Explaining negative politics

Stephen Pearlstein sees a shift in the campaign strategies of both sides:

The winning strategy is no longer to be more moderate than your opponent, to offer a bigger tent. Instead, it is to be more zealous and committed to your party’s ideology.

This transformation has its roots in what has become the dominant reality of American politics: the arms race in campaign finance. Candidates and parties now raise and spend enormous sums, well beyond what would reasonably be needed to provide for a well-informed electorate and well beyond what is raised and spent in other advanced democracies.

These days, the average Senate candidate raises and spends $9 million to win election, which works out to slightly more than $4,000 for each day of a six-year term. For the average House candidate, it’s $1.4 million, or just under $2,000 per day in office (including Saturdays, Sundays and holidays). These sums are several times what they were 25 years ago.

Given this dramatic increase in campaign spending by those with the most intimate knowledge of campaigns, and with the most at stake in the outcomes, it’s probably safe to conclude that this spending must work — that it can determine the outcome of close contests. In fact, it appears to work so well that it has now been embraced by a growing legion of “independent” entities with their own fundraising and campaign spending.

And how is the money spent? Anyone with a telephone, TV set or Internet connection has surely noticed that it is mainly used to produce an ever-increasing volume of negative, distorting and ideologically tinged advertising about opposing candidates and parties.

Contrary to what many believe, the central effect of such negative advertising isn’t to move voters from supporting another candidate to backing yours, as Mitt Romney and his allies have discovered during this primary season. The main effect is not even to move undecided voters into your column. No, the real effect of negative advertising is to energize and solidify support among your ideological base while turning everyone else off to the other candidate, the campaign and the entire electoral process. Negative advertising isn’t about changing minds; it’s about altering the composition of the voter pool on Election Day by turning moderate voters into non-voters.

This is particularly true in low-turnout elections such as primaries and midterm contests. But it is even true these days in high-turnout elections. . . .

Energizing the base has another important advantage: It increases campaign contributions from both small donors and rich zealots. That money can be plowed back into yet more negative advertising along with sophisticated get-out-the-vote efforts on Election Day. This self-reinforcing cycle creates a strong incentive for politicians to abandon the center and move permanently to the ideological extreme. You do not energize the base through moderation and compromise. . . .

There is a vigorous academic debate over whether negative advertising depresses or increases voter turnout. I suspect it does both, depressing turnout among moderates and independents while stimulating it at the ideological extremes. In that process, what has changed is the composition of the turnout rather than its overall level.

via Today’s paper.

 

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.

  • fws

    what would a “big tent” even look like today?

  • fws

    what would a “big tent” even look like today?

  • Steve Billingsley

    I suppose the only way this would change is if it backfires dramatically on a candidate in a high-profile race. But I am not sure how they would even measure that.

    The thing is that voter turnout (at least by percentage of the voter eligible population), after bottoming out in the 80s and early 90s has gone up in the last 20 years. We are now consistently well over 60 percent in Presidential election. So I am not sure that the thesis really holds water.

  • Steve Billingsley

    I suppose the only way this would change is if it backfires dramatically on a candidate in a high-profile race. But I am not sure how they would even measure that.

    The thing is that voter turnout (at least by percentage of the voter eligible population), after bottoming out in the 80s and early 90s has gone up in the last 20 years. We are now consistently well over 60 percent in Presidential election. So I am not sure that the thesis really holds water.

  • Carl Vehse

    In the mid-nineteenth century it came to the point in the U.S. that there could simply be no compromise over slavery. Today we are moving to the point where there can be no compromise over abortion. One side or the other is coming to regard the other side as participating in treason for its immoral efforts, either in support of genocidal murder or of taking away a civil right. Other issues may gravitate toward one side or the other as their significance and value to this main difference are recognized.

    This division has not ended pleasantly for 50+ million people; it is unlikely to have a pleasant ending for many others.

  • Carl Vehse

    In the mid-nineteenth century it came to the point in the U.S. that there could simply be no compromise over slavery. Today we are moving to the point where there can be no compromise over abortion. One side or the other is coming to regard the other side as participating in treason for its immoral efforts, either in support of genocidal murder or of taking away a civil right. Other issues may gravitate toward one side or the other as their significance and value to this main difference are recognized.

    This division has not ended pleasantly for 50+ million people; it is unlikely to have a pleasant ending for many others.

  • fws

    Here in Brazil it is against the Law not to vote. Is that a good or bad thing?

  • fws

    Here in Brazil it is against the Law not to vote. Is that a good or bad thing?

  • Random Lutheran

    #4 is close to the real problem: this sort of campaigning flourishes when the number of voters shrinks. They’re fighting over dwindling resources. It’s about making sure people are agitated enough to go vote; the sheer amount of $$$ is a symptom of this.

