Squaring the Culture




"...and I will make justice the plumb line, and righteousness the level;
then hail will sweep away the refuge of lies,
and the waters will overflow the secret place."
Isaiah 28:17

10/14/2009 (2:34 pm)

Progressivism, the Religion

I’m in the first chapter of Jonah Goldberg’s Liberal Fascism, and I’m delighted to find that he’s accurately identified the religious character of American progressivism.

The one thing that unites these [variously fascist] movements is that they were all, in their own ways, totalitarian. But what do we mean when we say something is totalitarian? The word has certainly taken on an understandably sinister connotation in the last half century. Thanks to work by Hannah Arendt, Zbigniew Brzezinski, and others, it’s become a catchall for brutal, soul-killing, Orwellian regimes. But that’s not how the word was originally used or intended. Mussolini himself coined the term to describe a society where everybody belonged, where everyone was taken care of, where everything was inside the state and nothing was outside; where truly no child was left behind.

Again, it is my argument that American liberalism is a totalitarian political religion, but not necessarily an Orwellian one. It is nice, not brutal. Nannying, not bullying. But it is definitely totalitarian — or “holistic,” if you prefer — in that liberalism today sees no realm of human life that is beyond political significance, from what you eat to what you smoke to what you say. Sex is political. Food is political. Sports, entertainment, your inner motives and outer appearance, all have political salience for liberal fascists. Liberals place their faith in priestly experts who know better, who plan, exhort, badger, and scold. They try to use science to discredit traditional notions of religion and faith, but they speak the language of pluralism and spirituality to defend “nontraditional” beliefs. Just as with classical fascism, liberal fascists speak of a “Third Way” between right and left where all good things go together and all hard choices are “false choices.”

The idea that there are no hard choices — that is, choices between competing goods — is religious and totalitarian because it assumes that all good things are fundamentally compatible. The conservative or classical liberal vision understands that life is unfair, that man is flawed, and that the only perfect society, the only real utopia, waits for us in the next life.

I’ve been saying for decades that the current version of what we call “liberalism,” which its adherents are calling “progressivism,” feels like a religion, and its adherents exhibit all the characteristics of True Believers. These Believers take as axioms — as dogma, really — the inherent virtue of radical egalitarianism, multiculturalism, and moral relativism, dismiss all other views of truth as hopelessly backward, and ultimately celebrate the ascendancy of the enlightened apex of human development, namely themselves.

Understanding that progressivism is a religion explains lots of things. It explains why progressives consider holding their political position the apex of moral virtue, and holding contrary positions, the depths of moral vice. It explains why progressives are impervious to reasons, statistics, or sound arguments that do not support their point of view. It explains why they feel perfectly justified in controlling even the smallest decisions of the populace. It explains why they feel no compunction of conscience while breaking every conceivable law or rule of civil behavior in the pursuit of power. It explains the fervor with which they pursue political power. It explains everything: they’re True Believers.

I produced a decent definition of “religion” in my post on Darwin Day this year:

…“theism” is not a useful definition of religion: there are major, recognized world religions that contain both many gods (Hinduism, Shintoism, Buddhism) and no gods (Confucianism and Taoism.) A better definition of religion would be “a dogmatic set of cohesive ideas purporting to explain the nature and purpose of the universe, and from that to derive how Man should live.”

Progressivism is nothing if not dogmatic; you can’t even raise questions about their presuppositions without getting scoffed at. They definitely have ideas regarding the nature of the universe, and they not only have derived from those ideas how Man should live, but consider themselves the rightful executors of the power to make them live that way. Oh, yes, progressivism is a religion, alright, and a highly coercive one at that.

Some will object that they can’t be religious because they do not believe in God. I’ve had that conversation with atheists of various stripes; they want me to get it through my head that Atheism is not belief, but the absence of belief. That’s like saying that on a sunny, warm day we are not experiencing weather, but the absence of weather. If the topic is “What is the universe, and how should we live in it,” the answer may or may not include God, but all answers to that question are addressing the same topic. The answer that says “We must work together under one Government to create a world without racism, sexism, homophobia, or unfairness” is as much religion as the answer that says “Fear God, and keep His commandments, for such is the whole duty of man.”

1apunchAs with all True Believers, their cognitive dissonance runs deep. They can hurl the most incredibly vicious racial epithets at black conservatives like Sowell, Thomas, and Rice (remember Clarence Thomas as a lawn jockey?), and then claim that conservatism is the source of all racism without the slightest awareness of the irony. They slur conservative women with utter, unrestrained viciousness (Katherine Harris “applies makeup with a trowel” and Michelle Malkin is “a mashed-up bag of meat with lipstick”) but consider conservatism the bastion of sexist hate and suppression of women. They ruminate about conservative talk show hosts “blowing up like a blimp” and fabricate out of thin air racist quotes to accuse their opponents, but wonder how conservatives can be so mean-spirited. They cannot even watch Sarah Palin on TV without screaming curses at her, and regard capitalists and conservatives as evil incarnate, but lecture us about tolerance and getting past our differences. Because they are The Good Ones, it is simply not possible that they could do evil; because their beliefs are the very definition of tolerance, open-mindedness, and multicultural harmony, what they do simply cannot ever be considered intolerant, bigoted, or vicious.

Adherents engage in a pretense of intellectual discussion among themselves because Reason sits high in their panoply of gods; but it is pretense only, and impervious to serious engagement from outside its own circle of self-congratulation. Ask any conservative what it takes to get a progressive to engage them in reasonable conversation; every one of us who has tried can count on one hand the number of times we have succeeded in getting a cogent, polite response to a sincere intellectual challenge. I’ve been trying for at least 25 years, and still know only a handful of progressives who can talk politics with me without hurling insults. Conservatives can play drinking games betting on how many words it will take before the progressive resorts to sneering: my record is four words. I’m not kidding; a friend asked me “Why Iraq?” and he interrupted with a sneer after “What was intended was…” When Rush Limbaugh gets a call from an acknowledged liberal, he times how long it takes before he gets called a derogatory name; it’s invariably less than 2 minutes. Ask any conservative how many times he’s been called “Nazi,” “fascist,” “racist,” or various shades of “imbecile” simply for offering a contrary idea to one held by a progressive. In my experience, there is no connection between the idea offered and the accusatory response; “fascist” is a definition. To the progressive, intelligent conversation begins with “are you a believer?” If the answer is “no,” then it’s simply an article of faith that what follows is “fascist,” “sexist,” “racist,” or “greed,” and can have no merit.

And then, there are the Christian progressives. These are becoming increasingly common, as the shaming and fault-finding directed by the culture at large toward Christians for remaining faithful to an “outdated” sect take their toll. Increasingly, devout Christians are succumbing to the lie that using other peoples’ tax money to engage the government in programs for the poor is somehow a Christian act. Theft is never Christian; and the notion that the government can force righteousness on a people is as demonic a notion as ever infected a Christian mind. More to the point, though, the dogmatic assumptions of progressivism are biblically unsound; man cannot be perfected through political activism, it is no virtue to make all outcomes equal regardless of performance, and showing love to people of different races and cultures does not imply that all practices are of equal moral worth. By committing to the progressive Utopian vision, no matter how well-intentioned or filled with Christian-sounding endorsements, Christians are serving among the legions of a foreign god.

One must remember when engaging progressives that one is most likely engaging what I would call a Brittle Fundamentalist. Brittle Fundamentalists can only see the world in black and white; they can accept no grays. Consequently, they will resist with intense fervor any effort to move them from serving the goals of progressivism, and simply disbelieve any fact you produce that does not fit their picture of the world. But, like all Brittle Fundamentalists, there is a breaking point; if the preponderance of the facts from a trusted source at any time forces them to acknowledge that they’ve been wrong on any subject, the entire house of cards can collapse in a matter of days. They can quickly become conservatives if they ever permit themselves, even once, to let a contrary thought in. Their faith is inflexible, and that makes it breakable.

The fact that Western civilization has been overtaken by a non-Christian — I should say an anti-Christian — religion, it is clearer than ever that the path to saving Western civilization is not political, but religious. The culture will not be turned by winning a series of elections; the culture will be turned by religious revival, and by nothing else.

« « Why the Nobel Committee Thinks So Highly of Barack | Main | Decline is a Choice » »

117 Comments »

October 14, 2009 @ 3:40 pm #

>I’ve been saying for decades that the current version of what we call “liberalism,” which its adherents are calling “progressivism,” feels like a religion, and its adherents exhibit all the characteristics of True Believers. These Believers take as axioms — as dogma, really — the inherent virtue of radical egalitarianism, multiculturalism, and moral relativism, dismiss all other views of truth as hopelessly backward, and ultimately celebrate the ascendancy of the enlightened apex of human development, namely themselves.>

Radical Egalitarianism? Moral Relativism? What progressives have endorsed these views? Name them! What percentage of the progressive caucus endorses these views?

Do you even know what “moral relativism” means? How can anyone advocating a “progressive agenda” be called a moral relativist? A “progressive” is someone who believes that progressive policies are objectively correct. A moral relativist believes that all moral (and political )claims are subjective. How can anyone advocating an objectively correct political philosophy be a moral relativist? Please explain this?

If by “multiculturalism,” you mean the doctrine that specific cultures are unique and tend offer unique insight, who denies that? If by “multiculturalism” you mean the belief that all cultures are morally equivalent, what progressive subscribes to that view? Name them! What progressive thinks that all cultures, from Nazism to Budihism, are morally equivalent? Name them!

What do you mean by “radical egalitarism?” Do you mean that radical egalitarians believe that each person should have an equal share of what a society produces? If so, name one progressive who believes that. Name one progressive who thinks that we should redistribute wealth so that all individuals have an equal share.

You also criticise “progressives” as believing what they believe as “axioms.” Are you saying that people with progressive sentiments have no reasons for their opinions? That they’re just ideological zombies? What evidence do you have for that claim?

Phil, this is simply another example of a political smear. You have not responded to the arguments of your political opponents (you probably have never even read people like Rawls, Dworkin, Nagel, Kymlica, . . .). You have no idea what their arguments are. Instead, you simply announce that they have no reasons – that they are ideological fundamentalists – that their belief systems “feels like a religion,” and is without any evidence whatsoever.

You should be ashamed at making such “arguments.” Assigning political opponents radical views and declaring that they hold such views as religeous axioms, is the mark of a rank polemisict – not a meaningful thinker.

Joe H.

October 14, 2009 @ 3:46 pm #

>Progressivism is nothing if not dogmatic; you can’t even raise questions about their presuppositions without getting scoffed at. They definitely have ideas regarding the nature of the universe, and they not only have derived from those ideas how Man should live, but consider themselves the rightful executors of the power to make them live that way. Oh, yes, progressivism is a religion, alright, and a highly coercive one at that.>

What presuppositions of the progressive worldview would you like to discuss? I promise I won’t scoff at you or attempt to coerce you. And I have never called you names -unlike you and you readers have called me.

Let’s give your readers a discussion – that is, if you’re up to it, and don’t fear casting doubt on your claim that we progressives are unable to argue in favor of our views.

I’m ready.

Joe H.

October 14, 2009 @ 3:54 pm #

Rather than smearing me by calling my writing a smear (which is what you’ve done here, without noting the irony), perhaps you should provide some examples of progressive advocacy that do not assume the axioms that I claimed animate the movement. I’d be happy to read them. And if you have a more accurate picture of what progressive philosophical principles are (rather than simply asserting what they are not) I would be happy to view them.

I have, in fact, read Dworkin; I think she’s a demoniac, and insane. Aside from her, I read the principle public organs of progressive politics fairly regularly. I’m on the mailing list from OpEdNews, and receive a list of their diatribes daily (and a loonier bunch I have never seen.) And I’ve been battling progressives in the public arena for decades. So your claim that I’m not familiar enough with progressivism to describe them accurately is simply laughable.

I think your objection is that I paint with a broad brush, and have not read the leading intellectuals. By your argument, nobody would be justified in criticizing conservatism in any form before they had read Kirk, Hayek, and Buckley. Do you really believe that? or might you accept some general criticism and analysis of modern conservatism based entirely on observation of how conservatives behave in the modern world, and what policies they advocate?

For the record, I do know what moral relativism means, I do understand how it conflicts with the positive claims of progressivism — and I congratulate you for recognizing one of the proofs of the inherent irrationality of the movement. Because, Joe, they DO embrace both, and they ARE incompatible, and it is not I who needs to explain the contradiction.

One more thing: I do not regard you as in any way my moral superior. You are a liar and you play little games to protect yourself. So, no, I’m not ashamed of having written this, and I couldn’t care less whether you regard it as robust enough for your standards.

October 14, 2009 @ 3:58 pm #

>Adherents engage in a pretense of intellectual discussion among themselves because Reason sits high in their panoply of gods; but it is pretense only, and impervious to serious engagement from outside its own circle of self-congratulation. Ask any conservative what it takes to get a progressive to engage them in reasonable conversation; every one of us who has tried can count on one hand the number of times we have succeeded in getting a cogent, polite response to a sincere intellectual challenge. <

Phil, how many times have you accused me of being dishonest, and even demonic? How many times have you (or your readers) questioned my character?

Compare that to how many times have I questioned your’s (or your readers’) character.

I think the respective answers will fall along the lines of “many” and “none.”

Talk about the pot calling the kettle “black.”

