September 20, 2005

She might be on to something here

Amanda makes an observation:

Okay, a simple-minded and seemingly sexist member of a thrash metal band is enamored of an administration that feeds him a steady diet of cock worship and pointless violence, and NRO thinks there's a contradiction there? That's not a contradiction. You want a good shot of holy-shit-that-can't-be-true contradiction, try this on for size: Huge numbers of people who call themselves followers of a gentle spirited prophet who preached that the meek shall inherit the earth keep voting in war-mongerers who have a hard-on for fucking over the poor. That's more of a jaw-dropper.


Colleen said...

I bet Amanda's mom is just weeping with pride over her baby girl's ability to express herself. Is there an actual thought buried in this muck? If so, could you extract it?

Noumena said...

Not a contradiction: idiot sexist supports violent and sexist administration.

Contradiction: people who purport to follow the beneficient teachings of a pacifist support a party whose two major achievements since they came into power have been making the tax code even more regressive and starting a textbook example of an unjust war.


So, do certain conservatives just not understand any sentence that has 'bad words'? That's a pretty fucked-up handicap, especially if you're trying to hold any kind of casual conversation with an adult.

Or is it that you think anyone who uses 'bad words' is automatically an intellectual child, and therefore anything they say can be dismissed as meaningless or naive offhand? I know you've said as much to a couple of liberal commenters over at Dawn's blog. Then I guess your question here was rhetorical.

I'm going to go with the handicap theory, for two reasons. First, I'm sure you wouldn't be so dumb as to try to get a blatant ad hominem past this crowd. Second, I find the idea of such a handicap most amusing.

Unknown said...

I'm going with the ad hominem theory, Noumena, but I agree the jury is out.

I'd would also just like to add that, like Amanda, I am also surprised that Christians support conservative administrations so much. When we're talking about evangelicals, that's one thing. But I'm a Democrat because of my Christian upbringing, not in spite of it. I always naively assumed that people who followed the teachings of Jesus would naturally be Democrats as well.

I've learned otherwise, of course.

Noumena said...
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Noumena said...

Bah, that was not a productive comment. Guess that's what I get for trying to post before my OJ!

Drew, I think you meant fundamentalists, not evangelicals per se. It's easy to get them confused, because there's a lot of overlap, but there are plenty of progressive evangelicals -- one of my favourite bloggers, Hugo, is a progressive evangelical.

Wikipedia article on evangelicalism. Evangelicalism places an emphasis on the more 'mystical' and personal aspects of faith: being born again into Christ, the Bible (as opposed to tradition) as the source of religious authority, and salvation by virtue of faith rather than works. Depending on what one chooses to emphasize in reading the Bible, and how literally this is done, this can a politically conservative, moderate, or liberal faith. Evangelicalism is also somewhat given to charismatic worship, but it is not necessarily anti-intellectual (Hugo, for example, is a historian).

Fundamentalism involves a much more literal reading of the Bible as a rejection of 'modernity', and as such is fairly uniformly politically conservative.

Colleen said...

Hmmm. The only person I am aware of who said that the meek shall inherit the earth, is Jesus Christ. He was not a pacifist.

Don't worry. We understand bad words. We are just automatically contemptuous of those who can't find grown-up ways to express themselves. Only terminal adolescents think this kind of language is grown-up. If you are going to stay in academia, you may be able to get away with using it. If you get a job in the real world, you won't. So you may want to practice using actual two and three syllable words, just in case.

You (and by extension, I suppose, Amanda) are wrong about the tax code, in so far, as you attribute its shortcomings to the current administration and you are totally wrong about the war, so I guess I was right. There isn't much here.

Drew, your grasp of Christianity is, indeed, naive, if you think Christianity and the current Democratic party are *necessarily* simpatico. What on earth makes you suppose that they are?

Well, I don't mind being your gadfly but I won't have much time to play today. I will try to respond to anything you want to say, if you do, later this evening.

Unknown said...
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Unknown said...

Sorry Colleen, I was unclear in my use of tense. I have learned that Christians do not tend to support Democrats as I believed they would when I was a child (and a Christian). I do think it's odd that Christians don't support Democrats more, since the Democratic Party seems a much better fit to me, I realize that many others disagree.

I would just like to point out that I never said anything about "necessity".

Noumena, I stand corrected. Thanks for the link.

Unknown said...

Hang on, Colleen, are you saying that the Bush Administration has not made the tax code more regressive? I don't know what "shortcomings" you mean, but that's the point Noumena made, and he's right. It does seem odd that Christians would support an administration that tilts so heavily toward the wealthiest, when Jesus seemed to be much more focused on the poor.

MosBen said...

And if not a pacifist in absolute strictest sense, JC definitely had pacifist leanings and espoused a lifestyle based in peace, loving, and understanding. I see the platform of the Left as more in line with those teachings than the platform of the right.

