October 13, 2020 4:09 pm at 4:09 pm #1909489
Let’s pretend that we all got transported to an alternate universe just before the election. In this alternate universe, there are two primary candidates running for president.
One candidate (A) is what in our universe we’d call conservative on social issues. He’s pro-life, pro religious freedom, wants to limit the unhealthy influence of Hollywood on culture, etc. But on economic issues, he’s what we’d call liberal in our universe. He promotes universal health care coverage, strengthening social “safety net” programs, and wants to ban trans fats and Styrofoam.
On the other side is a candidate (B) who is what in our universe we’d call liberal on social issues. He’s pro-choice, willing to limit religious freedoms when they conflict with social justice, and is in Hollywood’s pocket. But on economic issues he’s what we’d call conservative in our universe. He promotes tax cuts, wants the government out of health care, and wants to deregulate business as much as possible.
Who would you vote for? A or B? And why?October 13, 2020 8:59 pm at 8:59 pm #1909570🍫Syag LchochmaParticipant
I’m thinking A because morality surrounds me and my community and influences us while money is provided by Hashem so He can make up for the shortfall.
😁October 13, 2020 9:02 pm at 9:02 pm #1909546
I would go with economic freedom. If economy and defense are good, then we can build our life and hopefully influence others too.
On the social issues, we should hope that Communists and Christians continue arguing with each other. We might not like if one of these groups wins over the country completely.October 13, 2020 10:48 pm at 10:48 pm #1909590charliehallParticipant
No question, A, as long as he had a broad exception on abortion for the health of the mother as Judaism demands. A is more consistent with traditional Jewish teaching.
Bob Casey or Joe Manchin come closest to A.October 13, 2020 11:38 pm at 11:38 pm #1909612
A populist vs a libertarian. I’ll take the libertarian (aka B) because the country can bounce back from incompetence but corruption sticks around. Wake me up when it’s 2024.October 14, 2020 10:38 pm at 10:38 pm #1910158yytzParticipant
Great question, Avram.
This is essentially similar to the religious parties in Eretz Yisrael, all of which (Bayit Yehudi, Shas, UTJ, etc.) are left-wing on economic issues but right-wing on social issues.
The Torah’s economic system is not a free market one. It is designed to reduce or eliminate poverty and other social problems, by making sure everyone has land or a job allowing the to be self-sufficient. See the teachings of Rav Hirsch.October 14, 2020 11:45 pm at 11:45 pm #1910185
yytz. I think Torah economic system is more nuanced and it is often flexible enough to accommodate economic realities of different times.
One example: halakha allows limits to free competition by trade unions, with a couple of exceptions, including teachers – to make teachers sharp and make education affordable for poor. This is in striking contrast to current practice both in general and Jewish society, where schools and teachers are well protected. It seems to follow from this Gemorah that we prefer to have teachers less sharp.October 15, 2020 9:16 am at 9:16 am #1910235yytzParticipant
I certainly agree that that the Torah’s economic system is nuanced and flexible and different from the modern welfare/regulatory state.
Perhaps once Orthodox Jews are the vast majority in Israel we will see what a Torah-based social welfare and economic system could look like.
But where is your source for saying that halachically, teacher’s unions are forbidden? And what gemara are you referring to?October 20, 2020 3:34 pm at 3:34 pm #1911889
A social liberal may not necessarily be libertarian.October 20, 2020 3:34 pm at 3:34 pm #1911888
I agree. And now I’ll look up Mr. Casey and Mr. Manchin.October 20, 2020 3:34 pm at 3:34 pm #1911887
“I’m thinking A because morality surrounds me and my community and influences us while money is provided by Hashem so He can make up for the shortfall.”
I would support A as well, though Always_Asks_Questions raises a really good point about neither side of the social/religious seesaw being good for the Jews. Neither social liberals nor conservatives are laissez faire in their approach.October 20, 2020 3:40 pm at 3:40 pm #1911892
Thanks! I really enjoyed reading the responses – very well thought out on both sides!October 20, 2020 3:46 pm at 3:46 pm #1911895
“A social liberal may not necessarily be libertarian.”
True, but the category was a social liberal who believes in tax cuts and deregulation.October 20, 2020 9:22 pm at 9:22 pm #1911957ujmParticipant
Absolutely “A”. Morality is more important than better economics. Even assuming the economic program was worse than his opponent, supporting more moral national policies and laws is far more vital.October 20, 2020 9:41 pm at 9:41 pm #1911969
@ujm. >> Morality is more important than better economics.
It is not always moral to have bad economics, especially in an important country like US. If US wouldn’t have supplied allies during WW2, lots of nations would be speaking German. If US would not have won Cold War economically, they would be speaking Russian.
It is also not moral to have bad economics internally, as you will have more poverty.
Now, if you want to frame it – higher growth rates v. more protection for vulnerable groups, that would be a valid debate.October 21, 2020 4:03 pm at 4:03 pm #1912303
“True, but the category was a social liberal who believes in tax cuts and deregulation.”
Yes that’s a good point. Traditionally, Republicans have been perceived as favoring less regulation of business and more regulation of social behavior, while Democrats favored more regulation of business and less regulation of social behavior. So my imaginary world would seem to line up as regulators of everything vs de-regulators of everything. But lately Democrats have been increasingly in favor of regulating social behavior to conform with more liberal values, which has actually changed Republican talking points in some cases from preserving “the values of America” to protecting religious liberties.
So for the sake of argument, let’s say that candidate B is not really a libertarian, and would potentially curtail religious freedoms to promote liberal values. That’s how I tried to set up the scenario in my OP. Would this change your calculus at all?October 21, 2020 4:05 pm at 4:05 pm #1912320ujmParticipant
AAQ: Better to give up a percent of economic growth (especially as even with the lower economics we’re still the richest nation without becoming impoverished) if the upside of doing so is having more moral laws and policies (i.e. legal proscription and/or disapproval of toeiva, abortion, improper gender roles, etc.)October 22, 2020 8:07 am at 8:07 am #1912497
“let’s say that candidate B is not really a libertarian, and would potentially curtail religious freedoms to promote liberal values”
I don’t claim to be an expert in this, but I still think you’re describing a libertarian (even if leaning slightly towards liberalism or moderation) and my answer is the same. I’d prefer a libertarian’s incompetence to a populist’s corruption.October 22, 2020 9:14 am at 9:14 am #1912592GadolhadorahParticipant
Avram: Your governor leans closer to Candidate B and he himself, felt it necessary to vote for someone who was niftar 30 years ago given the two flawed choices we have in the REAL universe.October 22, 2020 9:17 pm at 9:17 pm #1912742
ujm >> Better to give up a percent of economic growth
I respect your position. If it is 2% growth (and who can predict that?) v total immorality, I am with you. I am thinking more of turning economics into stagnation, aggressive “you did not build that” attitude that destroys the “westward expansion” spirit that, I hope, still exists in this country.
That is, economics is also morals. Torah v Derech Eretz
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