OK, Now He's a Maverick

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It was fronted on Drudge, so you've already seen it, but Tom Cruise's career nosedive is worth just a little more attention.

Paramount Pictures and actor Tom Cruise called an end to their 14-year production deal on Wednesday as the chairman of the studio's parent company took a parting shot at the movie star's off-screen behavior.

"As much as we like him personally, we thought it was wrong to renew his deal," Viacom Inc. Chairman Sumner Redstone told the Wall Street Journal in an interview posted online. "His recent conduct has not been acceptable to Paramount."

That's a hell of a statement—studios always come up with a cover story for things like this. They don't just come out and say "that honky's crazy."

And what's happening with South Park creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone, who fought a pitched battle with cruise over their Scientology episode? Oh, they signed a deal with Paramount. Tom's Xenu-powered revenge has been limited to The Simpsons beating South Park in an Emmy upset.

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  1. To be fair, “The Seemingly Never-ending Story” was a really top-notch episode, as good – I think – as any of the classics from the golden days.

  2. Clearly, Cruise has an excess of Thetans. He may need to pony up for more sessions with his ‘clear’ if he wants to get his career back on track.

  3. “His recent conduct has not been acceptable to Paramount.”

    Right. Like anyone believes that.

    More like,

    “His recent poor box office performance (couldn’t even cover the spread on MI:3) has not been acceptable to Paramount.”

    If MI:3 had done Pirates of the Caribbean box office, the Paramount execs would be getting in line to praise L Ron Hubbard.

  4. I think Cruise can easily get his career back on track if he would just expand his range a little and maybe try something like playing a young cocky, but loveable punk who gets his comeuppance and learns wisdom from an older person so that he can in the prevail over evil and save the day.

    I know it’s a stretch, but it would be soo different from every other movie he has made, it just might work.

  5. Seems like an idiotic move to me. The story states “Mission: Impossible III,” went on to amass $393 million and “War of the Worlds” topped $590 million. Almost a billion in a year, and that’s with couch jumping. Lay off the couch jumping for a while and everyone will love the cutie pie again.

    Now for something completely inflammatory – although he seems like a utter dork, on average, Tom Cruise’s movies entertain me more than most of the hack movies from Hollywood AND he is right about too much Ritilan use and the over-diagnosis of ADHD, AND from a distance, Scientology doesn’t seem any weirder than say, oh, I don’t know, Catholicism.

  6. Gooooooose!

  7. Gooooooose!

  8. Goose… is dead.

  9. Anybody ever see Ben Stiller’s take on Tom Cruise movies, from Stiller’s short-lived t.v. show? Pure comedy gold.

  10. Anybody ever see Ben Stiller’s take on Tom Cruise movies, from Stiller’s short-lived t.v. show? Pure comedy gold.

  11. This guy’s a complete train wreck – how long can this last, really?

    On a side note, my girlfriend and I were talking about Eyes Wide Shut the other day – and how when the movie first came out, I found Nicole Kidman and Tom Cruise to be completely unbelievable as a couple…

    See, looking back, I was all “oh gee, wasn’t I prophetic and ingenius”… of course, my girlfriend immediately points out to me the fact that NO ONE believed it. I was saddened considerably to learn that my superiority to the rest of mankind did not extend to such things as pop culture.

    🙁

  12. “Anybody ever see Ben Stiller’s take on Tom Cruise movies, from Stiller’s short-lived t.v. show?”

    The A Few Good Men parody is roll-on-the-floor funny.

  13. I always had it bad for Katie Homes. I still can’t believe she married a nutcase and joined a cult. Beautiful women just have no judgment.

    Jeremy,

    Everyone I knew that saw that movie thought it was proof that Cruise was gay and that Kitman was a beard. Since he keeps marrying hot women and having children, I think the gay part is probably not true. That said, Kitman and Cruise were not too believable in what was a sad end to Stanley Kubric’s otherwise brilliant career.

  14. “Scientology doesn’t seem any weirder than say, oh, I don’t know, Catholicism.”

    I suppose if you know nothing at all about Catholicism.

  15. If you can find a religious belief any weirder, more random or less rational than the belief that bread and water turn into the body and blood of a ghost when they enter your mouth, please, post it and let me know. I haven’t seen one yet.

  16. Kohlrabi

    You seem to think Catholicism isn’t weird? Lessee:

    God created the world in six days. He created man in his own image, then he created woman out of a rib taken from the man’s side. A talking snake got them to eat ‘the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil’, which got them tossed out of their home and tainted the couple and all their descendents for all time. They had two children, one of whom murdered the other. The survivor married a girl who came from somewhere else and the human race descended from them.

