Glenn Beck's "Restoring Honor" Rally, a Week Later

Last Saturday, Glenn Beck held his "Restoring Honor" rally in Washington, DC. Reason.tv's segment on the event, which went up a few hours after its conclusion, is above. (Shot by Jim Epstein with help from Josh Swain; edited by Meredith Bragg and Epstein; hosted by me; approximately 6.30 minutes).

Go here for the writeup we gave the rally and to get downloadable versions of the video.

Reflecting on the event after a week has passed, some things stick with me, including the following:

1. While I think Beck is often massively confused in terms of basic facts, he is channeling a very strong tradition in American with regards to religion and the public square. One of the main themes of the rally is that is was our "turning away" from God that led to our present problems (which are never fully articulated but are palpable due to recession). The solution, offered by Beck and other speakers and certainly most of the people we talked with in the crowd, was "embracing" God and putting him back in the center of our lives, both private and public. Regardless of whether the Founders were Christian in the way that many contemporary Christians would recognize (they weren't), the notion of the U.S. as a god-fearing country that publicly demonstrated its religiosity is an old and powerful one. What is particularly odd about the anxiety that we've turned God (vaguely Christian in invocation, but really a non-denominational higher power) out of the public square is the not-small fact that we haven't: In a way they certainly didn't in the '60s and '70s, for instance, politicians are far more publicly pious than they used to be. But that may be less important than the feeling.

2. The recession is undergirding a huge amount of free-floating anxiety about everything. This is obvious but rarely goes baldly stated. For much of the new century, and certainly for all of the past three years, there has been nothing but uncertainty in the economy and a good degree of uncertainty in the political arena. The people we talked to felt something like cogs in a machine whose shape and size they didn't even understand. They were not rabid xenophobes or racists or even haters in general, but they were pissed off that their individual actions did not seem to mean much. They were not conspiracists (few if any brought up Obama as a Muslim or a foreign national, for instance), but they felt cheated and frustrated that their individual lives seemed to be controlled by larger forces and institutions over which they had little or no control. And to the extent that they talked about government, the focus was generally upon government spending that they assumed threatened to destroy the future, for them and their kids or grandkids.

3. That sort of mind-set has a history of giving rise to two sorts of broader movements. It can create a populist movement, which seeks to tame power elites, demonize foreigners, turn government over to a new crew, etc. Or it inspires self-improvement modes that have political import but are not fundamentally political (the various Great Awakenings in America, or the self-help gospels of Norman Vincent Peale). The rally was an interesting mix of both strands. In his day job, Beck rarely misses an opportunity to rail against politicians, especially those he deems socialistic or progressive, and there's no mistaking Sarah Palin on any podium as a politician. Yet more strong at this event was the self-help dimension, the idea that self-transformation was the key to a larger group transformation. A lot of that seems to stem almost directly from Beck's facility with and embrace of 12 Step rhetoric. In some sense, the rally was a giant AA meeting (I don't mean this snarkily), flush with the notion that whatever else is going on in the world, you can control some portion of your own life.

4. The attendees saw a continuity between George Bush and Barack Obama, spendthrift and ineffectual Republicans and Democrats. To me, this was the most interesting aspect of the crowd. There were definitely more Republicans than Democrats (who may have been missing almost totally), but virtually everyone we talked with identified as an independent. Who was fed up with the past decade, really, not just the past 18 or so months of Obama.

5. The crowd reminded me of Wal-Mart (not being snarky!). I live part-time in small-town Ohio where the local Wal-Mart Super Center is a major third space. Over the past few years and contrary to its image as wholesome, the chain has gone serously goth. Check out the T-shirts you can buy there and virtually every other one has skulls and crosses on it. And if something doesn't have stylized chains and blood on it, then it's in Day-Glo colors. The crowd reflected that, with more piercings than I've seen at some rock shows, ZZ Top beards galore, a biker look on many men and women. A noticeable number of the crowd were even wearing inexpensive Faded Glory (Wal-Mart's housebrand) American flag T-shirts. Any number of commentators may have been appalled by the crowd, but check it and see: This is America.

6. The organizers and the attendees are not part of the Leave Us Alone coalition. In some ways, they are proto-libertarian: they want the government to spend less money and they seemed wary of interventions into basic economic exchange (nobody seemed to dig ObamaCare or the auto bailouts or the bank bailouts). But they also want the government to be super-effective in securing the borders, they worry about an undocumented fall in morals, and they are emphatic that genuine religiosity should be a feature of the public square. Which is to say, like most American voters, they may well want from government precisely the things that it really can't deliver.

Where does this crowd and its energy and mentality go from here? We'll find out over the next few months.

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  • Irrational Hater||

    Theytirrrkkerrrrjerrrbbssgod!

  • BeltwayLurker||

    Nick was much better on the Grandy Bunch last week.

  • Infernoland||

    ABANDON ALL HOPE YE WHO ENTER HERE

    +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

  • ||

    The comments re Wal Mart reminded me of something I noticed last year when we happened to pass through Sturgis, ND (unintentionally) the very weekend of the Sturgis road rally. Nearly everybody on a hog was grandparent age, and it made me realize that a significant grandparent style these days is Grandpa with shaved head and goatee, Grandma with long white hair, both done up in their Harley chaps.

    If Easy Rider was made today, it would involve old folks seeing America, and being shotgunned at the end by angry, Sarah Palin-hating hipsters in a Scion xB.

  • Jeffersonian||

    Sturgis is in SD.

  • Kolohe||

    That's how unintentional it was! :)

  • Jeffersonian||

    Missed his left turn at Albuquerque?

  • ||

    Whoops. We were headed to Wyoming, so, North Dakota, East Dakota, whatevah!

  • ||

    Same here! I was at Mt. Rushmore, talking to other Sturgis-bound tourists, and they all seemed to have that free-floating sense of things are wrong and have been for a long time.

  • EveryManAKing||

    If Easy Rider was made today, it would involve old folks seeing America, and being shotgunned at the end by angry, Sarah Palin-hating hipsters in a Scion xB.

    Can you tell me when was the last act of political violence by the left directed at another person?

  • Hated on||

    You mean this?

  • Amakudari||

    1. A "non-demonitional" god? I'm not a grammar Nazi or anything and will probably get schooled by Joez Law, but still, that's a pretty amusing typo.

    2. In the same way that the anxiety is unstated, so are the solutions, and I think in both cases it's because we don't want to address the problems and just hope they'll go away. You'll get much different answers if you ask people whether they think the government is spending too much money vs. whether the government should cut Social Security, Medicare and defense.

    4. I think a lot of people say they're fed up with the last decade when that's just a mental trick to give form to their arguments against Obama. There are a lot of people protesting now who would not be seen protesting a Prez McCain, whose policies regarding entitlements or war would likely be similar to Obama's.

    My best guess of where it goes from here is that it helps some modest Republican victories in November and fizzles. Think anti-war movement post-2006/2008.

  • ||

    I would agree with you except the antiwar movement was always built on a temporary condition-the Iraq War and the Bush Presidency.

    The broad middle class gets that their government is going bankrupt and their currency worth less every day than it was before, and that this problem is not going away.

  • Amakudari||

    Disagree. I think people worry that our government's policies are leading us in a bad direction, but they don't have convictions. I was at a house party yesterday and gave a pair of bio PhDs (who were interested in what I said, FWIW) the basic run-down on the US and Japan's deficit/GDP, net debt/GDP, need to run persistent present surpluses to deal with future entitlements, the inflationary/reserve currency implications of just printing money to pay off debt, and the difficulties Japan will have once its domestic investors start selling off debt via the postal system.

    Generally, people don't want to know those gory details, and they'll be content to quiet down until a real, immediate crisis hits, as in high inflation or federal borrowing costs, neither of which are even remotely true today. And maybe I'm just a pessimist, but I don't see these events occurring with a Republican president. Tapping this sentiment can serve a legitimate purpose in reining in excess (ah, for the halcyon gridlock days of the Clinton presidency), but I don't buy that it's a long-term movement.

  • ||

    the difficulties Japan will have once its domestic investors start selling off debt via the postal system.

    What?

  • WWJGD||

    It's true. Japan's postal system is pretty interesting.

  • Amakudari||

    My numbers might be a bit mixed up, but around $1.5 trillion of Japan's $9 trillion debt are held by the postal savings system. As those committed, long-term investors who accept near-zero interest rates have to draw down their savings in retirement, the Japanese government will have to fund itself at the market.

    It's mostly a slight against people who think Japan's safe because its debt is held domestically. Well, the economy's hardly growing and eventually you have to roll debt, so long-term it's still heavily exposed to the vagaries of the bond market.

  • Mo||

    You spoke to a pair of PhDs... that's your problem right there. PhDs seem to usually have LESS common sense than the rest of the educated community, maybe it's because they're so removed from real life having spent so long in education/research. Then there are the rest of us who actually see the big picture of our country going bankrupt. But honestly, what does Japan's issues have to do with what the US is currently going through?

  • aureliano||

    Japan is a good model because their own housing market bubble burst in the late 80s; to recover, they tried all the things the U.S. is trying now but it obviously didn't work for them - two decades later and it still isn't working

  • Mackeral Snapper||

    I know! I know!

    Deflationary spiral unmitigated by quantitative easing.

  • Amakudari||

    Japan because I live there/here, parallels with our present situation notwithstanding.

    And the PhDs have good sense. They're not technocrats in the making, they're marine biology researchers who just want to do their research on fish populations (which is used heavily by the fishing industry, not just government). Besides, the Japanese in general are disillusioned with politics.

  • Rrabbit||

    Easy: it should reduce all three :-)

  • Slap the Enlightened!||

    My best guess of where it goes from here is that it helps some modest Republican victories in November and fizzles. Think anti-war movement post-2006/2008.

    Oh, I don't know - where I live, in one of the more liberal states, even the little old ladies in the shops are making noises about revolution. Unlike the anti-war movement, this isn't just the career rabble-rousers and college kids, this is the middle class that's taking to the streets.

    Considering that the middle classes is where the American, French and Russian revolutions originated, I'd say there's at least a potential for some big-time political uproar in the works.

    By comparison, most of the political upheaval of the '60s was from college students and fringe groups, for all the media attention, it was largely a minority movement. This movement has the potential to be significantly more influential.

  • J||

    By political uproar, do you mean electoral landslides?

    I hear a lot of people talking about revolution, half hoping for it, and if it were to happen, a la the French and Russian ones, does anybody really think it would end well? If there really is any sort of violent revolution, I can't imagine that it's going to leave us with any sort of democracy, let alone with anyone desirable in charge.

    The American Revolution at least had the very specific goal of getting the English off our backs. A brief look at other revolutions over the last century or so don't really suggest that they tend to make things better.

    The better thing to hope for is in 2012, the Republicans can put forward someone who has a basic understanding of economic issues (unlike McCain) and isn't shrill (like Palin), and doesn't get off track on stupid issues like immigration or mosques (like far too many Repubs).

    The democrats took it for granted that Bush would lose in 2004, or that everyone would defect to Canada if he did. I see the same thing among those who don't like Obama.

  • J||

    "The democrats took it for granted that Bush would lose in 2004, or that everyone would defect to Canada if he did." should be "if he won."

  • Slap the Enlightened!||

    I certainly expect to see some form of political violence within the next decade. I don't know if it will be a full-blown revolution or a civil war, but I'd put money on some major riots and possibly a few things getting blown up. It isn't something I'm hoping for, but it seems inevitable.

    I agree the optimum solution would be for the Republicans to put forward someone worthwhile, but I don't really see anyone on the horizon, and I think this will be their last chance. I expect if We the Peasants are unable to obtain satisfaction through the political system in short order, things are going to be getting ugly.

  • dr kill||

    And entertaining it will be.

  • ||

    Mitch Daniels

  • ||

    There you go; a nice, uncharismatic, somewhat boring white guy with a record of fiscal competence.

    To the social conservatives and theocons: just shut up for a while about the moral stuff. Stop spooking the left and the libertarians, and help elect a fiscal conservative. We can argue about the rest later.

    To some libertarians: just shut up for a while about open borders, drug legalization, and the other things that spook conservatives and a heck of a lot of moderates. Help elect a fiscal conservative and we can argue about the rest later.

  • J||

    Alright, on a few conditions:

    1) This fiscal conservative wants to reduce, or at least not raise, tariffs.

    2) This fiscal conservative supports free trade, and will finalize such lingering free trade deals South Korea and Columbia and others.

    3) This fiscal conservative will at least not cut back on the number of people allowed legally to work in the country, and hopefully expand it.

    4) This fiscal conservative may find it necessary to decry illegal immigration, but doesn't waste significant time and money fighting it.

    Immigration isn't just a hobby issue,
    it is an economic one. If we want our economy to grow again, we'll have to be smart about trade and having a vibrant workforce.

  • JohnD||

    Sounds like good advice, Papaya

  • ||

    I couldn't imagine a scenario whereby there would be some kind of actual civil war. This is a democracy after all. What do the winners do afterward? Revoke half the population's right to vote?

    If something does happen, it would far more likely take the form of a Czechoslavakia-style velvet revolution; whereby both sides would agree to split up in some amicable way. (I've got my fingers crossed.)

  • Apogee||

    What do the winners do afterward? Revoke half the population's right to vote?

    No. The winners would have to put in place extreme restrictions on governmental power, along with enacting some sort of transparent oversight - perhaps a 4th branch that could check the other three.

    What was technologically impossible after the 1776 revolution is quite possible now, with the communications and computational power available to every citizen today.

    It's getting increasingly difficult to hide information.

    That should be used to the advantage of the populace.

  • JohnD||

    Only people with a job or a retiree should be allowed to vote.

  • LOL||

    Keep hate alive, don't worry those freemarket supporters who've held the reigns of governmental power since i was born, they're doing their best to make sure the jobless are as invisible as possible.

    P.S.

    Fuck you

  • Apogee||

    Hey retard - those "free market supporters" have enacted quite a bit of regulation since you were born. (even if it was yesterday)

    Oh, and it's your heroes on the left that are currently trying to sweep jobless under the rug.

  • ||

    The Anti-war movement was a boilerplate liberal movement. It fizzled because there is now a liberal president and therefore they must defend him (with a few wing-nut exceptions) not oppose him.

    Regarding your comments about social security and medicare, this movement is a transformational movement. Many seniors see these entitlements as a lifeline and therefore are reluctant to openly oppose it. How easy would it be for you to just quite you job? Its about the same thing for seniors. More and more people in the tea party movement are becoming more and more aware of the problems with these "social safety nets" and while this transformation is moving slowly, it is moving. My father has a stake in social security and medicare and he is open to the idea of a slow fadeout of these programs. I paid a considerable amount of money into social security, but I have been contributing into my 401k with the assumption that I will never ever collect a social security check. I am not happy about this, but I am glad to make the sacrifice (for now) knowing or at least hoping that common sense will one day prevail and these boondoggle programs will one day be history.

    This whole movement is part reaction to the economic situation and the extreme and ineffectual measures taken to date to "fix" it and an enlightenment movement that is strongly libertarian. The libertarian strings are slowly impregnating the movement. I invoke the image of pregnancy on purpose because once pregnant, you cannot become unpregnant, though I am sure some liberal will use this as an opportunity to bring up the idea of unfettered abortion -- go ahead, I am ready for you). This movement is moving towards a libertarian ends via the path of God.

    God is not the sole intellectual property of the Republican Right. God is and has been a serious philosophical concept and debate since well the beginning human discourse and thought. People intuitively understand the concept of God, though many are not practiced at articulating it and those that are usually do so through their particular prism (bible). Discussions about God that rely heavily on a holy book often end up being dismissed because people are unwilling to see the truth in the message or they are just turned off by the preachy feel of the delivery. People who THINK they are open minded should reconsider their open-mindedness if they are turned off by holy book explanations of God for reasons that should be evident just by reading this sentence.

    The bottom line is MOST people in America are religious, or at least have an understanding of God. Glenn is explaining libertarian values via the language of religion.

  • Robert||

    The Anti-war movement was a boilerplate liberal movement. It fizzled because there is now a liberal president and therefore they must defend him (with a few wing-nut exceptions) not oppose him.


    What if it'd been the other way around? Suppose instead of an ostensible anti-war movement there'd been a pro-universal-health-insurance movement in 2008. And then suppose the Democrats hadn't given them that but stopped the wars. Would they have mostly shut up then too?

    Just trying to gauge priorities.

  • ||

    I think you missed my point.

    Leftists generally have a penchant for movements in general. They are always there to a small degree, but only really bloom when there is a clear enemy to oppose. Bush was a good target for the various leftist movements to attack with fervor. Now that there is no Bush and the government is totally controlled by people that hold or at least express sympathy for their stated goals, then they are not interested in making noise about the things that really haven't changed all that much. My point about this is that these movements were not new, they were just waiting for the right circumstances to come out. These movements are also not founded in any particular enlightenment. They are boilerplate causes of the left. Half the people that are anti-war leftists participate because it is expected of them if they are to maintain their credentials. A good example of this is the environmental movement. When Vietnam ended, the Anti-war left had nothing to do, they had become professional protesters. Then there was a coal miner strike in England and certain parts of the English government tried to damage the coal industry by releasing a little read "study" that CO2 (a bi-product of burning coal) would create greenhouse warming of the globe. Of course this was at the same time that another study came out that said the earth was cooling uncontrollably and so the report that pointed to the CO2 greenhouse effect was made popular as a so called solution to global cooling. When Global cooling fizzled out, the global warming theory did not and the anti-war leftists suddenly found a cause. Most leftists I know, and I live in Massachusetts, so I know a lot of them, are dogmatic about one concern like global warming or banning GMO foods, but they sign on to the entire leftists agenda because they are attached to that community. This happens on the right as well.

    The current tea party movement is different because there is a distinct moving away from dogma towards a core principal that defines their world view. That defining principle is liberty. It starts with economic liberty, but is slowly morphing into other social issues. The main difference here is that these people are changing themselves and not just coming out of the woodwork to protest the new obvious target.

  • Robert||

    That brings up a recurring Q: How do things become part of the "left" agenda?

  • JohnD||

    Easy. Just pick some illogical idea.

  • ||

    They generally fit the following pattern:

    Anti-corporate movements generally have a David vs. Goliath theme and combine some aspect of "dangerous consumerism," "unholy profit motives," and an "unfair" labor situation. These movements shift depending on the particular goal (unionizing a particular industry, banning a particular product, or ending a perceived imbalance in labor "equity"). These movements are largely rooted in emotion. Protesters will tell you that such and such company is making obscene profits on the backs of Chinese children or they are taking American jobs and shipping them overseas or the product is killing people.

    Environmental movements are focused on things like global warming or pollution. These movements generally use the aforementioned anti-corporate movements as a way to point out the culprits for the particular brand of environmental disaster they are concerned with. The facts are often cherry picked to suit the particular movement and even when the facts are true, they are used in ways that suggest the problem is bigger than it really is. One good example is that commercial about plastic water bottles that could wrap around the Earth. Yes, maybe they can wrap around the Earth, but it is not clear that this is a bad thing since they are not wrapped around the Earth and are generally relegated to a very very small (relatively speaking) land fill. Of course my example is a commercial for water filters, but the tactic is something common to environmental movements. These movements hinge on three concepts. The first is Natural vs synthetic items. This movement is concerned with "chemicals" or "GMO food"and largely promotes the health benefits of "organics". The next concept is focused on "Climate Change". I am not going to spend time explaining the issues with this particular movement, but it too has an anti-corporate streak to it. The third is the really old school environmentalism which is basic conservation. The conservationists used to be quite balanced and were more or less interested in preserving bio-diversity, but this wing of the movement has become as unhinged as the rest of the movement. The conservationists like the others largely blame consumerism and corporations for the loss of bio-diversity. They are also keen to cherry pick facts to suit their needs. A good example of this is the Polar Bear. The polar bear is constantly used as an example of a dying breed despite the fact that there are more of them today than there were 30 years ago. The polar bear has the added advantage in that it can also be used to express concerns about "Global Warming". Another example are the various statistics about how many different species are lost from the rain forest each year. These statistics are never the same because they are estimates and for most part they are estimating how many different varieties of insects may have become extinct, but they wont usually say it is mostly insects cause that aint sexy. The emotional component here is that the lost species could have been used to make a cure for cancer or something. This may be true, but one gets the impression that if a corporation were harvesting a particular species for the purposes of creating a cure, the environmentalists would be against it.

    The social equity movement is focused on various perceived or real social inequities. Some of these include greater access to abortion for Women, greater pay equity for women and other "minorities". More money for education in minority heavy cities. Gay marriage rights and other similar niche movements. In some ways, these are laudable movements, but the problem with them is that they once again lean heavily on anti-corporate tactics especially in the pay equity arena. The other problem is that the solution to all of these issues (real and imagined) is some sort of government intervention. Other movements include things like legalizing marijuana. I am not opposed to legalizing marijuana, but leftists approach the idea by turning it into a health care option. Pot is about as good a pain killer as heroin is an anti depressant, but this was the excuse they wanted to use, and now the new excuse is to have it taxed. Leftists seem to get a boner whenever they think they can tax something. Why not just legalize marijuana because it is the right thing to do from a perspective of natural liberty.

    The basic solution to all these leftists movement is focused on government action, whether that be cap and trade, added regulation, tax incentives or disincentives, any number of laws designed to socially engineer people to live lifestyles more in line with a particular movement, such as buying special light-bulbs or not using plastic bags. Basically, almost all solutions to all leftists issues are doing anti-corporate and look to the government for legislation, regulation or legal decision.

    Although leftists are passionate about their causes, they are more interested in using government to push their agenda because they believe they know better than everyone else.

  • ||

    To answer your question, a movement becomes a leftists movement as soon as it can be used as a bludgeon against corporations and supports can can be twisted to support the goals of one of the larger movements above.

  • Robert||

    But how did the environmental stuff become associated with the "left" as opposed to the "right" or to some other "direction"? Couldn't anti-environmental stuff have been just as easily twisted by the "left" into an anti-corporate bludgeon? For instance, "Business meanies leave too many trees standing for people to have a good view!" I'm sure you could think of better examples, yet things have shaken out another way...why?

  • ||

    I understand your point and to a certain degree you are correct. There are always smaller "issues" that are adopted by the leftists because it can be used as a corporate bludgeon. The issues I listed are just the most popular and therefore they are the ones that all other smaller issues are molded into. A good example of how they mold smaller issues into the larger Big 3 is abortion. While I am not judging the pros and cons of this topic, leftists will use abortion as a way to promote "population control" because population control means less people, smaller carbon footprint and other environmental impacts, which are driven in their view by rampant consumerism.

    Your example of the bad companies growing too many trees does not easily mold into the preexisting dogmatic issues as easily.

    On the surface these movements seem to be about the issues at hand, but when one digs deeper, they are driven by a certain segment of people who believe they know better than everyone else. They claim to be more open minded than most people, yet they are unwilling to listen to opposing points of view, especially if it is coming from a group of people they disagree with. They give the appearance of being tolerant and open by showcasing their racial and ethnic diversity, but more often than not these diverse members are of the same mindset, that mindset is liberal. This is not true diversity, it is just like minded people in an echo chamber. It is this echo chamber that sustains the dogmatic beliefs that represent the aforementioned core causes. It is also this echo chamber that prevents them from enjoying true diversity.

    I have had many conversations with people who are closely associated with leftists movements. You really cannot reach them with facts and when you prove them wrong, they begin the emotional appeal (some just start the whole conversation with the emotional appeal). It is this emotional appeal that drives the echo chamber.

    To get back to my original point. The tea party people are branching out and represent a wide cross section of ideologies. These ideologies are blending together and the core of this blending is an ever increasing focus on individual liberty. This is a movement that is powered by a new realization and understanding of liberty. I am a good example of this. I am independent and always have been, but I have always voted republican because democrats are too close to leftists movements. I have begun to look at issues outside of their bubble and in the frame of individual liberty. Many more people are doing the same within the tea party. This is not happening in the ranks of the various leftists movements.

  • Apogee||

    You're forgetting one important point, and that is the end result of all these efforts is always accumulation of power.

    Rather than actually make something, it's easier and more profitable to self-assume moral authority, and then use that position to play political favorites.

    Much of this corporate "greening" has to do with paying off these leftist organizations - effectively an non-governmental crony capitalism - for the return of political and regulatory support.

    Once the money starts to flow, along with the 'recognition', the original stated purpose for the existence of these groups becomes little more than lip service.

    You give them far too much credit. They're just as greedy as corporations, but they don't actually make anything, and what they do sell, they force people to buy.

  • Robert||

    You're forgetting one important point, and that is the end result of all these efforts is always accumulation of power.


    But couldn't power be accumulated just as much with the opposite agenda, i.e. a specifically anti-environmental one? Yet that's not where the "left" fell in. Why not? And why didn't the "right" accumulate power with an environmental agenda?

  • Apogee||

    But couldn't power be accumulated just as much with the opposite agenda, i.e. a specifically anti-environmental one?

    About as easily as as with a kitten torture agenda.

    And why didn't the "right" accumulate power with an environmental agenda?

    What's commonly assumed to be the 'right', or anti-left, is capitalism and free markets. This isn't really the case (see crony capitalism), but for the most part the ones actually making things have their own agenda - being able to make things without interference.

    Watch Penn&Teller;'s Bullshit about Environmental Hysteria. You'll see founders of environmental movements talking about how those movements were hijacked by the left in order to push leftist politics, not environmentalism.

  • ||

    "And why didn't the "right" accumulate power with an environmental agenda?"

    The simple answer is because the left got there first.

    The long answer is buried in my original post. Read the history of the anti-war movement. Then read the history of the modern environmental movement and notice the overlaps. The original anti-war movement started with communist and socialist groups opposed (rightly or wrongly) to the Vietnam war. You must remember why we went to war in Vietnam in the first place. The Vietnam war was an effort to stop the spread of communism via the "domino effect" this was not overlooked by many American communists and socialists. The anti-war movement shifted into the environmental movement after Vietnam. The environmental movement was started by conservationists, but the anti-war communists saw this as an opportunity to bash consumerism and therefore capitalism in general and so they radicalized the movement and co-opted it to use it to shape government policy.

  • ||

    You are 100% correct. They use anti-corporate sentiment as one of their tools, but in the end, they are the beneficiaries of the government programs and greening projects that they scare people into undertaking.

  • Robert||

    So you're saying the initial choosing up of sides was arbitrary? That someone just decided at a certain time that a certain issue could be made to fit the basic thrust of the "left", therefore nearly the entire "left" went along, and the "right" went along too in the form of opposition?

