of Arkansas’s home schooling groups.

    You need to understand, my point. I am not defending Huckabee on this issue. I never could. I am only stating that I think your characterization of Huckabee’s statement is inaccurate. That is my only point. Heck, your conversing with a guy who believes the the department of education is by its very nature unconstitutional and that the existence of state run school systems is also violative of the rights that were preserved to the people in the Tenth Amendment.

    At the end of the day we have to pick a candidate. In my opinion Huckabee is the best choice. He may be wrong on the role of government in education but he never lobbied law makers on behalf of pro-abortion groups.

  • Joe

    “There was a time when confessional Lutherans complained about the role of the federal government in education.”

    This is still the case today. Personally, as a confessional Lutheran myself I home school because it is my God given duty to raise my kids and I can’t trust the public schools.

    But, the point of my post was that you were reading more into Huckabee’s statement than is there. I think I was pretty clear that I think even taking what Huckabee did actually say that he was in favor of too much involvement by any level of government in education.

    As an aside, you should also checkout Huckabee’s stance on home schooling. He has the strong support of Arkansas’s home schooling groups.

    You need to understand, my point. I am not defending Huckabee on this issue. I never could. I am only stating that I think your characterization of Huckabee’s statement is inaccurate. That is my only point. Heck, your conversing with a guy who believes the the department of education is by its very nature unconstitutional and that the existence of state run school systems is also violative of the rights that were preserved to the people in the Tenth Amendment.

    At the end of the day we have to pick a candidate. In my opinion Huckabee is the best choice. He may be wrong on the role of government in education but he never lobbied law makers on behalf of pro-abortion groups.

  • fwsonnek

    S Bauer:

    “I can think of at least two directives from Scripture that would lead a “Christianity-informed” conservatism is a different direction: “Render unto Caesar the things that are Caesar’s” and “If any would not work, neither should he (or she) eat.”

    All others: re: expansion of big government.

    Heck naw. Most conservatives have some huge blind spots and have deeply drunk the kool-aid.

    What is happening, and is never talked about by conservatives (or liberals) is the radical and steady progress of the “creditization” of all financial movements in our economy. Where transactions used to be, usually, between buyer and seller directly, increasingly they normally now pass from buyer to lender to seller.

    As a CPA with 25+ years experience in lending and credit, might I suggest that the lenders are eating thick steaks from ill-gotten windfalls that they didn´t “work” for?

    And I am willing to bet big money didn´t think of this HUGE problem when they read S Bauer´s words.

    No. They thought of government handouts to po’ folks that are, in fact, incredibly DWARFED by this problem as to dollar effect and pervasive effect on our nations morals and wellbeing.

    Why is this? The abdication of government on usury laws based on false free market notions or pure government greed (eg South Dakotas, home of lots of us good Lutherans (!), removal of usuary laws to attract Citibank there) which greed is part and parcel of the government lottery industry as well I mention as an aside.

    Here government needs to EXPAND its authority and not contract.

    Might I suggest that in the buyer-creditor-seller cycle, the seller is renting money at unconscionable rates. Interest is a function of risk and time. They do the outrageous by lending, at beachfront rental rates, to bad risks who dont deserve credit, and then whine and get the government to reduce that risk by tightening bankruptcy laws, focussing only on the debtor side of the abuse, and then STILL increase interest and now hidden interest in the form of huge fees everywhere for whatever small infraction. Late a day on payment?! ok that will cost ya a $30 fee per infraction and interest rate automatically jacked up from %18 to %30+

    The innocent suffer. The Mortgage-greedathon, is tightening credit for everyone and will affect us all negatively.

    If the government regulated interest rates through usuary laws, these predatory practices would stop. There would be no attraction for the banks to do these things. Credit would automatically tighten. Reality would settle in. Initially a painful process, but it would be best for everyone in time.

    NOW you are equipped to connect ALL the dots reading this:

    http://www.nytimes.com/2007/11/29/business/29lend.html?th&emc=th

  • fwsonnek

    S Bauer:

    “I can think of at least two directives from Scripture that would lead a “Christianity-informed” conservatism is a different direction: “Render unto Caesar the things that are Caesar’s” and “If any would not work, neither should he (or she) eat.”

    All others: re: expansion of big government.

    Heck naw. Most conservatives have some huge blind spots and have deeply drunk the kool-aid.

    What is happening, and is never talked about by conservatives (or liberals) is the radical and steady progress of the “creditization” of all financial movements in our economy. Where transactions used to be, usually, between buyer and seller directly, increasingly they normally now pass from buyer to lender to seller.

    As a CPA with 25+ years experience in lending and credit, might I suggest that the lenders are eating thick steaks from ill-gotten windfalls that they didn´t “work” for?

    And I am willing to bet big money didn´t think of this HUGE problem when they read S Bauer´s words.

    No. They thought of government handouts to po’ folks that are, in fact, incredibly DWARFED by this problem as to dollar effect and pervasive effect on our nations morals and wellbeing.

