It's time to stay the course with our president

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  • Joe
    Jan. 11, 2010 9:36 a.m.

    I haven't researched, but I'm going to go out on a limb and say that we may not be the richest country in the history of the world; instead, I think we may be the most indebted country in the history of the world.

  • M
    Dec. 18, 2009 3:33 p.m.

    When one man is compelled to serve another man that is when service becomes slavery. How does using government as the instrument of force change that? It does not. As a Christian, Samuelson ought to have a supreme regard for his and other’s God given agency. Agency was the key issue in the War in Heaven and it continues to be the key issue here on earth. Has Satan’s objective changed? Is Satan opposed to using government to achieve his ends? The answers are No and No.

  • Anonymous
    Dec. 18, 2009 7:17 a.m.

    amazing how only very few are left to support OBama this come out. The Majority of the country sees him for what he is and is ready to revolt.

  • to Eric - cont'd.
    Dec. 17, 2009 9:49 p.m.

    4- They create an elite ruling class that decides what is and isn’t a worthy cause (a scary proposition). 5- They leave those who once had some means without the ability to donate to the cause or charity of their choice (an important attribute of free agency) 6- Worthwhile charitable organizations are left as beggars for scraps at the table of government and good works truly suffer.

    I vote for all the benefits of individuals having the right to choose (aka free agency) and am far more comfortable with that than being a government subject that need only turn over my means because they’re far more qualified to decide how me, mine and my fellow man should be provided for (forcing folks to “do the right thing” was rejected in a time before ours).

    It wasn’t too long ago that one of our fellow readers commented that they no longer donated to charity. Why? Because they felt they already paid so much in taxes that the government should take care of everyone in need. The loss of our souls is too high a price to pay.

  • to Eric
    Dec. 17, 2009 9:48 p.m.

    Your hearts in the right place unfortunately you're very misguided.

    When we rely on government to do our bidding we deny ourselves the opportunity and the need to do the right thing for the right reason. When we trust others to make moral choices on our behalf w/o any further input from us as to what they should spend our hard earned dollars on we shirk our responsibility.

    Self-worth is also one the great rewards to the individual when one uses their time, energy and resources to reach out to their fellow man. When the government confiscates our time, energy and resources in an attempt to redistribute, several negative things result. 1- They deny those from whom they’ve confiscate the self-worth they would have received by doing appropriate things with their means. 2- They deny those to whom they provide those resources in too many instances the self-worth that comes from contributing in some manner to receive other than filling out some government form. 3- They waste inordinate amounts of those precious resources in a bureaucracy of redistribution.

  • Davey
    Dec. 17, 2009 9:46 p.m.

    Eric's article is one of the most refreshing things I've read in the news in a long time. I started reading the comments on here, however, and got too depressed to go on. What's with all the vitriolic hate? There are a number of intelligent, reasoned responses (in the spirit of the original article) from both sides of the political spectrum on here, but there are a lot more that suggest, among other things, that Dr. Samuelsen doesn't deserve his Ph.D. and/or follows Satan. Maybe it's just because I tend to side with the opinions expressed in the article, but that still seems a bit extreme to me...

  • Christy
    Dec. 17, 2009 8:43 p.m.

    Wow. I'm sorry. I have kids and a job and a life! I can't sit around and comment 24/7.

    But... thanks for waiting around for me. :)

    I totally agree with you on one thing: Yes, our elected officials and many of our fellow citizens are sorely lacking when it comes to the idea of freedom and common sense. Especially in regards to gay marriage.

  • Re: Christy 6:19 pm
    Dec. 17, 2009 8:00 p.m.

    It took three days and that's all you've got?

    I am not advocating most of what you say, but there are laws and ordinances in the works to control our lives to the point of idiocy!

    I am all for common sense, but my point was that most of our elected officials and many of the citizenry are sorely lacking in the thought of freedom, or common sense.

  • Christy
    Dec. 17, 2009 6:19 p.m.

    To: @ Christy 10:53 p.m. | 11:47 p.m. Dec. 14, 2009

    You asked, "What kind of oil can we cook with?
    What light bulb is "good" for us?
    What temperature should we set our thermostats?
    Who gets flu shots?
    You MUST have insurance.
    How much money is ok to make?
    You must not hate.
    You must be politically correct.
    These are laws and ordinances that are in the works to make us what?"

    Hey, you can fry your pork chop in bacon grease, pay a higher light and gas bill, get a flu shot or not, quit your homeowner/car insurance while you're at it since you don't seem to think carrying insurance is important, be a hateful, intolerant bigot, rich or poor. That's your deal. No one's going to haul you away to the Big House. You're simply choosing to turn a blind eye to science and progress, not to mention common sense. But have at it.

    No one's dictating your actions, least of all your thoughts. No one's interested in your enslavement.

  • Sickandtired
    Dec. 17, 2009 1:40 p.m.

    I laugh and laugh at you all. I get it, you are so concervative that you would have been in the croud shouting for the death of a certain Jewish preacher. I understand that you are uneducated or educated in such a simplistic and rediculously rigid conservative manner (hello utah county and BYU) that it amounts to the same thing. Heck, you are so conservative that if you werent all dyed in the wool byu fans you wouldnt even WEAR blue.

    Fact of the matter is, no politician will be able to do WELL in our current system. But some try. Bush and Reagan did NOT try. They almost destroyed our country. Obama is trying and trying HARD, but i sure do wonder what he could have done if he hadnt been elected at a time where we were fighting two wars (one illegal), were the previous admin had DESTROYED our credibility world wide and sunk us into the depths of economic devestation. You sure like to blame Obama, but that very act just makes it apparent that you are simple-minded and uneducated.

    Oh and most of your kids and grandkids will be liberal, have a great day!

  • be positive
    Dec. 17, 2009 3:51 a.m.

    There is a lot of work to do with the healthcare system one way or another. Republicans are for private charity based solutions. I havn't seen any effort to promote any of the charities that provide healthcare but I'll give you the benefit of the doubt.

    If I saw republican posters and shows promoting specific charities I think that would be a great thing. This is anonymous so feel free to share you experiences.

    I'm a liberal but I give to the National Association of Free Clinics as promoted by Keith Olberman many times.

  • nice piece
    Dec. 16, 2009 11:37 p.m.

    thanks for publishing a well-reasoned piece, DN. Excellent points all. I'm grateful this holiday season that Obama's administration has saved us from a great depression and that we have a compassionate thinking man in the white house.

  • Conservative
    Dec. 16, 2009 3:40 p.m.

    Just because conservatives in general appose government welfare systems, does not mean they do not believe in being charitable. I would be willing to bet that if you compared most conservatives and liberals side-by-side, you would find that conservatives far out weigh liberals on the portion of charitable contributions they make. I do not make a lot of money. I even work two jobs to provide for my family. Yet I still provide about 15% of my gross income to charitable organizations. I can assure you that most liberals in congress do not contribute 15% of their incomes to charitable organizations. We know that both Obama and Biden give significantly less than that. Maybe they should first show their willingness to provide directly for others before they expect more from us.

  • Conservative
    Dec. 16, 2009 3:33 p.m.

    A key point you have missed as you quoted King Benjamin is agency. Government charity does not provide us the agency to be charitable. Our hearts are not changed the way it does when we on our own accord provide for the poor and needy. The government welfare system is basically saying, "I don't believe you are capable of being charitable, therefore I will be charitable in your behalf." If we as a society are not being as charitable as we ought to be, may I suggest two reasons why this is the case. The first is we need to first change our individual hearts. We as a people need to draw ourselves closer to God and serve others as a way of showing gratitute for what God has given us. I believe this lack of charity as a society is a casualty of us becoming a more secular society. The second is that the government already taxes us so heavily that there are many who would like to give more but cannot afford to. Many have taken on multiple jobs to provide for themselves.

  • Conservative
    Dec. 16, 2009 3:23 p.m.

