Power Grab: Our Technocratic Future by Wesley J. Smith

October 1, 2012, Vol. 18, No. 03

To paraphrase Freud: Liberals, what do they really want? Not the communism or socialism of the right’s fever dreams. They know that didn’t work. Today’s liberal agenda is more akin to the corporatist vision of the 1920s and ’30s​—​an economy in which the state directs the activities of the private sector to achieve ideologically desired ends. But even that description doesn’t quite get to the nub of it. Liberals today seek to create a stable, and what they perceive to be a socially just, society via rule by experts​—​in which most of the activities of society are micromanaged by technocrats for the economic and social benefit of the whole. In other words, social democracy without the messiness of democracy, like the European Union’s rule-by-bureaucrats-in-Brussels. This is the “fundamental transformation” that President Obama seeks to implement in this country.

The siren song of technocracy attracts members of both parties. Left-wing types tend to believe in issuing direct government commands. Think Nancy Pelosi or Mayor Bloomberg. Big government right-wingers prefer to induce “desirable” behavior through incentives. Think Newt Gingrich at his most utopian.

Since technocrats believe their job is to protect us from ourselves, preventing people from getting hurt becomes the prime directive, the equality that matters most is equality of outcome​—​not opportunity​—​an unattainable goal, which conveniently means a technocrat’s work is never done.

Europeans generally accept this benign statism as the best way to maintain peace and social stability. It has been somewhat rougher sledding in the United States because technocracy undermines individual liberty and the American dream. Hence the widespread outrage over “You didn’t build that.”

But with the coming of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), aka Obama­care, the technocrats have broken ground for a full-bore, EU-style bureaucratic state. Leading the charge is the Independent Payment Advisory Board, governed by 15 “experts” appointed by the president and confirmed by the Senate. Established to control Medicare costs, IPAB possesses the raw power to force Congress to legislate via its “fast track authority”; IPAB’s financial targets must be enacted into law by August 15 of each year, beginning in 2014. Not only that, if Congress refuses to legislate the level of cost containment demanded by IPAB (or if the president vetoes the bill), IPAB’s original recommendation is automatically imposed. In other words, IPAB’s cost-cutting word is law. And if that isn’t enough: Congress can’t dissolve IPAB until 2017​—​and then only by a supermajority vote of both houses.

Defenders of IPAB claim that such extraordinary authority is necessary because Congress can’t be trusted to cut costs. We should never underestimate Congress’s cravenness, but that is no reason to bulldoze democratic accountability or devolve power from the elected organs of government to a semi-sovereign bureaucracy.

Defenders also tell us not to fear because IPAB’s cost-cutting weapons are limited primarily to controlling payments to doctors and hospitals​—​never mind that draconian cuts in compensation could make it extremely difficult for Medicare beneficiaries to find doctors. But the broad power given to IPAB was not designed to remain limited. Even before it is up and running, President Obama has said that IPAB should be “strengthened.”

More specifically, Christina Romer, the former head of the president’s Council of Economic Advisers, suggested in a July 22 column in the New York Times that IPAB “could be empowered to suggest changes in benefits or in how Medicare services are provided,” once it has a “track record”—meaning, once it becomes an accepted reality. But as we have seen, IPAB doesn’t merely “suggest,” it dictates. Thus, Romer is actually arguing that IPAB could eventually be granted absolute authority over Medicare policy, including, perhaps, health care rationing power that would be the envy of any EU technocrat.

Former Obama Treasury Department adviser and New York Times columnist Steven Rattner specifically urged transforming IPAB into a rationing board in a September 17 column. “No one wants to lose an aging parent,” he wrote. But the cost of caring extensively for the elderly “imposes an enormous societal cost that few other nations have been willing to bear,” and so we too must jump into the rationing pool:

Take Britain, which provides universal coverage with spending at proportionately almost half of American levels. Its National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence uses a complex quality-adjusted life year system to put an explicit value (up to about $48,000 per year) on a treatment’s ability to extend life.

