49 thoughts on “Bereans VLOG (1/17/2018)”

  1. A few thoughts. Interesting as always.

    Why are we equating resources with merit? The argument, as I heard it, is that all things being equal, Norwegians have more resources, so they deserve to migrate here because they’re better off. The argument was also made that poorer migrants would have a harder time making it here. This seems to have very little to do with merit, in my mind: Surely Trump isn’t more meritorious because he is from a rich family? And more distressingly, this seems to be an admission that our system does not reward merit, but instead disproportionately benefits wealthier people. That sounds like a socialist argument to me.

    Second, why is our instinct to defend him? You guys have a great discussion about failed states and what that means for potential migrants, but we all know that’s not how Trump sees this. You all agree, he’s more or less vomiting up whatever comes to mind at the moment. He’s not actually weighing the relative social structures and institutions of nations. Not that the discussion isn’t worthwhile, but I feel we could easily just condemn and distance ourselves from him before we begin, because he’s not having this level of thought about it.

    I think you miss what most people dislike about the GOP when you try to shift from what he said to ‘what policy would he propose.’ For most people, the way that he says what he says indicates the kind of policy that he is proposing. Your talk about a merit based system is wonderful and far more nuanced than his idea:What he proposed is in stark opposition to what you all agreed was a good idea: He wants to vet people by where they are coming from. That’s the substance of what he said, and there’s no getting around that. So when the GOP turns to try and do something serious in the wake of his gaffes, they can’t escape the accusation that they’re assisting him in implementing what we would all agree is a bad policy. I find it a lot like his immigration ban: what he says informs us of his intent, regardless of whether someone smoother can make it presentable.

    1. Theophilus,

      Thanks for your thoughtful comments. When we were discussing resources, we were not talking about resources in the sense of material wealth – money. While there may be a correlation between the amount of wealth a person has accumulated and the amount of human capital (ability to produce and to be a productive member of society) it is productive abilities with which we are concerned. An argument about a merit criterion is that the immigrant should be a productive contributing member of our society. Of course, this is a very short-term view on immigration policy and difficult to implement in practice. There are people that might not appear to have potential to be productive now, who might be very productive in the future and those who might appear to be productive now–who really would not be productive.

      I agree with your comments about the instinctual defense of Pres. Trump. I have never considered myself a “hard” Republican, and yet I am troubled that Pres. Trump ran and was elected as a Republican. I think I am more “instinctually” want to distance myself from him.

      1. Dr. Wheeler,

        Right, you were clear in calling it human capital. I may have connected that too strongly to resources in the abstract, but I still feel that in a large measure the differences are accounted for by the relative wealth of the societies we’re comparing. If that is really the case, then the real proposal is that we vet people by their access to resources, since 9 times out of 10 that will be what separates the qualified from the unqualified. To vet in this way feels like a tacit endorsement of the idea that one’s resources determine (or at least VERY strongly predict) success. I’m interested in the idea of a merit system, but I would prefer it if it could be done in a way that was less blatantly preferential to the most developed nations.

  2. Theophilus,
    I still believe you are turning this on his head a little. The human capital differences are what causes the differences in wealth. While there is a synergistic effect between human capital and the wealth it creates, the argument is that we should allow people who are more probable to be economically successful (simply create a surplus – not to be a monetary drag) to come into the country.

    How would you determine merit?

    1. Perhaps I am. I just see the two as interconnected. I’m not disagreeing with your analysis, it just doesn’t sit well with me.

      Measuring merit is not easy, though, you’re right. I’m concerned that prioritizing Norwegians has a cost though: even low skilled labor generates growth, and we rely on immigration to supply a lot of our low skilled labor.

      I actually don’t have a problem with our current system encouraging family unification. That seems humane and sensible to me. I think a lot of the rhetoric around “chain migration” is ugly and reflects unpleasant attitudes about the people coming here.

      But to give at least some of an answer, I’d guess that basic English is a plus. In my experience with residence abroad they frequently ask for criminal history and evidence that you can reasonably expect to maintain yourself.

      I would prefer a generous tack though, since I believe immigration is a good thing for a society, so I’m wary of setting up many more barriers…

  3. Personally, I happen to be of Dr. Haymond’s opinion that whatever Trump had said in that meeting would have been interpreted as racist, though I have to question whether or not that matters any more. In some ways, I think this is part of the general problem I have with the media’s treatment of President Trump, namely that every little thing he does is interpreted in the most grandiose of responses. Part of the idea behind language is that there are varying degrees of it, and once you start to abuse the terminology which is generally reserved for a grave and most serious offense (“racist”), the term loses it meaning. Let’s be very clear; the Nazis were racists. The KKK was racist. Trump is not a racist. Describing a country in exceptionally blunt (and vulgar to some) terms does not make one a racist. Along the same lines, throwing Trump and Hitler and fascists in general into the same category similarly cheapens language to the point where it is wildly ineffective. How do you get any worse than Hitler? I guess the media could just call Trump the “king of darkness incarnate,” but there just isn’t any room left after that. Thus, when it comes time to label someone as a true “racist,” the term loses its weight because it has been so casually bounced about. The media has brutally cheapened language in this country, and there is little room left for substantive weight in our words.

    1. “Let’s be very clear; the Nazis were racists. The KKK was racist. Trump is not a racist.”


      Do we need to go all of the way back decades, back when his housing management company was the target of a Justice Department Civil Rights lawsuit over allegations he and his real estate developer father were keeping people of color from renting their apartments?

      From his comments and his deeds, Trump is clearly a white supremacist and perhaps even a white nationalist, as are many in his inner circle. Whites who are concerned about losing their status demographically were behind his from-out-of-nowhere candidacy, and most stick by him even though he has broken hundreds of promises.

      His recent comments on immigration make it clear to me that he wants more people like him in this country, and fewer people from predominantly darker skinned nations such as Haiti. His frequent stereotypical language of people of color (i.e., Mexicans are rapists, Haitiains all have AIDS, for a start) reflect his underlying white supremacy. It seems pretty obvious to me.