    Percentage of men and women who survived a cancer five years after diagnosis:

    U.S. 65%

    England 46%

    Canada 42%

    Percentage of patients diagnosed with diabetes who received treatment within six months:

    U.S. 93%

    England 15%

    Canada 43%

    Percentage of seniors needing hip replacement who received it within six months:

    U.S. 90%

    England 15%

    Canada 43%

    Percentage referred to a medical specialist who see one within one month:

    U.S. 77%

    England 40%

    Canada 43%

    Number of MRI scanners (a prime diagnostic tool) per million people:

    U.S. 71

    England 14

    Canada 18

    Percentage of seniors (65+), with low income, who say they are in "excellent health":

    U.S. 12%

    England 2%

    Canada 6%

    Private healthcare is the only true compassionate means for providing heathcare for our nation.

  • to Anonymous | 2:28 p.m
    Dec. 16, 2009 2:59 p.m.

    Although I disagree with the previous poster, I don't think your point proves much either. If I were in the early stages of cancer, my body would still perform 100% for quite some time. For all intents and purposes, I am completely healthy, except for a small, harmless growth inside of me.

    Again, I disagree that Obama has destroyed our country, but I see where the poster is coming from. He is most definitely helping sow the seeds that will grow into a dangerous cancer in the future.

  • Anonymous
    Dec. 16, 2009 2:28 p.m.

    RE: OBAMA HAS DESTROYED AMERICA | 11:11 a.m. Dec. 16, 2009

    Oh yeah, America has been destroyed. Look at how the freedom of the press has been taken away with the shutting of the Deseret News forever.

    Your right to free speech has been shut down because you're no longer allowed to share your opinion on an internet forum.

    Your right to free assembly has been taken away as the government has made it illegal to congregate with more than two other people at once.

    Yep, America has surely been destroyed.

  • mp
    Dec. 16, 2009 2:02 p.m.

    What a wonderful and thoughtful letter. The author stated his opinions without destroying the opposition. I wish more discussions were presented with this much integrity. From either side.

  • Erich
    Dec. 16, 2009 1:41 p.m.

    So, according to Dr. Samuelsen the government can more effectively dispense charitable contributions than LDS humanitarian services? That is laughable!

    Dec. 16, 2009 11:11 a.m.

    I can't stand how libs worship a president who in less than a year has destroyed this nation and our economy.

    WAKE UP BEFORE ITS TOO LATE! Why can't you open your eyes and see what his big spending policies are doing to us and to our children?! Our health care system is the greatest system on earth and we don't have to wait for years for simple elective surgery like in socialist countries. I only pray that we can survive the policies of this cut-and-run president for three more years until we can once again elect a strong, business oriented conservative leader.

  • TJ
    Dec. 16, 2009 10:27 a.m.

    The promise of "cogent arguments" for liberal ideas caught my attention. Unfortunately, I don't think Dr. Samuelsen ever delivered on that promise.

    I appreciated the tone of the letter, but was disappointed in the content. Aside from the thoughtful sentiments about caring for the poor, this was primarily a list of beliefs. I could feel that these ideas were important to Dr. Samuelsen, but there was nothing convincing about why they should be important to me.

    The letter was nicely written, but ultimately unpersuasive.

  • to hope | 10:53 p.m
    Dec. 16, 2009 9:05 a.m.

    Thanks for your post. It's good to know that at least some liberals know that conservatives care about the poor too. I'm so tired of seeing this demonizing by the left because the right disagrees in the best way to help the poor.

  • Subversion isn't loyalty
    Dec. 16, 2009 8:49 a.m.

    @Shameful Theist: If you thought there was any virtue in theism you would've stuck with it and showed people how to do it right. The truth is you simply bailed, and as such, you lack all credibility when lecturing others on the direction of their theistic lives. You quit and now want everyone else to do likewise--make everyone a living logical fallacy.

    Fwiw, The best thing for Obama would be if he lost congress and the senate to the conservatives. Neither party is a party anymore, and the president's leadership would really come through if he were faced with obvious (rather than the current subversive) opposition. The dems in the house and senate have subverted his leadership just as much as the vocal opposition. They've had majorities and still won't commit to a thing.

  • CJ
    Dec. 16, 2009 8:35 a.m.

    Yes, lets follow Obama right over the cliff. Who gave this guy a PHD? Probably the same group of liberal academic fools who now run the country.

  • Shameful Theists
    Dec. 16, 2009 8:16 a.m.

    Once, when I was a theist, I learned an important lesson which I hold firmly to, to this very day.

    "By their works yea shall know them!"

    It's shameful how you theists despise the poor, honor the rich and stread your agend of fear and hate!

    The reason I can no longer be a theist is very clearly expressed in the attitudes above. Being a "christian" certainly doesn't mean what it once did... or has it ever and I was just too naive to realize it.

  • hope
    Dec. 15, 2009 10:53 p.m.

    Fantastic Article. I would love to see a similar arguments from a conservative as well (I am a Dem and a Liberal.) This is how politics should be in America... both sides need to promote what they believe in, rather than what they oppose. That way we can find common ground and pass legislation that benefits everyone.
    I believe both Conservatives and Liberals care deeply about the poor, but both sides go about helping them in different ways. Can't we find the common ground in that we both deeply care about poor and their struggles, and then find a bi-partisan way to stimulate their opportunities while maintaining a capitalistic society? These are the types of discussions we should have, not Glenn Beck's anti-government rants, or socialistic ideas fueling debate. Common sense, bi-partisan agreements on how to make our country the best place possible. Come on America, we still have a chance.

  • Re: my thoughts
    Dec. 15, 2009 10:16 p.m.

    "War, Banking, Home Forclosures....all started on Bush's watch"...

    Wrong. A key opportunity to regulate the finacial markets/banks was passed up by Bill Clinton. By ignoring the wisdom and concerns of Brooksley Born and allowing her to be blackballed by his Economic Team,Clinton wasted a perfect and very timely opportunity to regulate the financial markets/banks.

    The nationwide financial debacle that came as a result of the failure of Freddy and Fanny had its genesis long before GWB even announced his canidacy. Along the way Freddie and Fanny contributed loads of money to the coffers of many politicians from both parties with Obama being on the top of that list. Ironically and hypocritically, Obama has never spoke out on the absurd bonuses and incentives that Fannie and Freddie execs recieved which they did not earn.

    As for War, Obama stated during his campain that Afganistan was the war we needed to fight, and Obama has not got US out of Iraq according the time frames that he promised in his campain. We are now sending more troops and spending more money in Afganistan.

    Also, Congress was complicit in allowing all of the problems you cite

  • The two party sham
    Dec. 15, 2009 9:48 p.m.

    Obama is fullfilling the agenda of the inner power structures of the Fabian Society inspired elites which include the CFR, Trilateral Commision, and the Bilderbergs. Regardless of what party is in power, this group of self annointed elites control the actions of this government and their self proclaimed agenda is a one world government where they in their self appointed superior minds and morality dictate what is for the greater good of thier society and the social and economic systems they want to impose upon us.
    I suggest that you read the works of Carol Quigley for more insight on how these Fabians have worked to change this government and controlled the real power in this world. From the bottom of this hieracrcy the average person's life, freedoms, ablity to get a head in life, and rights look nearly identical to the Communist/Socialist totaltarian regiemes. Their goals/agenda are largely the same, they just chose to implement them differenlty.

    The two partys simply give the illusion of choice in who controls the US and provide a false facade that we get rid of one set of self enriching corrupt politicans by electing a different party and different politicians.

  • Really???
    Dec. 15, 2009 9:31 p.m.

    ..but I am also a student of history and know that the best-intentioned private efforts have NEVER succeeded in alleviating human suffering nearly as effectively as government does routinely"........

    This is wrong on several levels and reveals the ironic hypocracy of your article/letter. Christ was a private citizen, and his attonement has and will always continue to aleviate more human suffering than than all of mans governments combined.