But forget about the past. What do you think liberals believe that is foolish or baseless? I’ll respond by either: (1) admitting that we believe what you say we believe and defending our belief with reasons: (or 2) clarifying what progressives believe and explaining the clarification; or (2) rejecting your claim that progressives believe what you say we believe and provide an explanation.

And I will not call your character into question or otherwise demonize you in any respect.

Joe H.

October 14, 2009 @ 4:01 pm #

Ronald Dworkin, not Andrea Dworkin.

Sorry for the confusion.

Joe

October 14, 2009 @ 4:08 pm #

>By your argument, nobody would be justified in criticizing conservatism in any form before they had read Kirk, Hayek, and Buckley. Do you really believe that?>

I believe that no one would be justified in calling conservatives “fundamenatlists” without reading these conservative writers – among others – and that no one would be justified in calling conservativism “fundamentalist” after reading these figures.

You have a tremendous capacity for getting off point. I did not critize you for criticising progressivism. You should do that. progressives should do that. I criticised you for dismissing progressivism as an axiomatically held religeous belief system. Did I similarly dismiss conservatism?

Joe H.

October 14, 2009 @ 4:15 pm #

“Ronald Dworkin”

I think I’ve read a couple of his writings, too, but I have not read him deeply.

Joe, for what it’s worth, I don’t consider you a prime example of progressivism. You have a lot of their characteristics, but you have a fairly thick professional demeanor covering them, and that makes you far more approachable (at least on the surface) than the average progressive.

Much more characteristic are guys like Glenn Greenwald. I posted an honest rebuttal to one of his subpoints once, and got a scoffing denunciation in return that did not even address the point I’d made: “Don’t tell me you actually believe X…” It was revealing, and a little funny. I’ll see if I can find it if you’re interested.

If you really want an open discussion of progressivism here, I may be able to accommodate you for a while, but I can’t promise full attention. A good starting place would be for you to posit a counter-definition to the one I’ve posited here, explaining what you believe to be the roots of American progressivism. You don’t have to quote any more deeply than I have (I didn’t quote anyone besides Jonah Goldberg and myself, it wasn’t that sort of essay,) but it would be good to know what YOU believe progressivism to be.

Another thing I would appreciate would be for you to read this editorial that appeared about 2 weeks ago in the LA Times, and give me your quick take regarding how it compares with my piece, here. It was in responding to that that I wrote the first sentence of what became this post.

October 14, 2009 @ 4:16 pm #

You are flat mistaken. The vast majority of progressives do not embrace moral relativism. There are university types who embrace moral relativism – mainly professors in English departments and departments that end with the suffix “studies.” But the vast majority of progressives are not moral relativists.

Many progressives are “pluralists.” But pluralists are not relativists. Pluralists acknowledge that there is an irreconsiable diversity of OPINION about what constitutes the good life, or what constitutes moral conduct, and further acknowledge that a democratic society should accomodate such diversity whenever possible. That view is not relativism – it is a form of pragmaticism.

Joe H.

October 14, 2009 @ 4:22 pm #

Did I similarly dismiss conservatism?

No, and I did not say that you did. I posited an example that I believed would be roughly parallel to what I wrote, but from the left. I read editorials like that from the left all the time. I’m curious to know whether you regard those as “shameful” the way you apparently regard this piece of mine.

I’ll grant you that what I’ve written here is not a scholarly analysis. It is, however, an honest reaction from an intelligent analyst to several decades of interaction. As such, I’m not ashamed of it. I may someday attempt the scholarly version of this, for which I’ll have to read some of the folks you named… but I’ll also read and excerpt diarists from the Daily Kos and Talking Points Memo, and I have full confidence that I’ll be able to glean from those all the support I need to justify the assertions I’ve made regarding progressives in general.

October 14, 2009 @ 4:31 pm #

>>I’ll respond by either: (1) admitting that we believe what you say we believe and defending our belief with reasons:>>

Well…we could start with the demonizing of Columbus…

October 14, 2009 @ 4:34 pm #

>>The vast majority of progressives do not embrace moral relativism. >>

Would you say that that same majority is Judeo-Christian in their moral judgments? If not, what ethic determines their morals?

October 14, 2009 @ 4:40 pm #

Phil,

It is not a “smear” to point out that someone else has smeared a third party – unless the smear allegation is groundless. I went to great lengths to illustrate that your characterizations of progressives as rigid, inflexible, axiomatic, fundamentalist zombies was unfounded. Unfounded accusations are smears. Pointing out that someone is making unfounded accusations is not a smear. My remarks were a a retort, or a challenge.

On the other hand – “You are a liar and you play little games to protect yourself” is a smear of precisely the sort that you think is typical of progessives.

But again, let’s try to be civil. I’ll take the challenges you’ve offered. Later in the day – I’ve just spent 45 minutes interacting with you rather than practicing law, so I better get back to work.

Joe H.

October 14, 2009 @ 4:45 pm #

Suek,

I don’t think demonizing Columbus is a typical progressive practice. I’m not going to defend university radicals as examples of ordinary progressives – just as I don’t expect conservatives to defend white supremacists.

There are a number of objectivist moral theories (Consequentialism, Deontology, Eudaemonism) that one might subscribe to without believing in God or in the Judeo Christian worldview.

Joe H.

October 14, 2009 @ 5:13 pm #

Suek -

I would venture to guess, based on my non-scientific experience, that there are now just as many people in the progressive camp who hold to Judeo-Christian moral commitments as there are in the conservative camp – that is to say, not all that many, but a significant number.

Note that it does not do much good to plant a flag and say, “But my camp is the more Christian!” See: http://www.sojo.org

Note to Phil: Insert unclarifying pigeon-holing comment about “Marxism” here.

October 14, 2009 @ 5:29 pm #

>>I don’t think demonizing Columbus is a typical progressive practice.>>

Why then do you suppose there are no longer Columbus Day parades, and schools no longer take off Columbus Day?

October 14, 2009 @ 5:37 pm #

>>I would venture to guess, based on my non-scientific experience, that there are now just as many people in the progressive camp who hold to Judeo-Christian moral commitments as there are in the conservative camp – that is to say, not all that many, but a significant number.>>

My understanding is that roughly 80% of Americans claim to be Christians. We keep hearing about the Fundementalists – all of whom seem to belong to the GOP…so you’ll forgive me if I say your perception seems a bit off.

I understand that among your immediate acquaintances what you say may be true, but as a perception of Progressives in the main – not so much.

How many of the atheists would you expect to find in the GOP? How many Republicans would you expect to find among the atheists?

October 14, 2009 @ 6:05 pm #

Suek -

You are changing the subject, though very subtly, and you may not be aware of it.

You are right that the Fundamentalists fall mostly in the GOP. And moderate to progessive Christians like the Sojourners fall mostly in the Democratic camp. I was not speaking of my acquaintances – I was speaking of my awareness that the Republican party is shedding Christians pretty quickly…and rightfully so.

October 14, 2009 @ 6:35 pm #

I don’t think demonizing Columbus is a typical progressive practice. I’m not going to defend university radicals as examples of ordinary progressives – just as I don’t expect conservatives to defend white supremacists.

I can see that we’re going to get into a definition problem very quickly.

The problem we have, Joe, is that the demonizing of Columbus has extended far, far beyond the reaches of university radicals. Many schools do not celebrate Columbus Day anymore. Many things named after Columbus are being challenged. Many history textbooks contain the charges against him. I don’t have to tell you that white supremacists lack the power in our culture to get even a single public school to change their practice or a single textbook publisher to change their presentation, so your suggestion that we can ignore these radicals as you might ignore supremacists is logically improper.

If the demonization of Columbus is not the norm for progressive practice, we either need to understand better what you’re calling “progressive,” or y’all need to get a better handle on who’s using your name, or maybe both.

October 14, 2009 @ 6:50 pm #

I was speaking of my awareness that the Republican party is shedding Christians pretty quickly…and rightfully so.

darkhorse, you need to supply the evidence supporting this claim. I simply do not believe that the dropoff is as dramatic as you routinely make it sound. Sojourners is growing, but not that quickly.

As to “rightfully so,” I think you know that I consider you absolutely full of shit here. While there’s no necessary reason why a Christian might avoid joining either of the major parties in American politics, I don’t think there’s even a minor question that the platform the Republican party is more friendly toward Christians. I also don’t think there’s even a minor question that the VERY recent increase in friendliness toward Christians from the Democratic party is patently and not even subtly a faked, manufactured response to focus groups in reaction to the 2004 election, and any Christian who is fooled by this level of unveiled hypocrisy deserves the rude shock they will certainly receive when they discover that the Democratic party accepts them only insofar as they vote straight-ticket Democratic, and that they have absolutely no voice in the party, nor even a place at the table.

October 14, 2009 @ 7:05 pm #

Phil,

You will notice I didn’t mention that it is “good” that Christians are joining the Democratic party. As you know, I appreciate you assuming the worst about what I said so you could call me “full of shit.”

You said:

“While there’s no necessary reason why a Christian might avoid joining either of the major parties in American politics, I don’t think there’s even a minor question that the platform the Republican party is more friendly toward Christians.”

Both parties are mainly after power (whether platforms are good or bad), and both parties sell their goods to groups as large as “Christians”. Some Christians buy, and sign on the dotted line. And buy into the power chase. Tragically.

I have noted before that, in order to do so, Christians have to create a strange blend of politics and their faith to stay Republican in good conscience. It is what this blog is all about.

And the power chase forces one to ignore anything good at all about one’s “enemies”, and to hugely magnify shortcomings – to the point of dishonesty. Both parties participate equally well.

October 14, 2009 @ 7:07 pm #

BTW Phil, neither was I saying that Sojourners is a sole source for Christians leaving the GOP. It is probably only a fraction of them. There are quite a few other groups that have experienced growth, also.

If you want me to bother providing all the proof for this, I’ll do so. But you and I know that I am not dead wrong.

October 14, 2009 @ 7:17 pm #

Christians have to create a strange blend of politics and their faith to stay Republican in good conscience.

Huh?

I don’t think the blending of politics and faith is strange at all, since ours is a citizen-governed nation. But let’s leave that aside for the moment; let’s assume, hypothetically, that Henry Holiness is one of those Christians who thinks (incorrectly) that politics is territory unholy into which no Christian should stray, and he stays away from them except to vote in major elections. In what way does joining the Republican party violate Henry’s sensitive, Christian conscience?

October 14, 2009 @ 7:20 pm #

But you and I know that I am not dead wrong.

I know that there is some shift. I think you are dead wrong in thinking that the shift has resulted in anywhere approaching equal numbers of Christians between the parties. And if you make the survey about Protestant Christians (not “fundamentalists” as you suggested earlier) the difference is still pretty wide, and should remain so.

You don’t have to post all your ammunition ( ;) ) but I would like a few links to browse.

October 14, 2009 @ 7:33 pm #

I’m unfamiliar with the Sojourners. Is abortion a matter of concern to them? Euthanasia?

The quickie look-up I did indicated that their prime concern is social justice. How do they define that? Do they want to do that by changing people’s hearts, or by government compulsion?

If the latter, I can understand their preference for the Democratic party…

October 15, 2009 @ 7:26 am #

Good Post Phil.

I think you have further illustrated something that is very important to understanding the liberal psyche, but have not really explained the motivations for doing so. Namely people desire to be part of something greater than themselves. That something also fulfills the basic human desire to understand how the world works and where there place in it should be. Once someone has settled upon that “something”, be it religion or a political system, they have a tendency to defend it with passion when that system comes under attack. Reason no longer rules the day because you are not just challenging their political beliefs but rather their entire world view and assumptions about how the world works.

I would also like to take issue with something that Suek mentioned about the movement of Christian sects to the dem side. She argued that Protestant Christians would be more likely to stay in the Republican or conservative side. I would argue that this is too narrow a view.

My argument is that it more has to do with the difference between Orthodox and progressive schisms within any religion, be it Christian or not. The Orthodox faction has a tendency to go toward the more conservative political party here, while the more progressive one has a tendency to go toward that political party. I think this holds true for all religions, at least the Judeo-Christian based ones.

I’ll use Catholicism as an example since that is what I have the most experience with. An Orthodox Catholic, if he is holding true to the dictates of the Church, cannot band together with the Dems simply because of abortion. Similarly the disdain which any progressive holds toward any faith (especially Catholicism or Fundamentalist Protestantism) that strikes against so many of the things Democrats either want to have permitted or control over, should give an Orthodox Catholic pause.

Modern Liberals have no problem with a faith that does not interfere or condemn what they want to do politically or socially. Like the major protestants who came before them (Luther, Calvin, Smith, Henry the VIII) they have no problem with a hierarchy, as long as they are at the top of it, or it has no influence upon what they do (either in deed or word. Or even in the absence of affirmation. I sometimes notice that modern progressive groups, such as many within the Homosexual community, react as Henry the VIII to Thomas More, where the absence of affirmation is taken as condemnation.)

(As an aside, a Protestant may use this same argument against the Church, and I have to admit it also works conversely, as long as you do not accept the argument of Peter’s Primacy, the inheritance of that Primacy by the Church, and also that Tradition and history the Church provides the best “road map to Heaven.” I have more on that, but that might be for another time.)

However, many non-Orthodox Catholics also are put in danger because of the inherent nature of the Church. They are more amenable to a “top down” system because of the structure of the Church. They are also more amenable to a “community-based” solution to social ills because of the Church’s outreach and social betterment programs. In other words, the Church’s activities in a religious sense put them more in favor of a “Statist” solution. This works into another problem within the Church- the lack of good education (Catechism) to young people about the doctrines of the Church. If you do not know what the Church truly stands for, you have no idea how a political system clashes with it.

