Glenn Beck: 'Run' from churches that tout 'social justice'

Wednesday, March 10, 2010
By Frank Lockwood

Glenn Beck is a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and a famous conservative talk show host.

He’s created a stir by denouncing churches that trumpet social justice:

“I beg you, look for the words ‘social justice’ or ‘economic justice’ on your church Web site. If you find it, run as fast as you can. Social justice and economic justice, they are code words. Now, am I advising people to leave their church? Yes!”

Somewhat coincidentally, (after I’d seen a headline about the controversy, but before I’d read the above quote about checking out church Web sites), I went to the Mormon Church’s official Web site and searched for the terms “social justice”, “economic justice” and “social gospel.”

I can sum up what I found in four words: Run, Glenn Beck, Run.

Elder James E. Faust of the Church’s Quorum of the Twelve, writing in the church’s Ensign magazine, said the following:

“It is unfortunate that it is taking so long to bring full economic justice to women. The feminization of poverty is both real and tragic. That is why you should work very hard to prepare for your future by gaining some marketable skills.

The struggle to improve the place of women in society has been a noble cause, and I sincerely hope the day will come when women with equal skills will be fully equal with men in the marketplace.”

Not just “economic justice” but full economic justice.

    For women!!

Head for the hills, Mr. Beck. Hurry!

All kidding aside, Glenn Beck is making today’s headlines by resurrecting yesterday’s ecclesiastical controversies. On his program, last week, he suggested the Social Justice is a code phrase for the Communists.

That claim has been around for a long, long time.

Charles Edward Coughlin preached a sermon about “Social Justice and Communism” in about 1940.

But if you do a Google search, you’ll discover nineteenth-century rabble rousers were also trying to link God Almighty and “Social Justice.”

Which rabble rousers? The ones that won the Civil War.

The official “Decoration Day” order of services for the Grand Army of the Republic in 1881.

As they stood in the cemeteries of Arlington and Gettyburg and elsewhere, surrounded by Republican emancipators, the Northern chaplains asked God to give His wisdom “to those steadfast in the cause of human rights and liberty, of law and order, of social justice and national rectitude…”

Criticism of the social gospel has been around a long time. And it’s not just Glenn Beck who has criticized the social gospel — or at least a type of gospel that is exclusively social and not spiritual as well.

Mormons, as well as many Protestants and Catholics would object to any gospel that places a higher priority on politics than on souls, on the temporal instead of the eternal.

No Responses to “Glenn Beck: 'Run' from churches that tout 'social justice'”

  1. I’m not sure exactly what aspect of the health care bill Glenn is referring to in the instance of the “Here is a group… ” quote above. I would like to get the whole thing in context. There are surly parts of the bill that I think are an assault on true freedom and personal accountability, in which case I believe it is an affront to God. I know, I know, you’ll say, “How is helping the needy an affront to God?” My answer is that it is not the “helping the needy” part but HOW you help the needy. I’ve explained this all before, but I’m afraid it will continue to be lost on someone who thinks the government has the “right” to declare how much I’m able to earn or keep of what I’ve worked for. I mean, who gave the government that “right” anyway? And did they have that “right” to give in the first place? I certainly can’t tell my neighbor what to do with his earnings, but somehow electing a government to do so makes it okay?

    I’m sure these Catholic groups have full “religious” reasons for favoring or opposing the bill. So does Glenn Beck. It’s a matter of different sets of morals and which morals you choose to allow to trump other morals. You, José, I surmise, value equality more than freedom, I and Glenn Beck value freedom more than equality. This is in line with Mormon theology. You see, me and Glenn believe in a pre-mortal existence where a great war was fought between the followers of God’s plan for mortal life, where we would all have free agency to choose between good and bad and abide by the consequences of those choices both in mortality and beyond, and Lucifer’s plan where all would be forced to choose the right and there would be no suffering and all would be brought back to God’s presence. Satan (Lucifer) and 1/3 of the “hosts of heaven” were cast out in this battle and are now here trying to enslave the human race in the opposite direction by influencing us to suppress choice and free agency. And they have been pretty damn successful at it over the centuries. For the first time in human history true and stable enough freedom had finally been achieved with the American Revolution and the other revolutions that incrementally preceded it and the many that followed. This has allowed God’s Church to finally be permanently established again in these last days, again according to Mormon theology.