    On another level, while we could include the good works inspired by Ghandi and sister Theresa for the sake of illustrating just how false your claim is we will focus alone on the cumulative effect that Christ's private work and mission did to motivate others to look after the poor, the lend a hand to the downtrodden, and to come to the aid and comfort of the sick and afflicted. If we just look at time since Christ came to this earth as a mortal man to our current time, these cumuliatve efforts he and his message inspired others to care for ones fellow man dwarfs what any one government has done or will do.

  • What arguments?
    Dec. 15, 2009 8:30 p.m.

    I didn't see any. All I saw was a Progressive manifesto with no appeal toward justification for their position, or how said positions may be sustainable and feasible.

  • Brian
    Dec. 15, 2009 5:34 p.m.

    Well thought out???

    This was nothing more than the Liberal Manifesto (you know Abortion, No prayer allowed, Gun control, and Socialism all around) dressed in sanctimonious "Christian" robes and paraded around as if it was endorsed the the 12 Apostles themselves.

    Not buying it. Lipstick on a pig.

  • my thoughts
    Dec. 15, 2009 3:08 p.m.

    I'll take my chances with Obama...ANY DAY over Bush.

    Conservatives gave BUSH 8 years to screw up the country to the extent that it is today. How about you show just a little bit of patience while Obama digs himself out of the hole that Bush dug for this country.

    War, Banking, Home Forclosures....all started on Bush's watch...

    No thanks...Bush's watch spoke for itself. Now Obama get's to be the guy that has to come along and clean the toilets so to speak because Bush couldn't get it right 2 times none the less.

  • Jeremy
    Dec. 15, 2009 1:45 p.m.

    "The Second Amendment is today an embarrassing anachronism of no contemporary relevance."

    Thomas Jefferson said it best: "When governments fear the people, there is liberty. When the people fear the government, there is tyranny."

    You seem to distrust individual freedoms in favor of an all-powerful government. You seem to be horrified by the idea that one person can possess enough power to lawfully resist, with force, unacceptable intrusions into his life. As discovered by King George, the truth is that an armed populace is a populace that will not be pushed around. As we inch ever closer to a totalitarian government the second amendment becomes ever more important and should not be discounted as having no contemporary relevance.

    "Staying the course" right now, as you suggest, will inevitably lead our country into bankruptcy and drastic moral decline.

  • Jeremy
    Dec. 15, 2009 1:43 p.m.

    "I believe that wealthy people can and should pay higher taxes than people of lesser means."

    In 2006, the most recent year that comprehensive IRS data is available, the richest 1% of Americans paid 39.9% of the country's total tax bill. The top 10% of filers paid 71%. The bottom 50% of earners now make up 13% of the country's total income and yet pay less than 3% of the income taxes. Progressive enough for you?

    The truth is that our tax system already does not favor the wealthy, but instead penalizes them. Of the 400 wealthiest people on the Forbes 400 list in 1982, only 32 of them are still there today. This has at least two implications; progressive taxes and restrictions have ousted these 368 earners, or that Capitalism works and the American dream is still alive.

  • Jeremy
    Dec. 15, 2009 1:42 p.m.

    "[T]he best-intentioned private efforts have never succeeded in alleviating human suffering nearly as effectively as government does routinely."

    Really? What about Katrina? Less than 1mo after Katrina, private donations surpassed $1B, most of which went directly to private organizations for immediate relief.

    Meanwhile, FEMA handed out $6.3B in taxpayer money, with nearly 1/4 of that going to scammers. FEMA gave cash to inmates, sent checks to people who said they lived in cemetaries or P.O. Boxes, and reimbursed people for rent even though they were living in FEMA-paid hotels.

    And the FEMA debit cards? They were continuously used not on food and shelter, but on jewelry, travel, and porn. What's more, FEMA lost 381 cards worth $762,000.

    Yeah, real "effective" governmental help...

  • Re to Commen Sense BYU
    Dec. 15, 2009 1:03 p.m.

    Don't make me laugh - you obviously don't have any commen sense because if you actually knew what Obama thinks of the comman person, you would become humble quickly. Look at the latest incentive "cash for caulking" - that whole thing is an insult to our intelligence. Why do we need to do this with global warming and why would you want to make you house totally draft proof. Have your heard of radon and other gases that are emitted inside your home from your furnace and other appliances?? He is the biggest most arrogant narcissist I've ever seen. All he talks about is what a burden making these decisions are on "HIM" not on those that are actually affected by those decisions. He does NOT care about you - the sooner you realize this the better off you'll be.

  • to re:9:40 a.m
    Dec. 15, 2009 10:17 a.m.

    Really? Are you sure?

    I went to a private university and paid for everything myself, thank you.

  • Common Sense BYU
    Dec. 15, 2009 9:33 a.m.

    It's nice to see some common sense in these pages for a change (as opposed to most of these comments, that is). Obama has already put in motion a stimulus package that has saved our country from a depression-- or is no one here reading the news? Don't worry. there will be plenty of other economic recovery stories in the months to come. I'm looking forward to many more great things from this president.

    Makes me proud to have such a man as our leader.

  • Chuck
    Dec. 15, 2009 8:39 a.m.

    Question for Dr. Samuelsen: I'm curious as to whether you have intentionally deceived people about your educational background, or whether that was an honest mistake? As a humanities professor at BYU, who teaches Film studies, and even classes about television shows, you really aren't the expert on history that your letter and follow-up comments have led people to believe. You even had the opportunity to correct people for the misunderstanding, but you muddied the waters even more when you said "...I, and most historians..."

    With your background in fiction on the big screen, small screen and the stage, it's not surprising that your "historical" references have whiffed on the reality check. You even got your OWN history wrong. You are definitely talented in your own field, but please don't pretend to be more of an expert than you are.

  • Rockman
    Dec. 15, 2009 8:16 a.m.

    Why do those that tout liberalism want to shirk personal responsibility and accountability?
    Always seeming to care for those in need , but always wanting the Government or other institutions to do the work.
    Christianity is all about the individual, it is everything how a person thinks, works, and lives. It has nothing to do at how effective the politics of the day are managed or administered. Christianity has no hold on party, it takes hold of the person, transforms the individual to want to do good, for goods sake.
    Liberals need to look inward at self and family to solve the issues, as we take care of those close to us and those to whom we come in personal contact with, it is there that the true service comes that Christ taught by example.

    As King Benjamin demonstrated we must each get our hands dirty as we serve. We should not hide behind institutions to demonstrate our love for others. The day will come that we will each be asked to account for our "personal" efforts. I hardly believe that we will be judged by our Government or political party, but rather how each individual demonstrates PERSONALLY!

  • re:jond | 6:48 a.m.
    Dec. 15, 2009 8:10 a.m.

    Are suggestiing a rebellion?

    dude, you ultra-right-wing-nut-cakes scare me more than any middle eastern terrorist.

  • RedShirt
    Dec. 15, 2009 7:56 a.m.

    To "re:To @ Craig | 9:56 p.m | 8:04 p.m." what you are missing is the fact that Jesus chose to do those things. He was not compelled by the government or God to do what he did. That is the big difference between conservatives and liberals.

    Conservatives believe that we should be allowed to choose to be misers or give freely. Liberals want to decide for us what is acceptable giving.

  • jond
    Dec. 15, 2009 6:48 a.m.

    The Second Amendment allows us to form militias in case our government becomes oppressive. It was written because of the British king. Now if you don't believe that the settlers needed protection from other sources then you should review history before writing an editorial.
    It is just as relevent today as it was 223 years ago.

  • Amazing
    Dec. 15, 2009 2:44 a.m.

    Very well said.

    I am amazed though at conservatives that are at thier wits end after only 9 months of not getting thier way. Imagine the annurisms after 4 years - no, make that 8. :)

    democracy = not always getting what you want.