Modern Progressives also try to use Church institutions to illustrate their societal program’s validity. They point to the examples of Holy Order’s taking vows of Charity and bonding together where no man is greater than the other, as an argument for Communism or socialism. This misses the point so far it is laughable. The basic problem here is that each member of a Cloistered Order is there by CHOICE. They choose to forsake the world and worldly things in order to try to bring themselves closer to God. It is voluntary. Truly it is a perfect expression of Conservative/Libertarian/Traditionalist democracy because the government should free men (or the individual) to be able to make the choice to better themselves AS THEY SEE FIT, not as the government or anyone else does.

A political system that tries to do the same thing is tyranny, because it removes all personal choice.

October 15, 2009 @ 11:18 am #

>>I would argue that this is too narrow a view. >>

You may be correct. I am also RC, and of an age and education that probably puts me in the category of “orthodox” as you describe it. As such, I find it difficult to imagine a person who considers him/herself to be Christian accepting the basic values of the Democrats, which I consider to conclude abortion (definitely), euthanasia (not as definitely, but getting there), and a social justice that includes government imposed “charity” of sorts. With force of any kind, there is no morality.

Somewhere I saved a link to a book written by a woman who was a Communist, who left the party. Belle someone? I’ll have to try again to find it – I know that it came up in a discussion at American Thinker about Gramsci et al. This was of particular interest because she described the antipathy the Communists had for the Catholic Church, and their opinion that it had to be destroyed in order for world domination to succeed. Part of their effort was to send young men to become priests, infiltrate the hierarchy and divert Catholic teaching. She did not say – but it seems to me to be very likely – that since their effort was to discredit and destroy the Church, that homosexuals were included in that group. It does seem strange that the incidence of “pedophilia” (which was actually pederasty in about 80% of the cases) was so high among those who were priests in the 60s, and seems somewhat limited to that period.

It also seems strange to me that the teachings of the Church – as presented in local parishes – have changed so much over the years. What was sin is not. What was required, is not. We have to “modify” to keep the young people…when in fact, if you modify and modify, eventually you have no difference between the Church and the churches. Why not be…anything?

Years and years ago, our principal told us that the Communists would use sex as the key to destroying the authority of religion and the family. That destruction was necessary to destroy the authority of the state. I thought she was a little weird. Now I think she was right on the button.

So…to your point. The basic question is whether Christians are predominantly Dems or Repubs, left leaning or conservatives. I guess the answer is that I don’t know – I don’t think I’ve seen actual numbers that give any kind of an accurate picture. I don’t understand how a Christian can condone abortion as anything as sin, and even if social justice is appealing, it doesn’t seem to me that the desire for charity – which is good – can override a policy of permitting – even encouraging – sin.

But as you point out – I’m probably just an orthodox Catholic and too limited in my outlook. I think I’ll stay that way until my probably earlier than necessary death without the medical support that older people frequently need and which has become too expensive. Charity can only reach so far, you know…

October 15, 2009 @ 11:24 am #

>>to destroy the authority of the state>>

Oops…should be “to establish the authority of the state”

October 15, 2009 @ 12:38 pm #

Oh, hey, I am about as old style Catholic as you can get. When I moved here, I found the most Traditional Church I could find (It is actually easy, just look for the one which offers a Tridentine Mass.)

I would also argue against the fact that the Church should “get with the times” in order to get more people in the pews. This can be seen by the increasing popularity of the Tridentine Mass as well as the popularity of Orders such as the Fraternal Society of Saint Peter.

I think many within the Church (especially here in America(s)) are making a mistake in human nature. Desire for Religion or even belief in God rests upon the idea that there is an order or “plan” in the universe. One thing strictures are are not just arbitrary things “thou shalt not” they are things that, like the Bible, are to help keep your feet upon the Path. If there is an Order, without some rules or guidelines to follow, how do you fit within that plan?

Take Confession for example. Now aside from the Spiritual necessity, it also fulfills a psychological one. A person goes to confession (or therapy for that matter) because they know they have either done something wrong or that something is wrong in their life. They go to a place where the person does not just validate what they are doing, but tells them if it is wrong and how they can go about rectifying and redressing the harm they have done to themselves. Most people have a sense of right and wrong, and therefore I think a lot of the more prevalent psychological problems of the modern era stem from getting away from seeing a “wise man” that is prevalent in earlier ages. Instead they go to psychiatrist who may tell them that they are perfectly fine in doing what they are doing. In the end they get more twisted up because he in effect tells them that down is up and up is down when they know different. Instead of a Priest telling them how they fit into the moral strictures of the Church and God, they are then fit into the moral stricture of the Psychiatrist. If he has a good moral structure, then you are ok. However, they do not test for morals, but rather ethics, which are two different things.

(As an aside I have always found the description of Sin as “spiritual damage” compelling because it separates the sinner from God. It is not God who damns anyone, but rather they who do it to themselves. Hell is not punishment, but rather the complete separation from God.)

October 15, 2009 @ 2:17 pm #

Phil,

My take on the Op-ed from the LA times that you linked to will be limited to the following:

>The tea-baggers who hate President Obama with a fervor that is beyond politics; the fear-mongers who warn that Obama is another Hitler or Stalin; the wannabe storm troopers who brandish their guns and warn darkly of the president’s demise; the cable and talk-radio blowhards who make a living out of demonizing Obama and tarring liberals as America-haters — these people are not just exercising their rights within the political system. They honestly believe that the political system — a system that elected Obama — is broken and only can be fixed by substituting their certainty for the uncertainties of American politics.>

Tell me that doesn’t describe YOU to a “T.” If we look back at what you’ve written over the last nine months, we’ll find frequent accusations of TREASON, suggestions that we may need to resport to ARMED REVOLT, and so forth. And didn’t we just have an extended discussion about you “tarring liberals as America haters” (ahem: treasonous leftists within the intelligence communities).

Is this the dialogue of normal politics? Is your constant refrain that “we are so screwed” the dialogue of rational political discourse? Are statements like “I’m not sure the nation will survive the Obama presidency” normal statements of a reasoned political opposition?

There are, of course, deranged leftists who argue that 9/11 was an inside job, and so forth. But, as I’ve conceded, they are “deranged.” They are also a tiny minority of what you would call “the left.”

To the contrary, we have prominent national conservatives saying things like Obama wants to create reeducation camps run by FEMA, that he wants to create a two million man civilian army, that he wants to create death panels that will cut off medical care to the elderly, that he wasn’t born in the United States, that he is not a citizen. We have people screaming at public officials at town hall meetings all over the country – even calling solidly conservative Rebublican senators “traitors” for working with Democrats (Lindsey Graham – this week). I could go on and on.

This is not ordinary politics. Describe it as you will, but it is not ordinary politics.

Joe H.

October 15, 2009 @ 3:08 pm #

I would argue that insult and invective hurled across the aisles hither and yon is nothing particularly new, Joe.

Have you ever read historical accounts of those Democrats who described Lincoln’s goals as miscegenation and tyranny?

Were you asleep during the last eight years? The amount of scorn hurled at Bush was truly amazing. Not anything new, but prodigious.

Do remember when a member of congress- Rep. Charles Sumner was nearly beaten to death by Rep. Preston Brooks because of his stance against slavery?

The Revolution and the Civil War began because the “dialog” escalated to the point that people felt action had to be taken, right or wrong.

Now I am pretty sure the passion should be directed as name calling, but the story you quote does not exactly defuse the situation by calling the President’s opponents as “Teabaggers” and “wannabe Stormtroopers” either.

October 15, 2009 @ 3:10 pm #

Correction- that was “…the passion should NOT be directed as name calling…”

October 15, 2009 @ 3:37 pm #

I think the vitreol we’re currently seeing from the MAINSTREEM right is far different from the criticisms you heard from the MAINSTREEM left during the Bush years. But I don’t expect to get far with that argument on this blog.

My point was that the behavior cited in the LA Times Op-ed was a spot on description of Phil’s behavior over the last several months. Do you disagree?

Joe H.

October 15, 2009 @ 4:20 pm #

There is a difference between warning or speaking and action, which is the mistake the column writer makes.

I disagree on two points. In the main, I think Phil has kept the firebrand stuff to a minimum. He has mentioned the possibility of revolution (an example you used) to be used if our worst fears about where the country is headed are realized. He has been speaking mostly in a hypothetical sense, albeit an impassioned one (i.e. should that happen, we would have to… and so forth.) For myself, I am wondering whether we are truly going over the precipice, or whether we can walk back to safer ground.

Also, other than Sarah Palin and the deathcamp quote (which one could argue in the context of what she is talking about be true), what other legislative member(s) have used any particularly incendiary language? I assume you are using the metric that mainstream=legislative or government related conservative, because if you enlarge it beyond that one could throw up Keith Olbermann, Michael Moore, numerous hollywood celebs, and so forth during the Bush years. And do not say Joe Wilson, because booing during Bush’s state of the Union addresses is a rough equivalent in my books as far as discourtesy. At least Mr. Wilson had the courage (or silliness) to put voice and face to his discourtesy. More honest, if you will.

If everyone who goes to a Teaparty carrying a swastika, or hurls insults at his representative has to be grouped as a mainstream conservative, then you have to take Mr. Baldwin when he called for the stoning of Rep. Hyde and his family during the Clinton years as “Mainstream.”

Heck, I think most conservatives believe that Republican leadership has been far too mild in their opposition to the President. They may be trying to play it smart, but I fear their past history does not provide much basis.

October 15, 2009 @ 5:13 pm #

Correction- …Sarah Palin and the DeathPanel quote…

Gosh, me is miswordy today.

October 15, 2009 @ 5:57 pm #

>>Are statements like “I’m not sure the nation will survive the Obama presidency” normal statements of a reasoned political opposition?>>

Would you agree that a government that is consistent with Marxist principles is not consistent with our original Constitution?

October 15, 2009 @ 6:40 pm #

About those “exaggerated” death panel claims…

http://www.rightklik.net/2009/10/its-true-democrats-want-to-let-you-die.html

(Link provided for the youtube and the transcript)

October 16, 2009 @ 9:38 am #

Joe –

I’m not surprised. The difference between Gabler’s article and mine is simply that mine is fact-based, while his is imaginary. You see the reverse … but you don’t see the irony of accepting his while calling mine a smear.

At the very least — applying your friend Jim Wehde’s machine-like principle of political parity in all things — we’re both doing the same thing. But you can’t even go that far, can you?

What I am DEFENDING is the uncertainty of American politics. What Obama is attempting to produce is a single-party system. You have it precisely backwards. Obama and his unthinking minions are the religious fanatics. I am the sober-minded democrat. It just happens that when fanatics pour in to destroy the system, the sober-minded, in order to be accurate, have to identify clearly the level of destruction that is being perpetrated.

October 16, 2009 @ 9:49 am #

Are statements like “I’m not sure the nation will survive the Obama presidency” normal statements of a reasoned political opposition?

There’s no intrinsic reason why such a statement could not be a statement from reasonable political opposition. What determines whether it’s reasonable or not is a matter of analysis: whether the Obama presidency represents a serious threat to the American notion of self-government or not.

In my mind, Joe, it utterly settles this dispute to notice that in your mind, you don’t even have to address that central question in order to brand my statement “irrational.” In your mind, it is simply not thinkable that Obama might represent a threat to our notion of American liberty. That means it’s not a matter subject to analysis to you, it’s a matter of faith. Obama is safe for America because you believe. There are no facts that could possibly change that assessment.

See why I’m calling YOU faith-based?

I have explained at every step why I believe Obama is a threat to American liberty. You have the right to call yourself a reasoned participant in the uncertainty of American politics if you ENGAGE THE IDEAS. Simply calling the statement irrational on its face, without confronting the reasons offered, marks you as a True Believer.

October 16, 2009 @ 1:35 pm #

> In your mind, it is simply not thinkable that Obama might represent a threat to our notion of American liberty. That means it’s not a matter subject to analysis to you, it’s a matter of faith. <

Phil, Obama – and most American politicians for that matter – are a genuine threat to your notion of American liberty. The problem is, you think your notion of American liberty – full blown economic libertarianism – is the only legitimate understanding of American liberty.

Unfortunately for you, the vast majority of Americans disagree. ALso, unfortunately for you, America, as a political entity, moved away from its original libertarian economic outlook and created collectivist (and redistributive) systems like Medicare, Medicaid, Unemployment Insurance, Aid to Families with Dependent Children, public schools, etc.

You don’t like these types of intrusions on individual freedom. But the US constitutional system is compatible with this shift in political philosophy – particularly after we passed the 16th Amendment to the Constitution. Americans like certain kinds of collectivist programs once they get started. They think the intrusions to their freedom are worth the benefits, particularly because they enhance the “material” freedom of the vulnurable.

Obama is almost certainly no threat to the country as it has evolved into its current political mindset. He’s taking it further along the collectivist path with regards to health care and government intervention in financial markets. But there is no evidence that he wants to fully socialize free markets. People can disagree about his proposals – but to say that the nation might not survive an Obama presidency is way over the top.

If you mean Obama will move us farther away from economic libertarianism – you are absolutely correct. However, if the health care reforms work, the vast majority of Americans will feel more free, not less free, because they will enjoy greatly enhanced economic security – they won’t need to worry about financial disaster if they become ill.