      I tire of those (conservatives, primarily) who keep rationalizing such comments. The Republican Party deserves to die an equally sick death as long as its members keep making excuses for such repulsive behavior.

      1. Jeff, being the target of an allegation is not proof. Unless of course you have an already formed opinion about him that sways your take on any particular story.

        “From his comments and his deeds, Trump is clearly a white supremacist”

        From YOUR INTERPRETATION of his comments and deeds and the people you listen to report on it he probably is.

        The bottom line is Donald Trump is not a righteous figure to rally around or a paragon of virtue. I don’t like use of foul language regardless if the analysis he is giving is proper or not. It is important to distinguish was he referencing the people or how the countries involved are being governed. That is a very different take. No person created by God should ever be disparaged. But if particular countries are being run poorly what is wrong with calling them out in a respectful manner? Again, I have never claimed he is virtuous nor voted for him because of I see spiritual virtue in him. Some conservative Christians have, but not as many as you would claim.

        On the flip side where is all your shock and awe at the racism displayed by Democrats both in the past and present?

    2. I’ve argued the same, about comparisons to Hitler. I think Caligula is a far more fitting historical analogue.

      That aside, I think you have an inflated view of what ‘racist’ means. A racist doesn’t have to be violent or genocidal. I agree, Nazis and the KKK were racist, but then Lincoln was also a racist. There are degrees, as you point out, and ‘racist’ is on the weak end of terms used to talk about bigotry. At least as I understand it, you can be a racist without lynching your neighbor. Racists don’t want different people moving onto their street. Racists don’t hire people who look different because they don’t think they have a good work ethic. It doesn’t have to be concentration camps and cross-burnings.

      So if we accept that there are degrees (and I agree) then we have to look at what he said and the context. The focus of his remarks is not, in fact, the country that the immigrants come from. It’s the immigrants. He’s questioning why we have so many of THESE people coming here, not lamenting the state of Haitian infrastructure. I think it deserves more weight than you’re giving it, even if we don’t take it as a sign that he’s about to open labor camps.

      And again, I don’t see why there should be any effort wasted in defense of an indefensible person. He’s a poor use of political capital that the GOP evidently cannot spare. Why conservatives want to salvage his career is beyond me. He’s an inflammatory person who does not think before saying horrible things. That is not an exaggeration, and I don’t see why we should try to make him sound reasonably by twisting ourselves in circles. He’s abnormal. I hope he remains that way, because I certainly would like him to be our last president who acts like this.

      1. I don’t see myself as a conservative who wants to salvage Trump, but given what would occur in the country if his opponent was President I think we are better off than we would have been. Honestly I would ask how many of our virtuous politicians, on both sides, currently are no better than Trump, but just have the political correctness thing down to a science. I think many of their hearts are just as corrupt but they consciously make an effort to mask it unlike the President who just starts talking.

        My definition of politician would be: Promoting, doing, or influencing anything with any possible method in order to gain more power (wealth, higher position, re-election, etc)

        The problem is much deeper than Trump and will be around long after him unfortunately.

      2. It’s fine to be skeptical of other politicians. I’m glad we’re so alarmed at their inability to govern. And I’ll agree that the problem is bigger than Trump, as long as we recognize that it is a problem that he especially represents.

      3. I’d disagree a bit. While I often don’t care for Trump’s rhetoric, there are things he has accomplished I have been pleased with. I think there are many immoral people who do well in their jobs. They don’t necessarily tie together always.

      4. I do not like the word “racist.” As a word it has been beaten just about to death already.

        White supremacist (or, sometimes, black supremacist) makes more sense in that it is more descriptive.

        President Trump is a white supremacist. Patrick Buchanan and many other paleo-conservatives are as well. The version of the Democratic Party that took over the South in the 1890’s and 1900’s was white supremacist also. Franklin Graham, after his comments this morning, might be one too, although I would need to see more before being confident about that assertion.

      5. Yes, Lincoln was a racist. Then again, very few white people were not. The only exceptions I can think of were some of the white teachers who came from New England who went to the South as educational missionaries to teach the freedmen and freedwomen. Some of those teachers believed in social equality and did not see whites as being any better than non-whites.

        Both major parties were racist well into the twentieth century. The first major political party that was not was the Communist Party (then again, when were the communists “major”?).

  4. Thanks for the video.

    Immigration is an important issue for me, and I think that a healthy immigration system is a big part of what has made America a strong nation.

    I also think that America should have a hand in helping young people in America and around the world receive a good education that helps them fit in the modern, global economy.

  5. Daniel said, “On the flip side where is all your shock and awe at the racism displayed by Democrats both in the past and present?”

    Your post is pure whataboutism. That does not help your credibility.

    I would refer you to my publications, but, then, why waste my time?

    We are talking about 2018 and the future, not 1964 and the past.

    1. I said past and present not just past. My question is why single out Donald Trump when his opposition is no better on the issue?

      1. What do you mean by this? What Democratic racism are you talking about? Have I missed something?

        And what do you mean by ‘not better?’ I feel like, whatever else, Mr. Trump’s insensitivity makes him worse than anyone who thinks before they say something… He’s definitely noteworthy. He’s proud to stick out and be mean.

      1. And what do you mean by this? Like, making race relations worse? Being upset when race relations are bad? I’m not sure I understand.

      2. If race relations improve to the point that racism is as nonexistent as possible it removes a huge talking point for the Democrats to a population that votes overwhelmingly for them. For example the African American vote was 88-8 for Clinton, the Latino and Asian vote 65-29 for Clinton. And it isn’t just a Trump factor as these numbers are trends over many elections. Why so? Because Democrats paint issues that they are on the short end of analytically as a culture war of some sort, either race, gender, social class, etc. Why would democrats advocate for open immigration and amnesty? New votes of course. The votes are what matter to them, not the people themselves (not a blanket statement for all Dems, but the party in general. People matter to them when it is in their interest). Lower taxes for example they claim favors the rich. It is in their interest to play 90% of the population against the richest 10% cause regardless of money, everyone gets only one vote. Are you pro-life? Then they paint you as anti-woman.

        My whole point is it is in the Democrats interest for racism to continue to exist to promote their talking points to some of their core voting blocks. And the mainstream media helps them along with their often one sided “news”.