  • @ Christy 10:53 p.m.
    Dec. 14, 2009 11:47 p.m.

    You sure?

    What kind of oil can we cook with?
    What light bulb is "good" for us?
    What temperature should we set our thermostats?
    Who gets flu shots?
    You MUST have insurance.
    How much money is ok to make?
    You must not hate.
    You must be politically correct.
    These are laws and ordinances that are in the works to make us what?

    I understand that laws are to keep order, but where's the line? It seems we get further from freedom and closer to enslavement, with more of our actions and thoughts being dictated to us.

    In an effort to make us safe, happy, and the pretense of liberty we're being told how to live by our gov't. We are down a road that is not like what was originally intended in the Constitution, not by the will of the people or by amendment, but by disregard for what is best for the country and the individual.

    Life has joy and happiness, it also has struggles and pain. Get the Gov't out of mandating their version of how it should be. Our system is hurting.
    False security is false! The course is wrong!

  • Christy
    Dec. 14, 2009 10:53 p.m.

    "The Gov't wants to tell us how to live, eat, and everything else that you can imagine. This is EVIL, simply evil!"

    Are you for real? The government doesn't want to tell us how to live or what to eat. I can think of something that does though...

  • Markovsky
    Dec. 14, 2009 10:40 p.m.


    When one of your kids refuses to do his weekly chores, and your other child does them every week, do you take half of your industrious kid's allowance and give it to the lazy one?

    Didn't think so. Why? Because that would make you:

    A) Unfair
    B) A Liar (breaker of the natural law of industry = prosperity)
    C) Resented by the industrious kid
    D) "Used" by the lazy kid
    E) The father of 2 lazy kids in the long run, and the owner of a chaotic, messy house, where nothing gets done, and production screeches to a halt.

  • In my heart
    Dec. 14, 2009 9:31 p.m.

    I believe Pres.Obama is evil. He has an agenda and I do not agree with any of his principles or lack thereof. If the things he's working for are good for all, why do I study, pray and work only to learn that the path that we as a society are on, is not the right one? It has absolutely nothing to do with party affiliation and everything to do with principle. Right and wrong!

    I very much liked the response from "King Benjamin". A true leader that had principles and lead from example, not with an agenda. Obama's own words, actions, associates, and history are what I have used to form my feelings and opinions, again not party affiliation. The more I see and hear from our Pres. the less there is to admire.

    To 8:14 pm 12/14... Jesus lead by example and did say come follow me, he did not however force, coerce, dictate, or belittle. He showed the way, and we may choose to follow or not.

    The Gov't wants to tell us how to live, eat, and everything else that you can imagine. This is EVIL, simply evil!

  • @Christy
    Dec. 14, 2009 9:13 p.m.

    Many Conservatives get "agency" confused with "freedom." Nobody can take away one's free agency. Nobody. Even prisoners have "agency." So, those who say imposing taxes to help the poor is not robbing anyone of "agency." It is a false argument.
    We don't live in a country ruled by a dictator. We have free elections, we vote for those who "write" the laws ie our legislators. We have freedom and we have free agency.
    Furthermore, most all pay the same rate on taxes. The first $34,000 is taxed at 15%
    Then the next $48,000 is taxed at 25%
    The next $90,000 is taxed at 28% etc.

    Just some of us don't make it to the 28% tax bracket.

  • Reason
    Dec. 14, 2009 8:27 p.m.

    Re: Eric Samuelsen: I respect the noble intentions behind some of your beliefs. However, much of what you have written ignores an important factor: reality. If your beliefs were to be more widely spread across government, then we would have more poverty, more unemployment, more crime, and less freedom.

  • re:9:40 a.m
    Dec. 14, 2009 8:09 p.m.

    Anyone who has taken Econ 101 should realize...

    ....should realize that BIG bad scarey Government paid for that higher Education.

  • re:To @ Craig | 9:56 p.m
    Dec. 14, 2009 8:04 p.m.

    To @ Craig | 9:56 p.m. Dec. 13, 2009
    Where do you get the idea that the purpose of life is to help others at the cost of your agency. That was Satan's plan.

    Umm, excuse me....

    I believe Jesus died to help others - all others at the cost of his agency.

    And he commanded us to Follow his example - helping others.

    Now, who's plan was who's again?

    I'll pray for your ignorance.

  • Christy
    Dec. 14, 2009 8:00 p.m.

    "Where do you get the idea that the purpose of life is to help others at the cost of your agency. That was Satan's plan."

    I really have a hard time with this argument. As a liberal, I believe we should all help each other out. If someone were to TELL me I should, it would just be irrelevant because I already BELIEVE I should. If I was in the top 1%, I would gladly give more because I could afford to. What does it matter if we, as a society are attempting to legislate a program to benefit the health and welfare of our fellow Americans? It shouldn't be a big deal. We all should be for it anyway.

    You help others, but you don't like to be told to help others because it takes away your agency? Doesn't the Church believe in faith AND works? If the conservative republicans were the creators of a bill to benefit the health and welfare of ALL Americans (Hahaha!) would that then be ok?

    It just seems so contrary to say, "Hmmmph! Don't TELL me to help my fellow man!"

  • @ SLC gal
    Dec. 14, 2009 7:28 p.m.

    Selective compassion is not very compassionate.

  • Re I urge all to read this
    Dec. 14, 2009 7:21 p.m.

    "Furthermore, the Church views with concern the politics of fear and rhetorical extremism that render civil discussion impossible."

    "politics of fear" describes the Prop 8 campaign the LDS church supported.

  • stay the course?
    Dec. 14, 2009 4:45 p.m.

    Are you talking about Obama or the people that are advising him? like: Ayers, Creamer, Soros, Axlerod, Emanuel, Wright, Alinski and Lex Luther. Would you let your kids alone with these creeps? Why would you let your country alone with them?

  • Cogent arguments?
    Dec. 14, 2009 1:20 p.m.

    Social Security and Medicare were opposed by conservatives because they knew there was no way we'd be able to pay for them! Our liabilities for these entitlements will be very painful to deal with.

    "We can afford to fix health care"? Are you stupid? We are IN DEBT! Why does no one ever acknowledge this? How can you go from suggesting this, to later acknowledging that "large deficits and a huge national debt are obviously unsustainable"? STUPID!

    Oh, and by the way, public education is a joke. Throwing more money at it isn't going to do any good.

  • DMH
    Dec. 14, 2009 12:46 p.m.

    I have my own personal take on the current government situation and it comes from observing a friend of mine. My friend has been on welfare for years and years, because she supposedly has too much anxiety in her life to hold down a job. This all started when her mother who had health problems and could not work, died, so my friend who had been living with her, lost her income. My friend then stopped working and went on welfare herself when she was in her 30's and has not gone back to work since, and she is now in her early 40's, the same as I am. She lost custody of her child and has done absolutely nothing but live on the government's money since. Every time I talk to her, she always complains that she doesn't have enough money to meet her needs, but she also will do nothing to get herself off it. On the other hand, I have worked my whole adult life and have somehow managed to always have enough money to pay for my needs, and can sometimes help someone else.

  • I urge all to read this
    Dec. 14, 2009 11:21 a.m.

    From the church website, newsroom, "The Mormon Ethic of Civility."

    "The need for civility is perhaps most relevant in the realm of partisan politics. As the Church operates in countries around the world, it embraces the richness of pluralism. Thus, the political diversity of Latter-day Saints spans the ideological spectrum. Individual members are free to choose their own political philosophy and affiliation. Moreover, the Church itself is not aligned with any particular political ideology or movement. It defies category. Its moral values may be expressed in a number of parties and ideologies.

    Furthermore, the Church views with concern the politics of fear and rhetorical extremism that render civil discussion impossible. As the Church begins to rise in prominence and its members achieve a higher public profile, a diversity of voices and opinions naturally follows. Some may even mistake these voices as being authoritative or representative of the Church. However, individual members think and speak for themselves. Only the First Presidency and the Twelve Apostles speak for the whole Church.."

