Moral Equivalence Fail

explode

I’m not the first to address this meme … but I wanna do it my way.  And pile on, while I’m at it.

Holly Fisher, who posted this photo of herself after the Hobby Lobby decision, was … advised by her, ahem, “intellectual betters”, that all it was missing was a flag, a gun, and a Bible.

 

 

So Holly posted this.

fisherflag

 

To which her, ahem, “intellectual betters” responded:

explainthediff

 

So … sure.  For those who have been intellectually impaired by moral equivalence …

fisherexplain

You First

I tire of what has become a predictable, constant drumbeat of anti-Christian rhetoric.

The latest I’ve seen is this ironically self-righteous anti-Christian rant aimed mainly at the Christian right, making implicit accusations using worn stereotypes which do not fit most Christians, even right-leaning Christians.

“Jesus was a guy who was a peaceful, radical, nonviolent revolutionary, who hung around with lepers, hookers, and criminals, who never spoke English, was not an American citizen, a man who was anti-capitalism, anti-wealth, anti-public prayer (YES HE WAS Matthew 6:5), anti-death penalty but never once remotely anti-gay, didn’t mention abortion, didn’t mention premarital sex, a man who never justified torture, who never called the poor ‘lazy’, who never asked a leper for a co-pay, who never fought for tax cuts for the wealthiest Nazarenes, who was a long haired, brown skinned (that’s in revelations),homeless, middle eastern Jew? Of course, that’s only if you believe what’s actually IN the Bible.”

We know Jesus was peaceful and radical and revolutionary – generally in a non-violent way, though we do know he was capable of displaying anger and wrath

Matthew 21:11-13

[11] And the people said: This is Jesus the prophet, from Nazareth of Galilee. [12] And Jesus went into the temple of God, and cast out all them that sold and bought in the temple, and overthrew the tables of the money changers, and the chairs of them that sold doves: [13] And he saith to them: It is written, My house shall be called the house of prayer; but you have made it a den of thieves .

I don’t think anyone has ever suggested he was an American citizen or spoke English, this is merely a telling sign that the poster has no clue what the Christian right really believes and doesn’t care — it’s merely a fictional foil to contrast themselves against … in public … to receive adulation … but more on that later.

Every Christian knows that Jesus loved and accepted everyone, but not everyone’s behavior. Mary Magdalene had been a prostitute, but she repented and followed Christ as a disciple. Disapproving of someone’s behavior is not the same thing as hate, modern progressive rhetoric aside. If we think Jesus approved of criminal and other immoral behavior, we’re ignoring his entire teaching. And Christians don’t disapprove of the diseased, they help them.

Jesus was NOT anti-capitalism

Matthew 20:1 ““For the kingdom of heaven is like a landowner who went out early in the morning to hire workers for his vineyard. He agreed to pay them a Denarius for the day and sent them into his vineyard.”

and while it is true he never “called the poor lazy” as a sweeping segment (nor do modern day American conservatives), he was definitely in favor of taking what you have been given and making more of it … which is pretty much the core of capitalism.

Matthew 25: 31-46
“It will be as when a man who was going on a journey called in his servants and entrusted his possessions to them. To one he gave five talents; to another, two; to a third, one—to each according to his ability. Then he went away. Immediately the one who received five talents went and traded with them, and made another five. Likewise, the one who received two made another two. But the man who received one went off and dug a hole in the ground and buried his master’s money. After a long time the master of those servants came back and settled accounts with them. The one who had received five talents came forward bringing the additional five. He said, ‘Master, you gave me five talents. See, I have made five more.’ His master said to him, ‘Well done, my good and faithful servant. Since you were faithful in small matters, I will give you great responsibilities. Come, share your master’s joy.’… Then the one who had received the one talent came forward and said…out of fear I went off and buried your talent in the ground. Here it is back.’ His master said to him in reply, ‘You wicked, lazy servant…Should you not then have put my money in the bank so that I could have got it back with interest on my return? Now then! Take the talent from him and give it to the one with ten. For to everyone who has, more will be given and he will grow rich; but from the one who has not, even what he has will be taken away. And throw this useless servant into the darkness outside, where there will be wailing and grinding of teeth.”