    You don’t have to believe any of this, but please understand where Glenn Beck is coming from. And there are many who agree with him, most of which are outside the Mormon faith, but have a similar reverence for freedom. The health care bill as in now stands and many of the ideas of “social justice” are an affront to the sacred choices that we must make in this mortal life. God WILL NOT FORCE us to do the right thing, ever. When we force others we are not following His plan but Satan’s, and that will inevitably fail and lead to tyranny in the name of “justice.” Would I love to have “free” health care? Sure! But, I will never learn to be truly responsible for my actions when I force my neighbors to pay for it. I have a brother-in-law that is self-employed and claims he cannot “afford” health insurance for his kids, and yet he goes and buys his wife a $40,000 SUV that she didn’t need, has a home much larger than he needs, and buys a new and bigger work truck every year. The TRUTH is he simply does not want to buy health insurance.

    Most, if not all of us, will choose pleasures over responsibilities every time if we were not influenced by the harsh realities of this mortal and corruptible world. Ever see the movie Wall-E? The writer’s, typical of Hollywood, blame big business corporations for the lazy and fat people on the spaceship that left planet Earth. I think it would be much, much more plausible that a government would be to blame for such irresponsibility among the masses. Corporations have competition and multiple variables to keep them in check. The government simply has raw power, if we choose to give it such.

    Minimal regulations to ensure honesty and fair play are fine. But here is the problem most advocates of “social justice” don’t seem to ever come to terms with: Competition is absolutely inseparable with free agency, and competition by its very nature, if it is pure, is always, always, always “unfair.” At any given moment there will be “haves” and “have-nots.” Everyone in this life needs to be constantly looking over his shoulder to see if he is doing the right thing. If everyone is doing this, all will be getting ahead in the long run. We have jumped thousands of years ahead in development in the last couple centuries in a major part because we’ve had the freedom to do so. The industrial revolution, for instance, could never occur under the structure of the the Roman Empire. There have been many false starts in ancient and medieval China and elsewhere, but the government, or the raw power of it, always put them down.

    Getting back to Beck’s reaction to Wallis’ offer of an “olive branch:” Beck is implying that Wallis is being misleading from the get-go and that such a discussion must be predicated on an honest base of facts. Glenn Beck may very well meet and discuss “social justice” issues with Wallis, and I hope it happens, but if Wallis has mislead us on what he really means by “social justice” then Glenn feels he needs to set that record strait first, and he may not have all the facts verified satisfactorily at this moment. Once the grounding has been established and the “spin” as stopped, according to Glenn, then they may meet. Glenn is certainly not immune to “spin” himself, but it is his show and he is not going to give Wallis a platform to declare what Beck feels to be inaccuracies. That’s my take on it anyway.

  2. Caleb Powers

    Jose notes: “A smaller but nonetheless influential group which calls itself the US Conference of Catholic Bishops opposes the bill.” They also opposed bills extending the statute of limitations on childhood sexual abuse; they’re protecting home and hearth. Remember, this is the bunch that propogated the so-called Dallas statement on childhood sexual abuse, which did nothing but whitewash the coverup.

  3. cheese

    Glenn Beck is a tool. His ridiculous statements (“progressivism is a cancer”) and his bogus conspiracy theories are not meant to educate and inform. They’re meant solely to demonize the left and scapegoat them as the source of all the nation’s problems. Instead of hosting an honest debate about issues, Beck castigates liberals, misrepresents their positions, and invents stories that place them behind every awful moment in history. His goal is to empower the right by making people hate the left. He is a sower of discord, he is working to divide this country, and he is a tool.