  • Random Lutheran

    #4 is close to the real problem: this sort of campaigning flourishes when the number of voters shrinks. They’re fighting over dwindling resources. It’s about making sure people are agitated enough to go vote; the sheer amount of $$$ is a symptom of this.

  • Klasie Kraalogies

    You really need contribution limits over there. Not that it is a complete solution, but it cuts down on how much of the junk you actually have to see/listen to.

    Btw, Alberta votes today in a landmark election, after a relatively intensive campaign. The Conservatives are likely to loose the hold on government they had for the last 41 years, but not against the left, but against the further right – Wildrose, an odd mixture of social conservatives and libertarians.

  • Klasie Kraalogies

    You really need contribution limits over there. Not that it is a complete solution, but it cuts down on how much of the junk you actually have to see/listen to.

    Btw, Alberta votes today in a landmark election, after a relatively intensive campaign. The Conservatives are likely to loose the hold on government they had for the last 41 years, but not against the left, but against the further right – Wildrose, an odd mixture of social conservatives and libertarians.

  • Carl Vehse

    It’s the number of competent voters that are shrinking. What seem to be increasing, especially around Chicago and other major cities, are the number of illegal voters, undocumented voters, phoney identity voters, dead voters, and voters who believe the end justifies the means or else the means can just be whatever they feel like.

  • Carl Vehse

    It’s the number of competent voters that are shrinking. What seem to be increasing, especially around Chicago and other major cities, are the number of illegal voters, undocumented voters, phoney identity voters, dead voters, and voters who believe the end justifies the means or else the means can just be whatever they feel like.

  • helen

    What does a “competent” voter do, when turned off by both candidates?

  • helen

    What does a “competent” voter do, when turned off by both candidates?

  • fws

    you look at what they have done in the past. their policies. their sense of personal judgement possibly even including h0w they handle their finances and marriages.

    it is not us really who are placing these officials in office. God is using us to do this and he will make justice and goodness and mercy happen whatever it is we chose to do. its just that society will suffer more in the process of God making that happen if society refuses to pay attention to serving others who have more need than they do.

    the point of all accumulation of wealth is to use it to sacrificially serve those who have less, after very modestly caring for the current needs of ourselves and our family.

    when society is moving in that direction God will bless it. when society is moving away from doing that they will be punished until this starts to happen or God will even destroy that society as he did with the greeks and romans before us.

  • fws

    you look at what they have done in the past. their policies. their sense of personal judgement possibly even including h0w they handle their finances and marriages.

    it is not us really who are placing these officials in office. God is using us to do this and he will make justice and goodness and mercy happen whatever it is we chose to do. its just that society will suffer more in the process of God making that happen if society refuses to pay attention to serving others who have more need than they do.

    the point of all accumulation of wealth is to use it to sacrificially serve those who have less, after very modestly caring for the current needs of ourselves and our family.

    when society is moving in that direction God will bless it. when society is moving away from doing that they will be punished until this starts to happen or God will even destroy that society as he did with the greeks and romans before us.

  • Truth Unites… and Divides

    A competent voter votes for candidates and legislation that support unborn life and one-man, one-woman marriage.

  • Truth Unites… and Divides

    A competent voter votes for candidates and legislation that support unborn life and one-man, one-woman marriage.

  • DonS

    Negative advertising is used because it works. Few of our fellow citizens care to engage the way that we do on this blog, and thus are not susceptible to thoughtful, idea-driven election campaigns. Low information voters vote based on emotion and soundbite. The way to stop negative campaigning is for the voters to engage and vote for the candidate with ideas they can support, essentially neutralizing the negative ads.

    We made voter registration too easy with “motor voter”, same day registration, and other similar initiatives, and we are paying the price. I would make the voter appear in person to register, and to maintain their registration by voting regularly. Voter rolls should be purged at least every decade, with written notice to the voter at their last known address, so that they can respond and maintain their registration if they care to. A smaller, better informed electorate will result in better campaigns. Otherwise, if you are unwilling to do that, then live with the campaigns we have because they will continue in this way.

  • DonS

    Negative advertising is used because it works. Few of our fellow citizens care to engage the way that we do on this blog, and thus are not susceptible to thoughtful, idea-driven election campaigns. Low information voters vote based on emotion and soundbite. The way to stop negative campaigning is for the voters to engage and vote for the candidate with ideas they can support, essentially neutralizing the negative ads.

    We made voter registration too easy with “motor voter”, same day registration, and other similar initiatives, and we are paying the price. I would make the voter appear in person to register, and to maintain their registration by voting regularly. Voter rolls should be purged at least every decade, with written notice to the voter at their last known address, so that they can respond and maintain their registration if they care to. A smaller, better informed electorate will result in better campaigns. Otherwise, if you are unwilling to do that, then live with the campaigns we have because they will continue in this way.

