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The Examined Life

  • Why You Vote For Someone Matters

    This article is also posted on LDS Liberty.


    This article is not about getting you to vote against President Obama. This article is not about getting you to vote against Mitt Romney. This article is not about getting you to vote against Ron Paul, Gary Johnson, or any other of the unknown candidates running for president, or any other office in 2012 (or any other election). This article is not about convincing you to vote, if your abstention is a protest against the government and all that it entails.

    This article is about getting you to vote for President Obama. This article is about getting you to vote for Mitt Romney. This article is about getting you to vote for Ron Paul, Gary Johnson, or any other of the unknown candidates running for president, or any other office in 2012 (or any other election). If you choose not to vote, this article is about getting you to abstain for a reason.

    But what difference does it make?

  • Misplaced Power and the POTUS

    I am often told that our nation is hanging in the balance, and that if Obama wins the election then all will be lost. In such discussions, however, I am left wondering – what happened to the checks-and-balances within the Constitution? How can one man yield so much power as to single-handedly destroy this country?

    Speaking to the frailties of the US Constitution, James Madison – the “father” of the US Constitution – observed in the Federalist No 48 that while not every branch of government “should be wholly

  • Libertarian Realism: Shifting Overton’s Window

    Mitt Romney has a problem – a libertarian problem.

    It’s not because the libertarian Republicans were poorly treated by the GOP establishment over the last 4 years. It’s not that Ron Paul supporters were called “Paulbots”, “Paultards”, “Psychos”, “Crazies”, and basic “domestic terrorists” by fellow Republicans and conservative pundits. It’s not because the RNC and the Romney campaign did everything possible to keep Ron Paul delegates out of the National Convention (1). It’s not because the RNC broke its own rules. It’s not because the RNC performed blatant scripted rule changes that constituted a massive and unprecedented power-grab (1).

    These issues are annoying for libertarian Republicans to deal with among fellow Republicans, but the reasons why we will not vote for Romney are

  • 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.

  • Learning About Christianity

    I’m building a website with launch-pad style lessons to get people interested in expanding their horizons and learning new things. Part of the Humanities section includes Religion, and I’ve been building introductory pieces on the 6 major religions. My goal is to make sure each is seen positively, so we can learn to love each other more and glory in our similarities.

    I started with Buddhism, usually seen as one of the most peaceful of all religions. A picture of happy monks and resources full of enlightened and loving Buddhists were easy to find, and the lesson came together quickly. I then moved to Islam, one of the most misunderstood and often demonized religions.

  • “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).


    “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).


    “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.