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Survey finds Republicans’ biggest concern is not what you think it is

MinnPost photo by Joe Kimball
The GOP offered the survey at its State Fair booth and received more than 2,200 responses.

It’s not a scientific sample, of course, but a Republican Party survey of state fairgoers reveals an interesting top concern: “protecting rights and privacy.”

The GOP offered the survey at its State Fair booth and received more than 2,200 responses. The privacy issue — stated as “to protect our private information and constitutional rights” — was the number one concern of 20 percent of the participants.

After privacy, participants ranked “family budgets” and “health care solutions” as other concerns. The last three issues of concern, in descending order, were “demand integrity, to crack down on cronyism, deception, and corruption,” “maximum opportunity, to support maximum employment and achievement, not just getting by,” and “every child deserves a chance, to focus on the kids and families being left behind in our education system.”

Republican Party chair Keith Downey said he was initially surprised that privacy emerged as a top concern when the party conducted a similar survey at its state convention in May. “But since then, the issue has become more prominent, especially for young people and on the heels of the data breaches that continue to hit the news along with the IRS and NSA scandals,” he said. 

Downey said the party developed the list of issues by talking with key political constituencies: young people, women, minorities, rural Minnesotans, and seniors. “In trying to understand what was important to them, we found the results are pretty consistent with what you see other polls,” he said.

Furthermore, Downy said, although State Fair respondents were mostly self-identified Republicans, “What’s important doesn’t depend on partisanship.”  But Downey acknowledged, “The solutions will differ depending on your political preference.”   

Comments (118)

  1. Submitted by Tim Walker on 09/03/2014 - 10:46 am.

    Apparently the concern for privacy ends at the bedroom door, because the typical GOPer wants to have a presence there.

  2. Submitted by RB Holbrook on 09/03/2014 - 10:49 am.


    It is interesting that “every child deserves a chance, to focus on the kids and families being left behind in our education system” would rank last on the list of issues of concern.

  3. Submitted by Beth-Ann Bloom on 09/03/2014 - 11:13 am.

    Dog Whistle

    Important to realize that many of the voters used these as code words. Many opposed to rights for LGBT people now phrase it as a privacy and constitutional rights issue. Similar language has been used to oppose immunization,pasteurized milk, teaching science and sex education in schools, opposing the census etc. No news here.

  4. Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 09/03/2014 - 11:18 am.

    This is a big problem republican candidates

    Concerns for which republican candidates have absolutely no coherent response other than repealing Obamacare.

    Trickle down economics will only continue do damage family budgets. The push to repeal Roe v. Wade will obliterate the legal concept of privacy. And the failure or refusal to implement additional regulations will ensure continued data breaches. Privatizing and dismantling the public education system will defeat any efforts to provide better opportunities for children, and the refusal to fix the government revenue system with any tax increases will continue to hobble our recovery which will depress employment and wages.

    I actually find these priorities encouraging and they seem to indicate that the partisan gap amongst the people is not as great as it would seem. I think most liberals also share these concerns.

    • Submitted by Steve Rose on 09/03/2014 - 07:38 pm.

      “Better Opportunities for Children”?

      In the same paragraph as you seem to be supporting better opportunities for children, you support abortion rights so as not to “obliterate the legal concept of privacy”. Let’s pause for a moment and consider those two ideas together. A moment wasn’t long enough.

      How about giving a child a chance to live, how is that for an opportunity?

      • Submitted by Pat Berg since 2011 on 09/04/2014 - 08:09 am.


        You consider Paul’s comment inconsistent because you believe a fetus is the same thing as a child.

        But for someone who does not believe a fetus is the same thing as a child, there is no inconsistency whatsoever.

        It is unlikely that repeating this clarification will change your beliefs in any way, but it is still worth repeating it.

        • Submitted by Steve Rose on 09/04/2014 - 09:04 am.

          What clarification?

          What about a pre-born child is not a child? As we know, some abortion practitioners perform partial birth abortions, and some of those children survive the process, only to have their spinal cords snipped post-birth. There is no difference in the child between partial birth and post birth, yet one is legal to kill, the other is not. To not “obliterate the legal concept of privacy” this must be preserved?

          It is not about a belief, it is about a fact.

        • Submitted by John Appelen on 09/04/2014 - 05:02 pm.

          Could You Do It

          Roe v Wade acknowledges that a fetus is a person once viability is attained.

          “The Court later rejected Roe’s trimester framework, while affirming Roe’s central holding that a person has a right to abortion until viability.[1] The Roe decision defined “viable” as being “potentially able to live outside the mother’s womb, albeit with artificial aid”, adding that viability “is usually placed at about seven months (28 weeks) but may occur earlier, even at 24 weeks.”

          Now I know you pro-abortion folks like to say a fetus is not a “human”, therefore lessening the tragedy of what is occurring… (ie dehumanize it) But here is something that should probably concern you. With improvements in medical technology, I am guessing the number of weeks to viability will continue to drop. That should make for some interesting court cases.

      • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 09/04/2014 - 02:14 pm.

        Post birth

        I’ve noticed that the conservative concern for children ends upon birth. The only thing I can think of is that a living child does not present the same opportunities for interfering with a woman’s choices regarding her reproductive system.

        • Submitted by jason myron on 09/04/2014 - 02:49 pm.

          Quite right, RB…

          they love the pro life ministries dramatizations of evil doctors eagerly snatching nearly born babies out of their mothers wombs and waiting open arms to snip their spinal cords, conveniently forgetting or ignoring that half of the procedures take place within the first 8 weeks and 88% during the first trimester. After birth however, they rail against every social and educational safety net they can think of, whining about their perceived tax hit and filling the internet with “why is it my responsibility to take care of your child” comments. The best part is their devotion to the 2nd amendment and pushing “stand your ground” laws so they can easily dispatch those “innocent pre-born children” when those that were born into abject poverty and suffered a youth filled with hunger, abuse and no hope, turn to crime. Hence the full circle of hypocrisy that makes up the “pro life” movement.

          • Submitted by Steve Rose on 09/04/2014 - 03:25 pm.

            Quite wrong, RB…

            They ….

            Your characterizations and stereotypes and self-serving assumptions, while mildly amusing, amount to more unfounded blah-blah-blah, and don’t contribute to the conversation. These types of stereotypes, and the thinking behind them, are the under-pinning of racist thought. Same thinking, different target.