  • Truth Unites… and Divides

    “Negative advertising is used because it works.”

    Yes, it does. Look at all the twisted and distorted negative messages that TV, movies, the entertainment media, the news media, and the educational system (particularly in higher education) spews against Biblical and Faithful Christians.

    There is liberal disdain, scorn, and ridicule against Biblical and Faithful Christians. And they love to relentlessly pump out the negative advertising against their strawman of Christianity and Christians and the Bible and the God in the Bible.

  • Truth Unites… and Divides

    “Negative advertising is used because it works.”

    Yes, it does. Look at all the twisted and distorted negative messages that TV, movies, the entertainment media, the news media, and the educational system (particularly in higher education) spews against Biblical and Faithful Christians.

    There is liberal disdain, scorn, and ridicule against Biblical and Faithful Christians. And they love to relentlessly pump out the negative advertising against their strawman of Christianity and Christians and the Bible and the God in the Bible.

  • SKPeterson

    A little perspective.

    “These days, the average Senate candidate raises and spends $9 million to win election, which works out to slightly more than $4,000 for each day of a six-year term. For the average House candidate, it’s $1.4 million, or just under $2,000 per day in office (including Saturdays, Sundays and holidays). These sums are several times what they were 25 years ago.”

    Pepsi announced in January that it was upping its annual marketing budget for drinks by $600 million to $1.7 billion. That works out to about $4.6 million per day. While this is for global marketing expenses $579 million of the expected $600 million (96.5%) is for North America.

    So, American companies spend hundreds of millions (if not several billions) of dollars per day marketing their products to consumers, but we’re getting all fussy about election expenses that amount to a pittance in the market.

  • SKPeterson

    A little perspective.

    “These days, the average Senate candidate raises and spends $9 million to win election, which works out to slightly more than $4,000 for each day of a six-year term. For the average House candidate, it’s $1.4 million, or just under $2,000 per day in office (including Saturdays, Sundays and holidays). These sums are several times what they were 25 years ago.”

    Pepsi announced in January that it was upping its annual marketing budget for drinks by $600 million to $1.7 billion. That works out to about $4.6 million per day. While this is for global marketing expenses $579 million of the expected $600 million (96.5%) is for North America.

    So, American companies spend hundreds of millions (if not several billions) of dollars per day marketing their products to consumers, but we’re getting all fussy about election expenses that amount to a pittance in the market.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    SK (@13):

    So, American companies spend hundreds of millions (if not several billions) of dollars per day marketing their products to consumers, but we’re getting all fussy about election expenses that amount to a pittance in the market.

    Feel free to check my math, but based on the facts you cited in your comment, it appears to me that just shy of $1 billion are spent every year on elections (actually $909 million).

    To get there, I assumed the cost for the average candidate was incurred by both the winner and the loser (further assuming only 2 candidates spending significant money).

    I guess I don’t really think $1 billion / year is a “pittance”. As you noted, that approaches the money that Pepsi spent in the most recent year on convincing us to buy their products.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    SK (@13):

    So, American companies spend hundreds of millions (if not several billions) of dollars per day marketing their products to consumers, but we’re getting all fussy about election expenses that amount to a pittance in the market.

    Feel free to check my math, but based on the facts you cited in your comment, it appears to me that just shy of $1 billion are spent every year on elections (actually $909 million).

    To get there, I assumed the cost for the average candidate was incurred by both the winner and the loser (further assuming only 2 candidates spending significant money).

    I guess I don’t really think $1 billion / year is a “pittance”. As you noted, that approaches the money that Pepsi spent in the most recent year on convincing us to buy their products.

  • fws

    sk @ 13 and todd @ 14

    Step back even a little further, now as christians:

    God has told us that all accumulation of wealth is to be used, morally, to better the life of someone else.
    Suggestion: Advertising is moral to the extent that it actually delivers a good, in the form of information into the hands of its consumer. This may be to know of the existence of a product, to know the relative advantages or features of a product.

    It is not to differentiate where
    there is nothing to differentiate (one sugary drink vs another,
    it is manipulative , ads of near naked women associated with beer
    In short where there is no real information provided.

    This is all wasted money. It is a non productive use of money ultimately. It does nothing to produce goodness and mercy, that is the betterment of anyone’s life. It should be identified as the sinful manifestation of greed that it.

    There would be nothing wrong and everything good about a government banning this sort of advertising. The only reason I would be against such laws is that they would be as ineffective and scatershot as are laws that ban drugs, alcohol and prostitution.

    But then , I think that a society without usary laws is also condoning a rather blantant example of greed as well. Interest that is well beyond what is needed as fair rent of money based in time and risk is really theft.

