Discussions of Mormons and Mormon life, Book of Mormon issues and evidences, and other Latter-day Saint (LDS) topics.

Sunday, October 30, 2016

If You're Supporting Mormon Candidate Evan McMullin, At Least Understand Why: A Hint for Principled Conservatives

In response to my post on not hating those who vote for either of the troubling top candidates for president in the U.S., one LDS reader breathlessly praised Marybeth Glenn's article, "Ten Reasons Why You Should Support Evan McMullin" at The Collision Blog (collisionofchurchandstate.com). Marybeth is a delightful writer, but I hope she'll forgive me for expressing some mild confusion about the reasons she has offered.

Marybeth is writing to conservatives, "principled conservatives" in fact, a label that fits many Mormons, especially in the states of Utah and Arizona, where McMullin seems to be growing in popularity. She repeatedly links McMullin to conservatism and conservative ideals, and as a refreshing alternative to Hillary or Trump:
Win or lose, he has the power to carry the conservative principles away from the shark infested waters and to the shore....
Conservatism needs a dog in this fight because not only would we like her to lose, as well, we can’t allow conservative ideals to be mistakenly chained to Trump’s ankles.... We need to separate out the ideals, we need to be able to say, “This over here is Conservatism, that over there is Fascism.” Having someone in the race who represents conservative ideals – more so than many of the other candidates we had, I might add – is going to help us achieve that goal....
He’s standing up for the conservative values currently in jeopardy.
Bonus points for recognizing that Trump is no conservative and that Fascism, a form of totalitarian big government that may have a nationalist flavor sometimes allied with big industry, is not conservatism. Of course, the Left loves to present the political spectrum as if it only has totalitarian flavors, with Communism on the left and National Socialism/Fascism on the right, leaving no place for the small government Republic our Founding Fathers tried to give us.

So what are the principles of conservatism and who is defending them?

For me (you can feel free to disagree), principled conservatism for an American citizen means a respect for the ideals of the Constitution. If you are "conserving" something that is outside the core intent of the US Constitution and contrary to the principles of liberty that this nation once sought, then "conservatism" might not be the best word.

For me,  principled conservatism should include a desire to keep government small, not just bigger in "better ways" by cutting "better deals" closed by "smarter" autocrats. It means seeking to let people run their own lives. It means having deep respect for religious liberty--something both leading candidates lack. It means enthroning liberty and limiting the power of would-be autocrats, not giving them unlimited funds and powers. It means not being tricked into fighting no-win wars declared by foreign powers like the UN or by lone autocrats, not by Congress as the Constitution requires, in which we waste our resources and many lives among our rising generations in fighting with people who weren't threatening our borders.

It means not spending like drunken sailors/Senators to feed what Eisenhower properly called the "military industrial complex." It means not going into insane debt to implement failed economic policies that create monstrous bubbles, massive corruption, and misallocation of resources that have already eroded the value of our dollar, crippled our economy, and put the world at risk of further economic disaster. It means distrusting and thwarting when possible the elitists of the Establishment who have given us massive government, massive debt, and endless war.

It should be no surprise, from this perspective, that principled conservatives would have trouble embracing Hillary, who is intimately tied with big if not super-sized government and has become something of an Establishment woman who circulates its lofty but shadowy halls with ease. Those principles also make Trump a troubling choice as well, for he seems to have no knowledge of Constitutional limits apart from his personal moral deficiencies. On the other hand, some of you, perhaps among the more elite citizens of our day, may feel that a viable candidate must have major big government credentials and needs to be able intimately acquainted with the labyrinths of power in Washington, Wall Street, and the United Nations. If so, feel free to vote for Hillary.

But principled conservatives should vote for Evan McMullin, right? Marybeth Glenn shares this perspective, which many LDS people seem to share, and explains why. Her explanation emphasizes his deep experience and connections:
He was a senior adviser for the Committee on Foreign Affairs in the U.S. House of Representatives on national security issues, was the Chief Policy Director with the House Republican Conference, and is also a term member of the Council on Foreign Relations.
In short, the man knows his way around foreign policy like Trump knows his way around bankruptcy laws....