    Why is this? The abdication of government on usury laws based on false free market notions or pure government greed (eg South Dakotas, home of lots of us good Lutherans (!), removal of usuary laws to attract Citibank there) which greed is part and parcel of the government lottery industry as well I mention as an aside.

    Here government needs to EXPAND its authority and not contract.

    Might I suggest that in the buyer-creditor-seller cycle, the seller is renting money at unconscionable rates. Interest is a function of risk and time. They do the outrageous by lending, at beachfront rental rates, to bad risks who dont deserve credit, and then whine and get the government to reduce that risk by tightening bankruptcy laws, focussing only on the debtor side of the abuse, and then STILL increase interest and now hidden interest in the form of huge fees everywhere for whatever small infraction. Late a day on payment?! ok that will cost ya a $30 fee per infraction and interest rate automatically jacked up from %18 to %30+

    The innocent suffer. The Mortgage-greedathon, is tightening credit for everyone and will affect us all negatively.

    If the government regulated interest rates through usuary laws, these predatory practices would stop. There would be no attraction for the banks to do these things. Credit would automatically tighten. Reality would settle in. Initially a painful process, but it would be best for everyone in time.

    NOW you are equipped to connect ALL the dots reading this:

    http://www.nytimes.com/2007/11/29/business/29lend.html?th&emc=th

  • fwsonnek

    and now this as social evils, linked to the corporate greed of those who do not want to work to eat:

    http://www.nytimes.com/2007/11/29/opinion/29thu1.html?th&emc=th

  • fwsonnek

    and now this as social evils, linked to the corporate greed of those who do not want to work to eat:

    http://www.nytimes.com/2007/11/29/opinion/29thu1.html?th&emc=th

  • fwsonnek

    #4 S Bauer:

    On closer reflection, what is really prominently missing from it´s absence and also from much (not most!) conservative rhetoric is the biblical injunction:

    “Love your neighbor as yourself” and “do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”

    here is a good example of how being tough on crime can colide with these, the highest summaries of the second table of the law:

    http://www.nytimes.com/2007/11/29/opinion/29thu3.html?th&emc=th

  • fwsonnek

    #4 S Bauer:

    On closer reflection, what is really prominently missing from it´s absence and also from much (not most!) conservative rhetoric is the biblical injunction:

    “Love your neighbor as yourself” and “do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”

    here is a good example of how being tough on crime can colide with these, the highest summaries of the second table of the law:

    http://www.nytimes.com/2007/11/29/opinion/29thu3.html?th&emc=th

  • David Thompson

    Joe (#13)
    I may end up supporting and campaigning for Huckabee myself. I will never find the ideal candidate. He is perhaps the best on the social issues. But we who understand the danger of the federal government advancing itself into areas that first belong to parents should at least be aware of what is happening and should not brush off it off as insignificant. Huckabee WILL unwittingly continue to swing the balance in favor of more federalism and less local and parental control because of his support of NCLB. Bush was hardly any different in his first campaign in 2000. Huckabee called NCLB “The greatest education reform effort by the federal government in my lifetime” (ref: Washington Times 3/1/05)
    Republicans, in general, have come a long way from Reagan who had hoped to abolish the Fed. Dept. of Ed.
    Again, I would urge you to read more on NCLB by going to edwatch.org. There is a trend here, and it is not good.

  • David Thompson

    Joe (#13)
    I may end up supporting and campaigning for Huckabee myself. I will never find the ideal candidate. He is perhaps the best on the social issues. But we who understand the danger of the federal government advancing itself into areas that first belong to parents should at least be aware of what is happening and should not brush off it off as insignificant. Huckabee WILL unwittingly continue to swing the balance in favor of more federalism and less local and parental control because of his support of NCLB. Bush was hardly any different in his first campaign in 2000. Huckabee called NCLB “The greatest education reform effort by the federal government in my lifetime” (ref: Washington Times 3/1/05)
    Republicans, in general, have come a long way from Reagan who had hoped to abolish the Fed. Dept. of Ed.
    Again, I would urge you to read more on NCLB by going to edwatch.org. There is a trend here, and it is not good.

  • Joe

    David,

    I think we may be closer to agreement than either one of us realizes. The only difference appears to be that you think Huckabee will increase federal involvement in education. I think, based on what I have read about his positions and the current level of federal involvment, the level of federal involvement is probably going to stay the same (and we both agree that is too much).

  • Joe

    David,

    I think we may be closer to agreement than either one of us realizes. The only difference appears to be that you think Huckabee will increase federal involvement in education. I think, based on what I have read about his positions and the current level of federal involvment, the level of federal involvement is probably going to stay the same (and we both agree that is too much).