  • David
    Dec. 14, 2009 10:20 a.m.

    "I am also a student of history and know that the best-intentioned private efforts have never succeeded in alleviating human suffering nearly as effectively as government does routinely."

    You can't be much of a student of history to believe that government efforts to alleviate human suffering have been more effective than private efforts. We've been experimenting with government efforts for 80 years now and in that time our overall suffering has not decreased but the demands of government have steadily increased.

    How well efforts help the poor has more to do with what kind of efforts are made than by who makes them. The fact is that government efforts rarely take the form of effectively helping people to improve themselves - mostly they just allow people to be a little less uncomfortable with their weaknesses.

  • Jeremy Nicoll
    Dec. 14, 2009 10:13 a.m.

    If our president and congress supported even half of what you said, I might consider supporting them. But they don't... oh except for the part of taking away the guns of law abiding citizens.

    Seriously, have you never been the victim of police brutality or seen anyone who was? Have you ever been a victim of violence yourself and just have the cops tell you that you were lying? Our cops spend so much time hunting down pot heads and treating everyone like a criminal that half the time they really couldn't care less. Even when they do care, when seconds count: the police are minutes away.

    Implicit in your argument is that there is corruption in people but not in government. Who do you think runs the government? Hm? Your implicit trust that government will just do the right thing is appalling and ignorant. You ignore all of the abuses heaped upon us. You ignore how much our government is in the pocket of big business, you ignore how much they've sold us out. You ignore all the unjust wars and all the innocent people that are terrorized by law.

  • Robert
    Dec. 14, 2009 10:08 a.m.

    Calling fundamental elements of the Constitution "an anachronism" shows liberals' true colors. They do not like the Constitution. They would rather make appeals to feelings and emotions than law.

    The Constitution is still in effect, folks, and America will only prosper and succeed if we stick to it.

    The conservative way of caring for the poor is to stoke the economy so even the poor have jobs, and to remove Federal barriers to their freedoms and opportunities. When business prospers, the poor prosper because businesses employ them.

    Hand-outs and charity are two vastly different things. Hand-outs enslave, charity enriches. The Federal government gives hand-outs; charity by definition is given personally. Charity is done best locally, and is outside the Constitutional limits on the Federal gov't.

  • David Larsen
    Dec. 14, 2009 10:08 a.m.

    A very "Koom-Ba-Ya" message by a "nice guy" liberal educator who mixes up the facts. So you believe in the Constitution professor? What do you think of the Executive Branch of government, on 9 Dec 2009, demanding of Congress to pass legislation on "Cap and Trade" or else the EPA will force it upon the American people anyway. That's called "Tyranny" professor and violates the Constitution in every way. Since you like to quote King Benjamin in the Book of Mormon, he also said "Neither have I suffered that ye should be confined in dungeons." Both House and Senate versions of the "Health Care Bill" state that those who do not pay their insurance premiums will go to jail. King Benjamin also said "ye should not be laden with taxes." Tell me professor, who will pay for the trillions of dollars of debt that we now owe, disregarding the trillions more for health care reform and "cap and trade" legislation. President Obama is more like Amalickiah, "a man of cunning . . . and of many flattering words. . . who seeks to destroy the church of God and to destroy the foundation of liberty which God had granted unto them."

  • Locke
    Dec. 14, 2009 9:59 a.m.

    It's interesting that the letter writer made no appeals to the Constitution, and only to emotional arguments. The Constitution is the "supreme law of the land," and it does not allow the Federal programs Dr. Samuelson mentions. States are free to create them, but not the Federal government.

    It's time we put the Constitution in its rightful place as the supreme law and ultimate guide, and stop appealing to emotional, religious, or political arguments.

  • to Eric
    Dec. 14, 2009 9:40 a.m.

    Smart conservatives would also disagree with the argument that the government can't do anything right. Anyone who has taken Econ 101 should realize that there are certain areas (such as natural monopolies) that should be either provided or regulated by the government.
    Simple economics ALSO tells us that anything that does not fall into such an area (such as health insurance or health care) would almost definitely be less efficiently provided by the government than by the private market. Similarly, every government intrusion will reduce the overall effectiveness of that system.

    I would agree with other posters that your letter is as self-righteous and full of unsupported postulations as letters from those who claim they are conservative because they are Christian.

  • Mark B
    Dec. 14, 2009 9:38 a.m.

    Our first president was very wary of political parties and peoples strict adherence to party over principles.
    Two guiding principles I use are 1) Who will best support the concept of family — as defined by the “Proclamation on the Family.”
    2) Who will best support the role of government — as I understand from statements made by inspired leaders or what I learn scripturally?
    Governments role in abortion is impersonal and has shown to be devastating to millions of women who suffer from their decision to abort a life. If ever there was a definition of people who are "past feeling," it would be those who, for government subsidized money, perform multiple abortions day in and day out.

    The rate of spending cannot be sustained. The incredible amount of waste and corruption that has already been documented is staggering.
    When Noah became king, he laid a heavy tax burden upon the people where the tax percentage was 20%. I pay around 40 to 45% - and I am certainly not rich. Heavy taxes were also the principle reason the Northern Kingdoms of Israel split from the Southern Kingdoms.

  • wallofvoodoo
    Dec. 14, 2009 9:17 a.m.

    Of course tax cuts for the rich, they are the ones who contribute to campaigns.

    They take advantage of every government program possible, & then are the first to complain when they have to pay for it.

  • I like Mormons
    Dec. 14, 2009 8:54 a.m.

    Mormons believe that God tossed the Devil out because he wanted to control everybody and make them do what they aught. Conservatives believe in free will and use much of their own money to help others. Liberals believe in force, control and using other peoples money to help the people they choose. Samuelson's views as Harry Reid's views are neither Christian nor do they align with their Mormon church, but that won't stop them from striving to coerce, control and steal both free will and money that is not theirs.

  • Tax cuts for the rich!
    Dec. 14, 2009 8:51 a.m.

    Yes it is true. They did cut taxes for the rich. Why because the poor pay no tax. Don't believe me look it up! They collect from the government in a variety of programs. They are takers and will continue till our government is reversed from its progressive/liberal/socialist laws and programs. We have been moving towards socialism and a dictatorship for the last 100 years since Teddy Roosevelt. It does not matter which party is in power. They both love power and sell our rights, freedom and individuality for more power with each and every new solution they come up with to solve our problems. Time we stand on our own feet and kick the federal government out of our lives.

  • SLC gal
    Dec. 14, 2009 8:23 a.m.

    Nice utopian piece, and NOTHING about how the current president is steering us on this course.

    Furthermore, some people are poor becuase they choose to be. They choose to sit in their trailers all day eating bon bons they bought with food stamps, and watching trash becuase they're too lazy to improve their situation.

    I have a lot more compassion for the people who are poor due to disability or age, or are down but at least trying to improve their lives.

  • John C
    Dec. 14, 2009 8:01 a.m.

    As an independent, I see the same sense of intellectual tone, that is only the liberals know the answers.
    While a nice article, very well written, the tone of intellectual superiority prevailed, King Benjamin or not.
    This president is in over his head, we got him for better or worse, I support the office not the man.

  • Karen O
    Dec. 14, 2009 4:40 a.m.

    Join the dnc. Where treason is always in season!

  • Alex U
    Dec. 14, 2009 12:19 a.m.

    Such a nice opinion piece! While I may not agree with everything said--it's nice to hear another viewpoint!


  • Jon Ogden
    Dec. 14, 2009 12:01 a.m.

    Thanks for the opinion, Dr. Samuelson. It's good to see differing views in the DN.