“To every one who has, more will be given and he will grow rich” doesn’t sound anti-wealth to me at all.

Further, in Timothy 1:

“Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment. Command them to do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share.  In this way they will lay up treasure for themselves as a firm foundation for the coming age, so that they may take hold of the life that is truly life.”

That’s not anti-wealth, that’s just a caution to wealthy people that God … and his teachings … come ahead of wealth, and that wealth will not save you. It doesn’t say you can’t be wealthy.

Jesus was not anti public prayer. What he was against was praying in public motivated by the drawing of praise adulation to yourself. You know, much like what the people who are posting this nonsense are after (and certainly not to attack others on a personal level). The point was that prayer is between a person or people and God, not a show to be put on to display one’s holiness. This is not the same thing as being against any prayer in public. It’s the motive, not the act that he was talking about in Matthew 6:5.

As with many, many subjects, Jesus never really spoke about the death penalty. While he was probably against it in general, he wasn’t anti self-defense, and the Church itself says it is justifiable to defend human lives against unjust aggression.

Jesus never mentioned homosexuality explicitly. But no serious Bible scholar would say that he thought it was ok. And again, as with other things, it is the sin that is rejected, not the sinner. And if anything goes, why would St. Paul … in the Bible (1 Cor. 6:9-11)… talk of fornicators, idolaters, adulterers, sexual perverts, thieves, misersm drunkards, slanderers, and robbers not inheriting the Kingdom of God?

Again, this does not constitute hating people, it is a belief about what constitutes unacceptable behavior.

Absolutely, Jesus never justified torture. Of course, he never justified eating potatoes, either (look, scour that Bible — nothing about potatoes). Again, though, he never argued that it wasn’t justifiable to defend human lives against unjust aggression.

Jesus never asked a leper for a co-pay. Of course, the only overhead Jesus had was food and shelter.  He was God, too … remember what he could do with a few fishes and loaves and a jug of water.  I seem to remember a passage where he calmed a storm while they were out fishing as well.

Being God, he was able to heal by touch. And certainly Jesus would teach that we should help when we can, including in matters of health care. But he wouldn’t fight to force you to pay into a system that provided services he himself considered immoral, nor would he pay into such a system.

Again, among many other things, Jesus did not mention abortion. But,

Jeramiah 1:5

“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you” – no, the word “abortion” doesn’t appear there but it’s pretty clear.

Of course Jesus did not fight for tax cuts for the wealthy. Nor did he fight for tax increases for them or anyone else. Jesus taught that it was each of our personal reponsibility to care for those around us. Offloading that responsibility to the government was never mentioned. He said give to Ceasar what is Ceasar’s and to give to God what is God’s. He was familiar with corrupt governments and the abuse of government authority by special interests.

Jesus has always been depicted as having long hair and as a travelling preacher without a proper home – Christians have never argued he wasn’t a “middle-eastern Jew”, and they have revered him as the Son of God and the founder of their faith … so that last “dig” is really bizarre.

okReferring to this and to what the graphic on the right instructs … if you really are against people speaking publicly about what they believe is right and wrong, I have one response for you.

You first.

 

 

 

 

* Thanks largely to On This Rock blog.  I was looking for a text version of the “John Fuglesang” quote to use in my response, and I stumbled upon Father John Hollowell’s excellent post.   I wanted to generalize it a bit to be a less Catholic-centric and add my own two cents, which is how we ended up with the above.

Megyn-Claus-Gate

megyn2Quick, what color was Shaft?

You idiot, Shaft isn’t real!!!!!

I saw a meme post from “being a liberal” … picture of Megyn Kelly from a cheesecake photoshoot (because nothing pisses liberals off like a beautiful woman, especially if she doesn’t share their views) that was captioned:

Jesus was white
Santa is real
Fox is news

All of this went back to a segment during which Megyn Kelly said that Santa is white, and apparently that Jesus was white as well.