You may think this is the wrong direction, but when you say that we will lose our notion of American liberty, you are referring to a vision shared by only a small minority of Americans.

Joe H.

October 16, 2009 @ 1:53 pm #

Phil,

As for the Gabler piece, and our respective differences about who has turned politics into relegion, there is no bridging that gap. Our factual universes are far too far apart for us to have a meaningful discussion about his thesis in comparison to yours, and who is describing reality as opposed to engaging in a smear.

For the record, most of the reason I called your piece a “smear” was that it assigned outrageous views to progressives – views which most progressives would reject.

As to the “religeous” nature of the political parties, I won’t comment on that other than to say that we’re not the ones brining assault weapons to political meetings and talking about “watering the tree of liberty with the blood of tyrants.” We’re not the one’s shouting down elected public officials. We’re not the ones . . . oh you get the idea.

Joe H.

October 16, 2009 @ 2:23 pm #

>>you are referring to a vision shared by only a small minority of Americans.>>

Wow. And here I thought the “silent majority” were the conservatives.

October 16, 2009 @ 2:55 pm #

Well well.

We finally have a plain statement of political statement from Joe, and it makes clear why we have such issues – we have a fundamental disagreement of what the country _is_ and what it _should_ be.

I would like to point out, Joe, that Obama won his election by 6 percentage points. That doesn’t sound like the other side – us – is a “small minority”. Not only that, but we are reasonably certain that many who would have voted against Obama but were sufficiently dissatisfied with the GOP in recent years to stay home – did so. Thus they should not be included in your majority – even if we cannot legitimately include them in our “small minority”.

We’ll have to wait and see what happens next time around. I don’t think “we” are as small a minority as you seem to think. I guess we’ll see.

October 16, 2009 @ 3:54 pm #

Suek,

People can be more or less conservative and more or less liberal.

Full blown economic libertarianism of the sort Phil endorses is on the far right end of the spectrum. I’d guess that 10-15% of the country would pay verbal homage to this view – but many of these people would drop their support once they learned of the full implications.

People vote for lots of reasons, including tribal loyalty – so I’m not sure what can be inferred from a 47% vote in terms of these voter’s economic orientation.

What is unmistakable is that: (1) Phil is correct when he argues that the mindset of the founders was largely libertarian in terms of income and property; and (2) we have moved away from that philosophy as a nation, particularly with the passing of the 16th Amendment; and (3) the progressive vision of social provision is compatible with our constitutional order.

The libertarian vision is also compatible with our constitutional order – Congress need not use its power to tax and spend redistributively – but good luck winning elections on that platform. At any rate, adding another collectivist program (a government run health insurance program) while less libertarian, is compatible with most American’s understanding of liberty. It will not end America as we know it.

Joe H.

October 16, 2009 @ 3:57 pm #

Joe, you never answered Phil as to what you believe progressivism to be.

Joe said: “I don’t think demonizing Columbus is a typical progressive practice. I’m not going to defend university radicals as examples of ordinary progressives – just as I don’t expect conservatives to defend white supremacists.”

Joe I can see why you don’t want to get into defending these campus radicals considering we are talking about full fledge Tenured Professors. They’re the ones leading the charge for progressivism. You won’t defend them, but you’re ok with having turned our Universities over to them?

Darkhorse said: “Both parties are mainly after power.”

I will first note that he’s doing it too is a poor argument. I would also like to note that when it comes to Christian’s one party is a lot more hypocritical then the other.

Joe said: “The tea-baggers who hate President Obama with a fervor that is beyond politics”.

I’ve seen many of protests over the years and the Tea-Baggers protests were the most civil and nicest that I’ve ever seen. In fact if that’s the best our side can do, we are all going to find out what it’s like to live under a totalitarian regime.

Joe said: “Is this the dialogue of normal politics?”

No Joe, this is not the talk of normal politics. This is the talk of people who are truly scared, many for the first time in their lives. This is the talk of people who are being forced to ask themselves at what point will they resist.

So what about you Joe, is there anything that you think is worth fighting for, and if so what?

October 16, 2009 @ 4:14 pm #

Dale,

I’ll get to Phil’s question tomorrow. I’m busy today.

In the mean time, what are you guys so scared of?

Joe H.

October 16, 2009 @ 5:04 pm #

Joe, I’m almost tempted to say YOU. Phil’s right your a true believer.

October 16, 2009 @ 6:35 pm #

You may think this is the wrong direction, but when you say that we will lose our notion of American liberty, you are referring to a vision shared by only a small minority of Americans.

So basically, Joe, you and I agree on the facts. The current regime has virtually nothing to do with the American notion of liberty as originally conceived, and represents a thorough-going departure from the American experiment in self-government in which the power belongs to the people, and the government merely borrows their power for dramatically limited purposes. And since the definition of the republic is not “what most Americans think they want,” but “what the Constitution was written intending to produce,” I’d say you’ve ably proved my thesis. The fact that you actually like the idea of living in a somewhat benign version of the Soviet Union instead of the free nation conceived by the authors of the Constitution, has no bearing whatsoever on whether the Republic has survived or not.

Now, what I meant back when I wrote that I did not believe the republic would survive the Obama presidency was that the next Democrat as President would give away significant amounts of US sovereignty to international organizations. (I actually believed that it would not survive the next Democratic President, whoever that might be — Kerry, Clinton, Obama, whoever.) That has not happened yet. I still think it’s possible. But the moves Obama has made toward nationalizing everything, and the moves he has made toward ensconcing the Democratic party as the sole party, not by convincing the public but by corrupting the process, have very clearly moved the US government away from the benign servant of the people that was intended, and has created a totalitarian state in which the government simply assumes the power to do whatever it likes, and citizens are free only to do what the government in its largess tolerates. If this is the case, the republic has ended, and my prediction, far from being over the top, was precisely correct, and prescient.

Is the current state the result of a majority view? I think not. I’m very well aware that many modern Americans today don’t really know what the original concept of liberty was; that’s why they won’t defend it. There are enough who do, though, to have caused a pretty significant stir. The fact is that Obama has proposed things so dramatically outside even the residual concept of American liberty that people are rising up in arms and saying “Oh, no, you don’t.” That’s what the tea parties are about. So perhaps it’s not the vast majority you think that agrees with a more collectivist approach. I think basically many Americans have been going along with the changes for the past 70 years, not because they agreed that it was a good direction, but because the marginal changes were never severe enough to arouse them to activism. It takes a big-picture alarmist like me to ring the alarm bell when the change being considered is just a few extra billion to the Dept of Education; most people just grumble, while I’m waving my arms and shouting “There should not even BE a Dept of Education!” But the fact that they’re not reacting to the big picture, does not mean they’re in agreement with the direction.

Beyond that, you need to pay a visit to Newt Gingrich’s “American Solutions” web site, where polling has established that center-right positions routinely garner 70% and more on just about all major questions of the day. Consequently, I feel confident when I tell you that what Obama has done, reversing the presumed seat of power from the people to the government, is far from the consensus of the American people. In fact, I think if the people ever become convinced that that’s what he’s done, they will impeach him and through him the hell out of office, like he deserves. If my assessment of the center-right sentiment of most Americans is correct — and Gingrich’s polling evidence is pretty convincing — then what has taken place between Pelosi, Reid, and Obama is not a consensual shift from a self-governing republic to a statist dictatorship, but a theft of the government from the people. This is, in fact, what I believe has happened.

So the summary is, you have not convinced me that saying “Obama will end the republic” is over the top, religious, unthinking, or even incorrect. What you’ve convinced me is that we agree on the facts, and that we agree that I was correct about them. And since you were claiming that I had abandoned reason and was engaging in fundamentalist religion by making that statement, when in fact I was responding to facts to which you agree…

Can we agree that I’m not engaging in fundamentalist religion, but rather am consistently responding to the facts in the light of a consistent, historical view of the meaning of the US Constitution?

October 16, 2009 @ 6:42 pm #

Dale,

If you’re scared of me you’re way out to lunch!

And I assume that by “true believer” you mean a person who can’t be reasoned with. But I am a perfectly reasonable person – I just like to see evidence for claims and feel it is important that we argue fairly – that we not start with debatable conclusory allegations; that we not assign our opponents outrageous views that they would not endorse, or question their character and motives for arguing as they do; that we not call them names.

If you look at my posts on the comment section of this blog, you’ll see that I follow these precepts to the letter. That doesn’t mean I don’t criticize bad arguments, or call them “smears.” But you’ll also notice that whenever I do that, I provide an explanation.

If you can find counter examples, point them out.

Okay, my lunch break is over. This really is fun.

Joe H.

October 16, 2009 @ 6:53 pm #

By the way, why do so many of this blog’s readers, and its author, find it necessary to describe liberals or progressives? Why not just state what you think they believe and explain why they are wrong?

I’m a pretty typical liberal – I can tell you what mainstreem liberals believe. I’ll tell you if you mistate the liberal position.

Why do you all spend so much time attacking people rather than ideas or policies? I know you all sometimes criticize ideas and policies, but you all spend a lot of time conjuring up enemies.

The very last comment “I’m a true believer” is a perfect example. I didn’t even express an opinion and I’m unreasonable. How many names have I been called in this particular response thread? How many times have I responded in kind?

I’m a true believer?

Just some observations.

Joe

October 16, 2009 @ 6:59 pm #

Joe, I’m not having fun; I can’t get rid of the sick feeling in the pit of my stomach.

October 16, 2009 @ 7:19 pm #

And don’t forget – Joe’s a lawyer. He’s enforcing – or at least arguing – the laws made to encompass our actions and/or contracts.

Also, don’t forget that the lawyers were the second largest donors to the Democratic party, which Obama represents.

I’m thinking that it would be contrary to Joe’s interest to have fewer, plainer, less complicated laws.

On the other hand, if the Constitution means nothing – neither do the laws he wants to adhere to. We’ll just change them so that _he_ becomes the loser!

October 16, 2009 @ 7:32 pm #

Phil said to Joe,

“Can we agree that I’m not engaging in fundamentalist religion, but rather am consistently responding to the facts in the light of a consistent, historical view of the meaning of the US Constitution?”

Um…looking at today’s post, I might have to disagree:

“Give Democrats control, and it’s like you’ve turned a valve on a fireplug leading from hell, and you’re pouring raw evil into the streets.”

True, your understanding of the words the Founders wrote probably matches up a little more closely with theirs than with most Americans’…

But remember, the Founders wrote that “All men are created equal”, and yet many owned slaves as their possessions. Their words were ahead of their own time, and their ability to allow a change in understanding through the Amendment and other processes showed that they had NO desire for succeeding generations to be their clones.

When you are reflecting the Founder’s generation’s views, you can stop playing the propaganda game of calling them “American” views.

October 16, 2009 @ 7:33 pm #

Suek,

You continue to mount shame upon yourself by your means of argument.

Attack the person! Then you’ve won the argument…right?

October 16, 2009 @ 7:36 pm #

As to the “religious” nature of the political parties, I won’t comment on that other than to say that we’re not the ones brining assault weapons to political meetings and talking about “watering the tree of liberty with the blood of tyrants.” We’re not the one’s shouting down elected public officials. We’re not the ones . . . oh you get the idea.

Here, I have to say you’ve left the world of fact and fallen into some alternative universe. Actually, I know which universe; it’s the fantasy universe created by progressive manipulation of the press. Only, I really had hoped you were too objective and well-read to fall for that crap. Oh, well.

The assault rifle was one guy at one meeting, and it was a perfectly legal act. The talk you’re quoting is recitation of slogans from the American revolution, in which citizens who feel their liberties are being hijacked by tyrants (see my immediately preceding comment) are talking about something the founders of our nation considered a periodic necessity, and they’re deciding whether or not we are in a situation calling for that level of activism. We all certainly hope not; but we’re well within the bounds of the American system to speak so. The “shouting down” is just a talking point produced by liars. Citizens went to meetings expecting to be heard, and started getting loud when it became evident that the meetings were rigged to exclude their point of view and present instead an orchestrated media show. Once again, these citizens were well within their rights as citizens to petition their representatives, and were engaged in a form of activism that is both legal and approved.

In the meantime, if you genuinely believe progressives have not taken action of a disruptive nature, not once or twice, but regularly over the years, you are not familiar with your own movement. Only, they don’t usually demonstrate simply to petition their leaders; they use demonstration to harass and intimidate private citizens. All the bloody time. (See here, here, here, here, here, here… and that’s just what I could gather in 5 minutes.) In my humble estimation, the people engaged in this sort of activity are violating RICO statutes and should be arrested, but that’s beside the point. The point is, where you seem to be complaining about honest citizens engaging in their legal and Constitutionally protected rights, you seem oblivious to much more insidious and destructive activism, taking place with several orders of magnitude greater frequency, from your own side. Why the blinders, Joe?

Oh, and there’s plenty of talk of violent uprising, civil war, and other violence in the comments at Kos, Huffpo, TPM, and especially Democratic Underground. If you didn’t know that, you should probably spend a little time there sampling the lovely, civil discussions that take place regularly there. Warning: if you have a sense of decency sufficient to overcome partisan bias (which I frankly doubt) you may come away feeling the need for a shower.