    Were the golden rule made to apply to business in general by governments everywhere, it would be … um… interesting.

  • fws

    sk @ 13 and todd @ 14

    Step back even a little further, now as christians:

    God has told us that all accumulation of wealth is to be used, morally, to better the life of someone else.
    Suggestion: Advertising is moral to the extent that it actually delivers a good, in the form of information into the hands of its consumer. This may be to know of the existence of a product, to know the relative advantages or features of a product.

    It is not to differentiate where
    there is nothing to differentiate (one sugary drink vs another,
    it is manipulative , ads of near naked women associated with beer
    In short where there is no real information provided.

    This is all wasted money. It is a non productive use of money ultimately. It does nothing to produce goodness and mercy, that is the betterment of anyone’s life. It should be identified as the sinful manifestation of greed that it.

    There would be nothing wrong and everything good about a government banning this sort of advertising. The only reason I would be against such laws is that they would be as ineffective and scatershot as are laws that ban drugs, alcohol and prostitution.

    But then , I think that a society without usary laws is also condoning a rather blantant example of greed as well. Interest that is well beyond what is needed as fair rent of money based in time and risk is really theft.

    Were the golden rule made to apply to business in general by governments everywhere, it would be … um… interesting.

  • DonS

    FWS @ 15: That sounds like theocracy. Should the government be in the business of evaluating the activities of citizens, and to ban those it finds unbiblical?

  • DonS

    FWS @ 15: That sounds like theocracy. Should the government be in the business of evaluating the activities of citizens, and to ban those it finds unbiblical?

  • fws

    If THE purpose of a free market or any other form of market is to produce goods and services that add value to the lives of others, then we can see alot of greed.

    In a perfect world there would be NO price advantage for every buyer would know, instantly the offering price of the same product by everyone. We are approaching this ideal with the internet, and what is happening? It is like squeezing a moral balloon. Those who insist that a business entity make more than the profit associated with real costs of distribution and other overhead plus something modest are leaving this market.

    An increasingly large part of the ‘economy” is to make money off of money itself. How is that in any way productive? It distorts the market drawing money to non productive (ie usurous) ends and away from the real production of real goods that really benefit someone and make their lives better.

    No one really talks about this do they?

  • fws

    If THE purpose of a free market or any other form of market is to produce goods and services that add value to the lives of others, then we can see alot of greed.

    In a perfect world there would be NO price advantage for every buyer would know, instantly the offering price of the same product by everyone. We are approaching this ideal with the internet, and what is happening? It is like squeezing a moral balloon. Those who insist that a business entity make more than the profit associated with real costs of distribution and other overhead plus something modest are leaving this market.

    An increasingly large part of the ‘economy” is to make money off of money itself. How is that in any way productive? It distorts the market drawing money to non productive (ie usurous) ends and away from the real production of real goods that really benefit someone and make their lives better.

    No one really talks about this do they?

  • fws

    May I suggest that these immoral practices are what has come home to roost globally and has paralyzed economies everywhere?

  • fws

    May I suggest that these immoral practices are what has come home to roost globally and has paralyzed economies everywhere?

  • fws

    don s @ 16

    “theocracy”. why Don? because the government would be policing morals? That is what Governments are placed by God to do and nothing but!

    Further, the government policing of morals is not to be restricted to the libertarian reduction of govt to being the fence between mine and thine, or a “negative” function.
    It is also to provide for it’s citizenry in those cases where they are not able, for sundry reasons, to provide for themselves. This is why all Lutherans confess that loaves of bread should be placed on the coat of arms of all governments.
    Both of these functions are about extorting justice out of Old Adam in order that , out of justice, will flow Goodness and Mercy that is the Eternal Will of God that is the same identical fruit God produces by both the Law and the Gospel.

    Here on earth, out of Old Adam this Will of God can only be produced, sadly, out of the death of Old Adam by the Holy Spirit applying the killing Law to all men. It is the Holy Spirit who is the Source of ALL morality even that of pagans!
    No. I dont identify the problem as being that of turning the government into a theocracy. Why not? the golden rule is the Law of God written into Reason that even athiests possess. The problem is this one:

    “There would be nothing wrong and everything good about a government banning this sort of advertising. The only reason I would be against such laws is that they would be as ineffective and scatershot as are laws that ban drugs, alcohol and prostitution. ”

    But such practices ARE immoral and should be identified by all as such.

  • fws

    don s @ 16

    “theocracy”. why Don? because the government would be policing morals? That is what Governments are placed by God to do and nothing but!

