Saturday, August 13, 2016

Don't Drink the Kool-Aid

The phrase comes from the Jonestown Massacre where nearly a thousand people committed suicide by drinking the poisoned Kool-aid provided by their "savior", Jim Jones. Today it refers to those who blindly follow a doomed course.

I'm a bit dismayed at the numbers of people I see who have drunk the Kool-aid, so to speak, in this current election cycle. Oh, I'm not referring to non-believers. They will do what they will do. I'm referring to Christians, people I know and love and even respect. There appears to be a whole group of them that will vote for Trump out of a near anti-Hillary hysteria.

Mind you, I'm not talking about those who, after great deliberation, have decided that Trump is the lesser of two evils. These haven't "endorsed" Trump. There are quite a few who, out of pure pragmatism, think that he is, flaws and all, the better of the two options and they will, as so often in the past, hold their noses and vote for Trump. Those aren't the ones I'm talking about. The group I have in mind are rabid #NeverHillary folk. To them it would be catastrophic if she got into office. To them it would be a sin for Christians to fail to vote for Trump. Sure, voting for Hillary would, to this group, be a sin, but they go farther and say that failing to vote for Trump would be a sin. Because, as everyone knows, to fail to vote for Trump is to vote for Hillary. And, as everyone knows, Hillary is Satan personified, the Devil in a blue dress (or whatever type and color of clothing she happens to be wearing today). It isn't a matter of pragmatism; it is a matter of evil. The sentiment of this particular group is hard to distinguish from plain, ordinary hatred.

Mind you, I'm not saying that Hillary is a viable option. If that's what you're hearing from me, let me quickly and roundly dismiss that. Electing a person like Mrs. Clinton would be electing someone diametrically opposed to most of what I believe in. I don't consider her a sound candidate, a moral candidate, a candidate with character, even a benign candidate. I think she would further damage our damaged country and I come to that conclusion from the positions she has declared to be her own. To start with, a candidate who declares boldly her disdain for the right of our youngest people to live and her desire to have the government pay for their execution is not a candidate who should occupy a position of power anywhere. Even her running mate is opposed to her stance on abortion. In one political index she is 43 points more "progressive" than public opinion on abortion (which is already too "progressive" for anyone who values life). On LGBT rights she is 62 points more progressive than the already left-leaning public. Well, look, on drug policy, education policy, environmental issues, gun control, health care, immigration reform, social security, and tax reform she scores far left of the public and even many progressives. So, no, I don't consider her a viable option.

So what am I saying about the Kool-aid? I'm wondering why there is a section of Christian America (genuine Christian) that has bought into the fear that "If Hillary gets elected it will be the end of the world as we know it!!" I'm wondering why there are genuine Christians who are endorsing Donald Trump out of hatred for Hillary. I may have not gotten the memo. Maybe there was an email glitch. Did God suspend the "love your neighbor" instruction for her? Have we, in these latter days, seen a suspension of Paul's "optimistic" "There is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God" (Rom 13:1)? Or maybe God is just not on His throne? Are these genuine Christians in the "God does what He can, but sometimes humans get in His way" camp? I don't get it.

Christians, don't drink the Kool-aid. Yes, we need to do what's right. We need to vote. We need to vote our consciences. But don't buy the "It's the end of the world if the wrong person gets elected" line. And don't vote for someone because you hate another. That Kool-aid is poisoned. It will be unpleasant for you. Don't do it.

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

My peak earning years are behind me. Even so, I resent the so-called "progressive income tax." Clinton will only make things more unfair for the hard workers whose sweat pays for free stuff for lazy Americans.

Three of the ways our nation could tax income:
* Each adult pays the same dollar amount.
* Each adult pays the same percentage of gross.
* Percentages go up with high gross. ("Progressive")

Arguments could be made that the first of these is the most fair, but realistically we are never going to get that. "Deep pockets," as they say. But surely the third way is sub-optimal, and Clinton wants to make it more extreme.

Stan said...

I don't know how much worse she could make it. First, the top 5% pay 90% of the federal income tax collected by the IRS. The bottom 50% pay less than 1% of the total. How much more "progressive" can it be? Second, the office of President doesn't get to make tax policy. That belongs to Congress. Clinton (all "progressives") want to make it more extreme, but they can only do so if they have both the Congress and the Presidency.

Scribe said...

Just a note about option 1, our US Constitution prohibits what has been dubbed a poll tax, a tax on citizenship, a true flat tax assessed on the person, a head tax if you like. It is called a poll tax since it was collected, historically, at the polls before someone was allowed to vote. There are current poll taxes around the globe, but, thankfully, that is not allowed here.

There are other tax options. You have excluded a tax on consumption in your options, sales taxes, which disproportionately harms poorer citizens; these are considered "regressive." Under US tax policy, we prefer progressive (wealthier citizens pay higher rates since the dollars supposedly come from their dispoable income) as contrasted to regressive taxation, which burdens poorer citizens since it is money they need to live on used to pay the taxes. Hence, we call progressive taxation more fair, for what that is worth. In my view, there ought to be limits on progressive tax policy. As an example, please refer to the Laffer curve, which is an explanation for why higher tax rates can actually generate lower tax revenues than a lower rate. Notwithstanding, an improvement might include a limit to the social engineering congress is allowed to engage in through the tax code, which is why a flat or fair tax is appealing to many.

In our early years, America collected taxes through import/exports exclusively. The income tax was not introduced until the early twentieth century (about 1917). At the time, we were promised it would go away right after the war (WW I). They lied! Conversely, real property taxes on land/buildings are by far the easiest taxes to assess since it is the only transaction that is subject to an immoveable asset. All other income and consumption taxes are subject to disappear into the underground market since labor and commodities can travel to other, lower taxed, jurisdictions.

Please note, the US tax code is an extra-territorial tax regime. In other words, the US taxes worldwide income of its citizens, and even taxes them for ten years following expatriation. Here lies some serious injustice in taxation. If the US would adopt a territorial tax system, we would see a lot of this nonsense disappear. We get away with it because we can with the largest tax enforcement apparatus on the planet. Downsize enforcement resources, flatten the rates, eliminate double taxation on income through capital gains taxes, estate taxes, and consumption/property taxes, and perhaps, we might have a more humane system. Short of a miracle, no politician will accomplish my dream, wish list.

Dr. Ben Carson had the best tax reform plan of all the candidates running this political cycle. The fact that he decided to endorse Trump says a lot to me about the man, Donald Trump, although his celebrity status is not helpful, in my view, since the media has used it against him, benefiting Mrs. Clinton. In my circles, I have observed anger and frustration directed at the perceived media favoritism toward Hillary more than directed at the candidates personally.

I completely agree that voting out of fear or hate is inappropriate for followers of Jesus since God reigns in the affairs of man. Always has; always will! America needs a third awakening to that reality more than a political solution to our problems!

Sorry about the long post. As a famous writer once said years ago, if I had more time I could have made this shorter. (My paraphrase.)

Stan said...

"At the time, we were promised it would go away right after the war (WW I). They lied!"

Wait ... you're saying the government lied to us??? Couldn't happen. Or, rather, I'm not sure I can quickly provide an example of a promise kept.

No problem with the long comment. I appreciated it. I don't know if Anonymous will visit and respond, since it was Anonymous you primarily directed this to.