            • Submitted by jason myron on 09/04/2014 - 03:44 pm.

              Typical tactic of todays GOP

              Completely ignore their own rhetoric until its tossed back into their face and then claim reverse racism. What exactly did your pro life ministries, billboard propaganda contribute to the “conversation?”

              • Submitted by Steve Rose on 09/04/2014 - 04:08 pm.

                Reverse Racism?

                No, just a calling out regarding the use of stereotypes to avoid addressing the points of the discussion.

                The contribution of pro-life billboards is a message of help and of hope for those in need, the message of alternatives to ending a life, to people that find themselves in a tough spot. You can mock that if you like, but those messages are an important contribution to the conversation. Thanks for asking.

                • Submitted by jason myron on 09/04/2014 - 05:26 pm.

                  I’ve avoided nothing

                  I’ve pointed out the hypocrisy of the pro life position and as usual, you retreat to your wounded victim mode. If you want to delude yourself that billboard rhetoric is of legitimate concern to a woman facing a tough decision, knock yourself out. I was an actual escort for women going into a facility to have these procedures. I know all to well the cruelty that people with your mindset are capable of when confronting these women. So spare me your lame attempt at establishing a moral high ground, I know better.

        • Submitted by Steve Rose on 09/04/2014 - 03:01 pm.

          Back your claim …

          Back your claim, else it is just another throw away line for the scrap heap of MinnPost baseless opinions.

          It seems that liberals use a different measure for compassion; it is how much lip service do I give to using government money on well-meaning and ineffective social programs. Conservatives would prefer to keep their money from the government’s grasp and invest it in their own families and in their own communities. A Syracuse University study by Professor Albert C. Brooks backs that statement; he was surprised at the results of his own study.

          The link:

          An excerpt:

          “Sixteen months ago, Arthur C. Brooks, a professor at Syracuse University, published “Who Really Cares: The Surprising Truth About Compassionate Conservatism.” The surprise is that liberals are markedly less charitable than conservatives.”

          • Submitted by jason myron on 09/04/2014 - 03:26 pm.


            again, you’ve trotted out the same seven year old book by a Syracuse professor that you did months ago as “proof” that conservatives are more charitable than liberals. It proves NOTHING..what’s interesting as that you prove our point by stating ” Conservatives would prefer to keep their money from the government’s grasp and invest it in their own families and in their own communities” along with the unfounded and unproven accusation that social programs are ineffective. Send up a flag when you have empirical evidence of conservatives deep abiding charity towards the poor, rather than one persons equally baseless opinion that George Will latched onto. Physician, heal thyself.

            • Submitted by Steve Rose on 09/04/2014 - 04:20 pm.

              Our point?

              Yawn? Wake up!

              Typing the word “nothing” in all caps is not a rebuttal. Although, it may have to do if it is all that you have.

              Who is more effective and efficient with money, those caring for a family, those close to the community, or the government? I know your answer is the latter. Sadly it just isn’t so. I don’t have overhead like the layers of government like those that burden government sponsored social programs.

              • Submitted by jason myron on 09/04/2014 - 05:31 pm.

                It’s all the rebuttal it deserves.

                let me repeat it for you….one claim from a professor written back in 2007 that you happen to like doesn’t exactly prove your hypothesis. All it does is help you justify your contempt and lack of empathy for unfortunate people.

                • Submitted by Steve Rose on 09/04/2014 - 09:42 pm.

                  A Research Study Conducted by a Major University

                  It was Research Study Conducted by a Major University. Because it flies in the face of your wisdom, it is “one claim from a professor …”. Still no rebuttal?

                  I have no contempt nor do I lack empathy. If you disagree, quote me.

          • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 09/04/2014 - 03:28 pm.

            Your claim

            The Brooks study is pretty worthless as a measure of compassion. Do conservatives give more by way of charitable donations? Yes, I’ve seen that figure before. Does that mean all charitable deductions, such as religious donation? I don’t see the compassion in giving money to some megachurch so the pastor can spread the Gospel from his new SUV, or donations to a Knights of Columbus anti-gay marriage campaign. For purposes of the tax laws, however, both count as “charity.”

            • Submitted by Steve Rose on 09/04/2014 - 04:29 pm.

              What also counts as charity …

              What also counts as charity is the money that liberals give to their causes that may not pass my sniff-test of what constitutes charity. The point is that they give far less, as they see it as the government’s job to dole out compassion and generosity. Compassion by proxy isn’t compassion, it is delegating your responsibility to your community back to the government.

              • Submitted by John Appelen on 09/04/2014 - 04:52 pm.

                Other Peoples Money

                You must understand… It is much easier for them to give money away that someone else has earned… Even if it is inefficient and/or ineffective, it helps them feel good while requiring them to expend almost no effort. In the short term, there is no downside for them personally.

                • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 09/04/2014 - 05:15 pm.

                  The downside

                  On the contrary: The downside is listening to yet another conservative whine-fest.

                  Tell me what’s “efficient and/or effective” about lining the pockets of some Elmer Gantry in a megachurch? What, exactly, does that accomplish?

                  • Submitted by John Appelen on 09/04/2014 - 07:18 pm.

                    Real Churches

                    Please give me a real church to work with.

                    I do agree that there is waste and overhead in all charities. As Steve mentioned though, therefore there is similar waste and overhead in the Liberal charities.

                    The point being then that us religious folk are continually reminded to give of our money and time to charities. My ELCA pastor encourages giving to the church and other charities, so about 3% of my income goes to the Church and another 4% goes to PRISM, United Way, Education, etc. My goal is some day to work my way up to tithing…

                    Unfortunately these tax and redistribute programs are disturbing that plan…

              • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 09/04/2014 - 05:12 pm.

                Missing your own point

                You tried to tell me that conservatives were “compassionate” based on how much they give to charity. The issue is not what meets the “sniff test” of what constitutes charity. The issue is whether all of this charitable giving is “compassionate.” Frankly, I don’t see the compassion in billboards that show bloody fetuses, but it may well constitute a legal “charity.”

                “Compassion by proxy?” Really? So you feel that all citizens are divorced from their government, and that we have no influence or say over it? The government is a reflection of the community, and should reflect our goals. The only people who don’t see that are the ones who don’t understand representative democracy.