    Several generations later, God got pissed off and caused a flood which wiped out all but one family, who became the ancestors of everyone now living. One of the sons saw his papa naked and drunk, for which the son and all his descendents were condemned to servitute.

    After more generations of betrayal, paricide, filicide, mass murder, etc which was all excused because it was done by God’s Chosen People, God ‘begot’ a Son, who was also God, who was so Holy that only a dozen people knew anything about him. One of the dozen – chosen by the God/Son himself – turned out to be a rat and betrayed him to the cops. The God/Son then got crucified, but not before being rejected 3 times by his most trusted follower, for which the God/Son made him the Keeper of the Keys of the Kingdom of Heaven.

    After crucifixition, the God/Son went to Hell for 3 days, which somehow were squeezed into just over 36 hours, which got all of us off the hook for the original two eating the forbidden fruit way back at the beginning. Of course we only get off the hook if we had water poured over us and ate a piece of bread that magically turned into the body of the God/Son when a follower of the Keeper of the Keys told us it had and believed all that.

  17. Thanks Aresen. That is much better than I could have put it.

  18. Arsen,

    One of the world’s noble religions and that is all you get out of it. I really pity athiests sometimes, I really do.

  19. You’re right, John, we got more out of it than did Aresen.

  20. Aresen,

    Genesis is to be taken literally? That’s news to this Catholic. The rest is an hodge-podge. I’ll stand by my earlier statement.

  21. I really wish Christians would make up they minds.

    First they say the Bible is the word of God.
    And when somebody points out the inconsistencies, “it’s not to be taken literally”.

    Then they say how noble christianity is.
    And when confronted with the disasters that occur everytime the church gains political power (think the inquisition, the crusades, the religious wars of medieval europe, etc) they declare that those people weren’t “real christians”. Yeah, just like Mao and Stalin weren’t “real communists”.

  22. We pity you too, John. You’ll have to pray for yourself though…

  23. I don?t think Aresen was commenting on the ?nobleness? of the religion. He was commenting that thinking there is nothing strange about Catholicism is a bit naive. You don?t have to be an Atheist to see how silly some parts are, in fact I was raised Catholic and I have a profound belief in God, and even I can see how silly some parts are. If both religions were made up today, from whole cloth, Scientology may even seem more rational (frankly, I don?t know much about it). Anyway, Aresen can speak for himself.

    Your use of the word ?noble? is interesting. To me, that denotes a ranking, or elevation. I?m curious as to what religions you think are lesser than Catholicism. Perhaps all?

  24. Daniel,

    I like how you wish Christians would make up their minds about things that Christians differ on. You are aware that all Catholics are Christian and that not all Christians are Catholic?

    See, here’s a quick lesson. Some Christians believe in taking the bible literally. Some don’t. That’s partly why there are different types of Christians. See also ‘Reformation’.

  25. Cab,

    I am not a Catholic, so I would rank the Protestant and Orthodox forms of Christianity (outside of the snake handlers and the like) above Catholicism.

    My point was that you can take any religion and if you write it in a snarky enough way, portray it as being completely ridiculous. To do that is to miss out on a lot I think.

    With regards to Catholicism, when someone shows me that Christianity was a scheme to make the apostles millions in Roman gold, I will consider Christianity the equal of Scientology, which basically began as an extremely successful fraud scheme designed to enrich L.Ron Hubbard.

  26. Furthermore, a cursory and flippant overview of anything can make it sound weird. The history of the Republic? Music theory? Nutrition?

  27. Furthermore, a cursory and flippant overview of anything can make it sound weird. The history of the Republic? Music theory? Nutrition?

  28. Yes, I am aware of the various flavours that Christianity comes in.

    But apparently you seem to be unaware of the logical contradiction that those who don’t take the bible literally place themselves in.

    You are supposed to believe in God because the Bible says so. But if it’s not to be taken literally, then how do you know what you’re supposed to believe in?

    No matter how people like you try to spin it, no religion will ever make sense.

    Furthermore, a cursory and flippant overview of anything can make it sound weird.

    Then please, explain the hidden logic of christianity for those of us unable to see it.

  29. Thank you Daniel, very concise.

    John, I get things outta the bible. There are some very interesting dramas in there, and every once in a while, something is written that tells folks how to be a better person. In fact, I see the entire bible as a sort of prose interpretation of humans’ mental evolution from complete barbarism (the god of the old testement was a surly SOB, as were most of his prophets) into a more enlightened age (Jesus, although he seems rather nuts, did have a lot of positive things to say).

