My name is David Moberly and I’m a candidate for Seat 6 in the upcoming election for City Council in Meridian, Idaho.

I want to take a moment to answer a couple of common questions.  I will also give you an introduction of who I am and what I stand for, and ask for your vote.

Q:  Why should I care enough to get out and vote in a City Council election?

A:  A lot of your day to day life is wrapped up in the decisions made right here in Meridian.  Budget items that affect property tax rates, business regulations and planning and zoning are just a few decisions that are directly controlled by your local City Council.

Q:  Why should you vote for me?

A:  Glad you asked!  Below is an outline of what I stand for.  While simple, these are the principles that will govern the way I lead:

1.  Small & Limited Government:  Pretty simple — less taxation and regulation equals keeping more of your money and dealing with less bureaucracy.

2.  Liberty and Freedom:  A slight distinction from point one as this relates more to personal liberties. The government is servant of the people, not vice-versa.

3.  Pro-Life and Pro-Family:  I support equal protection under the law for everybody, including people who are not yet born.

As a lifetime resident of the Treasure Valley, my commitment to Meridian is as a resident, a business man and one who spends each and every day in this city. For any questions that I haven’t addressed, I invite you to contact me personally.  You can call, email, , or follow me on Twitter, and ask away.  I will make every effort to answer your questions as quickly and honestly as I can.

Thank you for your time and support!

David

david.moberly@gmail.com

208-440-6313

Twitter:  @davidmoberly

***This is part of a series comparing political views. You can read the other posts here:  , Conservatism, .

Written by ADB

Before discussing any viewpoint, it’s important to understand that there is not a perfect solution to the challenges we face. This is a complicated world we live in with many hidden consequences to the decisions we make every day.  We frequently spew our beliefs with no regard whatsoever to these hidden consequences and libertarians are no different in this regard.

Like any belief system, every individual has his or her own adaptation. Please accept that the views I present here are my take on libertarianism and do not necessarily reflect the views of all libertarians.

What is Libertarianism?

At its core, libertarianism is an adherence to the principle of non-aggression. A person has no business interfering with the activities of another person, either directly or indirectly, unless in response to interference.

Libertarians think in terms of freedom rather than rights. Freedom is a “negative right”, such as the right not to be murdered. We consider the common usage of “right” to be “positive rights”, such as the right to life or the right to shelter. This is nonsensical outside of a legal context — it’s a state that you have without interference. These positive rights are aspects of wealth.

The libertarian perspective doesn’t try to define needs and desires. It doesn’t try to define morality. It doesn’t try to make rules. It simply tries to understand and embrace our natural inclinations.

Libertarianism assumes that each and every individual is the best steward of his or her resources. This provides the most flexibility for individuals to solve problems for themselves in the way that they see fit while providing others that same flexibility.

Libertarian Economics

Economics, per its definition, is an analysis of the production, distribution, and consumption of goods and services. Based on this definition, economics revolves around value.

Value has two basic definitions. Scientific value is a numerical quantity that is assigned or determined by calculation or measurement. Perceived value is the relative assignment of utility of a good or service. When we talk about economics, “value” refers to the latter while “price” refers to the former. Clear definitions of price and value are critical for discussing economics.

Economic value is relative. There is no inherent value. It is based entirely on the opinion of the individual. When someone claims that an object or person has inherent value, it is a projection of his or her own perceived value on other people.

The people most qualified to assign a price to a product or service are the same people who wish to acquire or provide the product or service. Further, what one person pays for a product or service is completely independent of what another person pays.

The transactions are between the buyer and seller and are not the business of other parties. It is an act of aggression for an outside party to interfere with a transaction.

Role of Government

It is a common misconception that a libertarian is anti-government. While many libertarians will say they are anti-government, the real meaning behind the libertarian opposition to government is the involuntary nature of participation.

One clear example of this is the topic of charity. People opposed to the libertarian worldview claim that libertarians are cold and heartless, that people who can’t survive on their own should be left to die. This is very far from the truth. Like everyone else, libertarians are very supportive of charity and supporting those in need. But forcing people to participate in charity is an act of aggression, violating the core principle of libertarianism.

This same view carries into the other roles of government. Whether it’s managing the construction of road networks or military operations, participation in government is enforced through the threat of violence. If we refuse to pay taxes or expand our homes without permits, we face aggression. And while many of us will gladly pay to support social services, libertarians oppose the aggressive nature of forcing other people to pay for those social services.

Conclusion

Libertarianism is an adherence to the principle of non-aggression. Interfering with the economic activities of other people is an act of aggression. Consequently, libertarianism holds that people should be free to produce, distribute, and consume goods and services with absolutely no interference.

