Thursday, February 28, 2013

Liberal Rhetoric 101: False Equivalency

Recently on Biblical Conservatism, we talked about the liberal tactic of using Political Correctness to stop all arguments.  As always, when challenged, liberals try another tactic they love: False Equivalency.

It came up in the discussion after last week's post Liberal Rhetoric 101: Political Correctness. A conservative raises a legitimate complaint of something a liberal does or says. The liberal attempts to compare the mountain they made out of a molehill to a legitimate offensive taken by a conservative.

I have few things that truly offend me. One thing I do ask that people do when around me is refrain from taking the name Jesus Christ in vain. It's a matter of my faith. In turn, I always try to give the same respect to those of other faiths. Yet I've had this compared to saying the phrase "Merry Christmas" more times than I can enumerate (by people who, by the way, have no actual connection to a mentally disabled person).

It's a false equivalency in it's finest form. "All offenses are equal." If I'm somehow bothered by the word Christmas, it's just as bad as me using the name of God to curse.

Here's another fine example:

During World War II and the 1980s, the booming economy largely resulted from military spending aka government spending, ergo, it's the same thing as Obama's Stimulus.

Except for, you know, reality. For one, military spending is something the government is SUPPOSED to do. One of the primary purposes of government is providing for a common defense. Secondly, and this cannot be overlooked: military spending by government is purely done as a consumer.  Liberals like to prop up companies through "investing" aka spending money on future potentials. Military spending is buying existing products where private companies compete by creating the best product FIRST then attempting to win government contracts.

It's the difference between investment and consumption. When I bought a new car last year, I did not "invest" in Chevrolet. I bought a Cruze. I didn't buy it to help Chevy. I did it because it was the best car for my budget sold by the dealership I trusted. Also known as CONSUMPTION.

A third false equivalency perpetuated by the Left is calling the Occupy Wall Street movement "the liberal Tea Party."

Only a few problems with this: One, the Tea Party demanded that government leave them alone and become fiscally sound. The Occupiers wanted to be taken care of at the expense of somebody else. Two, the Tea Party always had permits. The Occupiers were illegally protesting without a permit. Three, there have been no reports of violence at Tea Party rallies. The Occupy movement was filled with reports of rape, assault, etc. Four, the Tea Party always cleaned up after itself. The Occupiers left a mess. Five, show me the Occupy candidates and how they were swept to power? Six, the Tea Party, despite baloney stories about the Koch brothers, was truly organic. The Occupiers were funded by George Soros.

I can go on and on with these false equivalencies. Bottom line, the Left doesn't live in reality, but tries to convince us they do by using these false equivalencies. Fortunately for the thinking conservative, it doesn't take much mining to uncover the truth in these claims.

Monday, February 25, 2013

Balancing Truth and Forgiveness

As a Christian in our modern politically correct world, we're constantly asked to put aside our beliefs and just "live and let live." Unfortunately, as Christians, we are also called the speak the truth in love (Ephesians 4:15). Sadly, too many of our fellow believers fail on one of these two requirements.

The more liberal amongst us fail to speak the truth. They fall prey to the liberal political correct mentality of not wanting to offend people so they instead believe the intellectually dishonest concept that "all faiths are different roads to the same God" or are equally valid etc.

This is logically impossible, because: 1. God either has a son or he doesn't, making it impossible for the God of Islam and the God of Christianity the same. 2. Jesus Christ is either the Messiah or he isn't, making it impossible for Judaism and Christianity to agree. 3. There's either one God or many, making all three of these religions not able to be the same as any polytheistic religion. 4. Jesus is either who He said he was: God, the Messiah, the fullness of the Godhead Bodily, one third of the Triune God; or he's either a liar and/or crazy person. Jesus being "just a good teacher" is not an option Christ himself gave us.

To use a Biblical comparison, the people who try to shoehorn their own Christian faith into these illogical compromises are the modern Sadducees, the sect that, in the time of Christ, was known for compromising their faith with Rome to get along.

Then there's the other extreme. The modern Pharisees.  These individuals are the ones who strictly adhere to the Biblical truth, but do so by screaming at people about how they're going to Hell and even calling things sin that aren't sin. (For example, you show me where in the Bible it says that Christians shouldn't drink alcohol in reasonable moderation?  If you think I'm wrong, go read John 2. Then explain to me why, at feasts, it would be practice for hosts to serve the best wine first and the inferior after people have well imbibed if it's just grape juice and not alcohol?) Believe it or not, as a Christian, these are the ones who bother me more.

