agfosterjr | Salt Lake City Weekly

agfosterjr 
Member since Jun 27, 2018


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Re: “On Religious Discrimination

BJ continues with the dogmatic assertions: "The DABC has absolutely no impact on what you call 'responsible drinking,'" and "...prohibition, just like the war on drugs, had no impact on alcohol consumption." If there were any truth to this it would only lead one to think that the taxes remain economically insignificant or that all drinkers are full fledged alcoholics. But what we have seen recently with tobacco taxes is that if you gouge the smokers enough many will turn to vaping. And as for prohibition, a big reason for its repeal was the growing number of methanol deaths. Good numbers were impossible to come by but BJ would have us believe that death by poisoning deterred not a single soul from a little booze.

What Robinson and BJ (assuming they are different individuals) take as a given is that drinking is an entirely innocent activity (Jesus imbibed and so do I), and no one can challenge its innocence with any but religious motivation. They could as easily argue that pot remains illegal in Utah only because of LDS interference. Obviously the church has influence in these matters but this hardly has to do with theological concerns. Rather there is common sociological agreement that society pays a price for alcoholic consumption, which cost arises from the fact that many do not drink responsibly, so the state attempts to reimburse itself for some of that cost. If drinkers wish to cast blame on any they ought to direct the blame toward irresponsible drinkers, not the society or segments of society which must bear the expense of their behavior.

Prohibition says you can't drink legally. DABC says you can but you will pay through the nose. The innocent victim of your DUI may not be a Mormon. --AGF

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Posted by agfosterjr on 06/29/2018 at 1:59 PM

Re: “American Terrorist

Robinson reminds me of Chomsky: "the Republican party is the most dangerous organization in human history." He talks like a socialist propagandist. --AGF

2 likes, 1 dislike
Posted by agfosterjr on 06/27/2018 at 10:22 AM

Re: “Shooting the Watchdog

For the antidote, see "Pointman."

Posted by agfosterjr on 06/27/2018 at 10:16 AM

Re: “On Religious Discrimination

In his piece, "On Religious Discrimination" (see https://www.cityweekly.net/utah/on-religious-discrimination/Content?oid=9313034 ), Michael S. Robinson Sr makes too many dogmatic assertions to treat in one sitting but we can tackle a few. Let's start with this one:

"Why is our government in the liquor business, when that is something legitimately left to private enterprise?"

Obviously Robinson takes for granted that Prohibition was an illegitimate endeavor, but the fact is, not all drinkers can drink responsibly. It seems Prohibition caused more problems than it solved and Utah's approach offered a compromise: state controlled sales of strong liquor. But analogous to Robinson's decree, we might say Idaho has no business running a state lottery; leave gambling to private enterprise as in Nevada. But the fact remains, not all can gamble responsibly. Some would even say a lottery is a tax on statistical incompetence. So half way between outlawed gambling and legal casinos Idaho has a lottery. How is that different from Utah's state liquor stores? Would it constitute a mingling of (an anti-gambling) church and state if Utah were to follow Idaho's example?

Michael Robinson combines the problem of separation of church and state in Utah with the liquor profits of the state monopoly to assert that with the "sin tax" non-Mormons are unfairly subsidizing the Mormon lifestyle-- especially unfairly since non-Mormons suffer the additional burden of paying for the education of large LDS families. Where to begin.

1) One might ask if Prohibition constituted a federal collusion of church and state.

2) One might wish to distinguish between direct ecclesiastical interference (e.g., where a church official hypothetically threatened an LDS legislator with excommunication), and democratic expression of religious sentiment at the voting booth.

3) One might compare the $100 million figure (which Robinson pulls out of the air) with the cost of police protection dedicated to enforcing DUI laws as well as court and jail expenses diverted to keep the roads safe from drunk drivers. (Not to mention hospital costs of those injured in DUI accidents--who is subsidizing who?)

The argument that even gentile teetotalers subsidize the schooling of large LDS families is an old one, and of course peculiar to Utah, but it has its problems as well:

1) The LDS birth rate is steadily declining, lagging the non-LDS rate by about 20 years, while out of state migration is increasing.

2) Non-LDS citizens constitute a growing fraction of the population. Some segments of this immigrant population have birthrates comparable to the LDS rate.

3) The complaint ignores the philosophy that in reality each citizen pays for his own education after one becomes a contributing tax payer. It supposes that old bachelors should never have to pay into the fund since they have no children to burden the state--his parents are to blame for his schooling expenses.

4) Robinson's penultimate conclusion:

"Its time to go back to the basics: 1) End the DABCs abuse of private enterprise and allow competition. 2) Allow Utahs non-Mormons to get what they want at non-discriminatory prices. 3) End the practice of forcing non-Mormons to pick up the tab for the state religion."

The "war on drugs" is certainly an attack on capitalism, but it harly constitutes federal collusion of church and state. --AGF

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Posted by agfosterjr on 06/27/2018 at 9:40 AM

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