  • David Thompson

    Todd (#12)
    I am not confused at all. You are missing my point even though you support it very well in your last sentence: “I really think you’re best off sticking to criticizing NCLB on the fact that it cedes more power to the federal government.” Who and what is ceding more power to the federal government? State governments, local governments (like school boards), and parents. And what power has been ceded? The education of children, an area of jurisdiction that first belongs to the family (thus Luther’s quote).
    it is true, as you and I say, that “NCLB only ‘lessen[s] the role of parents’ when parents themselves lessen that role.” But that is the point – parents (and other citizens) have lessened their own roles by allowing the federal government to become more and more involved in an area where parents used to have much more control and say. Parents may not know they have done this, but they have. It’s a reality. Parental involvement has become less. Many parents may like this, or they may have no idea that they have relinquished more control to the feds. But they have. This is what has been happening over the last 20 years (actually it started under the first Bush with his federal education plan). You and I may home school our children and not relinquished anything to the feds, private schools may be able to resist NCLB, but our country has gone in the direction of more federal control of education and that means less parental control of education. I don’t know why this is so hard to understand. More fed control, less parental control. It’s that simple. We, as a country, have gone in that direction. And what that means is that the kingdom of the left has more and more usurped a right and responsibility that belongs to the estate of the family, even if the parents have willingly or ignorantly allowed it to happen.

  • David Thompson

    Todd (#12)
    I am not confused at all. You are missing my point even though you support it very well in your last sentence: “I really think you’re best off sticking to criticizing NCLB on the fact that it cedes more power to the federal government.” Who and what is ceding more power to the federal government? State governments, local governments (like school boards), and parents. And what power has been ceded? The education of children, an area of jurisdiction that first belongs to the family (thus Luther’s quote).
    it is true, as you and I say, that “NCLB only ‘lessen[s] the role of parents’ when parents themselves lessen that role.” But that is the point – parents (and other citizens) have lessened their own roles by allowing the federal government to become more and more involved in an area where parents used to have much more control and say. Parents may not know they have done this, but they have. It’s a reality. Parental involvement has become less. Many parents may like this, or they may have no idea that they have relinquished more control to the feds. But they have. This is what has been happening over the last 20 years (actually it started under the first Bush with his federal education plan). You and I may home school our children and not relinquished anything to the feds, private schools may be able to resist NCLB, but our country has gone in the direction of more federal control of education and that means less parental control of education. I don’t know why this is so hard to understand. More fed control, less parental control. It’s that simple. We, as a country, have gone in that direction. And what that means is that the kingdom of the left has more and more usurped a right and responsibility that belongs to the estate of the family, even if the parents have willingly or ignorantly allowed it to happen.

  • David Thompson

    Joe (#18)
    Well said. Then here’s a plan: convince Huckabee to be more like Reagan and Coolidge.

  • David Thompson

    Joe (#18)
    Well said. Then here’s a plan: convince Huckabee to be more like Reagan and Coolidge.

  • Joe

    I can support that plan 100%

  • Joe

    I can support that plan 100%

  • S Bauer

    Frank,
    I agree with you completely. I said in my post that I was only throwing out a couple of biblical injunctions and did not intend to suggest the two I cited were either the whole or the most important. I particularly appreciated hearing you say those injunctions affect a lot more people and institutions in our country than the targets they are usually thrown at, i.e. the poor. In the context of Dr. Veith’s original posting, I was thinking of those verses applicability to the issue of taxation, i.e. If you want the government to do something, you better be willing to pay for it.

  • S Bauer

    Frank,
    I agree with you completely. I said in my post that I was only throwing out a couple of biblical injunctions and did not intend to suggest the two I cited were either the whole or the most important. I particularly appreciated hearing you say those injunctions affect a lot more people and institutions in our country than the targets they are usually thrown at, i.e. the poor. In the context of Dr. Veith’s original posting, I was thinking of those verses applicability to the issue of taxation, i.e. If you want the government to do something, you better be willing to pay for it.

  • fwsonnek

    S Bauer

    Cool! I focus on the tension of my duty as a christian of mustering the same dedication in rendering to caesar with paying taxes as I do in my rendering to God. both are sorely lacking but u get my point here.

    I have my hands full! redistribution of wealth through taxation is not inherently sinful or wrong or immoral I might add. some christians have actually suggested this. they are wrong.

    it IS however generally unwise. I agree with THAT statement.

  • fwsonnek

    S Bauer

    Cool! I focus on the tension of my duty as a christian of mustering the same dedication in rendering to caesar with paying taxes as I do in my rendering to God. both are sorely lacking but u get my point here.

    I have my hands full! redistribution of wealth through taxation is not inherently sinful or wrong or immoral I might add. some christians have actually suggested this. they are wrong.

    it IS however generally unwise. I agree with THAT statement.

  • tODD

    Just so you know, using an incorrect closing tag (e.g. <b />) will mess everything up. Allow me to demonstrate. I will intentionally attempt to bold the word “vegetable” in the incorrect fashion, and all subsequent comments will be borked (at least for those of you using Chrome or Firefox; in my experience, Internet Explorer does not choke on this bad HTML). Ready? Here goes.

    vegetable

  • tODD

    Ha ha! Bold forever!


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