    So, for instance, suppose some day dogs vs. cats becomes a political issue. Someone on either the "left" or the "right" would figure out how to use one side or the other as a tool connected to their general interest. For instance, a leftist could figure out how either dogs or cats could be used as an anti-business bludgeon, and then everyone identifying as of the "left" would fall into line, even though the initial choice was arbitrary?

    Come to think of it, since just about eveything people do can be considered some kind of business, you can use being anti-anything as anti-business.

  • Apogee||

    Nothing arbitrary about it.

    By proposing the term 'sides', you are ignoring the actions of each group, as the term implies equal and opposite. There is nothing equal, and thus, nothing arbitrary about the choices.

    The correct question to ask is which action is productive, and which is confiscatory?

    You can answer that question by simply asking another: What is it that the left produces? And if that is removed, what would be the consequences?

  • Robert||

    Whatever, whether it's dogs or cats, you're saying the "left" would figure out an angle to make that side confiscatory? Or are you saying that there'd have to be a pre-existing confiscatory nature of that side for the "left" to glom onto it?

    Either way, is that a necessary, or only a sufficient, reason for the "left" to align that way? Seems I can easily find "left" positions that have nothing to do with confiscation, like their support of or opposition to a country's involvement in a particular war, or their positions on abortions, divorces, or interracial adoptions.

  • ||

    The only consistency among leftist causes is shifting government power towards greater control of the economy.

    Of course we are dealing with some very irrational people and as a result some causes will be adopted that seem to be or can be twisted to be generally aligned with the overarching cause of central control of the economy. A good example of this is gay marriage. Now let me be clear, I have no issue with gay marriage, but that said, I dont really see why the government is involved. When you talk to a leftist about gay marriage, and you concede that two people should be allowed to live the life they would like to live and do whatever in the privacy of their own home, then the argument about gay marriage suddenly turns into a tax equity conversation. They will point out how regular couples have special tax breaks but gay couples cant get that. Then it shifts to being allowed to visit a loved one in the hospital. These items are things the government controls and really have nothing to do with being in love with another human being. They dont seem to recognize that the special tax treatments and other rules are in and of themselves a ding against natural liberty. They also dont seem to get that if you take marriage out of the hands of government, then it becomes a social contract between two people and not a contract between the couple and the government and that therefore one could get married by any institution recognized by the community and that institute, whether it be a church or a fucking elks club can decide who should get married and who they will not marry.

    I know I am going to come across as a paranoid delusional when I say this, but the core driving members of almost all leftist movements are either communists or socialists. And while they may honestly be trying to green the earth or whatever, their larger goal, which usually goes unstated for obvious reasons is central control of the economy of the US or perhaps the entire world.

    I have this friend. One day, we were watching TV at work and the news was about that Chinese guy that was killing babies in China. My friend had asked why he was killing babies. I postulated the theory that perhaps it is a cultural thing. I suggested that China has a cultural fixation with population control and some Chinese people might see their out of control population is the cause of many of their problems. Given this it stands to reason that an unbalanced personality might take this as an excuse to kill babies. His comment shocked me. He basically defended population control. When I debated the topic with him, he pointed to economic inequities of a large population, the volume of pollution and CO2 that would be trimmed by preventing births and various other "benefits". The irony here is that his brother is gay and has an adoptive child with his husband. I didnt go after this personal aspect because, well, I like being friends with this person, but this was my anecdotal evidence that the underlying principals of many of the leftists movements he subscribes to are communistic. Euthanasia is a tenant of communism because basically, the central government has to divide the limited food supply because they are not nimble enough to adjust distribution with a constantly shifting demand. Capitalism does not need population control because delivery of resources is regulated by prices and among the lowest income workers, food resources are more easily secured because they are the ones really driving the price of food. If they cant afford it, then it wont get sold and so farmers and sellers will do what it takes to reduce prices.

    To conclude, the left adopts any cause that fits the core socialistic or communistic values, but the fringes of the movement may well take on ancillary causes that are less easily mapped to the central (unstated) cause. Note how well many of those ancillary causes, like gay marriage are so well molded to an economic frame. Its obviously not perfect, but this is the way causes are pushed by the left. Even pot legalization is pushed as something new to tax. By the way, I am also for pot legalization, but I am not fond of taxing anything unless it is taxed the same as everything else and POT will never be taxed the same as clothing and healthy food because as soon as someone sees it as a "sin" it will become like cigarettes and bam, pot smokers will be unknowingly paying for a high speed rail system most of them will never ever use.

  • Apogee||

    I would agree with most of El Duderino's comment.

    Robert states that "anything people do can be considered some kind of business", and then later that "I can easily find "left" positions that have nothing to do with confiscation".
    This seems contradictory. How can the definition of business be so elastic, yet the definition of confiscatory be so limited?

    I say mostly agree with El Duderino's comment because it is also true that those supposedly on the 'right' clearly enjoy expanding governmental control of the economy when it suits their interests.

    It's why I'm closer to libertarian.

  • ||

    The right is not free from guilt on expanding the government. Many laws and rules that are passed based on social ends of the right are trampling individual liberty, the Patriot Act is a good example of this.

    With the exception of some social proposals that seem to come more from a sense of morality like blocking Gay marriage, the right generally focuses their expansion of government on things that are generally in the traditional government realm, like the military. I'm not saying its a good thing, or even better than the left, but at least they are not sweeping transformations of the fabric of our society, though one could argue that the Patriot Act transformed our concepts of privacy and law enforcement.

  • ||

    'Right' does not equal Republican, as 'Left' does not equal Democrat.

    Republicans and Democrats passed the Patriot Act together--the Right and Left made their positions on that fact known. Both had large components against it. The size of the component against it on the Right hasn't changed with the election of a Dem Congress and President, the size of the Left component against has grown markedly smaller.

  • ||

    El Duderino,
    The basic solution to all your problems would be to stop looking at people as "leftists" or whatever, and start seeing them as individuals. Keep this in mind and keep asking yourself "Is this so fucking hard to remember that everybody acts as an individual?"

  • ||

    Yes, they are all individuals who support leftist causes. I dont need to include that in my explanation because I am talking about the movements and not the individuals.

    Is it so hard to imagine a group of like minded individuals called liberals, leftists, progressives, libertarians, conservatives, republicans, anarchists, Christians, Jews, Buddhists etc. . .

    Individuals acting under a singular mindset towards a singular goal is not always a good thing. Some extreme examples are not hard to come by in history, but I will not list them here or I might get labeled as being overly hyperbolic.

    And since when are they "my" problems. Are you saying that the agenda of the like minded individuals that support the aforementioned causes are right? Do you really want to live in their "utopia".

    I dont know where you get off condescending to me, but it doesnt really do you any good to do it. And now that you have done it, I bet you feel really stupid for having done it.

    You essentially assumed I didn't know that they are all individuals and now you are assuming that because they are all individuals that that somehow changes the fact that they all generally subscribe to the same causes.

    I really expected more from a website called Reason. But apparently it is too difficult for anyone as intelligent and enlightened as yourself to imagine that I wouldn't understand and agree with one of the primary underlying principals of this website/magazine/organization.

    Golly gee I guess I should just go back into the barn and stay out of smart people conversations.

  • GILMORE||

    ""I really expected more from a website called Reason. ""

    Drink.

    Plus, everything you said was already done to death by Eric Hoffer, only better.

  • ||

    Sorry. I'm sure just about anyone can do this better than me so I will drink.

  • ||

    I never said this was a "smart people conversation."

  • ||

    Thats okay, I get cranky when i'm tired.

  • Amakudari||

    How easy would it be for you to just quite you job?

    I understand your point, but I quit my job in SF in April to head to grad school in Japan, and I'm about to quit that to take a job here in Tokyo. And years before that I drove from NC to California with a few thousand bucks and no job leads.

  • ||

    Those are all great things - seriously. But you're not taking into account your time horizon.

    You can quit those things because your time horizon says, "there's something bigger for me yet to come."

    Try telling me you're going to do your Jack Kerouac act when you're 73. Didn't think so.

  • ||

    Good point. The people who have no choice cant be left hanging. Government caused this mess and it must be cleaned up, but you have to start with a broom, you cant just nuke the whole system.

    Here is my idea to fix social security:

    1. nobody currently collecting social security will be denied their money.

    2. people five or so years away from collecting will collect, but at a scaled back rate (you pick the best method for the scaling back).

    3. people under say 45 will not get social security, instead, they will be excused from paying payroll taxes and will be given special tax benefits for contributing into a 401k or an IRA (more than what everyone else is getting, perhaps they get zero tax and then get tax credits for every dollar contributed when they take the money out after retirement age) to pay back the money that was stolen from them.

    I dont have all the answers, but at least this is an idea that might work. Problem is, politicians wont even fucking talk about changing these things.

  • ||

    (1) contradicts (3).

    Social Security benefits to retirees are paid for by current workers. If you're going to excuse everyone younger than 60 from paying into Social Security, where is the benefit money going to come from?

    If the answer is "general revenue", you just ballooned the federal deficit by a staggering proportion.

  • ||

    Younger than 45, not younger than 60.

  • ||

    I am not going to continue paying for my parents social security checks through a middle man that is so terrible at accounting they not only lose the money I gave them, but they also somehow went terribly negative to the point there is currently a run on red ink.

    Something BIG is gonna have to get drastically cut. I say many BIG things should be cut and then they can pass legislation to use those budgets to pay out what remains of the social security tab. Maybe we can kill the department of education, the FCC, the FDA, the USDA, the EPA to start and I am sure then that there would be money left to finish paying the rest of the social security mandate until these people turn into fucking Yoda.

  • ||

    This of course means that we will still be paying taxes, but at least we will be paying for something that will inevitably end rather than paying for the other listed boondoggle programs that seem to exist for no good reason but to slow down or freeze completely the engine that drives us into the future.

    When Glenn uses a chalkboard, it is showmanship, he doesnt really need it what with all the tech he has on the set. When teachers are still using chalkboards, then there is something completely fucked up about our public education system as there are much more effective ways to present information in an interactive and visully expressive manner. I only point this out to say that canceling the DOE for example may actually help society and using those tax dollars to finish paying the last few social security recipients will help terminate a broken system in a slow and responsible manner.

    Of course, I am open to better ideas. The more we talk about these things in public, the more it will become acceptable for politicians to talk about them too.

  • Robert||

    When teachers are still using chalkboards, then there is something completely fucked up about our public education system as there are much more effective ways to present information in an interactive and visully expressive manner.


    I have yet to see a device that allows me to stand, walk, and engage with the material and the audience in a sizable room simultaneously as a wall board does. I could imagine something that would let me come close -- a handheld pad xmitting to a flat panel display -- but it lacks the function of words and diagrams flowing directly from my hand where they can see it. I could even imagine simulating that with a suitable cursor, but since it would come to the same thing as the low-tech arrangement, why bother?

  • ||

    This is just one. The company I work for uses this technology and it is very effective.

    www.smarttech.com

  • Robert||

    The demo video wouldn't play for me.

  • ||

    LOL, me either. Believe me they are better at making smart boards than functional websites. The basic model is like a giant iPad that one can draw on and push computer content to via a network. You could basically do anything a computer can do, but add in the ability to write all over it and that writing can be saved to file.

    A teacher could outline various boards in advance of a class and then he/she wont have to waste time writing it all out during class, but rather they can just fill in the blanks.

  • Robert||

    True, but students can't take the info in much faster than it can be written. As for supplying pre-written info, that's what print is for. Or if not print, any other text and/or graphic medium that can be taken in some time other than in the classroom. Classes are for presenting a little bit of material and discussing it, despite the French use of the word "lecture" to mean reading.

  • ||

    Think of pre-written as a prepared slide show of small bits of easy to understand information. You can also use this technology as a simple whiteboard in the way you would a regular whiteboard.

    The advantage is that you can present content in a multitude of ways and interact with the content.

    Also, lecture is not always a useful learning method. some people, including myself, learn by doing. The interactive and networked aspect of this type of tech allows for more interaction. You can use it as social learning space where all of the kids in the class can interact.

    I only point this tech out because it is the closest analogue to a chalkboard, but who says this method is the best method. If schools had to compete for funds, they would find the best ways to teach.

    The problem is always the same. The mechanical loom brought us the word sabotage. The industrial revolution brought us a social reaction against the mechanical innovations that reduced labor costs. If you need proof of this, just look at all the horror literature and movies about robots run amok that have come out since the industrial revolution. Technology has the potential to reduce our need for teachers and privatization of schools threatens union protected compensation and benefits packages -- does anyone thing they aren't going to fight back? Just because they fight back does that make this type of progress wrong?

  • Amakudari||

    Like I said, I was aware of your point.

    Nonetheless, this isn't some Kerouac act that I would ask of seniors. It's that seniors are demanding their SS paid in full, with generous interest, despite having voted for and maintained a system before I was born that will pay me somewhere around 75% of benefits under optimistic circumstances.

    It's not like the issues were unforeseen. They were in public discussion at least since the Greenspan Commission. But those who kept that system for their kids just figured (at least subconsciously) they could fuck over my generation long enough to collect.

  • ||

    I've quite many jobs. I quite a job during the recession that came after 9/11.

    In many ways, my life has always improved from my quitting jobs I hated. I have been perfectly mobile now for over a decade. I do not own a home, I lease a car and I have enough savings so I can quite my current job anytime I want and live comfortably for a year or two.

    The financial crisis is the same as the social security crisis. People bought houses they couldn't afford. They became tied to those houses as the work day in and day out to finish their 30 year mortgages. In so doing, they have had to commit to jobs that were close to the home they were spending every dime to pay down. They enslaved themselves unknowingly. The social security situation is the same. People are counting on social security as a source of income when they come of age. Many people have spent the money they should have saved and when they retire, they will be dependent on social security. They have become slaves of the social security system as they are now out of time to all of a sudden decide to start saving money, that ship has already sailed, they should have started saving from day one of their first day of work.

    If two years ago, you were to tell people they should sell their houses and become financially nimble, they would have buried you up to your neck in sand and stoned you to death. They had already invested their lives in their homes and their homes represent a good portion of their "equity" and besides, home ownership is the American dream. Even today, people are still clinging to the homes they still cannot afford, hence all the bailouts.

    People will come around, but it will take a generation and it will require a major cultural shift. That shift began with the first tea party and the 8/28 rally was the moment when that cultural shift was hardened and passed down to the generation that will see it through.

    Of course none of this was explicitly stated at the 8/28 rally, but financial responsibility is an extension of the concepts of personal responsibility and the individual liberty-centric world view the religious concepts of personal responsibility naturally promote.

  • ||

    Many people have spent the money they should have saved and when they retire, they will be dependent on social security.

    It's hard to blame them for that when 12% of their income has been taken to finance Social Security.

  • ||

    I am not blaming them, but many believe social security is some sort of pension plan. Because they know they have some sort of safety net, they are more willing to take risks with what little money they actually have in their wallets. This is the moral hazard of entitlement programs in general.

    If you ever go to a financial adviser, they will show you a graph that tells you about how much you could expect to take home when you start collecting social security, that conversation is designed to show people that they will not be taking much home from that particular program. Unfortunately, most people do not talk to financial advisers so they do not really know what their income situation will look like once they retire. When I saw that graph for the first time, I asked around to see if it was accurate. Rest assured, it is very accurate and in some cases may overstate your social security benefit based on an overly rosy outlook on your yearly pay increases.

  • ||

    A "non-demonitional" god? ... that's a pretty amusing typo.

    As Nick suggests, America has a long tradition -- certainly including the founding fathers -- of non-denominational deism. Denominations are a people thing, not a god thing.

  • ||

    You seem to have missed the typo. Look closely at the line you cut and pasted.

  • Mo||

    Sarah, you totally missed the point of the statement and instead would rather annoy everyone with pointing out grammar errors.

    Shelby, I agree with you, very well put!

  • ||

    Mo you and Sarah totally missed the point of the original statement, which was pointing out a typo, not saying anything about denominations.

  • ||

    heller, why do you think god has to be deminitional? I find non-demonitional gods much more salubrious. ;-)

  • ||

    Shelby, why do you have no sense of humor?

  • BeltwayLurker||

    Here never was an antiwar movement. It was an anti-Bush, anti-not-Socialist movement.

  • ||

    At lease you are a succinct idiot. That's something you've got on some of these other commenters.

  • VikingMoose||

    well spake!

  • MNG||

    I can see how traditional Christians feel like their nation is becoming "less Christian." If you grew up in an age of prayer at public events and heavily censored television and you now turn on the tv and there's Jersey Shore and a President with a Muslim name, then you could understandably think the country you grew up in had changed quite dramatically.

  • ||

    Don't forget The War on Chritsmas™, never forget.

    Oh, and the oppression, the horrible, horrible oppression!

  • ||

    Do you think that they yearn for heavily censored television?

    As I was a seven to twelve year old from 1970-1975, I pine for Karen Carpenter, the Stylistics and Chicago, the 14 game NFL season, ball games being ball games and not "events" where fans are constantly bombarded by snippets of baby boomer pop rock cultural phenomena and lots of other cool stuff; I do not yearn for Kent State, J. Edgar Hoover, E. Howard Hunt or just three VHF channels and PBS.

  • Adonisus||

    If I here one more Christian Right activist rant about Christians being oppressed in America....I'm going to crucify them.

    Seriously, I'd like them to go to some places where Christians are ACTUALLY opressed, where Christians face violence and even death for their faith. Where they have to meet in secret because they're afraid of being attacked by either government hit squads or non-christian fundamentalists who want the heads of 'infidels' on pikes.

    Then I'll ask: "Do you REALLY think Christians have it so bad in America?"

  • Robert||

    I think what bothers them is lack of proportional representation. If they're nominally 90% of the country's population, why isn't 90% of everything Christian? So why are mass media disproportionately Jewish, and why does gov't have to be secular? I wouldn't call it oppression, but I can see how some would feel like their side's short changed.

  • Amakudari||

    They love to trot those statistics out (I think it's closer to 75% now), but professed faith has little to do with actual beliefs. Only 20% or so of American Christians attend church regularly (which presumably includes those reluctant spouses and kids), which means you probably have 15% tops of deeply religious Christians. Yeah, some folks are religious and don't attend and whatnot, but the bottom line is that most American Christians are pretty secular.

    None of that goes against your point, I'm just saying that the idea of a united US Christian majority is pretty illusory.

  • CJ||

    Do you REALLY think Republicans/Democrats are so bad in America?

    Things being far worse elsewhere in the world doesn't preclude them from being bad enough to complain about here.

  • Rrabbit||

    I think Rethuglicans and Demolishers are worse. US Congress basically is the largest criminal organization in the US.

  • ||

    I feel the same way about feminists.

  • ||

    Seeing as you're sponsoring violence towards Christians... and seeing as how pop culture and media have been demonizing Christianity for the past thirty years or so (quick: when was the last time you saw a Baptist preacher character in ANY movie or television show who WASN'T a rapist, child molester, mob-violence leader, gaybasher, total 'tard or thief?) I'd say that the Christians have a point.

  • BeltwayLurker||

    When Obama was going to Church before throwing Wright under a train.

  • ||

    If I here one more Christian Right activist rant about Christians being oppressed in America....I'm going to crucify them.

    Good one, lol

  • ||

    Our government is owned by and importing those oppressors, so they have a valid point. They are speaking out while they still wield influence. Look what has happened to France.

  • JohnD||

    Try that with me you gasbag. Some Christians don't take to threats against their religion.

  • ||

    You should beat the shit out of him, just like Jesus would.

  • BeltwayLurker||

    Jesus can kick Buddah's ass any day.

  • ||

    One of the things Beck is tapping into, and this was noticed by Gillespie, was the disdain for Bushism among the attendees at Beck's rally. Palin, being the shrewd politician that she is, avoids Bush and Bushism like the plague, because she gets that the libertarian critique of Bush has taken hold among the rank and file much more so than a lot of people here suspect.

    Obama is making Bush look like Pericles in comparison, but a lot of movement people get that Bush put the coup de grace on the Reagan Coalition.

    Palin, for her part, is attempting to rebuild that coalition for her benefit, and only defends Bush when she has to out of party loyalty (for instance, over the tax cuts or the Surge). The success of her efforts, and those of other Movement conservatives, will hinge on their ability to transcend Bushian pork politics-which were always different from the liberals more in degree than in kind.

  • Some Guy||

    Palin, being the shrewd politician that she is, avoids Bush and Bushism like the plague

    Aside from the lack of a Y chromosome and a dad who was President, how is Palin actually different than Bush?

  • ||

    Spoken like a person who knows nothing about either subject.

  • Some Guy||

    So enlighten me then. How is she different?

  • ||

    Bush and other Rockefeller Republicans still run the Republican party machine and naturally dislike Palin, just as the Murkowskis did in Alaska. Neocons were lame ducks last go and are fading away from relevance. But they're not gone yet. They have made deals where they can with the Obama administration, because they are Beltway creatures. Palin is the wild card, the revenge of John McCain, anti-establishment.

  • ||

    The solution, offered by Beck and other speakers and certainly most of the people we talked with in the crowd, was "embracing" God and putting him back in the center of our lives, both private and public.

    Glenn, you second rate tabloid Huckabee, kiss my ass.

  • ||

    Do you think god is going to save you for being stupid? He doesn't save stupid people, Abel.

  • ||

    I think you're taking Christian God too literally in this context. What this really means is that the Country should place its trust in something greater than ourselves, rather than in Man. This faith in Man's State is why they believe that the loss of God in the country's heart has led to progressivism.

  • ||

    There is nothing "greater" than mankind. We are all we have. When we abdicate our responsibility to think, we give up any right to rule ourselves, and we open the door to the dictatorship of the collective. It's happening now and has been, incrementally, for decades.

  • ||

    Morality is greater than humankind - by which i mean it is something we recognise through reason and judgement rather than create.

  • ||

    Morality is greater than humankind

    You're right in your observation that we as humans don't "create" (or invent) our own attributes. We are what we are: volitional animals. But morality is an attribute of what it means to be human. It isn't "greater" than man any more than speed and agility are "greater" than cheetahs.

  • Ben P.||

    I may quote this in places, because it's such a very pithy statement. Do you have a preferred way to pronounce your symbol-name or write it out in letters?

  • ||

    No. It's just a Windows alt character. I entered it by accident one day and I liked it. Some people call me the Sun. Others call me Bernice. I prefer the Sun, as I enlighten all around me with my radiance.

  • Ron L||

    As you certainly do.

  • ||

    So basically anybody with a message who is remotely capable of reaching an audience is a "second rate tabloid Huckabee?"

    This comment is useless. If you disagree with Beck, then you should articulate your disagreement and make an actual point. Being a TV personality isn't a bad thing any more than being an author or a musician is a bad thing. Invoking God to convey a truthful message is not a bad thing either. Prove me wrong or stop wasting time.

  • ||

    Since I was too subtle for you, let put it in easily digestable bites.

    Anyone who thinks that the lack of religion in America is causing our difficulties and proposes that

    The solution, offered by Beck and other speakers and certainly most of the people we talked with in the crowd, was "embracing" God and putting him back in the center of our lives, both private and public.


    is a fucking idiot on the par with that ignorant hillbilly whackjob preacher, Huckabee.

    Get it now?

  • ||

    Well, you've certainly demonstrated the depth and insight of your argument.

  • ||

    If you think that placing more creches in front of city halls or invoking Yahweh when passinf legislation is going to solve anything, you are indeed an idiot.

  • JoshINHB||

    You're missing the whole point of 'returning to god'.

    Its an attempt to restore morality, including responsibility for your own actions, self reliance and respect for others.

    When society becomes a collection of individuals all trying to screw everyone else before they get screwed then democracy collapses.

    The US is dangerously close to that point.

  • Ben P.||

    Except -- and I could be misreading your intent here, or the intent of the marchers and their ilk, or maybe you and the marchers are just misreading each other, I dunno -- I am under the impression that the whole point of 'returning to God' is in trusting that God will provide and that God will protect and that God has the power.

    You know, kind of a submission to God, only without the Islam label.

    How is that taking responsibility, or relying on oneself, again?

    If I *have* misjudged, and the crowd that wants us to turn back to God is fully okay with us having free will, using free will, being creatures of free will, then I do, sincerely, apologize for my comprehension error, and to some extent, I will even agree with the sentiment.

    But last I looked, 'returning to God' does not quite seem to mean the Libertarian paradise that would normally be implied by responsibility, self-reliance, and respect, at least when used by the crowd currently using it.

  • ||

    Yeah, you misread pretty much everything, Ben.

    A Christian is supposed to pray as if everything depends on God, but also work as if everything depends on himself.

  • ||

    One of the many concepts you got from us Jews

  • ||

    Religion, for most part, is a template for people to model their personal behavior. While some people in the past have misinterpreted the messages of their religion, most people use their religion as a moral compass.

    Most religions are directed at the individual. Individual actions are guided by the core principals of the religion.

    Let me make this point clear so you don't get confused. If a group of people acting from a similar core set of principals is what we call a civil society.

    If it makes you more comfortable with the message, why don't you replace the word God with love.

    Your basic argument is that Glenn Beck is an idiot. But I am using the word argument very loosely here as there is no rational argument presented in your post. Simply saying he is an idiot doesn't prove he is an idiot. I do know however that generally speaking calling someone an idiot is an easy way to take a jab without having to commit any thought to the jab.

    Because you cannot make a point supported by evidence and you are unable to articulate a rational argument, I can say that you are an IDIOT and I have proven it!

    Enjoy your ignorance as it is the only honest thing you will be able to truly enjoy.

  • Xenocles||

    "Too subtle for you" = "failed to communicate my point"

  • ||

    Or = does not really have a point.

  • JohnD||

    Screw you too J sub D, you ignorant POS.

  • Tom||

    JsubD and Ben,

    How the hell did all these christians find this article? Was it linked from google news or some christian/beck site?

  • ||

    I am a "Christian" and to answer your question, I was praying for answers and a guy with a long silver beard hovered in the azure sky above and said "you can find the answers you seek go to http://reason.com/blog/2010/09.....a#comments and bring forth the truth to the unenlightened."

  • ||

    Could you sent him back here? He just stopped playing his flute and went wandering off. Now the piping isn't incessant enough and it's getting on my nerves.

  • ||

    My god plays the tuba... must have been the wrong god fella. Sorry.

  • Johnny Longtorso||

    If you feel we haven't "undone" the turning away in the 60s and 70s and doubt the sincerity of politicians declarations of faith, the fact that we're not moving toward secularism as quickly as we did during the 60s is a small comfort.

    I say this as an agnostic who is perfectly happy w/ moving toward secularism. It was the "submit to our Godly Leader, George W Bush, or else" teaching in the church that made me agnostic in the first place.