  4. perplexed

    Cheese, you are right about Beck being a tool. His purpose is to generate controversy that gets viewer ratings. His rhetoric has bearing only on his ratings, otherwise he wouldn’t be on TV, the same with Nancy Grace. Shock TV sells for now.

  5. José

    It’s been said that peace is not just the absence of war. Similarly, freedom means something other than the absence of legal mandates and restrictions.

    Our founders understood this. As quoted previously, they affirmed in the Declaration of Independence that we humans have rights– pretty broad ones, actually– and that government is charged with securing those rights. Now that’s really interesting. They could have stated first that government is supposed to butt out of our lives but instead they said something very different, that government is a part of the order of our society.

    FDR understood this. In 1941 we Americans continued to suffer from the Great Depresssion and we watched anxiously from across the ocean as World War II began. In his address to Congress and the American people the President identified what he called “four essential human freedoms”:
    – freedom of speech and expression
    – freedom of worship
    – freedom from want
    – freedom from fear
    You’ll recognize the first two, of course, from the first amendment to our Constitution. What FDR goes on to explain is that the latter two are not just beneficial on their own merits but are also protective measures for preserving our way of life, that “Life, Liberty, and Pursuit of Happiness” stuff that is so prominent in the Preamble to the Declaration.

    Now this is quite different from the concept of freedom attributed to Beck as divined by John. Any good Libertarian would be comfortable with that “go it alone” philosophy. So would Marie Antoinette, who was happy to encourage the hungry masses to eat food that they were denied because of social injustices.

    Paradoxically, many of the laws in our country are restrictions that help to keep us free. I for one will choose freedom that is secured by the community of citizens working together with the machine of democratic government. You may continue to worship the so-called freedom that comes from worshipping individualism.

  6. Caleb Powers

    Well said, Jose. There’s a reason that FDR will go down in history as our greatest president.

  7. Guys, unlike freedom of worship or speech, the freedom from want and fear are not found in our constitution, unless you wish to stretch the “general welfare” clause through simple linguistics beyond anything it was ever intended. FDR took upon himself power that was never his nor could ever be granted to him by the electorate, because they didn’t have it to give him in the first place. This is the very definition of tyranny. We could give the government stewardship over freedom of worship and freedom of speech BECAUSE WE ALREADY HAD THOSE RIGHTS. Freedom from want or fear are not inalienable rights. How about pain? Does the government or even you or I have the power, by whatever means we choose, to eliminate all pain? What about death? Is freedom from death an “inalienable” right? God never granted us freedom from want or fear. In fact, we’re supposed to “fear” God. Evolutionarily speaking, a healthy fear was essential to our species’ survival. “By the sweat of thy brow, thou shalt earn thy bread all the days of thy life,” God said to Adam. What, other than hunger, would motivate Adam to do the sweating?

    Nobody disputes the greatness of Abraham Lincoln or George Washington. But, after nearly three quarters of a century, FDR is still considered by many to be one of the worst presidents in U.S. history. We are still battling over the fundamentals of some of his policies in many arenas. He instigated a massive power-grab by government that we are still grappling with almost every day today. There was a time when politics and party didn’t play much of a role in people’s daily lives. Since FDR the general public has had to be constantly in the fray of government either overstepping its bounds into their lives or becoming so dependent on it that they would be at a loss as to what to do with their lives if government were to ever step back.

    You see, freedom of worship and speech are also relatively easy to define. Granted with occasional gray areas. But “fear” and “want” are much more ambiguous. My daughter has an unreasonable fear of spiders, I don’t. Should the government “free” her from that fear? And make me pay for doing so, especially when I think the fear is stupid? Last time I checked, nobody actually starved to death during the Great Depression. And I’ve never heard of anyone actually starving to death on the streets today, though it was and is certainly possible. Now, if this is my definition of “want” (the actual starving to death), and I’m not saying it is, who the hell are you to tell me I’m wrong? Most people, of course, wouldn’t go to such an extreme definition, but what about the “poor” neighbor who is in “want” of more cable channels, or a better car? Want and fear are quite relative, speech and worship are not.