Unknown said...

Good point, MosBen. And it's not like the Democratic Party is pacifist either. With respect to Iraq, it's not even anti-war in any real sense, much less pacifist.

Noumena said...

Wikipedia article on the Beatitudes

#7, Matt. 5:9: "Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God."

Oh, and #5, two verses earlier: "Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy."

Even if Jesus wasn't a pacifist, he blessed pacifists. Plus there's that whole 'turn the other cheek' thing, which I'm not going to track down right this moment. That certainly sounds like a pacifist statement.

Where exactly did he bless the warmakers?

Incidentally, Just War theory is closely tied to Catholic political thought, and was the grounds on which JP2 condemned the invasion of Iraq.

Uh-oh! The guy who uses 'fuck' in casual conversations is actually rather knowledgable about various things!

Colleen said...

Reinhold Niebuhr, one of the great theologians of our time, started out as a pacifist and ended up deriding pacifism as a heresy because it denied original sin. At best, it betrays a woefully naïve view of human nature. The reality of evil is everywhere around us. Only those who believe, against all the evidence, that everyone can be reasoned with; that everybody wants peace and wants to get along can be a pacifist. It is a mistake that does credit to their hearts but not to their minds or, at least, their worldly experience.

Pacifists collude with evil if they do not resist it; even to the point of shedding blood. While the Catholic Church does have a well developed just war doctrine, the catechism states clearly that the determination of whether a war is just or not “belongs to the prudential judgment of those who have responsibility for the common good” (§2309). While there are few men I respect more than JPII, he was wrong about the war.

In a roundabout way this leads to the question of whether the Democratic party is more in line with Christian principles than the Republican party is. No, of course not. Neither is the Republican party more in line. Nor is the center, nor are the off-sides. All parties try to organize around the principles they believe will lead to the best society. The current crop of Dems are seriously hampered by a kumbaya mentality that seriously believes that government is the answer to most, if not all, societal ills. Outlaw hate speech, outlaw old-fashioned notions of morality and self-control, pass laws enforcing equality (which we are wise enough to enact,) throw enough money around, and all will be well. Christians know (or should know) that this is nonsense. Mankind is neither wise nor good. Too much power in the hands of government is dangerous.

Republicans have traditionally organized around the principles of a strong society, limited government, unimpeded capitalism, property rights, etc. While this is also problematic, in part, it remains the case that if the scope of government is limited, its power to interfere in our lives is limited. Christians, as citizens, must be members of one party or the other. Or, at least, vote for one or the other. We do the best we can with pretty lousy material. But don’t kid yourselves. We have to hold our noses most of the time.

Noumena said...

The sentence you've picked out can be read to require political leaders to reflect on and be obligated by the criteria laid out in the same paragraph before engaging in war, not abrogate all moral authority to those leaders. Indeed, I find your suggested reading, that the government/government officials is/are ever above moral condemnation on the part of citizens, to have disturbingly totalitarian overtones that I reject out of hand (cf my post on the State of Nature).

Here's a link to a translation of the catechism, since you haven't provided one for us.

Colleen said...

Noumena: I know the catechism very well. I actually own a copy of it, even. The sentence I quoted is accepted doctrine and can only be interpreted in one way; political leaders have the duty to decide whether it is necessary to go to war or not. But the Catholic Church does not tell governments what to do, which was what I was getting at; not that they do not have to account to their citizens.

However, I am delighted to see that you are interested in the catechism and interested in following its teachings. No doubt you will soon be condemning abortion and homosexual conduct.

Noumena said...

Who said I had any interest whatsoever in following any form of Christianity?

This is an example of trying to understand your beliefs on their own terms, that Principle of Charity thing you rejected by virtue of being on the 'winning' side.

Colleen said...

Man, you really, really don't like be disagreed with do you, Noumena? Some people might have actually understood that I was joking, though it would be nice if you were starting to see the light.

I will say, that your utter lack of humor is consistent with what I see on DU and Kos. Even if I didn't agree more politically with the side I am on, I would still have to choose it just because it is on this side of the spectrum that I find people with a robust sense of humor. It comes from not taking ourselves so seriously...

MosBen said...

Without taking a position in this particular instance, I've found about equal amounts of people on both sides of the aisle that just can't take a joke. Personally, I think it's really just a biproduct of getting riled up and not seeing a joke when it's presented as well as a simple reality of the internet.

Still, I tend to find conservative humor distasteful more often than liberal humor. For instance, see Bush's "Still looking for WMDs" video from his press speech from a while ago.

Colleen said...

Well, I think you are right about it being hard to always catch jokes.

As for the rest, I honestly don't see any humor on Dem blogs. Not even humor I don't find to my taste. The "angry left" seems a pretty accurate description to me and I am a bit of a news (and commentary) junkie.

But I know that you must be right. Not everyone on the left of the right can be humor impaired!