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55 Posts By Shiloh

  • Personal-Revelation

    Voting and Personal Revelation: Keep it to Yourself

    This article is written for two audiences. The first audience is anyone, Mormon or not, who may stumble across this blog and find interest in understanding how Utah’s unique socio-religious base affects the political scene. The second audience is anyone who has, or knows someone who has, seemingly received “personal revelation” from God to act in a particular way and then lambastes everyone for not acting in that expressed way.

    A person cannot interact in the political scene in Utah without knowing the Mormon lingo. Mormon scripture and words from the General Authorities of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints are used as much of a political tool to justify one’s personal political preference in Utah as any person outside of Utah might invoke political philosophers, Party leaders, or the law to promote their own beliefs.  As a politically active Latter-day Saint living in Utah, I see this mixture of politics and religion on a daily basis in political discussion.

  • “United States Foreign Policy”

    The following was written by Ezra Taft Benson, Secretary of Agriculture under Dwight D. Eisenhower (1953-1961), and was published in Chapter 9 of his work An Enemy Hath Done This (pgs 149-164).

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    “Observe good faith and justice towards all Nations. Cultivate peace and harmony with all. – Religion and Morality enjoin this conduct; and can it be that good policy does not equally enjoin it? – It will be worth of a free, enlightened, and, at no distant period, a great nation, to give to mankind the magnanimous and too novel example of a People always guided by an exalted justice and benevolence. .. Can it be that Providence has not connected to permanent felicity of a Nation with its virtue?” (President George Washington, Farewell Address, September 17, 1796).

  • “The Monroe Doctrine and Beyond”

    The following was written by Ezra Taft Benson, Secretary of Agriculture under Dwight D. Eisenhower (1953-1961), and was published in his work An Enemy Hath Done This (pgs 241-245).

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    “Our first and fundamental maxim should be, never to entangle ourselves in the broils of Europe. Our second, never to suffer Europe to inter-meddle with cis-Atlantic Affairs. America, North and South, has a set of interests distinct from those of Europe, and peculiarly her own. She should therefore have a system of her own, separate and apart from that of Europe. While the last is laboring to become the domicile of despotism, our endeavor should surely be, to make our hemisphere that of freedom” (Thomas Jefferson, to President James Monroe, October 24, 1823).

    For more than a hundred years the Monroe Doctrine provided a fundamental guidepost for American foreign policy. Designed to protect American security through opposition to outside intervention in Western Hemisphere, the Doctrine was first enunciated by President Monroe in 1823. Presidents George Washington and Thomas Jefferson had made similar policy statements (1).

  • Why Romney Won’t Repeal Obamacare

    Facebook is alive with discussion, all since SCOTUS upheld the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA). With so many ‘conservatives’ shocked at Chief Justice Roberts’ decision, everyone is scrambling to find solutions to repeal the ACA through other means.

    While I support the State’s right to nullification, much like Governor Scott Walker from Wisconsin is proposing,  and believe it is the most Constitutional, principled, and consistent approach of dealing with the ACA (and most other federal laws for that matter), many ‘conservatives’ are looking for federal solutions – and this leads them to look for federal leaders to save them.

  • “Ron Paul Will Not Endorse Mitt Romney”

    In two recent posts I have argued whether political endorsements mean anything at all. Senator Mike Lee and Senator Rand Paul, two newly elected senators who rode the wave of Tea Party discontent all the way to Washington, have recently endorsed former Massachusetts Governor, Mitt Romney, for president.

    In a day when many have questioned whether Mitt Romney has killed the Tea Party by “substitut[ing] sincere flattery for insincere imitation,” there are many libertarians and Tea Partiers who are left scratching their heads wondering – What were Senators Lee and Paul thinking?

  • Rand Paul: Liberty’s Current Benedict Arnold

    Benedict Arnold / Rand Paul

    In a letter to George Washington in 1780, a then ashamed Benedict Arnold, caught in his treachery of betraying his cause, tried to justify his actions in behalf of his country.

    Love to my country actuates my present conduct, however it may appear inconsistent to the world, who very seldom judge right of any man’s actions.

    Today, in a short interview on the Sean Hannity Show, Senator from Kentucky, Rand Paul, son of Texas Congressman and presidential candidate, Dr. Ron Paul, also exposed his treachery in betraying his cause as he openly endorsed Mitt Romney for President.

    His justifications for supporting former Massachusetts Governor, Mitt Romney, were almost as nauseating and insulting as those penned by Benedict Arnold more than 230 years ago. While Benedict Arnold betrayed his country in a time of physical war, Senator Paul has betrayed his cause during an intense war of ideas and principles.

  • Formal Education

    A recently published article, circulating around Facebook and other social media sites, talks about the impending “bubble” that will eventually burst concerning the high costs surrounding formal education. While I happen to agree with the economic argument surrounding formal schooling (especially surrounding institutions of higher learning), I have seen this post most circulated from those who oppose formal education in general – as yet another general argument against receiving higher education.

    There are many arguments against a formal education. Indoctrination, high costs (resulting in massive debt) and low economic rewards, socialized conditioning, anti-social behavior, and the ever sounding “school teaches you what to think, not how to think” arguments are but a few of these.

  • Thinking in Terms of Principles: Principles vs. Convention

    There is a seemingly fine line between principles and convention.

    When Thomas Jefferson wrote the Declaration of Independence (with the editing assistance of John Adams and Benjamin Franklin), he penned the list of grievances against the British throne and parliament that provided the foundation and principle the Colonies used for separation. Many have argued that Thomas Jefferson plagiarized much of John Locke’s Two Treatises on Government (e.g. the Declaration’s use of the “Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God”), yet Jefferson spoke conventionally when he said in a letter to James Madison, August 30, 1823, that the Declaration of Independence

  • David Hume: On Property

    Hume wrote that “it is well known that men’s happiness consists not so much in an abundance of [the commodities and enjoyments of life], as in the peace and security with which they possess them” (Essays 54-5). This, for Hume, was the purpose of government, and may well be one of the foundational thoughts concerning his notions of property. Property, to Hume, was not the metaphysical extension of self that Locke had argued, but was a conventional idea that arose out of society. When only a few people associate with each other in a simple relationship, then the concept of property – as a self-realizing concept – has no existence or purpose (i.e. utility). In a rather Aristotelian concept of man’s nature as a political being, Hume argues that men naturally form society – upon the foundation of families – and that the concepts of justice and property are only known through social utility. For Hume, justice and property are artificial and conventional ideas.

  • David Hume: On Conservatism

    Riddled throughout both US and international politics are the terms of conservatism and liberalism. Generally speaking, these terms are thrown about with little understanding of their origination or of their meaning, but, when elicited, feelings of emotion, sentiment, and passion are often triggered as epithets of self-identification. David Hume is often described as “the father of Conservatism,” but what is conservatism? Conversely, some have called David Hume a liberal (or, a classical liberal), but what is liberalism? In finding whether David Hume was a conservative or liberal political philosopher, we can define the foundational basis for both liberalism and conservatism.