    Further, the government policing of morals is not to be restricted to the libertarian reduction of govt to being the fence between mine and thine, or a “negative” function.
    It is also to provide for it’s citizenry in those cases where they are not able, for sundry reasons, to provide for themselves. This is why all Lutherans confess that loaves of bread should be placed on the coat of arms of all governments.
    Both of these functions are about extorting justice out of Old Adam in order that , out of justice, will flow Goodness and Mercy that is the Eternal Will of God that is the same identical fruit God produces by both the Law and the Gospel.

    Here on earth, out of Old Adam this Will of God can only be produced, sadly, out of the death of Old Adam by the Holy Spirit applying the killing Law to all men. It is the Holy Spirit who is the Source of ALL morality even that of pagans!
    No. I dont identify the problem as being that of turning the government into a theocracy. Why not? the golden rule is the Law of God written into Reason that even athiests possess. The problem is this one:

    “There would be nothing wrong and everything good about a government banning this sort of advertising. The only reason I would be against such laws is that they would be as ineffective and scatershot as are laws that ban drugs, alcohol and prostitution. ”

    But such practices ARE immoral and should be identified by all as such.

  • SKPeterson

    Todd @14 – What’s a billion when you’re talking about government and politics? But, to your comment, my point was the relative expense compared to other forms of advertising and marketing, which is what campaigning largely consists of. Estimates for total U.S. advertising expenditures in 2011 were $142 billion, or a simple ratio of 142:1 to political campaign spending.

    FWS @ 15, 17 and 18. You’re conflating a couple of things to which I hope to respond more later. Right now, I have to go and prepare to teach my last Monday evening lecture of the semester (thanks be to God!). Anyhow, you’re not far off the mark in 17 and 18, but a little too zealous in 15.

  • SKPeterson

    Todd @14 – What’s a billion when you’re talking about government and politics? But, to your comment, my point was the relative expense compared to other forms of advertising and marketing, which is what campaigning largely consists of. Estimates for total U.S. advertising expenditures in 2011 were $142 billion, or a simple ratio of 142:1 to political campaign spending.

    FWS @ 15, 17 and 18. You’re conflating a couple of things to which I hope to respond more later. Right now, I have to go and prepare to teach my last Monday evening lecture of the semester (thanks be to God!). Anyhow, you’re not far off the mark in 17 and 18, but a little too zealous in 15.

  • fws

    Don :

    For Lutherans it is relatively simple to see whether what one does is moral or immoral by asking one question:

    Is what we are doing benefiting the creaturely existence of our neighbor in any way at all?

    There are lots of things that christians demand be done that are immoral based upon this test.

  • fws

    Don :

    For Lutherans it is relatively simple to see whether what one does is moral or immoral by asking one question:

    Is what we are doing benefiting the creaturely existence of our neighbor in any way at all?

    There are lots of things that christians demand be done that are immoral based upon this test.

  • fws

    Don S

    Interestingly perhaps to you, might be the fact that I am drawing this theology from the Lutheran Confessions where they talk about the earthly Government that is called marriage, which is one of 3 earthly governments along with church and society identified in our Confessions. It is sad that Lutherans do not discuss this rather unique perspective what with all the talk of marriage and homosexuality. We Lutherans miss making our own unique contribution to the discussion!

    Here (large catechism, 4th commandment on marriage):

    [FAMILY:] For God has assigned this estate [read "government" here!] the highest place [and so we are to be obedient to this government].
    [obey this government and] have everything which belongs to long life, such as health, wife, and children, livelihood, peace, good government, etc., without which this life can neither be enjoyed in cheerfulness nor long endure. [or...] obey the hangman; if you will not obey him, then submit to the skeleton-man, i.e., death … Either if you obey Him, rendering love and service, He will reward you abundantly with all good, or if you offend Him, He will send upon you both death and the hangman….

    [SOCIETY:] …In this commandment belongs a further statement regarding all kinds of obedience to persons in authority who have to command and to govern. For all authority flows and is propagated from the authority of parents…..

    [CHURCH:] … [therefore we are to see that ] we have two kinds of fathers…. fathers in blood and fathers in office, or those to whom belongs the care of the family, and those to whom belongs the care of the country….there are yet spiritual fathers; …as St. Paul boasts his fatherhood 1 Cor. 4:15, … since they are fathers they are entitled to their honor, even above all others. … those who would be Christians are under obligation … [to] deal well with them and provide for them.

    [FINALLY A WORD TO THOSE WHO GOVERN:]

    167]… it would be well to preach to the parents also, and such as bear their office, as to how they should deport themselves toward those who are committed to them for their government.

    177] And because this is disregarded, God so fearfully punishes the world that there is no discipline, government, or peace, of which we all complain, but do not see that it is our fault; for as we train them, we have spoiled and disobedient children and subjects.