    But how any of this is supposed to convince me that there is a god, or that the bible is the word of said entity, is entirely incomprehensible to me. On top of that, there are a great many other pieces of prose written over the years that I can much, if not more, of the same valuable stuff from, so the bible has no monopoly on good drama or important lessons to make us better people.

  30. Humans are, on a really good day, only about semi-rational. Ergo, pretty much any human institution is probably only marginally rational. Libertarians would have an easier time if they simply thought of religion as a big-ass cheeseburger. Eating huge cheeseburgers probably isn’t healthy and probably isn’t perfectly rational and probably isn’t anyone’s goddamn business. So is religion.

  31. Paramount is the most idiotic organization on this planet. They send Tom Cruise packing for the supposed failure of M:I:3, but reward JJ Abrams for that same failure because, what, JJ Abrams is this month’s flavor? He’s the idiot who had Felicity killed off in the first 15 minutes of the movie and filmed the whole picture through a collander. And they’re not only letting him walk away from that screwup, but letting him go on to destroy the Star Trek fanchise with his idiotic Starfleet Academy movie. And then Redstone gets on his high horse and badmouths Tom Cruise, who has made literally billions of dollars for him? Paramount is the pits. They’re the ones who will regret this action, not Cruise.

  32. My point was that you can take any religion and if you write it in a snarky enough way, portray it as being completely ridiculous.

    It is funny to me that you would write the above, within one sentence of the below:

    Scientology, which basically began as an extremely successful fraud scheme designed to enrich L.Ron Hubbard.

  33. The best part about being an atheist is that we don’t have to torture ourselves with attempting to reconcile the irrationalities and absurdities.

    I only scratched the surface of the irrationalities of the Catholic [and Christian] faiths. I could have gone on for thousands of words.

    Try reading Leviticus and Deuteronomy with their horrifying legal codes and punishments for being different. [Leviticus 20:13 “If a man also lie with mankind, as he lieth with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination: they shall surely be put to death; their blood shall be upon them.”]

    Try reading Judges, with it’s chronicle of multiple genocides, excused on the grounds that they were committed by “God’s Chosen People”

  34. tom cruise while he’s not what he was once was still a movie star and i don’t think his career is in as serious trouble as mel gibson’s. mission impossible 3 didn’t do so hot because of uninspired marketing and people are probably just tired of that franchise too.

  35. Tim, we can see you are upset. It?s obviously because you wanted Cruise to play Captain Kirk in the JJ Abrams? upcoming Star Trek XI movie. Don?t worry, Matt Damon is rumored to play Kirk, and he is every bit as cute.

  36. My point was that you can take any religion and if you write it in a snarky enough way, portray it as being completely ridiculous. To do that is to miss out on a lot I think.

    Your point seemed to be that Christian religions somehow are inherently more respectable than religions like Scientology which you label as frauds without offering any proof of that superiority other than your say so.

    When looked at through a rational eye — all religions tend to come off as kooky and loonie — requiring large leaps of faith and suspension of disbelief.

    As a Christian myself, I don’t see why believing in an omnipotent, omnipresent, omniscient being, whose existence I am not supposed to even question, much less demand proof of, but merely believe in and live my life according to “His” teachings (by way of guys who really really believe — like a cult) of is any more serious/respectable/rational than believing in scientology, wiccan or many other small time religions.

  37. I like Cruise in that movie where he plays the cocky young guy.

  38. The only difference between a religion and a cult is the number of followers.

  39. Daniel,

    “You are supposed to believe in God because the Bible says so.”

    plus

    “I am aware of the various flavours that Christianity comes in.”

    Apparently not. Catholics do not believe in God because the ‘Bible says so’. Where did you hear that? Again, see also ‘Reformation’.

    “Then please, explain the hidden logic of christianity for those of us unable to see it.”

    I’ll get right on that. Look out Aquinas, Francis, I’m about to explain it all in a blog. 😉

    Look, I don’t care if you hate Christianity or Catholicism more specifically, but if you’re going to talk about it, you should learn about it first.

    Aresen,

    This applies to you as well. There’s a reason there is an old and a new testament. There is the old law and the new, unless now you’re arguing against Judaism and the Torah. (?)

  40. I tried reading Dianetics once but put it down when I got to the part about having to pay them repeatedly and forever for their secret formula for happiness.

    How much does a devote, church-going Catholic pay to his parish in a lifetime?

    The similarities may be embarrassing to both faiths.