    I wonder, though, whether your premise (that you're liberal because you're Christian) isn't just as arrogant as some of the conservative commenters here. You, like them, seem to assume that your opponents aren't genuine Christians. Does it bug you when conservative Latter-day Saints say that you have bad motives simply because you're liberal? It bugs me.

    That's why I like the quote from King Benjamin above wherein he said that he didn't want to laden his people with taxes. You show a liberal interpretation of Benjamin's words; someone else showed a conservative interpretation. But I'll assume both of you have good motives: you both want to help the poor.

    To make headway in LDS politics, we'll have to start each argument by giving the opponent the benefit of the doubt. That is, we'll have to be more wary of claiming that God is only on our side.

  • Huh?
    Dec. 13, 2009 11:39 p.m.

    "...a national highway system are ideas opposed by conservatives that were proposed by liberals."

    President Eisenhower, a conservative Republican, initiated the Interstate Highway system. It's primary purpose was national defense. Many liberals despise the Interstate Highway system, claiming that it is the cause of "urban sprawl".

  • late night
    Dec. 13, 2009 11:29 p.m.

    Did Mr. Samuelsen actually say that we have to spend to get out of this recession? I'm no PhD, but I think that spending tax money to create a false sense of things are getting better is not good in the long run. The money will just cycle right back around and we will be taxed even more. We will loose more personal freedom in the process.

  • Yes, stay the course!
    Dec. 13, 2009 10:33 p.m.

    If we stay the course we will be living in the United Socialist States of America in a few years.

    Voice your opposition if you oppose the direction the President and Congess is taking us, JUST LIKE YOU DID WHEN YOU DIDN'T like the direction the old adminstration was taking us.

    If activism and making your oposition heard was laudable in the past... It should still be so today.

    We should support the President, but we should also work to have our voices heard!

  • Predictable response
    Dec. 13, 2009 10:06 p.m.

    It seems Dr Samuelsen ran into the buzzsaw of dogmatic conservativism. Still, many will see his reasoned & moral points, and see there is more than one way for things to move forward.

    I'm a native-Utahn liberal, make an excellent salary, gives generously to good causes, and I'm happy to pay more in taxes to help with the tasks government performs.

    Churches, despite their good intentions and many good works, have never been adept at funding scientific research, which provides the basis for improvements in healthcare. Government is the only real avenue for funding most of this work, as private businesses require a quicker return on investment, and private charities just don't have the means.

  • Tim Harper
    Dec. 13, 2009 10:05 p.m.

    I am against government welfare because I think in many cases it does much more harm than good.

    I prefer to give privately, and prefer that charity be a voluntary action, not a compulsory one. This is evil?

  • To @ Craig
    Dec. 13, 2009 9:56 p.m.

    Where do you get the idea that the purpose of life is to help others at the cost of your agency. That was Satan's plan. "Teach them correct principles and let them govern themselves", Joseph Smith. Your principles are not correct.

  • Get A Clue
    Dec. 13, 2009 9:01 p.m.

    Stay the course?


    Why stay on the ship when it's headed for disaster?

  • Johnny U.
    Dec. 13, 2009 8:47 p.m.

    In the immortal words of Margaret Thatcher:

    "The problem with socialism is that eventually you run out of other people's money [to spend]."

    I am always astounded at the narrow vision of liberals. According to the author, the United States is the wealthiest nation on Earth and therefore should be able to fund any collectivist/socialist whim (or more particularly socialized medicine) - at the drop of a hat.

    Well, let's examine a more micro-economic view of two of the wealthiest states in the union: California and New York. In either Keynesian/liberal/socialist paradise, the Gov't is sending out mass IOU's. Why? Because they are BANKRUPT!

    The economic definition of insanity is to cycle over the same tired repetitively failing Keynesian/Marxist fiscal paradigms and theories while expecting different results than those found in present day California, New York, Cuba or the People's Democratic Republic of Korea (AKA North Korea).

    Freedom, liberty and an independent free-market are the sole pathways to prosperity!!!

    NEWSFLASH: A bridge (and other forms of structural improvements passed off as economic 'stimulus') are not job creators or Dollar producing assets... They're liabilities! (AKA - TAX-DOLLAR SUCKING VACUUMS!).

  • Anonymous
    Dec. 13, 2009 8:45 p.m.

    "It's also possible, isn't it, that President Obama's isn't some monster, but a good man and a patriot who's doing the best he can given the very tough situation he faces?"

    Same could be said for Bush: did you blindly support him?

  • Henderson
    Dec. 13, 2009 7:02 p.m.

    Thank you Eric. It's about time we get some intelligent, coherent, real letter written into this paper.

  • Christy
    Dec. 13, 2009 5:25 p.m.

    Great letter Eric. Thanks for taking the time to write it.

  • Eric Samuelsen
    Dec. 13, 2009 4:40 p.m.

    To: Concerned
    I teach at BYU. I've been teaching at BYU since 1992. I had to pass a General Authority interview to get my job, and had to pass a rigorous review process to earn tenure, during which my views on every issue were carefully vetted by three separate review committees, and two additional administrators.

    So there are two possibilities: my views are absolutely incompatible with the gospel, but nobody who reviewed my file ever caught it, perhaps because I'm the slickest liar on the planet.

    Or maybe my views ARE compatible with the gospel, and your fears about me aren't really very justified. I think that's more likely, don't you?

    It's also possible, isn't it, that President Obama's isn't some monster, but a good man and a patriot who's doing the best he can given the very tough situation he faces? Maybe you just disagree with some of his policies? That's okay; I disagree with some of his policies too. Maybe if we started there, we could have a conversation together?

    Dec. 13, 2009 4:20 p.m.

    You don't want the right wing in the band wagon, you want us to pull the wagon. Not goin' to do it, no sir. Been around long enough to know mush when I see it. Keep trying son, someday, you may actually deserve that Phd.

  • Staying the course with Obama?
    Dec. 13, 2009 4:16 p.m.

    Obama is spiraling us down the black hole...I don't understand why Obama is so great and Bush is so bad? Obama has broken many of his campaign promises, but people praise him. I just don't get it?

  • King Benjamin
    Dec. 13, 2009 4:14 p.m.


    1. Neither have I suffered ... that you should commit adultery...

    2 [I] .. have taught you that ye should keep the commandments of the Lord in all things

    3. I... have labored with my own hands that I might serve you, and that ye should not be laden with taxes...

    Polticians do NOT labor with their own hands but receive pay and benefits forcibly from the taxpayers. Presidents fare sumptuously at our expense.

    Politicians, unlike King Benjamin, load us down with heavy taxes.

    None of our politicians support a prohibition on adultery, unlike King Benjamin. It is very unlike those politicians today, of both parties, who themselves commit adultery.

    None call upon people to keep all God's commandments, as King Benjamin did.

    (See Book of Mormon, Mosiah 2:12-14)

    King Benjamin said we should serve one another but did not, I think, have numerous lengthy documents telling them how they must do it, or be jailed or fined if they did not do it in an exact dictated way.

  • Christian Lib.
    Dec. 13, 2009 4:12 p.m.

    Tax cuts for the wealthy under Bush sure worked out good, right?
    Republican ideas on the economy worked out under Bush, right?
    Dumping abortion under the republicians worked out real good, right?
    Injection religious views under the Bush administration worked out fine, right?
    Trickle down worked out just great, right?
    The dumbing down of the president by voting Bush in worked out wonderfull, right?
    I guess that is why the faithfull AM folk lined up to vote the McCain/Palin (don't read, don't tell) bunch.

    Give Obama a chance. Beck lied when he said Obama would come to your house and get the gun's, and if you believe Bill Clinton killed people in the White House, then please, complain untill your coffin opens up.

  • Invisible Hand
    Dec. 13, 2009 3:59 p.m.

    Dr. Samuelsen gives a cogent and high-minded summary of liberal politics. He sounds a lot like Obama himself. He tickles our ears with smooth arguments and soaring rhetoric that is completely impractical in real life. Unfortunately we don't live in a world of rainbows and lollipops.