    And then at the start of the 6th commandment we read this:

    206] …this commandment is aimed directly at the state of matrimony …by His commandment He both (A) sanctions and(B) guards it.
    He has (A) sanctioned it above in the Fourth Commandment: Honor thy father and thy mother;
    but here He has (as we said) (B) hedged it about and protected it.

    So the 4th and 6th commandment, according to Lutherans are all about ……. government!

  • fws

    Don S

    Interestingly perhaps to you, might be the fact that I am drawing this theology from the Lutheran Confessions where they talk about the earthly Government that is called marriage, which is one of 3 earthly governments along with church and society identified in our Confessions. It is sad that Lutherans do not discuss this rather unique perspective what with all the talk of marriage and homosexuality. We Lutherans miss making our own unique contribution to the discussion!

    Here (large catechism, 4th commandment on marriage):

    [FAMILY:] For God has assigned this estate [read "government" here!] the highest place [and so we are to be obedient to this government].
    [obey this government and] have everything which belongs to long life, such as health, wife, and children, livelihood, peace, good government, etc., without which this life can neither be enjoyed in cheerfulness nor long endure. [or...] obey the hangman; if you will not obey him, then submit to the skeleton-man, i.e., death … Either if you obey Him, rendering love and service, He will reward you abundantly with all good, or if you offend Him, He will send upon you both death and the hangman….

    [SOCIETY:] …In this commandment belongs a further statement regarding all kinds of obedience to persons in authority who have to command and to govern. For all authority flows and is propagated from the authority of parents…..

    [CHURCH:] … [therefore we are to see that ] we have two kinds of fathers…. fathers in blood and fathers in office, or those to whom belongs the care of the family, and those to whom belongs the care of the country….there are yet spiritual fathers; …as St. Paul boasts his fatherhood 1 Cor. 4:15, … since they are fathers they are entitled to their honor, even above all others. … those who would be Christians are under obligation … [to] deal well with them and provide for them.

    [FINALLY A WORD TO THOSE WHO GOVERN:]

    167]… it would be well to preach to the parents also, and such as bear their office, as to how they should deport themselves toward those who are committed to them for their government.

    177] And because this is disregarded, God so fearfully punishes the world that there is no discipline, government, or peace, of which we all complain, but do not see that it is our fault; for as we train them, we have spoiled and disobedient children and subjects.

    And then at the start of the 6th commandment we read this:

    206] …this commandment is aimed directly at the state of matrimony …by His commandment He both (A) sanctions and(B) guards it.
    He has (A) sanctioned it above in the Fourth Commandment: Honor thy father and thy mother;
    but here He has (as we said) (B) hedged it about and protected it.

    So the 4th and 6th commandment, according to Lutherans are all about ……. government!

  • fws

    Don S

    So if one were to ask an informed Confessional Lutheran about what Lutherans think that the Bible has to say about government, its foundation, functioning and purpose, they would take you to the 4th and 6th commandment as the foundation of any discussion.

    Marriage , for Lutherans, is defined not as “one flesh union” (which even a man and a prostitute have) but rather as a government meant to hedge in Old Adam, by virtue of the disciplines or vocations within it of husband, wife, son , daughter, butlers, chauffeurs, maids, gardeners etc , is the foundation and learning creche for the other two Governments God has instituted called Church and Society.

    Dr Veith, it is my impression, says that his book makes just such a point. I will need to buy his book and read it!

  • fws

    Don S

    So if one were to ask an informed Confessional Lutheran about what Lutherans think that the Bible has to say about government, its foundation, functioning and purpose, they would take you to the 4th and 6th commandment as the foundation of any discussion.

    Marriage , for Lutherans, is defined not as “one flesh union” (which even a man and a prostitute have) but rather as a government meant to hedge in Old Adam, by virtue of the disciplines or vocations within it of husband, wife, son , daughter, butlers, chauffeurs, maids, gardeners etc , is the foundation and learning creche for the other two Governments God has instituted called Church and Society.

    Dr Veith, it is my impression, says that his book makes just such a point. I will need to buy his book and read it!

  • fws

    sk peterson @ 2o

    your response should be interesting.

  • fws

    sk peterson @ 2o

    your response should be interesting.

  • fws

    don s @ 16

    “Should the government be in the business of evaluating the activities of citizens, and to ban those it finds unbiblical?”

    It does this all the time by refusing to grant licenses for biblical reasons. liquor licenses, business licenses, ,marriage licenses, gambling licenses etc etc.

    example: dry counties in the deep south and utah. marriage licenses for gays in most states. liquor/business licenses for strip joints. Gambling licenses ….

    if your main force is “unbiblical” , as opposed to what? define “unbiblical”. I am using the Golden Rule and not the bible as my criterion. It just so happens that Reason, which has the Law of God written in it (rom 2:15 ) agrees with the Decalog precisely because it is the same Law. And yes the golden rule IS indeed THE biblical rule for the second table. Yet it is fully known to reason as well for the reason I just stated.