    You can't pitch "fundamental transformation", then complain that your opponents are exaggerating the extent of your goals.

  • Slap the Enlightened!||

    As usual, I think Derbyshire got it right.

  • ||

    Good piece. Thanks for the link.

  • Robert||

    I don't think there was a movement toward secularism in the 1960s. I think secularism had been in place for a generation by then, and if anything was experiencing a reversal that started in the 1950s as part of the Cold War.

  • ||

    This is exactly correct. The 50s emphasis on science and progress was very secular and typical of the GI generation's lifelong interest in building civil institutions. The 60's Awakening was a backlash against all that sterile space age rationalism. The Boomers who lived though it became very much more spiritual than their (Silent and GI) parents and (Lost) grandparents ever were. New age hippies are at one end of the spectrum, and evangelical Christians generally at the other. We won't hit our secular zenith again until Boomers are too old to influence policy.

  • Max||

    The "proto-libertarian" remark at the end gives the whole thing away. Ideological hacks like Gillespie are incapable of serious analysis because they're always looking for confirmaion of their fucked-up worldview. Ron Paul probably thought the racists who subscribed to his newsletter were proto-libetarians, too.

  • Tanya||

    lol wut?

  • Hugh Akston||

    Max, did it hurt when that tamping iron shot through your skull? It seems like a strange question, but I wonder if your body even has time to process that kind of trauma before you black out.

    I just wonder how it compares to the chronic pain you live in every day as a sad, lonely sociopath whose unhealthy fixation with a Texas congressman causes him to waste his time among people whose only feelings toward him are contempt and pity.

  • ||

    I like Max, he's like our pet.

    Ever have one of those evil curs that chews all your stuff but sometimes he's so darn cute, like when he's chasing his own tail, that you just can't bring yourself to take him out back and shoot him?

  • Hugh Akston||

    I could never shoot a dog. That's what burlap sacks and rivers are for.

    Though in Max's case I wouldn't feel comfortable trying it until he slimmed down to around 350.

  • Xenocles||

    I could never shoot a dog. That's what burlap sacks and rivers cops are for.

    FIFY.

  • Spiny Norman||

    Well, okay, so we don't want to shoot him, but can't we take him to the pound?

  • -||

    Why not simply ignore it?

  • Hugh Akston||

    Just tell the other trolls that we gave him to a nice family on a collectivized farm.

  • -||

    Or ignore him.

  • ||

    Ideological hack?

    "Yes, hello, Mr. Kettle? Yes, I thought you should be aware that it has come to my attention - and this is after much discussion and deliberation of a commmittee formed to look into the matter - that you have been determined to be, in fact,eh....black. Good day, sir."

    You are such a choad, Max....

  • Max||

    Once again, I drag out the tired old lie about Ron Paul being a racist. The ends justify the means.

  • Max||

    Stop using my handle you Nazi fucks. You Ron paul cocksuckers claim to be so tolerent. I'm really tired of who ever is spreading that vomit eater shit. None of your fucking business what I do.

  • Max||

    So quit talking about how my Mom and I have sex.

  • Tony||

    Fake Max,

    I like having people spoof me for two reasons. One, it's flattering, and two, I can credibly disavow any comment.

  • Tony||

    Said disavowment happens, of course, from the computers strewn about my multiple residences, or via wi-fi from a laptop at my private beach.

    But I'm concerned about the poor.

  • Tony||

    FIFY, your wealth envy is showing.

  • Mr. FIFY||

    Wasn't me. Besides, I don't subscribe to the idea of "that person has more money and stuff than I do, therefore they must be punished and even then I'll still hate them because they obviously either stole it or inherited it"ism.

    I'm a proud capitalist pig, even if I will never be a multi-millionaire. None of my business if people ARE such, either.

  • Max||

    I secretly want to suck off Ron and Rand Paul at once. Not so secretly now, I guess.

  • Ron and Rand Paul||

    We don't want any part of this.

  • ||

    Stop using my handle you Nazi fucks. You Ron paul cocksuckers claim to be so tolerent. I'm really tired of who ever is spreading that vomit eater shit. None of your fucking business what I do.

    Could you at least tell us one thing. Are you really the Max in those 4chan videos?

  • Max||

    Part of me says don't even bother to dignify that shit with a response. It doesn't do the world any good to react to ridicule designed to hurt those engaged in mere consensual actions that are no ones business.

    Often I just call you names just to see how you respond. But there are times I wonder if you libertarians have any spec of humanity in you.

    I should not justify this crap, but I will anyway because I am so tired of it. I have never seen those videos, and having never eaten vomit, I can safely say, that it isn't me.

    So, go away, fuck off, and die. Short of that, leave those vomit eaters alone. They aren't hurting anyone.

  • ||

    ARFARFARFARFARFARFARFARFARFARFARFARFARFARFARFARFARFARF

  • Unenlightened||

    Um, it's the anti-intellectualism of this bowel movement that prevents me from giving it any meaningful gravitas.

    To speak about it at any length is akin to scatology.

  • Peter Griffin||

    I agree as well, shallow and pedantic.

  • Unenlightened||

    Um, it's the anti-intellectualism of this bowel movement that prevents me from giving it any meaningful gravitas.

    To speak about it at any length is akin to scatology.

  • Unenlightened||

    iPad is double posting, sorry bout da kinks.

  • ||

    iPad? Speaking of bowel movements...

  • hmm||

    And intellectual movements have faired better? I think making the argument that the people are stupid, or that the people are smarter is a dangerous road to travel with respect to movements both political and populist throughout history.

  • Mr. FIFY||

    It's not "anti-intellectualism" to be against the idea of having self-appointed experts from Team Red AND Team Blue in Congress and the White House, claiming to be able to fix all our problems because they're college-educated/"godly"/champions of secular-socialist elitism/champions of morality-at-gunpoint.

    Fuck all that. I want competent, limited-government politicians, not control freaks with Rs and Ds after their names.

  • ||

    Ahh yes you have just dusted off the tried and true "they are all stupid" argument. I vaguely remember using this against my sister when I was seven. SHE NEVER ASKED TO BORROW MY BIKE GODDAMMIT!

  • ||

    He or she is an iPad user. What do you expect?

    Once you convince yourself that USB ports and Flash aren't important for a tablet to have, you can believe anything.

  • ||

    Those are all things one might find on a PC, but why would Apple want to use those things, they are apple.

    Full disclosure, I have an iPod Touch. It is good for what it is supposed to be used for, but I would not spend another 500 - 800 dollars to get an iPod touch that doesnt fit in my front pocket.

  • Amakudari||

    Eh, there are only three things my computer uses Flash for on the internet: YouTube, banner ads and flash-based websites. The latter two suck, and the former encodes in H.264 anyway.

    USB ports are another story.

  • ||

    Item number 3578 of Christ knows how many in Nick's seemingly endless quest to mine a few kernels of corn from the stinking shitpile of nativism and overall smallmindedness that is teabaggery.

    I don't want to be ruled by the Obamaites any more than you do, Nick. But at the same time I am not going to delude myself that these Beck followers are even useful idiots--they're not. But for them, you may be.

  • Max||

    You're not saying that they're not idiots, right? They're just not useful. But Gillespie might be both. Good point.

  • ||

    Your puppy love crush on Nick is actually kinda cute, Max.

  • hmm||

    I bet he scrolls Nick all over his desk mat.

  • ||

    Maybe tries out his name as if they were married.

    Max Gillespie

  • Max||

    I want him to flog me with his jacket.

  • ||

    They don't rise to the level of even useful idiots--but as to run-of-the-mill idiots (or worse), they contain no shortage.

  • Max||

    I'll believe anything Olbermann tells me, though. No need to think - just believe.

  • Olbermann||

    Yes, my minion. Lap it up. This pleases Olbermann.

  • Atanarjuat||

    @ 1:48..."uh, can I point the camera at your tits?" "sure"

  • Atanarjuat||

    3:30 too...the camera guy is a perv!

  • ||

    Right after the "god help us" tits a fat dude is slamming a capri sun like it's his last drink. Also he is holding a lunchables box.

    Paid actor?

  • ||

    Capri sun and lunchables are both kraft food products...

  • Hugh Akston||

    Which I'm sure is a subsidiary of Koch, Inc.

  • hmm||

    Koch also provides the petroleum used in the packaging of Lunchables and Capri Sun products.

  • ||

    Through intense googling I have found a Koch Meats out of Chicago(!), that apparently has some dealings with Kraft...and the jews.

  • Spiny Norman||

    And Kraft was spun off of Philip Morris, so it's clearly all tied in with Big Tobacco.

  • Robert||

    Then who is Small Tobacco?

  • ||

    Koch Meat? Sounds delicious...

  • ||

    Can't believe it took someone over 6hrs to make that joke, jeez guys.

  • ||

    Tube steak...

    Sorry, too obvious? I'm trying hard to be post modern here.

  • hmm||

    Someone needs to open a sushi bar called the Kochtopus Roll.

  • hmm||

    Or a strip club.

  • prolefeed||

    Both of the T-shirts pointed at had interesting / relevant stuff printed on them, and neither set of tits was all that great, so I think the cameraman has plausible deniability.

    It's not like he pointed at t-shirt clad tits like these

  • ||

    You had that search bookmarked didn't you?

  • Apogee||

    Who doesn't?

  • ||

    Yeah I was just making sure I'm like everyone else.

  • ||

    (*) (*)

  • Esteban||

    This is a partisan movement, a republican movement, no matter how much people say it isn't. Just like how the strong anti-war rallies under bush died when Obama became president, this movement will die once republicans get in power (republicans who will continue their big government, spending ways). People in the movement like it say it isn't partisan to try to give it more credibility.

    Basic politics for most people is about culture; the anti-bush war protesting people weren't protest the war as much as they were protesting bush and his middle america down to earth small town persona. This is evident as in the fact that once Obama took charge, a guy on "their team", the movement literally died in its tracks. This is the same to say for the tea party/beck movement. They aren't protesting the spending as must as they are Barack Obama, this smart liberal elite who doesn't fit into their cultural image. "War" and "Spending" are just rallying cries for these partisans to rally together.

    This would not be happening under a republican president, no matter how much the republican president would be spending.

    It is a shame to me these people get associated with libertarians in anyway.

  • ||

    A lot of these people were mad as hell about TARP, which occurred while Bush was still in office.

    While saying they are pissed about the whole decade is probably a stretch, I can see them being pissed at post-2006 Bush (bailouts & immigration reform).

  • Amakudari||

    To which the standard rejoinder from the left is, "when were the first rallies?"

    And they were after Obama's inauguration in early 2009. Debate over TARP began in September 2007. I don't really know how you argue with that.

    Maybe I'm missing something, but while I'm sure there are people that are pissed at both presidents, I get the feeling some of them disavow Bush out of necessity, not genuine principle.

  • Mr. FIFY||

    Fuck the left. Ask 'em why MoveOn.org didn't exist until it came into existence.

  • SIV||

    Debate over TARP began in September 2007. I don't really know how you argue with that.

    Easy. TARP wan't proposed until Fall of 2008.

  • Amakudari||

    My mistake. I don't know why I said '07.

    In any case, a good ways before any real protest movement.

  • Amakudari||

    And the market peaked in Oct '07, so Sept '07 was still in the good ol' euphoric days post-Bear Stearns hedge fund collapse and prior to AIG and the whole Bear Stearns collapse.

  • Mackeral Snapper||

    In any case, a good ways before any real protest movement.

    Congressional and White House Email inboxes,telephone lines,and snailmail boxes were flooded to unprecedented levels before TARP was signed. McCain's support for it ensured his defeat.Tea Party protests began as soon as it was obvious Obama intended to continue and expand upon such policies.

  • ||

    In any case, a good ways before any real protest movement.

    Dude, you're talking four months. It takes a while for anger to fester enough for a physical protest movement to materialize.

    The Iraq war had become pretty unpopular for a long time before the anti-war protests got big.

  • ||

    Especially among the regular Joes and Janes who go to Tea Party rallies. The fact that they didn't hit the streets for X months just shows they're not the standard-issue students/union workers/professional demonstrators who do that sort of thing all the time.

  • Amakudari||

    It was a bad example, and I should have used AIG, Fannie, Freddie, Bear, the stimulus, or other issues that came before. We were on a bailout/quantitative easing mania before TARP. And TARP's not something that should take a bit of time to set in; it was a $700 billion bailout of the very banks that would keep paying out huge bonuses (to non-execs), including in Q4 of '08.

    I mean, think about happened in response to TARP: Congresscritters got flooded with responses from their constituents saying not to vote for it. The people who were against it rallied quickly. I'm just saying these people are not the same as today's Tea Party, which was additionally spurred by a Democratic administration and Congress. I don't buy that they're AstroTurf or intentionally Republican, but I do think it will flicker out with Republicans in charge. Everything I'm saying will be falsifiable in early 2012, so we'll see.

    The rhetoric is in many ways libertarian. But we've seen this from social conservatives and anti-tax-pro-spending types before, and it didn't end well.

  • Amakudari||

    The Iraq war had become pretty unpopular for a long time before the anti-war protests got big.

    Well, I'd say they only got big after Bush's reelection, sometime in 2005, when opponents really did outnumber supporters in the US. Protests were big outside the US years before that. TARP was immediately unpopular, and the consequences were immediately known.

    And the wars are still massively unpopular, but you don't see as much protesting, do you? That's because it was always a coalition of real anti-war protesters and political opportunists. Likewise, I figure the Tea Party or Restoring Honor attendees will be used for Republican political gain and then tossed to the curb.

  • ||

    I guess the Vietnam War protesters were hypocrites because they didn't start demonstrating en masse during the Eisenhower administration when the first troops were sent, nor when JFK escalated it. They just hated southern beagle torturers.

  • ||

    +1 for the LBJ reference I suspect most folks here are too young to get.

  • Apogee||

    Unfortunately, I got it.

  • JoshINHB||

    Johnson claimed Him liked it.

    http://www.google.com/imgres?i.....29,r:0,s:0

  • Amakudari||

    I'm pretty sure I could drum up a few reasons to call some of the leftist protesters from that era hypocrites.

    This would be a more appropriate argument if they had tolerated Vietnam through JFK and LBJ and waited until Nixon to start protesting. Or that they stopped right after Nixon got elected because they were secret political operatives (in reality, of course, they protested when he initially escalated the war).

    Vietnam War protesters started protesting with a Texan in office and stopped when the war was over. Iraq War protesters started with a Texan in office and stopped when he left, not when the war ended. Protests these days are small compared to what they were in 2005-2007. I'm calling those two different.

  • ||

    The more relevant point is that liberal elitists had no problem with Vietnam when a glamorous Harvard man was fighting a war there, only when a rural hick took over; then they were horrified. LBJ, the Sarah Palin of his day.

  • ||

    The first rally was at the polls November 2, 2008 when the Republicans were unanimously voted out of power. People were so angry about TARP that they voted for a socialist, not seeing much difference between Obama and Bush, as Nick pointed out. Now I'm going to call you stupid, because only an idiot would refuse to acknowledge the economic collapse September 15 had a direct effect on the election, and that people protest when the next election is years away. Voters were trying to get Obama's attention, but since he resents that as a distraction from his #1 priority, himself, then his lapdogs call these protesters teabaggers, nativists, bigots, populists, Nazis, "bitter clinger" assholes, etc.

  • Amakudari||

    There is a difference between the elective majority of Americans who were sick of bailouts under a Republican president and voted for the other guy and the Tea Party, just as there is a difference between people who voted out Republicans in the 2006 midterms and anti-war protesters.

    And yes, people protest when elections are years away, and opposition politicians will latch onto it to support near-term goals and later-term elections (see: Democrats in 2005-2008).

    But thanks for calling me stupid. You really got me there.

  • Tony||

    Yet they worship Saint Ronald Reagan whose immigration policy idea was blanket amnesty, who exploded deficits beyond anything the country had ever known, and who raised taxes.

    And if you think TARP is a greater crime than say the Iraq war then there's something wrong with you.

    This entire movement, the whole thing, is just a reaction to the party in power.

  • Mr. FIFY||

    And had McCain won, Team Blue would be just as reactionary to "the party in power".

    Which is a good thing. Embrace it. Your turn will come, Tony, and your Team can be the obstructionist one.

  • Tony||

    The largest drop in approval for Obama has been among liberals (admittedly, their approval rate is still high).

    If McCain had won the economy would probably be in far worse shape, and that would be the least of our problems.

  • Mr. FIFY||

    Yeah, but the economy was gonna suck no matter WHO won, and we'd STILL have troops in places they ought not to be.

    But keep tapdancing over the fact that, no matter who had won in 2008, we'd be fucked, Tony. It's amusing.

  • Tony||

    We wouldn't be fucked if an asteroid landed on a gathering of Senate Republicans.

  • Mr. FIFY||

    You're halfway there, Tony - the asteroid needs to land on the entire Senate.

    Five hundred and thirty-five dead Congressmembers would be a great start.

  • Mr. FIFY||

    If the economy were in far worse shape, how would that be the least of our problems?

    Seriously, Tony, no snark on this one. Please explain your thinking on this one.

  • Tony||

    Because McCain would have died from the stress and we'd have President Palin with her finger on the button. We can only hope that she'd have a sufficient lack of loyalty to the now-deceased president not to fulfill his desire to bomb Iran.

  • Mr. FIFY||

    Yeah, and we'd be in a full-blown depression if the stimulus hadn't happened.

    Nice armchair Nostradamusization, but zero points for credibility, as you cannot predict the future.

  • ||

    That is BS squared, Tony.

    The largest drop in approval was among independents, you utter Nancy.

  • Mr. FIFY||

    The only reason for Obama's approval drop is because of racism, GoW. Didn't you get the memo?

  • ||

    "..who exploded deficits beyond anything the country had ever known.."

    Until...now.

  • Pauly Krugnuts||

    But now is different!

  • John Maynard Keynes||

    Yes! Yes! My death was NOT for nothing!

  • Ray||

    What about the good times when we aren't supposed to have deficits?

  • Robert||

    Why do they have rallying cries that represent something other than what they're about? Why aren't their rallying cries something more relevant to their real desires?

  • ||

    I think that Nick shares my aversion to old white people in tri-cornered hats.

  • Spiny Norman||

    The hats haven't been in fashion since the 18th century, so some of those people must be old indeed.

  • Paul Revere and the Raiders||

    I beg to differ...tri-corners are now!

    http://www.kiwi-us.com/~hitomi/photo.html

  • Libertylover||

    Becks just taking the Hucks for a ride, including the editors of REASON apparently. It's important to note that these "anti-government" folks were the same ones cheering Bush on just a few years ago when he launched the biggest government disaster of the modern era, the invasion of Iraq. These folks didn't question the facts, didn't challenge the illegality of it all, and fell for it hook in mouth (just like they are doing now.)

  • ||

    "these "anti-government" folks were the same ones cheering Bush when he launched the biggest government disaster of the modern era, the invasion of Iraq."

    So were the Democrats.

    BTW know the difference between anti-government and pro-limited-government. I know its hard, but you can do it.

  • Tony||

    There is no difference. You're either for government, or you're against it.

  • ||

    Thanks for the choice, Dubya...

  • ||

    And you are a total straw-tard, too...

  • Tony||

    If you can put down the Logic 101 text for a second you'd realize you're talking to a spoofer.

  • Tony||

    ...though the fake Tony was right about government.

  • Jeffersonian||

    I'm all for government. I'm an enemy of the State. (see also: Nock)

  • Mr. FIFY||

    Not nearly enough government for the statists of both Teams, though. We can't cut even one sliver off of it, else the whole thing will fall apart like a cheap Wal-Mart throw rug.

  • Jeffersonian||

    Cut one sliver off, and people will gasp...then see that civilization didn't end and realize that cutting more slivers off may be even more fun.

  • Libertylover||

    The Democrats in office were spineless in the face of the buildup to the Iraq invasion, no argument there. The majority of folks protesting the invasion were from the left though, there were a few libertarians who voiced concerns as well (not the editors of this mag though.) I really doubt that these Glen Beck teabag types have any consistent philosophy of government though. I think if you were to float the idea of cutting the military budget, maintaining the separation of church and state, allowing Muslims to build mosques anywhere they like on their own private property, opposing further misguided "anti-terrorist" bills that do nothing more than further the police state, opposing state sanctioned execution, ending the failed "war on drugs", and many other things.....you would find them very much in support of large expansive government. They just have a different idea about what that large government should be doing.

  • ||

    I think if you were to float the idea of cutting the military budget, maintaining the separation of church and state, allowing Muslims to build mosques anywhere they like on their own private property, opposing further misguided "anti-terrorist" bills that do nothing more than further the police state, opposing state sanctioned execution, ending the failed "war on drugs", and many other things.....you would find them very much in support of large expansive government. They just have a different idea about what that large government should be doing.

    I think they'd be opposed to waste in the military budget, fine with 'maintaining the seperation of church and state'--if you're referring to the text of the Constitution and not leftist interpretation of that text, Fine with Muslims builing whatever they want on their own property(AND fine with using their First Amendment rights to bitch about what they're building), against anti-terrorism bills that do nothing except empower the police state, and find with most actual libertarian positions.

    They wouldn't be fine with the leftism that has seeped into libertarianism--but hey, who really is except the leftists who are doing the seeping, right?

    Take 'state-sanctioned execution' for example. I have the right to shoot someone who has broken into my home in many states--even the right to kill him. His life is forfeit, to me. For something that could be nothing more than a burglary.

    Why does that forfeiture of life get revoked if he manages to get out of my house? If he manages to rob me? Why can I not hunt him down and get my stuff back--or kill him if my stuff is already gone?

    To return from that somewhat tangental 'example', libertarians accept using deadly force to defend themselves or their homes, so it's not the 'death' part that's the problem.

    It's the state doing the killing that's the problem. Fine, as my tangent says, just let me do it--that's the libertarian solution. Are you good with that? Or is there some other motivation?

  • ||

    I look at all the problems facing America and an inadequate display of religious fervor by the populace is not even on the list.

    We've more Muslims in congress than atheists.*

    * Make that atheists with the balls to profess it openly.

  • BakedPenguin||

    We've more Muslims in the White House than atheists, too!

    Someone had to say it...

  • ||

    You are still missing the point. The point is MOST AMERICANS are religious, but for many of them, they didn't really use their religion as a core set of principals, but rather a thing to do on Sunday morning.

    If you saw a Catholic praying in front of the White house, you would call them a Kooky anti-abortion nutbag bible thumper, but really, they are just praying, or if you prefer, contemplating their own values and hoping that the President is motivated by a similar set of principals. The contemplation allows them to see truths and act in a principled manner, this is how we get good politicians and not idiots.

    When you see a Muslim man praying in front of the White House, do you think they are a terrorist getting ready to blow shit up? No, of course not, they are doing the same exact thing as the Catholic.

    My point is prayer in the public square is socially ugly. Too many people judge and make assumptions about this sort of inward contemplation. I have friends who get offended by it. Praying in public is about as popular as masturbating on a subway. That is not a good thing.

  • GILMORE||

    ""Praying in public is about as popular as masturbating on a subway. That is not a good thing.""

    No, because they amount to the same thing most of the time.

    I say this as someone who is religious, but believe it is best as a private affair. Unless you're setting yourself on fire or something.

  • ||

    There is a difference. Praying in public is the same as any other free expression.

    Masturbating in public is offensive but only because prudish religious zealots say it is and now that is the world we live in.

    All I am saying is that where the religious zealots have made any public display of sexuality offensive, the secular progressives have made prayer offensive. It is a never ending struggle. If you want to do either thing in public, I think you should be able to. That said, you should be prepared for public ridicule at least for the next few generations because social mores dont fade easily or maybe they never will.

    Just because its not popular doesnt mean it should be banned by the government. Nobody is harmed by either one of these acts.

  • Mo||

    they felt cheated and frustrated that their individual lives seemed to be controlled by larger forces and institutions over which they had little or no control

    Welcome to the real world, that's the way things have always been. Sometimes the external forces work in your favor, sometimes they don't. Life ain't fair.

  • hmm||

    When you have to qualify two or more comments in one piece as not being snark, you may need a 12 step desnarking program.

  • ||

    Looks like Nick Fonzarelli has really jumped the snark!

    Oh fuck that's bad.

  • *||

    Actually, I thought that kinda ruled.

  • hmm||

    I concur. Excellent work.

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    For the record, there was an episode of Happy Days where a guy LITERALLY jumped over a shark. And it was the BEST ONE!

  • Ben P.||

    Happy Days jumped the shark? Say it isn't so. Say it isn't... >someone whispers in Ben's ear, whisperwhisper<<br />
    Oh. Dur. Right.

  • ||

    Happy days always sucked.

    The water skiing episode was only good because it diverged so sharply from the regular crappyness of the show.

    Yes it was also crappy but at least it was different crap.

  • ||

    When you explain the joke out loud, Fist, it never helps.

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    Google it, people! It's a quote from the underrated television show Community. (Making me explain my joke is an example of H&R comments nuking the fridge.)

  • ||

    Google what, pussbag? You have finally gone off the fucking deep end, haven't you?

    Did you see that the Pens picked up Mr. Hilary Duff?

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    GOOGLE MY QUOTE, FOOL!

    Anywho, after Whitney left, there was no Penguin I felt had the qualities needed for me to shout at them to get off the ice every game. But now, with the acquisition of Arron Ashole from the Cryers, I have that player. (While you've got the google fired up, do a search on Asham and Cooke and ear biting.)

    I suppose now that Comrie is married to Duff he might not feel the need to sleep with his teammates' wives.

    I foresee discord at Consol.

  • hmm||

    I think a fridge could survive a nuke, but not jumping a shark. Fridges don't strike as shark proof, but definitely nuke proof.

  • ||

    A shark will bite right through a fridge, no doubt about it.

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    So that's what keeps happening to my chum fridge.

  • ||

    That wasn't the Fonz's first jump. Didn't he crash into Arnold's chicken stand?

  • ||

    Y'know, I never got what Fonzie was. Was he a drop out with a job? An adult? Because, at times it seemed he was a 25ish guy who had a way with the sixteen year olds. And that was just creepy.

  • ||

    I don't get it; will this return to Godly Goodness help the all-powerful government to make our lives better?

    How is that different from the Dipshit-in-Chief saying everything will be okay, if only those nasty old republicans would stop interfering with his plan to make the SBA bigger and more powerful?

  • ||

    If the Tea Party movement says anything it's: You intellectuals and elites are not any better at governing than us or anybody else, including the common idiots among us.