    You can put the government in charge of policing speech and worship rights because you have those rights WITHOUT HAVING TO EARN THEM OR DO ANYTHING TO RETAIN THEM. You were born with them. You cannot but the government in charge of satiating your hunger or making the scary decisions you must make in life. Once you step too far out of these bounds, you enter such a field of arbitrariness that fights ensue over “free” school lunch programs and “corporate welfare” grants that should never have anything to do with a public that just wanted freedom.

  8. Caleb Powers

    All I can say to that right wing diatribe, John, is first, take a breath. The sky is (probably) not falling.

    Second, you have a rather rosy view of the great depression for someone who didn’t live through it. I didn’t, either, but I grew up with people who not only did, but in the case of my grandfather, who’d been county judge of our county throughout most of it, someone who was in charge of the “relief” efforts, as they were called. Your rhetoric rather reminds me of that of the Holocaust-deniers. I suppose as each generation passes on, we lose some of the wisdom and experiences of the past.

    I grew up with real stories about how FDR’s governmental programs helped real people. And I am old enough to remember seeing the pictures of FDR on the walls of poor people’s houses all over my home county. I went to the schools that Kennedy’s and Johnson’s anti-poverty programs created. It is easy to mock poor people from a position of comfort and privilege, but it’s a little harder when you’re on the ground with them.

  9. Well, I grew up with a lot of survivors of the Great Depression as well. My grandparents, like yours, were raising their young families right through it. They were as poor as the rest of them, and they all had a different take on it than you. Not everything FDR did was bad, likewise not everything Abraham Lincoln did was good, but I’ll tell you this, if someone took my neighbor’s “extra” cow and gave it to me while convincing me it was all legal-like and morally right, I’d have his portrait on my wall as well. I’d probably have candles lit under it too.

    Oh, one of the candles just went out on my shrine to Ronald Reagan. I’ll have to continue this later. :)

  10. Caleb Powers

    I don’t know of any pictures of Ronald Reagon on any poor people’s walls, though the rich seem to love him, though why I don’t know; he was no more conservative than I am, and considerably less so. He was a good actor, though, which I suppose fooled the masses.

  11. Caleb Powers

    “They [big business and its allies] are unanimous in their hatred for me, and I welcome their hatred.” FDR, 1936

    A man is known by who his enemies are, and I’ll take those of FDR over those of any other politician who ever lived.

  12. Yup, big businesses and especially their allies (me?) are the most evil conception ever devised my man or devil. FDR should be deified for standing up to those hell-spawned bastards, because we all know FDR was God’s own embodiment of all virtue.

  13. Caleb Powers

    That reminds me of a comparison one used to read, John.

    It was the tale of two leaders. One was rather Mormon-like in his daily habits. He didn’t smoke, didn’t drink, and was a vegetarian. Whether he drank caffeine, I don’t know. He passed rules against indoor smoking because he feared the effects of second-hand smoke fifty years before such laws went into effect in the US. He was widely supported by business leaders in his country, and built up a government that was the envy of the world in its new construction, its military might, and its people’s love for him.

    The other was a rat. He smoked two packs of cigarettes a day, drank most of a quart of gin every night, constantly played poker and had numerous extramarital affairs. He was accused by his country of being a traitor to his class, and put programs in place that the business leaders of his nation said would bankrupt it. He allowed his nation’s military to decline to the point that many felt it couldn’t defend itself.

    The first leader was Hitler, and the second was FDR. I know which one I’d take, virtue, vice, and all.