  41. Jose,
    That is a great way of putting it. I am going to plagiarize that from you. I hope you don’t mind.

  42. I don’t know if using Aquinas as an example of someone explaining the hidden logic of christianity is a good idea.

    There are a number of reasons there is a new and an old testement. I always laugh when some fundie uses a fire and brimstone example from the old testement to make their point…wasn’t the new testement supposed to be a new contract with a kinder, gentler god? If that’s the case, shouldn’t a Christian not really pay a whole lot of attention to it? (Serious question.)

  43. Libertarians would have an easier time if they simply thought of religion as a big-ass cheeseburger. Eating huge cheeseburgers probably isn’t healthy and probably isn’t perfectly rational and probably isn’t anyone’s goddamn business

    Except for the fact that lots of people who love those big ass cheeseburgers are constantly trying to force others to also eat those big ass cheeseburgers.

    It becomes other’s business when religous groups go out and try to get the state to enforce their beliefs and morals

  44. Lowdog,

    That is a good question. There’s a lot of debate within Catholicism as to how to interpret the OT.

    “wasn’t the new testement supposed to be a new contract with a kinder, gentler god”

    In a way, yes. That’s why fundies are so wacky (to me). They believe in Christ but ignore all of his teachings.

  45. Kholrabi

    You say. “There’s a reason there is an old and a new testament. There is the old law and the new, unless now you’re arguing against Judaism and the Torah.”

    May I point you to Matthew 5:17-19:

    “17Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil.

    18For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled.

    19Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.”

    In other words, Christ himself said their was no changing the rules.

    That ‘old and new testament’ trick has been tried before. It doesn’t wash.

    [Apologies if you don’t like me using the King James Version, but that is the version which has had most impact on the English speaking peoples.]

  46. Well, nothing here is copyrighted, Kwai, so feel free.

    To use another analogy, let’s say someone believes in riding a motorcyle without a helmet. I figure it’s his (or her) decision… even if I personally think it’s not terribly rational to increase the risk of death for the feeling of the wind through one’s hair. In short, it is really none of my goddammned business. I would never think to get in someone’s face and demand that they PROVE that riding a motorcyle without a helmet makes sense. Every time religion pops up around libertarians, I am reminded of the old Warner Brother cartoon where Bugs Bunny becomes a matador. Something about religion makes many libertarians turn in to old Toro.

  47. Nice try, Tom. I see a helluva lot more advertisements from McDonald’s, Wendy’s and Burger King than I do from churches. Personally, none of the ads bother me. It’s a marketplace for ideas, philosophies and meat between two buns.

    As to your second point, almost every group with a point of view tries to use government to further their cause. Hell, Tom, there isn’t a nickel’s worth of difference between environmentalism and fundamental Christianity. Many, if not most American Christians do not want a theocratic government. They are content to practice their nonrational faith right and let the folks down the street practice their nonrational faith.

    I don’t have a problem with criticizing a religion or any other human institution. I do have an issue with challenging a person to prove his or particular strangeness is “logical” or “rational.” Again, that’s a request I file neatly under “None of your goddamned business.”

  48. I would never think to get in someone’s face and demand that they PROVE that riding a motorcyle without a helmet makes sense.

    You would if they used their position on helmets to justify everything from restricting who you sleep with to who they’re gonna slaughter next.

  49. Would some other juvenile jackass please say something snarky and untrue about Christianity? You see, libertarianism is not marginalized enough. True, libertarians exercise slightly less influence over…well, anything, than druids, but there’s a distinct chance that one person might be converted (ooh, bad word) to the libertarian cause this year. It is the job of Reasonoid smart asses to make certain that doesn’t happen.

    After all, it is more important for overstimulated, permanent teenagers to smirk their way through a “history lesson” that bears little resemblence to the actual history of Christianity than it is to broaden the appeal of liberty. Forget that Christianity was, at varying times and places, a bulwark against state tyranny; forget the prominent place that Christians have had in both the anti-slavery and civil rights causes, in addition to many other stands against the encroachment of the state (yes, I know you can quote out of context that line from Paul about slaves being obedient to their masters — goodie for you); or the influence that Christianity had our founding fathers. (Oh, I forgot: the founders were all athiests who loved porn).

    Please remind those religious types out there that the best places on Man’s green earth were those that were officially athiest: the Revolutionary French Regime and the Communist states. But for God’s sake don’t let anyone think that libertarianism is for anyone other than pot-smoking, know-it-all cry-babies who dream of a legalized meth lab on every corner in Amerikkka.

  50. You see, libertarianism is not marginalized enough.

    Riddle me this, Grylliaders: Is the old “this is why libertarians are so unpopular/no more than 1 percent of the vote/on the margins/outside the mainstream of American life” argument part of the drinking game?