      3. First, the same argument you made could used to cynically suggest that the GOP does not care about abortion: that they will never let it be solved so that they can guarantee themselves the votes of concerned evangelicals. It’s an interesting theory, but you need more than that to prove that this is some kind of concerted methodology, just as an ideological liberal would need more to convince me that the GOP is secretly entrenching abortion. It is quite sensational, though.

        Second, you must have a terribly condescending view of your fellow voters if you really think that the only reason there is an opposition party to the GOP is because they orchestrate an enormous lie. I am not convinced that, as you suggest, the cards are all counted and one side has won the ‘analytical’ side of the argument.

        Third, Trump is uniquely insulting to minorities. He has, intentionally or not, repeatedly attacked them and their families. That you do not see his tactless approach as a factor in his wild unpopularity among any demographic that is not close to his makes me wonder if maybe you haven’t heard these things. I’m sure they have been taken to mean far more than they ought by some people, but taken objectively he is not a tactful person, so we should not be surprised that he is not popular with these demographics.

        And here I quote you:

        “Why would democrats advocate for open immigration and amnesty? New votes of course. The votes are what matter to them, not the people themselves.”

        I am baffled that you cannot come up with any other explanation for why someone’s position is different than Trump’s. Immigration is not a black and white issue with an obvious correct answer. People could have many reasons to advocate open immigration and amnesty: Dr. Wheeler advocates open immigration, and he is surely not taking that stance to boost democratic turnout. There are many good reasons why amnesty should be an option to some people.

        I’m really surprised that your view is this belligerent. Do you really believe that the Democrats are willfully pursuing policies that they know are bad for everyone so that they can hold onto power in a nation they are intentionally destroying? I prefer to think that both sides are acting, for the most part, rationally, and that immigration and race are legitimate issues that voters can be split on.

        Finally, I’ve had about enough of hearing how racism doesn’t exist anymore. We’re deluding ourselves if we think that, and a frank discussion needs to be had. If the GOP isn’t willing to have that discussion that is their loss, but I don’t think you have to look at the statistics for long to realize that something is definitely wrong with the way our country has handled race-issues.

      4. Theophilus,

        Ok, regarding abortion, regardless of what the GOP does regarding the issue or any bill it passes, it still boils down to having the votes on the Supreme Court to overturn Roe v Wade. At the moment with Justice Kennedy being against an overturn, those votes aren’t there. So until (if ever) there exists a majority of justices who would overturn it, this will be something they need to campaign on with pro-life voters at the Presidential and Congressional level. I’ll admit it is more complicated with certain bans existing depending how far into the pregnancy it is, but for starters hope that is sufficient. But basically the only way to solve it is to gain a majority on the court who would vote for an overturn if my thinking is right. I realize you were just offering a counter analogy from the opposing side, but that would be my take.

        Second, my critique of Democrats was mainly focused on their tactics on family values (abortion, gay marriage, etc) and economics. I base my positions on abortion and gay marriage from the Bible so that stands outside of any ‘analytical’ approach. But many liberals do paint Christians who oppose abortion and gay marriage based on the Bible as sexist and bigoted. I hope you don’t deny this exists. I would not say the only reason an opposition to the GOP exists is because of a lie. I’d say they label people with opposing views and hurl false attacks to supplement their opposition. On economics I largely see conservative principles as tactically better than liberal. Generically, liberals want more government control and regulations and more reliance on government via welfare, education, etc. (more power) As an example, take the issue of Private school vouchers vs Public school funding. Some liberals want public schools exclusively so they can indoctrinate youth with their beliefs and in the future get their votes. But they hurl accusations of racism against voucher programs because they claim it favors whites due to income levels and affordability. In connection with this, it is also an advantage to liberals if more people remain on welfare because by advocating extensive welfare funding they are more likely to gain votes from those on it, rather than working to get people off welfare which takes away that reliance on the government. I could go on but want to address your other points.

        Regarding Trump, the voting stats show Trump had roughly the same margins with African Americans and Hispanics as Ronald Reagan in 1984, one of the biggest landslides in our history. The large numbers are not unique to Trump. Unless you think Reagan, both Bushes, Dole, McCain, and Romney were all racist as well (Jeff may think this, who knows) then I don’t see the connection of Trump being some new phenomenon in unpopularity with minorities as a Republican. My comment on Democrats playing the race card I could have made long before Trump even hinted at running for President.

        Moving on, first off, I am positive Dr Wheeler is not in it for his own personal gain, unless he is secretly planning an Ohio Senate run this year 😉 My point on immigration is not a policy issue as much as it is the liberals crying racist to those who oppose certain measures they are in favor of for whatever reason, be it security, economical, or whatever. In honor of Jeff’s logical fallacy knowledge, the liberals use an appeal to emotion on the issue to supplement their position rather than debating the merits on their own.

        “Do you really believe that the Democrats are willfully pursuing policies that they know are bad for everyone so that they can hold onto power in a nation they are intentionally destroying?”

        Honestly, for some of them (not all), yes I do. It shouldn’t be all that surprising to have people looking out for #1 even at the expense of others. And some Republicans are this way also, but it comes more from the left in my opinion.

        In no way do I think racism has ceased to exist, I don’t think I said anything that would suggest that but sorry if I did. You said that race is a legitimate issue people can be split on. I take it you mean how to address it, and not whether people of different skin color should be treated different or not, cause I don’t think that is legitimate at all to disagree on. Maybe just the way I read the wording of the sentence.

        Appreciate your thoughts, if I maintained reasonable coherence by the end of all that.

      5. Thanks for the answers.

        I see your point with abortion and the courts. I was merely saying that a paranoid liberal could argue that the GOP wants to protect abortion for tactical reasons, which is very similar to the argument you’re making about the Democratic Party.