The modern Sadducee tends to arrive at the conclusion that everyone is right in their beliefs out of a heart of love. They know someone of another faith that they care deeply about and do not want to believe they are unsaved. Rather than possibly ruin the friendship by evangelizing that person, they allow themselves to believe their friend is saved through Islam or Buddhism or whatever they believe.

How do we make that balance? How do we find ourselves between the Pharisee and Sadducee?

The balance is set out by Christ in the Gospel of John Chapter 8:2-11:

Now early in the morning He came again into the temple, and all the people came to Him; and He sat down and taught them. Then the scribes and Pharisees brought to Him a woman caught in adultery. And when they had set her in the midst, they said to Him, “Teacher, this woman was caught in adultery, in the very act. Now Moses, in the law, commanded us that such should be stoned.  But what do You say?”  This they said, testing Him, that they might have something of which to accuse Him. But Jesus stooped down and wrote on the ground with His finger, as though He did not hear.

So when they continued asking Him, He raised Himself up and said to them, “He who is without sin among you, let him throw a stone at her first.” And again He stooped down and wrote on the ground. Then those who heard it, being convicted by their conscience, went out one by one, beginning with the oldest even to the last. And Jesus was left alone, and the woman standing in the midst. 10 When Jesus had raised Himself up and saw no one but the woman, He said to her, “Woman, where are those accusers of yours? Has no one condemned you?”

11 She said, “No one, Lord.”

And Jesus said to her, “Neither do I condemn you; go and sin no more.” (Emphasis Added)

It is the sentence in bold that is the most pertinent. Jesus both forgave the woman caught in adultery AND laid out the expectation that she turn from her sin.  He both loved and forgave her, while loving her too much to let her stay in her sin. That's who Jesus Christ is...He loves us enough to forgive us and loves us too much to leave us in our sin.

In real life application, as Christians this means we must hate sin. The actual act of sin, both our own and others, should be detestable to us.Yet, as Christ demonstrated, we must also love the sinner, as Christ loves us. It is both possible and reasonable for us, with God's help, to separate these two. 

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Liberal Rhetoric 101: Political Correctness

"If it bothers people, why do you have to say..."

(Insert Quasi-Offensive word here. Retarded. Christmas. Whatever. Pick One.)

I've been asked this when I use the word "retarded." For the record, I use it to mean "stupid," because I believe the word retarded stopped meaning a person with a mental disability YEARS AGO, and we only remember that it used to mean a person with a mental disability because the PC Police yell at us for saying it.

I've said for years that nobody gets upset at the use of the words "mad," "crazy," and "idiot." The first two used to mean a person who was legitimately mentally insane, the third used to mean a person with a mental disability.

So I've openly fought to let this particular quasi-offensive term evolve into yet another synonym for "stupid." (Notice I said "quasi-offensive." That's because I know there are things that are LEGITIMATELY offensive. Like when people use the name of my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ as a curse word, or when people use legitimate racial slurs.)

Yet one question I keep getting asked "If it bothers people, why do you have to say it?"

Here's why: I'm not willing to yield to political correctness and let the Left say "You've offended me! You must stop talking now!"  Which, by the way, is a tool the Left uses CONSTANTLY. They shut down debate using this methodology.

I was once scolded by a co-worker for referring to MYSELF as a "Guinea." For the record, and this cannot be ignored: I AM OF ITALIAN DECENT! Italians, at least in my part of New York State, use this term for each other ALL THE TIME! We've also been known to call ourselves Wops. No Italian cares, as long as it's a fellow Italian using the term. (PS - The person who was offended is not of Italian decent.) 

It's become a shut down statement. "You don't get to keep arguing. You've offended me." Translation, "I get to disregard your facts because they aren't PC."

Most of the time, if these people are genuinely offended it's because they've been TOLD to be offended. Liberals actually TEACH other liberals to be offended at things that, on their surface, aren't offensive. (Usually it's Activist Liberals teaching Neighborhood Liberals.)

Kind, well-intentioned Neighborhood Liberals buy into this out of a genuine desire to be nice and not hurt people. Activist Liberals use this to stop debate and discussion, with their unknowing Neighborhood counterparts backing them up because "it's mean to say retarded!" and "You offend people who don't celebrate Christmas so just say Happy Holidays!"

My friends, even though the intentions of our Neighborhood Liberal pals are genuinely trying to be kind, the Activist Liberals are using these good intentions to shut up debate. In the end, we must not let ourselves to taken out by red herrings and blocking tactics.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Economics 101: Raising Minimum Wage Doesn't Help Anyone

President Obama, in addition to his latest call for spending more money we don't have, is calling for raising the federal minimum wage to $9 an hour. This of course sounds like a great way to lift up the poor amongst us. Except...