Libertarian views on economics are very much aligned with the Austrian school of economics. For more information, visit the Mises Institute at .

This is a quick overview of libertarian principles. I will be happy to debate the finer points in the comments.

 

ADB is a small business owner. He specializes in all things computer and is the smartest computer guy in the world. He is married, has two daughters, one dog and two cats. He loves pretending to be a tactical sniper, decorating his house, and arguing about political issues that are impossible to solve. He especially likes being a non-conformist and thinking outside the box.

Common Core or Common Students?

 

Lately there has been quite a bit of discussion surrounding the issue of the Common Core State Standards.  Some don’t like the lack of local control, others fear federal mandates, while still others advocate for change, but most just don’t know what they are.  When I ask people what they think of the CCSS, many outside of education just give me a blank stare or share some conspiracy theory they have heard.  So, as an educator, I think it’s time to educate people.

 

First, I think we need to come to the discussion with a very real assessment of where Idaho is ranked in comparison to other states.  Currently, Idaho is ranked 47th out 50 states, just behind South Dakota, Nevada and Mississippi (the state with the lowest income per capita) (Corr).  So what is the problem with Idaho?  Well, if you are from another state, or are homeschooled, the answer is obvious.  It’s not the teachers, or even the administrators.  It is a problem that goes much deeper than many want to acknowledge.  It is a system that has been supported by poor state standards, increased emphasis on testing, data driven curriculum designed to teach students to search and find on low level identification computer generated multiple choice tests, and a tradition in Idaho education that goes back for generations.  Many of the Idaho parents today were educated in this system and may not know much better because they were educated in this system,but there is a better education provided right here in America and Idahoans should demand it.  The question is can we make the change?

 

I grew up in private schools mostly, so my perspective is quite different.  I grew up in the 80’s and we learned how to type and write persuasive essays by the fourth grade, but today many Idaho schools don’t teach keyboarding until middle school or persuasive writing until their Sophomore or Junior year!  Why is that?  Why have many in this state come to lower their standards and believe that their child cannot stand the pressure of such high expectations?  Why is that when states like Iowa, California and Washington are leading the way with higher scores on the SAT and ACT?  In Idaho today the average percentage of students that go to college is at 7% with only 3% actually graduating, while the states surrounding us have a 30% graduation rate from top ten universities.  Not that 30% is that high compared to other nations, but it is certainly better than Idaho. I believe it is time to take a hard look at what Idaho is doing wrong and be ready to make very real changes or we will continue to allow our children to be left without a competitive advantage in the coming generation.  One of these changes is adopting the Common Core.

 

A few years ago Idaho accepted money from the stimulus package so as to keep the schools running due to a very real and very severe budget crisis.  It was a time when many schools lost a third of their staff to funding cuts due to the failing economy.  At this time we accepted the “strings” that were attached, and one of them was to develop more comprehensive state standards.  We had several options, adopt the ones used by the leading states at the time, or develop our own.  To be frank, with Idaho’s track record, and the short window of time of three years, the option of adoption seemed too tempting to pass up.  In addition, the limitations were so narrow that to make our own would have been an exercise in futility.  Much of these limitations were to steer states like Idaho away from the “search and find” activities that we as a state had become so accustomed to.  There is very little actual synthesis and analysis in the current state standards until the Junior or Senior year of high school, and by that time the students are so wrapped up in their work, social lives, or extra curricular activities to earnestly engage in developing a skill that takes years to master.  Thus, many of our students are relegated to taking remedial classes to get them up to speed once they enter college, or even the workplace.  And if they try to go to school out of state, many must face the brutal reality that their peers are far above them academically.  I witnessed this first hand when I came here to go to college and was surprised at the skill level of my peers.  I had to tutor many of my peers on how to take notes in class so they could survive class lectures, and that was 18+ years ago!  Things have only gotten worse.  It is now much more common to place students in remedial English and Math classes just to get students to the appropriate college level in Idaho! And these are the ones fresh out of high school! It is time for teachers, parents, students, and congressmen be brave and demand more from an Idaho education! Do we want leaders in the global community, or mediocre kids with no hope beyond jobs that are more and more shipped overseas?