  51. Aresen,

    Fair enough, those are good points and part of the reason that the Church exists. The bible was written by inspired humans and has been translated and re-translated through centuries of diverse contexts. The Church exists as the constant institution of scholars through which these apparent contradictions are illuminated. That’s why we don’t take it literally, I think it’s near impossible to know what ‘literal’ even is in this case.

  52. It’s not the religion that gets to me, it’s the presumptuous superiority of the religious. Believe what you want, but don’t try to tell me that it’s better than another belief or my lack of belief.

    I was fortunately raised an atheist, or more correctly, raised without religious guidance – my father and mother figured I could make up my own mind. They even allowed me to attend a Lutheran church for a while. I got out when the Sunday school teacher told me that, if I did not believe every word of the bible, I was damned.

    Although I had my parent’s support, I was surrounded by neighborhood children who were BELIEVERS and absolutely merciless when confronted by someone who didn’t BELIEVE.

    I read and learned the bible in self-defense. I won’t say I am an expert, but I refuse to be put down by people like Kholrabi and John, who think my knowledge of the bible is inferior to theirs and thus may be discounted.

    There are passages of common sense, beautiful poetry and facinating stories in the bible, but it holds no superiority to Dianetics [or Grimm’s Fairy Tales] as a belief system.

  53. it is more important for overstimulated, permanent teenagers to smirk their way through a “history lesson” that bears little resemblence to the actual history of Christianity than it is to broaden the appeal of liberty.

    I find it funny you would say the above immediately prior to smirking your way through a bullshit “history lesson” of Christianity.

  54. Aresen,

    Didn’t mean to put you down.

    My overall point was that this whole thing started with a gratuitous and ill informed slam against Catholicism.

    If you go back and read the thread, accusing me of putting you down seems inaccurate.

  55. My overall point was that this whole thing started with a gratuitous and ill informed slam against Catholicism.

    No, it started with a claim that Scientology and Catholicism are about equal in terms of believability and/or absurdity-a claim I haven’t seen anybody engage, much less refute.

  56. When it comes to the “presumptuous superiority” Olympics, I think libertarian team is likely to medal.

    This is one of many reasons why libertarians will be permanent fixtures in the American political lunatic fringe. Mocking and despising religion bothers many Americans. It also makes the libertarians, champions of tolerance, look like a pack of hypocrites.

    How I long for just one candidate with the political sensibilities of frequent H&R poster, “Thoreau.”

  57. That?s the whole point, kohlrabi. When I said ?Scientology doesn’t seem any weirder than say, oh, I don’t know, Catholicism? you see it as a ?gratuitous and ill informed slam against Catholicism.? In fact, it just as easily could be a gratuitous slam against Scientology.

    Tim, what thread are you reading? There have been numerous engagements about comparing the believability and/or absurdity level of both. Are you just trying to get us nutjobs all worked up?

  58. Actually, I made the point that all human institutions are mostly nonrational… though I can see where you may have missed it. Perhaps Reason magazine is the perfectly rational human organization? Tim?

    The more salient point here is the “Dixie Chicks” rule. Tom Cruise is an entertainer, i.e., a celebrity business enterprise. He sells “Tom Cruise” to the movie-going public. Looking like an idiot or a religious nut is a marketing mistake wherein the Tom Cruise brand has been diminished. I can celebrate the Dixie Chicks exercise of free speech in criticizing President Bush… but it was a poor business decision. Maybe “artists” just don’t care about business.

    Right.

  59. Jose.

    I agree with you.

    “…an issue with challenging a person to prove his or particular strangeness is “logical” or an ana”rational.”

    I would think that libertarians, who base their political views on matters of faith (logical axioms, whatever), would be more sympathetic to religion. You should see the mental gymnastics it takes to defend a strict libertarian view of the world without ending up with anarchism.

    Try this example out.

    http://www.mises.org/rothbard/newlibertywhole.asp

    It is good at telling an internally consistent story (as is the bible), but it doesn’t mind using myths for support or arguing against strawmen.

    Invisible hands/god the father.
    Free Markets/heaven.
    Natural Law/ the ten commandments.

    All items of faith, never seen in the real world, that somehow will solve our society’s problems if allowed into the hearts of the population.

    I am being a bit sarcastic here, but there is a lot of hypocrisy ringing off this thread.

  60. MainstreamMan

    Libertarians do not believe that the market will “solve all problems”. There will still be crooks, poverty, drug abuse, murder, etc in a libertarian world. We simply neither pretend that we can solve these problems nor want to force someone else to do so.

    We do point out that every statist solution either makes the problem worse or creates worse problems.