    Call it anti-intellectualism if it helps you dismiss it, but they are empirically correct on this point. The smart people have blown it - mostly because as people who define themselves by what they know rather than what they accomplish, they think it's complicated, and thus miss the simple truth of freedom's power and righteousness.

    As Obama said: I don't mind cleaning up after them, but don't do a lot of talking. You've had your turn smart asses, and you blew it. Now get out of our faces - we've got a nation and an ethic to rebuild.

  • mad libertarian guy||

    If the Tea Party movement says anything it's: You intellectuals and elites are not any better at governing than us or anybody else, including the common idiots among us.

    This.

    A liberal education, which I have, or devotion to TEH "Science" or whatever doesn't make one an iota more competent in governing.

    Their line of thought is no different than the religious fervor of portions of the right: education, rather than God, is their higher power and they feel that it somehow makes them more competent/worthy of making decisions for everyone.

    The problem is not the source of righteousness, God or the University, but the seemingly undying need for most people to tell others how they ought to live.

    Until that problem is stamped out we will continue to relive the same shitty dream over and over.

  • West Texas Boy||

    The problem is not the source of righteousness, God or the University, but the seemingly undying need for most people to tell others how they ought to live.

    I am a day late, but this is it. Right here.

  • Tony||

    The day before and the day after the rally Beck attacked the president's religion as somehow not the correct kind of Christianity. Beck, a converted Mormon, spoke while Pastor John Hagee sat directly behind, maybe the most despicable religious figure in the country this side of Fred Phelps. I don't think there's a single sincere bone in Beck's body, and even if there is, who cares? This country needs to be run by a union of the secular-ish tea party and the religious right like it needs a hole in the head.

  • Mr. FIFY||

    No Christian religious figure even comes close to being as despicable as Fred Phelps.

  • Jeffersonian||

    Jeremiah Wright comes close. Also Louis Farrakhan.

  • Mr. FIFY||

    Despicable they may be, but still not nearly as loathsome as Fred.

  • SIV||

    Mmembers of the Westboro Baptist Church helped run Gore's 1988 campaign in Kansas. Phelps' son, Fred Phelps Jr., hosted a Gore fundraiser at his home in Topeka and was a Gore delegate to the 1988 Democratic National Convention.


    Phelps has recently targeted singer Lady Gaga, whom he considers a "simple slut" and a "proud whore"

  • Ragin Cajun||

    Louis Farrakhan is Christian?

  • ||

    No, but he is openly black.

  • Jeffersonian||

    Oops.

  • hmm||

    Did you know Phelps spent his years as an attorney taking civil rights cases no one else would take because the clients were black. At one point his firm alone consisted of upwards of 70% of his local civil rights suits.

    His actions today are distasteful, but at one point he was doing something very similar to what he does today in going against the grain with no remorse and most people would agree it was the correct thing in hindsight. (that isn't to say his actions today will ever be viewed as anything but distasteful)

  • Hate Potion Number Nine||

    And if he walked around at that time carrying signs which said "God Hates Honkeys" I might think you had something of a point.

  • hmm||

    I was just pointing out how things are not as black and white as some would like others to believe. That point should have been fairly obvious to even the most casual of observers with only a passing glance at the statement.

  • ||

    Tony I hate to break it to you but Farrakhan hates gays also.

  • Tom||

    I don't think there's a single sincere bone in Beck's body

    I've never seen Beck's show, but years ago--in my more conservative days--I listened to him frequently; part of the reason I stopped listening (about 5 or 6 years ago), was that I saw him on tour and felt that he was completely insincere. He was fake crying on stage and telling bullshit stories...I knew that he didn't mean a word of it. I even met him, and he seemed like a condescending prick. He surprisingly skeeved me out...he just had that empty, soulless look in his eyes. It gave me that feeling you get when you suspect that someone is a child molester or a potential serial killer. I'm not saying that Beck is either of those things, but something in him just seemed off.

  • ||

    LOL, Glenn Beck is such a dweeb!

    www.anon-surf.at.tc

  • ||

    The people we talked to felt something like cogs in a machine whose shape and size they didn't even understand.

    Sounds like they're ready for Jesus (when is he coming back, anyway?) or some other irrational, canned philosophy that does the thinking for you.

    In some sense, the rally was a giant AA meeting...flush with the notion that whatever else is going on in the world, you can control some portion of your own life.

    And yet, two of the "twelve steps" entail the forced admission that one cannot control one's addictions or compulsions; and recognizing a mystical "greater power." Surrendering your body (and mind) to irrationalism is hardly the answer. That's why an alleged "movement" like this is bound to fail. It's just a blip. Been there, done that.

  • CJ||

    irrational, canned philosophy that does the thinking for you.

    If you can find a philosophy that doesn't meet that criteria, tell me what it is and I can start following it.

    Until then, it seems like every philosophy starts by assuming one principle or another, and assumptions have to be irrational. I don't have any illusions about even my own beliefs being justifiable. If I say everyone deserves equal rights and freedom, where do those ideas come from? They haven't been observed in nature, and it's not that I believe those ideas because I've seen ex post facto evidence of their success. Full freedom hasn't ever happened. I just "feel" that they're true and that they're "self-evident," and all kinds of beliefs follow from those two.

    If beliefs could be justified the same way that math can be justified, I don't know that we'd still be debating politics today outside of third-world countries.

  • ||

    If you can find a philosophy that doesn't meet that [irrational, canned philosophy] criteria, tell me what it is and I can start following it

    It would have to be one that defines its essentials thus:

    1. Metaphysics: Objective Reality
    2. Epistemology: Reason
    3. Ethics: Self-interest
    4. Politics: Capitalism

    You can take it from there.

  • ||

    Say what you like about Objectivists: they always have a full philosophy ready.

    Well done, my good sir.

  • ||

    Bullshit. Their so-called objective principles involve enough question-begging to make Rene Descartes blush.

  • ||

    Keep telling yourself that. It's easier.

  • Mr. FIFY||

    "some other irrational, canned philosophy that does the thinking for you"

    Like the one Obama's trying to pawn off on us?

  • ||

    Yes, indeed. Collectivism.

  • Max||

    Liars! Racists! Ron Pual-cocksuckers!

  • Tony||

    Nothing wrong with collectivism. We elitist intellectuals know that, which is why we should be the only ones in power. We know what's good for you stupid masses.

  • ||

    There's that hate that is so prevalent on the left.

  • Tony||

    That's anti-intellectual bigotry, BigLib. Hate crime.

  • ||

    I don't think I can tell the difference between spoof-Tony and real-Tony, or between real-Tony and a copremetic mongoloid with Tourette's...

  • ||

    I #&%!ing resent that.

  • ||

    That's why you ignore it.

  • ||

    "...they worry about an undocumented fall in morals, and they are emphatic that genuine religiosity should be a feature of the public square."

    This seems to be given as evidence that the crowd there is proto-libertarian rather than libertarian.

    I agree that the idea that "religiosity should be a feature of the public square" isn't a very libertarian idea, but concern for a fall in morals is a very libertarian concern.

    It seems to me that if you want much less government, that morals is the substitute for that. If our behavior isn't constrained by laws, then ethics and morals is all we got. And so, morals and ethics should be extremely important to every libertarian. ...more important than laws.

    We may not have put it so succinctly back during the Bush Administration, but a lot of libertarian arguments against him were essentially moral arguments. The efficacy of torture isn't the argument that sells tickets, for instance--it's the moral argument against torture that really resonates.

    Even the arguments against the bailouts have a major moral component--regardless of whether the bailouts gave us a superior outcome generally, people understand intuitively that it's wrong to force everyone to cough up for the mistakes of a few.

    Sometimes, especially around here, people have become so utilitarian, that they seem to lose sight of the fact that moral questions are entirely relevant and appropriate for libertarians to think about too. Utilitarian arguments about why we should use libertarian solutions are important, but we shouldn't just concede those moral arguments to people on the right (or left).

    It's the moral arguments that really connect with people. When we engage people's morals, that's when we really have a shot at changing people's minds.

  • ||

    concern for a fall in morals is a very libertarian concern

    Not exclusively. It should be everyone's concern. But morality does not come from mysticism. It comes from an understanding of man's unique status in the real world.

  • Mr. FIFY||

    Morals don't necessarily need to be codified into law; logic covers most of the basics, anyway.

    Murder: Should be illegal because it deprives an individual of their most personal of property - their life.

    Rape: Should be illegal because it violates the sanctity of a personal space. No consent = violent intrusion.

    Theft/fraud: Similar, thus included in this example. Again, violates personal property, thus should be illegal.

    There might be a few others, but I'm making this brief, and the point stands - the above transgressions are illegal not necessarily out of religious beliefs, but of common sense.

    Leave the minutiae of morality out of government.

  • ||

    The government of a free people should be concerned with only one thing: protecting the rights of the citizenry. Such a government is not (and should not be) your mommy or your best friend or your banker or your priest or your doctor or your grocer. Such a government should be your army and your courts and your domestic police force.

  • Mr. FIFY||

    No argument there.

  • ||

    Weeeellll...

    I think government should mostly be a shit pot of checks and balances to ensure that government does not exceed its powers. the army, police and courts are minority positions of the total.

  • West Texas Boy||

    Mr Windows Alt-Character,

    Sometimes I think you are a tad bit zealous and hostile, but you are spot on with this one.

    There are a very limited number of things that are the role of government, and none of those things, aside from however you choose to define the mission of the army (ie what exactly is an external threat), should require having an opinion or moral stance.

    Having an opinion or moral stance is the job of the people, in guiding how they interact with one another and respect one another's rights. The government should be in the business of preventing them from pushing their own opinion or moral stance onto other people and it definitely shouldn't be pushing one of its own.

  • ||

    Government doesn't have to legislate morality, and it shouldn't. But it should recognize it. Look at the treatment of adultery in divorce proceedings - indifference to such a selfish act send the message to society that it is acceptable to treat others badly for your own desires. This kind of message is what backs the 'I want free ........!" mantra that undergirds the expansion of the state.

  • Mr. FIFY||

    It's a mighty thin line between legislating and recognizing, GoW. Mission creep is the problem.

  • ||

    Oh absolutely. I'd like us to get over the horrible fact that the State is the only institution we share as a nation. It's why I think the best way to undercut it is by working for all manner of large voluntary organizations like churches and business organisations like the Chamber of Commerce (only not lobbyist) to provide the hidden, and less hidden, rules that undergird a secure society. If ranchers in Texas can make their own land-use arrangements without reference to the actual (stupid) law, then all manner of things can be arranged.

    The problem that a lot of libertarians here have is that they think that if you get rid of the State, you're done. Humanity doesn't work like that: what we need isn't a particular political structure, we need a society based on consent.

  • ||

    The problem that a lot of libertarians here have is that they think that if you get rid of the State, you're done.

    Those individuals aren't "libertarians." They're anarchists. Anarchists aren't concerned with ethical and political concepts, but rather the absence of them. They're the agnostics of politico-economic theory. They replace the state with the whims of the biggest gang.

  • ||

    But the problem of Political structure divorced from the moral impulses of society is still present in your libertarian government. I'm trying to say that this cannot exist in contradiction to the human moral impulse. The state is a form of social organisation - one based on force, but one nonetheless. It is the nature of men to organise their community around certain moral 'truths' that bind them together and allow them to understand the way the community works. We need for those moral truths to be those of self-discipline, personal responsibility, and respect for others' value. Otherwise liberty will fail.

  • ||

    "The problem that a lot of libertarians here have is that they think that if you get rid of the State, you're done. Humanity doesn't work like that: what we need isn't a particular political structure, we need a society based on consent."

    In addition to what some other people have written, I'd point out that there's an inherent contradiction in what you've saying here.

    A political structure is the opposite of a society based on consent.

    There's nothing more consent driven than a free market--when no one has to do anything or even participate without their consent. If I don't like what McDonalds is doing, I don't have to participate--government, to the contrary, is all about forced participation.

    If government isn't about forcing people to do things they don't want to do, then I don't know what it's for. It's supposed to be there to protect our rights--but forcing me to shell out for Wall Street isn't about that.

    So, anyway, I don't think the absence of government is the solution to everything, but I do think it's the solution to a lot of the problems government causes. I would like to propose as well that if the absence of government isn't the solution to everything, then the presence of government can't be the solution to everything either.

    I'd sure feel a lot better if our government were under the control of people who were so reluctant to get involved in things they had no business being involved with, that people actually had to advocate government involvement...

    ...but that's a fantasy world, isn't it? In the real world, there is no shortage of government workers and politicians who advocate involving themselves in more and more of our lives--and libertarianism is the only movement I see that stands up to that and denounces that constant, all pervasive power grab for what it is.

    Consent of the governed? No thanks. I'd be happy to leave you guys to your popularity contest, but not when the purpose is to use that popularity contest to justify forcing me to participate in everything from Wall Street bailouts to bogus healthcare schemes. A society based on consent?

    Why not just have freedom?

  • Mike DeSoto||

    This is the problem with libertarianism. There is a great deal of venting over the things which people do (e.g. buying government favors) but there is nothing in the philosophy which allows for any meaningful response to it. After all, its not killing people.

    So when the state bails out the banks (at the behest of influential and connected people) what response can libertarianism offer? Nothing very useful at all.

  • ||

    "So when the state bails out the banks (at the behest of influential and connected people) what response can libertarianism offer? Nothing very useful at all."

    I think libertarianism is fundamentally opposed to that sort of thing actually.

    The fact that libertarians didn't stop that from happening isn't the fault of libertarianism.

    All we can do is preach the gospel--if the people won't listen (or haven't listened yet), don't blame the gospel.

    People used to ignore the germ theory of disease--that wasn't science's fault. If people ignore libertarian solutions, that isn't necessarily libertarianism's fault either.

  • ||

    But when libertarians go out of their way to construct a movement hostile to religion, or even the most basic idea of a social morality, it is libertarianism's fault.

  • ||

    "But when libertarians go out of their way to construct a movement hostile to religion, or even the most basic idea of a social morality, it is libertarianism's fault."

    I don't think that's the case. There may be atheists who are trying to recast libertarians as being inherently atheist, but that's mostly just a figment of their own imaginations.

    I'm a libertarian--been this way for years. I'm not hostile to religion; in fact, I've spent much of this thread arguing about how important ethics and morality are and should be to libertarians.

    You'll find religious libertarians here--you'll find a few atheist loudmouths too. The latter don't speak for all libertarians or libertarianism.

    You'll find atheists who are hostile to religion just about everywhere--being so loud makes them seem like there are more of them than there are.

    I agree that libertarians should do more to appeal to religious people, but I also think it's true that obnoxious atheists are about as representative of libertarians as Fred Phelps is representative of Christianity.

  • ||

    Government doesn't have to legislate morality, and it shouldn't. But it should recognize it.

    No. Government must be neutral. Enforcement of (any random administration's concept of) morality is not a proper function of government. Morality is the province of philosophy, not law enforcement.

  • ||

    Morality undergirds every human thought and act, including yours. You believe government coercion to be immoral. Most importantly, no government of consent can exist in contradiction to the morality of a society. If we have a democratic government and collectivist moral impulses, those impulses will find reflection in the State. That is why 'consent' in every form, which is a respect for others' worth and autonomy, will have to undergird any more libertarian political arrangement.

  • ||

    "Morality undergirds every human thought and act, including yours."

    You can go way before Rothbard to find that sort of libertarian thinking too.

    Go further back than "Wealth of Nations". Look at Adam Smith's "The Theory of Moral Sentiments"

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Theory_of_Moral_Sentiments

    There's an invisible hand that guides our concept of morality--it's more complicated and efficient than any centrally planned morality can ever be...

    I think it's what Anthropologists would recognize as "culture" or "custom". It's so much better than what some state or government can come up with, and trying to centrally plan such a thing, and force your will on others is fundamentally inefficient.

    And it fundamentally against those evolved morals. Leaving people free to do what they think is right is the essence of libertarianism to me--and that's basically morality. If leaving people free to make their own moral decisions happens to bring about a better utilitarian outcome, that's just icing on the cake for me.

    I don't ever want my behavior limited so that I can only do those things that bring about the most benefit for everyone--and that's where utilitarianism inevitably leads. We're seeing the result of that kind of logic in the Obama Administration.

    You can argue about whether he's right about what's best for everyone--but everything he does, he justifies by saying that individuals have to make sacrifices for the common good, and that what he's doing is the best thing for everyone.

    I wish the American middle would join me in questioning that basic premise--who's to say that I should only be able to do things that are in the best interest of everyone?

    Morality won't let me treat other people badly--even if doing so would give everyone a net benefit. Morality is the natural enemy of the state and everyone who would use it to impose their will on us--so I say up with morality.

  • C.S. Lewis||

    There's an invisible hand that guides our concept of morality--it's more complicated and efficient than any centrally planned morality can ever be...

    Ahem.

    You guys would really like me if you could get over thinking that all Christians are evangelical nitwit teetotalers. We're not.

  • ||

    "You guys would really like me if you could get over thinking that all Christians are evangelical nitwit teetotalers. We're not.
    reply to this"

    Just for the record, not all teetotalers are nitwits.

  • ||

    Again, the point is?

    If you don't want the law telling people what they can and can't do, then what governs people's behavior?

    My answer is morality. Even in Libertopia, I think there should be laws against theft--but the reason I don't go around stealing things has nothing to do with the fear of getting caught.

    I don't steal because it's immoral. There are a lot of people like that, and when it comes to most things, I trust in people's morality much more so than I trust in government.

    Getting government out of the morality business is what libertarianism is all about--and that makes us a fundamentally moral group of people.

    We want morality and ethics to govern their behavior rather than government. ...so pointing out government immorality--like torture, the Drug War, the bailouts, etc. That's what libertarianism is all about.

    The fact that this notion seems odd to so many libertarians just suggests that we've become so utilitarian that we think morality itself is unlibertarian. But that's just baloney.

  • Robert||

    I don't steal because it's immoral.


    Then why do you steal?

  • ||

    how does libertarianism address the fact that different people have a different set of moral values. I believe they tend to be more cultural than moral but none the less I have failed to see how libertarianism address this. I am interested in this as I find myself somewhere between a conservative and a libertarian.

  • ||

    "how does libertarianism address the fact that different people have a different set of moral values."

    That is the best question I've seen in this thread. I hope I can give it the answer it deserves.

    One of the reasons people on the outside get confused about libertarianism and what libertarians want is because so many of us have completely different opinions on things.

    ...but libertarianism can tolerate a lot more dissent within the movement--since we're not talking about the government forcing people to do much of anything.

    Neither the Democrats nor the Republicans, and especially neither the conservatives nor the liberals can say that--and they can't tolerate each other's opinions! ...because they're all about seizing the reigns of power and shoving their opinion down everybody's throats--libertarianism isn't about that.

    There was no room for opposition to ObamaCare if you were a liberal--being a liberal for the moment means supporting the guy who holds the reigns of power as a means to force everyone to do what you want and to stop the conservatives from forcing everyone else to do what the conservatives want. With the conservatives, it's very much the same way--they're gonna seize the reigns of power, and being a conservative means backing all the things the conservatives want to force on everyone else--for their own good!

    Libertarianism is about getting the government out of the forcing other people to do things business. So, you can be religious or militant atheist--but why would a libertarian like me care about other people's religious beliefs so long as their beliefs have nothing to do with me?

    So, being libertarian, we can tolerate all kinds of moral values--that's actually what we're all about. Because moral values are so diverse, the government has very few places where it should legitimately participate in the morality business. That doesn't mean I don't think porn is disgusting and that the consenting adults who create and profit from it are nice people--I don't.

    But morality for most libertarians is for the most part is about how you choose to live your life--but feel free to advocate for whatever morality you think is right. That's your choice too!

    You'll see libertarians around here arguing for the rights of animals--and some who steadfastly denounce such things. We run the whole spectrum.

    You'll hear libertarians talking a lot about "Civil Society" and what that means...

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Civil_society

    Libertarians will stand up for the right of newspapers to print cartoons ridiculing the Prophet--and they'll stand up for the right of Muslims to protest newspapers that offend them...

    I think idea of civil society and what that means addresses exactly what we're talking about here. When the government engages in moral policy, it creates all kinds of problems--and libertarianism is the solution to that. ...because we don't want to seize power and force everyone else to bow to our monolithic libertarian will--we don't even have one. Just an urge for more freedom.

    I don't even really think of us as political in some ways--since we're not trying to impose our views on everyone else. We're more like evangelists that way.

    People like Jesus and Martin Luther King never ran for office, but they had a huge impact on the culture and the way we think about things. As you can tell, some libertarians won't like being compared to religious figures, but in the sense that we're more about changing people's hearts and minds than we are about seizing power and forcing everyone else to do our will--it's kinda like that.

  • ||

    Libertarians will stand up for the right of newspapers to print cartoons ridiculing the Prophet--and they'll stand up for the right of Muslims to protest newspapers that offend them...

    But...

    Libertarians will stand up for the right of Muslims to build whatever they want on their own property--and they'll ridicule and deride the right of non-Muslims to protest structures that offend them...

    At least that was a lot of what I saw at mosquapalooza, no?

    And this--

    With the conservatives, it's very much the same way--they're gonna seize the reigns of power, and being a conservative means backing all the things the conservatives want to force on everyone else--for their own good!

    Conservatives don't really seem to hold together all that well. They act, in fact, a lot like the various skeins of libertarian that post here.

    And they find themselves, just like libertarians, on the outside of the political process looking in.

  • ||

    "...they'll ridicule and deride the right of non-Muslims to protest structures that offend them..."

    That wasn't my position. I stood up for the rights of Americans who are offended by the mosque to protest...

    I saw at least one Reason staffer criticize building the mosque there as insensitive and say that putting a mosque there would put joy in the hearts of militant, America hating Islamists all over the world...

    People are about 10 years too long sick of anything that smacks of Bush era type reactions to Islam--the Bush Administration used that crap to attack all sorts of civil liberties, and it effectively conditioned a lot of libertarians to try to shout that stuff down in the bud.

    But even after that, there were people like me, and at least one Reason staffer who posted their own take on it, who thought this Imam guy was being an insensitive jackass.

    Further, I don't think we should conflate people's take on Gingrich's reaction with anything else. Gingrich called for using various government agencies to try to stop the Mosque from being built--and that just ain't libertarian kosher.

  • ||

    "Morals don't necessarily need to be codified into law; logic covers most of the basics, anyway."

    No shit. Everybody already knows there's a utilitarian argument for everything.

    The point is that we've probably maxed out the utility crowd, and when you want to connect with people, so as to actually change their behavior, you don't engage their logic bone.

    You tug at their heart strings. Some people buy one car over another because of the lower gas mileage--we may have already sold all the cars we're gonna sell with that strategy.

    A lot of people buy a certain model because they saw a picture of a really hot chick standing next to one. They buy modern replicas of Mustangs and Camaros because it reminds them of when they were young. They buy Mercedes and BMWs because it makes them feel successful.

    In the market place for ideas, we'd be really stupid to ignore more than half the market--especially if the goal is to influence mainstream American society.

    Really. The Drug War is immoral. There's nothing wrong with that statement from a libertarian perspective. And if we keep conceding the people those moral arguments appeal to to people like Glenn Beck and Barack Obama, we're gonna keep getting our clocks cleaned by statist jerks like that--over and over again.

  • ||

    You want to use logic exclusively?

    What's the logical reason for keeping at a losing strategy?

    Appealing to people's logic? We may have scored a touchdown or two over the course of a season, but if the Bush the Lesser and Obama Administrations are any indication of the results we're getting from out logic offensive? Then I say we fire the offensive coordinator.

  • ||

    Absolutely - the people I've encountered most ready to change their position on the Drug War are Christians. They have a powerful sense of revulsion towards the cruelty that it enlists, both in action and in what it does to the souls of its victims and perpetrators.

  • Mr. FIFY||

    Well, Ken, if more people can't be rational and logical, and only appeal to their morality bone if you will... we're fucked. And it doesn't matter which Team is in charge when the fucking happens.

  • ||

    "Well, Ken, if more people can't be rational and logical, and only appeal to their morality bone if you will... we're fucked. And it doesn't matter which Team is in charge when the fucking happens."

    I'm not absolutely clear on what you're saying here--in context, you seem to be arguing as if logic were on the side of the utilitarians and morality were on the other...

    And that simply isn't so.

    Logic and morality are in no way incompatible. I don't know anyone of note who says they are. There's a whole branch of philosophy devoted to applying logic to morality--it's called "ethics".

    No one is suggesting we should stop being logical, but if we cede the the morality arguments to the Progressives and the Bible thumping Republicans, we may be giving them as much as two-thirds of the battlefield.

    That's stupid from a strategic standpoint.

    Especially when you consider that Libertarianism is essentially a moral argument.

    No matter how you approach it--non-coercion, self-ownership, non-aggression--you're talking about a moral philosophy.

    Consenting adults should be able to do what they want to do--this is a moral argument.

  • Mark A. Flacy||

    But why is property so important? Because it's *bad* to steal?

    That wouldn't have anything to do with morality, would it?

  • ||

    Morals don't necessarily need to be codified into law; logic covers most of the basics, anyway.

    Murder: Should be illegal because it deprives an individual of their most personal of property - their life.

    Rape: Should be illegal because it violates the sanctity of a personal space. No consent = violent intrusion.

    Theft/fraud: Similar, thus included in this example. Again, violates personal property, thus should be illegal.

    There might be a few others, but I'm making this brief, and the point stands - the above transgressions are illegal not necessarily out of religious beliefs, but of common sense.

    There's no logic to your justifications whatsoever, just repeating the cultural bullshit that you and I and most of the rest of us have been taught. Now, I like that bullshit too, and agree that that bullshit does help produce a stable society, but that doesn't make it any more logical than cultural beliefs that encourage murder and rape.

  • ||

    Why would morality need to be exclusively libertarian?

    ...unless the object is alienate mainstream American society?

    Really, I don't get that.

  • ||

    Goddam prudes!*

    Craigslist closed the adult services section of its website Saturday, replacing it with a black bar that says ''censored,'' just over a week after a group of state attorneys general said there weren't enough protections against blocking potentially illegal ads promoting prostitution.

    Dribbles and drabs, that's the way freedom disappears.

    * The AGs, not craigslist.

  • ||

    This is what happens when government makes personal choices illegal, you get attorneys general who think they can pressure anyone they disagree with.

    To tie this into the main blog post. Becks rally is driving the point that individuals should not choose to go to a prostitute. You may or may not agree with this sentiment, and that is fine because nobody is forcing you to follow that particular code of conduct.

    Liberals, and their right wing big government, big nanny state counterparts would prefer to have a law that enforces their point of view at the barrel of a gun. This is the opposite of what was being discussed at the rally.