    I don't trust the government or anyone else to protect me at all times, so I am glad that I have a right to own firearms and protect myself. This is part of the self-reliance that made this country great. It is tragic that so many people are willing to give up self-reliance in favor of big government.

    As for the Great Depression, I don't think anybody is arguing that FDR policies started it. A very good argument can be made that his policies extended it. Since economics isn't a science, it can't be proven, but neither can the notion that FDR's policies did any good.

  • Yes, interesting?
    Dec. 13, 2009 3:39 p.m.

    I sure want to go back to the good old days of Bush jr, and tearing down America.
    After all, we can always vote somebody like Obama after the mess is even deeper than when the republicans were in office last time.
    Yeash, get a grip on reality, not Glen Beck's tripe.

  • Steve
    Dec. 13, 2009 3:29 p.m.

    Liberal claptrap. How long are you libs going to play the song that you "care" more. Facts are your worst enemy. Conservatives give more and do more with THEIR OWN money than libs. It is a fact. As someone already mentioned, you need to read "Who really cares" it will burst your little liberal bubble.

    Libs take from those who earn and give to those who don't. Which time and time again produces disastrous results. Take the time today to read Howard W. Hunter's talk "Law of the Harvest." Reread it every day for a a need a lot of help.

    Liberalism and Christianity go together like oil and water.

  • Concerned
    Dec. 13, 2009 3:13 p.m.

    I'd like to know where you teach in Utah County so I can steer my grandchildren away from your liberal-minded teaching ideas. You scare me with your theories and phD philosophies that don't line up with my bachelor degree and value-principled living.

    It's interesting to see how someone can very cleverly state black is white and use scripture stories to try to make a point. (Obama uses teleprompters and smooth talking.) I see a president and government building unsustainaable debt and adding to it every day. I see my beloved country being run by a man who has no real American roots and who doesn't understand the price of freedom secured by our brave founding fathers. I see a president and government wanting to know and control every aspect of all of our lives. I believe in free enterprise and hard work. I believe in taking care of the poor (Church welfare system). I believe that the proposed nationalized health care is a power grab and actually has nothing to do with fixing health care. Health care needs to be reformed but not destroyed as this bill will do.

  • interesting
    Dec. 13, 2009 1:00 p.m.

    I am conservative for roughtly the same reasons: I also believe abortion shold be legal - but I realize that most abortion restrictions do not stop a legitmate abortion - they merely insure a child due process before termination.
    I do not support a government sponsered religion - but the concept of freedom FROM religion is a threat to free speech and personal liberty.
    I dont mind the govenement "priming the pump" - But Obama merely went on an irresponsible left wing spending orgy that makes balancing the budget impossible.
    I dont mind a gradient tax level: but I dont believe people who "make good" should be pubished for being successful.
    I care about the poor - But I dont want to focribly become one by well meaning but misguided zealots who feel they can be more charitable with my money than I can.

    So I basically reject the underlying condiscending premise of all of the suppositions here and think we are on the wrong course entirely. I will fight for my country by working to insure Obama and others of the intolerant left wing of any political party are NOT reelected.

  • New Yorker
    Dec. 13, 2009 12:47 p.m.

    Hey @Craig,
    Nothing to stop you from giving and paying more taxes, just don't keep forcing everyone else to. Just what in your opinion is the magic number to give to the government. I am currently, paying about 83% of my income to the government. Would you be happy with 93%, 99% or 100%? After all, the government wisely spends the money that they take from us, don't they? The time is coming big guy, when people that are paying the vast majority of taxes are going to say forget it and stop working or there is be a revolution. I think that the latter is more likely.

  • Eric Samuelsen
    Dec. 13, 2009 12:20 p.m.

    A few responses:
    To mc: it's not true that 'most historians believe that FDR's policies caused the Depression to last ten years longer than it did.' Since FDR took office in 1933, and since the Depression ended in 1941, I, and most historians who have studied this period, find this conclusion dubious. The facts are clear: in 1929, the US GDP stood at about 106 billion. By 1933, GDP had fallen to 54 billion. The New Deal led to 8 percent economic growth every year except 1937 (which is the one year when Roosevelt cut back on most New Deal spending). By 1940, GDP was at 104 billion, at which point WWII happened. I've read Jim Powell's book--typical example of special pleading, poorly sourced and badly reasoned.
    I do not support Lucifer's plan. Obviously part of our agency involves who we vote for, and which acts of government we support. I would have voted for King Benjamin, and his radical program of government welfare, for example.
    I'm too young for Medicare. My parents are on Medicare, and I thank God for it; they receive excellent care, at a reasonable cost..

  • @Craig
    Dec. 13, 2009 10:53 a.m.

    Not so. You're "forced" to do a lot of things, such as pay taxes for educating other people's children, support our troops, build highways you may never ride on, etc. The Christian's purpose in life is not to "exercise agency" but to help bring to pass the well being of our brothers and sisters. I am glad to pay taxes to help those who are less fortunate than myself.
    Unlike you.

  • Progressive
    Dec. 13, 2009 10:49 a.m.

    All this "Obama is a collectivist socialist, who will destroy this country and our way of life", is just stupid stupid stupid. Social Democracy's with collectivist tendency's have their issues such as falling into a corruption of power (trying to govern from the top) but they are also responsible for nearly all the social progress the civilized world has made over the last 200 years (and I'm not counting all the consumer junk produced as progress). Collectivist principles also are a necessary balance against the corruption of money spawned by the absolute free market principles of a Hayek. It's these free market principles that nearly destroyed the world economy last year.

    "Your way of Life", is pretty much a result of social democratic principles sans the 14 kinds of cheerios you can buy, if you have a job and any money.

  • Reality Check
    Dec. 13, 2009 10:32 a.m.

    Another liberal talking the talk. Conservatives believe in the same principles, but put the administration of them into the hands of the people, not the faraway bubble in Washington. And yes, Conservatives care. Read the 20 year study "Who really cares?" The author discovered that conservatives give twice as much to charity as liberals, and expect the able and healthy of society to work their way out of poverty. Liberals are all for taking care of the poor...with somebody elses money. If you are a Christian, and a Mormon, you should look closely at the Church welfare system: It requires work for food, progress for handouts, education for effort. And it's administered by local communities: volunteers who are most qualified to assess the needs of their neighbors. Go back and get your phD in Charity and the Free Market. Because without the free market, there would be no charity (see Soviet Union 4o years ago). Glad you care...we all do. But let's make it our responsibility to make a difference, not the government's.

  • Anonymous
    Dec. 13, 2009 9:57 a.m.

    suggesting the poor are to be blamed for their misery????

    Who has ever blamed the poor for their own circumstances, NOT conservatives?

    The BLAME has always been pointed squarely at the Liberals who legislate the poor, to always be poor!

  • mc
    Dec. 13, 2009 9:54 a.m.

    Eric, as a professor of U.S. history you should as for you money back from where every you learn your U.S. History. You need to stop reading the liberal revision of History and get to the truth. I would suggest you read and study Amity Shalase's Book "The Forgotten Man" and Jim Powell's "FDR's Folly". Historians now accept the proven fact that FDR's policies caused the great depression to last 10 years longer than it needed to. And the sad thing is, is that Obama is following the same course, which will produce the same outcome - longer lasting recession.

  • Longtime Republican
    Dec. 13, 2009 9:49 a.m.

    I appreciate this well-thought out letter, and the positive approach to the overwhelming problems our country has amassed.

    Many of us true-red Republicans acknowledge that party politics, animosity, and ignorance won't solve our problems. If we are to succeed, we will accept and help to foster overhauling government functions so that they work for the benefit of the people they are meant to serve.

    I refuse to lambast President Obama simply because he is a Democrat. I look past his party affiliation, to his intent - his principles. He has, and will again, stumble in his approach. When that happens I would hope we Americans, no matter what our party affiliation, will offer a helping hand back to restore his balance rather than ridiculing him.