    To paraphrase Churchill: “Capitalism is the most unfair, unjust and cruelest economic system there is, except for everything else that’s been tried.”

  61. Aresen,

    Wow, you mean there isn’t a range of beliefs within the libertarian community?

    Summing up a groups beliefs instantly becomes a parody of the group. You do not believe x, so the group you identify with cannot be summed up with statement x.

    It is different with Christians, of course. They all believe what you ascribe to them, and they believe it irrationally.

    An item of faith on your part:

    “We do point out that every statist solution either makes the problem worse or creates worse problems.”

    This would be hard to argue rationally.
    But I respect your faith in it.

  62. “a claim I haven’t seen anybody engage, much less refute.”

    Sorry, prof.

  63. Mocking and despising religion bothers many Americans.

    Why should religion get a free pass when libertarians are free to despise the state for controlling their lives in much the same way?

  64. Cruise and Wagner supposedly already have much bigger deals lined up anyway. And depending on what you believe Cruise ended the relationship. Paramont DID make an offer( supposedly for $1 million less). He didn’t like the offer and knew ( in spite of his insanity) that he could do better elsewhere. There are a lot of other factors supposedly involved including CAA agents and even Stephen Spielberg.

  65. Talk about a statement of faith… “every statist solution either makes the problem worse or creates worse problems.”

    A legal constitution approved by the people and the rule of law are “statist solutions” that have served capitalism (and free socities) reasonably well. Yet another reason why libertarians fail to convince the masses is the convinction that government cannot do anything but make things worse. I am not one to underestimate the power of good intentions. I also know that businesses are the natural enemies of free markets. Every business covets a monopoly. I certainly do. The proper functions of government are very limited and very important. Libertarians have a nasty habit of forgetting the second part.

    “People of the same trade seldom meet together, even for merriment and diversion, but the conversation ends up in a conspiracy against the public, or in some contrivance to raise prices.” Adam Smith

  66. So! How about that Tom Cruise, huh? Bummer about Paramount dumping him. Wonder if it had anything to with Scientology?

  67. MainstreamMan

    Please provide me with a problem “solved” by a statist solution.

    Yes, there are variances amongst libertarians, from Rothbardians through Randians to Minarchists. We do hold in common the belief – call it faith, if you like – that humans have rights, which should never be denied.

    And I do know that there are variances in Christian, Islamic, Judaic, Bhuddist, etc faiths. However, they all hold a common theistic [not literally true in the case of Bhuddism] point of view that relies on core dogmas that are immune to challenge. eg: “The Bible is Divinely inspired.” I know that some believers claim that the bible is inerrant while others accept it as a metaphor/parable, but the Divine inspiration is unquestionable.

    The big difference is that libertarians do not care if you believe them or not, just leave us alone. If the Theistic groups are in a position of power, they are perfectly willing to kill you if you won’t accept their beliefs.

  68. “Why should religion get a free pass when libertarians are free to despise the state for controlling their lives in much the same way?”

    There is a difference between a criticizing a religion and confronting an individual over personal religious convictions. I don’t care if you deconstruct any particular religion… just don’t ask me to justify, explain or rationalize any of my nonrational beliefs. In America, you are free to despise anything. The electorate is equally free to despise you. As I have said on numerous occasions, most libertarians appear far more committed to being “right” than to be “elected.” Enjoy the view from the peanut gallery while a bunch of democratic and republican idiots run the free world.

  69. Mainstream Man makes some very good points. It is interesting how Reason is so monolithic on most issues. The Reason staff loves to make fun of the people over at National Review Online, but NRO has John Derbyshire. Derbyshire has little good to say about religion, is militantly anti-creationist, objects to the war on Iraq and generally acts as fly in the ointment.

    Reason in contrast has no one like Derbyshire. I can’t think of one issue, from the war on terrorism, to Iraq, the gay marriage, to technology, genetic engineering, religion, to campaign finance reform, to anything where any Reason writer disagrees with any other.

    I don’t live in NY or DC, so I don’t’ get to go to a Reason get together, but I often wonder what the hell the staff talks about. They sure as hell don’t argue about anything that is for sure.

    I read hit and run nearly every day. The sad truth is that the commenters on here are generally smarter, more informed, and more diverse than the staff. Is formal libertarianism really as bland and dogmatic as the Reason staff makes it out to be?

  70. “Theistic groups are in a position of power, they are perfectly willing to kill you if you won’t accept their beliefs.”

    That statement reflects a faithbased belief that is in conflict with the tenants of most theistic religions. . .

    Thou shalt not kill
    and variants.

