T Nation

Moral Issues--Abortion & Gay Marriage

I was listening to a preacher on some am news channel while I was driving to a meeting today, and he made some good points. His points were that while it is said one or two times in the bible that you shoouldn’t be gay (point for republicans), it is said like 3000 times to help the poor (point for democrats).

So what my question is, why is abortion and gay marriage the only moral issues in america? To me it seems like the democrats have just as much right to claim moral superiority as the republicans do (i.e. helping the poor),civil rights, etc.

[quote]ILOVEGWBUSH7 wrote:
So what my question is, why is abortion and gay marriage the only moral issues in america? [/quote]

They aren’t the only moral issues in America.
They are two very easily debated and passionate issues that the media won’t let go of that are both deeply rooted in “PERSONAL CHOICE”. Hence a guaranteed conflict across this great nation and an easy way to heat up polls, politics, and fanatics.

Because you can get the thought of poverty out of your head easier than you can the thought of 2 men porking one another…

Yeah, I guess your right, but I find it funny that the “party of morals” the republicans are actually not pro life, but pro birth. They don’t give a shit if a baby dies a week after it’s born.

[quote]ILOVEGWBUSH7 wrote:
I was listening to a preacher on some am news channel while I was driving to a meeting today and he made some good points. His points were that while it is said one or two times in the bible that you shoouldn’t be gay (point for republicans), it is said like 3000 times to help the poor (point for democrats).

So what my question is, why is abortion and gay marriage the only moral issues in america? To me it seems like the democrats have just as much right to claim moral superiority as the republicans do (i.e. helping the poor),civil rights, etc. [/quote]

This one is SIMPLE. No joking here.

  1. Conservatives believe that helping the poor should come from individual acts of charity, and the private sector, unless poverty ends up having detrimental effects on the economy. Then, there won’t be any charity to go around. I bet that conservatives give more to private causes, but I’m not going to go out on a limb and say 5-10 times as much.

  2. LIBERALISM, as it originated historically had as one if its fundamental principals that there would ALWAYS be a percentage of the population too inept to take care of themselves. This is a historical fact regarding the origins of LIBERALISM per se. As a result, liberals don’t judge the success of a program like welfare based on how many people are able to COME OFF of it, but how many are ASSISTED BY IT.

  3. Abortion and other moral issues. Complicated, but why they are really important is because conservatives see these things as involving all of society, against the will of individuals in these acts by condoning them. ABORTION fits in great with another historical tenant of LIBERALISM which is eugenics. I have heard NEA representatives talk about the great day when all of the students with special needs can be eliminated before birth. (stated clearly, not prior to conception).

The thing is, conservatives, look at statistics such as that 85% of men who call themselves homosexual admit that they were molested by a man prior to reaching the age of 16. (so does, by the way, 25% of the heterosexual population admit to). These things scare conservatives into believing that were going down the road which lead to the moral deterioration of say ancient Rome among other examples.

I consider myself to be an independent with primarily conservative tendancies, but I AM a public school teacher and grew up in a poor, mixed race neighborhood.

The one thing that convinced me not to vote for Kerry (I did not vote for any of the presidential candidates. I want both parties to know that they need to do better than that!) was that Kerry said he was against abortion, but that he would not act as if he were against abortion as president, because that would be violating the concept of separation of church and state. That is the most un-educated, un-historical, illogical, philisophically and legally untrue and absurd comment I have heard from anyone in a long time. Almost as retarded as the Catholic Bishop who said you can’t be Catholic and vote for a pro-abortion candidate. These are both Lies, wordgames that unfortunately may fool a percentage of Americans into believing that they are based on a logical syllogism.

Oh - this is almost too much. Because republicans are against gay marraige and abortion, we are now pro-poverty?

Please explain how you came to that conclusion.

[quote]mertdawg wrote:
This one is SIMPLE. No joking here.