  14. José

    The only reason I mentioned FDR was because of his famous speech which defined the Four Freedoms. This was to expand upon the discussion of what freedom really means. In reply to the rather simplistic and naive comments of others I offered this observation:
    “Freedom means something other than the absence of legal mandates and restrictions.”
    That’s an interesting proposition and I was hoping for some kind of a mature and intelligent response. Silly me.

    The facts surround FDR’s personal life may be tittlating to some but it’s hardly pertinent to the topic at hand, which was Glenn Beck and his comments about social justice. Beck linked social justice to Nazis and Communists, and by extension he maligned many good churches in our country. We do not need Beck’s fans to hypothesize what he really meant. We deserve to have Beck explain himself. Beck needs to apologize or else make plain to the world that he is an ignorant and dangerous agent of lies.

    John has grumped about Mormons being singled out unfairly. He is correct that it happens too often. In this case, however, Beck has made serious charges about American churches and therefore his own religious beliefs are relevant. Given that Beck has earned the title of Most Listened to Mormon in America, one hopes that the Latter Day Saints will see fit to distance themselves from his wild accusations by issuing statements which uphold their commitment to social justice.

    As for Roosevelt, it is worth noting that he was much more familiar with Communists and Nazis than Mr. Beck. Certainly one of the major achievements of his presidency was that he understood the threat of fascism, unlike many of his political opponents from the right. FDR helped to sustain the British before our entry to war, and he successfully and energetically prosecuted the war to his dying day. No other American leader was as fiercely anti-Nazi while simultaneously such a strong advocate of social justice. Beck ought to be ashamed for conjuring up rumors that social justice means Nazism.

  15. Caleb Powers

    Not only that Jose, but the only reason that we don’t have either a Communist or Nazi government in America today is because FDR’s reforms, however unpalatable they may have been to the rich, were what kept us a democracy when so many other nations fell to either Communism or Fascism in the ’30s. Remember, the US Communist Party had its greatest vote ever in 1932. There might well have been a peasants’ revolt if the Republicans had won in 1932, because of the discontent over government policy.

  16. José

    Funny that you should mention that. When contemplating FDR’s greatest achievements I came up with three things. Standing up to world fascism and managing the war effort is an obvious one. The other two are things that did NOT happen because of the President’s efforts. The banking and securities infrastructure did not completely fail, due in part to things like the FDIC and the SEC. And we did not have a populist revolution, overthrowing the democratically elected government. As you say, Communism was uncomfortably popular with the disenfranchised at that time. FDR comforted and calmed the public in a way that his predecessor did not. If you don’t like the social programs that soothed and fed the public, you dang sure wouldn’t like one of the very real alternatives.

  17. cheese

    Spare us the high-minded rebukes, Jose. We don’t need to be nagged about how your naive expectations of mature and intelligent responses are not being realized. This isn’t a book club; it’s the internet. Attention spans are short. If you want others to discuss a specific point that you feel is poignant, timely, and interesting, then focus solely on it and cut the fluff. No one is going to comb through everything you say and discuss each and every point you make. It just isn’t going to happen. If your “what freedom is not” comment was so important to you, then you should have limited yourself to it and saved FDR for later (or at least come back to it after discussing FDR). Nobody remembers what you say first; they remember what you say most often and last. If the responses you receive here are too simplistic and naive, then feel “free” to take your comments elsewhere.

  18. cheese

    I think John is wrong when he says that the “provide for the general Welfare” clause in the Constitution could not be logically extended to include providing a social safety net for the less fortunate. But I think he makes a good point that government cannot provide us the right to be free of want and fear. Want and fear are emotions that exist solely within our own minds. The government can’t regulate our desires or suspicions.

  19. José

    Cheese, there are several things in blogging that particularly irk me. Two of them can be found above– immature tantrums, and the logical fallacy known as the false dichotomy. It’s not so much that an interesting argument was ignored as the fact that someone wasted time and effort to fill up space with a childish fit. We are grownups and we can be better than that, even when freewheeling on a blog.
    This is Frank’s forum to moderate as he sees fit, and if Frank allows John the freedom to fly off the handle like that then so be it. At the same time I am free to call John out for his poor behavior, just as I might to a neighbor’s child. And of course you are free to scold me.