  • ||

    This thread has brought out the religious whiners in force. Fuck you, fuck your religion. Your Kierkegaard style ideas about "faith" are so fucking illogical and irrational that it makes my head hurt.

    You fucking believe in voices in the sky. Think about that for a minute. Lemmy had it right; there are no fucking voices in the sky, and your belief in them is preposterous. You do understand that you are merely attempting to deny your own mortality, right? Do you get that? Do you get it all?

    You don't have a soul. You will be worm food when you're dead. Deal with it, fuckers.

  • ||

    Epi, my previous is an example of embracing God and putting him back in the center of our lives, both private and public. After all what could be more godly than going after fornicator enablerss?

    Well, there's always stoning whores.

  • ||

    Let's see: the Christians whine endlessly about being persecuted, and then in the next sentence claim that vast majorities of the country are Christian and so we are a "Christian nation". Which is it, bitches? Having fun with your persecution jerkoff complex? Shut the fuck up and go suck Jesus' dick somewhere I don't have to watch.

  • -||

    [discussion goes downhill from here]

  • ||

    Oh look, it's passive aggressive anony-pussy, contributing its passive aggressive...nothing. Dude, at least try to say something other than your cowardly little comments. Just try. It'll be funny.

  • -||

    Given your favorite recreational substances are made from cow farts and jet fuel, I'm surprised the voices in the sky don't have you on speed dial.

  • ||

    You know when I said you trying to do something more would be funny? I was wrong. "Cow farts and jet fuel"? WTF? Are you really this pathetic?

  • -||

    tsk tsk if you didnt just get effed in the A you would not be trying that joe worthy attempt at controlling the narrative. Talk to the hoof bitch.

    Voices in the sky say, 'Mooooooo!'

  • Brahmin||

    Moo, I say.

  • -||

    Hey, another dash! Now there's two of us! Anyway, Pisi, (may I call you that?) when I stated that the discussion would go downhill from here (and you verified it with your reply) I was merely stating, for kicks, what an obnoxious, abusive, foul-mouthed little creep you are. That is all. Have fun now!

  • -||

    You looked like you could use the help.

  • ||

    You know, when Warty asked me if it bothered me that my enemies/critics were so pathetic, it seemed like a joke. But now I see how prescient he was. Warty, I'm sorry I doubted you. Why can't I have critics that are funny? That aren't passive aggressive pansies? Fuck, I almost miss joe. Not quite, but almost.

  • -||

    Jesus Christ shut up with the whining. At least put up a fight or go home. I tried to push original - to the center of the ring for some entertainment, but looks like he left me here to deal with this, this gibberish talking smaltzy crybaby of clown.

    'joe! joe! I need you, man! I'm so lost with out you.'

    I'm just so embarrassed for you right now.

  • ||

    I'm just so embarrassed for you right now.

    I know just how you feel.

  • -||

    Oh look, it's passive aggressive anony-pussy, contributing its passive aggressive...nothing. Dude, at least try to say something other than your cowardly little comments. Just try. It'll be funny.

    Don't kid yourself, this is the internet, it is all passive aggression. Nobody here gonna step up for any stomp and that includes you, fool.

  • ||

    This is a spoof, right? Cesar, is that you being brilliantly idiotic? Please tell me no one is this goofy and tone-deaf. "Step up for any stomp"?!? What?!?

    I am going to make this the new H&R phrase, up there with "no homo" and "and, of course, the squirrels".

  • -||

    Stomp is in 3D now, it made millions, people like it. You gotta problem with that? Maybe you don't got game maybe that's your problem.

  • ||

    Maybe you don't got game maybe that's your problem.

    Please continue; this shit is fucking gold.

  • -||

    You thnak you are the most important thing in my life right now? Sometimes a motherfucker has got to go take a shit. Discontinuities and all that.

  • ||

    I think he's trying to be black.

  • ||

    No one talks like Samuel L. Jackson in Pulp Fiction anymore, dude.

  • ||

    I think it's trying to get medieval on my ass. It's more entertaining than I first anticipated.

  • -||

    Pulp Fiction?!?

    Hey, Heller, you couldn't find a fucking reference if its pointer fried your mainframe.

    Even at band camp there is some joker jockeying to be the cool kid. And there is one little quisling always safely tucked under his arm, chirping away. The two of you are funny. You should take that shit on the road.

  • ||

    I'm not going to lay all the blame on you, Mr. -, after all, at least three pop cultural references went over the 'siarch's head (I got Fallout -- Miles at the Stables, SouthPark -- dance off episode, Dave Chapelle -- techsupport customer fuckoff guy, whatever else you were doing there I have no idea), and the Pulp Fiction thing they yucked up about was lame, we should expect better of our 'cool kid', but it looks to me with the double post above and below me here, you may be the one who is a little emotionally needy.

  • -||

    Actually I'm disappointed in you Epi for not taking a swipe at the hick when he mistook a Michael Rapaport quote for a Samual L. Jackson.

    For what? Did little Heller give you some emotional validation there?
    What, are you a girl, or something?

  • - (the original)||

    Poor Pisi. So angry. Mommy never hug 'ums?

  • ||

    Wow, you're really reaching for that attention aren't you?

  • -||

    Yeah, maybe, but so what, tin ear guy. This is about Episiarch, my intervention is next week.

  • ||

    Uh no, it's not about Episiarch. It's about your pathetic attempt to get attention from people on the internet with weak trolling. Not very original OR effective...

  • -||

    Weak or not, it has a lackey by the name of Heller all hot and bothered. Hell, I was just in screwing around mode, and neither you nor Episiarch was capable of handling me very well. He fucked up so badly, tripping over his ego, he got his ass handed to him by someone with absolutely no interest in having it. How did he become your king in the first place, toady?

  • ||

    Am I hot and bothered? Or do your delusions of grandeur include the idea that people are actually startled by bad trolls on the internet?

    Ah but then it really doesn't matter what I say, because it all goes back to how much you "pwned" Episiarch and how great you are. Pathetic.

    The only reason I feed you, my sweet little troll, is Schadenfreude. I just love watching people like you build up worlds of fantasy.

  • -||

    There are several ways to go about taking care of your latest post, heller, I'll pick the first three that come off the top of my head.

    1)

    You are still here? What's the deal? Oh, I get it. This is like the scene in the kung-fu movies where the simpleton villager pesters the martial arts master to give him lessons.

    "Will you teach me, master?"

    "No you are not worthy. Now go gather for me some fire wood. chop. Chop."

    You really should not have been THAT impressed with my performance yesterday, certainly nothing to the extent you are going on about it today. There was nothing to it. Epi is a creature of habit. If you pay attention you know his game plan before he does. Just remember, at heart he is a weepy, self loathing old Irish man in a rest home.

    You could be the second coming of Oscar Wilde he is still going to declare the opening salvo to be 'weak, lame, pathetic', etc. So what do you do? You could let it stand on its on terms, but that is not nearly as fun as turning it around by going 'ultra-superfantasticaly lame'. It forces him to lose focus. He is forced to go high concept. At that point, just as sure as the pope shits in the woods, one of his simpleton flunkies will come along and force him to make a choice . Do I stay with the high concept or do I acknowledge my follower to keep him on board. Ego wins out every time.

    2)

    Am I hot and bothered? Or do your delusions of grandeur include the idea that people are actually startled by bad trolls on the internet?

    Ah but then it really doesn't matter what I say, because it all goes back to how much you "pwned" Episiarch and how great you are. Pathetic.

    The only reason I feed you, my sweet little troll, is Schadenfreude. I just love watching people like you build up worlds of fantasy.

    TRANSLATION: You are ruining this little fictive world I have built around myself where there are these cool kids that post all day on a forum, and our snark keeps all the dorks in line. What you are doing crosses that line!

    3)

    Do your master Epi a favor, stop posting. You are nothing but a surrogate for me to keep at him long after he bailed on this stupid shit. Now I have managed to mangle and strangle the narrative where it is a pathetic joke reflecting poorly on everyone that posted under that line original - designated above. You become a laughing stock every bit as much as I do because you engaged me in this meaningless charade. However, I had no dignity to keep intact in the first place being that I am bat shit crazy, so the joke is really on you. Follow that?

    oh, 4) anyone in the market for a couple of, uhm, slightly used asses?

    5) [ ].

  • ||

    As if I'm going to read this...

    Keep talking my little troll.

  • Max||

    What a bunch of jack asses. Find something better to do while resting your mouths between sessions of sucking Ron Paul's cock. This shit is just too stupid.

  • - (the original)||

    Sheesh, can't you get your own symbol, other -? You're confusing the yokels. Might I recommend "@", or "%"?

  • -||

    Singular marks don't get the benefit of a claim, but I'm only using it for a limited, defined, enumerated purpose, you are already safe to reuse it outside of this thread.

  • -||

    BTW, you are a very good sport. I'll remember that in the future.

  • Neu Mejican||

    -|9.4.10 @ 4:07PM|#

    [discussion goes downhill from here]

    Accurate prediction...easy call, but accurate. Episiarch ain't very good at the internet tough guy thing. Although he is a champion in his own mind. The best part is when he starts congratumasturbating himself.

    Let's see: the Christians whine endlessly about being persecuted, and then in the next sentence claim that vast majorities of the country are Christian and so we are a "Christian nation".

    This isn't unique to the Christians. See any reference to "reverse persecution", "the mainstream media," or "elites." Also watch for arguments about the futility of voting.

  • Neu Mejican||

    And just in case Epi thinks I am being too passive aggressive with that last post:

    Episiarch, you ain't very good at the internet tough guy thing. Although you are a champion in your own mind. The best part is when you start congratumasturbating yourself. Fucking tool. The Uncle Rico of H&R.

  • ||

    "Let's see: the Christians whine endlessly about being persecuted..."

    I don't really have a dog in this fight, if anybody's got a persecution complex, it's the atheists.

    Seriously, I'm cautiously optimistic that once you get the right to marry your boyfriend, all the whining will stop. ...but I'm not about to hold my breath on that.

  • hmm||

    Well, there's always stoning whores.
    I used to get the whores stoned all the time. Was there any other reason to get someone else stoned than getting laid?

    Was that sexist?

  • ||

    Your logic is a bit flawed. Whores dont need to be stoned in order to put out. Its the non-whores that you need to stone.

    And this is why there is so much tension in the middle east, they have been stoning the wrong women.

    Was that sexist and racist? Is it possible to write a trifecta of ism's in this post? If so what could be the third ism?

  • Lowdog||

    No dude, all women are whores, is the take-away message here.

  • ||

    I stand corrected.

  • Mike DeSoto||

    You fucking believe in voices in the sky.

    You fucking believe in voices in your head.

  • ||

    I don't believe either one of them...but if i can the two arguing with each other i can entertain myself without TV for a week or so.

  • hmm||

    You too?

  • ||

    I am too stupid to understand there is no sky god. Okay, I admitted it, but I have to run, there is a giant spaghetti monster loose on the town and he's coming after my ass.

    Fact of the matter is that people who refer to God as some sort of "voice in the sky" have not really given any consideration to the concept of God.

    I have already repeatedly explained the basic concept in terms that people who are unfamiliar with theological discourse would understand in other posts on this article. Please feel free to find them and you will see it is not about imaginary men with long white bushy beards, but rather can be easily understood as a truth which emerges from the complexity of the human mind and its physical expression in the world.

    Almost every single religion acknowledges in some way that the human body is imperfect in that it is needy. How we as individuals satisfy those needs can have great impact on others.

    Your ignorance is self evident Episiarch. You obviously think in narrow terms and you are unwilling to consider concepts because of your biases.

  • hmm||

    Being vehemently atheist is as annoying as being vehemently religious. If it works for you and harms no one else who the fuck cares. Both sides have their fair share of assholes twisting a belief to completely fuck up everyone's day.

  • XYZ||

    Well, praise the Lord.

  • Ron L||

    Well, no.

  • Max||

    Libertarians put their hope in the Tea party and appearances on Fox. What a band of pathetic losers.

  • ||

    "What a band of pathetic losers."

    Says the guy who needs attention from a band of pathetic losers every day.

  • ||

    Just ignore it.

  • ||

    But you do have to wonder what it is that makes someone want to do that.

    You show up thinking libertarians are--I dunno--moral majority types who make a lot of money? ...and then you find out what we're about, after a while...

    And it just makes you madder and madder and more obsessed? You spend hour after hour trying to convince...

    I dunno, himself? ...of what? I don't know.

    I don't know or understand what would make somebody want to do that hour after hour and day after day, but he must be so lonely.

    It often breaks down into some kinda weird preoccupation with gay sex vibe too, but whatever else it is--the dude's gotta be unbelievably lonely.

  • Max||

    Put a sock in it Freud. I'm in and out of here ten minutes tops while delivering dukey sticks to porcelain jesus. Spend no more time here with you cocksuckers than it takes me to take a shit.

  • ||

    You seem to take a lot of shits, Max.

    Are you eating okay? How is your diet?

  • hmm||

    I put my hope in marshmallows and Jawbreakers.

  • ||

    an interesting diet with a nice amount of contrast between soft and hard.

  • ||

    "they want the government to spend less money and they seemed wary of interventions into basic economic exchange (nobody seemed to dig ObamaCare or the auto bailouts or the bank bailouts). But they also want the government to be super-effective in securing the borders, they worry about an undocumented fall in morals, and they are emphatic that genuine religiosity should be a feature of the public square. Which is to say, like most American voters, they may well want from government precisely the things that it really can't deliver."

    What, precisely, in this list cannot government deliver or (let me move the goalposts a tad) stop delivering the opposite?

    * "government to spend less money"

    Government can spend less money.

    * "wary of interventions into basic economic exchange (nobody seemed to dig ObamaCare or the auto bailouts or the bank bailouts)."

    Government can be less involved in economic exchange.

    * "the government to be super-effective in securing the borders"

    Governments, in general, can enforce borders to some extent. Maybe the United States' border is unmanageably large and not sufficiently aided by natural barriers, or maybe not. But to argue we are doing everything we can when we aren't acting on illegals we know are here and are actively fighting ourselves over acting on them is not a strong argument.

    *"they worry about an undocumented fall in morals"

    Could we stop forcing the opposite of these morals on people? For one example- how about taking sex education completely out of the schools, rather than fighting over abstinence ed versus safe sex ed? It is the responsibility of people to teach their kids this stuff, and no matter what approach government takes, it will offend the sensibilities of some. And no matter what government does, some will fall through the cracks.

    People (by and large) want the government to teach their kids language, and science, and history. They don't want government to teach their kids how to be people.

    * "and they are emphatic that genuine religiosity should be a feature of the public square."

    Which means, stop government from saying that towns cannot put up Christmas displays, stop saying that people cannot reference God in valedictorian speeches, stop involving itself where government does not belong-- in the spiritual lives of people.

    How can one say that government cannot deliver (or stop impeding) on each and every one of the above?

  • ||

    Politicians want to be able to ride in on the white horse and solve all of our problems. Their solutions cost money. Their solutions require that they stick their nose in your business. If we keep letting them "solve" our problems instead of solving them for ourselves, then we will never get them to do any of the things listed above.

  • ||

    Public piety shouldn't simply be a measure of the piety of politicians, but what the public is allowed to engage in.

    Praying on the Supreme Court steps, having a Christian club at a public school, kid reading a Bible during recess -- all jeopardized because of government action.

    And, of course, the Johnson Amendment, to ensure that government has the ability to monitor churches -- don't want they saying something they are not entitled to say.

  • ||

    "What is particularly odd about the anxiety that we've turned God ... out of the public square is the not-small fact that we haven't: In a way they certainly didn't in the '60s and '70s, for instance, politicians are far more publicly pious than they used to be."

    Actually, yes we mostly have.
    When do you think we began turning God out of the public square? In the '60s and '70s.

  • Candice||

    I just don't get these people. They don't make sense.

    The founding fathers did not want religion in the government.

    How can they want to bring back history when they haven't even researched their history?

  • Mike DeSoto||

    The founding fathers did not want religion in the government.

    True. They wanted it in the people.

  • ||

    The Founders erected a wall between government and religion. It's one of their greatest achievements. It was the first and only time in history that it had been done. There have always been a few Americans, from that time forward, who would break down that wall. I would ask Glenn Beck's followers if they would like America to emulate that great nation where church and state are one: Iran.

  • ||

    There is no such wall. The founding fathers did not want a state religion, that doesn't mean that government workers cant pray. The founding fathers wanted people to worship freely, but they were clear that God or, if you prefer, individual core ethical values are important in a free society. The separation of Church and State is not a blanket ticket to keep religion out of the public square, it is simply a statement that the government is not going to force others to worship a particular religion. If you are uncomfortable with prayer in schools, then you tell your kids not to pray, nobody is forcing them to convert.

    Try having this conversation with someone from Northern Ireland. The Northern Ireland situation is exactly what the founding fathers were trying to avoid LITERALLY. If you cannot pray in the public square, you are not really "free" to practice your religion.

  • ||

    that doesn't mean that government workers cant pray

    Of course not. I support freedom of (and from) religion.

    The founding fathers wanted people to worship freely

    Not necessarily. They recognized the freedom to pray. Or not.

    The separation of Church and State is not a blanket ticket to keep religion out of the public square

    Yes, it is. See the Establishment Clause. "Public" is the key word here.

    If you are uncomfortable with prayer in schools...

    That depends on the school. I have no problem with prayers in private schools. But religion has no place in publicly funded and supported schools. Do you see a pattern here?

    nobody is forcing them to convert

    How magnanimous of you! The publicly funded gang of Christians (or Jews or Muslims) will not force your children to go along with their religious lesson plans!

    If you cannot pray in the public square, you are not really "free" to practice your religion.

    You are if you keep it to yourself. But you have no right to claim public property in order to proselytize for your particular creed. Do it on your own property. No one will stop you. Again, see the Establishment Clause. There's a difference between "private" and "public." Learn it. Know it. Live it.

  • ||

    I did read it. the word "public" is nowhere to be found. In fact, here are the words I did find:

    "Congress shall make no law respecting the establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof;"

    I brought up Northern Ireland for a very specific reason. If you are unaware of the history of Northern Ireland, I suggest you read it as it has significant parallels to what the colonists were trying to escape. They were concerned with the government establishing a state religion. They did not want the government to establish the Church of America. The second part of the clause is "or prohibiting the exercise thereof" if you prohibit people from exercising their religion in public then you are in fact denying them the freedom to "exercise."

    All citizens, including public school teachers, students, presidents of the US, members of congress, mailmen, CEO's, homeless people, priests, rabbis, imams, journalists etc. . . may pray whenever and wherever they wish. Praying in a public school is not an establishment of a state religion, it is an "exercise" of religion. An Islamic public school teacher has as much right to pray in a classroom as a Catholic teacher would and the students would have the right to pray along or not. I am not saying the teacher HAS to pray, and most probably would not choose to pray, but it is their right to do so.

    The difference between a state established religion and what we have in America is that in say Iran, your choice of religion is limited to the state religion. In England, the COE is structurally integrated into the government in that there are seats set aside in the house of lords for bishops and archbishops. No such reservation exists in America. The fact that Catholic churches have a tax exempt status does not mean they are sponsored exclusively by the government, because any other religion may obtain the same tax status if they so wish.

    If all of congress prayed before each session of congress, this does not establish a religion.

  • ||

    One additional comment-- "politicians are far more publicly pious than they used to be."

    Politicians are a lot more public than they used to be. They could previously say one thing in one place, and another in another place, and not have it be instantly spread everywhere.

    This has been an on-going transformation for decades, but it has been an exponential one. I suspect that politicians have been pandering forever, including on matters of piety.

    Today, however, when they do (or do not) it is transmitted everywhere. And since in the US there are more religious folks than not, they likely have to pay lip service more than before-- and when they do it is spread far and wide.

    My firm belief is that politicians are no more religious than in the past, nor are they any less (or more!) craven than in the past. It just seems that way.

  • ||

    "Regardless of whether the Founders were Christian in the way that many contemporary Christians would recognize (they weren't),"

    This is total nonsense. A couple of the most notable founders were against organized religion (Jefferson & Franklin), but almost all the rest were members of EXACTLY the churches we have today - major protestant sects, and Catholic.

  • ||

    Not really. The major Protestant sects underwent a huge change when the Great Awakening happened. Methodism which preaches salvation through good works (Hilary's childhood church) and Southern Baptists became much more influential. New England's dissenting churches turned from Cotton Mather-styled fire and brimstone preaching into more intellectual forms of worship. Washington was an Anglican, aka Episcopalian, the church of choice for WASPs and wannabes.

  • ||

    Which Founders were Catholic?

  • Mackeral Snapper||

    I know! I know!

    None of them

  • Pepe||

    Charles Carroll and his son Daniel. Both Catholics from Maryland, you'll find Charles' signature on the Declaration of Independence and Daniel's on the Articles of Confederation and Constitution. Charles was the last living signatory of the DOI. My quick google search doesn't reveal anyone else of significance.

  • ||

    Cool, thanks for the tip.

  • ||

    I believe that Catholicism was the official church of Maryland, just as most other states had official churches.

  • yup||

    Will Reason be attending the anti-Beck event?
    http://onenationworkingtogether.org/?page_id=4

  • Backslashdoublecross||

    Depends. Will they be wearing deodorant and bathed before hand?

  • yup||

    Will the government/unions be providing the bath and deodorant "Free" because it is a right?

  • ||

    Yes, just as soon as the agitators get arrested, they will be given govt soap and I am sure many of them will hope its on a rope.

  • SIV||

    Giant paper maiche heads of the Koch brothers?
    Devil horns or Hitler moustaches?
    Or the more fair and balanced Mr. Peanut look?

  • mike||

    Ive had a lengthy debate over he Beck rally with one of his alcolytes. My main point was that I was insulted by his implication that if you do not "embrace faith" that you are somehow responsible for the "darkness" in Amerika now (and the future). Well fuck you too! I don't give a rats ass what people do on their own time. Pray all you want at home to whatever god or idol or rock you wish. Embrace your faith in whatever deathgrip you wish. But don't be tossing me under the bus because I might not do the same.

    I think this rally could lead to the final splintering of the Paulites from the "tea party" as the Beck group is not only heavily neo-con (or leaners) but this reinsertion of social-con bs will be an incredibly big turn off. I have been suspicious of the whole thing from day one - what part is genuine, what part is astroturf, what part is just shit republicans trying to latch on and stay in power. And what part is genuine. To my eye, the latter has become a smaller and smaller part.

  • ||

    Mental exercise for you, if you would humor me.

    "My main point was that I was insulted by his implication that if you do not "embrace faith" that you are somehow responsible for the "darkness" in Amerika now (and the future). Well fuck you too! I don't give a rats ass what people do on their own time. "

    Is it not possible that not caring what people do on their own time is not particularly good for America?

    It is just a question to think about, and does not imply on my part a desire for government to actively try to do anything at all.

    I think a reasonable stance-- and pretty close to my own-- is that we should get government out of this crap but should argue amongst ourselves (including giving speeches at rallys the way Beck did).

  • ||

    Interesting. I think the government should stay out of every aspect of life.

    How you live life is up to you entirely, unless you are harming others in the process. Glenn is only putting some ways of life before you, it is up to you to decide if you want to take them on.

    The "darkening" of America comes in the form of people pushing their various PERSONAL values through congress and in the courtroom. We have given up God and supplanted government. This is not my point, but rather Glenn's point every day on his show he repeats this theme. If you like, you can replace God with any combination of the following: Personal responsibility, caring and loving others, charity, honesty, thrift, not being jealous of what others have, not feeling entitled to things and not forcing others to live as you live.

  • ||

    Is it not possible that not caring what people do on their own time is not particularly good for America?

    Yeah, that whole live and let live thing is soooo trite. The next thing you know people might be demanding the right to do as they please if it doesn't harm others, and frankly, that way lies anarchy.

  • ||

    I think you need to read the rest of the post. I have quoted the remainder of the post here so that you don't have to scroll up.

    "It is just a question to think about, and does not imply on my part a desire for government to actively try to do anything at all.

    I think a reasonable stance-- and pretty close to my own-- is that we should get government out of this crap but should argue amongst ourselves (including giving speeches at rallys the way Beck did)."

    This last sentence means we should do more talking to each other about living life and less telling each other how to live life.

    Also, anarchy is not the same as chaos and violence. Anarchy simply means there is not government and no rule of law. The reason most people equate anarchy with rampant lawlessness is because they believe that people left to their own devices will revert to some primal state and start throwing feces at each other. The only useful government is the one that provides a system of justice and law enforcement to prevent people from infringing on each others liberties. What I think we need is basically anarchy light.

    Here are the three rules the government must enforce, these and nothing else:

    Respect life, do no harm to other individuals person. This can be more carefully defined to include things like murder, assault and rape.

    Respect property. Do not steal, do not trespass. Do not damage private property. Nuff said here.

    Respect contracts. People should be able to make any contracts they like so long as the contracts are entered with the unforced consent of both parties and the contract does not require people to violate any other laws or contractual obligations and the contract does not require impossible fulfillment requirements (and I literally mean impossible, not just really difficult).

    In this society, it is important to care about what people are doing on their own, but it is how you express this care. You cant walk in and grab a heroin needle out of your neighbors arm. You can however engage them in respectful dialogue about how heroin is not good for you. They dont have to listen, but that is up to them and nobody else.

  • ||

    Yes, most major religions accept a central, singular God, but most vary owing to custom and politics. Hindus accept the validity of all other religions for those practitioners for we believe that All Paths lead to the Mountain Top. Aum.

  • ||

    Reading through most of the comments here, I noticed that nobody (that I've seen yet) has brought up what I consider to be a salient point, that all too often gets missed by posters on this site.

    Re: #6. No, the 9/12, Tea Party, and Restoring Honor crowds are not strictly Leave Us Alone types. Many (I can't say, but do suspect, most) seem to favor government using its full force and power to perform those tasks which are demanded of it in the Constitution as written, and (on general principles, as well as the basis of the 10th Amendment) to stay out of all other matters.

    In other words, they're not strictly Libertarians, they're Constitutionalists. Not a bad bunch to have around, or even to have in charge; they typically won't do anything to you that the Founders wouldn't have liked.

  • Tony||

    They don't know anything about the constitution or the founders. There's an easy way to tell if something is constitutional. Consult case law. Otherwise it's just people claiming that whatever their policy preferences (including theocracy!) have some sort of extra legitimacy just because they say so.

  • ||

    Case law, yet to be overturned, says that growing wheat for your own consumption on your own property is interstate commerce.

    They be mental giants at SCOTUS.

  • Ron L||

    Case law confirmed the government's claim that people could own slaves. Until case law didn't.