And oh, by the way… I don’t recall any conservative activists biting off the ends of their opponents’ fingers in any of those out-of-control demonstrations. I think you’ve confused sides, Joe. There’s the usual mixture of good and bad over here on the right, but there’s a huge concentration of completely-out-of-control vitriol over there on the left. Get the beam out of thine own eye…

October 16, 2009 @ 7:48 pm #

But remember, the Founders wrote that “All men are created equal”, and yet many owned slaves as their possessions. Their words were ahead of their own time, and their ability to allow a change in understanding through the Amendment and other processes showed that they had NO desire for succeeding generations to be their clones.

Are you trying to justify Obama’s flat-out ignoring the Constitution by the example of the abolition of slavery, which was accomplished by legally amending the Constitution?

October 16, 2009 @ 7:59 pm #

But I am a perfectly reasonable person – I just like to see evidence for claims and feel it is important that we argue fairly

That’s how you describe yourself. I might describe you differently. But you’re not really the subject of the discussion, nor am I. What we’re discussing is whether the right or the left better exhibits the marks of religion. You and I get mentioned as examples; you should not take these comments as personal attacks.

My own reasons for calling you “True Believer” were clear — you argued that a particular statement made me “irrational,” without even considering the merits of the claim. And when we actually examined the claim, we discovered that I was actually right, and what we disagreed about was the proper definition of “the Republic.”

Like you, I provide explanations when I make accusations. I don’t think we’re very different about this, so I don’t see that you’re on good grounds when you try to capture the moral high ground in a discussion like this. Smearing seems to be in the eye of the beholder, somewhat.

October 16, 2009 @ 10:18 pm #

JoeH-

What am I afraid of? A good question, and one I have touched on before in a lot of my comments but here goes in more tight and focused manner:

I fear the establishment of a socialist state here in the US. Now socialism has come in several forms in history, which I would classify in three different forms:

Communism- Totalitarian Police state. One political party. A complete state control of all facets of life within the area. Usually does not promote a sense of strong National identity as much as it does a sense of the Communist “group.” Has also been characterized by brutal repression of the people within the affected territory (Mao’s China, Stalinist Soviet Union, eastern bloc Soviet satellites.) Brutal repression of religion because of it’s rivalry with the Communist goal of the state being the most powerful and important part of the individual’s life. Stifling of scientific innovation, artistic thought, and cultural freedoms in any way that does not support the state. Economically stagnant because of the lack of innovation and lack of competition within the business community. Does not allow natural human impulses of self determination and self interest. A failure historically as can be witnessed in Soviet era as well as the change in style in China. (also can be shown that the only truly good economic activity was during the NEP period of the early soviet era, which was the use of a limited free market that was used to finance the later change to a full communistic state.) Very susceptible to the “strong man” form of dictator (Lenin, Stalin, Mao.) Abortion and repression of freedom to reproduce also seems to be a hallmark of the system (Soviet Union, China.)

Fascism- Totalitarian Police state. One Party. The use of a state sponsored free market that is used to finance a statist or Totalitarian state. Usually characterized by a strong Nationalistic theme. Brutally repressive of certain elements within the society (Free thinker, Artists, certain racial groups pegged as “Enemies of the State”, religious groups.) Historically run by a Strong Man dictator (Mussolini, Hitler, Franco.) Limited to good economic success because of the elements of free market within the system (Pre-war Germany, Spain, current China.) I would say that China fits more into a Fascistic model now (State Sponsored free market, Nationalistic theme) with the replacement of a Strong Man dictator with a ruling Oligarchy. Not a lot of historical data on how this one performs in the long term (German and Italian forms were destroyed in the Second World War, Spain transitioned to the third type of system as a European socialism combined with a Constitutional monarchy, China is still fairly early in it’s progression.)

“European” Style Socialism- Democracy. Some State sponsored Free Market activity combined with “absolute” Free market allowed. Massive social programs run by the state. Freedom of Religion, Scientific and Artistic thought. Usually a large number of different parties within the governmental system. Current data would suggest that the massive social programs mean the type of system is unsustainable in the long term. Seems to be characterized by a progression from absolute free market and government to an increasingly statist one as the government must assert more control in order to be able to fund and implement it’s social programs.

What do I fear? The first two for obvious reasons.

I would argue that we already fall under “European” style of socialism. We have already been progressing down the path with greater or lesser speed since FDR. President Obama has increased this rate of progression at an alarming rate even within the relatively short period of time he has been in power (Essential nationalization of elements within the Automotive and Banking industry, appointment of unelected policy making Czars within the government, use of artistic propaganda to support state ends.)

Both of the first two systems also seem to have a tendency to have the “Cults of Personality” which go hand in hand with the Strong Man dictator. President Obama and Vladimir Putin both display historical elements of this phenomena.

The third type of government (which I believe we are already in) worries me because it is unsustainable (completely aside from various other moral and ethical concerns I have about the system), and in the chaos toward the end of the progression the government could easily morph into one of the other two types (although I would argue that a fourth form incorporating elements of all of the styles would be more likely.)

All of these forms have a hallmark of either total or gradual restriction on the individual with the first two having brutal repression of elements (either in fact or in suspicion) hostile to the government. I believe the third form will flow into the first two eventually, simply because it is shortsighted and unsustainable in the long term, and because the multi-party form of government means that the those elements who desire one of the first two styles will incrementally change the government piece by piece to match their desires.

I fear President Obama, as well as Democrats in general, because of the groundwork they are laying. While some of them may, I believe most have no idea what they are laying the groundwork for.

Long, but I hope this gives a better insight for you into what I at least am talking about.

October 17, 2009 @ 12:03 am #

Phil:

“Are you trying to justify Obama’s flat-out ignoring the Constitution by the example of the abolition of slavery, which was accomplished by legally amending the Constitution?”

No, I’m speaking about you, and your perception of “Obama flat out ignoring the constitution.” Joe was pretty clear, and I don’t think it slipped by you: you are equating the particular beliefs of the Founders as OBVIOUSLY what they intended America to be, always. Except you fail to step forth and admit that we can see their understanding was quite limited…even when the words they placed in the Constitution were less limited than they were.

No, they left the door open for changes in understanding, and Americans have done a pretty good job of taking advantage of that ability to change as our own understanding has developed.

The injustice you do is to Canonize the Founders, right where they were, libertarian beliefs and slaves and suppressed women and all, and say, “That is what it means to be American, and you are overthrowing America if you depart from it”.

Poppycock.

October 17, 2009 @ 12:35 am #

Phil, I want to pose an honest question that I think comes from something you said in the last few days. In our discussion about Christians and politics (which I did not get to finish due to work obligations), you said it should be just fine for Henry the Christian to get involved in politics (I agree, by the way) because we are a government of the people.

Here then is the question: Can we, as a governmental people, come together and agree that there is a minimum level, a safety net, below which we won’t let any of the rest of us fall? Come on, it’s we the people who are making the decision…with some dissenters, of course, just like when any decision must be made.

October 17, 2009 @ 4:12 am #

Phil, You wrote:

> So basically, Joe, you and I agree on the facts. The current regime has virtually nothing to do with the American notion of liberty as originally conceived, and represents a thorough-going departure from the American experiment in self-government in which the power belongs to the people, and the government merely borrows their power for dramatically limited purposes. <

No Phil, that is a vast overstatement of what I conceded. What I conceded is that the founders generally had what we’d now call a libertarian perspective on economic matters. But they did not write their economic theory into the constitution. Our move away from a libertarian outlook to a progressive outlook holding that the government can and should regulate markets, and can and should, by redistributive taxation, remediate market failures, is not “a thorough-going departure from the American experiment in self-government in which the power belongs to the people.” It is a change in the prevailing political and economic philosophy – and one which our constitution provided for.

I’ll grant that it was a big change – but it was a change borne out of the great misery of millions of people. The founders set up a constitution by which, at great difficulty, it could be changed to allow for precisely the kinds of reforms we saw in the 20th century.

Simplty put, the founders had a vision of liberty that turned out to be unworkable in a modern industrial society. But they afforded us a means to enhance their limited vision of liberty for what we came to believe was a fuller vision of liberty. We passed the 16th Amendment, so there must have been pretty widespread agreement that this was needed.

However, there is still plenty of room for individual self government, self expression, and so forth in this country. The founders’ vision has not been completely abandoned – it has merely been modified and supplemented.

Joe H.

October 17, 2009 @ 8:45 am #

By the same token, could it be that those who ratified the 16th commandment . . . I mean amendment also had no adequate vision of what kind of a door they were ultimately opening? And that it would have been better not to have opened it in the first place? If true, how would we ever recognize this? And how would we ever undo it? Power only seems to flow toward the government, never away from it.

Just a thot from the peanut gallery. And FWIW, as heated as this discussion has been, I think it has been a good one on both sides.

October 17, 2009 @ 10:06 am #

No, I’m speaking about you, and your perception of “Obama flat out ignoring the constitution.” Joe was pretty clear, and I don’t think it slipped by you: you are equating the particular beliefs of the Founders as OBVIOUSLY what they intended America to be, always. Except you fail to step forth and admit that we can see their understanding was quite limited…even when the words they placed in the Constitution were less limited than they were.

And the simple question that I asked illustrated perfectly clearly that I do not fail in this fashion. The Constitution was amended legally. Amendment was part of the original conception, allowing for precisely the sorts of changes you speak of.

The modern changes came about, not because of legal amendment, but because of frankly irrational and improper interpretations of existing Constitutional clauses that permitted government to extend its reach far beyond anything reasonably permitted in the Constitution. I refer you to Mark Levin’s Men in Black for further reading. The extent of the government even before the Age of Obama was far beyond what is Constitutionally permitted, and now, under Obama, we’re simply not a Constitutional nation anymore.

With that in mind, consider your question:

Here then is the question: Can we, as a governmental people, come together and agree that there is a minimum level, a safety net, below which we won’t let any of the rest of us fall? Come on, it’s we the people who are making the decision…with some dissenters, of course, just like when any decision must be made.

Arguably, yes, we can. However, the Constitution actually gives the government no power to accomplish this. Consequently, the proper, Constitutionally endorsed approach to making this change would be to ratify an amendment granting the legislature the power to apportion moneys from the public treasury to other citizens. As you said, the authors of the Constitution recognized their limitations and provided the means to correct their errors.

Of course, the authors of the Constitution also recognized that the people possessed the power, using the tools of the Constitution, to vote themselves into the most abject tyranny, or worse, to vote themselves favor out of the largess of government. They recognized either of these results as being essentially the end of the republic, or being a condition which would require possibly violent reaction to correct. That’s partly where we are today.

What they did not account for in the Constitution (but they anticipated circumstances like it) was that the judiciary would re-interpret the words of the Constitution so as to make them meaningless, and thus provide a legal-seeming cover for tyrants to extend their grasp. That’s the other part of where we are today.

Either way, the nation has arrived at a condition that the founders anticipated, wherein the government has predictably taken for itself powers not intended, and has so extended its reach that it becomes necessary for free citizens to take bold action to scale it back.

The lesson here is that the fact that a policy or action can be achieved using (or abusing) Constitutional machinery, does not in and of itself constitute that policy as being consistent with the republic intended by the Constitution’s authors. They recognized that it was possible to abuse the limits and powers, and that the only real barrier between a free people and tyranny was the good character of the people themselves. The fact that we have arrived a tyranny without changing the Constitution (except by misinterpretation) demonstrates that we have become immoral, and are no longer fit to govern ourselves… unless we make the necessary correction to restore the republic.

October 17, 2009 @ 10:41 am #

Phil:

It may be constructive on your Blog here to post in the future which articles of the Constitution, specifically, are being directly violated and by whom. The vague calls floating around conservative circles of, “the end of the Republic” and “the shredding of the constitution” are not so helpful.

Now, you may feel you have been doing what I suggest here and there…but never as a pointed post, no?

I think this will make it clearer which “violations” are actually directly counter to the Constitution as it stands, and which ones are simply differences in political philosophy, both of which fit under the Constitution’s umbrella.

I won’t lie, I suspect more of the Conservative Talk and Blog world’s incendiary complaints fall under the latter category.

October 17, 2009 @ 11:07 am #

>>Long, but I hope this gives a better insight for you into what I at least am talking about.>>

Well stated. The one factor you left out is the factor of power concentration in the sense that originally, we had a federation of states loosely overseen by a federal government whose sole function (constitutionally) was the defense of the federation of states, and the regulation of interstate commerce. Nothing more.

It would be very difficult to seize control of all 50 states at the same time. However, by increasing the power of the federal government over the years, the centralization of power means more and more power concentrated in the presidency, which means that it becomes easier and easier to seize that power.

We have reached that point. Frankly, I’m glad that Obama is as unqualified as he is – if he were truly qualified, I think we’d be in even greater danger of a dictatorship a la Chavez.

I do keep wondering about the military and police in all this. A dictator in Washington can’t do much without enforcers. If Obama gets his non-military “security forces”, he – or a successor – might have that option. At this point, his enforcers would have to be the US military – which he controls – the National guards – still controlled by the governors of each state – and the police – also locally controlled. What would they do in the case of an uprising?