...except raising minimum wage causes employers to cut back on employees and have less people do the same amount of work. Because, as I've said so many times,  business owners don't just bend over, grab the ankles, and take the hit. EVER. It's simply not what happens.

Historically, this is precisely what happens every time minimum wage goes up.

There is also a second factor, one that pundits who wear bow ties do not mention on the news: A lot of the products that set the pace of inflation are sold at establishments whose staff make minimum wage.  The average grocery store employee and the average gas station attendant, for example, make minimum wage. (I'm not talking about department or store managers mind you. Just the average attendant at the gas station and the guy who stocks the shelves at the store.)

Food and gas prices more than anything else set the rate of inflation, because if it costs more to staff the grocery store, guess what? That gallon of milk and box of Frosted Flakes will go up. It's guaranteed. In fact a minimum wage paycheck at $5 an hour bought the same things as a minimum wage paycheck at $6 an hour. The net effect of that wage increase was only seen on paper. Otherwise it was worth nothing.

No matter how many times liberals expect business owners to bend over and grab the ankles when they raise taxes or minimum wage or whatever, what always happens is businesses adjust the prices of their products/services in order to maintain their profit margins. It is a fact of life.  In a free market there is no way to force these business owners to stop raising prices to cover their recent cut in profit.

Not only that, but cuts in minimum wage take away from those employees at minimum wage jobs that have put in their time, worked hard, and earned raises. I've seen it from both the employee end and the management side.

When I was in high school and college I worked at a national fast food chain. I worked hard and received raises every six months like clockwork. By the time I had been there for two years, I was making nearly a dollar an hour over minimum wage. Then some politician decided it was a good idea to raise minimum wage.  Just like that, I was making the same money as the new person they just hired.

Now I can hear you Neighborhood Liberals saying "Why didn't your employer bump you up to $1 an hour over minimum wage?"  My friends, despite whether or not I deserved it (I did) and whether or not my immediate supervisors fought to get me a proportional increase (they did) they were unsuccessful because the company could not afford to give everyone who was making above minimum wage a proportional raise to accommodate. As it was, they had to raise prices just to cover the new cost of business.

Years later as a manager for the same company, some politician decided to raise minimum wage. I had employees who had worked for that particular restaurant for years. Their wage increase was about to disappear because of the new law. Oh, and just like I said above, the cost of basic products like a gallon of milk and a tube of toothpaste were about to go up as a result of this minimum wage hike, so the new minimum wage would have the same spending power as the old minimum wage.

I was able to fight for a handful of those employees to at least make A LITTLE over the minimum wage.  If memory serves me it was $.25 an hour over minimum wage, but some of these people were earning anywhere from $.50 an hour to $1 an hour over minimum wage. In reality, those people saw their wages GO DOWN in terms of what they could afford to buy. They had less buying ability than they had before, because some politician decided to raise minimum wage. In terms of real world purchasing, these hard working employees saw their wage go down.

This is the real economic impact of raising the minimum wage, friends. It's not people making more money, at least in terms of real purchasing power. It's a bigger (or the same) digit in the paycheck worth the same or less as it was before.  In the Real World economy, it doesn't amount to jack squat.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Dear GOP: When Will You Fight THIS Fight?

Over the last several years with the Republican Party, it's constantly been, "We're going to cave on THIS particular issue, (just this one time) and then we're REALLY going to fight NEXT TIME!"

Unfortunately for America, the moment Next Time becomes This Time there's some other "just this one time" to excuse not fighting. Washington Republicans cave yet again because they don't want to be blamed for what happens next by the Left's willing accomplices in the Drive-By Media.

It happened in December as the Fiscal Cliff approached. The GOP let President Obama raise taxes for reasons that no math on Earth can explain (although supposedly that $65 Billion was going to solve a $10 Trillion projected ten-year deficit) without extracting real, meaningful spending cuts. That day we were told "just wait until the Debt Ceiling battle!" Now we're at the Debt Ceiling battle and the Republican House has passed a debt limit increase, albeit a short-term one, that doesn't require cuts.