 

Granted, national standards do risk the loss of local control, but our students are not progressing locally.  There is no effective “local control” beyond the ISAT’s which only prove kids can guess the right answer. One thing that I did as a teacher years ago was give up on the Idaho State Standards.  My students were not learning and the “search and find” method of teaching to the test went against everything I believed in as an educator.  I decided to teach students to use two or three documents to compare universal ideas to a piece of literature, or I made them do the dreaded “research” paper prior to their Senior year.  I instituted Inquiry-Driven research units and later implemented writing research papers starting at the Junior High level.  I had to rewrite much of the curriculum to do it, but I was determined to teach the kids to write for college, research for career purposes and to use the technology around them effectively.  And when I was done I made the Idaho State Standards fit if I could.  I was done with producing “Common Students”.  When the Common Core came out a year later, I was delighted to find that the states I had modeled much of my curriculum after were the very states that were in the consortium to develop the Common Core.  I was also ecstatic to find that I was now allowed to teach common sense education.  The mandatory adherence to a “canon” decided upon by textbook companies 60 years ago was loosened and I as an educator was allowed more freedom to decide which books to choose for my students.  I could throw out the ineffective state standards and continue what I was doing because myself, and other rogue teachers, were on the right path, only now we were not considered rebels; instead we were cutting edge educators.  But the question still remains “What are the Common Core Standards?”  Of course I can really best explain this from an English perspective, thus I will save an explanation of Math for a later post.

 

What are the Common Core State Standards?

In a nutshell, the CCSS, as they are commonly referred to, are a set of standards that a coalition of professionals from various business and tech industries, as well as educators, administrators and parents, have developed to propel the students into 21st century education.  Right now the focus is just on English Language Arts, and Mathematics; however, it will soon come to include Science and Social Studies as well.  Thus, the focus of the CCSS are literally on the “core” academic areas of instruction.  Other areas, referred to as electives, are not included and are up to the states to develop standards.  That definition in itself is not enough for many parents and concerned citizens to feel they have a grasp on the topic.  So let me break them down a little for you.

 

English Language Arts:

This content area is different than Math because many of the standards are cyclical and must be repeated every year to reinforce certain skills particularly as they pertain to grammar, these are referred to as “threads”.  Conversely,  others must be taught at each grade level and are mandatory for mastery because a new skill is to be taught every year. These mostly include, but are not limited to constructing argument essays, research papers, and various expository texts that you may see more and more of in this informational age.  In addition, there is more inclusion of informational type texts that you may see on the internet in lieu of a dominant focus on the “classics”. The areas are broken down into five (5) basic content areas.

 

1. Reading Literature:  This demands a grade level approach, but the actual texts are open to educator choice.  This frees us from a “canon” but does not exclude the “canon” either.

2. Reading Informational Texts:  This includes developing skills in reading and deciphering graphs, maps, and other historical data that may develop a deeper understanding of a text.  It also includes being able to read and write resumes, memos, and other business documents.

3. Writing:  This focus is primarily on the four major types of writing with an emphasis in each on research.  Those four types are narratives, expository, argumentative, and research papers.  While the literary analysis seems to be removed it can fall under the category of argumentative.

4. Speaking and Listening:  This includes developing presentation and collaborative skills necessary in group environments.  The focus is on the student being able to work in dynamic groups and presenting research using technology in new and diverse ways.

5. Language Skills:  This is grammar.  Yes, grammar, but grammar that is taught in the context of writing.  So “search and find” tests should fall away in lieu of whole writing assessments. How this will be graded with the least amount of subjectivity is an area of concern to many English teachers, but many agree that this is a much better way to assess grammar skills. ( It is always more effective to correct writing than to underline parts of speech.)

 

Breaking the Myths

 

1. Throwing out the Classics! : Many have come to believe that the inclusion of one means the exclusion of another text.  Some in the media have come to promote the idea that a focus on the “informational texts implies that the classics are to be “thrown out”.  This couldn’t be further from the truth.  We as educators are now more freed up to use the texts that we find more useful.  Gone are the days of excerpts from textbooks supplied by huge textbook companies that have rid the content of anything controversial.  Now, I can spend 10 weeks on a “classic” as long as I bring in various informational texts.  I don’t have to erase “God” if I as a teacher don’t want to, as long as the other standards are taught within the unit.  And trust me, that’s exactly what I did.  I recently taught Cry the Beloved which deals with how a Christian African native pastor and a Christian Dutch landowner dealt with apartheid in Africa.  Then we looked at what is happening in Africa today.  Along the way they had to deal with religion, morals, and consequences to poor choices.  It was a tough unit for the kids.  They had to think, they had to examine their own beliefs, and they had to examine their world.  They cried, they hated me, they wanted me to just tell them the answer, they didn’t want to write about tough issues; but they did write, they did have to think and they did learn, and isn’t that the goal?  With CCSS I could take that time and go deeper with one unit because of the other standards that I touched on throughout the unit.  In the CCSS there is no “list” or approved “canon,” there is just suggested books.  It is now up to the expertise of the teacher to use material that will teach skills.  I love it!  I don’t want anyone to take that freedom away!