        On your second point, a couple thoughts: First, I think you’re a bit too cynical, or perhaps too strategically minded when you look at the opposition’s policies. I agree that neither side is orchestrating a lie. In fact, I don’t think either side is even disagreeing with the other’s facts. They have different priorities, which I think largely explains the difference. While there may be some disagreement about whether conservative economic ideas are necessarily good for growth (Kansas, for one, seems to be hurting despite their best attempts, and Jindall had a notoriously hard time with Louisiana) most liberal economic arguments are focused on fair growth and limiting poverty directly. You do them a disservice when you turn what is, usually, genuine concern for peoples’ well-being into a cynical power-play.

        I’m not sure what false attacks you’re referencing. I do see a false attack on (or perhaps just a misunderstanding of) their position on education. I’m not aware that eliminating school choice is a foundational tenet of Democratic policy-making, but you’re being unfair to their position. Let’s acknowledge that ‘white flight’ collapsed the funding and support for many inner-city schools and coincided with desegregation. There’s a fine argument for school choice, but we have to at least acknowledge that one of the consequences of school choice is an unfair turn in which mostly poor, mostly urban (although rural areas are vulnerable as well) and largely minority students get stranded in an underfunded, ill-equipped school. Whether there are good consequences or not, some people get shafted by proliferating school choice, and that has tangible, sometimes life-long consequences.

        I don’t know what else to say to your argument about welfare except that I can’t imagine you have very many productive discussions with liberals if you accuse them of regimenting poverty for the sake of winning votes. That is a pretty uncharitable light to cast on them, and I would be surprised if people want to discuss their position at that point.

        On Trump: We have never, in the modern era, had a president as unpopular with minorities as our current administration. He is unique, although I’ll grant that the GOP has been a mostly-white party for a long time. I don’t think this is because the DNC ‘plays the race card’ though, or at least that doesn’t explain it entirely. This is primarily because I respect minority voters. Those that I know are very smart, and not likely to vote for someone who is lying to them in such a see-through way, as you suggest the DNC does. Rather, it seems to me that one party, more than the other, is open to policies that minority groups care about, and the other party are vocal supporters of policies that these communities do not care about, or, in some cases, vehemently oppose. There is a reason that Trump had significantly less support with Hispanics than his predecessors.

        I’ll grant that people can sensationalize issues, but I think you should give more consideration to the possibility that minority voters are rational, and align with one party for convincing positive reasons, rather than because they’re being manipulated. I think that understanding would help the GOP broaden their support, especially because many minority communities agree with far more conservative social policy than they do with more progressive ideas. There’s big potential there.

        I’m not sure what you’re getting at with immigration and emotional appeals. I would submit that a policy could have unintentionally racist outcomes even if it was not drafted to hurt minorities, which may explain part of their concern. I also think that the human suffering we are contributing to or preventing should be a real consideration when we draw immigration policy. Perhaps that is an emotional appeal, but human emotions are real and a policy that ignores the human aspect of a problem like immigration is not one I’m comfortable with.

        We’ll agree to disagree on systematic sabotage as a political position. There may be some, but I am pretty confident that the vast majority of our politicians are well-intentioned and rational. If I didn’t believe that then I would be undermining the idea a functioning representative government.

        I misinterpreted what you said about Democrats having an incentive to protect racism (that’s a weird thought) as you proposing that it wouldn’t exist if they weren’t stirring the pot. My apologies.

        What I meant about being split on racial issues were things like police brutality, the prison-industrial-complex, school choice etc. These are big problems that are not easy to understand, must less solve. Sorry about the confusion.

        You were coherent. No worries there. :)

      6. What I’m trying to say is that the liberals try to supplement their positions with additional attacks to sway people through emotion. For instance with economic growth they are concerned for people, but they also try to claim that any policy that benefits the upper class must be hurting the lower class as if only one can benefit and not both. Therefore if you want to cut taxes on the upper class you must want to stick it to the poor.

        With school choice I think the system should not be dinged because of any preexisting economic condition. If policies that could bring up wages and employment for minorities existed then over time school choice would not be a race or social class issue just an alternative method for those who wish it. But people who want that have been portrayed as wanting to bring back segregation and labeled racist by some as a way of garnering support against the issue.

        When I speak of liberal mindset I am not talking about an average liberal citizen, I am referring to a select group, both politicians and media, that want themselves to be in control of our lives and the way we think and do things.

        “I don’t know what else to say to your argument about welfare except that I can’t imagine you have very many productive discussions with liberals if you accuse them of regimenting poverty for the sake of winning votes. That is a pretty uncharitable light to cast on them, and I would be surprised if people want to discuss their position at that point.”

        The reverse is why should conservatives want to discuss positions when being labeled racists, bigots, sexists, deplorables etc. simply for having a different opinion on issues?

        The race card does exist. Obama saying that he would be personally insulted if black voters don’t vote for Hillary? Being told that disagreeing with Obama policies is racist? The quotes are there.

        I’ll ask a broader question. If Democrats are the party to champion the improvement in the livelihood of minorities, after all these years, why haven’t things improved for them?

      7. Sure, some do. I think you’re overstating it, though: There is legitimate debate about whether ‘trickle-down’ economics actually works, and someone who disagrees with the idea that it works or is fair would be hypocritical to support it. And they’re not making up an emotional appeal, part of why they think it doesn’t work is because they believe it entrenches the inequality in our society, which is a bad thing. You disagree, of course, but their position isn’t cynical.

        With school choice, what you’re asking is that we ignore the reality of our situation and implement policies that would be fine in an idealized world we don’t live in. That’s not satisfactory to them. Sure, if widespread economic inequality was not tied to race and prevalent throughout our culture then of course these issues would be different. But we can’t really act like there’s not a problem, and make policies in way that is intentionally ignoring the problems and how we affect them. That seems like bad policy making to me. If you acknowledge, like I suggested, that there were racist reasons for many of the differences between failing schools and private schools, then you need to take the suggestion that people wanting to ignore this are, intentionally or otherwise, exacerbating the problem.

        On media manipulation: People make the same argument about Rupert Murdoch and the Koch brothers. You have to either accept that both parties are horribly manipulative and lead by powerful ideologues (in which case our discussion is a good exercise, but doesn’t really matter), or you need to be more charitable to both sides.

        “The reverse is why should conservatives want to discuss positions when being labeled racists, bigots, sexists, deplorables etc. simply for having a different opinion on issues?”

