Geoff B graduated from Stanford University (class of 1985) and worked in journalism for several years until about 1992, when he took up his second career in telecommunications sales. He has held many callings in the Church, but his favorite calling is father and husband. Geoff is active in martial arts and loves hiking and skiing. Geoff has five children and lives in Colorado.
“I desire that this land be a land of liberty, and every man may enjoy his rights and privileges alike.” — Mosiah 29:32
“The Lord commandeth you, when ye shall see these things come among you that ye shall awake to a sense of your awful situation, because of this secret combination which shall be among you; or wo be unto it, because of the blood of them who have been slain; for they cry from the dust for vengeance upon it, and also upon those who built it up.
For it cometh to pass that whoso buildeth it up seeketh to overthrow the freedom of all lands, nations, and countries; and it bringeth to pass the destruction of all people, for it is built up by the devil, who is the father of all lies.” Ether 8: 24-25
“The power of government must have limits,” said Elder David A. Bednar in June 2020. “This time of restriction and confinement has confirmed for me that no freedom is more important than religious freedom. Protecting a person’s physical health from the coronavirus is, of course, important, but so is a person’s spiritual health. While believers and their religious organizations must be good citizens in a time of crisis, never again can we allow government officials to treat the exercise of religion as simply nonessential. Never again must the fundamental right to worship God be trivialized below the ability to buy gasoline.”
One of the great things about the charter school that my kids go to is that they are reading the true classics of literature, and as they read these classics I get a chance to re-read them along with my kids.
My eighth grader is reading “Fahrenheit 451” by Ray Bradbury. If you haven’t read that in a while, a quick reminder of the plot: it takes place in a dystopian future where people have stopped reading books and indeed hate books so much that they encourage firemen to burn all the books.
Bradbury wrote “Fahrenheit 451” in 1951, and he was alarmed by the new technology of the time, television. He describes a dystopian future where people watch videos on wall-sized screens (!), drive fast cars for thrills and therefore don’t have the attention span to sit and read a book. People are also offended at the things in books, which inevitably insult one group or another with their provocative plots. Later in life, Bradbury, a traditional conservative, lamented the spread of political correctness and cancel culture, which he said were signs that his book was coming true before his eyes.
Bradbury correctly perceived that this kind of society would create a vast void in peoples’ lives, and that suicide would increase as people saw their lives had no meaning. People would be so concerned about their own lives and buying the latest gadgets that they would stop having children and would mostly ignore the children they had. He predicted that young people would become more violent and strike out against society with nihilistic rage. But Bradbury pointed out that this would take place while society kept up appearances. For most people, life would apparently go on as normal. There would be elections, and people would go to work and perform their jobs and of course spend their time being entertained by the wall-sized video screens. And, eerily, Bradbury’s world takes place while there is a massive war being fought, a war that does not affect most of the populace’s everyday lives. Meanwhile, the news would never report the truth about the world around them, constantly inventing pleasant story lines to keep the populace happy.
One of the very strange phenomena of the last few years is that people are increasingly living in alternate realities. Because of social media algorithms and the new business models of the mainstream media, people increasingly only receive the information they want to receive. As recently as a decade or so ago, people generally saw a lot of the same information — today people exist in at least two information silos, and one group of people (the left and the Democrats) do not usually see any of the same information as people in the other silo (the right and the Republicans).
For the last few months, people on the left have been told that Joe Biden will easily win today’s election. Biden is ahead in all of the battleground states and may even win Texas! Here is a sample of what many left-wing people seem to believe from today’s New York Times:
538.com, the Nate Silver-run election forecasting site, has Biden easily winning. Here is the thing: many of the polls results are CLEARLY FALSE and no professional political scientist worth his or her salt actually believes them. There is NO WAY, absolutely none, that Biden beats Trump by 11 points in Wisconsin (a state that Trump won in 2016). Biden might win by a point or two or even three, but there is simply no rational formula having Biden winning by 11 points. Similarly, there is no way Biden wins Michigan by eight points (another state that Trump won in 2016). Again, he might win by a point or two or even three, but not eight points. And the people who put together this poll know this is impossible, but yet they published the results.
The problem is that the media is clearly printing information that they know is false. Why would they do this? Because the business model of the media has changed. Much of the media world today is driven by people clicking on things on the internet. About 40 percent of the U.S. population is made up of people who despise Trump, and many of these people are highly educated and have higher than average earning potential. These people want to hear that Trump is going to be destroyed on election night and hopefully soon sent to jail. So the media, instead of printing what is actually happening, prints information that their readers want to see. The future of these media outlets depends on keeping these readers happy, so the media invents news that fits the expected narrative.