 

2. Writing Research Papers instead of Literary Analysis!  In the past it was the practice of high school English to focus on literary analysis.  While this is important, the cross over to other academic areas is weak and vague to say the least.  Students need to know how to gather, synthesize and analyze all forms of data across a spectrum of various fields. This standard focuses less on creative “feel good” writing, and more on functional writing for all fields.  Some believe it takes the fun out of writing, but I believe it puts the “skill” in writing, and supports other content areas; thus, it is more relevant to every student.

 

3.  No more Grammar!  This is a lie.  There is now foundational skills at every level starting with kindergarten.  In addition, mastery is required at every grade level.  Therefore, if a teacher does not teach that skill, then the next teacher will be at a loss.  There is more accountability and responsibility at every level.

 

4.  Technical Skills in English Class is Sacrilege!  Students will now have to type by the third (3rd) grade!  Imagine that!  Students will have to use the computer before Junior High!  Technical skills should be taught in every classroom, but in English the job of formatting will be an English experience.  But isn’t that what we do in English every day?  Also, those big textbooks can be replaced with readers, tablets, and laptops.  Further, if they have a computer at home, and 95% of the homes today have a computer of some kind, then they can do their reading from home as well.  Still, there is that 5% percent, but many school districts such as mine allow laptops to be checked out of the library or keep their computer labs open late.  How is that different than when I was in school?

 

5.  Other States Are Opting Out!  This is true.  Texas is one of the leaders of this movement.  At present only five (5) have opted out, but many of these five did not take the stimulus money and do not have the “strings” attached to which the others are held.  In addition, some of these states use the very standards that were the basis for many of the Common Core.  Their state standards are the template by which the CCSS were developed and their need for them are negligible at best.

 

It is ultimately the goal of every state to have the highest of state standards, but until our state is not currently one of those states. It makes sense, then, that we should not fear modeling Idaho’s educational system after those states who have succeeded the most. When we have risen our standards, shown true and measurable success and are a leading state in education, then we will be ready to opt out.  Finally, if the teachers aren’t afraid of the CCSS, and most of us are not, then why not give it a try.  What do we have to lose except our ranking as 47th in the country?  It’s a title we have held since I moved here in 1994! I don’t know about you, but I am ready to lose that long held title.  I don’t want my kids to be mediocre or common anymore.  I don’t want to be frustrated with the fact that I could honestly do better at home, but still pay taxes for a broken system. I want them to have a core of knowledge that is common to all the best states in the union.

 

I encourage each of you to educate yourselves because obviously there is always more to learn on the topic.  Please go to for more details about the common core.

 

 

Carpe Diem!

Tara Bastian

***This is part of a series comparing political views. To read the introduction, click . To read about conservatism, click here.***

by Kyle David

At the heart of the Liberal1 economic viewpoint is the belief that free market systems, while good at many things, aren’t always rational or efficient.  Where they’re not, government is uniquely equipped to act on behalf of the citizens left behind.

It’s important to understand that Liberalism in the U.S. is not Socialism.  Socialism believes the means of production should be run by the state.  Liberalism opts for private markets with government intervention when needed.  So Liberals don’t favor “government” over “free markets”.  Their goal (as with many Conservatives, I suspect) is equal opportunity and maximum freedoms.  The difference is that Liberals believe this is best achieved through mixed markets: government acting strategically on private, profit-driven markets.

The “rational market” theory posits that free markets, if left alone, are self-corrective and benefit everyone equally.  Adam Smith famously called this self-correction the “Invisible Hand”.  As has been observed in the two centuries since Smith’s theory was developed, however, that “Invisible Hand” appears to be either severely crippled or absent altogether in specific situations.  For example, John Maynard Keynes observed that markets cease to be rational and efficient in times of low overall demand, e.g. recessions.  Keynes observed that prices and wages don’t shift efficiently as Smith theorized they should, but rather the macroeconomy reaches equilibrium between supply and demand by pushing up unemployment capriciously and irrationally.2  In Keynes’ theory, high unemployment during recessions is not simply caused by a lack of productivity or laziness, then, but is built into the mechanics of the macroeconomic system and, as always, disproportionately affects those on the lower end of the income scale.  The system thus punishes the poor during recessions which are created by irrational macroeconomic forces.