Friends, I want to be optimistic. I truly do. I want to believe that come May the Republican House will refuse to pass a budget without meaningful cuts. I'd also like to believe that someday I'll make $10 Million a year and live in a mansion.  But I live here in the Real World and what I shake my Magic 8-Ball I see this:

I think I speak for a whole lot of conservatives when I say there won't be a whole lot of chances left for the Republican Party.  Frankly, this could be their last one. It's time to do something real. The spending our nation has continued is flat out unsustainable. That's a fact. Furthermore, there is no evidence from history to show that Obama's Keynesian spending  will all of a sudden begin to work, especially since it hasn't worked yet. (Don't let liberals tell you about the New Deal bringing us out of the Great Depression. That was accomplished only by the outbreak of World War II and government spending as a CONSUMER not as an investor.)

It's time to get your act together, GOP. Now. Not next time.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Best of Biblical Conservatism: Letter Bag: The Difference Between Classical Liberalism and Modern Liberalism

Today, on Best of Biblical Conservatism, we have one of our most popular posts of all time!

I received an annonymous comment recently (for the sake of this post, we'll call that person Anny) on an a post on a post from a few weeks ago that I wanted to address it here.  The post was Dissecting the Liberal Talking Points: The Tea Party isn't Going Anywhere.  Here was the comment:

Liberalism: political doctrine that takes protecting and enhancing the freedom of the individual to be the central problem of politics. Liberals typically believe that government is necessary to protect individuals from being harmed by others; but they also recognize that government itself can pose a threat to liberty. As the revolutionary American pamphleteer Thomas Paine expressed it in Common Sense (1776), government is at best “a necessary evil.” Laws, judges, and police are needed to secure the individual’s life and liberty, but their coercive power may also be turned against him." (and it continues...)

The Tea Party is therefore liberal.

It's an interesting point, Anny.  It's wrong, but it's an interesting point. What this individual doesn't recognize is the difference between Classical liberalism and Modern liberalism.  The definition given above is the definition of Classical liberalism.  For those of you who aren't familiar with the term, Classical liberalism is focused on liberty.  It supports small government, individual rights, and the Constitution.  When our nation was founded, it was a relatively liberal idea, which is to say it was to the left of the monarchy.  (Conservatism is to the left of monarch too, by the way.)

You see, in 1776 and 1787, Anny, the ideas that the Declaration of Independence and Constitution espoused were radical.  They aren't radical anymore.  Our founders created these values new, now we conservatives try to maintain them.

Modern liberalism is not about small government, it's about big government.  It's not about individual freedom, it's about group conformity and government telling you what's good for you. Modern liberalism does not recognize that government can pose a threat to sees government as the solution to problems. 

Modern liberalism is the polar opposite as Classical liberalism.  Classical liberalism is now known as conservatism.

What Anny said is a perfect example of an etymological fallacy.  For those of you who don't have degrees in Communications, an etymological fallacy "is a genetic fallacy that holds, erroneously, that the historical meaning of a word or phrase is necessarily similar to its actual present-day meaning." (For those of you from Palm Beach County, FL, that means believing that what a word originally meant is what it means today.)

Liberal doesn't mean what it meant in our founders day.  The same is true of many other words.  In 1776 if a man had a "gay kid" that meant they had a "happy baby goat."  Does it mean that now, Anny?  Of course not.  Few people think of a kid as a baby goat anymore, even though that is the origin of the word, and few people still think gay means happy.

In short, the Tea Party is Classically liberal, which is synonymous with Modern conservatism.  Sorry, Anny, but in our modern context the Tea Party is conservative.

Comments are always welcomed on posts, provided they are in line with the Rules for Comments.  Please note any comment may become subject matter for a future post, as my personal interest and news cycles require. 

Monday, February 11, 2013

Simplifying Conservatism: Winning Elections in the Soundbite Era

It's become an issue for conservatives recently: How do we change our message to identify with voters?

Actually, the question shouldn't be how do we change our MESSAGE. The message isn't the problem. However, we need to change our MESSAGING.

(For those of you from Palm Beach County, FL, that means don't change the platform, just change the description.)

Where conservatives are losing is not our message. The message of small government, personal responsibility, and freedom isn't the problem. The real problem is the way we PRESENT that message.

We can present all the charts and graphs and spew numbers until we're blue in the face, we won't win elections. Ronald Reagan didn't win two elections that way. Ronald Reagan won by presenting the conservative message in a way that average Americans could digest.

His message was simple: Are you better off than you were four years ago?

Yet today we're making it far bigger than it needs to be. The Democratic Party and liberals are good at it (even if they aren't telling the truth). Such examples are the fictional "war on women" and "the rich need to pay their fair share."

So what does our message need to be? How do we simplify conservatism to sound bites? Here are a few simple ways to talk about conservatism.

Dear Government: It's not your money!

If Americans have to live within their income, so does government.