Of course we can see that this is extremely dangerous. Printing information that is obviously false leads to false expectations, and when the results do not fit the narrative, we get anger and claims of fraud and this year likely a lot of violence. This is why shop owners in city centers are boarding up their businesses this week — they can read the tea leaves and they know the left will be upset when things don’t go their way.
So, have charity for your left-wing friends this week and in the weeks ahead. They are mostly good people, and they have been manipulated by the media in a most cynical fashion. The information they are receiving has been twisted and falsified, and the people receiving that information do not know what they don’t know.
What will really happen today? I have been predicting a Trump win for many months now, just as I did in 2016. Trump will win the following states: IA, FL, NC, GA, TX, MI, AZ. I think those state result will be called by tomorrow, Nov. 4, and Trump will have enough electoral college votes to win. PA will also go to Trump, but the results will not be final for a few days. MN and WI are too close to call, but I am leaning Trump winning WI and maybe MN. Trump also possibly wins NV and NH and one vote from Maine. Trump will win the electoral college and come closer in the popular vote. The Republicans will keep 51 to 53 seats in the Senate and pick up a few seats in the House. I have friends who are convinced the Republicans will take back the House, but I am skeptical.
But here is the thing: no matter what happens, I have seen the other side’s predictions, and if things don’t go my way I will know that my models were wrong. I will not riot or claim the Russians stole the election. Life will go on. And to any left-wingers or other Trump haters reading this: life will go on if Trump wins as well. Stay joyful people.
Mike Lee, Senator from Utah, posted the following on his Facebook page earlier today (Thursday):
Yesterday I made a comparison between Captain Moroni, a military leader whose story is chronicled in the Book of Mormon, and President Donald J. Trump. Some people found that comparison upsetting, blasphemous, and otherwise wrong. I respect their right to feel that way, and realize that my impromptu comments may not have been the best forum for drawing a novel analogy from scripture. I doubt this will change the minds of those who disliked my comments, but I’d like to explain my use of the comparison to make my (perhaps awkward) point clearer.
First, I did not suggest and do not believe that President Trump is a prophet or that he should he revered as a religious leader. I did not argue that faithful, fair-minded members of my Church (or of any belief system) couldn’t reach a different conclusion as to whether to vote for President Trump. Nor did I mean to imply that I agree with everything he has ever said or done, either while serving as president or otherwise. Finally, in no way did I suggest that people should seek to emulate President Trump in the same way they might pattern their lives after Captain Moroni.
The point I was trying to make (however awkwardly) was far simpler: after working with and getting to know President Trump over the last four years, I now see him in a very different light than I did in 2016. In addition to the fact that I genuinely like him on a personal level, I have come to the conclusion that he has “s[ought] not for power, but to pull it down.” Translating Captain Moroni’s language into Donald Trump’s, he has relentlessly tried to “drain the swamp”—for example, by avoiding new wars while winding down existing ones, reducing federal regulations, relieving the federal tax burden on working families, and reforming the criminal-justice system. By so doing, and with his abrupt and often brash style, he has threatened the established political order in a way that—far from bringing him the “honor of the world”—has subjected him and his family to constant ridicule and scorn. He has nonetheless persisted in this effort for pursuit of the “freedom and welfare of [his] country.” In short, Donald Trump has far exceeded my expectations by sticking to his effort to reform the federal government even when it’s hard and unpopular.
Maybe the comparison I made was more distracting or offensive to you than helpful. That was not my intent. I do my best to say what I think in open and forthright ways at all times. I hope you will respect my right to do my best at that, even when my words come across in ways that offend you.
Back to Geoff B’s opinion: I think Mike Lee makes some decent points, but Capt. Moroni is definitely not the first person I think of when I think of the president. In my opinion, President Trump is a very flawed character, more like a governor of Zarahemla that you might support because all of the other available politicians are Gadianton Robbers. I only agree with Trump about half of the time, but he has been very, very good on a few issues, including foreign policy, proposing good federal judges, cutting federal regulations and supporting sound energy policies. In any case, Senator Mike Lee is one of my favorite politicians, and I would happily vote for him if I lived in Utah.
Look at the links. Yes, Richard Spencer did indeed endorse Joe Biden and did indeed disavow the Republican party, and yes indeed Joe Biden has made many racist comments during his political career.
See how easy it is to smear other people as racists? What is the reality? Both Biden and Trump are white men in their 70s. They grew up in a different America than we live in today regarding racial prejudice. It is likely they both will say things that are not politically correct today. Most readers probably know people in their wards who are like them.
Have some charity for both presidential candidates — and for the old guy in your ward who may say unfortunate things but meanwhile serves at the temple twice a week and is the first guy to show up for service projects. God loves Joe Biden and Donald Trump, and Kamala Harris and Mike Pence — and He also loves the people in your ward who are not politically correct. That is something to ponder as the election comes next week.