I don’t really watch cable news anymore.  I’ve caught bits and pieces of Megyn’s show over the years.  I’m aware she has a law degree from Albany, and she’s no bimbo. Not at all racist.  Just a conservative American journalist.  So, as I do when these firestorms get started, I have to go back and watch the segment that people are all upset about.

As usual, the truth doesn’t fit neatly on a bumper sticker.

For those who know so much about how stupid this segment proves Megyn, Fox, and its viewers are, I have a multiple choice question for you.

What was the segment about?

  1. a teacher who was disciplined for chastizing a black student who had come to school dressed as Santa — that Santa is white
  2. An ACLU suit filed against a school district for allowing a white Santa to visit a mostly black school
  3. An opinion column that argued that Santa should, in fact, be a penguin.

I’ll wait……

 

If you picked (3), you win.

Did you watch the segment? In it, Megyn sympathizes with the columnist for her pain and compliments her writing, but also points out that the legendary character that is Santa Claus, in fact, caucasian — as was Jesus.

penguinclausThe segment is pretty light hearted, but her main point is that just because you don’t like something doesn’t mean it has to change for everyone. But that’s where we are in this increasingly politically correct superculture. The one where the media, Hollywood, politicians, and the educrats live, that is.

The lefty critical theorists with their Pocket Alinskies immediately pounced.  This is what they live for.  Alinsky #5 is “Ridicule is man’s most potent weapon.”  They really take this one to heart.  And while it is true it’s a pretty potent weapon, Alinsky was pretty flexible on the quantity of truth behind the ridicule, and so are they.

The main criticisms seem to be

  • You idiot, Santa isn’t real
  • You idiot, Saint Nicholas was Greek, not white
  • You idiot, Jesus was an Arab, not white
  • You idiot, you’re too pretty to be taken seriously, and you’re obviously racist

Well, Shaft isn’t real, either, but imagine the uproar if a re-make was made where Shaft was now white.  But that’s not all.  Santa is, in fact, much more real than a movie character.

Now before I go on, let me make clear that I don’t have a problem with black Santas or black or hispanic or even asian Santas or depictions of Jesus.  Not at all.   Y’all do what you want, I’m good with it.  But please stop trying so hard to wring all the European, Judeo/Christian elements of culture out of American culture.  Just because you’re uncomfortable with it doesn’t mean others should change it for you.  And you certainly shouldn’t be allowed to change it for them.

And don’t get up all in people’s faces for merely stating facts just because you don’t like their point of view.

Santa is a cultural character with a long history in European culture, tracable back to Saint Nicholas, who was Greek, maybe of Turkish descent.

cacaususTake a look at the map to the right.  The red ellipse marks the Caucasus Mountains.

What significance does this mountain range have?   Well besides being very pretty, they are the mountain range after which the caucasian “race” was named.   Now, why the scare quotes around “race”, you ask?

Up until fairly recently, if you were filling out a questionaire or form that asked about race in the US, your choices were typically Caucasian/White, Black, and maybe American Indian.

If you were asian, you picked white.  If you were hispanic, you picked white.  If you were Turkish, Jewish, Italian, Arab … you picked white.

And the kicker is … Jesus was a Semite.  An Arab.  So was St. Nicholas if he wasn’t actually Greek.   And Arabs are arguably the original Caucasians, certainly closer to them than northern Europeans.  So the whole “Jesus was white” and “St. Nicholas was white” question is answered.  Yup.  Does it matter?  Only as a matter of fact.

But Santa Claus isn’t real!!!!   Nobody said the man in the red suit was an actual, real being.  But he is a real legend and a real cultural figure (pre-dating the United States, no less – he’s an international figure) whose character was developed in Holland, Germany, Sweeden, England, etc.  He was always depicted as white, which should surprise no one.  A legend developed by people who were white based on a man who was caucasian – I’m gonna guess … probably going to end up being white.