    Christians do not believe in killing.
    Christians in power kill (and this is because they are Christians? or because they are in power?)

    Libertarians do not believe in killing (the ultimate taking of another rights)…but in a hypothetical liberatian society, they would avoid the trap the Christians haven’t.

    I am gonna bet that a libertarian party in power would look a lot like any other group in power, once the chips were down. Imagine in Libertopia a voluntary cooperative that decided to start up a state within Libertopia that collected coercive taxes on their private property.

  71. There is a difference between a criticizing a religion and confronting an individual over personal religious convictions.

    There sure is, which is one reason why I go out of my way to avoid criticizing individuals here. Yet… many (all?) people take criticism of their religious faith very personally.

  72. “Please provide me with a problem “solved” by a statist solution.”

    After a few failed attempts at longer posts, I’ll try again with a short one.

    Why assume that those who support state-based interventions to mitigate intractible problems have a less realistic view of success than the libertarian who “simply neither pretend that [they] can solve these problems nor want to force someone else to do so.”

    Some problems may require that some force, however unfair, be used to have a reasonable chance at tempering them.

    Violent crime comes to mind.
    As does fraud.
    or maybe, fire protection …
    Pollution.
    Etc…

    Please feel free to provide examples of how these have been “solved” on a wide scale using non-state solutions.

  73. Since he keeps marrying hot women and having children, I think the gay part is probably not true.

    To be fair, he and Nicole adopted. And nobody has provided hard evidence that Katie Holmes actually had a baby yet.

  74. Wow, it’s the return of The Theist Who Exists Only in My Head.

    You seem to think Catholicism isn’t weird? Lessee:

    God created the world in six days. He created man in his own image, then he created woman out of a rib taken from the man’s side. A talking snake got them to eat ‘the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil’, which got them tossed out of their home and tainted the couple and all their descendents for all time. They had two children, one of whom murdered the other. The survivor married a girl who came from somewhere else and the human race descended from them.

    Your argument would be a lot stronger if you could have managed to start off with at least one thing that Catholics actually believe, instead of umpty-ump things they don’t. Catholics don’t take the story of Genesis literally. A knowledgeable critic would know this.

    I really wish Christians would make up they minds.

    First they say the Bible is the word of God.
    And when somebody points out the inconsistencies, “it’s not to be taken literally”.

    Your reasoning is poor.

    It’s been years and years, but I’ve taken a class that looked at the Bible as literature, and considered the literary and story-telling techniques that were in vogue during the periods the Bible was compiled. Believers hold that some parts of the Bible, especially the New Testament, are close to being historical accounts. However, telling truths through parables and allegories is also a time-honored and well-understood technique.

    Jesus himself is said to have used it very often. When he said, “Once there was a Samaritan…” or “Once the owner of a vinyard …” he wasn’t giving a news report about an actual Samaritan’s travels, or describing the actual hiring practices of an actual vinyard owner. And his audience knew it. But that doesn’t mean he was just bullshitting, or that the parables lacked a real point, just because they weren’t literally true historical accounts.

    So there’s no reason that every word in the Bible has to be either/or be literally true or else complete bullshit.

    (A point I’d like to make the next time I have an argument with a Biblical literalist. Some anti-theists have more in common with the more ignorant stripe of fundy than they know.)

    Finally, it’s true that any religion sounds goofy and/or scary if you look at it in ignorance of context. I mean, I can imagine what an E.T. would think if he wandered into a Catholic church. The first thing he’d see, up at the front of the main gathering room, is a big statue of a bleeding human being tortured to death. Must be some kind of bloody-minded violent cult! (And in a way it is — and a cannibal cult as well.)

    But you can make anything look ridiculous if you simplify it into a caricature — espcially if you’re no stickler for actually knowing what you’re talking about, and have no compunction about constructing strawmen. For example, I’ve been informed that libertarians believe:

    1. All the world’s decisions should be made by WalMart and other big corporations, on the basis of their balance sheets.

    2. Every nightstand should have a loaded Uzi and a grenade launcher on it.

    3. Poor people should be allowed to starve to death.

    4. The only way to respond to environmental pollution is to just get used to it.

    5. Toddlers should be free to work as prostitutes.

    6. It should be legal for airline pilots to drop some acid on the way to work.

    And that crticism is just as accurate as the one I cited at the top.

  75. By the way, as to the claim that Scientology and Catholicism are equally wacky-seeming to an outsider — I don’t necessarily dispute that. In fact, I gave an example of how daft Catholicism could appear to someone ignorant of its history and context. But it’s so dependent on one’s own viewpoint, I don’t think there’s any non-subjective way of settling that question.