October 17, 2009 @ 11:39 am #

Even here, on a humorous wry commentary in it’s shortest form, the discussion touches on the same topic:

http://www.4-blockworld.com/2009/10/i-wish-it-were-hyperbole.html#comments

October 17, 2009 @ 11:46 am #

Here’s another – distinguishing between “negative” rights of the Constitution and the “positive” rights that Obama wants:

http://nooilforpacifists.blogspot.com/2009/10/right-of-day.html

October 17, 2009 @ 12:32 pm #

I gave a rather flippant answer to Joe as to what I’m scared of; Horatius gave a much better answer to that question and I thank him. Having said that I would like to add a thought of my own; I admit that this is just a gut feeling, but I don’t think our country is going too slid into soft socialism, instead I think we are going to land on hard core socialism. Unlike in Europe where most countries have multi party systems that serve to moderate how far their governments can extend their rule, we have a two party system where one side wins and the other side loses. At this time in our history, with the Demarcates having almost complete control of our government I believe the only thing stopping them from imposing a hard core socialistic government on us is the threat armed revolt. That and I don’t think they could get the military to go along with them, which may be our only saving grace. Thanks again to Horatius. Dale…

October 17, 2009 @ 12:55 pm #

>>I believe the only thing stopping them from imposing a hard core socialistic government on us is the threat armed revolt. >>

I agree…and I think Joe and darkhorse do as well – which is why they consider conservatives “threatening”.

I suspect there is basically agreement here both on where we are and what might occur in the future. The primary disagreement is which sides we’ll be on respectively.

October 17, 2009 @ 1:19 pm #

Our move away from a libertarian outlook to a progressive outlook holding that the government can and should regulate markets, and can and should, by redistributive taxation, remediate market failures, is not “a thorough-going departure from the American experiment in self-government in which the power belongs to the people.” It is a change in the prevailing political and economic philosophy – and one which our constitution provided for.

On the contrary, Joe, the Constitution very clearly forbids precisely this sort of meddling, by limiting the powers of the national government to those explicitly named in the document.

The meddling followed the gross misinterpretation — in some cases bald reinterpretation — of the words of the document. And since you’re acknowledging a change in prevailing philosophy behind the reinterpretation, you’re acknowledging that the nation has essentially been hijacked with the intent of changing the core principles. This proves even more than I intended, actually.

Notice your core claim: “…government… can and should, by redistributive taxation, remediate market failures.

and

“…the founders had a vision of liberty that turned out to be unworkable in a modern industrial society.”

Unworkable how? What market “failures?” If I’m reading you right, what you mean is that some citizens had much, and others had little. The authors of the Constitution would not have considered this a governmental failure of any sort. Neither do most Americans today. They may not even consider that a societal failure, but to the extent that they do, they think of it as society’s job to repair it, not the government’s.

(Nor is the government even capable of repairing it. If the $6 trillion mistake we call the “War on Poverty” proves anything, it proves that. I’m curious, why didn’t you learn from that era? You were alive through it: $6 trillion down a rat hole, and poverty worse afterward than before. What part of “complete failure” do you have trouble understanding? What about acknowledged failures of the Soviet, Chinese, Eastern European, and Cuban attempts to remedy the same problems by the same means? Why have you not learned from history?)

This is the “radical egalitarianism” I spoke of in this article — the notion that differential outcomes constitutes a failure. If you have a different name for it, by all means, tell me what name you would use.

Differences in outcomes IS. NOT. UNJUST. I’ll wager that at least 80% of Americans agree with that statement. If I’m reading you correctly, you don’t. You’re entitled to disagree, but you are not entitled to hijack the nation and pretend that the Constitution permits you to remedy this “inequality” by coercive means. If you’re part of the system, you have to amend the Constitution in order to give yourselves the power to do this, and you have not done that. If you assume the powers without properly amending the Constitution, then you’re not part of the system, you’re attackers and conquerers, assaulting from without, and ruling without consent.

No, Joe, the nation didn’t change, not the way you think. It’s been stolen by thieves. You’re one of them. Most people do not agree with you concerning what is unjust, and how it might be fixed; but more to the point, the Constitution does not give you leave to pursue your vision by abuse of governmental power. Words are written to preserve meanings. Those who change the rules by changing meanings, rule without proper authority. The fact that the government has gotten away with the distortion of its own definition for 70+ years does not mean that the distortion is just, nor that it is legal.

October 17, 2009 @ 2:33 pm #

Dullhammer,

you said:

> By the same token, could it be that those who ratified the 16th commandment . . . I mean amendment also had no adequate vision of what kind of a door they were ultimately opening?<

Yes, but we now know what the implications were and only a small minority of Americans favor repealing the amendment.

Don’t get me wrong, there is plenty of waste in federal spending. But you guys are not arguing against waste. You guys are arguing against the very idea of redistributive taxation for the general welfare (although, we haven’t really been discussing that issue directly in this response thread).

Joe H.

October 17, 2009 @ 2:40 pm #

Phil,

Your response to my comments regarding who are the ones bringing assault rifles to political meetings and so forth, is precisely what we do in court when the facts are not on our side – we trivialize the facts.

Being a lawyer, and having done the same thing numerous times (for money), I can hardly fault you for arguing on behalf of your clients as best you can. But arguing that bringing an assault rifle to a political meeting was “legal” [apparently Arizona is cool with its citizens carrying aroud assault weapons] misses the point of the example – which was that it was the act of a zealot overtaken with religeous furvor. That was the point of my comment.

Joe H

October 17, 2009 @ 2:48 pm #

Phil,

You wrote:

> Beyond that, you need to pay a visit to Newt Gingrich’s “American Solutions” web site, where polling has established that center-right positions routinely garner 70% and more on just about all major questions of the day. Consequently, I feel confident when I tell you that what Obama has done, reversing the presumed seat of power from the people to the government, is far from the consensus of the American people. In fact, I think if the people ever become convinced that that’s what he’s done, they will impeach him and through him the hell out of office, like he deserves. If my assessment of the center-right sentiment of most Americans is correct — and Gingrich’s polling evidence is pretty convincing — then what has taken place between Pelosi, Reid, and Obama is not a consensual shift from a self-governing republic to a statist dictatorship, but a theft of the government from the people. This is, in fact, what I believe has happened. >

I’ll bet you a $200.00 gift certificate to our respective favorite resturants that Obama will be relected by an even larger majority than he was elected by in 2008.

Let me know.

Joe

October 17, 2009 @ 2:52 pm #

Also,

Your readers might find this link interesting. It is a political report on the state of mind of conservatives in the Counrty. It is not critical of conservatives. It mainly describes what they are thinking about the state of the country.

http://big.assets.huffingtonpost.com/TheVerySeparateWorld.pdf

Having interacted with you for awhile, I thought it described where you were coming from to a “T.”

Joe H.

October 17, 2009 @ 3:03 pm #

>>But arguing that bringing an assault rifle to a political meeting was “legal” [apparently Arizona is cool with its citizens carrying aroud assault weapons] misses the point of the example – which was that it was the act of a zealot overtaken with religeous furvor. That was the point of my comment.>>

Exercising a legal right is the act of a zealot?

And free speech? Is the exercise of free speech also the act of a zealot?

October 17, 2009 @ 3:13 pm #

“The self-identifying conservative Republicans who make up the base of the Republican
Party stand a world apart from the rest of America, according to focus groups conducted by Democracy Corps”

“Despite this growing disconnect, the base voters remain relevant – particularly for Republican
elected officials who must face them at home. The conservative Republican base represents
almost one-in-five voters in the electorate, and nearly two out of every three selfidentified
Republicans.”

I probably won’t take the time to read the whole 18 pages. I wouldn’t trust Carville if I faced him with a cop standing along side me. However, just in the first two pages, this looks to me like a major inconsistency similar to yours – “they’re a small minority – but we have to keep an eye on them because they have a lot of political power”

Illogical.

October 17, 2009 @ 5:46 pm #

Well Joe, I read several pages of the “report” , “The Very Separate World” and it was very critical of conservatives. The whole tone of the report made it clear that we are a bunch of fruit cakes, although, the study did conclud that at least we are not a bunch of racists fruit cakes.
The report also made mention that we conservatives want the president to fail, which at least for me is true, but let’s not forget that we are talking about a President who while running for office wanted the surge in Iraq to fail. Wanting a President to fail because you think his polices are ruinous is nothing new and does not make one a fruit cake.

October 17, 2009 @ 6:48 pm #

I don’t think the report was critical of conservatives at all. I thought it was simply descriptive of what conservatives believe and where they are coming from.

Did you find anything in the description that you disagreed with as a description of where you are coming from?

Joe H.

October 17, 2009 @ 6:52 pm #

Suek,

> Exercising a legal right is the act of a zealot? <

Sometimes it is. Shouting racial slurs at people is an act of a zealot exercizing a legally protected right.

Come on Suek. Put a little thought into your responses.

Joe H.

October 17, 2009 @ 6:55 pm #

Dale,

Please provide one bit of evidence for this slur:

“President who while running for office wanted the surge in Iraq to fail.”

Must you guys resort to this kind of rhetoric? Come on. Stick with the facts.

Joe H.

October 17, 2009 @ 6:58 pm #

Phil,

You wrote:

> What they did not account for in the Constitution (but they anticipated circumstances like it) was that the judiciary would re-interpret the words of the Constitution so as to make them meaningless, and thus provide a legal-seeming cover for tyrants to extend their grasp. That’s the other part of where we are today. >

Didn’t we have a long discussion about conclusory allegations? :)

Joe H.

October 17, 2009 @ 7:52 pm #

>>Shouting racial slurs at people is an act of a zealot exercizing a legally protected right.>>

No. Shouting racial slurs is rude, crude and socially unacceptable. The person shouting might be a bigot, or s/he might simply be a trouble maker trying to start a fight. Judging motive can be difficult if not impossible – often motives are mixed or even not understood by the person acting.

October 17, 2009 @ 9:36 pm #

Suek,

The point of the example is that the person is exercizing a legally protected right AND acting as a zealot. They are not mutually exclusive.

Defending the behavior of a zealot by claiming that it was “legal” is hardly a defense at all. The fact that is is legal to carry an assault weapon on the streets of Arizona does not mean that doing so outside an Obama rally is not an act of Zealotry.

Joe H.

October 17, 2009 @ 11:07 pm #

Hey Suek:

“I agree…and I think Joe and darkhorse do as well – which is why they consider conservatives “threatening”.”

Knock knock knock…are you there? I’m a registered Republican. Thanks for a good demonstration of attacking the person, rather than addressing the argument.

October 17, 2009 @ 11:17 pm #

Joe said:

“I don’t think the report was critical of conservatives at all. I thought it was simply descriptive of what conservatives believe and where they are coming from.”

As did I. On the whole, the report appeared to be an attempt to understand how people think who are speaking like Phil right now. It was an attempt to understand the current incendiary conservatism. I thought it was quite well done.

And I don’t think those here who fall along the same thought processes would be able to take large chunks of the report and refute them. Single details, maybe, but these people who wrote the report (which is addressable on its face, Suek, without attacking Carville because he disagrees with you politically) were pretty spot on.

October 17, 2009 @ 11:24 pm #

Dale wrote:

“Wanting a President to fail because you think his polices are ruinous is nothing new and does not make one a fruit cake.”

Okay, let’s pretend here to make the point. Pretend that Obama and the two democratic houses of congress were to overcome all the struggles handed to them and actually succeed in completely turning around the country – positive growth, businesses purchased under Bush and Obama sold back into private holding, low inflation, etc.

Isn’t that really the greatest fear under the surface here? Isn’t the real threat that the “opponents” will succeed?

That’s why the religious fervor persists in demonizing Obama and the “D”‘s, I think. If there is any kind of success here, the “R”‘s are sunk.

October 17, 2009 @ 11:31 pm #

To be more clear: wouldn’t it be preferable to most here that Obama fail , so we can get back to the honest and respectable leaders, no matter how much damage that would cost the country, rather than have Obama and the country succeed, without the help of the Republicans?

I realize that’s a bit of a conclusory allegation…but it is actually how I felt when I was hyper-conservative. I wanted my side to win.

October 18, 2009 @ 11:25 am #

So, darkhorse, you say you’re a Republican. Why then do you suppose we are so often in disagreement? I’ve been a registered Republican all my life. I consider myself a strong conservative. So…why do we disagree?

And if I have misinterpreted you – and in fact you do _not_ find conservatives threatening…I apologize. That is how I’ve interpreted what you have written – as if you are in complete agreement with Joe. Joe obviously considers conservatives threatening zealots.

Why do you consider such a statement a “personal attack”? Isn’t he “allowed” to consider conservatives threatening? If he feels threatened…shouldn’t he be allowed to say so?

To be honest, if the Obama administration continues on its path to socialism and he considers himself one of those in favor of that path, it may be perfectly reasonable for him to feel threatened.

October 18, 2009 @ 11:30 am #

>>Defending the behavior of a zealot by claiming that it was “legal” is hardly a defense at all.>>

So… you would throw the demonstrators who burned, stamped upon and dishonored the American flag into jail? You would not consider it “freedom of speech”?

Why do you think we _have_ freedom of speech, if not to protect the right to speak out against the government? If there’s no offensiveness allowed, there’s no protection needed.

>>The point of the example is that the person is exercizing a legally protected right AND acting as a zealot. They are not mutually exclusive.>>

Neither are they mutually _in_clusive.

October 18, 2009 @ 3:41 pm #

>>http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-3791236,00.html>&gt;

Should these students be arrested?

Are they zealots?

October 18, 2009 @ 7:20 pm #

Darkhorse,

Oh, I would love nothing more than to see the President succeed at what he has SAID he was going to do. His actions have belied what he has said however.