Big deal.  Why should this bother anybody?   Who says a white Santa can’t “serve” a black child? It shouldn’t matter.  But it does — it bothers liberals very much.  And the reason is is that far from race being unimportant to liberals, race is sacred to liberals.   They need racial differences.  They can’t just be matter of fact.  They need the drama.  They need victims to save from the villian, and the villian is the white man.  They’ve saved one race, to be evil, sort of like Satan from all the angels.

And I don’t make the religious analogy lightly.  It’s a theology to them.  And to be redeemed, the white liberal must constantly beat his chest and point out the evil that is his race.

Gets a little confusing, of course, when non-whites victimize other non-whites, because it doesn’t fit the theology.  They either gloss over it and call you a racist if you even try to bring it up, or they make up even newer racial categories like “white hispanic”  (I guess only they get to decide which hispanics are white hispanics and which are non-white hispanics) so they can adjust the facts to fit the theology.

So Santa Claus is white because that’s who he is according to legend.  You can’t just unilatally change a legend for everyone.  That’s not how legends work.  Regardless of his race, it’s pretty clear he isn’t a penguin. You can replace him with a penguin in your tradtion if you want to, but that’s not Santa Claus, it’s a penguin and you can make up your own legend about it.

As a progressive recently chastized me in a discussion about Global Warming-Climate-Change-Chaos

You idiot, penguins don’t live at the North Pole!

 

(and the fact that I’d never suggested they do was apparently unimportant to him)

Critical Thanksgiving Theory

Give me a holiday we celebrate in America and I can find you myriad articles thrashing and trashing and stomping it to smithereens.

ThanksGHere I was, innocently looking for a picture of a vintage Thanksgiving Feast (and yes, I know some of it is legend with the accompanying embelishments) and I come across a beautiful painting entitled “The First Thanksgiving” with the text over it “Don’t Believe the Hype”.

Here we go again. Columbus day last month. Thanksgiving this month.

We’re not to believe the hype, because one United Native American Bureau (which oddly I can find no references to outside of pages that mention this story) offers its own explanation of how Thanksgiving came about:

The year was 1637…..700 men, women and children of the Pequot Tribe, gathered for their “Annual Green Corn Dance” in the area that is now known as Groton, Conn. While they were gathered in this place of meeting, they were surrounded and attacked by mercenaries of the English and Dutch. The Indians were ordered from the building and as they came forth, they were shot down. The rest were burned alive in the building.

The next day, the Governor of the Massachusetts Bay Colony declared: “A day of Thanksgiving, thanking God that they had eliminated over 700 men, women and children. For the next 100 years, every “Thanksgiving Day” ordained by a Governor or President was to honor that victory, thanking God that the battle had been won.

I went “Snopin'” around.  Nothing on Snopes.   But this seems to be a reference to the Mystic Massacre. Which happened May 26 of 1637. The “Next Day” would have been May 27. None of this seems to have anything to do with three-day Pilgrim/Indian harvest feast in 1621. Clearly the massacre had nothing to do with the holiday we know as “Thanksgiving”. So what gives?

Severian is the one who enlightened me on Critical Theory (there are actually Critical Theory Dictionaries – and I actually bought one. Enlightening) … and this would be, to my mind, another story in the attempt to discredit western culture to foment the kind of Revolution … er, “Fundamental Transformation” our self-proclaimed betters would like to see and that their virtue-junkie followers blindly and happily help them along with.

To the casual reader, this story affirms the narrative that white Christian Europeans just love to kill them some brown people at will, because, you know, they’re not white, and stuff. Here were the peaceful Pequot, peacefully celebrating their harvest festival (upon which our Thanksgiving is based … I think about every culture has one. In England, it’s called Harvest Home and goes back to ancient times) … anyway, there they were performing the Green Corn Dance, when out of nowhere, for no reason at all, the Puritans (known for their bloodthirsty ways, dontchaknow) just attacked and killed them all … because, I don’t know, they were all brown heathens or something and God wanted them to do it.

Yeah, the Bureau kind of implies it here:

These Puritan Pilgrims saw themselves as the “chosen elect”, from the Bibles’ Book of Revelations and traveled to America to build “The Kingdom of God”, also from Revelations. Strict with the scripture, they considered an enemy of anyone who did not follow suit. These beliefs were eventually transmitted to the other colonists, and the Puritan belief system quickly spread across the New England area.