  1. Conservatives believe that helping the poor should come from individual acts of charity, and the private sector, unless poverty ends up having detrimental effects on the economy. Then, there won’t be any charity to go around. I bet that conservatives give more to private causes, but I’m not going to go out on a limb and say 5-10 times as much.
    [/quote]

Yeah, right. Good excuse. Not only that in no way has anything to do with Conservatism, that’s got to be pretty naive. It would be like saying that we should no longer have police and expect armed private citizens and private security to defend themselves.

Basically, the result is completely unpredictable and impossible to manage. Unless you use some kind of method of cohersion by FUD (Fear, Uncertainty, Doubt), like most modern Christian churches use to get members to tithe.

It begs the question: why have a Government at all then? To charge a boatload of money in taxes and send our young kids to Iraq to die?

You guys really need to tell me were you find those definitions. You cannot randomly assign stuff to the definition of liberal or conservative as it is most convenient for you, and best fits the Republicans or Democrats you don’t like.

I’ve said multiple times that you guys keep confusing terms and assuming stuff.

THIS is the dictionary definition of liberal. If it’s wrong, go on and submit a complaint to Webster and give me a link to a better one. Then you’ll convince me:

Liberalism - a movement in modern Protestantism emphasizing intellectual liberty and the spiritual and ethical content of Christianity; a theory in economics emphasizing individual freedom from restraint and usually based on free competition, the self-regulating market, and the gold standard; a political philosophy based on belief in progress, the essential goodness of the human race, and the autonomy of the individual and standing for the protection of political and civil liberties

And just as a reminder, here’s what is conservativism:

a : disposition in politics to preserve what is established b : a political philosophy based on tradition and social stability, stressing established institutions, and preferring gradual development to abrupt change


Now, reading the above, do your comments make any sense anymore?

I hate to sound like Vroom (actually, I don’t, I think Vroom is a pretty cool guy, I just don’t like being un-original), but please stop being so black and white!!!

Finally, I’ll give you a test:

What’s the political inclination of somebody who defends that all education expenses (tuition, books, etc.) should be fully tax-deductible (with no limits)?

hspder -

You really need to keep your posts to just one or two lines. By the time you finished up the last post, I’d bet even you didn’t know what you were saying.

You folks on the left want big brother to be the caretaker of the poor. That way you can raise taxes, create programs, and pat yourself on the back for the fine job you’ve done.

The right prefers to donate to those that actually know how to help folks.

When admin costs of gov’t programs run around 40% of every dollar allocated, it’s easy to see why no one with a right thinking mind would trust the gov’t to a job it wasn’t designed to do.

[quote]rainjack wrote:
hspder -

You really need to keep your posts to just one or two lines. By the time you finished up the last post, I’d bet even you didn’t know what you were saying.

You folks on the left want big brother to be the caretaker of the poor. That way you can raise taxes, create programs, and pat yourself on the back for the fine job you’ve done.

The right prefers to donate to those that actually know how to help folks.

When admin costs of gov’t programs run around 40% of every dollar allocated, it’s easy to see why no one with a right thinking mind would trust the gov’t to a job it wasn’t designed to do.

[/quote]

Very well stated!

[quote]rainjack wrote:
The right prefers to donate to those that actually know how to help folks.
[/quote]

Again, that view is naive, unpredictable and unmanageable.

It is also often uneven, because most people are very judgemental and will pick causes that help people that fit their moral principles. For example, you don’t see many right-wing americans giving to institutions that support AIDS victims in Africa or even homeless people in their own country - for purely moral and judgemental reasons.

OK, since I was confusing you, I’ll ask just one more question this time:

For the right, what is the government’s job then, that justifies the 765.4 billion dollars in income tax (social security NOT included) working americans shell out every year, which seems do not be enough to eliminate the budget deficit?

In a nutshell, what should I be getting for my tax dollars?

Simple enough question, right?

[quote]hspder wrote:
Yeah, right. Good excuse. Not only that in no way has anything to do with Conservatism, that’s got to be pretty naive. It would be like saying that we should no longer have police and expect armed private citizens and private security to defend themselves.