              • Submitted by jason myron on 09/04/2014 - 05:38 pm.


                keep digging….you guys can’t help yourselves. Now it’s YOUR definition of charity that matters. And you wonder why why the real world accuses you people of living in a bubble? It’s because you do…

                • Submitted by Steve Rose on 09/04/2014 - 09:50 pm.

                  Not mine

                  It was RB that was trying to pare down conservative giving because it did not fit his definition of charity. Same goes for liberals; they give to some things I don’t consider charity. Bottom line, conservatives give more.

                  Since we are all enjoying this topic, here is another excerpt from the Realclearpolitics link that I provided above.

                  “In 2000, brows were furrowed in perplexity because Vice President Al Gore’s charitable contributions, as a percentage of his income, were below the national average: He gave 0.2 percent of his family income, one-seventh of the average for donating households. But Gore “gave at the office.” By using public office to give other peoples’ money to government programs, he was being charitable, as liberals increasingly, and conveniently, understand that word.”

                  • Submitted by John Appelen on 09/05/2014 - 08:54 am.

                    That seems typical

                    I think the Obamas were in the same situation until a couple of years ago. I think he increased his charitable giving when they found that people were watching. And they figured out how anemic their rate was relative to the Romneys.

                  • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 09/05/2014 - 10:58 am.

                    Please pay attention

                    I was drawing a distinction between “compassion” and “charity.” The two are not synonymous. You continue to make the error that charitable giving is necessarily compassionate.

                    Is giving to the Minnesota Orchestra charitable? Yes. Is it evidence of compassion? Doubtful.

                    An oligarch gives money to open a glorified vocational school (a.k.a. school of business administration) at a university. Charitable? Yes. Compassionate? No.

                    A wealthy businessman gives, according to the dictates of his church ,to a charity founded to help only fellow members of that denomination. Charitable? Yes. Compassionate? Perhaps, but certainly leavened with a healthy dose of tribalism.

                    Incidentally, by citing Realclearpolitics, you are pretty much begging people not to take you seriously. Consider it done.

                    • Submitted by John Appelen on 09/05/2014 - 01:25 pm.

                      I agree

                      Raising taxes to pay politicians / bureaucrats / administrators / staff and to keep people dependent is being somewhat charitable with other people’s money. However I just don’t see it as being compassionate.

                    • Submitted by Steve Rose on 09/05/2014 - 01:39 pm.

                      In simplest terms …

                      In simplest terms, let’s call it givers and non-givers. I recall a comment I made on MinnPost several years ago when Joe Biden’s tax return was released. Though he had income significantly more than me, he gave significantly less. Is the lack of generosity limited to only the leadership? It must be, right?

                      So, “the government is a reflection of the community”? I’d like to meet the politicians where you live? What color is the sky?

                      The realclearpolitics link was about the Syracuse study. Back to the ad hominem attacks on sources rather than addressing the issue? Truly a the sign of desperation, the classic last gasp of an argument. Well, that and a comment about not taking me seriously.

                    • Submitted by Jonathan Ecklund on 09/08/2014 - 09:29 am.

                      Excellent point

                      “I was drawing a distinction between “compassion” and “charity.” The two are not synonymous. You continue to make the error that charitable giving is necessarily compassionate.”

                      This is an excellent point. Certainly, I’ve known some very wealthy people who give a great deal of money, and I’ve known those who are of meager financial means who give so much of their time (and a mix of both), and has been pointed out before, a charity to some might seem an offensive cause to others (and that goes both ways), so it’s a little childish to point fingers and say “We’re better than you!” Maybe we shouldn’t so easily question other’s motives when it comes to issues of charity… but again, compassion and charity are NOT the same thing.

                      I have often wondered how many people who give to charity are doing so only as a method of insurance to ‘get to heaven,’ and not out of any actual altruistic tendencies. I suppose this is one of the differences in a guilt-based vs shame-based societies.

  5. Submitted by James Hamilton on 09/03/2014 - 11:39 am.

    But there are two questions here.

    Which one was answered?

    “to protect our private information and constitutional rights”

  6. Submitted by Pat Berg since 2011 on 09/03/2014 - 11:44 am.

    How about the second half of the question?

    The entire question (as stated in the article) read “to protect our private information and constitutional rights”. That’s two things which aren’t *necessarily* even all that closely related:

    1) Private information


    2) Constitutional rights

    Why did the article zero in on only the first? Especially considering how many Republicans appear to identify themselves as Tea Partiers – a group which is almost fanatical on the topic of all things to do with the Constitution?

    Maybe it’s yet another symptom of the party’s attempts to distance itself from that faction?

  7. Submitted by Paul Brandon on 09/03/2014 - 12:11 pm.

    Sounds like they found a survey

    that would tell them what they wanted to hear.
    All surveys are not created equal.

  8. Submitted by E Gamauf on 09/03/2014 - 12:28 pm.

    Solutions differ, then why did McFadden agree with Sen Franken?

    During the Farm Fest panel, it was surprising to note that several challengers said they would do what Senator Franken did.

    They grumbled & tried to differentiate by saying they would do it differently, but essentially it comes down to agreeing the course the Senator has taken in representing Minnesota.

    Do the words really mean the same – only something different,
    as this Mr Downey claims?

  9. Submitted by jody rooney on 09/03/2014 - 01:06 pm.

    Another non survey

    gets press.

    I appreciate the sharing but as others have said this isn’t a survey it’s a priority of talking points that can be twisted to support any position.

    • Submitted by E Gamauf on 09/03/2014 - 04:58 pm.

      Twisted Talking Points in the Wind

      I agree with your view on this.

      its the Boy Who Cried Wolf: The GOP has no credibility or trust factor any more, they broke it!
      This is Colin Powell’s Pottery Barn rule.

      The exception is the most extreme base which is maybe 35% of the voting public.

      The guy at the end basically tried to usurp any good feeling that perhaps for once, they would come together and actually address common issues for which a broad swath people share concern.

      Its just not happening. It is not true.
      We have no reason to believe they woke up as new & more honest people one day.
      I don’t know how they can regain the public’s trust & loyalty after misrepresenting themselves for so long.

