Monthly Archives: March 2016

Hate Crimes

Hate crimes legislation is at least two decades old. I worked against the first federal bill in 1990. In all these years, nothing has changed about this legislation – it remains unnecessary, unwarranted and undemocratic. Twenty-six years later, Utah is still kicking around the idea. Of course, the Utah Legislature passed a hate crimes law several years ago but what it passed missed the mark for its original supporters.

This year, Senator Steve Urquhart, a Republican from St. George, was the new bill sponsor. And, new or not, the bill died another ignominious death. The LDS Church announced its opposition and Urquhart’s support began to die on the vine. There is a lot to unpackage about hate crimes legislation, so let’s start at the top. read more

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When Utah’s ‘right’ gets it wrong

When Gov. Gary Herbert announced his Healthy Utah plan in 2014 to address Obamacare issues related to Medicaid, Utah’s right wing combined in knee-jerk fashion against it. The plan was labeled “Medicaid expansion” and demonized as a policy betrayal to the fundamental principles of conservatism.

Nearly a year and a half later of productive dialogue and negotiations between the governor and House and Senate leaders, the Legislature just passed a bill increasing Medicaid coverage. And surprisingly, nary a word from Utah’s right wing. Certainly the “principles” remained the same. Yet silence from the right side of the peanut gallery. Even the left side of that gallery proclaimed that the new bill was definitely not Medicaid expansion. After all of the political weeping and gnashing of teeth against Medicaid expansion from Utah’s right wing, one might have expected some expressed concerns. Au contraire. read more

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I, the Establishment

I signed the “Never Trump” petition. Despite his entertainment value, Donald Trump is an unprincipled opportunist, in my opinion. He certainly is not qualified for president in any sense of that term. He’s not the kind of person I want my grandchildren to admire or mimic. Trump is simply not a rational candidate if you’re a conservative and, frankly, I don’t know how rational people claim to support him.

For those reasons, and more, I guess I am now a part of the Establishment. I hear how the Establishment doesn’t want Trump to be president because the Establishment would lose its power. In other words, the defense of Trump against the Establishment is that the latter opposes the former not because of any fundamental policy disagreements but because the Establishment seeks to maintain power that grants them access to plunder – and, incredibly, Trump is supposedly the savior who would stop all the plunder. read more

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The Purpose of Government

Conservative icon William F. Buckley made popular the obscure expression, “Don’t immanentize the eschaton!” an expression he gleaned from political theorist Eric Voegelin. To immanentize the eschaton means to try to bring to pass some imagined glorious moment on earth right before the world’s end. For Buckley and Voegelin it referred to all utopian ideas they opposed such as socialism or communism.

There actually is some religious history to this expression as well and one that relates to Utah’s Mormon heritage. It’s not surprising during the Second Great Awakening, when Joseph Smith gathered people to Mormonism, that an anti-millennial opposition was formed. The Lutheran Church, for example, spoke out against any talk of building heaven on earth. But the whole goal of the early Mormon Church was to build a new Zion – a formal and functioning community of people living God’s laws preparatory to the end times when heaven would literally come down to earth to meet the new Zion. In this way Joseph Smith believed that we really could immanentize the eschaton. read more

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