Thus from a Liberal standpoint, if the government can increase demand by stimulating the economy in some way, it has a practical obligation, and perhaps a moral one, to do so.  One such way is through fiscal stimulus of the kind that was enacted in the U.S. in 2009.3

Though it may seem theoretical, the concept behind this critique of free markets applies elsewhere in very practical ways.  The popular argument that “my money is mine, not the government’s, and I earned it fairly through my hard work” is, according to Liberals, partly true but also incomplete and oversimplified.  Liberals can agree to an extent because the market indeed rewards productivity — again, Liberals are not Socialists.  But three problems are conveniently overlooked by the “I earned my own money fairly” argument.

First, the argument fails to take into consideration the vast network of resources and opportunities that have led to an environment conducive to success (an educated populace, roads and infrastructure, rule of law, etc).  To attribute success purely to individual effort ignores these collective factors in favor of a highly individualistic view of success.

Second, for reasons mentioned above (and many others) the market looks to be a rather unreliable indicator of one’s true economic value to society.  Is the CEO of a securities firm who didn’t understand, let alone predict, the housing crisis on his watch really worth 10,000 times more to society than a school teacher, as their salaries would suggest?  Is compensation in this system really “fair”?5

Third, and more to the point, what exactly is lost when a person’s dignity and quality of life is wrapped up primarily in what they produce?  Is a professional athlete worth vastly more to society than a disabled worker who relies on federal housing and subsidies to work part-time in a local factory?  That’s a big ideological question which I suspect will continue in the following conversation.  More practically, for those who think the task of caring for this disabled worker (or an elderly retiree, or a poor single mother) should fall to his family or his church — which I agree would be ideal — consider what you’re asking of him if he has neither or if neither is able or willing to help.  A Liberal would say that that responsibility, when it arises, falls on the collective, and the only true “collective” apparatus available to us is our representative government.  And the only means available to that government are regulation, taxation, and distribution.

If our collective goal is truly equal opportunity and maximum freedoms for all, then it falls on the collective to attempt to bring about equal access for those left behind by an economic system that is often inefficient, irrational, and which at times blindly selects some for failure.  Whether civil rights for African Americans when whites are in power, or dignity and equality for the underprivileged when the wealthy are in power, Liberalism seeks to attain equal opportunity and freedoms for all in a system that tends to favor some at the expense of others.4

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Footnotes

  1. The word “Liberal” can mean almost anything including, at times, one political philosophy and also its opposite (see “Liberal Economics”)!  I use it here to mean the contemporary, capital-L Liberal Party in the U.S.
  2. For a brief outline of Keynesianism in its own words:
  3. Studies of this kind are enormously complex but the emerging evidence matters.  Here are the 9 major non-partisan studies of the effects of the 2009 American Recovery and Reinvestment Act: .  One of the reasons Keynesianism has enjoyed such a resurgence lately is because of how much better the U.S.’s stimulus approach to the global financial crisis appears compared to Europe’s austerity approach.
  4. Greg Mankiw, economic advisor to George W. Bush and Mitt Romney, recently wrote an article defending the market’s ability to fairly compensate individuals regardless of background titled “Defending the One Percent”:  .  He sparked several critiques which illustrate the Liberal position, including Harold Pollack’s “The Complacency of the Meritocrats”: .

Kyle has a Bachelors in Religion and Philosophy and a Masters in Divinity. He currently teaches Bible at a private Christian school and only interacts with politics and economics as an amateur with a particular interest in the intersection of faith and politics in America. Kyle loves baseball, author Marilynne Robinson, and chips with good guacamole. 

The Influence of Worldview on our Politics Part 2: Conservatism

***This is part of a series comparing political views. To read the introduction, click .***

Conservatism Empowers Economic Strength

by Jeff Rutherford

Summary of the Conservative Worldview

Here are some fundamental principles of Conservatism arranged in a row of dominoes that fall, each into the next, along a logical path.

  • Conservatism’s philosophical point of origin is this fact:  Humans are fallible and corruptible.  All humans act badly sometimes.  Some humans act badly often.  This is human nature – non-perfectible, rooted in the motivations of self-preservation and self-improvement.
  • To protect society from imperfect human nature, this first principle is recognized as truth:  Humans are endowed with unalienable rights from God, the Creator.  If you prefer a non-religious rationale, these rights come from the logical application of the concept of .  This first principle is self-evident.  Without it, what’s to stop power-hungry men from arbitrarily enslaving others?
  • No person is entitled to deprive another of his/her unalienable rights without consent.  In fact, the litmus test for unalienable rights is, “Can the right be exercised at no cost to others?”
  • Unalienable rights include the right to accumulate property, through honest labor and trade, which cannot be confiscated without the owner’s consent.
  • Since nobody is entitled to another’s property, individuals are morally responsible to earn a living for themselves and their dependent family.   This is self-reliance.
  • Government is last in a descending order of sovereignty:
    1. God
    2. Individuals
    3. Government

    Government cannot exert control over sovereign individuals without their consent, because unalienable rights aren’t granted by government.