At the least, the Independent Payment Advisory Board should be allowed to offer changes in services and costs. We may shrink from such stomach-wrenching choices, but they are inescapable.

Once we turn our affairs over to the technocracy, bureaucrats even get to decide which of us has greater value and which of us can be kicked out of the lifeboat.

Technocracy is ultimately not about expertise but about determining the common moral values of society. It does not countenance competing centers of moral authority. It is no surprise that the first major regulation promulgated under the ACA by the Obama administration directly attacked freedom of religion by requiring sectarian institutions and private businesses to provide their employees free birth control and sterilization surgeries even if it violates their religious consciences.

Obamacare is also a splendid vehicle for imposing liberal social values that technocrats favor. Thus, the next time the Democrats enjoy one-party rule, expect them to amend the ACA first to permit, then to mandate, abortion coverage. Indeed, Obamacare could easily become the vehicle for enacting many profoundly culture-changing policies, such as requiring employers to cover free in-vitro fertilization, not to mention sex reassignment surgery, and eventually assisted suicide.

The issue isn’t whether there should be regulation. Only the most radical libertarians favor laissez faire. The concern is the Obama administration’s apparent eagerness to cross the border from reasonable regulation to the land of technocracy​—​and not just in health care. In this sense, the current election is about far more than policy issues such as taxation, spending, and terrorism. More profoundly, we will find out whether the voters are ready to allow a second term President Obama to transform Washington, D.C., into Brussels on the Potomac.

Wesley J. Smith is a senior fellow at the Discovery Institute’s Center on Human Exceptionalism. He consults for the Patients Rights Council and the Center for Bioethics and Culture.

Copyright 2012 Weekly Standard LLC.

Source URL: http://www.weeklystandard.com/articles/power-grab_652898.html

How An Evangelical Christian Can Support a Mormon For President by Dr. Andy Woods

I am a theology professor at a Bible College and a pastor. I am also a political conservative. I frequently write posts and articles promoting political conservatism. Recently, some of my students have politely inquired how I could publically criticize Mormon theology in the classroom and from behind the pulpit and yet privately promote the Presidential candidacy of Mitt Romney, who is a professing Mormon. Here is my basic response:

The last time I checked, Jesus is not on the 2012 presidential ballot. Therefore, I have to vote for which of the two existing candidates, I believe better reflects biblical values. Keep in mind that a president is not in power to promote theology. That is what pastors and theologians are for. Rather, a president is elected to politically and economically govern our country. Therefore, I pick a president not based on his personal theology but rather upon his philosophy of government. When you compare Romney’s philosophy of government to Obama’s philosophy of government, which philosophy better mirrors biblical values? This is a question that all Christians need to ask in this upcoming election. For me, the answer is a no-brainer. Romney’s philosophy of government, while not perfect, is much closer to Scripture than Obama’s.

Here are some issues that I look at to discern the biblical orientation of the governing philosophy of any politician. With each issue I have included some Bible verse references in order to demonstrate to the reader that these preferences are not uniquely mine but rather are derived from the pages of God’s Word. These issues can be categorized under the following headings: economic issues, social issues, and foreign affairs matters.

Mitt Romney

Economic Matters

Because of biblical prohibitions against stealing and covetousness (Exod. 20:15, 17) as well as the scriptural promotion of economic self-sufficiency through labor (Gen. 3:17-19; 2 Thess. 3:10), I typically inquire whether the candidate will use the power of the state to take the income of the earner and redistribute it to the non-earner? Due to the fact that the Bible teaches differing God-given abilities among human beings (Matt. 25:15), will the candidate use the force of government to guarantee equality of opportunity for all and leave equality of result to individual initiative, drive, work ethic, and talent?

Because God has given the role of charity to the church (Jas. 1:27; 5:14) rather than the state (Gen. 9:6; Rom. 13:1-7), will the candidate ignore this boundary by imposing upon the state ever increasing charitable obligations thereby marginalizing the church’s God-ordained role in this critical area?