For example, he and his administration have said the bailouts (of both the banks and the Automotive industry) are merely temporary. Why then were there reports that when certain banks wanted to be able to buy the government back out (when they fed on what they presumed to be free government money and then strings were attached) the government prevented them from doing so?

In the case of GM and Chrysler both companies were reorganized in such a way as to give a large interest to the automotive unions (on the order of 40%) which they did not have before. This seems like a fairly permanent change to me, actually. That cannot be undone even if the government gives up it’s stake, which I notice is not happening, even though both are out of bankruptcy.

He has said he is for more for people having a say in the government. Why then the antipathy toward the tea party members and the Townhall goers? Why all of the unelected czars? These actions seem more apropos to someone who will only listen to “the people” when they tell him what a good job he is doing and to go ahead and do whatever he wants.

He has said he is for small business, yet I have seen nothing in his policies to reflect this. I see no lowering of taxes aimed at small business, only proposed legislation aimed at raising them (either directly or indirectly in both the health-care reforms, as well as cap and trade.) What I have seen is picking winners and loser in choosing certain business to fail while “helping”, or de facto nationalizing them, thereby giving those businesses “bailed out” unfair market advantage over the others. THAT is nationalized socialism.

As I have said before, I care less about what a man says, than what he does. What the President has DONE so far has been pretty troubling.

October 18, 2009 @ 7:22 pm #

One point in the latest post, did the government give all of it’s share of Chrysler to Fiat? This is a small point as my larger one was that the Union’s stake is unchanged.

October 18, 2009 @ 7:25 pm #

Suek:

“So, darkhorse, you say you’re a Republican. Why then do you suppose we are so often in disagreement? ”

That is a very easy answer…unless you have a blind religious dedication to Conservatism at all costs. I am here because I know, as close friends, people who are honest, Christian and intelligent…and happen to be liberal. And they happen to be liberal because they believe it best reflects honesty, Christianity, and intelligence.

Meanwhile, I get to sit and read all kinds of things written here, and articles posted by you, saying that those people don’t exist. That on the other side there are only minions of Satan, who may be intelligent but are pure evil, and dupes, who may be well-meaning, but are unintelligent.

You can go on in your life pretending this is the real state of things, but then you are living in your pretend-world, not in the real one. I intend to be here to keep offering a call to the real world.

Go back and read the report Joe posted the link to, the one by Carville. There’s a huge segment of registered republicans like me who actually would like to see Obama succeed in turning around the country, would actually like to see employment numbers rise, the recession go away, etc., as quickly as possible.

In other words, we don’t worship “Winning”.

October 18, 2009 @ 8:42 pm #

Suek,

You have an amazing ability to miss the point.

I am not interested in ending freedom of expression or putting anyone in jail for saying anything what so ever. Nothing I said should have suggested that.

If you’ll recall, I cited the example of bringing an assault rifle to an Obama rally as an act of religeous zealotry. You responded, “exercising a legally protected right is zealotry” as if the two were mutually exclusive things. I responded “sometimes exercizing a legally protected right is zealotry.” Uttering racial slurs is an example – Racist expression is legally protected, but an act of zealotry nonetheless.

The point I was trying to make is that pointing out that an activity is legal does not establish that it was not an act of zealotry.

That’s all. You should draw no further inferences froom my argument. I don’t want to end free expression or put anyone in jail.

Joe H.

October 18, 2009 @ 9:10 pm #

Suek,

What have I ever said that would suggest this?

> Joe obviously considers conservatives threatening zealots.<

Some conservatives are “threatening zealots,” as are some liberals. But I have never said anything bad about conservatives. In fact, I don’t believe I’ve ever said anything about “conservatives” as a group – at all.

I deplore the kind of lump and smear argumentation that is characteristic of Phil’s post at the beginning of this discussion. Go back and read it again and ask yourself if I have ever said anything like this about conservatives. Even if I thought conservatives as a group could be described in negative ways, I would not say so, because saying so is not helpful. It does help us get at the truth or understand our disagreements. It shuts minds rather than opens them.

That’s why I criticized Phil. He is obviously intelligent – but he’s so convinced that people who disagree with him are enemies that he spews forth venom and toxic vitriol and then confuses it for fair minded reflection.

And some of Phil’s readers appear to be so convinced that Phil’s basic outlook is correct that they (appear) never to ask themselves, is that right?

Consider an earlier statement by Dale, who said President Obama, “while running for office, wanted the surge in Iraq to fail.” What an outrageous statement – based on no evidence whatsoever. And yet, I’m sure that Dale and others are absolutely convinced that it is correct.

This type of argumentation is not a good way of staying in touch with reality.

Joe H.

October 18, 2009 @ 9:15 pm #

>>You responded, “exercising a legally protected right is zealotry”>>

I believe that as I posted it, there was a question mark after the zealotry. You were the one who first said that carrying a weapon was an act of zealotry.

I don’t think “zealot” means what you _think_ it means.

October 18, 2009 @ 9:41 pm #

>>I know, as close friends, people who are honest, Christian and intelligent…and happen to be liberal. And they happen to be liberal because they believe it best reflects honesty, Christianity, and intelligence.>>

And I know – not as close friends, but still – I know of people who claim to be Catholic who think abortion is ok. In spite of what the Church teaches. Not my job to judge their souls, but logically it’s terribly inconsistent to claim to belong to a group which has a single authority, and whose single authority condemns something you think is right or ok.

>>I get to sit and read all kinds of things written here, and articles posted by you, saying that those people don’t exist.>>

Well obviously they do – and I’m guessing that you’re one of them.

>> That on the other side there are only minions of Satan>>

Never said anything like that. Why, that almost sounds like demonization. In fact, I’d say that was attacking me – it certainly isn’t attacking anything I _said_.

You say that a large number of Republicans want to see Obama succeed. And you qualify it by stating goals. Ok…on those goals, I’d agree with you – and if I saw Obama doing anything that looked like it was going to solve those problems, I’d cheer him like crazy. The problem is that everything he’s doing is directly contrary to success in those areas. He is a Marxist by philosophy, and the change he desires is European socialism in America. I want him to fail in those efforts because they will not lead to success in the areas you specifically mention. What socialist economy has _ever_ had the success that America has?

As for “worshipping winning”…there are situation in which winning is nice, but just doing your best is the objective. In other cases, winning means staying alive. The Founding Fathers knew what their decisions meant, and knew that losing meant losing their lives as well as their fortunes. In that case, winning is indeed everything. The fact that you can consider winning just an option tells me you don’t have much to lose in this conflict – either that or you don’t understand how much you have to lose.

October 18, 2009 @ 9:43 pm #

>>Go back and read it again and ask yourself if I have ever said anything like this about conservatives. >>

Here ya go…

Comment by Joe H.

October 15, 2009 @ 2:17 pm #

Phil,

My take on the Op-ed from the LA times that you linked to will be limited to the following:
etc.

October 18, 2009 @ 11:48 pm #

Horatius,

We have the beginnings of what could be a constructive conversation here, at least until Phil puts me in my place.

You said:

“For example, he and his administration have said the bailouts (of both the banks and the Automotive industry) are merely temporary. Why then were there reports that when certain banks wanted to be able to buy the government back out (when they fed on what they presumed to be free government money and then strings were attached) the government prevented them from doing so?”

I’m not sure if those reports are true, but I do know one thing – the Bush Administration, and to some extent, the Obama administration invested with the understanding that the banks would loan that money out and get cash flowing. I discussed with Phil early this year that money is not flowing in commercial loans – because my job as a commercial surveyor depends on that, in the western half of the United States. The banks did not hold up their end of the bargain, but wanted to buy back out of the investment without doing so.

The MOST reasonable explanation for the Obama administrations actions is that they want to see the banks actually lend the money, to keep the jump-start in the economy going. That is, it is the most reasonable unless one is to PRE-assume that Obama’s out to have governmental control of everything. But if one is doing that, why have a discussion?

As to the car companies – the real question is whether the government would get its investment back if it sold the car companies now. If not even close, then you’re asking the administration to do something stupid monetarily, and I suspect that is the case.

In fact, listen up everyone here: beyond the purchase of bank assets and failing car companies, both of which were nearly completed by the Bush administration, what other industries has Obama, ON HIS OWN, tried to place under government control?

Horatius, you said:

“Why all of the unelected czars? These actions seem more apropos to someone who will only listen to “the people” when they tell him what a good job he is doing and to go ahead and do whatever he wants.”

Tell me Horatius: did every past president do all the decision making for every separate issue he faced on his own, without help? Every member of the president’s cabinet is “unelected”, except for the president himself. Wouldn’t your concern for all the unelected people in charge of stuff have been true for every single presidential administration? I don’t get the concern here.

As to surrounding himself with “yes” men, if it is true of Obama, then he is following suit with his predecessor, no? But I don’t believe that to be the case.

As to the rest, Obama hasn’t really had time to do much of ANYTHING yet that wasn’t handed directly to him. But it really feels to me like the taking of the worst possible interpretation of every move he makes that has happened here is just a zealous desire for Obama to fail wholesale because of the “D” by his name.

October 18, 2009 @ 11:59 pm #

Suek -

“And I know – not as close friends, but still – I know of people who claim to be Catholic who think abortion is ok.”

I know they are in a different position than my friends – who aren’t normally dealing with the infallible fallible human authority of the RC church. You are right – to call yourself a Catholic – “except” anything is not terribly consistent.

But let me clarify – none of my liberal Christian friends is flippant about abortion – not one bit. But there are so many other issues that both parties get right, and get wrong, that it would be vastly oversimplifying to narrow the issue down to one or maybe two issues.

Me, then you:

“>> I get to sit and read all kinds of things written here, and articles posted by you, saying that those people don’t exist. That on the other side there are only minions of Satan and dupes>>

Never said anything like that. Why, that almost sounds like demonization. In fact, I’d say that was attacking me – it certainly isn’t attacking anything I _said_.”

You misunderstood me a bit – I was speaking of things posted here, and articles you have posted links to. Nothing you have said personally. I apologize if you thought I was demeaning you.

“if I saw Obama doing anything that looked like it was going to solve those problems, I’d cheer him like crazy. The problem is that everything he’s doing is directly contrary to success in those areas. He is a Marxist by philosophy, and the change he desires is European socialism in America.”

But these later statements of yours are your unproven assumptions that you use to interpret every action Obama makes. See my response to Horatius above. You’ve set it up in your head so that OF COURSE everything Obama does is Marxist and toward European socialism.

October 19, 2009 @ 6:32 am #

Darkhorse-

Personally I think the bailout of the banks or car industry never should have happened in the first place. Therefore, At this point, I would prefer them to sell their stakes at a loss if it meant that these industries were no longer nationalized.

Businesses have to be allowed to fail. It is good for the businesses because it makes them have to think about what they can do and what they cannot do. Businesses who know they will always have a safety net in the government are more likely to engage in risky business (Tom Cruise notwithstanding.)

Cabinet positions have always been a sore topic with me, because they are not allowed for in the Constitution. All officials who make policy should be elected, that way they face the people for what they have done or what they have failed to do. President Obama is more disturbing for the new Czars that have been created, as well as the somewhat… odd choice in what they are supposedly doing. Pay Czar? Green Czar? Is this something we need a cabinet level position for? If the issues they are dealing with are so important, why not have congress (which is controlled by people who share his concerns over pay and global warming) actually create government bureaus for these things?

Now I admit, I do not think that either of these examples are things the government should be involved with at all, however, I would at least find them more palatable if they were created, and populated, by people who actually had to face the voters. I feel this way no matter who is the president. Unelected officials are in a way dictators, if in a limited way, because they can never really be held accountable for their actions outside of legal challenges.

As far as lending, the banks got in trouble to begin with because they were asked by the government to make loans that they would not in other cases make (i.e. loans to people who might not be able to pay them back.) They share some of the responsibility for the deal because as long as the housing carousel was going on, they were making money. However, it was not as though everyone did not know that what was going to happen would happen. I saw warnings on the net as early as ’99 that the housing markets were vastly overvalued.

The government giving the banks money so they would turn around and lend it back out in the same type of loans that got us into this whole mess is a pretty stupid idea. It sounds great and it makes people feel better, but even if you start the gravy train back up, eventually the whole thing will crash again, this time with all of the voters picking up the tab, because of the government stake in the banks.

I had major problems with these policies when President Bush enacted them. Simply because President Obama has continued or increased the breadth of the program does not create any cognitive dissonance for me. A bad idea is a bad idea, no matter who proposes it.

I will also point out that President Obama has said that one of his goals is to make the pay of executives “more reasonable.” How exactly do you do this legally to a privately held company? As a random example out of the air, you can if you have given them money and then do not let them pay them back.

Also them trying to take the money and then not use it for what you want them to use it for, this is something that should have been thought of before you lent it, no?