  • Government may collect and spend some of the resources of individuals for their common benefit, but only as stipulated in the contract that formed the government – the Constitution.  Existing by “consent of the governed” is the only way government is compatible with unalienable rights.
  • The most important purpose of government is to provide a consistent, objective legal system to protect honest people from inevitable attempts by unethical people to separate them from their unalienable rights and accumulated property.
  • Upon taking office, the human nature of politicians doesn’t magically change.  In fact they seem to become even more corruptible.  is intoxicating, and threatens the sovereignty of individuals.  So a vigorous system of checks and balances is required to enforce accountability and preserve the proper order of sovereignty. This is “separation of powers.”

Conservative Approach to Economics

Practical economic policies are established in harmony with human nature, without assuming humans can be induced to become selfless and communal by ignoring their natural self-interest.  Economic policies must be , not rely naively on unconstrained idealism.  Conservatism expects certain traits of normal economic behavior, which are NOT flaws:

  • People won’t work as hard to benefit strangers as to .  It’s a motivation for self-preservation.
  • People react to new government taxes and excessive regulations by to maximize their take-home pay.  It’s a motivation for self-improvement.
  • People don’t hide their savings under their mattress.  They invest in bank accounts, shares of enterprises (stocks), and loans to enterprises (bonds), .

Economic policies should keep these points in mind:

  • . Prices and resources must be allowed to respond to the needs and preferences of the millions of purchasers, expressed during their billions of daily transactions.
  • Prosperity is fueled by production.  Consumptive demand invites production, but .
  • Incentives matter.  Activities that increase production, savings, and voluntary charity should be incentivized.  Activities that increase consumption and dependency on government-provided subsistence should be reasonably DIS-incentivized.  Often, by DIS-incentivizing production and incentivizing consumption and dependence on government subsistence.
  • Every dollar taxed from the private economy is .  While some government infrastructure strengthens society, it shouldn’t exceed 19-20% of the total economy, or the economy’s power is sapped.
  • Policies should be judged by their actual results, not their superficially-intended results.  They should be revised or repealed if .

An Economic Metaphor

When government policies inadvertently DIS-incentivize work and production, and/or incentivize consumption and redistribution of property, then society , hoping to coast on its past momentum.  That’s a lot like unplugging a power strip from the wall outlet and plugging it into itself.

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Jeff Rutherford is a Colorado native living in a rural ranching community southeast of Denver with his wife and two teenagers.  Having earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Electrical Engineering Technology in 1984, he now makes his living as a senior technology manager in the high-tech electronics industry.  His hobbies are investing, amateur (at best) woodworking, corresponding with friends, collecting classic rock music, fixing the tractor mower in summer, fixing the tractor plow in winter, and studying crucial subjects such as American history, economics, and the various theories of government.

In July 2012, Jeff began a blog called , as a cordial place for rational discussion of the proper role and reach of government in our lives, and the tradeoffs between liberty and security.  He approaches life as a pragmatist, coming from a solid conservative perspective on fiscal, national defense, criminal justice, and marketplace issues — and a mildly conservative perspective on the so-called “social issues.”  Jeff seeks to calmly elicit the logical views of his participants to try finding common ground upon which to build a bit of civil agreement, or at least respect for each other’s principled opinions.

“A worldview is a more or less coherent understanding of the nature of reality, which permits its holders to interpret new information in light of their preconceptions. Clashes among worldviews cannot be ended by a simple appeal to facts. Even if rival sides agree on the facts, people may disagree on conclusions because of their different premises.” -Michael Lind

One of the hindrances to a productive political discussion is that of failing to understand our opponent. It is easy to think that those with political views different from our own are illogical or even just plain evil. We think they want to destroy the world as we know it. However, it is rarely the case that those who maintain opposing political views are dumb, irrational, evil, or any of the other accusations we tend to throw at each other.

We argue about the details, without understanding the bigger picture. Each position is built on foundational principles, those of which we tend to assume are true and obvious. We build a logical framework of our political beliefs based on an ideology, one that is cohesive and relatively consistent.

The problem comes when we argue about the superficial issues without understanding the underlying principles or worldview. We go around in circles with our opponents, but never really hear or understand what they say. When we evaluate our opponents’ beliefs based on our worldview, their ideas appear to be illogical. We misunderstand their motives and intentions. Then the name-calling begins, because we cannot figure out how someone could hold such a belief without having some mental or moral defect.