        I never said anything like that. Some people do, but the difference is that you are doing that CURRENTLY, in our discussion. I don’t mean it rude, but I feel like there’s just a layer of civility between your position (liberals are sneaky schemers, deluding minorities into voting for them on baseless emotional grounds) and Dr. Adams, who just bluntly says what he thinks. You are nicer about it, but what you actually think about the other side is at least as insulting. I don’t take it personally, as I’m really pretty moderate, but I’d encourage you to think about it. I’m not sure if you always notice how mean some of the stuff you say sounds.

        Moving ahead, here’s why I dislike the language we use when it comes to race in public policy: Talking about ‘the race card’ or ‘race-baiting’ and such implies that race has no place in discussions of public policy. I think these terms delegitimize discussions about important issues before we even start talking, and that’s bad.

        To address Obama specifically, his presidency was marked by several big issues for minorities, especially the black community, and Trump represents a repudiation of that legacy. We can talk about whether what he said was excessive, or whether Hillary was a good torch-bearer for further progress on these issues (clearly she wasn’t), but we can’t really have a debate about Trump’s position. I cannot invent a fictional politician to more fully embody a rejection of Obama and his legacy. I would be personally insulted as well.

        Your last paragraph confuses me. I suppose the blunt answer is that 300 years of sin and degradation, segregation and miscarriage of justice, rape and open violence, arson and theft targeted at a community that did not even ask to be here is not healed in a generation by writing on a paper that they can vote now. Some of our problems are durable and hard to heal. Why does terrorism still plague us if our politicians have been devoted to fighting it on every continent with our massive resources? You can ask these questions about many problems, but you’ll need more to convince me that Bush was secretly in cahoots with the Taliban to make sure he could get reelected with a juicy piece of leverage.

      8. It’s one thing to disagree with ‘trickle down’ or whatever. It’s another for those who try to paint those favoring these policies as people who are intentionally wanting to favor the rich over the poor. That’s what I was meaning some liberals claim about conservatives. Some don’t just disagree, which is perfectly acceptable, but continue on twisting the motives of the other side into something more sinister to gain sympathy with lower income voters.

        Back to school choice, just because a program might have been used poorly in the past doesn’t mean the program itself is bad. I would say implementing a school choice policy in 2018, while still not perfect, is far more acceptable and helpful, than say 1960, and more far than giving federal money to certain schools that fit their ideology and not to others that people want to attend. Am I ignoring problems still existing? No. I think this policy needs to be coupled with policies that are raising economic growth in areas that would be “hurt most” by a school choice policy. I think these policies are being worked on. More importantly, I am not as cynical about the President as many on this blog. I really think, despite very poor choices of words he has at times, that he cares about the minority communities and wants to help them. Black unemployment was at a 45 year low in December. Whether the President can claim full credit or not is one thing but surely he can take some. An interesting question. What communities of current US residents will be hurt more if new jobs (particularly entry level) are being taken by immigrants, whether they be legal immigrants or not? Would I be totally wrong to say perhaps minority communities?

        I didn’t attribute that quote as something you said or would say. Another on the blog I would. The difference I feel between what Jeff says and me is that I am mainly focusing on a select few liberals who have power already in some fashion (money, political, media, academia) that want to increase that power. Jeff makes comments like that toward regular people who identify as conservative (me for one). He would hate this, but quite honestly, his bluntness can come across as more tactless than the President on many occasions. I don’t see any difference in their tone (aside from Jeff at least doesn’t, that I know, use foul language). Yet he is a head cheerleader against him. It confuses me.

        I agree that race factors into policy, what I don’t like is when race is used in an attempt to guilt people into supporting a policy or candidate threatening to call people racist if they don’t support it. This did happen. To end I would ask what policies do you see specifically aimed at improving conditions for minorities that Obama had that Trump has repudiated?

      9. Fair. Some people are sensationalists. Still, there’s no room for doubt that the wealthy benefit from these tax changes far more than anyone else. If trickle down economics is not, by default, effective, that means there’s room to question who really benefits from massively increasing the deficit by cutting revenue. There’s sensationalism, and then there’s looking honestly at what our policies do.

        I don’t understand what makes you think public schools are indoctrinating children to be good liberals. You keep saying that these schools ‘fit their ideology’ as if public schools are a monolithic institution that democrats control. That’s not at all how public schools work. But sure, we can disagree about whether school choice is a good thing, as long as we’re being honest about the actual costs. (For the record, I’m not sure we disagree much here. I’m okay with some school choice, but I’m skeptical about just universalizing it.)

        I agree, you’re less cynical about Trump. I am admittedly confused about that. He, of all people, is up front about what he thinks. I think he is, at best, ambivalent about minority communities. I think Jeff was right to point out his troubled history with minorities. It’s not just his contentious leasing policies, or his dogmatic stance on what should happen to the Central Park kids even after they’ve been exonerated, or how he clung to the stupid idea that Obama was not a citizen, or how he thinks a judge with Mexican ancestry shouldn’t be allowed to preside over cases Trump is involved in because he’s ‘Pro-Mexican’ or how he said black immigrants ‘all have AIDS’ and ‘won’t go back to their huts.’ None of these things are acceptable or understandable. These are not the words and actions of someone who is committed to fairness and equal treatment. He may not be intentionally hurting anyone, but I don’t believe that he cares about minority communities, and certainly not in ways that matter to them. Wanting tax cuts does not count as caring.

        Your question is interesting indeed, but I’m fairly sure that the kinds of jobs that minority communities have available are different from the kind of unskilled labor that some immigrants come to do. I also think the economy is robust and grows, so I don’t think that hiring people who produce goods keeps other people from getting jobs too. I suspect you don’t think so either.

        I know you’re being critical of this group of powerful people. What I’m saying is that the implication is that everyone else is just stupidly going along with it, like sheep, being lied to and controlled, which is an insulting thing to think about your fellow citizens. It is the kind of thing that people say about the Koch brothers and Rupert Murdoch, not realizing that it dehumanizes conservatives generally.