      Back to Dog Whistle Politics at the end.
      Magic code words that are redefined with new & special meaning to signal a different intent.
      That’s just dishonest & underhanded.

      Uh, “Fool Me Once…”

  10. Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 09/03/2014 - 01:07 pm.

    The other problem …

    Is that so many republicans think the constitution is based on the Bible. So what are they really worried about whey claim to worried about constitutional protections?

  11. Submitted by Rosalind Kohls on 09/03/2014 - 02:12 pm.

    What they might have been thinking

    It is possible many Republicans reading the survey question, “to protect our private information and constitutional rights” might have thought the question referred to gun registration and the Second Amendment right to bear arms.

    • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 09/03/2014 - 02:29 pm.

      That would be my guess

      It’s not surprising, but certainly disconcerting, that gun ownership should trump any other issues.

      Of course, it is a small sample, and I wouldn’t necessarily call it representative of all Republicans.

  12. Submitted by John Peschken on 09/03/2014 - 03:20 pm.

    “to protect our private information and constitutional rights”

    Privacy is a constitutional right, but there are many others. This answer was meant to take is everything from protecting my Twitter account to the second amendment. Clearly designed to be the winner. Very poor biased survey.

  13. Submitted by Tom Christensen on 09/03/2014 - 03:30 pm.

    The GOP has a strange definition of “Rights and Privacy”

    All you have to do is listen to what the GOP is saying, then assume the polar opposite, and you will have figured them out. They claim they don’t have a war on women, which is a bunch of nonsense. If they could, they would prefer to be in the bedroom of every woman to guide what they can and can’t do. They fight women’s pay issues. They have a war with the LGBT community because they want to dictate what a relationship is. They have a war on voters because only those who will vote for the GOP would be allowed at the polls. They reduce voting hours, require documents some may not have, and they claim voter fraud but never prove it. They have a war on unions because they want to restrict worker’s rights. It is impossible to conclude they have any concerns at all about people’s “Rights and Privacy”.

  14. Submitted by Jim Bernstein on 09/03/2014 - 05:09 pm.

    More Republican Silliness

    I have never, ever met anyone in politics – passionate Democrat or passionate Republican, far right conservative or far left liberal -who doesn’t support “protect our private information and constitutional rights”!

    “To protect our private information and constitutional rights” is a phrase utterly without meaning given that people on both sides of the abortion, gun ownership, same-sex marriage, immigration, voter ID, and other divisive issues all find refuge in “constitutional rights”.

  15. Submitted by E Gamauf on 09/04/2014 - 06:28 am.

    20% of 2200 Republicans

    20% of 2200 = 440. Assuming nobody surveyed twice.

    Doesn’t sound like such a big number anymore when you realize “participants” were probably 90+% Republicans.

    This was an informal survey of people who would walk in.
    I walked in twice during the fair – nobody asked me to take a survey!

    Stroll in & give an opinion on vaguely worded issues that you know you are supposed to support – then act surprised when the answer is what it is.

    Love it.

  16. Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 09/04/2014 - 08:51 am.

    Hold on there statistic breath

    I think, assuming this was a self selected population of party stalwarts, it’s interesting that even amongst those with strong to moderately strong republican sympathies, you have a situation where republican candidates are not addressing the concerns of their own supporters. None of the candidates are running on these issues. Size of the government, taxes, and obamacare do NOT appear to be big issues with this group of republicans, yet that’s all republican candidates are running on.

    This might indicate that the candidates are running away from their own voters. Now I wouldn’t expect these respondents to vote for Dayton, but they’re not going to be enthusiastic supporters of candidates who aren’t talking about issues they care about. We have some additional information that points to a lack of support in that we already know that republicans sat out the contested primaries in bigger numbers than democrats with uncontested primaries. To the extent that these priorities may represent an alienation of the candidates from the parties strongest supporters this could be good news for Democrats.

  17. Submitted by Sean Olsen on 09/04/2014 - 10:52 am.

    It’s fascinating to hear Republicans complaining about the NSA scandals. Bachmann, Kline, and Paulsen have been consistent Yes votes in giving the agency that authority.

  18. Submitted by Matt Haas on 09/05/2014 - 09:16 am.

    I’ve said before, I’ll say it again

    Transactional giving is NOT charity. Megabuck conservatives donating to shave a few percentage points of their bill are not being charitable, they’re making a business transaction. Mr. Appelen attempting to tithe is following the edicts of his faith, in an attempt to remain in good standing with his god (an illiterate reading of scripture but that is by the by), Mr. Rose donating to the pro life group of his choosing is an attempt to influence public policy. None of this constitutes charity, which is by defintion giving aid with no expectation of any return to self, or to advance any self selected outcome, period. Beyond this is the distortion towards monetary giving as the only charitable contribution possible. Who is more charitable, Bill Gates, donating vast sums from his even larger financial reserves, or the single mother, volunteering at the food bank, in the scant hours she has between her several part time jobs? I know who I pick.

    • Submitted by John Appelen on 09/05/2014 - 10:58 am.

      Interesting Perspective

      However it is typically wise to not guess at someone’s intent. Personally I am not too worried about what my God thinks. The good thing about the ELCA is that our God is pretty forgiving.

      Your limited perception of charity is pretty interesting. Personally I am a fan of the idea that the best charities teach people to fish, not just feed them and keep them dependent.

      And Mr Rose’s giving isn’t to change policy, it is from his perspective to keep very very young people from being killed. It seems pretty charitable to me.

      As for who is more charitable, that is an interesting question and why I apply percentages to it. My personal goal is 10%, what is yours? How can you strive to improve your effort to reach it?

      A simple thing I do since time is short in my world is to give blood as often as possible. I even get a cookie and drink for my efforts.

      • Submitted by Matt Haas on 09/05/2014 - 08:18 pm.