October 19, 2009 @ 9:02 am #

Horatius:
____
“Personally I think the bailout of the banks or car industry never should have happened in the first place. Therefore, At this point, I would prefer them to sell their stakes at a loss if it meant that these industries were no longer nationalized.”
______

But you will notice that we’ve moved off of the worst possible interpretation of Bush/Obama’s motives in bailing out these companies now, and over to a difference in political philosophy.
______
“Unelected officials are in a way dictators, if in a limited way, because they can never really be held accountable for their actions outside of legal challenges.”
______

But you never really answered my question – anybody that the president gets to help him with ANYTHING is unelected. Would you have him sit in the Oval Office alone? There is no way on God’s green earth that the Founder’s intended THAT. And no president throughout our history went without hundreds, if not thousands of helpers helping to form presidential policy. This “Czar” thing is simply a bogeyman, I think.
_______
“The government giving the banks money so they would turn around and lend it back out in the same type of loans that got us into this whole mess is a pretty stupid idea. It sounds great and it makes people feel better, but even if you start the gravy train back up, eventually the whole thing will crash again, this time with all of the voters picking up the tab, because of the government stake in the banks.”
_________

Again, you will notice we’ve moved away from ascribing the worst possible motives to Bush/Obama for doing so now, and have moved toward a difference in Political philosophy. I tend to agree with you on this one…unless it can be shown that stimulus / investment like this has worked before. It seems like I’ve read about a couple of cases where government stimulus successfully sparked growth, but I don’t have them handy.

And it’s FINE if you don’t agree with government investment like this at all, or with the way it was done. I just think it’s time to stop saying that the initial investment by Bush / Obama is a SURE sign of government takeover of industry.

Thanks for the good dialog, Horatius.

“The government giving the banks money so they would turn around and lend it back out in the same type of loans that got us into this whole mess is a pretty stupid idea. It sounds great and it makes people feel better, but even if you start the gravy train back up, eventually the whole thing will crash again, this time with all of the voters picking up the tab, because of the government stake in the banks.”

October 19, 2009 @ 9:56 am #

Re:Obama and Marxism

http://drsanity.blogspot.com/2009/10/if-it-walks-like-marxist-talks-like.html

His mother was a communist, his grandparents were communists, and his mentor in his teen years (who may possibly have been his biological father), Frank Davis, were all communists. Why would you not expect him to have incorporated communistic principles into his life philosophy?

October 19, 2009 @ 10:06 am #

On the bank issues:

I’ve been following this blog with the hope of gaining an understanding of what’s going on. _IF_ (and I know it’s a big if) you read Dr.Sanity’s article, you’ll also read her quote from an AT article which discusses the strategy to destroy capitalism by destroying it’s currency. Then if you go to Denninger’s site and put in bank fraud or some such in the search bar, you’ll pull up a number of articles describing the actions – some of which involve Tim Geithner – which were illegal and which have not been either investigated or prosecuted.

I believe we are in very dangerous times, and I don’t see the outcome. Russia and China are considering dumping the dollar for their trade negotiations, Iran is negotiating to dump the dollar for their trade. The US currency has been used as the world trade mechanism because of its reliability – the fact that many are considering other options is an indicator that can’t be ignored.

http://market-ticker.denninger.net/

October 19, 2009 @ 10:20 am #

>>I am here because I know, as close friends, people who are honest, Christian and intelligent…and happen to be liberal. And they happen to be liberal because they believe it best reflects honesty, Christianity, and intelligence.>>

I got thinking about this statement last night.

You have close friends who are liberals because they think it best reflects honesty, Christianity and intelligence. Ok…and you state that you are a Republican. If they are liberals, then I assume they are Democrats. That may not be correct, but I make that assumption because it seems unlikely that someone would identify themselves as “Liberals” if they were Republicans. But – you state that _you_ are a Republican. So you belong to the party your close friends consider less honest, less Christian, and less intelligent. And these are your close friends.

I’m sorry – I find something amiss here. I think someone’s confused or not being truthful – I’m not sure who. If you respect the opinions of your close friends, why are you not convinced by them that you too should be a Democrat? Do you hold the same opinions? It seems as if you do…but if not, why not? And if you do…why are you still a Republican?

October 19, 2009 @ 10:27 am #

>>the strategy to destroy capitalism by destroying it’s currency>>

And don’t forget that Soros – who is at the heart of the Democratic Party financing – made his fortune by trading in currencies. He nearly destroyed the British pound, and is still banned from some eastern European country for the damage he did to their currency. I’m sorry that’s a story from memory, and I have no references. I’ll try to find something reasonably complete about his history – aside from the fact that as a teen he collaborated with the Nazis, which may give an indication of his lack of morals, but doesn’t give any indication of his later investment tactics.

I think this is the correct link for his connections with the various democratic party activists:

http://www.discoverthenetworks.org/default.asp

October 19, 2009 @ 10:33 am #

Suek:

“I’m sorry – I find something amiss here. I think someone’s confused or not being truthful – I’m not sure who. If you respect the opinions of your close friends, why are you not convinced by them that you too should be a Democrat? Do you hold the same opinions? It seems as if you do…but if not, why not? And if you do…why are you still a Republican?”

Aahh, but I hope what you say here isn’t an indicator that you lack real friendships, Suek. I trust that my friends are doing their best to listen to their hearts (and to God) as best as they can. And they believe the same of me. There isn’t anything that makes anyone my enemy, just because they are to the right or left of me on some man-made spectrum.

I also have several close friends who are to the right of me…and I have a lot to learn from them. And I have that opportunity, because they don’t automatically consign someone at a different spot on the spectrum to evil motives or stupidity.

It’s really very remarkable how constructive it can be to just listen and understand someone who is different from you…you know, like Jesus did, which was why people accused him of hanging around with sinners.

October 19, 2009 @ 11:49 am #

>>they don’t automatically consign someone at a different spot on the spectrum to evil motives or stupidity.>>

Interesting terms you use.

“evil motives” “Evil” is a moral judgment. “Bad” is a judgment of the desirability of outcome. I absolutely do not judge liberals of “evil” motives. I _do_ often judge them of having “bad” motives. I think the outcomes they desire are good – but their methods tend to dissolve the need for individual responsibility. When you raise children, you can do things for them or require them to do things for themselves. If you do things for them, it will be done better and faster – but the children never learn to do whatever for themselves. My judgment is that it’s better to let them do for themselves – even if the results aren’t spectacular. I think citizens are the same – they need to learn to do for themselves. If the government provides them with an out they’ll take it – to the detriment of themselves, their fellow citizens and the government.

“stupidity” A term used frequently to mean someone who is ignorant. In my lexicon, “stupid” refers to someone who is biologically unable to learn, whether it’s learning basic facts or learning to think in a way that makes use of the basic facts. Someone who does something “stupid” is someone who has done something without thought. We all do stupid things on occasion…hopefully not _too_ often! Stupidity is irremedial, imo. Ignorance, on the other hand, is eminently remedial. Schools today teach facts – they don’t seem to teach kids how to _think_. I think that’s a failing. The question of “and then what happens” should be mandatory!

I don’t think liberals are stupid – I just think they haven’t answered the question of “then what happens” often enough. The ability of the human to avoid responsibility is phenomenal!

Jesus didn’t hang around sinners in order to “understand” them – he did so in order to bring them to an awareness of their sinfulness.

Of course it’s beneficial to understand someone who’s different from you – but in the end, if you reach different conclusions it becomes necessary to evaluate whether yours or theirs is the better conclusion and act accordingly. In some cases, you can each have your own separate judgments – but when it comes to an election, the decision is up or down!

October 19, 2009 @ 12:01 pm #

“Of course it’s beneficial to understand someone who’s different from you – but in the end, if you reach different conclusions it becomes necessary to evaluate whether yours or theirs is the better conclusion and act accordingly. In some cases, you can each have your own separate judgments – but when it comes to an election, the decision is up or down!”

Yes, agreed. But you were questioning honesty here – whether my suggesting that people could co-exist in a friendship with differing opinions was possible.

I take it we agree that I could be telling the truth : )

As to this: “Jesus didn’t hang around sinners in order to “understand” them – he did so in order to bring them to an awareness of their sinfulness.” Among other reasons, yet. He said he was there because they were the ones who knew they were sick and needed the “Doctor”. But the important point I meant to make is that he didn’t separate themselves out from those who were different from He. How does that jibe with the behavior of His followers in the current culture wars?

October 19, 2009 @ 12:33 pm #

>>beyond the purchase of bank assets and failing car companies, both of which were nearly completed by the Bush administration, what other industries has Obama, ON HIS OWN, tried to place under government control?>>

This is an incorrect statement. The original TARP bill was completed under the Bush administration. It (probably unconstitutionally) gave complete control over the use of those funds to the Secretary of the Treasury. The intent was to bail out the Banks who had gotten themselves in trouble by following the requirement of the government to loan to individuals who couldn’t pay them back or limit their expansion. They should have limited their expansion. There was nothing in there about auto companies. Stimulus doesn’t mean buying. The use of the TARP funds has gone _way_ beyond the original intention, and is being used as a private presidential slush fund – mostly as payback to the unions for their support. You know all those “shovel ready” projects? Did you also know that they’re limited to contractors who hire only union workers? Did you know that union membership constitutes only 8.6% of US workers? So…basically, only 8.6% of workers can benefit from those “shovel ready” projects?

This(link below) is a very long article, and difficult to get through – but if you even scan it, knowing the links to Sachs-Goldman of many people who are in money policy positions that have been appointed by Obama, it should make you very anxious about the financial markets and how they’re intertwined with the banks and with the administration. Some of this goes back to the ’98 CRA widening, and the compromise that was reached to allow banks to participate in financial investing, which had been prohibited since the ’30s to prevent another crash and depression. Well…they removed the restriction (sorry, I’ve forgotten the name) and here we are…10 years later and on the cusp of another financial disaster.

http://globaleconomicanalysis.blogspot.com/2009/10/where-hell-is-outrage.html

Try reading this stuff. It’s nearly incomprehensible. There’s so much background info that you need to learn – and I don’t think Obama has it. I think _most_ of Congress doesn’t understand it. In fact, it sounds to me like we need some specialist prosecutors who specialize in financial shenanigans but at present we don’t have them.

October 19, 2009 @ 12:46 pm #

>>But you were questioning honesty here – whether my suggesting that people could co-exist in a friendship with differing opinions was possible.>>

No… if anything, I was questioning your honesty in how you present yourself _here_, on this blog.

As for whether a friendship between differing opinion is possible… That’s a different question. And it’s a bit tricky. If we have the same basic values but differ on how to accomplish certain things we both think are desirable, then yes…I think friendship is possible. If we differ in basic values…maybe not. In that case, we can be friendly, we can associate … but friendship? I don’t think so.

>>He said he was there because they were the ones who knew they were sick and needed the “Doctor”. But the important point I meant to make is that he didn’t separate themselves out from those who were different from He.>>

Disagree again. He was there because they (the sinners) needed Him. There really is no indication that they knew they were “sinners” or that they knew they “needed” Him. In fact, there’s no indication that all – or any – responded to His call. Except Judas, who was a tax collector. And we know how _that_ worked out. He offered…it was up to the listener to respond.

>>he didn’t separate themselves out from those who were different from He.>>

What do you mean “different”? They were Jews – as he was. They were _sinners_. In that they were different, but He was called to save the sinners – how could he separate Himself from them and still accomplish that end? It requires choice on the part of the sinner.

>>How does that jibe with the behavior of His followers in the current culture wars?>>

“I will cause strife among you. Between father and son, mother and daughter”… “If thine eye offend you, pluck it out” “If a tree does not bear good fruit, cut it down and throw it into the fire”

I don’t know. Be specific(if you can be) in just what behavior you refer to, and maybe we can address it.

October 19, 2009 @ 12:50 pm #

View this and tell me if you think it’s a good thing:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PMe5dOgbu40

October 19, 2009 @ 3:20 pm #

Suek, You wrote:

“Here ya go… Comment by Joe H. October 15, 2009 @ 2:17 pm #.

Phil,

My take on the Op-ed from the LA times that you linked to will be limited to the following:”

The comments you cite to were offered in the context of a discussion about which group, liberals or conservatives, have adopted a religious devotion to their politics. They wer not offered as a general smear.

I did point out that it was numerous [albeit individual] conservatives, not liberals, who were engaging in behavior that needed to be explained. So yes, I have said something about conservatives as a group.

But my point is still valid. I was suggesting, indirectly, that conservative group behavior, which was a matter of public record, was accounted for by a thesis proffered by an LA Times editorial. That’s a long way from assigning conservatives extremist views as a method of smearing them.

Joe H.

October 19, 2009 @ 4:15 pm #

Joe.

I never said you “smeared” them.

I said you considered them threatening.

What is your definition of “smearing”?

To me, a smear is actually lying about someone, or perhaps stating facts about someone that lead to a false conclusion.

Rush Limbaugh was smeared – people claimed he said things he didn’t say.

They also said he was controversial – that is true – except they were saying he was controversial because of things he didn’t say.

October 19, 2009 @ 6:06 pm #

Does this sound like a democracy is supposed to work? Does it sound like the way laws are supposed to be made? Remember “I’m just a bill…On Capitol Hill…”?

Something’s wrong here.

http://www.investors.com/NewsAndAnalysis/Article.aspx?id=509361

October 20, 2009 @ 12:52 pm #

Here’s a link(below) to a partial transcript, with a link to a complete transcript for the link I posted above at October 19, 2009 @ 12:50 pm

http://westernrifleshooters.blogspot.com/2009/10/you-tell-me.html

October 21, 2009 @ 9:50 am #

How to co-opt a Christian…

http://spectator.org/archives/2009/10/20/fcc-church-conspiracy-to-silen/print

October 22, 2009 @ 12:37 pm #

A completely different (I think) approach to the same issue, reaching the same conclusion:

http://www.americasright.com/2009/10/where-angels-fear-to-tred.html#links

RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URI

Leave a comment

XHTML: You can use these tags: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>