  20. Well, glad it’s still a free country. At the moment anyway. :) I don’t see how my “fits” are any more “childish” than anyone else’s here. I could make the same claims about your views that I happen to disagree with.

    Glenn Beck explained in detail what he means by the code word of “social justice” on his show Monday and before that. If you care to watch this show or a follow-up one, I’m sure you can find them on the Net. After watching the whole show and getting a clear idea of what he means, then we can talk. You don’t have to agree with him, but you need to know his position clearly if you choose to malign him. Otherwise you just look like a fool.

    I don’t like the way this whole discussion is going, and I’m to blame as much as anyone. I don’t look upon any of you as my enemy, I just have a differing, but still valid, point of view. That said, I’m not against a “safety net” or the goals of many government programs. I’m really only against social engineering. I don’t believe any person or group of people is capable of taking into account and analyzing all factors in every situation of pain or want or any other negative aspect of life we all deal with. Therefore, when action is needed (truly needed) it is best handled by those “on the ground.” If all politics is local, all “relief” should be local as much as possible. Social “injustice” is always relative, in my opinion. One person’s definition may be, “Are you going to starve to death?” and another’s may be, “Oh, you have to go to a local community college because you can’t afford or are not smart enough to go to Harvard. How sad.” To make these often faulty assessments government interferes too much with personal lives and responsibilities, in my opinion. You may feel differently. In some ways our two views are mutually exclusive, and therefore I feel the need to fight for what I feel is right. If this offends you, I’m sorry, really. I don’t wish cause anger, but I will defend what I feel is right. Otherwise, there really is no point to all this, at least for me.

  21. Caleb Powers

    John, my only problem with your views is that they’re based on a rather sugar-coated view of the past, and of the motives of those you would entrust with our wellbeing today. Nothing personal was meant.

  22. I would like to clarify my statement about “general welfare” in the Constitution. The key word in this phrase is “general.” It does not state “individual” welfare. Congress the the Federal government needs to avoid extending direct aid to individuals—not that they couldn’t help individuals, but the loss of individual liberty and the establishing of direct influence to an entity only charged with the general welfare of the states would be an unwise concentration of power. The individual, family, community, region, and state need to take care of matters of aid or relief IN THAT ORDER before petitioning the Federal government.

    Almost all of human misery in world history, when it was caused by man, was the product of a concentration of power, whether in the person of a king or warlord, or even in an elected parliament that takes upon itself to “fix” too many things that are really not their responsibility.

  23. Caleb Powers

    And what about the concentration of power in a few big businesses, John. Is that a good thing? Apparently not, given that the few large businesses who control the investment markets have fairly effectively wrecked our economy, all without any help from the government.

    And that’s the problem with conservative thought when you get down to it. It extols the virtues of private business, when private business has created almost all the ills of our modern society.

  24. “Without any help from the government.” Oh, I beg to differ! A sizable cause of the current financial crisis was the explosion in the housing market a few years ago brought on by two government-backed agencies, Fannie and Freddie, that would buy up almost literally any loan, no matter how bad. All the banks profited big-time, for awhile, by making unreliable and risky loans and then pawning them off onto these pseudo-private entities for a profit. Eventually, the “bundling” of potential bad debt with stable debt that was the goal of the government to make it easier for risky debtors to get into home ownership (a noble idea, of course) backfired by causing an artificial market that escalated the housing market beyond sustainability. If the government would stop trying to manipulate the markets in the first place, always in the name of the less fortunate, we would not have had much of the problem we are dealing with now.