Yes YOU can!

If you have $2 Trillion, you can't spend 3!

If you trust yourself more than the government, vote Republican.

What part of "The right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed" was so confusing?

You can do it better without government "help!"

Freedom. Responsibility. Strength.

Compassionate results over compassionate intentions. 

Every single one of these single sentence statements are in line with the conservative thesis. All hold the same themes as the conservative pillars of personal responsibility, fiscal sanity, and small government. But each one is explained in a single sentence instead of a long chart filled with obscure data and obfuscated (but accurate) facts.

We can certainly explain our positions in greater detail when need be, which puts us in an advantage over Democrats. Our positions make logical and mathematical sense, which also puts us in advantage over Democrats. Simply put, if we can get our messaging down, we will win. Period.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Debunking the New Deal Argument (Part 2)

On Monday we began dealing with the New Deal Argument that liberals love to present: "The New Deal got us out of the Great Depression." Today, we're going to handle the second part of this argument, known as Military Keynesianism.

There is a second aspect of the New Deal Argument, which admits that it was indeed World War II was the reason that the United States got out of the Great Depression but claims that the government spending of World War II was the specific impetus for recovery, thus claiming the World War II spending by the government and subsequent recovery was an example of successful Keynesian Economics.

Now first of all, Keynesian Economics in it's pure form speaks to government spending in terms of investment. The World War II spending by the United States government was not  investment it was consumption. Two, and this is far more important, the branch of Keynesian Economics known as Military Keynesianism essentially preaches that this military spending CREATES demand, rather than the other way around.

For those of your from Palm Beach County, this akin to saying "We produce a lot of military supplies so we therefore will HAVE a demand because of that increased supply."

In reality, what occurred in World War II was an organic demand not a created demand. (It turns out, no matter how much effort government makes to create a demand, if people don't organically want or need a new product they will not fly. See: Chevy Volt.)

Secondly, the argument of Keynsianism is that government can "invest" in various industries and therefore stimulate the economy. (Somehow government spending stimulates the economy, but letting people keep their own money doesn't. If your head hurts, well, so does mine.) Investment, however, involves a level of control. If I "invest" in a company I am somewhat of a partner. To some degree I have a say over what that company does. This is what President Obama has tried to do (to massive complete lack of success) with "Green Energy" leading to huge embarrassing failures with taxpayer dollars like Solyndra (and other, less buzz-worthily named but otherwise equally unsuccessful companies).

Compare this to what the United States government did during World War II. During World War II, the United States government didn't "invest" in military supplies. No. They BOUGHT military supplies. They were not INVESTORS, they were CONSUMERS.

The government acting as a consumer for a Constitutionally valid and appropriate reason is both not a front to freedom and also is not the premise behind Keynesian Economics. Government consumption and government investment are not synonymous. Otherwise, purchasing the Presidential limo would be considered "investing" in Cadillac and replacing Air Force One would be "investing" in Boeing. Also when I bought a can of soda earlier, I "invested" in Pepsi.

Yet again, this example of Keynesianism "working" is based on a faulty premise. Then again, what would liberal "successes" be if they couldn't move the goal posts?

Monday, February 4, 2013

Debunking the New Deal Argument (Part 1)

Liberals seem to have two big arguments to back up their messes of policies: the Clinton Argument, which we debunked here on Biblical Conservatism nearly two years ago, and the New Deal.

The claim from liberals is that the New Deal is what got us out of the Great Depression. Somehow, they claim, all the government spending in the New Deal created a recovery.

History tells a different story.  To what degree the unemployment dropped due to the New Deal it was a prop up, caused my government make-work agencies like the Public Works Administration.

Now, given the choice, I'll pick the government hiring people to build bridges over the handouts of the Welfare State. However, once you take away these government make-work programs you'll find unemployment at it's lowest of 17.9%.

You'll notice that unemployment began it's genuine and permanent recovery in 1939. Gee, what happened then? Oh, right, the United States started selling war supplies to France and Great Britain. Then you look at the difference betwen 1941 and 1942.

In fact, many economists surmise that the New Deal's massive taxes may have slowed the recovery, thanks to such policies as a LOWEST top marginal income tax rate as 63% (the highest was a whopping 94%).  Who knew that taking tons of money from those who produce might stop them from producing. Shocker.

Thursday, we're going to talk about a second aspect of the New Deal Argument that other Keynesian argue. In short, they argue that sure, it was World War II that got us out of the Great Depression, but the spending during the war was Military Keynesianism therefore it was a success of Keynesian Economics.