        Question of perspective

        The constant I take from this discussion, Mr. Appelen, is that the “charity” you offer is solely an exercise in personal fulfilment. All you speak of is YOUR goals, YOUR desires for how a charity should operate, YOUR wishes for others to follow YOUR example. (I guess I’m reading in again, but hey you proved one can read the mind of political figures like the President and Al Gore so how hard can it be?) At what point do the folks you’re purportedly helping figure in?This is why I call the charity of conservatives false, because its not compassionate at all, its self serving and controlling. To give an example, let me paint a scenario. You claima small town background, as do I, so I’m sure you’re familiar with the flyers that pop up every so often around town asking for donations to resident injured in an accident, sick with a major disease etc… Easy test of your charititable spirit would be as follows: You donate to the cause, lets say in this case asking to support the family of Bob, who has been injured in car wreck. You later hear around town that Bob got so much aid that he and his family were able to buy a new house, and even take a ritzy vacation after Bob recovered. Do you A. Feel happy that you were able to help a guy get back on his feet and maybe even improve his lot, B. Feel jilted that your hard earned money went to someone so selfish that he kept the excess above what he needed to make extravagent purchases, or C. Feel indifferent about the outcome as it has nothing to do with you or any influence you may have wanted to exert on the situation.

        • Submitted by John Appelen on 09/08/2014 - 06:36 pm.

          Interesting question

          I’d like to say A, but there would likely be some B in there.

          I would have hoped he would have shared more of his blessings on others that needed the help. More like the people that came to his assistance in his time of need.

          What would you truly feel and think?

      • Submitted by Jonathan Ecklund on 09/08/2014 - 09:35 am.

        The cookie and the drink are there primarily to get your blood sugar back up, not as a reward.

        Sadly, I’ve traveled to too many places in the world and cannot donate blood for sometime. I’m glad I gave as much double-red as I did, when I could.

  19. Submitted by Jay Willemssen on 09/05/2014 - 12:16 pm.

    The Bible on giving to the needy – cut the trumpets

    Some Christians need a remedial course in reading their religion’s central text.


    Giving to the Needy

    6 “Be careful not to practice your righteousness in front of others to be seen by them. If you do, you will have no reward from your Father in heaven.

    2 “So when you give to the needy, do not announce it with trumpets, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and on the streets, to be honored by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. 3 But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, 4 so that your giving may be in secret. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.”

    • Submitted by jason myron on 09/05/2014 - 01:54 pm.

      Matthew 6: 1-4

      but as proved in this thread, humility is not really a strong suit for conservatives, Jay. What’s the point of doing it or having it when you can’t brag about it?

      • Submitted by Steve Rose on 09/05/2014 - 02:09 pm.


        As you told us all just yesterday, ” I was an actual escort for women going into a facility to have these procedures. I know all to well …”

        • Submitted by jason myron on 09/05/2014 - 05:57 pm.

          You think that was bragging?

          Okay, I’ll admit that I took a lot of pride into escorting desperate women through a phalanx of cowardly Christian hypocrites, as they told us both that were going to burn in lakes of fire and that they couldn’t wait to watch (apparently, there’s an observation deck). My point was to pop the mythic bubble that the pro life movement is all about hope and joy. It’s BS…there were some of the most vile despicable people I’ve ever encountered and not one of them had 1/10 the moral courage of any of the women I helped.

          • Submitted by John Appelen on 09/06/2014 - 07:53 am.

            Moral Courage

            Desperate unintentionally pregnant woman wants to make the problem go away ASAP.

            I don’t agree with the methods of the Pro-Lifers you describe, but I sure don’t see any moral courage on the part of the woman either.

            It is interesting how the Pro-Lifers, Pro-Choicers, anti-War and anti-Captial Punishment folks overlap and get all jumbled up when it comes to these topics pertaining to human life.

            • Submitted by jason myron on 09/08/2014 - 12:28 pm.

              Of course you see no moral courage.

              in these women, you have never faced the decision, heard any of their stories or walked next to them through a screaming crowd of self-righteous, hypocritical zealots. You just continue to keep everything in the abstract. That’s makes it so much easier to casually dismiss the moral courage that you seem to think lies in a wiki page. I had the physical courage to help them based on size and ability, but it was nothing compared to the fortitude that these women displayed to me in those years.

            • Submitted by Jonathan Ecklund on 09/08/2014 - 01:24 pm.

              Have you ever been in or near a Planned Parenthood? Do you know that most abortions are sought by people who already have children? Have you ever stood outside of a clinic while the patients who go inside, sometimes not even for abortions, are harangued by the angry mob? I have, and it’s rather disgusting. How much moral courage does it take to yell at someone who is facing their own moral choice? How much courage does it take to stand with those who murder doctors for performing a legal procedure? To stand with those who willfully lie to young women about the ‘dangers of abortion,’ like telling them that if they get an abortion they will get breast cancer, or that they risk their future pregnancies by seeking an abortion?

              I’ve seen that crowd. I remember when someone drove their car into the front of the PP clinic on Ford Pkwy. I remember when they would have to go into lockdown mode because they received bomb or death threats. I also remember when a certain Republican legislator was stalking around that parking lot with a gun. I remember when protesters would make little toddlers hold picket signs with pictures of dead fetuses on them for hours on end.

              Of course you don’t see moral courage in women. You refuse to open your eyes.

              • Submitted by John Appelen on 09/08/2014 - 02:36 pm.

                What would you do

                If you absolutely knew in your heart that there were people killing babies in a building down the street, what would you do?

                Remember that in the minds of these people, they are striving to save innocent lives. And the people walking into the clinic are the murderers or accessories to murder.

                I would say they are a bit extreme, but they sure do live by their beliefs.

                • Submitted by jason myron on 09/08/2014 - 04:25 pm.

                  I couldn’t care less about their motivation

                  I’m sure the hooded guy lopping off heads in the Middle East feels just as strongly about his beliefs too. Do you want to defend him as well?

                  • Submitted by John Appelen on 09/08/2014 - 06:17 pm.

                    Shades of Gray

                    When human life begins is a bit more gray. I am pretty sure the vast majority of human beings see a public beheading of a reporter as wrong. Where as there is still a sizeable minority that are pro-life.

                    And yes I am aware that you don’t care about the beliefs, motivations or values of other people. You remind us often.

                    • Submitted by jason myron on 09/08/2014 - 06:57 pm.

                      I’m supposed to get weepy

                      about the motivations of people who shout vile things to women is distress, all while claiming that Jesus wants them to do it? I don’t think so…and try as you might, there is no distinction between many in the pro life movement and terrorists. As I clearly stated, terrorists are just as sure that they’re doing Gods work as Eric Rudolph, James Kopp or Scott Roeder were.

