When Christian voters support the least Christian candidate

There once was a time when evangelical voters favored candidates who were Christians and who modeled “family values.”  Today the favorite candidate among evangelical voters is someone who says he has never repented of his sins, has been married three times, brags about his sexual conquests, and has made much of his fortune by building gambling casinos.

At least those who once called themselves “the moral majority” can no longer be accused of being “judgmental” in their politics.

Is this indifference to a candidate’s faith and morals a sign of political maturity in the Christian right?

Or is it the end of the Christian right, with its members caring more about such issues as immigration more than they do moral or religious issues? [Read more...]

Donald Trump and the Führerprinzip

A strong leader will rise up to solve all of our problems by sheer force of his will.  We easily succumb to that kind of promise in businesses and even in churches.  And even in national governments.  This trust in an all-powerful leader is called Führerprinzip.  Yes, it was refined in Nazi Germany, but it has manifested itself ever since in popular movements that hand over power to a dictator.  But also in kinder and gentler forms of authoritarians and in a particular kind of political superstition that puts the person of the leader over any particular policies, ideologies, Constitutional processes, or limits on government.

The leader that people are looking to today is Donald Trump.  Is he that kind of leader?  Jeffrey Tucker is arguing that “Trumpism” is a revival of fascism.  Not the insult that the left freely throws around, but an actual return of the political and economic ideology that was rampant in the 1930s, not just in Germany,  Italy, and Spain but with advocates in virtually every European nation.  (I’ve written about what those fascists believed.  There is more to it than Mr. Tucker gives here, but it’s true that fascism is not just a shorthand term for evil, but an actual thing, which did not disappear with the end of World War II.)

Another article applies the Führerprinzip in another, though related way, arguing that Donald Trump is America’s Vladimir Putin (who has also been described as a Russian fascist).  See excerpts from the Fascism and Putin arguments after the jump.  Do you think Trump rises to the level of that kind of leader?  Those of you who like Trump, how would you defend him from these charges? [Read more...]

Obama could still implement the Iran deal

Even if Congress votes down the agreement with Iran to drop sanctions in return for modest nuclear restrictions, and even if Congress over-rides a presidential veto of their resolution of non-support, President Obama could still implement much of the arrangement by Executive Orders.  See how after the jump. [Read more...]

Luther on politicians

The conventional wisdom is that Luther taught total submission to government authorities.  But you’ve got to read what he actually wrote about those government authorities.  Dr. Matthew Phillips usefully quotes from Luther’s most important treatise on earthly government and the Two Kingdoms, in which he makes the Tea Partiers sound mild. [Read more...]

The government gets involved in private sector salaries

The government, through the Securities & Exchange Commission, has passed a regulation requiring that all publicly-trade companies have to publish the ratio between how much the chief executives get paid as compared to their average worker.  On the other end of the pay scale, a number of Democrats are pushing for and some local governments are implementing a $15 per hour minimum wage.

Do you think these policies will reduce income inequality?  Should the government be meddling in salary decisions with no regard for how the marketplace sets wages and prices? [Read more...]

IRS won’t revoke tax-exempt status over gay marriage

When the Supreme Court was hearing arguments about gay marriage, the solicitor general made some ominous comments about religious schools that don’t believe in gay marriage possibly losing their tax exemption, just as Bob Jones University did for not accepting inter-racial marriage.  (That policy has since changed.)

But the IRS commissioner told a Senate committee that  schools and other non-profits would not lose their tax exemption for opposing gay marriage.  At least for now, unless Congress or the courts rule otherwise. [Read more...]


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