Tag Archives: voting

The real question about those one-star votes

OK, I’m bored, and I need a break from grading, so I’ll take the bait.

I’ve wondered about the motivation within the person who occasionally finds it meaningful to jump on my blog here and give one-star votes to everything on the first page of posts, regardless of extremely wide differences in the content of each. It has happened before, and this week, happened again.

These disapproving votes first appeared shortly after I added a link to a reputable charity seeking to help Syrian refugees, who through no fault of their own have been forced from their homes with their children. So I suspect the voter dislikes Syrians or Muslims. I wish it bothered me more, but that sort of dislike has become cliché.

However, for me, at the moment, the motivation behind the one-star votes is not the real question.

The real question is why, after voting one star on six posts on my homepage, did the voter fail to click that single left-hand star on the final post?

The homepage, the landing page, always displays seven posts. Until the post you’re reading right now was published, the seventh post on this page stood without a vote. It was right there, barely a mouse-twitch away. I assure you that post is just as hostile as the six previous posts to everything the voter stands for. Now it’s gone over to the second page, out of reach to quick protest votes.

So, since the voter missed it, I’ll extend the opportunity and give the link. It’s right here. Go click one star on the post you missed, right here, right now.

One star is better than nothing. Thank you.

So, I took the bait. You’re welcome. Thanks for the break from grading.

House Tea Party Caucus: traitors to their alleged cause of liberty

According to Forbes magazine:

CISPA, or the Cybersecurity Intelligence Sharing And Protection Act, passed the House yesterday. The bill is full of problematic intrusions into individual privacy and online liberty, and yet those members of the House who associate themselves with limited government were largely responsible for its passage.

Reason magazine reports:

The complete roll call shows 206 Republicans voting for the bill, 28 against. Democrats went 42 to 140 in the opposite direction. The Republican No column includes some fairly libertarian-friendly names, including Amash, McClintock and Rohrabacher (who also this week earned the honor of being bannedby vile Afghan kleptocrat Hamid Karzai). Voting for the legislation were great libertarian nopes Ryan, Flake and Duncan. The name Paul shows up in the not-voting lineup.

TechDirt.com reports:

The vote followed the debate on amendments, several of which were passed. Among them was an absolutely terrible change … to the definition of what the government can do with shared information, put forth by Rep. Quayle. Astonishingly, it was described as limiting the government’s power, even though it in fact expands it by adding more items to the list of acceptable purposes for which shared information can be used. Even more astonishingly, it passed with a near-unanimous vote. The CISPA that was just approved by the House is much worse than the CISPA being discussed as recently as this morning.

Those clowns in the House Tea Party Caucus should no longer be trusted. This is a complete violation of trust and betrayal of principle.

Statism as Theology, or why Envy is beating Greed at the polls

Doug Bandow’s book “The Politics of Envy: Statism as Theology” was written in 1994, but this following excerpt rings true on Election Day 2008:

Today we have to contend with an age of politics  that has not yet fully wound down. And that politics, in the United States, at least, has increasingly been based on envy, the desire not to produce more for onseself, but to take as much as possible from others. Of course, all of the proponents of the politics of envy proclaim themselves animated by public-spiritedness: who in Washington would admit that the higher taxes he advocates will be used to pay off the interest group of the day, whether farmer, coproration, or union? Who would suggest that he has anything but good will toward those who he is intent on mulcting?

Indeed, the problem of envy has always been much more serious than that of greed. Those who are greedy may ruin their own lives, but those who are envious contaminate the larger community by letting their covetousness interfere with their relations with others. Moreover, one can satisfy greed in innocuous, even positive ways — by being brighter, working harder, seeing new opportunities, and meeting the demands of others, for instance. In contrast, envy today is rarely satisfied without use of the state. True, some people pull a gun and heist the nearest person’s wallet or purse. But for the otherwise law-abiding, the only way to take what is someone else’s is to enlist one or more public officials to seize land, impose taxes, regulate activities, conscript labor, and so on. Statism, then, is integral to the politics of envy. Statism has become the basic theology for those committeed to using government to coercively create their preferred version of the virtuous society.

Warriors invert Gospel on CNN

If you saw Christiane Amanpour’s three-part special God’s Warriors, and tuned in for the Christian segment, you might have heard Baptist minister Rick Scarborough declare, “Christians don’t lose until they quit!”

Scarborough is passionate about urging Christians to vote, but regardless of how justified he might be, and how insane our culture can be, he misses two big issues:

1. Sometimes Christians lose. Nowhere are Christians guaranteed victory. Jesus did not accomplish victory in any worldly sense. He washed the feet of His disciples, and extended a second chance to a prostitute. He was arrested, beaten, and killed. When He rose from the dead, He chose to leave the earth rather than to occupy it or establish a government. By any worldly standard, Jesus remains a loser. Only the future holds an expression of victory in a worldly sense — but for now, that is not the example believers have been given. The example was one of sacrifice, not triumph. Surely in a democracy Christians love their neighbors by being civic-minded and by being good citizens. Voting is part of that. Scarborough is onto something. But voting is just part of the good work. Which leads to the next point.

2. The primary mission of the Church is to bear witness to the Gospel. Saint Paul said the weapons of his battle were “not carnal,” which raises the question — why is Scarborough and other Christian activists primarily focused on mobilizing believers to take up carnal weapons? In the Christian faith, a change of the human heart is brought about (rather gradually, it seems) by the work of the Holy Spirit. As Saint Paul stated elsewhere, it is God’s kindness that leads to repentance. God’s kindness is understood when the death of Christ on the cross is explained: love, forgiveness of sins, grace, beauty, and adoption into God’s household are made available. Only this begins the course to real change, regardless of how long that course might be. If Christians truly believe the doctrine of the Fall, and really believe the human heart is depraved, they should be amazed that our culture is not in worse shape. Christians cannot hope to change hearts through voting booths.

Certainly the work of the Gospel is not ethereal and abstract. Of course Christians ought to involve themselves in the issues of the day. Of course believers confront the culture of warped values with the Gospel values of repentance, confession, love, forgiveness, and acceptance into God’s household. As believers reflect the Image of God that each holds in their relationships, rationality, and creativity, we make efforts — within the light of Scripture, Reason, and Tradition — to express the Gospel in numerous ways.

But by putting the emphasis on worldly means rather than the Gospel, Christians are only, as the columnist Cal Thomas once told me, “rearranging deck chairs on the Titanic.”

The title of a not-so-recent book by Thomas and Ed Dobson might say it all most succinctly: Blinded by Might: Why the Religious Right Can’t Save America.

Someone by Scarborough a copy.

-Colin Burch