                    • Submitted by John Appelen on 09/08/2014 - 07:54 pm.

                      Interesting Perspective

                      I would assume you believed strongly that you were doing the right thing as you were helping the women get to the clinic where the little life growing inside them was ended. It is interesting how powerful beliefs can be in driving our behaviors and our emotions.

                      Here you were angry at the extremist pro-lifers and I am sure they were angry at you… Both sides certain that they were doing the “right thing”. Both certain the other was wrong…

                • Submitted by Jonathan Ecklund on 09/09/2014 - 04:45 pm.

                  Q: “If you absolutely knew in your heart that there were people killing babies in a building down the street, what would you do?”

                  A: Report it to the proper authorities. Also, ‘knowing it in your heart’ isn’t the same thing as ‘being mired in reality.’ Feeling something hard enough doesn’t make it so.

                  Q: “Remember that in the minds of these people, they are striving to save innocent lives. And the people walking into the clinic are the murderers or accessories to murder.”

                  A: So, that 2nd line you wrote there- that’s the crux of the problem. I understand the anti-choice argument. I get it. I don’t ‘like’ abortion, but I prefer that it’s a safe and legal procedure that women can have access to in order to keep control over their lives. But whats reprehensible is how these people treat the women who are having this procedure. They don’t know their story, and in their highly christian manner, they’ve judged their neighbor… if you want odd irony, you should try doing some research on Catholics and their abortion rates.

                  I, for one, want to lower the abortion rate by providing meaningful and comprehensive sexual education, giving women access to preventative medical care, free birth control, and empowering women and men to be advocates for safe sex and planned pregnancies.

    • Submitted by John Appelen on 09/05/2014 - 02:54 pm.

      Brag vs Facts vs Motivate

      Often folks here state their inaccurate belief that Conservatives are selfish, greedy, money oriented, not compassionate, etc. And there are some that are, just like there are Liberals who do not give to charity or volunteer. My point in sharing is not to brag, since that would make no sense since I have not attained my personal goal.

      My point in sharing is to help the readers understand how one can be generous and compassionate, while not believing in government mandated wealth transfer. Which seems to be a very foreign concept around here.

      Also, I am hoping that some readers would accept my challenge to set a personal charitable giving target and pro-actively work towards attaining it. This can be through giving money or time. And for you single folks out there, I had a very Conservative friend who volunteered through a singles organization.

      Remember: the more you give, the more you attain…

      • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 09/05/2014 - 04:20 pm.

        The more you give, the more you attain

        I don’t give with the idea of attaining anything, whether it’s tax deductions, bragging rights, or personal goals. By the same token, I cannot abide the currently fashionable term “giving back.”

        There are things we should do because they are the right things to do.

        • Submitted by John Appelen on 09/05/2014 - 06:44 pm.

          Win Win

          Do you have something against being healthier, happier, more fulfilled, more socially connected, etc?

          So how much should a person give or volunteer to do the right thing?
          Us silly Christians picked ~10% as an ideal amount, what do the non-religious think is the “right” amount?

          • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 09/07/2014 - 11:49 am.

            Are you covering “We Are the World”?

            How about doing something because it is the right thing to do,, without regard to what we get in return? “The righteous are those who feed the poor, the orphan and the captive for the love of God, saying: ‘We feed you for the sake of God Alone; we seek from you neither reward nor thanks'”

            I don’t consider myself non-religious, but I recommend Matthew 25:31-46 for today’s Gospel reading.

            The Psalm for today is Psalm 72.

            • Submitted by John Appelen on 09/07/2014 - 01:41 pm.

              Not righteous just pragmatic

              In a world of more non-religious folk, somehow they need to be shown that giving is a win-win. They aren’t going to give to make “God” happy…

              • Submitted by Pat Berg since 2011 on 09/07/2014 - 10:09 pm.

                How condescending

                I hate to burst your self-righteous bubble, but even “non-religious folk” are capable of giving simply because it is the right thing to do.

                The religious don’t have a corner on the market when it comes to morality no matter how much you’d like to think they do.

              • Submitted by jason myron on 09/08/2014 - 07:59 am.

                How arrogant of you

                So only religious folk give their time and money? One doesn’t need religion to have a moral compass.

                • Submitted by John Appelen on 09/08/2014 - 08:38 am.

                  Source of Moral Compass

                  You are correct that one can have values, empathy and be charitable without religion. My point is that one is less likely to be so. This behaviorial expectation has been repeatedly reinforced in me since the first time the offering plate came by. I am not sure what helps the moral compass develop towards giving regularly and significantly if you do not have that influence in your life.

                  These sources would indicate their may be a correlation of some kind.


                • Submitted by Jonathan Ecklund on 09/08/2014 - 09:52 am.

                  Moral Compass

                  Ever since I disavowed religion and realized I didn’t believe in god, I became a lot happier, and my ‘Moral Compass’ was finally free to point where it needed to, not where others were trying to bend it towards. In other words (for me), unshackling myself from a belief system I couldn’t take seriously WAS the most moral choice I could ever make, and it made me a much stronger and more compassionate human being. I don’t give time or money or support because I want a reward, other than feeling good about myself and feeling as though I’ve made a positive impact in at least one person’s life.

                  • Submitted by John Appelen on 09/08/2014 - 12:35 pm.

                    Seems Attaining by Giving

                    “other than feeling good about myself and feeling as though I’ve made a positive impact in at least one person’s life.” Now that’s what I am talking about, now how do we help others find the joy of giving?

                    Just curious. What religious organization were you affiliated with?

                    They don’t sound like much fun at all, or you took it way to seriously.

                  • Submitted by John Appelen on 09/08/2014 - 12:38 pm.

                    Moral Compass

                    I based my values off this generic starting point. For better or worse many have their background in many religions from around the world.

                • Submitted by John Appelen on 09/08/2014 - 11:18 am.


                  I am aware that all humans can develop a “moral compass” , however religious folks are indoctrinated to be charitable from the first time the offering plate goes by. And we have continual reinforcement.

                  Please explain how a child who is not exposed to this develops this urge to share?

                  I shared some interesting links in my first response, but it did not make it yet. They are in the comments at G2A where we are discussing this topic also.

                  • Submitted by jason myron on 09/08/2014 - 04:22 pm.

