The Washington Post Monkey Cage blog has an interesting story up on religious freedom and last night’s caucus vote in Idaho and Utah for Ted Cruz. I think it gets a few things wrong. Effectively it is asking why Mormons voted for Cruz, who isn’t exactly a religious freedom champion when they opposed Trump.
The problem is that this election cycle is a perfect example of having any good choices. Thus any choice you make is bad. A vote for Katich at this stage is really a vote for Trump. There’s no way Kasich can win. Exactly why he’s still in the race is not at all clear. He should have left long ago if he cared about the danger of Trump.
Cruz is a very bad choice too for a slew of reasons. I suspect there’s actually a fair bit of sincere support for Cruz for various reasons in Utah. I think it incorrect, but at this stage I think it doesn’t matter. Trump is a huge threat for both the Republican Party as well as the nation. Most of those supporting Trump are either severely projecting onto him what they want him to be like or just don’t care. That is they think a vote for Trump will shake up politics. (It will, but not likely the way they want) Cruz at this stage, as bad as a candidate as at least many Utahns might think him to be is the best chance of stopping the greater threat of Trump. Beyond that the next best bet is to vote for Clinton. It’s worth noting that Utahns in general are not fans of the Clintons. This was the one state where in the 90’s Bill Clinton actually came in third. But I think many people see Clinton as a lesser threat than Trump.
Continue reading Why Mormons Accept Cruz
Trump has a Mormon problem but it’s about more than Mormonism. Looks like, as expected, Trump lost Utah. Although it’s still pretty early and there are delays due to unprecedented turnout.
McKay Coppins: Top 3 states with highest proportion of Mormons: 1. Utah (Trump polling in 3rd) 2. Idaho (Trump lost by 18 points) 3. Wyoming (losing by 53).
Pew has up an interesting graph on how religious various states are. Surprisingly Utah ranks 11th. Unsurprisingly the areas near the Mississippi delta are most religious. Having lived there I tend to think the way the religiosity there is manifest isn’t necessarily healthy. Although I’m sure some might say the same about here in Utah.
Most of the statistics aren’t new. It seems that only a small group outside of the key Mormon constituency are that religious. Of course most of us likely know very religious non-members. But there is also a pretty strong secular aspect to Utah that I think those living here note.
John McWhorter, who is primarily a linguist and not a political commentator, on words of profanity. Very interesting. “they are words we shield our children from until they are of a certain age. But that’s not what profanity is supposed to be.” Words that once were profanity no longer are and words that once weren’t now have become profanity.
Russell Fox has a great post up at his blog on abortion. I always love reading Russell. I frequently disagree with him even if our aims are pretty similar. But I find how he thinks through an issue always makes me think about it differently.
This post is a reaction to a back and forth debate between Damno Linker and Ross Dothat. The real issue is less abortion though than the role repugnance ought play in our reasoning. I suspect this can be seen as a practical manifestation of the fact/value breakdown that pragmatists so often see as important.
What’s interesting to me is that a lot of the analysis is really a claim for systematic thinking. That’s interesting to me since system thinking has come to have such a bad reputation the past few years. Partially that’s due to the rejection of epistemological foundationalism. But there were a lot of other reasons why say systematic theology or philosophy fell out of favor. I think it’s part of an overall suspicion against grand narratives.
I think repugnance and other reactions are significant even if logically certain other analysis come to different analysis. I think our repugnance suggests differing degrees of wrongness, even if not done in a systematic way. That said, I suspect how I balance that sense of repugnance will be more conservative than Russell. (Unsurprisingly)
Rod Dreher on Stanley Fish’s agreement withe Justice Scalia about Obergefell. Dreher often overreacts from my perspective. I do think he’s right that “rights talk” simply isn’t consequentialist. Those who adopt consequentialist arguments likely will miss what’s really going on. (Especially when the consequentialists aren’t keeping all things equal in terms of distinction between particular groups and larger groups)
Bryan Caplan and Richard Posner debate the connection between polygamy and same sex marriage. It’s an interesting debate I can’t imagine happening a decade ago.
“Equality as a Moral Ideal” by Harry Frankfurt. It’s interesting to me how many people focus on equality rather than mobility opportunity or making sure everyone has enough. This is a good paper on why getting people enough should be our primary focus. (HT: Bleeding Heart Libertarians – note I’m not a libertarian for a slew of reasons)
Nate Oman on the irony of the conflict between religious freedom and anti-discrimination. Places that need more religious freedom wouldn’t pass such laws and places that need most anti-discrimination laws won’t pass those.