        I accept that it’s not good to call people racists for opposing a policy. We should be careful to use the label accurately. Agreed.

        I’m not sure if you’re being serious about policies that minorities care about being attacked or reversed by the new administration. Our government is currently shut down because the GOP and its president want to undo DACA and the Democratic party is playing hardball about what protections these immigrants will have.

        More importantly, Trump has prettymuch cast himself as the anti-Obama, and I don’t think that’s an exaggeration. He’s hostile to protests. He’s utterly unsympathetic to minority concerns about police violence. He wants to build a wall. Even broader, he doesn’t want to cooperate with the rest of the world, he wants to make deals. He’s completely committed to a radically different way of leading than Obama, and this includes race relations. He doesn’t seem to care at all, he wants to prop up the ‘post-racial’ myth that has seen its end in the last 8 years.

      10. Even if the wealthy do benefit more from the bill, I don’t see why that’s a bad thing if others benefit also. I would say the theory is that lower taxes will increase growth, the tax base, and taxable income. A lower rate does not automatically mean less revenue. Even so I think the bigger problem is the spending end but that is an another conversation of length. I’m hearing about companies giving wage increases and special bonuses due to the bill. $2 an hour increase and bonuses as high as $1000 aren’t ‘crumbs’ for middle income families as a certain politician claimed.

        Public education is much more indoctrinating at the college level really in my opinion, though it exists at other levels. It also depends on the subject matter. I mean, both liberals and conservatives agree that 2+2=4, but might not agree on how the world came into existence, or what caused certain historical events, etc. For instance the teaching of evolution as opposed to Creation. My take, but a worldview based on Creation gives much more respect for life, created by God and us in His image, than a view of evolution. Certain views of evolution could lend more credence to racism than viewing all of us as equally created in God’s image. The bottom line is that some parents do not want their children being forced into receiving public education because the government has more control over the curriculum. If they don’t agree with what is being taught then they should have a right to seek an affordable alternative.

        “I also think the economy is robust and grows, so I don’t think that hiring people who produce goods keeps other people from getting jobs too.”

        I agree, but this is also my thinking on who can benefit from say the tax bill. Because the upper class gains does not prevent the lower from gaining also.

        I’m not saying liberals citizens are stupid and blind. I’m saying the powerful liberal leaders use these policies to increase their power. It doesn’t mean that people don’t have a reason to vote for them. If John Doe is receiving welfare checks he is not going to vote against the party providing them at the expense of others. People won’t be given incentive to increase their productivity and livelihood if it’s handed to them. And this dependence leads to greater control. Part of it is an elitist attitude by some who think they know how to better run our lives than we do. A big problem is distinguishing the freeloaders with those who really need it such as the disabled, widows, orphans, etc.

        A few things about DACA: First it was an abuse of executive authority by the President to implement it. Congress makes laws, and the President enforces them. And the corruption in the courts upheld it. Secondly, what about wanting to repeal DACA is connected to race relations? Do minorities have special privilege to break the law to enter the country regardless of the circumstances they come from? People the measure covered broke the law to come here illegally. Even though intentions may have been good you can’t just break the law to fix perceived injustices, legitimate or not. The problem needs to be worked by making better laws, not circumventing the old ones.

        Let me be clear first, not all, but some instances of police shootings on blacks that caused national outrage were legitimate self defense (thinking Ferguson here). Liberals went pronouncing sentence, looting stores, attacking people, etc. before even getting the facts. I hope you agree this is not the right way to go about protesting and more importantly solving the problem.

        Regarding police brutality I’d like your reaction to this article. http://www.nationalreview.com/article/451466/police-violence-against-black-men-rare-heres-what-data-actually-say

        I fail to see why wanting secure borders, or building a wall, is a bad thing either. And the fact that Trump is governing different than Obama is a positive for me, not a negative.

        Hopefully our back and forth results in shorter comments cause these take time to address properly.

      11. I hope so as well.

        I don’t disagree that the middle class benefits. Far less, but they do. But I disagree that the revenue will magically replace itself. It never has. This has never worked, even when Reagan did it.

        Government cannot establish a religion. Public schools are an extension of government. They cannot follow our laws and teach Creationism, this is a dilemma that they are stuck with. If you like public education, then we must also accept the limits of our government when it offers it. I’m fine with people sacrificing, electing to use their resources to do something else, but I am not comfortable undermining public education to encourage this. Public education is one of the most important parts of our society, and must be protected in my mind.

        Once again you condescend to your opposition. The welfare queen was a myth, and you again reveal a very rude understanding of people who need welfare. When we approach needy people with an eye to weeding out the lazy criminals from the ‘deserving’ poor it is hardly surprising that people are ashamed to be needy.

        I’m not defending DACA. I’m saying that it is an obvious reversal of policy that reflects on minorities. I don’t feel like arguing about whether children deserve to be punished and sent to countries where they have no family and do not speak the language because they were children when they came here.

        I’m also not interested in defending a strawman of what protesters look like. Looting and violence is not typical of a protest against police violence. Kneeling is, and our president said unpublishable things about people who did something that innocuous. You can pick Ferguson out among all of the grievances, you can focus on it if you like, but you’re excluding a mountain of other, more egregious cases. I’m glad that violent altercations with police aren’t so common as to be normal. You’re utterly tone deaf if you fail to see how that does not answer the outcry of black communities.

        It’s fine that you think Trump is a good leader. It’s fine that I don’t. I’m merely suggesting that the fact that you, and most of the GOP, think he’s a good leader is probably part of why minorities avoid voting for your candidates. And, lest we forget, this entire discussion is happening because of horrible, unpublishable things that man said about other people, people he wished didn’t want to come live in his country. You’re right, this is long. It’s also not on topic, although I don’t blame anyone for not wanting to talk about what horrible thing our president said this week. It’s depressing and constant.

      12. First question. How does a voucher system for private schools undermine public education? Why can’t both do well?

        Second, regarding creation, I don’t think they feel hand-tied. They’d teach evolution even if they could teach creation. But why not teach both creation and evolution and why people believe in each and let the students decide?