                    No one cares about your blog, John

                    why would move the discussion over there? We’re having it here, now.

                  • Submitted by Matt Haas on 09/08/2014 - 08:24 pm.

                    Chose the easiest synopsis I could find

                    Too many options to through, feel free to google the subject at your leisure.


                    Yes I know, you’ll have to copy and paste, sorry typing from my phone has limitations.

                  • Submitted by John Appelen on 09/09/2014 - 10:00 am.

                    Matts Link


                    Sorry I am a nature/nurture guy, I think it takes both to create an empathetic, caring, charitable, etc adult. Without some consistent emphasis on donating time and/or money, I think it would be harder to maintain that behavior. I mean the rewards of spending on ones self are so immediate and gratifying.

                    Maybe if you are lucky enough to be born to Parents that are like that.

                • Submitted by Thomas Swift on 09/08/2014 - 03:38 pm.

                  One doesn’t need religion to have a moral compass.

                  That’s true.

                  But observing the compass leftists seem to prefer, one is left to ask what value a compass that spins like a propeller blown by the ever changing winds of popular culture really has.

                  Seems to me that if one starts with the premise that nothing can be deemed right or wrong, professing to own a “moral compass” of any sort becomes an act of willful self-deceit.

                  • Submitted by jason myron on 09/08/2014 - 04:20 pm.

                    As opposed to the compass

                    that refers to same sex couples as the “sodomy lobby” with the hashtag #nohomo? Yeah, when we look for a moral standard, your name is the first to come up.

                  • Submitted by John Appelen on 09/08/2014 - 04:56 pm.

                    I was curious about that

                    After getting no response to all my questions regarding what Liberals believe in and what is correct behavior, I was kind of surprised at the response.

        • Submitted by John Appelen on 09/05/2014 - 07:12 pm.

          Can not abide

          Isn’t “giving back” the liberal mantra in justifying “tax the rich”?

          Your comment is interesting with that in mind.

          • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 09/07/2014 - 11:38 am.

            I wouldn’t know

            I’m not required to chant mantras.

            There are many justifications for taxing the rich in proportion to their wealth or income, but making it a return of a gift ranks low on my list. Think of it as part of the costs of having one’s wealth/property protected, or consideration for the social contract. It is not about charity (nor is it a penalty).

            • Submitted by John Appelen on 09/07/2014 - 01:44 pm.

              Social contract

              Tell me more?

              • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 09/08/2014 - 10:12 am.

                Social contract

                I wish I had more time to discuss this with you, as a good rousing symposium on Enlightenment political thought would get the week off to a great start.

                I’m using the term as kind of a synthesis of Locke and Rousseau. Locke wrote that we have consented to be a part of a political body for our mutual self-defense. The power of the state is not unlimited, but subject to inviolate individual rights. Rousseau took it in a somewhat different direction, discussing the social contract as first being used to protect private property (and thus, in his view, inequality).

                • Submitted by John Appelen on 09/08/2014 - 12:53 pm.

                  First Impression

                  It looks like Conservatives would like Locke, and Liberals would like Rosseau. Wiki says that the Declaration of Indepence was based on Locke’s view.

                  • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 09/08/2014 - 01:55 pm.

                    Sort of

                    Rousseau fans tilt left, but I don’t know that Locke can be claimed exclusively by any 21st century ideology. The phrase “states’ rights” would not go over well (states have powers, not rights).

                  • Submitted by Jonathan Ecklund on 09/08/2014 - 02:10 pm.

                    My impression is that this is simply another attempt at a conservative claim on the foundation of the Republic, though lacking any intellectual authority. Thoughts?

                    • Submitted by John Appelen on 09/08/2014 - 02:55 pm.

                      Maybe, but I did not write it. I am guessing they are correct though since the word God comes up a lot in our governmental docs.

                      “Locke believed that natural rights were inalienable, and that the rule of God therefore superseded government authority; and Rousseau believed that democracy (self-rule) was the best way of ensuring the general welfare while maintaining individual freedom under the rule of law. The Lockean concept of the social contract was invoked in the United States Declaration of Independence. Social contract theories were eclipsed in the 19th century in favor of utilitarianism, Hegelianism, and Marxism, and were revived in the 20th century, notably in the form of a thought experiment by John Rawls.[3]”

                      Source: Wikipedia Social Contract

                  • Submitted by jason myron on 09/08/2014 - 05:03 pm.


                    so, wiki is the go to source for your knowledge? That must be Harvard stresses extreme caution when using it for academic research.

  20. Submitted by Jay Willemssen on 09/05/2014 - 09:37 pm.

    The trumpets keep sounding

    There you go.

  21. Submitted by Sean Olsen on 09/06/2014 - 09:28 am.

    See here for the votes:

  22. Submitted by Steve Rose on 09/09/2014 - 08:28 am.

    Is There a Seachange Coming?

    Millenials are more liberal than their parent’s generation in all areas except when it comes to abortion.

    • Submitted by Jonathan Ecklund on 09/09/2014 - 09:01 am.

      From the article, paragraph 3:

      “Don’t get me wrong, they are pro-choice. Six in 10 millennials say abortion should be legal in all or most cases,” says Robert Jones, CEO of the Public Religion Research Institute and lead author of the study.

    • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 09/09/2014 - 10:05 am.

      A poorly written headline

      Millenials are more liberal than their parents on gay rights issues. They seem to come close to their parents’ views on abortion, so while they are not more liberal, they are not less liberal.

      You really should read past the headline before you cite an article.

      • Submitted by jason myron on 09/09/2014 - 11:37 am.

        But that’s enough for Rose

        He’ll cite one study and trust it as gospel if it agrees with him, but show him countless studies and consensus from 97% of scientists on climate change, and he’ll insist that more study is needed to act.

        • Submitted by Steve Rose on 09/09/2014 - 04:20 pm.

          Billions Spent Annually

          … to study what is known by consensus and accurately described by computer models? What is the point? There is nothing left to learn.

          Science is not a thing of consensus; science advances by being challenged.

          Myron subscribes to the steady state Earth model; there are no natural causes of variation. Changes in the Earth’s orbit, variation in the Sun’s output, climate variations (La Nina, El Nino), volcanic activity, are all fabrications of truth deniers.