Also, the Bible views the family as the essential building block towards a healthy society (Eph. 5:22–6:4). Since today’s families are under tremendous stress, will the candidate increase this pressure through the added burden of further taxation? Will he advocate excessive government regulation, which has the net effect of spiking consumer prices? Will he place employers under greater taxation and burdensome regulation leading to inevitable downsizing, layoffs, and the re-location of factories beyond America’s borders? All of these repercussions increase financial stress upon the family unit.

Moreover, because the Scripture advocates leaving one’s wealth to one’s descendants (Prov. 13:22; 1 Tim. 5:8), I am always curious about whether the candidate will hamper generational wealth transfer through onerous inheritance taxes, which force the deceased’s relatives to visit the undertaker and the IRS agent on the same day.

Also, does the candidate understand that the earth experiences cyclical heating and cooling (Gen. 8:22)? For example, global warming transpired during the time of the Vikings, long before the advent of SUVs and modern industry. Does he instead attribute such cycles exclusively to human activity? If the latter, he will likely favor increased government control over economic behavior, which can cripple an economy and yet simultaneously have a negligible impact upon either global warming or cooling.

In addition, does the candidate through rejection of true worship of God instead embrace earth worship (Rom. 1:22-23), otherwise known as the Gaia Hypothesis? In other words, has common sense environmental stewardship given way to pantheism and environmental extremism? If so, he will likely impede domestic fossil fuel and oil production. Such domestic drilling has the benefit of reducing America’s dependence upon foreign sources of oil that are often controlled by governments that do not have our nation’s best interests at heart.

Furthermore, because the Bible warns against the bondage associated with excessive debt (Prov. 22:7) and also categorizes unpaid debts as theft (Ps. 37:21), will the candidate continue to add to our runaway national deficits and debt? Increasing our national debt not only steals from future generations, but it also compromises America’s economic well-being.

In a similar vein, because respect for America’s founding documents are the best insulation against runaway government spending and concentration of power into too few hands, will the candidate favor appointing individuals to the judicial branch of government who actually care about the original intent of our Constitution? If not, he may allow judges onto our courts who see our Constitution as merely a “living and breathing” amorphous document. Virtually anything can be read into such a meaningless document in order to socialize our country.

Social Matters

Since Scripture makes no distinction between the born and the unborn (Ps. 139:13; Jer. 1:5), does the candidate favor legal protection for the unborn?

Also, because God has established heterosexual monogamy as the pattern for marriage (Gen. 1:26-28; 2:18-25; Rom. 1:26-27), will the candidate promote this divine standard as the societal norm, or will he instead reduce this time-honored standard to simply one among many lifestyle alternatives?

Moreover, because God has given to the state the power to execute criminals in instances of murder (Gen. 9:6; Rom. 13:4), will the candidate seek to abolish or promote capital punishment?

In addition, because the Scripture routinely warns of the dangers of abusing alcohol (Lev. 10:9; Prov. 31:4-5; 1 Tim. 3:3), pornography (Matt. 5:27-28), and gambling (Prov. 13:11), will the candidate support the legal right of communities to restrict such deleterious influences and establishments from their neighborhoods, schools, children, homes, and churches?

Furthermore, because God has entrusted the task of rearing and teaching children to parents as opposed to government bureaucrats (Deut. 6:6-7; Josh. 4:20-23; Prov. 22:6; Eph. 6:4), does the educational philosophy of the candidate empower the parents or the government teachers’ unions? The former can be empowered through educational choice, vouchers for private or parochial schools, and opt out alternatives for public school courses and presentations deemed offensive and harmful by parents.