    For the first time in a very long time, we have a President who is doing his level best to restore America and its citizens to stability. The inspiration he evokes deserves acknowledgement and appreciation. I am one Republican who stands tall to applaud President Obama.

  • Shoe is on the other foot now
    Dec. 13, 2009 9:44 a.m.

    I find it more than a little ironic that a few years ago you were PRAISE by the left and ENCOURAGED to be an "Activist", especially in opposing the President, his policies, any effort he made to conduct the war, any bill he tried to pass, etc.

    Today... If you oppose ANYTHING the President wants, You are labeled a "RADICAL", "Dangerous", "Crazy", "Unstable", a "Racist", and put down, for the same "Activist" activities that WERE praised and encouraged during the Bush Administration.

    Does anyone else see that as a little ironic?

    Go to an anti-war demonstration conducted by Rocky Anderson and you are PRAISED by the left. Go to Tea Party Protest or show up at a Town Hall meeting... and the left (together with the media) paint you as a lunnatic finge MANIAC that's "Dangerous to the country", "Not patriotic", "Racist", etc.

    I wonder if we went to Town Hall meetings with the name calling, rudeness, loud insulting rhetoric and disrespect Rocky Anderson brought to the protests of SLC's invited guests and their invited speaker (the ELECTED President)... Would we be PRAISED by Rocky, the people who attended his protests and the leftist fringe?

  • william of utah
    Dec. 13, 2009 9:41 a.m.

    Dr. Samuelsen, your well-constructed home was likely constructed by a private construction company, not by the federal government. And the federal government is not charged by our Constitution with regulating home-building practices. But if Americans at their local-government level decide to have building codes, that's not unconstitutional is it? So for those "conservatives" who want to preserve a constitutional federal government, that does not mean those same "conservatives" don't recognize that it's possible for local governments to install building codes without violating the national charter. So try to separate powers since you say you love the "separation of powers." You mentioned you have electrical power, well sir, most electrical power is generated in Utah by a privately owned and operated power company using coal burning plants to generate electricity and deliver to your home, not by the federal government. Yes, there's provo electrice, a Provo city electric company owend by local government, but again the powers of local governments and state governments are many, while the powers of the federal government were intended to be few and defined by the constitution to limit the federal power to a few powers and responsiblities.

  • william of Utah
    Dec. 13, 2009 9:31 a.m.

    Stay the course with Obama? So will you stay the suicidal course of supporting the Cap & Trade bill that is based on anthropogenic global warming claims that are contested by thousands of scientists and shown to be untrustworthy by some of the revelations of the CLIMATEGATE SCANDAL? Will you stay Obama's course at the UN Climate Change summit where the UN seeks trillions of dollars of "reparations" from the USA and other western nations for unproven claims that supposedly our energy use has injured the climate of third-world nations? Why?

  • FINALLY!!!
    Dec. 13, 2009 9:26 a.m.

    Finally!!! Now maybe the left can join with the REST OF THE COUNTRY in this hope that we can stop trying to do everything in our power to tear the President down!

    Now if we can only get the RIGHT-wing back on the band-wagon.

  • Craig
    Dec. 13, 2009 8:30 a.m.

    As a Christian you forgot the very purpose of life, to exercise our agency. We should help the needy but it needs to be our choice and not forced upon us. that was Lucifer's plan. When we are forced to do any action is is counted as if we did not do it. To freely exercise our agency we need to make the choice of helping others on our own. You have fallen into Lucifer's big lie.

  • ajvt
    Dec. 13, 2009 8:16 a.m.

    spoken like a true liberal who doesnt understand the Constitution, and its equal protection under the law, "all men are created equal". Taxing the rich at different rates doesnt fit that principle. Obama is a collectivist socialist, who will destroy this country and our way of life.

  • Stay the course?
    Dec. 13, 2009 8:11 a.m.

    You obviously still have a job. You obviously don't rely upon Medicare for your health care. Obama's administration has been a train wreck. I would like to see health care reform. I would like a president who is honest enough to say its the right thing to do and worth the cost. Obama's plan is based upon a lie. You don't get something for nothing. While I agree in the goal I support medical coverage for everyone, I don't agree with Obama's approach. It is important that we oppose the lies that Obama continues to tell and push to have a plan that pays for the cost.

  • Anonymous
    Dec. 13, 2009 7:57 a.m.

    Eric: Nice job. I want to congratulate for offering a clear, concise and HUMANE overview of what we liberals believe. I wanted to do it before the Glen Beck clones wake up and start spewing their dribble. Well done.

  • Ute alum
    Dec. 13, 2009 7:54 a.m.


    Just which course are we to stay with "o"? His course changes with the blowing winds. Praying to get your Phd must make you pretty smart. Does that make someone who does not pray for a "Phd" less? The biggest concern with your editorial is the fact that you have a Phd.

  • Anonymous
    Dec. 13, 2009 7:53 a.m.

    Thank you for writing this! I love the civil presentation of well-thought out ideas.

  • Effective government
    Dec. 13, 2009 7:29 a.m.

    I think conservatives have their argument wrong... we should be afraid of "big government" but "ineffective government." What Obama is trying to do is make government effective. When conservatives starve government programs and see that they don't work, all it does is feed their self-fulfilling assertions that "government doesn't work."

    When you see government programs and initiatives from the great railroads and highway systems that benefitted America to the G.I. Bill that gave college educations to the masses and created the great middle class in America to the creation of the greatest military on earth, one wonders why conservative oppose government initiatives. Many would not be where they are today if government hadn't educated them, allowed them to travel to their tea parties, and protected their right to free speech and security!

  • wow
    Dec. 13, 2009 7:05 a.m.

    I agree on many of those points - whish is exacly why I am not liberal (politically - I try to be intellectually) I think we made horrrible mistake in electing Obamaa and the course we are on is not a healthy one

  • You must be kidding!
    Dec. 13, 2009 6:44 a.m.

    The longer this goes the more obvious it becomes that the Pres is neither divinely inspired or, I fear, even sincere, in the disastrous course he is encouraging in the Congress.

  • Course to destruction
    Dec. 13, 2009 5:58 a.m.

    Wow! Those are some bold words. I'm sure those words are going to anger most conservatives. I find in interesting the course this country has taken in the last 11 months is a definite downward spiral. And you want to continue this? Why?

  • Amen and Amen
    Dec. 13, 2009 5:10 a.m.

    Well said. Too many Utahn's allow their moral values to be shaped by their political party's campaign platform choosing to either ignore or simply remain uninformed of their church's principal stance on critical issues of our day.

  • Timj
    Dec. 13, 2009 4:47 a.m.

    Thanks for the great article.

  • Demo Dave
    Dec. 13, 2009 3:26 a.m.

    Definitely one of the best introspective essays I have read in either paper -- and it was in the D-News of all places! Perhaps we are making progress as a society. Keep up the good work!

  • Great Letter Eric.
    Dec. 13, 2009 1:27 a.m.

    Thanks for your well-written thoughts supporting liberalism without attacking the other side. More politacal discussions should be held this way.

    I share many of your political views and support President Obama as well. I think he is working incredibly hard for our Country with forsight in setting up a new foundation for strong years ahead of us. I believe his outreach to the rest of the world at a time when many are questioning the intentions of America is extremely important.

  • Severed
    Dec. 13, 2009 1:17 a.m.

    Laughable, Alot about what you believe is not an argument but just regurgitated old arguments with no explination. Love the conservatives believe in the deserving poor comment. Because you obviously think conservatives don't care.

    Only one question for me is did you support Bush when he was president? Your right times are bad and times are tough because you liberals give away too much and not require more for it.

  • MormonDem
    Dec. 13, 2009 12:34 a.m.

    Amen. Nice to see such sentiments in the pages of the DN.