        The way I would prefer needy people be helped is not through the government but through the church and other charitable organizations. The closer the relationship is between the helpers and the recipients the more efficient the help will be and the more personable. And there are freeloaders. I am not dismissing that there are legitimate cases, or even that the majority are legitimate. I thought I made that clear.

        Back to the police brutality, the bottom line there is I do not see near as big a problem as is painted in the media. I’m not saying none exists, but I don’t think there is an epidemic going on. When cases occur they need to be dealt with, and discipline given. But there is no need for a widespread fear of law enforcement. They put their lives on the line for us and deserve respect. What the left does is scour around looking for these isolated instances and magnify them into a picture of a large scale wave when none exists. You are right that the cases of looting and violent protests are isolated as well, but so are the real cases of police brutality. Just an observation for both of us. We disagree on the varying effects of certain things but when either of us say something is overblown we are not saying it doesn’t exist. I make that assumption sometimes also.

        What I can’t stand is when people make an issue about one man, the President. Because he makes stupid, insensitive comments about stuff doesn’t make the policy he wants wrong. I think the country has a better chance to succeed with his policies than with a liberal President, regardless of his personal demeanor. I am not going to abandon support on policies because the person in best position to enact them is immoral. I also can’t stand that he contributes to it with his language. But for me the issue is always bigger than the individual. So for me, Trump’s personal actions do not factor into how I think on an issue. If Trump said he likes pizza, I’m not going to stop liking pizza because he uses bad language or is an immoral person. If I like pizza over burritos it does not indicate I favor Italians over Mexicans. If I invest in a French based company and not a Canadian based company it is because I think that investment will help me more not because I think French are superior people to Canadians. I know these are odd examples but sometimes those are needed to combat stereotypes of Trump voters.

      13. Because vouchers do not place private schools under the same regulations, and for good reason. People with learning disabilities, impairments, etc. have a hard time getting into private schools, because they’re small and not equipped. Moreover vouchers don’t usually cover the actual cost of education, so functionally what happens is children get segregated by income. That’s a problem.

        No, the government cannot establish religion. Creationism is a tenet of certain religions. To teach creationism seriously the government would need to advocate for the supernatural intervention of God in the universe. That, in most people’s minds, constitutes an establishment.

        I’m glad you are so involved in helping needy people. That’s good. But the rest of the American people, many of whom are not churchgoers, also deserve a say in the public welfare, and I think most of them look at welfare programs with successful track records in many countries and conclude differently from you on their effectiveness.

        I’m not interested in debating police brutality. You can argue with Greg Dyson about whether justice is always carried out equitably. I don’t think I can add anything to the argument that you’ve undoubtedly heard already from other sources. We disagree about whether it’s a problem. That’s unfortunate, but understandable.

        Finally, I don’t understand what there is to be upset about. Their discussion was entirely about the disgusting remarks of our president. That’s the topic at hand. His demeanor is unpresidential. His conduct disgraces the office. He degrades our country and makes us all look ignorant. And unless you’re saying that you agree, that we shouldn’t let so many Haitians and Nigerians into our nation, I strongly doubt you believe he’s got the right idea with immigration. This is all in defense of a position you disagree with. Trump’s ideas are not conservative. But if you didn’t want to talk about him then this is a weird comment section to be in.

        This is why, my very first comment, I suggest that we should waste less time defending him. If we want to reach out and get people who are not white to vote for conservative idea, we should summarily reject him and his hateful incendiary rhetoric. That the GOP is rallying around this toxic person is infuriating to me because he is doing serious damage to conservatism.

      14. Wouldn’t vouchers make a private school more affordable to a lower income family then that may want to go that route? But I agree this was a tangent from the original and I don’t really feel the need to expound much more on these other issues at this time. Just short takes on a few points.

        Teaching creation and evolution together they wouldn’t be required to say one is correct just present it with the scientific aspects of the argument.

        I don’t see why non-churchgoers can’t be aided by the church. That is a calling of the church. Recipients aren’t obligated to attend or accept our beliefs, at least not at our church. And I included any other organization that is a charity or has charitable branches.

        A quick touch on the police issue, our disagreement is not on the existence of a problem, just the degree of the problem.

        Ok, now Trump. I wouldn’t say all the GOP rallied around Trump, they just preferred him to an even more toxic option. At least that’s where my thinking was. They are both far from the ideal President, but Trump’s policies I agreed with more so than Clintons. If I had to vote again, I would vote for Trump again without hesitation. That says much more about his opponent(s) than it does him. To have rejected him would have lead to an even worse alternative in my opinion. What Donald Trump wants in immigration, based on my opinion of observing him, is that immigrants be willing and able to contribute regardless of where they come from. I’m confident if an African-American, Asian, Latino, or any other minority applied legally and came ready to contribute, that Trump would prefer them over a white that came illegally without a visible means of contributing. Disagree if you want but that is what I observe from the President. I know many will not understand that, but it is what it is.

      15. Vouchers help some people. It strands the ones with no resources: If you can’t afford to pay anything more, you get stuck in the bad school everyone left. Can you understand why leaving poor people in an enormous group in an underfunded school is a bad thing for their education? Since Democrats are worried about inequality, a system that gives people with money a head start an handicaps poor people is not ideal to them.

        The scientific aspects of a supernatural event? How does that work? You can’t dispassionately present a scientific case for creationism, if it is true it is true for supernatural reasons. The moment a public school started teaching creationism in a science class (which one?) they would be sued for breaching our laws. Because that’s what they’d be doing.

        Churches and charities can, in face, do what they want, and they even get tax incentives to do that. But some people feel that a blanket safety net for everyone is a better idea. They are also citizens, and they should be able to voice that and have it become policy. It’s not either or. Welfare can happily coexist alongside a vibrant church.

        How many people would need to be gunned down to be a significant problem in your view? Is one guy being strangled for, maybe, selling cigarettes not enough to warrant a response? How full do our prisons need to be with petty drug offenders before it’s worth protesting? How bad does it need to be before black people can be legitimately concerned about it?