  • fws

    don s @ 16

    “Should the government be in the business of evaluating the activities of citizens, and to ban those it finds unbiblical?”

    It does this all the time by refusing to grant licenses for biblical reasons. liquor licenses, business licenses, ,marriage licenses, gambling licenses etc etc.

    example: dry counties in the deep south and utah. marriage licenses for gays in most states. liquor/business licenses for strip joints. Gambling licenses ….

    if your main force is “unbiblical” , as opposed to what? define “unbiblical”. I am using the Golden Rule and not the bible as my criterion. It just so happens that Reason, which has the Law of God written in it (rom 2:15 ) agrees with the Decalog precisely because it is the same Law. And yes the golden rule IS indeed THE biblical rule for the second table. Yet it is fully known to reason as well for the reason I just stated.

  • fws

    Don S

    If our govt really started applying “biblical” morality marriage would start to look as it does in the middles east where marriages are arranged and wife and children are literally chattel property of the patriarch.

    Rape would be once again defined, biblically , as a property rights violation and the legal remedy would be for the rapist to marry his victim.

    I am obviously not talking about that sort of morality that is like a christian sharia Law am I?

  • fws

    Don S

    If our govt really started applying “biblical” morality marriage would start to look as it does in the middles east where marriages are arranged and wife and children are literally chattel property of the patriarch.

    Rape would be once again defined, biblically , as a property rights violation and the legal remedy would be for the rapist to marry his victim.

    I am obviously not talking about that sort of morality that is like a christian sharia Law am I?

  • DonS

    FWS @ 19, 21-23, 25-26: You’re spamming me, man ;-)

    I can’t hope to respond fully to everything you are throwing against the wall here. I understand from your later posts that you are not really proposing that the government ban these things, because of practical considerations of ineffectiveness. But I wouldn’t even ask a godless civil government to make these kinds of moral judgments, even if they could effectively regulate. Government’s role is limited — to ensure the civil order and that some citizens don’t exercise their God-given rights in a way that they infringe on the rights of other citizens. You are advocating for something FAR beyond this limited role, and you are advocating it on behalf of government, which has a far greater record of evil and trampling on human rights than any private entity could ever even dream.

    From 15:

    Suggestion: Advertising is moral to the extent that it actually delivers a good, in the form of information into the hands of its consumer. This may be to know of the existence of a product, to know the relative advantages or features of a product.
    It is not to differentiate where
    there is nothing to differentiate (one sugary drink vs another,
    it is manipulative , ads of near naked women associated with beer
    In short where there is no real information provided.
    This is all wasted money. It is a non productive use of money ultimately. It does nothing to produce goodness and mercy, that is the betterment of anyone’s life. It should be identified as the sinful manifestation of greed that it.
    There would be nothing wrong and everything good about a government banning this sort of advertising. The only reason I would be against such laws is that they would be as ineffective and scatershot as are laws that ban drugs, alcohol and prostitution.

    So, you don’t like sugary drinks, or beer ads. As a result of this prejudice, you consider that there is nothing informative to be gained from these ads, so government should ban them. Well, to folks who like sugary drinks and beer, they may be helpful. Who are you, or a government bureaucrat, to say? Because you don’t like the ads, they are sin? Really? And you are saying that godless government should identify and prohibit sin? The only reason you are opposed to that is because it might not work? Sheesh.

    From 17:

    An increasingly large part of the ‘economy” is to make money off of money itself. How is that in any way productive? It distorts the market drawing money to non productive (ie usurous) ends and away from the real production of real goods that really benefit someone and make their lives better.

    Making money of of money is capitalism. Investments are the manner in which new businesses are created and funded. Higher risk investments deserve higher returns, to compensate investors for the ones that don’t pan out. You would deny an investor a return on their investment? That would be the quickest way to dry up the economy I can think of. And the last entity I want deciding whether I can contract for funding for my new business venture is government.

    “Is what we are doing benefiting the creaturely existence of our neighbor in any way at all?” — I agree with this test, for each of us individually determining whether our contemplated actions are worthwhile. But not for government to use, for the purpose of regulation. Society is diverse, and the definition of “benefiting” is far too vague, and varies too much depending upon our points of view. Civil government should not care about regulating activities that might not benefit, but pose no reasonably discernible harm to innocent third parties. So, a better and more limited definition for government to operate under is to only regulate those activities which run the risk of creating a definable harm to others, and to only regulate them to the extent necessary to address and ameliorate that potential harm.