  • Tony||

    Ya and? It's not a sacred text.

  • Ron L||

    Tony|9.4.10 @ 7:02PM|#
    "...Consult case law..."
    I guess it's not strange that our brain-dead lefty just two posts before claimed it was either 'sacred' or something close to it.
    Look, you should be a bit more careful in admitting your hypocrisy. Or just post as "Hypocrite"; that'd be good.

  • Tony||

    You tell me how something is deemed constitutional or not. Because some bloated talking head on FOX News says so? Or perhaps the system has a built-in way of determining that. One, like all human endeavors, is subject to error and revision. But that's better than the arbitrary and self-serving cherry picking of partisan ideologues, huh?

  • DJ Drugs||

    That or the 13th amendment.

  • West Texas Boy||

    Consult case law

    This makes absolutely no sense.

    The entire point of the constitutionalist argument is that we are overly reliant on case law that is:

    a.) based on a faulty consitutional premise to begin with

    and/or

    b.) perverted and expanded by layer after layer of judicial margin scratching that danced around the constitutional issues at hand in order not to disturb the existing case law itself.

    The whole point being that our judicial system has evolved into a morass of case law and precedent that is disconnected from the Constitution itself.

    Are you really that dense or do you mean something else that I am missing?

    Our reliance on case law and precedent comes from old English common law, but none of that is specifically mentioned or instituted in the Constitution. Congress is just mandated to "set up a system of courts" as it sees fit and that's how it saw fit.

  • Apogee||

    He is really that dense.

  • ||

    Lawyers and Judges are just lazy. If they have a particular point of view, they will twist case law to fit their view rather than going to the constitution which in all likely-hood would refute their legal position (assuming of course they dont also try to twist that to meet their needs).

  • ||

    You forgot legislators. The second amendment has not stopped them from prohibiting felons from owning firearms.

  • ||

    No, only law abiding citizens are prevented from owning firearms.

    I am going to start a countdown to when cars are illegal. Cars kill more people than guns. Someone who wants to build a train will probably find some value in making cars illegal.

  • ||

    >The underlying concepts of Beckism are all liberal. "
    ...
    "Hence Beck’s extravagant praise for Martin Luther King, a radical leftist. Hence the failure to mention uncomfortable truths like, to take a random sample:
    * the impossibility of continuing federal entitlements at anything like their present levels;
    * the radical reduction in public services and public employment that would follow if tax rates were lowered to the degree Beck and his supporters claim to wish;
    * the mad folly of giving settlement visas to a million foreigners a year when unemployment stands at ten percent;
    * the doubleplus-mad folly of permitting illegal settlement of millions of Mexican and Central American peasants to form a permanent new underclass making huge new demands on government services;
    * the gross and pointless squandering of public monies on crackpot schemes of education reform;
    * the certainly and inevitably nation-destroying effect of permitting public employees to unionize;
    * the impossibility of effective law enforcement without racial profiling;
    * the absurdity of waging war not to crush and demoralize the enemy, but to transform his nation into 1955 Oklahoma.
    * the infantile narcissism of believing that all life’s ills have a remedy in law;
    * the contradiction inherent in wishing for a health-care system that (a) has no socialist component, or only a modest one, while (b) providing every known treatment or level of care to every condition for everyone;
    * the doubleplus contradiction inherent in the previous bullet point when the genome can be cheaply and rapidly sequenced.

    Beck himself is a smart man who knows plenty of true things. Following Gates-gate last year, Beck said that Barack Obama nurses “a deep-seated hatred for white people or the white culture.” That is certainly true: the truth of it shines out from every page—and even from the title!—of the President’s autobiography. Unfortunately it is not a liberal truth, so Beck has been apologizing for it ever since in the most groveling, abject terms."

  • ||

    I find it endearing for the author of this blog to try to define both the rationale and meaning behind Beck's rally, while others have either hailed it as the 2nd coming or dismissed it as something akin to 2ply.

    However, this article doth protest too much. I'm so exhausted with people telling me who America is or who represents her. Wal-Mart shopping tattoed biker dudes does not America make. While, yes, they make up a demographic, a segment of our country, there is no way you're going to convince truly independent thinkers that the crowd that constitued the participants of the rally represent anything more than an opportunity for pundits & bloggers to define our present & future in various ways.

    I was looking for the source of origin to the comments that rally attendees were asked not to bring homemade signs. Before I located that I landed on a conservative radio/blogger who was upset about this. He and the visitors who commented thought Beck was bending over for the left, esp. Black people who accused him of being racist.

    The segment of people who came to Washington, D.C. came to let out their anger toward the ever elusive intangible "government" , for some, the very same government that funded their trip to D.C. via their social security checks, lol. Ok, I'm being tongue and cheek, but this article is hard to take seriously.

    No one who has been paying attention (there goes 90 of the population) will buy that the crowd consisted of independents! These are former Republicans who have followed PR tactics of first disavowing the two parties and calling themselves "Conservatives not Republicans", now they are independent of any party. No true Independent watches Glenn Beck, let alone his radio show where he is even more outlandish. No true Independent will link Obama to the bail out.

    The history of this country, esp during times of economic trouble, the majority has always succumbed to fear and fear mongoring, the infamous "ism"'s, and paranoia & hysteria often while thumping the Christian bible. This is no different. Anyone who who spends a second trying to find deeper meaning in Glenn Beck or his rally is wasting breath! It was a practically completely homogeneous crowd politically, culturally, ethnically, and mentally!

    The author's determination to combat well backed rumors that Republican leaning, nonObama supporters, uinformed, ignorant bigots turned me off from wanting to read further, but I did (masochism). I found this article by a tweet where PennJilette recommended it as good insight. An insightful analysis is one where the author has no dog in the fight, or has the level of professionalism to stick to facts from both sides despite person leanings.

  • Ron L||

    Ishi|9.4.10 @ 7:02PM|#
    "....No one who has been paying attention (there goes 90 of the population)..."
    Oh, look here! A liberal claiming to be of the "10%"! How........................
    boring.

  • yup||

    "No true Independent watches Glenn Beck, let alone his radio show where he is even more outlandish. No true Independent will link Obama to the bail out."
    Because all *true* independents think alike, and exactly the same way as you.

  • Mackeral Snapper||

    Bad cop story via Insty:
    No one has been able to say how long U.S. Forest Service Officer Scott Cairnes and Deputy Derek Hamm stood watching the trio, but in Cairnes’ report he wrote that he saw Dennison and Adkins engage in three sex acts and then Adkins and Walsh began to fondle Dennison.
    They watched until it turned GAY

  • Mackeral Snapper||

  • Atanarjuat||

    Geez they look weird. Reno 911 material.

  • ||

    ConsumerWatchdog's new retarded video about Google:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ouof1OzhL8k

  • ||

    As usual Libertarians are absent on matters relating to morality. It seems they see no benefit in having some universally defined standards, a moral structure within society if you will. We don't need to coerce people into declaring a religion to stress the importance of that notion, which is what I think Beck was getting at.

    I believe the framers clearly understood a free nation must be a moral nation. If we cannot trust people to do what is right then government is given the excuse to intervene in matters that were never intended.

    Libertarians only address 1/2 of the equation. They don't want government intrusion, but they are mostly silent regarding the consequences that result when each person has their own set of rules.

    Clearly there has been moral decline in this nation. Out of wedlock birth rates, people accepting government benefits they could do without, crime, and yes even substance abuse have all exacted an enormous social cost on the country.

    I am all for allowing people to make their own decisions but there must also be a way of instilling moral values within our children. The church, with all of its flaws, was that institution. The schools sure as hell are not stressing them, they preach that government is the answer to every problem. We are now raising an entire generation of kids who don't see a problem in taking shortcuts in life, even cheating is seen as acceptable.

  • Attorney||

    Yes, I think this is an important issue.

  • Ron L||

    "...They don't want government intrusion, but they are mostly silent regarding the consequences that result when each person has their own set of rules...."
    Hunh?! What?!
    That claim needs a cite.

  • ||

    Are you talking about ethics or morality?

    The way I see it, laws should uphold the basic morality that is represented by rights and liberty.

    The rest is all just ethics that only the individual can decide for himself.

    For example, what is immoral about having a child out of wedlock or taking drugs? As long as they aren't harming anyone, they shouldn't be considered immoral. Whether or not they are ethical, i.e. will help the individual live "the good life," is merely a matter of opinion.

  • ||

    Having a child out of wedlock diminishes that child's future life chances significantly (as a trend; individual cases differ greatly). To have an irresponsible lifestyle that makes extramarital pregnancy more likely is immoral, because it increases the risk of concrete harm to others. That seems pretty clear.

    As for drugs, is it not cruel to force friends and family who care for you, who have worked to see you prosper and flourish, to see you throw yourself away? I am emphatically not endorsing governmert prohibition here, but actions that either intentionally or fecklessly cause others anguish are the essence of immorality.

  • ||

    Having a child out of wedlock diminishes that child's future life chances significantly (as a trend; individual cases differ greatly). To have an irresponsible lifestyle that makes extramarital pregnancy more likely is immoral, because it increases the risk of concrete harm to others. That seems pretty clear.

    It doesn't seem clear to me at all that having a child through wedlock will generally harm a child. I know a couple of people who got married after conceiving a child, and one couple who isn't married but is raising the child anyway. There is nothing necessarily harmful about not being married and having a child, so I don't see how you can say it is immoral. Is it immoral to get divorced? That might have a negative effect on a child...

    As for drugs, is it not cruel to force friends and family who care for you, who have worked to see you prosper and flourish, to see you throw yourself away? I am emphatically not endorsing governmert prohibition here, but actions that either intentionally or fecklessly cause others anguish are the essence of immorality.

    You do know that the vast majority of drug users don't become addicted, don't waste their lives away, right? The life of a typical drug user, despite what the drug warriors want you to believe, is not like an episode of Intervention. The essence of immorality is not about doing something that others strongly disagree with or might become saddened by. Immoral actions are those that deliberately infringe on the rights of others.

    It seems like both of these positions are more from a religious conservative point of view, then a logical approach to morality. As I said above, what you are talking about seems to be more about ethics than morality. Is it ethical for people to conceive from wedlock even though this might not benefit the child? Is it ethical to use drugs, even though you might cause family member's discomfort? These are personal decisions, not ones that can be mandated.

  • ||

    God, why does everyone here think saying something is moral means saying it should be legislated?

    The correlation between unmarried parents and poorer life chances and outcomes is a well-established sociological trend. I am not talking about individual cases - I'm sure your friends are great. As for divorce, that does, as a general trend, harm children, far more so than living with clashing parents, so someone who has taken on with their spouse the responsibility of raising children should consider whether they are being immoral by concentrating on their own desires in divorcing. The attitude today seems to be 'If I'm not happy, then how can my kids be happy?' This is scientifically wrong.

    And I'm fully aware of the effects of drugs on the majority of users. I've argued it to friends who oppose legalization many times. But choosing an addictive path which anguishes others is wrong.

    You seem to think that political morality of rights can be derived logically from principles and observation of human nature, but personal morality cannot. This is a meaningless distinction. Again, not calling for legislation, but for society to support personal morality and condemn immorality.

    By the way - not a religious conservative. I'm a Deist, as far as philosophy, and a Burkean libertarian as far as politics.

  • Apogee||

    The correlation between unmarried parents and poorer life chances and outcomes is a well-established sociological trend. I am not talking about individual cases - I'm sure your friends are great.

    The inability for specifics to conform to trends is one of the reasons that I most align my political beliefs with free marketers.

    The same can be said for social interaction.

    I don't think you're asking for legislation, but I'm not sure what it is that you are actually asking for.

    I'm curious as to exactly how, 'society' could accurately condemn behavior as immoral that isn't actually damaging (a la heller's friends who are "great people"), while simultaneously supporting supposedly moral behavior of others (say an abusive home of a married couple).

    Societal approval, if it varies so much on a case-by-case basis, can hardly be standardized to conform to a moral code that seems, at least to me, to be focused on incorrect generalizations, instead of on correct specifics.

    There are so many variables present in societal interactions (such as raising a family) that attributing generalized situations to specific outcomes seems misguided.

  • ||

    I'm saying that society should generally expect people to get married if they have a child. It should be the first port-of-call in people's minds. Society is complex, and so are moral interactions, but that's no reason to abandon general guidelines.

    I absolutely do not endorse heller's friends being shunned and condemned. I'd simply feel more secure in a society where they marriage was the default, and they chose against it for deliberate reasons.

    As for an 'abusive' married couple, if they are in fact harmful to their children, and divorce would better serve those children, then that is the better path. The problem currently is that couples are too egocentric, interpreting their children's needs through their own desires.

  • Apogee||

    I'm saying that society should generally expect people to get married if they have a child.

    IMO, it generally does. Someone I know recently got married, (their 2nd) after having 2 children with someone as well as investing in a house. Their reasoning?

    "Why not? If I already have a house and children with someone, it's not like the ceremony will change anything."

    This is essentially an individual recognizing personal responsibility, which is something that libertarians seem to favor. This person didn't get married because that is what is expected. They had the ceremony because they realized that, for all in tents and porpoises, they already are married.

    The friction seems to originate AFAIC, from the top-down imposition of 'standards' (that are insufficient for specific cases), rather than the case specific implementation of what most of us consider common sense.

    Societal pressure, much of the time, is a recognition of common sense, and should not be construed as a set of 'truths' that apply to every situation.

  • ||

    Nothing is ever perfect. But a moral code that addresses most cases, even if causing occasional injustice, is better than no moral code resulting in lots of suffering and injustice. The loss of morality about marriage and childbearing is at the heart of many of the social problems in our society.

  • Apogee||

    I'm not arguing against a moral code, just against a top-down version.

    If you want to talk morals, then you need to talk specifics, because generalizations are, IMO, sloppy.

    Which, again IMO, makes them somewhat immoral.

    You do not want to be on the same side of history with those who "had to break some eggs to make an omelette."

    Sloppy left 100M dead in ditches in the last century because the road to the 'goal' wasn't "perfect".

  • ||

    I agree. Problem with letting people choose for themselves is that sooner or later some asshole (religious zealot or self rightous know it all, you choose) will come along and incist that there should be a law. Then you have one turd on top of the hill. Soon every asshole in the village wants a law and now you have a giant ball of turd speeding down hill towards all the normal villagers houses and guess who has to wipe someone elses shit off their face. . .

  • ||

    I hate opinion delivered as fact.

  • -||

    Is that a fact or an opinion?

  • Attorney||

    I don't really understand the libertarian hostility to religion. Religions (especially sects that emphasize local control) offer non-governmental means for people to voluntarily organize their activity.

  • Tony||

    Libertarians' hostility to religion is one of their few redeeming qualities.

  • ||

    I've always considered our hostility to state worshipping morons like you our best quality.

  • ||

    Whoop-de-whoop. Max doesn't worship the state. Max is a nihilist who believes in nothing at all. His progressivism isn't motivated by compassion: it's motivated by loathing of life.

    Wow, I didn't want to sound all Randian there, but I guess I did. Not an Objectivist, for the record.

  • Mike DeSoto||

    It's that word "organize" which creeps them out.

  • Ron L||

    Attorney|9.4.10 @ 8:18PM|#
    "I don't really understand the libertarian hostility to religion."
    Not sure there *is* a libertarian hostility. I'm hostile to religion for reasons I find compelling, and I'm libertarian, but....

    "Religions (especially sects that emphasize local control) offer non-governmental means for people to voluntarily organize their activity."
    A social utilitarian view would reward that, and I don't see any desire to outlaw them.
    I'm more concerned with religions being based on faith, which leaves bleevers following some fast talker (with a bad haircut).
    Not sure what non-bleever organizations will end up replacing 'churches', but I don't think a sky-daddy is required.

  • ||

    Many libertarians are "free market" liberals. They buy hook line and sinker the idea that religion is irrational. The fact is, absolute proof of God is not required to actually understand and appreciate the role of God in society.

    I do not subscribe to any particular religion, but I am religious. There is a small segment of the religious community that is at the extreme fringe of society in that they are overly nosy and they try hard to get laws passed that represent their own personal point of view and dont necessarily support individual liberty. Jeremiah Right and his ilk are a good example of this fringe. Unfortunately, many people have not spent a lot of time really considering god and so they have focused on the question of whether or not there is a god, rather than trying to understand what god actually is.

    The idea that there is no god is driven by a lack of understanding of WHAT god is. If you are looking for a guy with a gray beard looking down from the sky then NO, you will probably not find him. If you are looking for an expression of truth that defines our universe and our physical condition, then you will find god in everything.

  • ||

    So all the major religions of the world forgot to look up God in the dictionary?

    Pantheism is basically meaningless. If you can call the world as it is God, then who the fuck cares? Why call it God at all, instead of just the world?

    When atheists talk about God not existing, they mean God as a being separate from the rest of the world.

  • ||

    "Pantheism is basically meaningless. If you can call the world as it is God, then who the fuck cares? Why call it God at all, instead of just the world?"

    God is not the world. God is an emergent truth that comes out of the complexity of our world and how people interact with it. Read my earlier posts for more detail, but basically, God is humanity manifesting these emergent truths into a template of principals they can then use to navigate reality. The reason why God is personified is because personifications such as Jesus or the Buddha allow humans to conceptualize the truths they have intuitively gleamed over time in a way that is relevant to their own reality.

    The reason why God gets such a bad rap all the time is because many people, including many followers of all religions see only the dogma of the religion and not the truths therein.

    Christianity and Capitalism are so easily compatible because both require personal responsibility (greed is not personal responsibility -- if you are not aware of this then read more Rand). There are other parallels between religion and capitalism but instead of pointing out the parallels, let me point out the source of these parallels. Capitalism is an expression of reality. Supply and demand is the state of humanity and always will be as long as our bodies need things and those things remain in limited supply. The free market is an emergent property of our natural state of being as I described above. People have long ago discovered that rational self interest necessarily requires one to treat others with respect and to protect the liberty of others. This concept isn't something someone just made up as a cool idea, it is something we know from experience. If you treat people like shit, your gains from that will be short lived. If you treat people with respect, you may take a short term hit, but your long term prospects will be protected by all of the people you helped along the way.

    On a side note, religion and science are not incompatible. It is only a myth offered by secularists and dogmatic religious people that the two are incompatible. Science is the study of the universe around us, it seeks truth. Religion is truth revealed through life. Just because science cant prove that loving others is a good thing doesnt mean it isnt a good thing -- people just know it is from experience. People also know what love can do to people and how harm can emerge from love and this is why we have written all this shit down -- so that we dont forget.

  • ||

    God is an emergent truth that comes out of the complexity of our world and how people interact with it. Read my earlier posts for more detail, but basically, God is humanity manifesting these emergent truths into a template of principals they can then use to navigate reality.

    Why call whatever this vague concept is God? The word has a specific meaning, you can't just call whatever vague concept you want God. You might say you worship this concept or believe that exists, but that doesn't mean it's God. The word God is defined as some kind of powerful or supreme being. I don't even see anything mystical about saying there are principles of reality that humanity uses to interact with the world. So what? Why is this mystical?

    On a side note, religion and science are not incompatible.

    They are incompatible, as I've explained many many times. If you are a proponent of a religion, then you will most likely claim certain truths that are unverified and unverifiable. This will always conflict with science. The only way science cannot conflict with religion is if your religion really doesn't make any arbitrary claims. But this would be a pretty useless religion, wouldn't it?

    Religion is truth revealed through life.

    Is Christianity about truth revealed through life? The common denominator between all religions is not observations of life but arbitrary claims. You can't just ignore all the major religions and say only your particular belief is true religion. Guess what? Every religious whacko says that. What makes you any different?

    Just because science cant prove that loving others is a good thing doesnt mean it isnt a good thing -- people just know it is from experience.

    That's an opinion, of course it can't proven, or disproven. Yes, most people have the opinion that loving people is good. Big whoop.

  • ||

    I am explaining what god is from a rational perspective, not defining a specific god. How individuals define god differs from person to person and religion to religion, you cant just take the definition out of the dictionary. But the fact remains that nearly every religion has a god(s), deity or some other supreme being. The being itself is more or less an arbitrary description that generally personifies the dogma of a particular religion. But god as a concept is a manifestation of the mind. We do not know the actual god, just the image we have created in our mind. Many religions acknowledge that one cannot "see" god in their holy books.

    God is a term used to describe some sort of mystical being because since the beginning of time nobody really had a better way to explain the source of their spirituality.

    I am not defining the Christian God or the Muslim God or any other specific god for that matter. I am telling you that our notion of god is an emergent effect of our humanity. Humans are a complex system, a society of humans is yet another complex system, another layer if you like. Our environment, and all of our physical reality is yet another complex system. We as individuals and as a society interact with the physical world and that interaction is not arbitrary, it has specific goals. Those goals are to satisfy the needs of our physical being. We have to make decisions based on the needs of our body (which include the mind) and those decisions create consequences which have various effects on our lives for good or bad. In going about this process, we have developed powerful brains that can pull together small pieces of truth we experience every day and synthesize them into an idea or better stated a revelation of a larger truth. The reason why I pointed out that Loving others is good is because we know its good via our minds ability to synthesize these bits and pieces of experiences we have clumsily defined as love and it is able to identify that these pieces of experience are good for our individual long term self interests.

    If you study any religion you will see common core themes. Some call it harmony, others balance, others call it love and yet others will point to holy words that best describe the truth, but they are all essentially saying that we should love one another or be at peace in our world. Further study would reveal that each religion has some specific guiding principals that allows one to achieve this peace with the world and those principals are derived from generations of past experience.

    Of course anyone can take scripture out of context or get wrapped up in dogma or simply misunderstand god for something mystical and many have, but most people of faith actually understand the core principals of their faith and try to follow them. Of course they may not always be very good at it, but trying is better than not trying.

    The concepts about god being a creator or omnipotent are not incompatible with this. While I am holding out that science will one day reveal how the universe was created, it still remains that creation in and of itself is something beyond our comprehension. The fact that we attribute God to creation is because we have no other explanation and because when we consider our own spirituality, we naturally associate anything unknown with it. As we study the universe, we will be able to understand it better, but there is still the unseen motivator of all of these emergent effects and that motivator is impossible for us to see (maybe just for now) because we are the ants trying to see how the anthill was made. Ants are not smart enough to understand how an anthill is made. One ant on its own cannot create a hill or at least it would not have the capacity to do it purposefully. We are that ant.

    Scientists can be and are religious people. I learned physics 101 from a Benedictine monk. He had no problem seeing the world through a scientific lens while also maintaining his spiritual understanding of the world. In fact most religions people are able to do this. The fact that there are a bunch of morons that cannot see the world from both a spiritual and scientific point of view seems to get all of the attention from secularists and atheists because they are an easy target.

  • ||

    Yes, I don't know why you are writing out all this stuff that really has nothing to do with whether or not science is compatible with religion.

    The reason why I pointed out that Loving others is good is because we know its good via our minds ability to synthesize these bits and pieces of experiences we have clumsily defined as love and it is able to identify that these pieces of experience are good for our individual long term self interests.

    Again, nothing to do with the actual discussion, but I'll respond anyway. Now this sounds very familiar, very Randian actually. Is loving others always good for our long term self interests. I think many people could benefit even more from taking advantage of others and not respecting one another's freedoms. Again this is just an OPINION, not an objective fact. It might be true in some cases, but it most likely isn't true for all cases. Rand had to make some huge leaps in order to craft an "objective" morality. I think she went a little too far with her concepts. That's what happens when you try to bridge the gap between the pre-conceived conclusions you've want and a logical objective premise. Somewhere along the line you have to add some bullshit to make it all stick together. Rand, contrary to what the Objectivists say, did not come to her conclusions solely from an objective view of man. She simply bridged the gap with a little bullshit.

    If you study any religion you will see common core themes. Some call it harmony, others balance, others call it love and yet others will point to holy words that best describe the truth, but they are all essentially saying that we should love one another or be at peace in our world.

    Only if you cherry-pick your religions and avoid all that self-contradictory stuff. Sure alot of them do sound like that, at certain times. And then again, alot of them really aren't about love or harmony, or are just about arbitrary beliefs. Your pantheist bias is showing. Your simplifying religions to "core values" that coincidentally are all similar. This is just naive and excludes all the evidence to the contrary.

    Ants are not smart enough to understand how an anthill is made. One ant on its own cannot create a hill or at least it would not have the capacity to do it purposefully. We are that ant.


    Funny how religion claims to know the "truth" about how the anthill was created.

    "A giant ant came and did it with magic!"

    "Well what created the giant ant?"

    "Heretic! You will burn for eternity!"

    Scientists can be and are religious people. I learned physics 101 from a Benedictine monk. He had no problem seeing the world through a scientific lens while also maintaining his spiritual understanding of the world. In fact most religions people are able to do this.


    And these people are hypocrites. I'm sure the Benedictine monk only believes in science as long as it doesn't conflict with Christianity, so what happens when it does?
  • ||

    First, I apologize for any posts I have made that were rude or condescending. I have no excuse for it and it really doesnt help me make a point.

    "I don't know why you are writing out all this stuff that really has nothing to do with whether or not science is compatible with religion."

    Short and easy answer to this is, I dont know either, I just got off on a tangent.

    "Is loving others always good for our long term self interests. I think many people could benefit even more from taking advantage of others and not respecting one another's freedoms. Again this is just an OPINION, not an objective fact."

    There is no way to objectivly determine the best possible course of action in every conceivable human interaction. Maybe one day, we will be able to come up with some kind of algorithm to figure this out, but for right now it is completely impractical to make every decision based on a completely objective standard, especially when it comes to interpersonal interactions that can easily introduce a considerable amount of irrationality due to the nature of our mind and body. Spirituality is in individuals way of creating a basic framework for their day to day decisions. I recognize that not all religions match perfectly to the common theme, but with the exception of certain extreme sects of any religion, they are generally intended to explain the world in a way that allows the follower to use this spiritual understanding of the world to make decisions. There is no mainstream religion that completely separates spirituality from action (or inaction). Some might suggests that one needs to reach a higher plane of consciousness, one that can perhaps be said to be beyond physical existence, but they still require physical action to at least get to the first step (breathing deeply for example).

    "I think many people could benefit even more from taking advantage of others and not respecting one another's freedoms."