Basically, the result is completely unpredictable and impossible to manage. Unless you use some kind of method of cohersion by FUD (Fear, Uncertainty, Doubt), like most modern Christian churches use to get members to tithe.
[/quote]
I’m only saying here that that is part of the conservative philosophy–not that it works.

[quote]hspder wrote:
It begs the question: why have a Government at all then? To charge a boatload of money in taxes and send our young kids to Iraq to die?
[/quote]

Again, only stating what I think is
the ORIGINAL conservative philosophy of law, that it should be preventative, not AFFIRMATIVE, unless it is a necessity of logistics for it to be affirmative (as in affirmative action) whereas the LIBERAL philosophy of law is that it should be proactive. I’m just saying this is what motivates some conservative decision makers.

I believe that it is well founded that one of the tenant of Laisez Faire capitalism (which is the origin of Liberalism) was that there would always be a percentage of the population that was inept. This is a pretty good bet by the way, and many christian conservatives would likewise cite the bible as evidence that the poor will always be with us. I will try to find some sources that link the origins of Liberalism to Laisez Faire capitalism, and this tenant. I heard it from a college professor and that means it probably has a 50% chance of being true.

I agree with these definitions, but the liberalism defined here has to take into account that in the European countries with Liberal revolutions: France, Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union, certain portions of the population were not considered to be HUMAN. If you doubt that Nazi Germany was liberal, read your definition again, the part about the POLITICAL PHILOSOPHY. a) Progress, b) Goodness of humans (yes, they all made humans/the human race into god(s), and the context of civil liberties (ie not rights based on royal birth or being born into wealth).

I will try to reason through that test in a minute. Please keep in mind that the reason I write is so that I may FORM my understanding, and see where my subconscious bias may be clouding my vision by hearing the response of others.

OK. Thinking about it, the question is extremely complex because it depends on the history of the law in the particular country, whether taxation had ever become a necessity in the particular country etc. Here are some ideas:

In general, I would say that neither a strict conservative nor a strict liberal would believe that all education should be tax deductible.

A strict conservative would argue on a basic level that taxes may be a pragmatic necessity, but not an idealistic necessity. In the context of US law, taxes in the constitution are the first example of Affirmative law, therefore, they are set as a legal precident. There was no intent in the constitution to give anyone a “right” to education, only a requirement that the government provide a sector in each county to be made available for a school and a church (as the Articles of Confederation were excepted when not in conflict with the constitution). No court case ever contested this so it is still law (despite being in perhaps apparent conflict). Remember that all schools at the time of the writing of the constitution were connected to a religious institution.

I would have to say that a true conservative would argue that if taxes were necessary, nothing should be tax deductible because tax deduction status was created as an affirmative/proactive method of social engineering.

A strict liberal would probably hold that the free market would regulate the cost of education without taxes, but that making education tax deductible could be used as a means of social engineering, but that only the Borgoise of today would qualify for higher education anyway.

Sorry, there’s so many levels here, but I would say ultimately neither would believe education should be tax deductible. That’s ULTIMATELY, but conditionally depended on how taxes are imposed and used in the first place, and whether we are put into the context of US law. You can qualify your test if you want to or tell me: Did I lead myself into a trap?

Thanks

[quote]hspder wrote:
Again, that view is naive, unpredictable and unmanageable.[/quote]

Are these just your ruminations, or is there actually some proof of this? Who is the the one that decides naivity? You?

Why is it unpredictable? Is it less predictable than the abject failure that was “The Great Society”?

The welfare state created by FDR and LBJ was unmanagable, not private citizens giving to private charities. Oh, by unmanagable do you mean that the gov’t has no say in what happens? I could only pray for such unmanagability.

Once again the left-winger steps up, spews unsupported opinion and wants to debate it as fact. Prove these charges you make, and then a debate may ensue. But you’re just ejaculating opinion.

[quote]
In a nutshell, what should I be getting for my tax dollars?[/quote]

Infrastructure - roads, sewers, water projects, soil conservation projects.

