Sunday, June 28, 2015

on "same-sex marriage" and predictions for the future

The theme of the week for the SCOTUS seemed to be "give the powers that be what they want". The good news (with "SSM" and the ACA): We can see how these things will play out-- and my guess is that both will be quite mild, despite the rhetoric on both sides and what they tell us is at stake. (People usually forget that such things are far more than legal. And in the case of the ACA, there are a number of relatively obvious, practical benefits.) 

With "SSM", my educated guess is that there will be a flurry of activity from activists and those who are passionate about the topic and the freedom. After that, there will be disappointments with personal/public ripple effects (e.g., divorce, child custody) and unsavory moments (e.g., Brittney Griner's recent problems), but mostly apathy-- that will reveal how little was actually at stake for *most* of the relatively few people involved. (There are *real* issues for some of those involved, but that's a relatively small part of what seems to be going on here-- and those could have been handled through more-modest means than SSM.)

The legalization of polygamy (polyandry and polygyny) is a much easier legal case to make-- than what has happened over the past decade with "SSM". There will be fewer people interested in making the case publicly-- from whatever motives (e.g., true love, the op to be famous, legitimate or semi-legitimate financial considerations-- e.g., health insurance). But all it takes is one good litigant-- and it'd be easy to win, given legal precedent. The SCOTUS seems to be into politics quite a bit these days, but who would oppose this? Feminists. LOL! Christians? Nope, this would be much more consistent with a Biblical worldview. As a result, I'd guess that they'll be legal within a few years. (A really interesting side question: If so, will polygamy return to a place of vital significance within LDS theology?)

Church-level responses to "SSM": As a result of the SCOTUS ruling, the litigiousness of American culture, and the intolerance of faux liberals, I'd expect at least theologically-conservative churches to make these adjustments in short order (if they have not done so, already): 

1.) institute significant pre-marital requirements for weddings at their building and through their ministers; 
2.) restrict such weddings to members; and 
3.) tighten membership requirements considerably. 

It also seems likely that churches and state legislatures will move to separate civil from sacred/religious marriages. These legal and church choices would have benefits and costs-- and quite arguably, the benefits would (easily) outweigh the costs. 

For disciples of Jesus, the challenges are the same: live out your own marriage and family as well as possible; strive for community within the Church and church that uplifts marriage and family; work to fulfill the Great Commission-- making disciples who can make disciples; minister to our "neighbors" as there is need; and so on.

Friday, June 26, 2015

the ACA as political, judicial, and economics

A nice article in Forbes that leads to the following observations...

From the beginning, the "survival of ObamaCare" (the ACA) has been a matter of politics, economics, and the judiciary. Many people have made the mistake of assuming it belonged to only one or two of those realms. 

While it seems that the judicial part of it has been somewhere between troubling and incoherent, the good news is that it keeps the ACA in the court of economics and politics. 

A primary political implication of this is that defenders of the ACA will have to live with its benefits and its costs, with little or no ability to shuffle blame to other entities. When it inevitably continues to cause significant costs and its benefits are modest, the political costs to be paid will probably be significant. 

The economics are that the ACA could only be an Ace bandage (or maybe only a band-aid) on a broken bone. Failing to understand and/or deal with the root issues, the govt is trying to make health insurance more accessible to those with fewer means. This has been a reasonable pursuit (albeit slated to fail), since the govt has worked so hard to jack up the system and to make health insurance so much more expensive over the last 70 years. 

on measuring and assuming racism and other isms

Lew Rockwell on trying to define and measure "racism" (or other isms)...

If we locate/define it as a heart matter, we'll find it difficult to measure. If we look to behavior-- and move beyond obvious examples-- it becomes quite difficult to measure well (if that matters to those who use the term). 

The usual efforts to measure such things are curious and unsatisfying. Two key examples: 1.) Folks often rely on simple aggregate stats-- comparing all members of group X to all members of group Y. (The most common example here is men vs. women.) No other variables are held constant-- and all of the differences are assumed to be caused by discrimination. The comparisons are quite selective. (For example, nobody uses this method to compare Asian-Americans to the average.) And theory/logic is ignored. (Under what contexts would the market tolerate paying X a modest percentage of what they pay Y? Why aren't labor markets assumed to be reasonably competitive in such cases? Why wouldn't greedy folks hire a lot of X to max profit?) 

2.) Folks measure certain outcomes and not others. Here, people seem to start with a theory/story of where an ism might be-- and then look for anecdotal or statistical differences. If one doesn't imagine that an ism could exist (perhaps mixing in the supposed existence of "good intentions"), we don't look (or ignore outcomes when they're presented). Examples: How we measure police violence by race. How we ignore policy outcomes and policy stances against African-Americans on Social Security, minimum wage, and K-12 education. 

Thursday, June 25, 2015


The SCOTUS upheld key aspects of the ACA / ObamaCare today. Not a surprising outcome.

The most favorable implications of the SCOTUS decision: 

1.) It further reduces all of the macro-level uncertainty created by the ACA and the many lousy efforts to do fiscal policy over the past eight years ("stimulus" by Bush, Obama, and Congress). As always, thanks for the lousy recovery!

2.) It takes away excuses from the Left about the limitations, failures, and costs of the ACA. We know they'll take credit for its benefits-- and that's fine-- but it'll be nice that they can't hide so easily from its costs. As usual, the pursuit of power, good intentions, and assuaging guilt trumps good policy. 

3.) It helps the GOP avoid the sadly-inevitable black eye of not having enough intellect, courage, and momentum to come up with policy fixes to the underlying problems in health care/insurance-- most of which have been caused by the govt over the past 70 years. That's reason #53 why one should distinguish "conservatives" and "libertarians" from "Republicans". 

Thursday, June 11, 2015

why women are (far less likely) to be Libertarian than men

A bunch of possible answers to an interesting and important question. In no particular order...

1.) Women generally feel more vulnerable and embrace govt as a means to various ends. 

2.) Women generally tend to be more paternalistic in their personal relationships and may extend this to governance.

3.) Women generally pay less attention to politics and reasonably settle for one of the two major parties.

Others? Is Gen 3:16 in play here?