    You are right about this, but the people who benefit more from taking advantage have to constantly dodge the side effects of their nefarious actions. Again, this cannot be proven in a completely objective manner because we do not YET have the capacity to explore and express it in an objective medium such as mathematics. If you like here is a thought experiment that might help to conceptualize this (not being condescending here, though as I read it I can see how it could seem that way). If you treat people like shit and your dealings with them are dishonest, the laws of probability will catch up with you as you begin to cheat more people. Sooner or later someone will call you out and maybe you get away with it, maybe not. If you deal honestly with everyone, you have two advantages. One advantage is that you do not have an ever increasing possibility of being caught. The second advantage is that many of the people you treated fairly will more than likely be an ally and not an enemy when someone tries to take advantage of you. It is a statistical probability thing, it is not always going to result in an absolutely predictable outcome.

    "And then again, alot of them really aren't about love or harmony, or are just about arbitrary beliefs."

    Almost every religion has arbitrary beliefs and no religion has a monopoly on these beliefs. This is besides the point. These are ornaments on the tree and not the tree itself. Those people that stress dogma over values and principals are either completely missing the point (there are a shitload of these people) or they are not doing a very good job of explaining how the dogma represents some aspect off their core principals. Nobody should expect all followers of any religion to have a complete or even functional understanding of that religions core principals any more than anyone can assume that all scientists completely understand quantum physics.

    "Ants are not smart enough to understand how an anthill is made. One ant on its own cannot create a hill or at least it would not have the capacity to do it purposefully. We are that ant."

    My point here is to explain emergence. I am not suggesting god created the anthill, I am simply pointing out that the anthill happened despite the fact that not one single ant knows how to build or even conceptualize an ant hill. The building of an anthill could easily be expressed as a moderately complex algorithm -- it probably already has. I will bring this full circle at the end of this post, which I assure you is coming soon.

    "And these people are hypocrites. I'm sure the Benedictine monk only believes in science as long as it doesn't conflict with Christianity, so what happens when it does?"

    Spirituality is a personal understanding of life and how to live it. Religion is the oral and written tradition that passes down the history of a particular model of spirituality. History and Religion are very similar, except history is our attempt to objectively explain the events of the past. This cannot be done, at least not in a purely objective manner because original sources are the only historical evidence that can be remotely objective, everything else requires interpretation. Religion is similar to history in that it is a written or oral passing of information from one generation to the next, except religion is a passing of spiritual information and not necessarily historical events. This is not to say that historical events cannot interweave with history, but for most part these events are only retold because they are anecdotal explanations of the core spirituality. To some religions like Christianity, the historical events are critical to certain core truths (I dont know if Jesus was real or not, but his being a human with human failings has been an important aspect of the core faith). I personally dont think the actual historical events are completely necessary to explain the spirituality of a religion and sometimes they create controversy that can undermine the credibility of the religion. No religion is perfect, because no person is perfect. I say all of this to point out that a Benedictine monk, or any human for that matter can hold two world views completely independent of each other.

    On the one hand is science. Science is pure objectivity it seeks absolute evidence through rigorous process. We can understand the physical world through this prism and more and more, we can understand many seemingly intangible things (anthills) through technology, math and scientific study.

    Spirituality allows us to view our world through a prism that allows us to see how best to interact with each other and our world. It is not objective, but it can help make day to day decisions without having to study the situation within the scientific process to find an objective solution to the situation. Do you really want to spend the whole afternoon trying to decide whether or not you should hold the elevator door for someone or hit the close door button rapidly so that you dont have to wait?

    Understand your world through science. Know how to live life through spirituality.

    If it makes people feel more comfortable with it, they can call it objectivity, but I doubt anyone will ever find a way to live life in a completely objective manner, there are just too many unknown interactions and decision outcomes that make it impractical if not impossible.

  • ||

    I think you got much right however I think that the call was to a personal transformation and renewal and not a government theocracy light or some such thing. I believe he quoted some framer as saying that our form of democracy was meant for a moral people in effect and if we lost our moral tethering would could lose the republic but the call to transformation was not to the country as a whole but to individuals as they see fit to do it.
    The event which I watched on the net has led me to take the 40 day challenge of personal renewal and in the week it has had a good effect on me and some of those I associate with.
    Sometimes God really does intervene in the lives of men , no matter how corny and unscientific that sounds. I look forward to your fact based and "Reason-ed" follow ups.

  • Max||

    It sounds corny and unscientific because it is.

  • Ron L||

    Ron|9.4.10 @ 8:21PM|#
    "I look forward to your fact based and "Reason-ed" follow ups."
    To what? the fact that you're a sucker? What can any "Reasonable" person say about that?

  • ||

    Sometimes God really does intervene in the lives of men , no matter how corny and unscientific that sounds.

    Whatever you say, crazy person.

  • aureliano||

    Wait a minute, people have the right to gather and stand up for...for...what are they standing up for exaxctly?

    Oh, things like this: "I learned all I needed to know about Islam on 9-11."
    "Obama's a racist because...because....well, a long list of things...."

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ht8PmEjxUfg

  • ||

    So "Obama is a racist because he favors and supports racial discrimination" isn't good enough?

  • hhhh||

    watch the tape

  • ||

    Sometimes God really does intervene in the lives of men , no matter how corny and unscientific that sounds.

    200,000 dead Haitians would agree with you if they could. /snark

  • ||

    ...what does this even attempt to mean? If you bothered to read Ron's post, J sub D, you would see that Ron doesn't state that God ALWAYS intervene in the lives of men.

  • ||

    People still conflate nature (earthquakes) with God. This is why people have a hard time understanding the real meaning of God.

    God is a personal understanding of the truth of our reality. The body is flawed, it requires resources and those resources are limited. If you cannot extrapolate this concept into a supply and demand paradigm then you are not capable of understanding God.

    Capitalism is not some kind of economic theory like communism. Capitalism is an expression of reality. People need things and those things are limited. Understanding God is understanding that everybody is in this boat. Understanding God means understanding how this human body may make people act and how it might tempt one to do things that violate individual liberty.

    Understanding God is understanding that individual liberty is not just a nice libertarian concept, but rather an expression of our reality. We have minds that drive us to do things. People do things because they need to feed the body what it needs, (sexual procreation, security, nourishment). Because of our intelligence, humans are uniquely capable of imaginative innovation and this innovation is generally motivated by improving our situation with regards to our limited supply of shit we need. From the billions of individual expressions of innovation and imagination emerges a complex system that generally supports the health and well-being of the many individuals largely because that was the intent of the innovation in the first place. This is not to say that Greed isn't a motivating factor for some, but it must be stated that it only motivates some and not most people. God represents this truth, however each holy book expresses this truth in different ways. Beck brought many different religions together to point to this core truth and see past the dogmatic differences of the individual holy books. By knowing this truth, and by reinforcing it in religion, people can live according to a core set of principals that are respectful to this truth and in doing so, we will make this engine more efficient and individuals more free.

    Of course, if you still believe God shakes the earth to kill people in third world countries then you simply dont understand God and probably suck at geophysics as well.

  • Mike DeSoto||

    Regardless of whether the Founders were Christian in the way that many contemporary Christians would recognize (they weren't), the notion of the U.S. as a god-fearing country that publicly demonstrated its religiosity is an old and powerful one.

    Yeah, they sure put one over on poor Alexis de Tocqueville.

  • ||

    "Regardless of whether the Founders were Christian in the way that many contemporary Christians would recognize (they weren't), the notion of the U.S. as a god-fearing country that publicly demonstrated its religiosity is an old and powerful one."

    The founders were not Christian, Nick?Another lost soul taught in the public schools using Howard Zin's "The People's History" as their source of information. God help us.

  • Ron L||

    Well, you got the straw-man on the ropes.
    Care to comment on what he wrote?

  • ||

    READING COMPREHENSION.

    It's important.

  • aureliano||

    They were Deists, cowgirl, a very distinct religion from the kind of Christianity practiced by these evangelicals today. It is said Washington would leave church before communion as he didn't really believe in any of that transubstantiation stuff, a personal God dying for our sins, etc. The Deists believed in God as a divine watchmaker, who simply set the world in motion, was transcendant but not immanent, with no interest in intervening in the affairs of men.

  • ||

    Of the Majors, only Franklin and Jefferson were Deists (which I am). The rest were Christians.

  • Amakudari||

    Hamilton, Madison and Adams were all fairly ambiguous, even if they professed a religion.

    I think if the question is of religious seriousness, then the only Founders who strike me as that sort are Jay and Washington (an infrequent attendant and non-communicant), whereas the rest had their deistic and openly hostile moments.

  • ||

    John Adams was very religious. He mentions his god often in his personal writings. The great achievement of the Founders is that they recognized the peril of religion in politics and they took steps to limit it on a national, federal level. Still, Adams' Massachusetts didn't de-establish religion until 1833.

  • ||

    You guys are flailing on this one. First, I saw Nick G. in the crowd, and judging by the thousand or so people I could see from where I was, Gillespie sought out the wierdos and seemed to be trying to get them to say wierd things. Not 'representative' but just provocative like the MSM does it. NOT JOURNALISM.

    Long haired bikers with bad teeth are NOT representative of this crowd unless 51% of the crowd was like that. I'd be surprised if 0.01% of the crowd was like that. Most of them are just like ME. I was there too. I admit I didn't seek out wierdos like Gillespie did, but there you are.

    NOw....

    "founders.. not Christian in the way many contemporary Christians would recognize"... ??? You don't suppose you could be any more vague, do you? What specific contemporary Christians would not recognize the Christianity of the founders, and why? Sounds like simmering bias at work in this article, and not in FAVOR of contemporary Christians. I think the writings of the founders are quite in line with contemporary American Christianity. If you have snake handlers or some such in mind, just say so and quit being so sneaky about your bias.

    And I love how you repeat your own totally subjective and uninformed views of this crowd and at the end just say "who knows what will happen", as if the article had no real point. Except to damn with faint praise a bunch of people you seem to be mildly threatened by.

    Beck is doing what he does because he sees the need for it and sees nobody else doing it. there's really nothing else to it. He knows he's not the best qualified, and he knows he came late to history class and isn't an expert on any of this. You're flogging dead horses here. Not sure, after reading this through a few times, why anyone bothered to write it.

  • johnl||

    It's called stratified sampling. It takes 30 minutes to get all the shots you need of normal people then you spend the rest of the time getting shots of every variety of weirdo.

  • ||

    This guy must live on planet Gore.Does He not realise that Obama is a third generation communist who would take over this country in a heartbeat?

  • ||

    Hopefully this is sarcasm...

  • johnl||

    Beck's argument that personal morality os the country's problem is Joe Boyle's "right people in charge" fallacy. It doesn't matter if people are good or not, if you give them license to snoop into the private affairs of others, they will behave badly.

  • ||

    I have no problem with people going to church, but the Government should not give churches tax free status, unless they also let movie theaters have their land tax free as well.

    Both are about communicating fantasy.

    The sooner we let churches compete with other entertainment on a even level, the sooner we will see the toxic effects of religion on our society end.

  • Neu Mejican||

    That, actually, sounds like a plan to bring more engagement in politics by the church. They would be tax paying corporations with a vested interest in shaping policies. The church lobby would be much more aggressive, it seems.

    Or not.

    Who knows.

  • ||

    Churches provide INDIVIDUALS with a moral compass, this was the point Beck made repeatedly by admonishing the Black Liberation Theology at every chance.

    If churches end up driving policy it is because they are preaching something other than individual responsibility or because well intentioned people think that "there should be a law" based on their individual beliefs. This is exactly the same way people on the left work. They have a set of personal values and because they think everyone else is too stupid to understand how important it is, they want to pass a law to make the dumb people more compliant with their values.

    Becks rally was about individual liberty, individual responsibility not reshaping policy, except to say that any policy that is contradictory to the principals of the constitutional individual liberty should be eliminated. Nobody wants to force you to pray and nobody wants to take away your porn.

  • ||

    Like it or not, churches perform a powerful charitable role. Not just physical charity, but allowing people to feel a connection to the transcendent, to help them live moral lives, rather than just free lives.

    And anyway, Libertarians should be conserving every tax break we can. Shame on you, sir, for demanding more taxes!

  • ||

    Beck's and Palin's schtick is essentially Conservatism 3.0.
    New iteration, same old corn.

  • Warty||

    This thread appears to have been a disaster. So...fuck your nonexistent god, christfags.

  • PantsFan||

    Everyone loves you, Warty

  • Warty||

    What, nobody gonna step up for any stomp?

  • Neu Mejican||

    No Homo?

  • ||

    And, of course, the squirrels.

  • -||

    chirp! chirp!

  • Tippy-Toe||

    Chrrt chrrt

  • ||

    WTF??!!STUPIDITY!!

  • Eric||

    Stop touching my country.

  • Neu Mejican||

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AHb4gs1hwck

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

  • Neu Mejican||

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z7Y24bYGGQA

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e5UkAihbORQ

  • Neu Mejican||

    Those are for warty.

    He sounds like he needs them.

  • Warty||

    I'm pretty sure more metal is the last thing I need, but it's always appreciated.

  • Warty||

    Bastards are new to me. Many thanks.

  • Neu Mejican||

    Ahhh... it's a gem of a record if ya can find it.

  • Amakudari||

    Whaaa? If Bathory's new to you, you haven't overdosed on metal.

    Their (or his, as Quorthon's the only constant) first several albums are all solid. Even the wussy albums about Vikings have some great stuff.

    Or, for more explicit religious angst, there's always this.

  • Neu Mejican||

    Bastards, not Bathory. The last vid.

  • Amakudari||

    Ah, figured the last one was Bathory like the two before it.

    Bastards is pretty damn cool.

  • Amakudari||

    (As in "thanks, I didn't know of them either.")

  • ||

    "Regardless of whether the Founders were Christian in the way that many contemporary Christians would recognize (they weren't)" Huh? Those who were Christian expressed their Christianity plainly and openly. George Washington's and John Adams's writings and speeches were much more direct in their reference to God and morality than any president today would come close to, mostly because they knew they were addressing a sympathetic audience.

    "...we've turned God...out of the public square is the not-small fact that we haven't: In a way they certainly didn't in the '60s and '70s, for instance" Um, the name Madalyn Murray O'Hair ring a bell?

    Anyone who grew up in the 1950s and 1960s can definitely see the steady erosion of moral values over the last few decades and the active crowding out of religion from the public square. It's obvious. Glenn just wants to reverse the trend because he feels it is important for the survival of America and western civilization (remember when kids were required to take Western Civ?). Based on the numbers that turned out for his rally, I would say that he is definitely not alone.

  • ||

    GTFO, sky-daddy cultists!

  • ||

    There is a funny side to this story. The progressives have consolidated power in all the major institutions, mainline Christian churches, government bureaucracy at all levels, academia (would be shocking to them but for two centuries it trended right ward), media and much else in our larger social frame work.

    The trend is now running against them.

    They could have spent the last fifty years diffusing that power for the greater good, but no, that is not what they did. They went the opposite way with it.

    Now their children are going to have pray to Jesus in the public schools, their daughters will have to get their abortions in the back alleys or be forced to marry the boys who knocked them up, and all kinds of other cultural dictates will be coming back with a vengeance.

    You could have avoided all of that by being more libertarian, but no, you had to have your national socialism just the way you like it, and now it is going to bite your oh so progressive asses big time.

  • ||

    "Now their children are going to have pray to Jesus in the public schools, their daughters will have to get their abortions in the back alleys or be forced to marry the boys who knocked them up, and all kinds of other cultural dictates will be coming back with a vengeance."

    I should hope so (other than the forced prayer to Jesus, which ain't a gonna happen). The celebration of abortion and sexual promiscuity is a direct, and well measured, cause of much of our social problems.

    Sexual freedom without recognizing the responsibilities that go with it are the hallmark of libertardians and, not coincidentally, leftists.

  • ||

    You must believe the Soviet Union and Maoist China and Communist North Korea were and the later case are a later day Caligula era Roman orgy. Those happen to be among the most tight ass societies in the modern era. Look what the Communist did to Cuba, for Christ sakes.

    The most prudish people I know are leftist, and that is more the norm for them than what you espouse. Try getting laid in college during the feminist era. I dated women from the Middle East and Europe for the most part because American girls were to fucked in the head about sexuality to deal with due to the fact except for the abortion issue there is not a pap smears worth of difference between social cons and feminist.

    Most of the militant left of the 60's hated the hippie culture for its sex, drugs and rock'n'roll ethos undermined the focus they wanted to direct towards revolution and social causes.

    Sell your pap to somebody else who hasn't seen this shit first hand.

  • ||

    In Canada, Thanksgiving is in October and Canadian Christmas arrives in November.

  • PantsFan||

    Canadian Labour Day is August 15th. Canadian Easter is always in April.
    Canadian Halloween is September 28th.
    and
    Canadian Oktoberfest is September 23rd, but Rocktoberfest lasts all of October.

  • ||

    "While I think Beck is often massively confused in terms of basic facts, he is channeling a very strong tradition in American with regards to religion and the public square."

    ----------

    I absolutely loved this statement. "Glenn Beck is stupid, a liar, or both, but he's talking religion so I think I'll give him a pass."

    Ha ha ha ha ha!

  • SIV||

    We need all those Christians in the "public square" To practice mutual aid and give to and run charities.Somebody has to supplant the State in supplying social services. I can't think of any cultural institution ,aside from religion, more prepared and motivated to take over the job.

  • ||

    Yeah because once the secular liberals can't spend other people's money, you know they won't be giving any of their own.

  • SIV||

    Exactly

  • MlR||

    +1

  • ||

    Well, they'll give money to groups who'll protest and lobby to have the State supply social services. They think that counts as compassion.

  • ||

    Giant papier-mache heads of the capitalist tools are not free.

    It costs money to pay union workers to march.

  • Apogee||

    +10

  • ACTYankee||

    Nick,

    I don't mean to be snarky, but who are you to define the "Leave us Alone" coalition? Hundreds of thousands of Americans of diverse backgrounds and beliefs come together to expresses a commitment to individual faith, hope, and charity, and you're saying they "are not part of the Leave Us Alone Coalition"? If they are not, than who is... only Reason hipsters?!

    According to Grover Norquist, who actually coined the phrase and concept, "The 'Leave us Alone' coalition includes taxpayers who want the government to reduce the tax burden, property owners, farmers, and homeowners who want their property rights respected, gunowners who want the government to leave them and their guns alone, homeschoolers who wish to educate their own children as they see fit, traditional values conservatives who don't want the government throwing condoms at their children and making fun of their religious values.

    The Leave us Alone coalition also includes those Americans who serve in the military and police as they are the legitimate functions of government that protect Americans' right to be left alone by foreign agressors [sic] or domestic criminals."

    Sounds like a perfect description of Restoring Honor’s attendees.

    As for Mr. Beck, I'll let him speak for himself (from this past Friday's show):

    "I know there is concern, I saw it in the papers: 'Glenn Beck is talking about a theocracy.' No, no, I'm a small-government guy. Teach people correct principles and they'll figure it out on their own."

    “Faith, as our Founders understood it, is the regulation of your [own] life; it has nothing to do with government. If the government comes in and starts to say ‘you need to belong to this church’ and ‘you need to do these things’ then that’s a problem. But the way to a small government is to be self-regulating. If you want to have a small government that means you have to get rid of all these programs. Well, who’s going to feed the poor? Who’s going to reach out in the community? Who’s going to help the drug addict? Who’s going to help anybody? It is our faith. It is our charitable organizations.”

    "The phrase that changed my life came from Thomas Jefferson in his letter to Peter Carr, his nephew. He said when it comes to religion above all things ‘fix reason firmly in her seat…’ and ‘question with boldness even the (very) existence of God. For if there be (one) he must surely value honest questioning over blindfolded fear.”

    Mr. Beck is serving straight-up libertarianism, and he readily embraces the term. While his personal religiosity may be off-putting (clearly it is to you, Nick), to focus on that exclusively is to rather miss the point.

    His faith is personal. Speaker of the House Nancy “The Word” Pelosi’s faith is what she says is her governing philosophy, which we can’t even question outside of church! Didn't she take an oath to uphold the Constitution not her conception of the Gospels?!

    The Left, following the example of the Right, is using religion to further its collectivist programmes. Mr. Beck, on the other hand, is saying that conscience is an individual matter, and -- contrary to President Obama's "audacity of hope" Rev. Jeremiah Wright religion -- salvation is not dependent upon the collective action of government.

    When questioned by Bill O'Reilly on why he avoids “culture war issues like gay marriage,” Mr. Beck’s response was pitch perfect: “I don’t think the government has anything to do with marriage. That is a religious right.”

    When Mr. O’Reilly pressed him on the issue, saying "Do you believe that gay marriage is a threat to the country in any way? Is it going to harm the country in any way?"
    Mr. Beck mockingly responded “Will the gays come and get us? I believe what Thomas Jefferson said: 'if it neither breaks my leg nor picks my pocket, what difference is it to me?' (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4FMe3LpUhpY).”

    Now when did someone from the “Moral Majority” or Christian Right sound like that? Meanwhile the Christian Left is saying health care is a "right," higher taxes are "moral," and it is a "sin" not to support Climate Change legislation.

    One final comment: Mr. Beck is not just preaching to a small town choir as you are, Nick. He is reaching an audience of millions, including those former big government “compassionate conservatives” who were badly burned by President George W. Bush. How anyone can bemoan Mr. Beck’s converting Christianists into supporters of small government, is beyond me.

  • ||

    It would be swell if Beck could "convert" America's existing Christians (and Jews? Muslims? atheists?) into small-government types, but doing it through a mushy, emotional, soft-focus mysticism (instead of appealing to rational Enlightenment principles of self-government based on man's rights) isn't the answer. Beck attempts to merge the two camps into one, but it isn't possible. Reason cannot coexist with mysticism. That sort of marriage results in conservatism and all its nasty baggage.

  • ||

    So because you want the perfect alliance, with people who'll accept everything you say, we'll have no alliance. Have fun losing, again, and again, forever.

  • Robert||

    Reason cannot combine with mysticism, but it can certainly co-exist with it -- and do so in ways that'd probably surprise and maybe delight you.

    For instance, what if one can scientifically prove some religious beliefs which have been adopted mystically? For example, what if it could be shown empirically that certain rune chants have physical effects beyond their mere sound but specific to their sound? What if it could be shown that certain events of which there were seemingly fantastic accounts in holy lore actually did occur?

    What if we could answer thru scientific investig'n certain questions which until now had been approached only mystically, such as what the experience of not being alive is like? And what if it turned out that some of what one or more religion said about that happened to be correct?

  • ||

    Yes, what if? What if some fairy tale some guy made up thousands of years ago happens to have some truth if you look at it in a very specifically interpreted way? Magic!!!

  • Robert||

    Let me just add: Why has there been so little scientific research directed toward answering a question which would have a more profound effect on our lives than anything else I can think of: What do we experience after we die? Clearly answering that question would make an enormous difference to our attitudes in regards to time preferences, risk assessment, and a shitload of other ways. Yet it's been left practically completely to specul'n and tall tales.

  • ||

    Here, I'll answer this "unsolved enigma" for you:

    If you are dead, meaning you lose all brain function, you experience nothing. If the thing you experience things with is dead, you can't experience anything.

  • Robert||

    How do you know? Why do you assume that experience begins & ends with brain activity?

  • ||

    How else would you experience something without a brain???

    I can't believe I'm having this conversation...

  • Robert||

    Since we don't know where experience comes from, there's no reason to think it requires a brain. We know that neural tissue and even the presence of a brain in operation is not sufficient to produce experience, because we have periods of dreamless unconsciousness -- unless that's just a failure of memory. How do we know a brain is necessary for experience?

    Unfortunately our only tools so far for detecting and recording experience are our own memory (for experience we perceive as our own), and behaviors of other living things that seem to reflect an underlying consciousness -- although that impression may be incorrect in some cases. There's no reliable way (so far) to know whether consciousness is associated with other things that just don't reveal it by actions, or whether it exists in forms dissociated from matter.

    We do however, have some, occasional evidence of experience that is at least partly uncoupled from matter, as when perceptions are obtained extrasensorily.

  • ||

    Since we don't know where experience comes from, there's no reason to think it requires a brain.

    Yes, we do know. Experiences come from chemical reactions in the brain.

    We know that neural tissue and even the presence of a brain in operation is not sufficient to produce experience, because we have periods of dreamless unconsciousness -- unless that's just a failure of memory.

    Listen, I work in a lab that studies the genetics of certain brain structures. I know neuro-biology. The statement you just made is completely false and nonsensical. Yes, there are sections of sleep in which we do not dream, but our brain is still functioning. This does not mean that our brain is insufficient for producing experience, and I can't even see a bit of logic in that assertion.

    How do we know a brain is necessary for experience?

    Again, we know a brain is necessary for experience because experience is a DIRECT PRODUCT OF THE BRAIN. I don't think it's possible for me to explain it any simpler terms. Experiences are chemical reactions in the brain. No brain = no chemical reactions = no experience.

    Unfortunately our only tools so far for detecting and recording experience are our own memory (for experience we perceive as our own), and behaviors of other living things that seem to reflect an underlying consciousness.

    Also incorrect. We have highly advanced brain imaging and neural activity detection systems that allow us to study brain function directly, without depending on the subject interpreting and then telling us what he is experiencing.

    There's no reliable way (so far) to know whether consciousness is associated with other things that just don't reveal it by actions, or whether it exists in forms dissociated from matter.

    Again, consciousness is dependent on the brain. It cannot exist without the brain creating it.

    We do however, have some, occasional evidence of experience that is at least partly uncoupled from matter, as when perceptions are obtained extrasensorily.

    No, there is no evidence of experience that is "uncoupled from matter." That is idiotic. Experience either exists in reality, in some form of reaction that involves matter and energy, or it does not exist at all. To say that something is "uncoupled from matter" is basically the same thing as saying it doesn't exist.

    As to perceptions "obtained extrasensorily," I think you might want to take a bit more of a skeptical viewpoint when watching Ghost Hunters or whatever idiotic supernatural bullshit they have on TV these days.

    These statements are really giving me doubts about the future of humanity. I'm wondering if I should just shoot myself in the head now to end the horrendous amount of stupidity I'll surely encounter if society progresses with such ignorance of simple scientific facts.

  • Robert||

    Yes, we do know. Experiences come from chemical reactions in the brain.


    We know there are some neural activities that are associated with at least some experiences, but that doesn't tell you whether the neural action is a cause or an effect, or partly cause and partly effect, of those experiences. Nor does it tell you that all experiences are even associated with, let alone caused by, such neural activity.

    Listen, I work in a lab that studies the genetics of certain brain structures. I know neuro-biology. The statement you just made is completely false and nonsensical.


    And I'm a Ph.D. biochemist who has also been to medical school and taught plenty of the associated subjects.

    Yes, there are sections of sleep in which we do not dream, but our brain is still functioning. This does not mean that our brain is insufficient for producing experience, and I can't even see a bit of logic in that assertion.