Military - The most destructive weapons on the face of the earth, and the meanest killing machines on the planet who are trained to kill first and ask questions later.

Judicial System - that understands that their job is to interpret the original intent of the constitution, not re-invent it.

Governance - that is non-intrusive, non-confiscatory, and the glue that holds the federation of states together.

I don’t think that should cost 700-and whatever-billion dollars. The rest is fluff and should be cut.

My roommate (green party) summed it up this way. Liberals believe in the theoretical and the conceptual ideas. Conservatives focus on the practical.

So he says, “we should do X because X is a good thing. People will not do X, however, so the government should do it for us.”

My response is, “while X is a good thing, that is not what people want. If people wanted X, they would do X.”

He talks about should’s, I talk about do’s.

It’s simplistic, but I think it has some base in truth. You can see this in all sorts of other areas. For example, my friend supports wealth distribution because not everyone is born equal. I say that even with wealth distribution people are not going to be born equal and that such an act will just create disincentives for people to work. You can do this with a number of things.

As for government, there are a lot of forces that come into play and explain why government is not the optimal choice. First and foremost, it is because, unlike private entities which have incentives to be efficient, government has an incentive to be wasteful.

Why Government Is Inefficient
This is a classic economics example, which I think works well here. Imagine 10 people living in a land with 1,000 trees that belong to everyone (government). If you cut down one of the trees (use a government service), it costs you 1/1000th of your community. At the same time, you gain a full tree. Your net benefit is 999/1000th. As an individual, you have incentive to use as many of those trees as possible.

Under this model, everyone has incentives to cut as many of the trees as possible, since if you don’t someone else will. Furthermore, you might as well act ineffciently, since even if you only get 1/2 of a tree out of cutting one down, you are still better off by 499/1000th.

Now, let’s say that instead of community (government) ownership of the trees (service), they are monitored by individuals (private sector). Now, I own 100 trees. It is now in my best interests to use these trees as efficiently as possible, since I bear the direct costs.

This is an extremely simplified model, but I think that’s what happens with government. There are disincentives for government to act efficiently or to spend wisely. Government spends someone else’s money. Imagine I gave you my checkbook and told you to do something - you have no incentive to spend wisely. But imagine you had to compete with other people. Then you would.

And that is why I don’t trust government - in a very, very simplified example.

Why the Morals?
One of your questions was why does government/conservatives insist on morals. Before you can ask this question, you need to realize your viewpoint. If you view the world under one paradigm, then it looks as if conservatives are reacting. If you look from another, then it is LIBERALS who are enforcing a moral standard.

Let me explain. You cite homosexual marriage as one area where conservatives are pushing an agenda. Okay, from your paradigm (nothing wrong with homosexuality), it would appear that conservatives are imposing morals. If, however, you stand with a conservative paradigm (homosexuality is wrong), telling people to not say anything disparaging of homosexuality is just like telling people not to say that lying is wrong.

So who’s right? Which paradigm is correct? In some ways, neither. Both are simply assertions that one side is trying to get the other to accept. You can articulate reasons why this one or that one is better, but ultimately, how can you prove that homosexuality is right or wrong. You can’t. One side points to the Bible, one side points to some philospher. Does that mean that one side is better. Not really.

So while you sit there and ask why Conservatives have the lock on the moral high road, I must retort by asking why Liberals have the monopoloy on the nomrmative assertions/paradigms? Why isn’t homosexuality wrong? Because people are born that way? Even if you accept that (which has never been shown to be factual), does that mean that you can’t tell someone who’s excessively violent that they are wrong (since they were born that way)?

This demonstrates the problem with your argument. [u]You complain that Conservatives see the world as black and white, but implicit in that statement is an assertion that is very black and white itself.[/u] You reject a binary view (call it black) in favor of a spectrum (white). Furthermore, there are still a number of things which are viewed by liberals as black-white (anything from homosexuality to things we all agree on, such as torture being wrong). Your sort of rhetoric is just that - rhetoric.

