Mormons and Free Trade

Despite a rocky history, Mormons have come to love free trade. They should keep advocating for it in the face of Trump's skepticism. An ancient text describes a group of people who benefited from open borders and free trade. But it isn’t British economist Adam Smith’s Wealth of Nations, but rather the Book of Mormon, a collection of scriptures revered by members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Its description of a borderless trading regime is set out in the following ver … [Read more...]

What Vox got wrong about Jon Huntsman

Why did Trump pick Huntsman as Ambassador to Russia? The reasons are many.  On March 9, Vox’s Zack Beauchamp published an article puzzling over Trump’s appointment of Jon Huntsman as U.S. Ambassador to Russia. In it, he pointed out that Huntsman has no issue expertise in Russia or Eastern Europe, has a history of turning on those whom he has previously supported, and holds views on human rights and free trade that run counter to Trump’s. But while Huntsman’s nomination may not make sense in term … [Read more...]

Oaks vs. Oaks: First Cousins and LDS General Authorities Square Off

Elders Dallin H. Oaks and Robert C. Oaks may have the same grandparents, but their political views are vastly divergent. The address of Mormon apostle Elder Dallin H. Oaks at BYU-Hawaii’s February commencement ceremony has recently been making the rounds in progressive Mormon circles. In the speech, the 84-year-old former Utah Supreme Court justice articulated concerns and a worldview that are a direct rebuke of U.S. President Donald Trump. While the Donald is on record as saying that “the con … [Read more...]

If Thomas Friedman were Mormon . . .

The New York Times columnist would love the Church's Global Education Initiative, but Donald Trump wouldn't. I recently finished reading New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman’s book Thank You For Being Late. It’s a timely examination of three forces whose acceleration is rapidly changing our world: technological progress, globalization, and climate change. Friedman argues that in order to keep up with the breakneck speed of these transformations, government and the private sector will need to … [Read more...]

A Chastened Chaffetz Should Learn from Mo Udall

Jason Chaffetz was recently tasked by angry constituents to "do [his] job." He should look to fellow Mormon and former congressman Mo Udall for some ideas.  At a speech before the Brookings Institution on January 11, 2017, the director of the U.S. Office of Government Ethics, Walter Shaub, Jr., stated that Donald Trump’s plan to avoid conflicts of interest was “meaningless.” This assessment is borne out by the facts – Trump’s business assets have not been placed in a blind trust, his sons will o … [Read more...]

Your Optimism Isn’t a Virtue

Growing up in an abusive home taught me a harsh lesson about optimism: too often, optimism is a weapon in the hands of people who are simply unwilling to help. Too often the apathetic bystander uses optimism as an excuse to walk away, guilt free. It wouldn't surprise me if the Priest and Levite who walked past the wounded man in a ditch told themselves to hope for the best, that surely someone would come along and help him, or he'd rest awhile and find the strength to crawl to safety. Surely, he … [Read more...]

The Fundamental Optimism of Apocalypse

Today, we have a guest post from my friend Cameron Neilsen. Please note that this was written before November 8.Apocalypticism is back. While the Bible-thumping, seven-seals-interpreting strain has kept a low profile compared to the 1970’s and 80’s, it has joined with secular concerns over environmental threats and economic instability to produce an entire subculture of “preppers,” ZeroHedge readers, and r/collapse Redditors. Pundits are all too apt to dismiss these groups as paranoid, supers … [Read more...]

The Trump Supporter Next Door

If you've been following the Peculiar People column over the past few months, you've probably noticed two things: the posts have been sparse, and nearly all of them have been anti-Trump. The emphasis on Trump wasn't a coordinated effort on anyone's part - personally, I've held back from writing more about him so that it wouldn't seem like we'd plunged into political propaganda. But I'm acknowledging that trend because it probably won't surprise you that I'm among the many Americans still reeling … [Read more...]