They are simply building on a different foundation.

Worldview affects so much more than just our political ideologies, but in an attempt to demonstrate the importance of understanding worldviews and the effects they have, we are going to look closely at differing political views.

Over the next few weeks, we will examine the dominant American political ideologies: conservatism, liberalism, and libertarianism. Because of the complexity of each view, we intend to focus primarily on their approach to economics.

My goal is to help people understand differing views by presenting each view fairly and rationally; free from the usual hate-filled misrepresentation that accompanies so many articles and debates. In an attempt to remove bias and give each view a fair representation, I have invited individuals who embrace each view to explain the underlying principles of the position they represent.

I regard each person invited to participate in this series very highly. They are intelligent, rational and respectful. I invite you, our readers, to participate in the discussion as we all seek to better understand one another. Each of the writers have included links for further reading. I encourage you to take advantage of the resources provided.

Since this is a blog that embraces a Biblical worldview, I want to challenge our Christian readers to also evaluate each view in light of their religious beliefs. It is often assumed among evangelicals that Christians must be conservative, in all areas. As you read, ask yourself if the view being presented is consistent with a Biblical worldview. Is there anything specific to each view that is contrary to the Bible?

by Stephanie Lasater

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By David Moberly

This is a long post but I ask you to read the WHOLE thing before posting your angry comments below:   :)
Gay marriage has been a right vs. left issue as long as I’ve been paying attention. Historically however, it’s been a right vs. wrong issue in every society with recorded history. A relatively short while ago (20ish years), the conversation turned from the right to practice homosexuality to the more modern argument dealing withequality under the law for homosexuals, i.e. marriage for same-sex partners. There is no way to believe one way or the other without bothering a SIGNIFICANT amount of the public, so let’s just be honest. Most of you will disagree with at least a  portion (or maybe if I’m lucky, all) of the Socially Conservative-Libertarian approach; for the 6 of you that agree – feel free to comment below to bolster my confidence.

There are 2 questions that need answered when dealing with gay marriage – 1) Is homosexuality and gay marriage wrong from a moral perspective; 2) Should it be dealt with from a legislative perspective? If you’re a Conservative or Fundamentally Orthodox (not the denomination but the true definition of Orthodox) Christian, most likely your answer is “yes,” to both questions. If you’re a secular or non-religious type, most likely they’re both “no,” but let’s take a moment to separate and deal with these questions individually.

It used to be okay in this country to disagree with somebody and still avoid name calling and rhetorical bullying. These days, if you offend political correctness, the dialogue degrades quickly to insults (and let’s be honest you ACLU kool-aid drinkers, you guys own the market on hyper-sensitivity). While the left is usually (and probably correctly) assigned the label of name-callers or cry babies, the right is easily the more guilty of the 2 sides for assuming the moral high ground through dogmatic rote – or believing something simply because other people believe it and have believed it for a long time. So, let’s just agree that both sides probably have some common ground to find and some poor tactics to lose for the sake of good conversation. Now back to the topic: I believe it is possible and beneficial to distinguish between the morality of an action and the role of government in legislating an action.

If you’re a Constitutional Conservative, you probably believe strongly in the difference between civil authority and church authority (do you really want the government telling you what to believe and how to worship?); if you’re a progressive or liberal, you probably believe in the responsibility of society as a whole and  distinguish between individual and corporate rights. Or perhaps you’re somewhere in the middle and I’ll let you define yourself (I’m obviously painting with broad strokes here).

So here’s another way to think about this - you’re entirely welcome to disagree, but I encourage you to at least read on. Why can’t I believe that homosexuality is morally wrong, harmful to society and against God’s will, and at the same time not believe that criminalizing it is the proper response? If I truly believe that being gay is morally wrong, but truly believe that it is not up to government to enforce my morality, where is the conflict? Is it even possible for government to legislate morality with a majority decision (see: prohibition)? Libertarian ideology, is ultimately a proposition in maturity: “You’re welcome to believe what you believe, please welcome me to believe what I believe.” Here are the 3 strongest objections to this stance that I will tackle individually:

1) Being gay is against the law of nature and biology, therefore it does not need to be tolerated. 
Response: Approximately half of America disagrees with this philosophy and as a citizen of a democratic republic, I’m open to the idea that no matter how strongly I feel about a decision and no matter how morally correct that I believe my position to be, as an individual, I don’t have the prerogative of dictating morality for the entire nation. Using Freedom as the litmus test is the best way to ensure the rights of all persons/organizations are left in-tact, so long as those rights do not infringe upon the life, liberty or property of another. I know that as a Christian, it is easy to feel justified hoping that my morally superior (according to my world view) beliefs will be the law of the land – but from a governmental stance, is this a good test of whether laws are good or bad for the country?