Evan worked for the CIA from 2001 – 2011, specifically on counter-terrorism and intelligence operations in the Middle East, North Africa, and South Asia. Not only was he nose deep in foreign affairs from a legislative level, but he has first hand experience on the proverbial front lines.
What a second--I thought that was why we are supposed to vote for Hillary!  She's the experienced, super-connected candidate of the elite who knows her way around the halls of power--such as the shadowy and hyper-elite Council on Foreign Relations who surrounded the Clinton Presidency (as they did the Bush Presidencies and the Obama Presidency) and the politicians and diplomats seeking to turn the United Nations into an ever bigger power that threatens national sovereignty.

If I am reading The Collision Blog accurately, some of McMullin's most important credentials, like Hilary's, are his ties to the Establishment/Deep State: the CIA, the United Nations, and the Council on Foreign Relations, whose policies and goals have been so at odds with the principles of conservatism over the decades. So principled conservatives are supposed to vote for him? My head feels like I just listened to another presidential debate. Ouch. Yes, Evan's a good man who has personal morals and does not appear to have covered up major crimes or exploited his office to obtain huge amounts of wealth. That's wonderful. For me, it's just not enough. (Note: there are good people in all these groups, but the organizations themselves today if not historically are organs of big government that may often be at odds with conservative ideals. Being part of them does not make one evil. But it makes one more subject to powerful influences and mindsets that I take issue with.)

I think there is widespread confusion in the LDS community about how to act on the principles some of us want to support. I can sympathize with the excitement in considering a way to stand for principle and vote for someone other than the two unsavory candidates that most Americans think they must settle for. But there have long been third party options such as the Constitution Party (disclosure: at least some parts of their platform line up nicely with my personal views), a party that is actually on the ballot in most states and whose principles seem to align with old-fashioned conservatism. Or you can vote for other 3rd parties or write-in a name of someone you trust. You don't have to embrace big government and the current powers that be if your intent is to take a principled stand and remind the world that there are still principles to stand for.

Of course, we're going to end up with a would-be autocrat no matter what you do this year. The real issue before us is not which would-be autocrat is the lesser scoundrel, but how we can revive Congress to follow the Constitution and properly check the power of the Executive to limit the damage that will be done in coming years. Congress is the key, IMHO. This is where individuals at the grass-roots level can help support candidates who will stand for the Constitution again and prepare to limit the brazen power grabs of whoever wins the election. Restoring checks and balances in Washington--that's my kind of principled conservatism. 


11 comments:

Anonymous said...

McMullin is quoted on that page as saying: "I spent ten years, over ten years, in the Central Intelligence Agency, serving overseas and in the Middle East, and let me tell you, if you’re a terrorist and you want to come to the United States, the worst possible way to try and do it is as a refugee. You’ll go through a year and a half to two years of vetting...."

Two years of vetting?? Using what data? Has this been a barrier to other terrorists within our borders or in Europe?

From The Washington Times:

The Obama administration isn’t vetting the social media profiles of all Syrian refugees despite promises made last year after the San Bernardino terrorist attack, which exposed holes in the U.S. immigration screening process.

Concerns over refugee screening spurred Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback, a Republican, on Tuesday to cancel his state’s cooperation with federal authorities trying to resettle Syrians.

It was another blow to the administration’s attempts to reach President Obama’s goal of accepting 10,000 Syrians this fiscal year.


The Establishment mindset of trusting "vetting" shows McMullin is out of touch with the dangers we face and the crass neglect by Obama, to be continued by Clinton. How are we vetting Syrian refugees when the online data needed from Syria barely exists?

Anonymous said...

Vetting has already failed us. McMullin is naive to put his trust in that and to dismiss the severity of the terrorist threat we face if we continue to neglect our borders:

JR said...

https://theconservativetreehouse.com/2016/09/28/the-emerging-connections-between-the-muslim-brotherhood-and-never-trump/

McMullin, like many Mormons, (Romney, Reid, Beck, Flake, Lee, Chaffetz, Love ) are not true conservatives, but actually support the communist globalist agenda. Traitors to the LDS church, America and Christianity. As are other politicians who support the globalist agenda.