    Do you know what "sufficient" means in logic? If A is a sufficient condition of B, that means every time A applies (is true), so does (is) B. So brain activity is not sufficient to produce experience. If that wasn't clear enough for you, it means not all patterns of firings produce experiences.

    Again, we know a brain is necessary for experience because experience is a DIRECT PRODUCT OF THE BRAIN.


    You're assuming your conclusion, partly. But even to the extent experience is a direct product of action in the brain, such brain activity is only sufficient to produce that experience. It doesn't show that it's necessary.

    A lot of cancer research went down a road like that, showing that tumors could be produced by certain means. A lot of money got funneled toward the implicit assumption that all or even most cancers were a function of such conditions. Eventually people realized otherwise.

    So just because you can produce some experiences by acting on a brain doesn't mean that all experience arises that way.

    Experience either exists in reality, in some form of reaction that involves matter and energy, or it does not exist at all.


    You're saying that matter and energy are the only things that exist. OK, if that were true, it would subsume the lesser assertion that experience is material. I think you're confusing the embodiment of ideas with the ideas themselves. You might as well say that concepts don't exist apart from their expression -- which would be news to anyone in intellectual property law!

    As to perceptions "obtained extrasensorily," I think you might want to take a bit more of a skeptical viewpoint when watching Ghost Hunters or whatever idiotic supernatural bullshit they have on TV these days.


    And I think you should be more skeptical than to trust that TV shows represent state of the art in their respective fields.

  • ||

    We know there are some neural activities that are associated with at least some experiences, but that doesn't tell you whether the neural action is a cause or an effect, or partly cause and partly effect, of those experiences. Nor does it tell you that all experiences are even associated with, let alone caused by, such neural activity.

    Yes and we don't know that all horses are really horses. One might be a unicorn.

    And I'm a Ph.D. biochemist who has also been to medical school and taught plenty of the associated subjects.

    You shouldn't have told me that. Now I'm REALLY depressed.

    Do you know what "sufficient" means in logic? If A is a sufficient condition of B, that means every time A applies (is true), so does (is) B. So brain activity is not sufficient to produce experience. If that wasn't clear enough for you, it means not all patterns of firings produce experiences.

    I was just going by the dictionary definition of sufficient. Since you haven't been using logic very much at all in this discussion I just didn't assume that's what you meant. My bad.

    You're saying that matter and energy are the only things that exist. OK, if that were true, it would subsume the lesser assertion that experience is material. I think you're confusing the embodiment of ideas with the ideas themselves. You might as well say that concepts don't exist apart from their expression -- which would be news to anyone in intellectual property law!

    Oh so are we going to talk about Plato's Forms now? Guess what, concepts don't exist apart from their expression! Gasp! But, but, how could I go against the idea behind IP law, which is obviously an objective truth??? Don't make me laugh.

    Pure concepts don't exist. People like to think of them apart from anything, but this is a huge simplification. They don't. If no one thinks or writes down an idea, does it still "exist?"

    And I think you should be more skeptical than to trust that TV shows represent state of the art in their respective fields.

    Haha, yes the Ghost Hunter are really lagging behind those serious "scientists" of the supernatural. You sure put me in my place.

    You're assuming your conclusion, partly. But even to the extent experience is a direct product of action in the brain, such brain activity is only sufficient to produce that experience. It doesn't show that it's necessary.

    OK, please propose how one might experience something after they die. Magical spirit energy? Obviously you must believe in some form of life after death. Yes, I too wish I could live forever, but believing that you can simply because you want it to be so does not make it true. Death is death.

    There's really no point in continuing this silly discussion. I can't reason with someone who believe is dualism AND the supernatural. There's just no reasoning with you people. Obviously this can only be settled by an empirical experiment. When you experience something after you die, come to Boston and tell me about it.

  • ||

    Such an energetic child!

    There are various examples of functioning, conscious humans with very little brain matter--as you are 'in the field', I don't have to elaborate, yes? They are 'experiencing' without the structure that 'experiences'.

    And it is possible that you will live forever. Isn't that grand? But that says nothing about what happens after you die, does it? But you will continue after your brain is dust, heller, you don't really have a choice about that. It just happens.

    The trick, as Robert notes, is to figure out how.

  • ||

    There are various examples of functioning, conscious humans with very little brain matter--as you are 'in the field', I don't have to elaborate, yes? They are 'experiencing' without the structure that 'experiences'.

    No, they are experiencing with what's left of their brain. Idiot.

    And it is possible that you will live forever. Isn't that grand? But that says nothing about what happens after you die, does it? But you will continue after your brain is dust, heller, you don't really have a choice about that. It just happens.

    And you know this how? God told you?

  • Robert||

    OK, please propose how one might experience something after they die. Magical spirit energy?


    Beats me. That's what research is for. And even after some results are gotten, there may still be no decent explanation. Haven't you ever gotten results in the lab that you couldn't explain, nohow? I sure have! I've had DNA teleport itself from one microvial to another in the freezer. I've had melanin (or some unknown co-inducible congener thereof) exert a reproducible effect on DNA-protein crosslinking in vivo at levels far in excess of any reasonable stoichiometry, and without any reasonable time or chance for catalysis.

    Obviously you must believe in some form of life after death.


    No, because then "death" would have no meaning. What I am not convinced of is that experience requires life, or that it requires a particular life, or that it is limited by the physical extent of that life. I've seen some evidence to the contrary, but not enough to draw firm conclusions.

    Obviously this can only be settled by an empirical experiment. When you experience something after you die, come to Boston and tell me about it.


    But what if experience does cease and not resume after death, in all cases? Then none of us would ever have the answer. So the method of waiting works only for an answer in the positive, and then only if memory carries over from life.

  • ||

    Beats me. That's what research is for. And even after some results are gotten, there may still be no decent explanation. Haven't you ever gotten results in the lab that you couldn't explain, nohow? I sure have! I've had DNA teleport itself from one microvial to another in the freezer. I've had melanin (or some unknown co-inducible congener thereof) exert a reproducible effect on DNA-protein crosslinking in vivo at levels far in excess of any reasonable stoichiometry, and without any reasonable time or chance for catalysis.

    Yes, in all those cases an anomaly happens that you haven't been able to explain. There is no anomaly in the first place to be studied in what we are talking about. It's like asking why we haven't researched fairies. What fairies??? If you want scientists to study something there has to be something to actually study...

    I don't understand why you are convinced that there is consciousness after death when there is absolutely no reason to believe that there is. Jesus isn't a reliable source of scientific evidence.

    No, because then "death" would have no meaning. What I am not convinced of is that experience requires life, or that it requires a particular life, or that it is limited by the physical extent of that life.

    Now you're just arguing semantics. It's the same thing if you don't take the phrase literally.

    I've seen some evidence to the contrary, but not enough to draw firm conclusions.

    What evidence?

    But what if experience does cease and not resume after death, in all cases? Then none of us would ever have the answer. So the method of waiting works only for an answer in the positive, and then only if memory carries over from life.

    An experiment does not have to be repeated infinitely to reasonably conclude that the same result will always occur. The burden of proof is on you to show that there is experience after death, not on me to disprove it.

  • ||

    I would like to add that the mind is nothing more than a complex network of patterns. It is from this complexity that our thoughts and experiences emerge.

    Is it not possible to imagine some other complex system experiencing thought? Would you be able to recognize a complex system if it were having thoughts of its own? Is it possible there may be such systems that are currently beyond our ability to experience or measure?

    The mind is just one known medium from which thought and experience may come. In an infinite universe it is folly to assume other systems haven't also evolved the ability to generate its own thoughts.

    Finally, we do not fully understand how matter interacts with the universe around it. Do you have a good explanation for the phenomenon known as quantum entanglement? The very existence of such a phenomenon suggests there is some as of yet unobserved interconnecting force binding disparate pieces of matter together. Is it hard to imagine this connection having the ability to transmit information such as neural patterns into some other medium?

    Heller, I dont know any scientists that are so unimaginative that they cannot even accept these ideas as possibilities.

    I am sure you FEEL very strongly that there is no life after death, but for someone who uses the term OBJECTIVE so freely, you sure are not being very objective.

    If you do not know for fact that something is true, you cannot say it is not true.

    Or so you dont have to think to hard:

    If you do not know for fact that life after death is impossible then you cannot say that it is impossible.

    You give me one fact that proves ABSOLUTELY that life after death is impossible and this ends right here and now. Does this contradict your personal beliefs? Are you a scientific heretic for even considering this possibility???

    Flog yourself in the church of global warming, say the table of elements ten times and dont let it happen again.

  • ||

    Basically your criticism comes down to the idea that I can't prove that there is no life after death. Apparently you missed my last post where I explained that the burden of proof is for you to prove life after death, not on me to disprove it. As long as someone makes claims that are unproved, I can ridicule them.

    There are infinite possibilities, that doesn't mean you can pick one and say its real. And the only time I used the term objective in this discussion was in a satirical manner, so I don't know where you are getting this idea that I throw around objectivity.

  • ||

    While I share your preference for reason over mysticism, I think you're wrong. Rationality has its limits, and conservatives are correct to be suspicious of any governing philosophy that supposedly rests entirely on it (e.g. the French Revolution, Communism, etc.). Libertarianism can get along well enough on a basis of "God-given rights," and if you compromise a bit and take that approach your potential political support goes from single digits to a possible majority.

  • ||

    Rationality has its limits

    It does? And beyond man's thinking mind there lies...mysticism? No thanks.

    any governing philosophy that supposedly rests entirely on [reason]: French Revolution, Communism...

    The French Revolution was hardly reasonable, unless you consider terror and anarchy as reasonable forms of government. And communism? Really? You've got to be kidding.

    if you compromise a bit

    Not interested. A compromise between reason and faith gets you Conservatism, whose champions are Newt Gingrich, John Boehner, Sean Hannity...Again, no thanks.

  • ||

    Gingrich is a champion of his personal interests.

  • ||

    I'm not up on the philosophical details, but I believe reason has its limits the same way that mathematics does: you can't logically prove everything at the foundational levels.

    I'm not saying the French Revolution and communism were reasonable, I'm saying they believed they were being "rational" in discarding tradition and religion.

  • ||

    Reason cannot coexist with mysticism.

    Lots of people who consider their beliefs to be based on reason believe that the universe created itself out of nothing.

    The big bang is mysticism.

    I could ask you what the evidence is for the big bang and you would be incapable of telling me. Instead you would point to a bunch of white robed priests.

  • ||

    The evidence for the Big Bang is numerous and complex. Basically, through studying certain forms of energy and light, scientists have found that the universe is expanding. That means, that in the past the universe was smaller. Much smaller, according to the patterns in which energy has propagated through the expanding universe. So scientists theorize that 13.7 billion years ago all the energy in the universe was contained in a very small area of space, which then bloomed into all the complex forms of matter that exists in space today. The Big Bang Theory does not say that the universe was created "from nothing." It does not say anything about what happened with the universe before the Big Bang. For that you might want to check out string theory.

    Mysticism is inherently unscientific because it claims things to be true that aren't verified, and sometimes unverifiable.

  • ||

    Mysticism is inherently unscientific. Correct. Scientism is inherently wrong, however, because its believers think it can answer all questions. This leads to arrogant (and uninformed) attacks on religion.

    For example, most scientists would believe that Catholicism is at odds with science, which is not even slightly true (check out the Vatican Academy of Science some time - an institution in existence since its founding by Galileo, himself a Christian all his life).

    Science is a powerful and rich method of determine the truth about phenomena which are subject to science. It doesn't do so well answering questions like "what happened before the big bang," since science is fundamentally dependent on causality and without the flow of time, you have no causality. This means that answer such as "there was nothing before the big bang" are inherently unscientific - rather being statements of unverifiable opinion.

    In today's milieu, science is too often believed to offer answers to everything, or at least those believes show a faith that it will be able to.

    BTW, the methods of science were largely created by the Catholic Church in its quest to "understand and thus better glorify God's creation." Betcha the anti-Christianists don't know that. It was so important the the concept of the university, and academic freedom, arose to support it (and philosophical inquiry) - against in the context of the Roman church.

    Quantum physics is an interesting area in regard to all of this - it is the most solidly established major theory in physics, and yet nobody (and I mean NOBODY) understands it. Einstein hated the theory's attacks on causality, for example, yet the best (extremely strong) evidence is that quantum events just happen - without cause except in the aggregate, not individual case. Try explaining that - lots of brilliant physicists have, but not convincingly or consistently.

  • ||

    For example, most scientists would believe that Catholicism is at odds with science, which is not even slightly true (check out the Vatican Academy of Science some time - an institution in existence since its founding by Galileo, himself a Christian all his life).

    I guess you just ignored (or misunderstood) the last sentence I wrote, so I'll explain it again: Catholicism IS inherently at odds with science because Catholics claim things to be true that aren't verified or verifiable. It's as simple as that.

    It's also hilariously ironic that you would point out Galileo's Vatican Academy of Science as proof that Catholicism and science can co-exist. Galileo was forced to recant the idea that the Earth revolves around the Sun because it came into conflict with the Biblical "truth" that the Sun revolved around the Earth. Now you might say that the Church no longer holds this view, but it holds numerous equally idiotic views that conflict with science today.

    All that is a side-point though, since it is specific to the Catholic church. However, ALL mysticism that make claims of truth that aren't verified or verifiable are in conflict with science.

    It doesn't do so well answering questions like "what happened before the big bang," since science is fundamentally dependent on causality and without the flow of time, you have no causality. This means that answer such as "there was nothing before the big bang" are inherently unscientific - rather being statements of unverifiable opinion.

    Well first of all, not all science is dependent on causality. Causality is a big part of most physical sciences, but there are many different theories that aren't dependent on causality. You even mentioned quantum physics, which is all about non-causality.

    Also, the point you seem to be trying to make is that mysticism gives the answers that science doesn't. This is bullshit. To say that the Pope knows what science doesn't is just stupid. Science doesn't claim to know what it doesn't know. Mysticism is basically all about claiming to know things you don't actually know. It is a collection of fairy tales and make-believe.

    Second of all, the Big Bang Theory does not say that "nothing existed before the Big Bang." You keep saying this, but it isn't true.

    In today's milieu, science is too often believed to offer answers to everything, or at least those believes show a faith that it will be able to.

    Maybe by those who don't understand that science is a method. The people you are referring to are those who think science is a just a better form of religion. Science is in fact at odds with religion. What is your point exactly?

    BTW, the methods of science were largely created by the Catholic Church in its quest to "understand and thus better glorify God's creation." Betcha the anti-Christianists don't know that. It was so important the the concept of the university, and academic freedom, arose to support it (and philosophical inquiry) - against in the context of the Roman church.

    Almost, but it's important to understand that the Church sponsored everything. It had all the money. And if you had any scientific finding that conflicted with Biblical "truth" you were forced to recant it under threat of death or solitary confinement for the rest of your life. This is merely a historical fact, it says nothing about the inherent conflict between the philosophies of mysticism and science.

    Quantum physics is an interesting area in regard to all of this - it is the most solidly established major theory in physics, and yet nobody (and I mean NOBODY) understands it.

    It's not so much that people don't understand it as it is an incomplete theory. Classical physics was basically a blunt approximation of quantum physics that worked for very large systems but didn't for smaller ones. Quantum physics is simply a more accurate/inclusive description of how the world works. Just because we haven't finished it doesn't mean that it is wrong. When dealing with physics, which is trying to describe literally everything under one theory, you either have an incomplete theory that is being worked on, or a finished theory that doesn't work in every situation. Trying to describe everything will either take a very very long time, or is impossible. Neither suggest that we should stop trying.

  • Robert||

    Second of all, the Big Bang Theory does not say that "nothing existed before the Big Bang." You keep saying this, but it isn't true.


    You're the one who wrote

    To say that something is "uncoupled from matter" is basically the same thing as saying it doesn't exist.
  • ||

    And your point is...

    Do you think these statements conflict in some way? Explain.

  • ||

    I guess you just ignored (or misunderstood) the last sentence I wrote, so I'll explain it again: Catholicism IS inherently at odds with science because Catholics claim things to be true that aren't verified or verifiable. It's as simple as that

    Before we could see germs was it wrong to believe that disease was caused by tiny creatures making us sick?

    Would it have been crazy to insist that this was the truth? At the time there was no way to verify the statements.

    There are many truths that have come to us only after we have become able to discern them.

  • ||

    Before we could see germs was it wrong to believe that disease was caused by tiny creatures making us sick?

    Ibn al-Khatib, a 14th century Andalusian physician:

    The existence of contagion is established by experience, investigation, the evidence of the senses and trustworthy reports. These facts constitute a sound argument. The fact of infection becomes clear to the investigator who notices how he who establishes contact with the afflicted gets the disease, whereas he who is not in contact remains safe, and how transmission is affected through garments, vessels and earrings.

    There was plenty of evidence to support germ theory before we had the capability to see germs. No one magically came up with germ theory out of the blue.

    Obviously you don't understand the scientific method.

  • Les||

    As heller clearly point out, the evidence for the big bang is overwhelming. And you suggesting that it came "from nothing," is a scientifically literate as a young-earth creationist saying that "evolution says life started from nothing."

    The process of inquiry and discovery that allows us to communicate like this is the same process that has lead astronomers to believe the big bang theory is the best explanation for the origin of our universe.

    In the future, there may appear evidence that contradicts the big bang theory, at which point the theory will change. This doesn't happen in philosophies with "white robed priests."

  • ||

    Well put. Scientific inquiry is an ongoing, never-ending process, always searching for the truth and always willing to admit mistakes and revise its theories based on the best evidence available. It is the opposite of entrenched religious dogma. All the "great" religions have a holy book that they claim contains all the "truth" you'll ever need. To borrow from (and modify a little) a famous conservative publication's half-serious mission statement: Religion stands athwart science and rational inquiry, yelling Stop.

  • ||

    Bullshit on stilts. Obviously you understand neither the limits on science nor religion. Religion deals with supernatural events. Science (originally called "Natural Philosophy") deals explicitly with natural events.

    Hence science cannot disprove religion, and vice versa. They are orthogonal.

  • ||

    No, religion deals with bullshit some guy made up thousands of years ago.

    Science deals explicitly with facts, and people who actually care enough about reality to not get answers from a collection of fairy tales.

  • ||

    Ignoring the fact that you are treating all religion as if it were Christianity, do you have any objective evidence that some guy "made [it] up?"

  • ||

    It has nothing to do with Christianity. Any mysticism that claims certain truths without proof should be treated the same way a scientist is treated. If you don't cite sources and data, it is assumed you made it up.

  • ||

    God told me that I should kill people I don't like.

    Prove I'm not making it up.

  • ||

    Okay, I'm only commenting here because I have no idea where to start to comment on this topic.

    Religion and Science are compatible. Religion (real religion, not fundamentalism) seeks truth. Religion has written down truths in holy books and although one could debate whether or not the holy books are fact or fiction, it really is about the truth and having studied religion, I know all serious theologians understand that the truth of a religion is its core.

    Science only seems incompatible with religion because for a long time people used religion to explain the world (mysticism). In reality, science is getting closer and closer to religion and this is not to say it is becoming more mystical and less factual, though AGW science may yet disprove me. People who study emergence understand how intangible complex systems can generate a phenomenon that could be seen as mysticism. Ants dont know how to build anthills, but yet they do it very well. Anthills are an emergent result of ants doing what ants need to do to survive, it is a product of their physical reality expressed repeatedly by tens of thousands of ants.

    God is also an emergent result of our complex minds. We understand how our world works through experience, how is this different than experimentation? Our experiences drive us to evolve our approach to the world. Our experiences allow us to know which decisions are good and which are bad, but experience isnt hard-coded into our DNA (though some studies suggest there are some inherited non-physical traits) We need to pass along our experiences to the next generation so that they can live a satisfying and happy life, or at least try their best to do so.

    Science is a valid way to learn about the universe, but it currently does little to explain how we should live. That doesn't make science bad, it just makes it dispassionate -- as it is supposed to be. Science and technology allow us to improve our condition. We have more food because of science.

    We all want a free society, this means that government must be taken out of the picture to the greatest possible extent. Religion, properly observed, allows society to freely associate under a common set of principals. These common principals, if they are anchored in truth will allow a free society to remain free.

    The problem with religion is fundamentalism and religious dogma that is not based in truth. How does religion identify truth? Very slowly. Over time, people have learned these lessons. Why do you think the ten commandments are so focused on the way we treat others? The answer is that the people who wrote the bible long ago figured out that being an asshole to others isn't in their long term rational self interests. Hence the golden rule...

    Science can help us understand these emergent truths. We may be able to map the path like we can map how ants end up building anthills. Science can and someday will enhance religion. Religion can and will enhance science by offering us a window into how the complex systems of humanity and the universe interact with each other.

    Not everyone in a religion gets this, but the principals of most religions are laudable and useful for maintaining freedom as long as dogma doesn't become law.

  • ||

    You must be in a different universe from mine, because in mine religions are not truth-seeking. They are truth-shunning. All they see is the made-up dogma that's in their holy book, which is almost always pure bullshit and contains no actual truth about the universe. It might contain some outdated opinions about human behavior, or it might contain fairy tales about people in the sky who see everything and are all powerful, or both. Neither are important in any way.

    Religion is, and always will be, built on arbitrary faith and arbitrary beliefs. Not on actual reality.

  • ||

    Dogma has a certain value in religion in that it can help to metaphorically explain certain spiritual beliefs, but it is always the spiritual beliefs that are the foundation of most religions.

    Some religions may purely be dogmatic and I dont think very highly of them, because for most part, they are totally uncoupled from spirituality. Further, it takes years of study to be able to grasp many of the dogmatic principals of the truly spiritual religions so it is understandable for an outsider to misunderstand the dogma for silly sky god mysticism which on the surface is obviously at odds with modern science.

    Science begins with a theory based on observed phenomena, it tests theory rigorously until it can reveal an absolute objective fact. Just because religion doesn't operate the same way, doesn't make spirituality any less valuable.

    While it is nice that science exists, we are hard pressed to explain why we even try to figure out our world. I personally think we study science because we hope to somehow improve our lives, but that is an incomplete explanation at best, because there are other factors in there as well such as general curiosity and imagination.

    Maybe someday, neuroscientists will map the patterns that drive imagination and perhaps spirituality as well, but you cannot refute that they do not exist just because you do not have objective evidence of their existence.

    Science can be good and it can be bad, it is all in how you use it. The same goes for religion and spirituality. If you use it for bad and this has been done to the point of great tragedy repeatedly in the past, then you are no better than the scientist who uses his perfectly objective knowledge to blow the Jesus fucking Harold Christ out of an entire Japanese city.

  • ||

    In the future, there may appear evidence that contradicts the big bang theory, at which point the theory will change. This doesn't happen in philosophies with "white robed priests."

    Really/ So all those 'enlightenments', reformations', 'schisms' and all that never happened? And what about druids/ You don't see many of them about these days. Come to think of it Mercuralia came and went this year without anyone even knowing it was happening--and Inanna went to bed alone.

    Them 'white robed priests' sure seem to have changed alot.

  • ||

    DERP.

  • MlR||

    bigotry > self-interest

  • ||

    Well said.

    Many people who are uncomfortable with religiosity are naturally uncomfortable with Beck.

    Libertarians are always saying that everyone should be able to do what they please so long as it doesn't harm anyone and I do not disagree with this sentiment in one bit, but many people use this as an excuse to do things that are not particularly good for the individual. Legalizing pot is one thing, but using pot day in and day out is not going to do you any favors. Trust me, I know.

    Beck is essentially saying, we should open the door and let freedom ring, but at the same time, we have to respect that freedom and understand the consequences of our individual liberty, not just on others, but on ourselves. Beck is not building a theocracy, he is just engaging the people in a meaningful way to discuss individual liberty and its sister individual responsibility.

  • ||

    What is the problem with daily pot? I am sure that you are aware of the powerful anti-cancer properties of cannibis.

  • ||

    Nothing really, but anything taken to its extreme, even pot, can be harmful.

    I dont know about the anti-cancer properties of pot. If they are real, that is fine, but plenty of other things have health benefits too. Water for example is a necessity, but I am not going to drink 100 gallons of it because I will probably literally piss my life away.

    Pot makes me and many others a bit lazy and my judgment is generally impaired as well. One cannot spend all day everyday smoking pot no matter how good of an idea it seamed last night. Your life will turn to shit if you take it to the extreme.

    My point here wasn't to disparage pot, but rather to encourage self control and moderation. Religion is a great way for people to learn self control and moderation as it is focused on the mind/body problem. The mind wants what the body demands and if we dont use our brains to know when to stop then we will get carried away by our bodies various needs.

    Nearly everything aspect of life has an addiction switch. People can be addicted to pity, to pain, to fear, to salt, to sweet, to drink and to pot. Recognizing our own addictions can only be done through a community of people who are purposefully looking out for us. A religious community is a self regulating society. It is harder to let our needs convince us to infringe on the liberties of others if we have the others looking out for us through a prism of common principals.

  • ||

    What "powerful anti-cancer properties of cannabis?" Cannabis is useful for treating the nausea side effect of chemotherapy. Perhaps that is what you are thinking of.

    Cannabis, smoked, is highly carcinogenic, btw - much more than tobacco. Fortunately, it is far less addictive - for most people.

  • ||

    I cant refute either claim. My expertise with pot is limited to rolling it, lighting it and smoking it.

  • ||

    Pot cures cancer through magic. God told me so.

  • ||

    I believe you mean unicorn piss cures cancer.

    The pot farmers like to claim they have the sole cure for cancer, but I assure you as an experienced unicorn rancher, unicorn piss cured my family from the brain cancer they got from their cell phones.

    Just dunk your head in the bucket Timmy and dont worry, it smells like cotton candy.

  • ||

    Are you contradicting the word of God??? Heretic! Burn in the eternal flames of hell, Satanist!

  • ||

    A tincture of ground unicorn horn and mistletoe cures cancer--unicorn piss is a female aphrodisiac.

  • ||

    One would think it was the other way around.

  • ||

    Surely someone has already said it. But Beck needed numbers so he called the God squad. That was the only thing that was going to get the turnout he wanted.

  • ||

    Will Beck and his mob of bible-clutching busybodies take credit for shutting down the Craigslist "adult services" section?

    Because I can really respect a guy who teams up with Martha Coakley.

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    Did any one of these "busy bodies" infringe on your personal freedom?

    What makes you think that Beck had anything at all to do with Craigslist? It was the various attorneys general that made the push.

    I dont think prostitution should be illegal, but I also dont think it is very good for anyone involved. Making it legal will probably make it safer, but really is it that great of a thing?