[quote]ILOVEGWBUSH7 wrote:
So what my question is, why is abortion and gay marriage the only moral issues in america? To me it seems like the democrats have just as much right to claim moral superiority as the republicans do (i.e. helping the poor),civil rights, etc. [/quote]

Well first, they arent the only moral issues in America but they are divisive by there nature so they make good political fodder for both sides in an election year. I think the real premise of your thread is that Republicans (and conservatives in general) claim to be moral because of there respect for traditional values (i.e. Biblical values) when in fact, it is the Democrats (and “liberals” in general) who, because they care more about the poor, are really living up to the Biblical standard of morality.

There is a major flaw in this argument, conservatives (and classical liberals for that matter) do not care about the poor less than ?liberals,? they simply differ in opinion on how best to serve those in need. Benjamin Franklin said it best,

“I am for doing good to the poor, but I differ in opinion of the means. I think the best way of doing good to the poor, is not making them easy in poverty, but leading or driving them out of it. In my youth I traveled much, and I observed in different countries, that the more public provisions were made for the poor, the less they provided for themselves, and of course became poorer. And, on the contrary, the less was done for them, the more they did for themselves, and became richer.”

Jefferson, a man claimed as a patron saint by both the American Right and Left, also pointed out that an impersonal bureaucracy is an irresponsible way of administering to the poor. The following quote best illustrates the “Conservative” view on charity:

“It is a duty certainly to give our sparings to those who want; but to see also that they are faithfully distributed, and duly apportioned to the respective wants of those receivers. And why give through agents whom we know not, to persons whom we know not, and in countries from which we get no account, where we can do it at short hand, to objects under our eye, through agents we know, and to supply wants we see?”

Conservatives care very much about helping the poor; they simply disagree on how to go about it.

Great post Cory089!!

[quote]mertdawg wrote:
I’m only saying here that that is part of the conservative philosophy–not that it works.
[/quote]

True. Sorry if I jumped the gun on you! :slight_smile:

Well, yes, I agree. But honestly I believe that to be more of a fact than a theory that is specific to liberalism. Hence I don’t necessarily associate the two. However, I see your point, because indeed while liberals just take it as a fact that is “normal”, conservatives find it “bad”.

Actually that’s one of the sources of my feeling that conservatives are actually more detached from reality than liberals…

OK, I understand now.

By the way, I really appreciate the way you defused me - it was extremely mature the way you responded to my provocation, and I think you provided a good example to follow…

The test’s intent was to make you think, and I’m glad it worked. :slight_smile:

The Senator who has been championing education to be fully tax deductible is Barbara Boxer, D-CA. I believe she’s seen as left-wing liberal?

Hope that makes you think too…

[quote]rainjack wrote:
Are these just your ruminations, or is there actually some proof of this? Who is the the one that decides naivity? You?
[/quote]

I don’t think that it is fair that I have scientifically prove everything I say while you can just stick your head in the sand and say whatever we’re doing now is better and the approval of the people proves it…

Can a charity predict in advance how much money they’ll get each year from private contributions, 5 years in advance? No. So it’s unpredicatable.

A Government, given that taxes are more or less predicable, can easily predict how much they’ll be able to allocate for charity.

There are states in Europe that have welfare states that are very manageable and work very well. I lived in one - The Netherlands - and I know that Germany, while having their problems, also works pretty well.

The fact that it failed here in the past doesn’t mean that the concept is wrong - It just means that the implementation and the people involved didn’t do it properly.

Sure. I’ll prove it. Get yourself on a plane and travel to West Africa. Go to a hospital. Go to a local Red Cross delegation. Ask about the how much money they’re getting from the concerned private citizens of the US to curb the MILLIONS of people that are dying from AIDS. Most of them little children that did nothing wrong except, apparently, be born.

The answer? Close to nothing - something in the region of a thousandth of a percent of the US GDP.