          • Submitted by jason myron on 09/09/2014 - 06:06 pm.


            Once again, thousands of studies and scientific consensus on climate change but you need more proof. One study that cites conservatives are more charitable than liberals and one study that says millennials show a slight drop from Gen X in favoring abortion rights, but still well over 50%, and that’s a “seachange.” That’s some seriously flawed statistical and scientific analysis you have going there. Whatever…

            • Submitted by Steve Rose on 09/09/2014 - 10:04 pm.

              Thousands of studies …

              … that show the cause of climate change? I think you are referring to theories and computer models. As we know, small adjustments in computer models can create the kind of outcomes that those financing them appreciate.

              The studies verify what we know, which is that climate is changing like it always has. Minnesota has been mostly covered on three different occasions by glaciers, though we are presently in an inter-glacial period. Why are we not obsessed with returning to a glacial Minnesota. Surely that must be ideal for some lifeforms.

              Yes there is a widespread consensus on climate change theories, though the 97% number has been thoroughly debunked. If we were satisfied with consensus in science, we’d still be walking around on a flat Earth.

              Other topics are clearly not as well-financed as climate change, so there are not thousands of studies. And clearly, you can find none that support your position on charity nor abortion which support your stated positions.

      • Submitted by Steve Rose on 09/09/2014 - 01:07 pm.

        Accurate Headline

        New rules? Seriously, the title of a comment must be the “title of a cited article? Why now? Look up stream to see plenty of rule violations.

        The purpose of citing the article was to show that a seachange is coming. Why are Millenials 20 points more liberal than their parents on same-sex marriage and 0 points more liberal regarding abortion? Perhaps they are understanding abortion to be the moral issue that it is.

        The brakes have been applied.

        This is an interesting article, headline pasted, “Survey | Committed to Availability, Conflicted about Morality: What the Millennial Generation Tells Us about the Future of the Abortion Debate and the Culture Wars”

        • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 09/09/2014 - 03:40 pm.

          0 points more liberal

          That certainly is an interesting usage.

          I understand that millenials are “0 points more liberal regarding abortion.” Are they less liberal? Do they support restricting or outlawing abortion?

          “Why are Millenials 20 points more liberal than their parents on same-sex marriage and 0 points more liberal regarding abortion?” Perhaps they agree with their parents that abortion should remain legal. That is the conclusion I reached from the other article you cited. Having been born after Roe v. Wade, they may find it difficult to imagine what it would be like for abortion to be illegal.

          You can wait for all the “seachanges” you like, but I don’t think they’re going to happen the way you hope.

          PS When did I ever say that the “title of a comment must be the ‘title of a cited article?'” Did it occur to you that I was referring to the poorly drafted headline of the article you cited?

          • Submitted by Steve Rose on 09/09/2014 - 04:00 pm.

            Do the math

            The title of the NPR article I cited, “Poll: Generation Y Divided On Abortion, Like Its Parents” seems accurate.

            Having been born after Roe v. Wade, perhaps they understand that before they were born or when they were partially born, their parents could have decided to end their life. That might give one pause.

            Seachange is quite accurate, when you consider that Millenials are more liberal in every category polled, by large margins in some areas, with the exception of one. After the water stops rising, which way does it go?

            • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 09/09/2014 - 05:10 pm.

              Do the math

              Sixty percent of millenials oppose making abortion illegal. I understand the scientific consensus is that 60% is a majority or, to use a shorter word, “most.” It is not unanimity, but it is far from a “seachange.”

              Of course, you’re not much of a fan of the scientific consensus, are you?

              • Submitted by Steve Rose on 09/09/2014 - 06:09 pm.

                In technical terms, it is a trend

                Millenials are trending more liberal than their parent’s generation, out-liberaling them in some areas (same-sex marriage) by as much as 20 points. No such trend for abortion; that signals a seachange. Hope and deny all you like; it is significant.

                We are talking about people’s lives and their civil rights. It just requires a simple majority to deny someone their rights, doesn’t it.

                • Submitted by jason myron on 09/09/2014 - 09:47 pm.

                  Uhhh, no

                  get back to me in ten years and if it continues in the same direction, that’s a trend. You know…like climate data? One study doesn’t not equate to a trend. Nice try though.

                  • Submitted by Steve Rose on 09/09/2014 - 11:35 pm.

                    Ten years? Look at Fifteen!


                    Gallup has been polling on this issue since the mid-1970s, so plenty of data is available.

                    The first graph of the linked poll shows that for the age group 18-29, those in favor of legal abortions under any circumstances peaked at 36% (1990-1994). Fifteen years later (2005-2009), that age group polled at 24%. The graph shows a steady fifteen year decline. By the way even at the peak, it was not a majority position, it was not most, nor was it even close.

                    Be careful what you ask for, you just might get it.

                    • Submitted by jason myron on 09/10/2014 - 07:13 am.

                      Uhh huh

                      Of course, you left out this part…
                      “Since 2000, however, all age groups with the exception of seniors have shown similar levels of support for broadly legal abortion”
                      Get a grip….you’re not going to send women back into the closet with a clothes hanger no matter how much you want to.. You don’t like abortion? Don’t have one…problem solved.
                      Bottom line, it’s a random sample of 1,000 people. Ask President Romney about the validity of polls.
                      Have a nice day.

                    • Submitted by Steve Rose on 09/10/2014 - 08:01 am.

                      It is all there for you in the link to the Gallup Poll

                      The purpose of a link is to provide access to information without cutting and pasting all of it.

                      “similar levels of support for broadly legal abortion” You find that particularly meaningful? A similar high level or a similar low level? How could I have left that out?

                      I gave you more than you asked for, the poll data you asked for, and now you don’t trust polls. Then, why ask for it?

        • Submitted by Matt Haas on 09/09/2014 - 03:22 pm.

          So your definition of sea change

          Is basically no change whatsoever. Hmm, I think you might want to look that one up, just a thought.

  23. Submitted by Steve Rose on 09/10/2014 - 08:56 am.

    A Graph with a Negative Slope

    Gallup has been polling on this issue since the mid-1970s.

    The first graph of the linked poll shows that for the age group 18-29, those in favor of legal abortions under any circumstances peaked at 36% (1990-1994). Fifteen years later (2005-2009), that age group polled at 24%.


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