  76. Wow, it’s the return of The Theist Who Exists Only in My Head.

    You seem to think Catholicism isn’t weird? Lessee:

    God created the world in six days. He created man in his own image, then he created woman out of a rib taken from the man’s side. A talking snake got them to eat ‘the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil’, which got them tossed out of their home and tainted the couple and all their descendents for all time. They had two children, one of whom murdered the other. The survivor married a girl who came from somewhere else and the human race descended from them.

    Your argument would be a lot stronger if you could have managed to start off with at least one thing that Catholics actually believe, instead of umpty-ump things they don’t. Catholics don’t take the story of Genesis literally. A knowledgeable critic would know this.

    I really wish Christians would make up they minds.

    First they say the Bible is the word of God.
    And when somebody points out the inconsistencies, “it’s not to be taken literally”.

    Your reasoning is poor.

    It’s been years and years, but I’ve taken a class that looked at the Bible as literature, and considered the literary and story-telling techniques that were in vogue during the periods the Bible was compiled. Believers hold that some parts of the Bible, especially the New Testament, are close to being historical accounts. However, telling truths through parables and allegories is also a time-honored and well-understood technique.

    Jesus himself is said to have used it very often. When he said, “Once there was a Samaritan…” or “Once the owner of a vinyard …” he wasn’t giving a news report about an actual Samaritan’s travels, or describing the actual hiring practices of an actual vinyard owner. And his audience knew it. But that doesn’t mean he was just bullshitting, or that the parables lacked a real point, just because they weren’t literally true historical accounts.

    So there’s no reason that every word in the Bible has to be either/or be literally true or else complete bullshit.

    (A point I’d like to make the next time I have an argument with a Biblical literalist. Some anti-theists have more in common with the more ignorant stripe of fundy than they know.)

    Finally, it’s true that any religion sounds goofy and/or scary if you look at it in ignorance of context. I mean, I can imagine what an E.T. would think if he wandered into a Catholic church. The first thing he’d see, up at the front of the main gathering room, is a big statue of a bleeding human being tortured to death. Must be some kind of bloody-minded violent cult! (And in a way it is — and a cannibal cult as well.)

    But you can make anything look ridiculous if you simplify it into a caricature — espcially if you’re no stickler for actually knowing what you’re talking about, and have no compunction about constructing strawmen. For example, I’ve been informed that libertarians believe:

    1. All the world’s decisions should be made by WalMart and other big corporations, on the basis of their balance sheets.

    2. Every nightstand should have a loaded Uzi and a grenade launcher on it.

    3. Poor people should be allowed to starve to death.

    4. The only way to respond to environmental pollution is to just get used to it.

    5. Toddlers should be free to work as prostitutes.

    6. It should be legal for airline pilots to drop some acid on the way to work.

    And that crticism is just as accurate as the one I cited at the top.

  77. I have no idea what the hell you people are talking about, but I’m glad to see that the Starfleet Academy idea seems to have been nixed. There’s even a rumor (denied) that Paramount is looking to pull the plug on the whole franchise. So maybe we will be spared the horror of seeing the Kirk/Spock relationship turned into a subset of the troubled Damon/Affleck romance.

  78. It may take a decade, Tim, but Trek will never die. If they keep bringing back crappy shows like Mod Squad and Charlie’s Angels for a spin in the movie-mobile, then Hollywood, the remake kings, will never be done with Trek.

    Did I hear someone say that Scientology is just as abusrd as Catholicism but sounds like something from a cheap sci-fi novel?

    Have they considered how much The bible sounds like a fantasy novel?

  79. Have they considered how much The bible sounds like a fantasy novel?

    Must be one of those times that truth is stranger than fiction.

  80. Sumner Redstone is a brilliant man–but he’s getting bad advice–First, the scandalous Showtime-Smithsonian deal, now bigotry toward a far-out religion that knows how to protect itself. He already was involved in a family feud lawsuit. C’mon, Redstone, like Cyrano de Bergerac, you’re 83 and have at least that many enemies!! Don’t let the bastards take you down!

  81. How the hell did I end up here? oh well, I couldn’t live with myself if I didn’t leave my 2 cents in this crazy topic…

    All(most?) religions are valid and should be exempt, not from criticism, but from serious ranking in terms of ‘rightness’ or even ‘weirdness.’ They’re all weird, and the vast majority of people’s religious beliefs are based solely on their upbringing. I have respect for Scientology as a valid religion, though perhaps not as much respect as for most others. But that does not stop me from believing that the CHURCH of Scientology is a greedy, vile, unlawful organization which hurts more people than it helps.

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