    You mention licensing. Well, I think our governments are generally overzealous in requiring businesses to be licensed to conduct business. But sometimes, such as is the case with liquor and gambling licenses, zoning regulations are important — you don’t want a casino next to a residential neighborhood, for example, because of the harm to others. Marriage licenses are a totally different animal, because not having a license in no way restricts your ability to pursue your chosen lifestyle, just what you call it on legal documents.

    But let’s keep in mind the overarching issue here — when you seek to restrict advertising, you are seeking to impact the First Amendment rights of people. That calls for a much stricter standard of care than these other things you are throwing into the pot.

  • DonS

    FWS @ 19, 21-23, 25-26: You’re spamming me, man ;-)

    I can’t hope to respond fully to everything you are throwing against the wall here. I understand from your later posts that you are not really proposing that the government ban these things, because of practical considerations of ineffectiveness. But I wouldn’t even ask a godless civil government to make these kinds of moral judgments, even if they could effectively regulate. Government’s role is limited — to ensure the civil order and that some citizens don’t exercise their God-given rights in a way that they infringe on the rights of other citizens. You are advocating for something FAR beyond this limited role, and you are advocating it on behalf of government, which has a far greater record of evil and trampling on human rights than any private entity could ever even dream.

    From 15:

    Suggestion: Advertising is moral to the extent that it actually delivers a good, in the form of information into the hands of its consumer. This may be to know of the existence of a product, to know the relative advantages or features of a product.
    It is not to differentiate where
    there is nothing to differentiate (one sugary drink vs another,
    it is manipulative , ads of near naked women associated with beer
    In short where there is no real information provided.
    This is all wasted money. It is a non productive use of money ultimately. It does nothing to produce goodness and mercy, that is the betterment of anyone’s life. It should be identified as the sinful manifestation of greed that it.
    There would be nothing wrong and everything good about a government banning this sort of advertising. The only reason I would be against such laws is that they would be as ineffective and scatershot as are laws that ban drugs, alcohol and prostitution.

    So, you don’t like sugary drinks, or beer ads. As a result of this prejudice, you consider that there is nothing informative to be gained from these ads, so government should ban them. Well, to folks who like sugary drinks and beer, they may be helpful. Who are you, or a government bureaucrat, to say? Because you don’t like the ads, they are sin? Really? And you are saying that godless government should identify and prohibit sin? The only reason you are opposed to that is because it might not work? Sheesh.

    From 17:

    An increasingly large part of the ‘economy” is to make money off of money itself. How is that in any way productive? It distorts the market drawing money to non productive (ie usurous) ends and away from the real production of real goods that really benefit someone and make their lives better.

    Making money of of money is capitalism. Investments are the manner in which new businesses are created and funded. Higher risk investments deserve higher returns, to compensate investors for the ones that don’t pan out. You would deny an investor a return on their investment? That would be the quickest way to dry up the economy I can think of. And the last entity I want deciding whether I can contract for funding for my new business venture is government.

    “Is what we are doing benefiting the creaturely existence of our neighbor in any way at all?” — I agree with this test, for each of us individually determining whether our contemplated actions are worthwhile. But not for government to use, for the purpose of regulation. Society is diverse, and the definition of “benefiting” is far too vague, and varies too much depending upon our points of view. Civil government should not care about regulating activities that might not benefit, but pose no reasonably discernible harm to innocent third parties. So, a better and more limited definition for government to operate under is to only regulate those activities which run the risk of creating a definable harm to others, and to only regulate them to the extent necessary to address and ameliorate that potential harm.

    You mention licensing. Well, I think our governments are generally overzealous in requiring businesses to be licensed to conduct business. But sometimes, such as is the case with liquor and gambling licenses, zoning regulations are important — you don’t want a casino next to a residential neighborhood, for example, because of the harm to others. Marriage licenses are a totally different animal, because not having a license in no way restricts your ability to pursue your chosen lifestyle, just what you call it on legal documents.

    But let’s keep in mind the overarching issue here — when you seek to restrict advertising, you are seeking to impact the First Amendment rights of people. That calls for a much stricter standard of care than these other things you are throwing into the pot.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100003406030304 Ruben

    to people in a forum held in Jaffna that If pocile powers are given to Tamil province now It will act as another para military. But what I commented was seriously criticized. The bloody elitist scoundrel living in Europe and USA wish to make another fight in Sri Lanka. Because their children will be never affected .Do you agree or not?Regards,Bharthipan

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100003406030304 Ruben

    to people in a forum held in Jaffna that If pocile powers are given to Tamil province now It will act as another para military. But what I commented was seriously criticized. The bloody elitist scoundrel living in Europe and USA wish to make another fight in Sri Lanka. Because their children will be never affected .Do you agree or not?Regards,Bharthipan


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