Why? Cuz apparently there’s this perception that only perverts get AIDS, and giving money to perverts is Bad.

That’s in great part the responsibility of the STATES, not the federal government. So we have state taxes for that.

OK, I could argue about the financial efficiency of the US Military, but honestly I have too much respect for the crap they’re taking these days so I won’t.

So one element that we need the Federal Government for: the Military. Next up is…

OK, how often does the Supreme Court get in action. Do we need the Supreme Court at all? Most cases go on trial in local courts, hence are paid with State and Local taxes.

And in regards to the re-inventing part, that’s not a problem in the concept of State Judges, it’s a problem with either the implementation - which can be changed, or, rather, the Judges themselves - who can be replaced.

You mean leadership? Oh please. The Western European States have been glued together for 50 years and even though they came up with the European Union there is no “European President” and the European Senate is able to do its job with little power and money. And there’s no European Congress.

So, basically, according to Conservatives, we only need the Federal Government for the Military. OK, that clears it up for me.

But, wait: why do we need the President and Congress then? We could have the same effect if we had a military leader as commander-in-chief (a la NATO) and keep the senate as glue and get rid of congress…

Ah! Finally, we agree on something. Do you believe Bush has been doing a good effort at that? Honestly? Nobody will blame you if you say no…

And, by the way, the budget is actually several times that, since it also takes into account the 700-and something our corrupt social security system absorbs in social security taxes, plus returns on the gold reserves and stuff.

[quote]Cory089 wrote:
My roommate (green party) summed it up this way. Liberals believe in the theoretical and the conceptual ideas. Conservatives focus on the practical.
[/quote]

Huh? Now tell me: why is tolerance - basically, the concept of letting people do whatever they want to do as long as it doesn’t harm anyone else (offense doesn’t count as harm) - letting gays get married, not being judgemental towards people that are not religious, etc. - “theoretical” and “conceptual”?

I think that not only it’s very practical, it’s in the Constitution as a right, one that the Government took away in the 50’s and has yet to give us back, due to the resistance offered by the Conservatives.

And in what part is simply admiting there will always be poor people and sick people and using tax money - which is a predicable flow - to help them “theoretical” and “conceptual”?

Maybe because the Democrats suck at implementing those ideas? Well, I can give you examples of countries which did a much better job of implementing them. I’ve said multiple times that I don’t think particularly highly of Democrats and I’m not attached to them in any way.

Again, bad implementations in the US don’t make an idea bad or theoretical.

And, by the way, Republicans are equally bad at implementing right-wing ideas, which can easily be verified by George Bush’s inability to curb Government spending to the extent that would be expected from a Right-Wing government…

The difference is that Republicans stick their head in the sand and tell themselves they did a good job…

[quote]
This demonstrates the problem with your argument. [u]You complain that Conservatives see the world as black and white, but implicit in that statement is an assertion that is very black and white itself.[/u] You reject a binary view (call it black) in favor of a spectrum (white). Furthermore, there are still a number of things which are viewed by liberals as black-white (anything from homosexuality to things we all agree on, such as torture being wrong). Your sort of rhetoric is just that - rhetoric.[/quote]

I don’t get it: you use rhetoric to claim I’m using rhetoric?

Isn’t that… ironic? :slight_smile:

hspder

What right was taken away in 1950?

Hspdr

To answer a question you posed in the malestrom of thoughts you have recently posted…it is not the duty of the Police to protect you from crime.

Every case, in the US, when the Police have been sued by a victim for not protecting them from a crime has been lost. The Police have no legal obligation to protect you, only a moral one, and a voluntary obligation to those whom they work for.

As to Charity and the difference between Conservative and Liberal views it comes down to this. I prefer to donate to whom I wish to support. Because I have a preference and a bias to that group. Whether it be the Red Cross or a local soup kitchen. The Liberal adgenda thinks that decision ought to be made by the Government. That’s the fundamental difference. It will change however, even Hillary is changing her views and talking about God and faith based initiatives.