McMullin is backed by the Never Trump's who support Clinton. They support Clinton because they are Communist Globalists, war mongers, and afraid their gravy train trough will dry up and afraid they will be exposed for their crimes if Trump wins.

Anonymous said...

What does it take to be invited to join the CFR? And why is discussion of the CFR explicitly banned by Rush Limbaugh? Isn't he a conservative? Shouldn't he be asking questions instead of shutting them down?

Nathan Richardson said...

Great clarifying reminders, Jeff. If I lived in Utah, I would probably vote for McMullin. But it would be a strategic, message-sending vote with long-term purposes beyond this particular election. It would not be because he is significantly different from most establishment Republicans.

Zera BP said...

Voted for Darrel Castle (Constitution/Independent American party. I don't care if they are LDS anyone involved with the CIA in my mind is already corrupt and untrustworthy. I hope Trump wins but I personally could not vote for him. I do not begrudge those who can though. I do however wish to point out to Hilary supporters that the likelihood of the extinction of humanity should we go to war with Russia, as she has been posturing for months now, is a very real if not likely scenario.

Pops said...

It's no wonder good people won't run for political office. Why should they? They immediately become evil in the eyes of those who support someone else. They're slandered and libeled as if there's no tomorrow. The foundation of our political problems is our cultural corruption.

Anonymous said...

I should reiterate, that my close relative is an apostle and has strongly warned all of his family members via email not to support Trump. The scriptures warn us against exactly this kind of person. An adulterer, a slanderer, etc, etc, etc.
I am voting for Hillary. She has not used fear and lies as a campaign tactic. I honestly do not care about so-called conservative principals. They don't work and the ideas attract vipers like Trump. If James E. Faust, Dieter Uchtdorf and several other apostles proudly call themselves Democrats, it should come as no shame for true believing mormons to do likewise. We must enter a new age of compassion for our fellow men here in America, no matter their color. This is not a Christ-like nation! But it can be! Not with an orange anti-Christ at the helm, though, that's for sure.

Everything Before Us said...

Anon 12:52

Joseph Smith and Brigham Young were adulterers. And this apostle-relative of yours continues to defend them. Your leaders are morally bankrupt. I wouldn't trust their advice. Besides, the Book of Mormon also warns against secret combinations. Hillary is a very important figure in a very powerful combination.

Anonymous said...

I should point out that apostles don't get to tell us who to vote for. They may have their political views, and they may share those views with their families, but that does not make their views revelation or in any way binding on anyone. Can a person have Christ-like attributes and be a democrat? Sure! They can be republicans too. And bad people can exist in both parties. I have no problem with an apostle supporting a democratic candidate. I do have a problem with people taking that to mean that is the only "righteous" option. I'm not voting for Trump, btw, but you still shouldn't be name-dropping like that to try to influence people.

NathanS said...

BTW, CIA types I have known are not corrupt.

And don't forget, when people comment on this site about relatives saying this or that, their words may or may not be true, may or may not have either good or evil inttentions. For all we know, someone may have posted a lie about someone in high places just to get the Church in trouble with a U.S. President!

God said to make friends with mammon or they might destroy you. If making friends were to disqualify one from being President, this would, by definition, mean that obeying God would disqualify from being President. I very much disagree.

On the other hand, I recognize reason for caution by observing as closely as possible.

As far as leaders go, one Jaredite king in the Book of Mormon bucked the trend of doing as poorly for his country as he did for himself. From scripture, we cannot predict what Trump will do. It is now best to defend truth and virtue by helping him in every good thing and, if occasion arises, oppose but only as the Spirit directs.

The battle is not between left and right, conservative and liberal. The battle is between those who artificially divide us with stereotypes and we who love virtue, regardless of our label.

Thinking that all of any label are the same is hugely incorrect. One study showed that the poor among those who self-identify as liberal and those who self-identify as conservative share the same values. They may disagree on who to vote for or even on policy but politics is both in some ways more simple and in other ways more complicated than stereotypes would have us believe.

If you find weavels in grain and then say every kernal is corrupted, this would reflect careless thinking. This is the kind of thinking that has people believing that because corruption has been found in the CIA, every agent is corrupt - or the false notion that because a corrupt Judas was among the ancient apostles, one can judge the rest of the apostles by the nature of Judas.