Also, in view of the fact that the Scripture commands believers to preach the Gospel to every creature (Matt. 28:18-20; Mark 16:15), will the candidate use the force of government to restrict public expressions of Christianity in public places and schools as well as over the airwaves and on the internet? Interestingly, in Luke 22:36, as Christ was sending out His disciples into the hostile world from the Upper Room, He said, “and whoever has no sword is to sell his coat and buy one” (Luke 22:36). In so doing, Christ provided not only for the self defense of His disciples but also their right to defend themselves from aggression. Therefore, a good question for any candidate is whether he believes that individual and private citizens have a right to keep and bear arms? In other words, does he believe that the Second Amendment to the Constitution guarantees an individual right to bear arms or does he instead believe that the Second Amendment is some sort of nebulous collective right that has nothing to do with personal freedom to retain a firearm? Does the candidate instead support endless regulations and licensing requirements upon firearms thus paving the way toward their ultimate and total governmental confiscation?

Because the Bible teaches that all people have equal dignity and worth (Gen. 1:26-27; Gal. 3:28), will the candidate enforce all of our laws equally and fairly among all people regardless of gender, ethnicity, and socio-economic status (Deut 25:16; Prov. 20:23)? Discrimination against racial minorities should no more be tolerated than reverse discrimination against whites through quotas, timetables and set asides. White aggression against racial minorities should be punished to the full extent of the law and so should Black Panther voter intimidation against whites.

Mitt Romney and Benjamin Netanyahu

Foreign Affairs Matters

Because the concept of the individual nation state originated with God (Gen. 10:32; 11:1-9; Deut. 32:8; Acts 17:26), will the candidate favor submitting the political sovereignty of national governments to unaccountable trans-national political organizations all in the name of global governance? A related issue involves national borders. Since God has established national entities and their existing borders, will the candidate enforce our borders or will he leave America vulnerable to terrorist attacks through a porous border policy?

In addition, God has promised to bless the world through national Israel (Gen. 12:3b; Isa. 42:6; 49:6). Consequently, He promises to bless those who bless Israel and conversely vows to curse those who curse her (Gen. 12:3a; Joel 3:2b). Therefore, another important question entails whether the candidate favors reducing Israel’s existing borders in exchange for the illusory promise of peace. Such a process makes Israel more vulnerable to aggression and attack by her surrounding hostile neighbors. After all, it is Satan’s ambition to eradicate the Jewish people and state (Rev. 12:1, 13-17; Gen. 37:9-10). Thus, a candidate’s view on Israel largely tells me whether He is cooperating with God’s agenda or the devil’s.

Moreover, due to the fact that many evil rulers and terrorists abroad will only be deterred from violent behavior through the counter threat of force (Gen. 8:21; Jer. 17:9), will the candidate pursue a foreign policy of peace through military strength? Without this perspective, the danger is that the candidate will naively and ineffectively seek to deter evil in the world through American military reduction and unpreparedness. Such a policy of appeasement will in turn lead to endless dialogue, treaty and peace agreements not too dissimilar from the pattern espoused by Neville Chamberlain, apology tours, and financial subsidies given to America’s sworn enemies, thus endangering our own national security.


For me, the whole issue in selecting a political leader relates to his philosophy of government as opposed to his personal theology. As the old adage goes, “I would rather be governed by a competent Turk than an incompetent Christian.” Jimmy Carter serves as a perfect example. While professing faith in Christ, he had a non-biblical philosophy of government. Consequently, he has gone down in history as one of our worst presidents. Besides, if we are going to vote based on a candidate’s personal theology rather than his philosophy of government, I hardly see how Obama is much of an improvement over Romney. Obama attended a church for over 20 years that taught the non-biblical doctrine of Liberation Theology.

When all of the evidence is considered, Obama also seems quite sympathetic to the non-biblical Islamic religion. While I disagree with both men on personal theological issues, I will take Romney’s philosophy of government over Obama’s any day of the week. When it comes to governing philosophy, which is what really counts in a President, Romney is far closer to my understanding of scriptural truth than Obama.