    Unlike the government, none of these “big businesses” have an absolute power over their markets. Except where monopolies are granted by the government. If they do, like Standard Oil did about 100 years ago, it is safe to bet they are doing something illegal, or at least extremely shady, like Standard Oil certainly was. As much as you despise Walmart, there is still a K-mart and Target out there. There will always be a Lowe’s to the Home Depot, a Macintosh to a Window computer, if there is no artificial protection or manipulation. That is the nature of a critical mass competitive environment. It’s called a free market and it’s a beautiful thing. Regulation and laws are necessary, of course, to keep businesses honest and to ensure the field is always open to all, but anything beyond that will artificially favor one over another and will lead to amplifying rather than leveling the ups and downs of the natural business cycle. Government thinks it can do a rain dance to make it always rain, not taking into account the need for a dry parching sunshine at times.

    This all does not preclude unions or a “safety net.” These, however, need to be also “environmentally driven” as much as possible and are therefore most effectively handled on the local level.

  25. Caleb Powers

    John, buddy, you just don’t get it, do you? I realize that conservatives want to blame everything, even the sins of big business, on the Democrats, but here it just doesn’t wash. I used to do consumer bankruptcies, and the things that lenders allow people to use their credit cards for is a disgrace, and as far as I know not required or condoned by any form of federal law. It’s interesting that you blame the excesses of these lenders on regulation, but the lenders themselves are fighting tooth and nail against any type of legislation that would make them toe the line, and are scared to death that Obama will appoint Elizabeth Warren, of Harvard Law School, as the new consumer finance czar, because she’s smart, aggressive, and understands their business methods. Big business can stand anything but being required to be honest, and no doubt they’ll scream like a stuck pig when we make them accountable.

    The economic crisis was caused by far more than consumer mortgages, and most of what caused it had nothing to do with government regulation. Certainly credit swaps, and paying big bonuses to brokers who churned accounts are practices that were not fostered by any type of regulation; quite the opposite. John, admit it: Big business and the concentration of power it represents is just as bad as power concentrated in the hands of government, and probably worse, because most of us work for and have most of our transactions with private businesses, not the government. I never thought I’d say this, but this whole discussion makes that crazy old Barry Goldwater, who at least had the honesty to decry concentrations of power in private hands as well as public hands, as tyranny. Of course, he was ready to blow up the world, too, so maybe we shouldn’t entirely go there.

  26. Aahh, Barry is a saint of the highest order. I’m sure he’s earned his wings by now while FDR still has a few more centuries of shoveling brimstone for what he did with our gold market, among other things. But I digress. I agree that regulations are necessary, especially when it comes to consumer debt. These laws should always be preventative and in reaction to the creative and deceitful ways of the lenders, but not proactive in the way they try to “help” borrowers purchase a home outside their affordable range. Don’t get me wrong, my wife and I made a killing on our home in Las Vegas six years ago when we moved to Utah. Our house there appreciated by more than 33 percent each year for the four years we lived in it. I said at the time of the sell that something was not right here, but hey, I’ll take the money! Our sell almost didn’t go through because the people buying our house had trouble getting the credit. Turns out that their real estate agent and bank bent every rule they could to get them in (it was so lucrative for them somehow, you see). If I wasn’t the greedy bastard of a conservative that I am I would have called the whole thing off, saying it wasn’t morally right. But, what’cha gonna do? Umm… don’t answer that.

    The bank had a guaranteed buyer of this bad loan. And despite all the heaps of regulations already in place, when the incentive is corrupted by a force outside and above the checks of the market, they will always find a way around the regs. If the banks stood to loose their shirts if a loan goes bad (as they would in an unhindered natural market), they would have been much more careful, and we would still be living in that tiny house in Vegas. But, Big Brother was there to rescue them, on both ends it turns out. Credit swaps and the like used to hide risk and debt, along with payoffs for brokering such deals need to be tightly monitored, especially when such transactions actually create money put produce nothing. The government has every right to police business practices to keep them honest.

    Anyway, we’re arguing in circles here. I don’t think either of us wants to necessarily “stick it” to anyone. We both want a fair and just world. We just seem to have opposite ways of approaching it.


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