2) God condemns homosexuality, we as Christians should oppose it.
Response: I do oppose it. I believe homosexuality is wrong and would not attend a Church that taught differently. I believe Scripture is clear that homosexuality (along with a large number of other actions many of us struggle with on a daily basis) is wrong in God’s eyes. Churches should stand and preach against homosexuality, pornography, divorce, pre-marital sex, lying, laziness, greed, cowardice, etc. as vices that give indication of our need for forgiveness in Christ Jesus and make our society worse. They should also preach loving those that don’t agree with you, compassion, generosity, kindness, respect for others, etc. The clarification I want to communicate is that Church policy (voluntary adherence to as a Christian) should not dictate legislative policy (mandatory adherence to as a United States Citizen).

3) God will judge our nation if we allow homosexuality to flourish
Response: Being gay is one sin out of many that God will judge – let’s be honest Christians: the church is not a shining pillar of strong marriages and abstention from sexual vices. Loudly beating the drum against gay marriage, while well-intentioned, probably gives more of an appearance of hypocrisy than being “salt and light.” I believe that God may judge America more harshly for the acceptance of rampant homosexuality, but see the previous 2 questions. The questions “do I agree with the practice?” and “do I believe it is the Supreme Court’s obligation to overturn State’s rights in an effort to legislate Biblical morality?” are not synonymous.

Side Note: When did the Church become the advocators of “don’t,” rather than “do?” Not only are there plenty of other sexual sins a Church could be as passionate about avoiding as homosexuality, there are a lot of wonderful things we can do and preach to help others. As I read the words of Christ regarding the challenges of discipleship and the implications of truly following Him, I find myself less concerned with the sins other people knowingly commit (not to mention that I have a few myself) as I am with the acts of compassion, generosity and obedience to Christ’s words that I knowingly omit.

And just to be sure that I offend all equally, here a few points regarding gay marriage for proponents to consider:

1) Please don’t attempt to enforce your ideology on others as morally superior or “tolerant.” “Tolerating” bad ideas led to the Holocaust, Crusades and many other historical abominations that have cost the lives of millions. “Tolerance” is not the goal, equitable treatment under the law is the goal; so long as the rights of others are not violated for your rights to remain intact. Churches have every right to stand for and promote their beliefs; in fact, I believe they have the responsibility from Christ to do those things. If you don’t like that, good news: you’re welcome NOT to attend church! Don’t confuse that by thinking you have the right to silence churches and Christianity.

2) The moment the LBGT community begins using lawsuits, slander and other absurd tactics to go after organizations who will not condone their lifestyles or perform their marriages is the moment that they officially become the most hypocritical movement in history. Let’s be real okay, the pro-gay lobby is not a bunch of Civil Rights advocates, rather lifestyle advocates – a lifestyle of their own choosing by the way (although I realize some disagree with that). Please don’t act like you’re the modern version of MLK Jr. – thinking that all must bow to your ideology. Try that in a less civil-liberty type nation (see:Iran) and you’ll most likely get your head cut off. America is the land of the free - free to practice homosexuality and free to believe that it is wrong. That doesn’t make anybody a bigot, it makes them morally different than you. Grow up! :) <- The smiley is to prove that this issue doesn’t fire me up!

As I said, Libertarian ideology is a proposition of maturity. Name calling and moral smugness are the tactics of children. Persuasion, evangelism, education and positive dialogue are great tools for trying to change people’s minds through mutual understanding. Name calling or demanding governmental help for promoting or limiting a particular lifestyle or morality shows a lack of true conviction that is willing to suffer ill treatment, persecution, loss, etc. while continuing to stand for what they believe to be right. If you’re a Christian, you’re instructed that you will receive tribulation in the world – not be the instigators of tribulation to the world. The Christian Libertarian goal (as I view it) is to work for true justice and equality – equal protection for all (even those I don’t agree with) under the law.

David is former of student of Boise State University where he holds an Associate of Arts with an emphasis in Economics.  He is a recent graduate of Harvest International Training Center, where he received his Bachelor’s Degree in Biblical Studies. He is currently pursuing his Master’s Degree in Theological Studies and works as a Mortgage Lender for First Mortgage Company of Idaho. David is an Idaho born, lifelong resident currently living in Boise, ID. In February of 2013 he moved to Meridian with his new wife, Katey. He is passionate about how politics, spiritual truths and historical philosophy all play a key role in determining, “Que Veritas,” or “What is Truth.”