You Can Never Awaken a Man Who Is Pretending to be Asleep by Bill Warner

September 15, 2012

The White House and media response to the events in the US embassies in Egypt and Libya can be characterized by the fact they speak like they have never seen Sharia mob justice before in their lives. Or, at least, you would think that from the knowledge and wisdom they display in their analysis.

For the last 11 years since 9/11, we have watched the same events unroll in the Islamic world and the same response come from our so-called leaders in the government, media, schools and the pulpits. The establishment view: Those Muslims are extremists, not real Muslims. We should be careful not to offend the religion of peace. When Muslims are offended by movies, Koran burnings and Mohammed cartoons, it is our fault.

The clue phone is ringing, pick it up. Here are the clues:

The murder of intellectuals and artists who criticize Mohammed is Sunna. Sunna is the perfect example of Mohammed’s life. When Mohammed captured Mecca, he first prayed, then he destroyed all religious art and then he issued death warrants for the artists and intellectuals who had opposed him. There are only two new facts in the Koran, a derivative work. The first new fact is that Mohammed is the prophet of Allah, and the second new truth is that if you don’t believe he is prophet of Allah, you can be killed.

Violence is what brings Islam success. In Mohammed’s life, he preached the religion of Islam for 13 years and garnered 150 new followers. When he went to Medina and became a politician and a warlord, when he died every Arab was a Muslim. Jihad violence was what made Islam successful. If Mohammed practice jihad, Muslims must use the technique of jihad.

Hello establishment experts, the black flag is not an Al Qaeda flag. The black flag with the Shahada, “There is no god, but Allah and Mohammed is his prophet” and the swords goes back to the Golden Age of Islam in Baghdad in the 9th century. (The establishment professors never tell you about this jihad aspect of the Islamic Golden Age.) This jihad flag is ancient.

Current news is that Ambassador Stevens was raped before he was killed. If so, then this is pure jihad doctrine. The rules for rape of captured Kafirs (unbelievers) are Sunna. At the conquest of the Jews in Khaybar, the Hadith are explicit that captured Kafirs can be raped.

The mob is a manifestation of the Sharia and the umma (the Islamic community). Notice that when a fatwa is issued, such as the famous fatwa by Khomeini against Salmon Rushdie for his artistic work The Satanic Verses, the fatwa is not to be fulfilled by the Islamic police. No, the murder is to be carried by any member of the umma. This is vigilante justice, Sharia justice, mob justice. Pay attention to how often Muslims riot to make political gain.

The shortest hadith is: war is deceit. So here come all of the “good” Muslims to explain how the murder and riots are not real Islam. And they are so upset about what Arabs are doing at the US embassies. But, they still can tell us that Islam is the religion of peace, without a single trace of irony.

The idea that we should not blaspheme Islam, Mohammed or Allah is pure Sharia and the position of the OIC (Organization of Islamic Cooperation). It seems that none of the establishment experts have the foggiest idea of what Sharia blasphemy entails. Not believing that Mohammed is the prophet of Allah, that a woman is a second class citizen, that jihad is part of Islam is all blasphemy. Critical thought is blasphemy. The Golden Rule is blasphemy. Any well-founded religion can survive blasphemy, except Islam, and that is the reason it is forbidden. But the worst part of this travesty is the refrain from Obama and Hillary that we should subvert our freedom of speech to the demands of the Sharia. The Sharia is Allah’s law and our Constitution is a document of ignorance to be removed from the world. So say the imams and Obama and Hillary.

And now for the last tired response from the apologists: those violent people are an extremist fringe. NO! The mobs are main-line Islam.

You can awaken a man who is asleep, but you will never awaken a man who is pretending to be asleep. That is the reason that we find our experts in the government, media, education and the pulpits to be such dhimmis. They have refused to learn a single thing about Islamic doctrine and history since 9/11. But, cheer up! When the dhimmis write about the beauty of Islam and how the Kafirs are wrong, read the comments. You will find that the common man knows far, far more about Islam than the experts. The higher you go, the less they know.


Bill Warner, Director, Center for the Study of Political Islam