        This isn’t about Hillary. I’m not defending Hillary. I’m merely saying we should stop sugar-coating how horrible he is. If the GOP made it clear that they were concerned that an ideologue with no commitment to their principles was the head of their party, I would be more willing to consider that they haven’t rallied around him. I sympathize with a vote for the lesser of two evils, but I’d prefer that we keep ourselves honest and acknowledge that it’s evil, full stop. The last thing we need is for his behavior to be legitimized or passed off as somehow normal.

        You’re right, I cannot understand your last bit. He has told you what he thinks. He thinks Nigerians and Haitians shouldn’t come here. What observations led you to believe he is lying? For all his faults, he is pretty blunt. It can be a bit confusing because he lies and changes his mind so frequently, but still, I feel like he’s been pretty consistent when it comes to immigration: He wants less of it, and people who aren’t like him make him nervous. Please explain what gives you a different impression.

      16. I feel like we need to start winding this down, at least on this particular article so I will briefly respond to paragraph 2 and 4, very briefly on 5, and some on 6.

        There are people more qualified than me to present the scientific arguments for creation/young earth. Perhaps creation by God can’t be taught without a religious aspect, but a young-earth theory certainly could.

        I said before that individual cases should be dealt with and discipline given. My dispute is that the problem is not as sweeping as claimed. That is all. Speaking of drugs, one reason for wanting a more secure border is to keep the rate of drugs coming in illegally lower than it is. Obviously not all drugs come this way but it would help.

        “I sympathize with a vote for the lesser of two evils.” Well there I am, so thanks for the sympathy.

        Wanting less immigration is not inherently evil or even wrong. It’s a policy difference. I’m highly skeptical of your comment that people different than him make him nervous. That seems quite far fetched. I still feel his position is based more on potential productivity than race. Certainly even if I’m right, his language is unacceptable. I can’t do more than agree to disagree there.

      17. Thanks for the time. I’m still not sure what makes you think Trump cares about productivity, but I appreciate your answers anyway.

  6. “Fanning the flame of poor race relations is a staple in the democrat playbook.”


    Conservatives say offensive, demeaning, and racist things. Liberals correctly call them out on such disgusting, uncivil language. Conservatives then decry “political correctness” and attack the critics of racism instead of the racists within.

    Wash, rinse, and repeat.

    Your statement deserves no more than my brief response. If you want a lengthy response, then you need to do better.

    1. Would you say that your statement is too strong? I feel like it’s not accurate to say, as a blanket, that conservatives are racists and liberals are right. Would you agree?

      1. Theophilus, the biggest difference between you and Jeff is that while both of you disagree with me on many things only you can conduct yourself in a civil, respectful manner. I appreciate that, and think it makes the conversation more beneficial both ways. (When I have a bit more time this afternoon I will respond to your comment above).

        Jeff, I’d like you to cite anywhere I have said something racist on this blog.

  7. The reason that people seem to support merit based immigration policy is to prevent the abuse of the system. Could this problem be solved by a massive reduction in the welfare programs that the US provides? We cannot afford these social safety nets in the first place. If we eliminate many of these programs, would we be able to adopt a more open immigration policy?

  8. Regarding the immigration laws, I am a proponent of the merit based system and I think that our nation would be better overall if we only let people in who have a clear vision of what they are going to do in America and show evidence of obtaining their goals. Regarding the policy of Trump, do you think that he would go to a system like this at all? Or do you see the policy too difficult to change in the short term based off policies in place currently?

  9. Daniel said “I base my positions on abortion and gay marriage from the Bible so that stands outside of any ‘analytical’ approach.”

    No, you do not. The Bible does not specifically speak on either gay marriage or on abortion.

    Do not confuse your own personal opinions with the Bible.

    1. Seriously Jeff,

      Just because you have a different interpretation, and a confusing one at that, doesn’t mean I don’t base my view on the Bible.

    2. Jeff, apparently you are incapable (or more likely unwilling) of understanding that many Christians can and do form their personal opinions on many issues based on what the Bible says. Your argument about the Bible not specifically speaking on either gay marriage or abortion is specious. The Bible speaks about marriage and it speaks about life and murder. The Bible does NOT HAVE to specifically use the English words “gay marriage and abortion are wrong” for a rational person to conclude that they are.

      Daniel is absolutely correct. Just because you think, wrongly, that Christians take verses out of context or misinterpret them does not mean they are not still basing their views on the Bible. You have no grounds to say “No, you do not” to Daniel, or me, or anyone else who believes as we do, than I would have to say the same thing to Barack Obama because I disagree with his interpretation of Luke 12:48 as basis to support excessive taxes on the wealthy.

      1. To clarify, is he saying wrongly that Christians generally take verses out of context and misinterpret them? Or specifically you?

      2. I am mainly thinking about Christians in general but I include myself among that number. But for clarification I was not saying that Christians cannot or do not take verses out of context. Maybe when I get to heaven Jesus will show me a verse I got wrong. But what Jeff has clearly said in the past, and so I assume he is saying again here, is that Christians (usually the ones he disagrees with) form an opinion first and then go looking for Bible support. This is mainly what I meant when I use the term “wrongly” to describe what he does.

  10. It is not that hard to choose words that will not offend or hurt people. Trump can get his ideas out without using hurtful words. He constantly is offending others and doesn’t even care. Even if many presidents have spoken wrongly before it doesn’t make it right. Trump is aware that everything he says will be leaked so he needs to watch what he says. Choose words that get your point across without harming others.

  11. While I understand the merit behind the contention that open borders could assist in streamlining the immigration debacle, I tend to think that it is more pernicious than a system of screening, applications, and selections. Trump doesn’t effectively solve this problem in my opinion and I agree with the shortcomings of his isolationist immigration policies, however I don’t think that we should adopt the polar opposite position either. Where is the happy medium between open borders and walls?

  12. Kudos to Dr. Haymond for eventually pulling the unseemly theological assumptions of all this “human capital” conversation out from the shadows. [And to Dr. Wheeler for at least tempering them a bit.]

    Abstract conversations about the relative value/contribution of humans really do go a lot more smoothly when God shares our preoccupation with sorting his people. How fortunate to have found a God whose ways are so very much like ours, and whose favor falls so seamlessly within our cherished notions of merit!

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