Only that’s not the real story at all, and the real story has jack squat to do with Thanksgiving other than — IF the story about the Green Corn Dance is correct — the Pequot were then celebrating their harvest festival (which would mean they celebrated it in May?)

So who were these “mercenaries” of the English and Dutch? Why, it turns out that they were the Narragansett and Mohegans (and other Indian tribes). Who had long been enemies of the Pequot. Contrary to revisionist history, the Indian tribes here in America didn’t just live peacefully with each other. They fought each other frequently over lots of things. And these mercenaries allied with the colonists in a war … what? There was a war going on? There’s no mention of that, in the Bureau’s story either!

Now I’m not saying the Native Americans here weren’t in general treated badly by people of European descent and even by agents of the United States Government — but it turns out it was a lot more complicated than white people killing Indians. Europeans and Indian tribes often formed alliances against other Europeans and Indian tribes. Even in the Revolutionary War.

So … a little context:

In the 1630s, the Connecticut River Valley was in turmoil. The Pequot aggressively worked to extend their area of control, at the expense of the Wampanoag to the north, the Narragansett to the east, the Connecticut River Valley Algonquians and Mohegan to the west, and the Algonquian people of present-day Long Island to the south. The tribes contended for political dominance and control of the European fur trade. A series of smallpox epidemics over the course of the previous three decades had severely reduced the Native American populations due to their lack of immunity to the disease.[7] As a result, there was a power vacuum in the area. The Dutch and the English, from Western Europe, across the Atlantic Ocean, were also striving to extend the reach of their trade into the interior to achieve dominance in the lush, fertile region. The colonies were new at the time, the original settlements having been founded in the 1620s. By 1636, the Dutch had fortified their trading post, and the English had built a trading fort at Saybrook. English Puritans from Massachusetts Bay and Plymouth colonies settled at the newly established river towns of Windsor, Hartford and Wethersfield.

Oh, yes indeedy, there was a war going on, and the Pequot were not innocent noble savage bystanders.  (Seriously, RTWT)

Thanksgiving is a beautiful holiday in the tradtion of Harvest Home and … the Green Corn Ceremony.. It recognizes that we have much to be thankful for — in the bounty of the Earth, what God provides, and the most important things in our lives — friends and family.  And it commemorates an early, peaceful, even friendly cross-cultural, cross-racial celebration in this country.  They partied together for three days!  That’s a good thing!

It rivals Christmas in its traditions and pageantry, connecting the present with the past.

We don’t need to be hatin’ on Pilgrims. Or Indians. There’s no hatin’ involved.

GAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHH!!!!

In a comment over at Breitbart, a troll asked the following question:

Founding principles? Means what? Owning slaves?

Stink bomb. I know he was a troll, but the bomb needs to be diffused, because too many people on our side are “shut up” by it.

The founding principles had nothing to do with owning slaves. Read the discussions from the founding era, and you will see that even slave owners — most of whom were born into slave-owning — were struggling with a problem that we have (thankfully … and with a lot of thanks to them, specifically) never had to deal with.

There is a reason the original Constitution didn’t mention slavery except to impose a ban on importing them with an eye toward ending the practice altogether.

The original draft of the Declaration of Independence — the preamble to our Constitiution, written by slave owner Thomas Jefferson, included a scathing endictment of slavery. Others removed it with an eye toward keeping the union against the Brits, from whom they inherited the practice, so that we might succeed in establishing a nation based on new principles. A better vision that dawned in the midst of imperfection.

The anti-Americans speak as if America invented slavery when in fact it was born out of the principles that abolished it.

” … he has waged cruel war against human nature itself, violating it’s most sacred rights of life & liberty in the persons of a distant people who never offended him, captivating & carrying them into slavery in another hemisphere, or to incur miserable death in their transportation thither. This piratical warfare, the opprobrium of infidel powers, is the warfare of the Christian king of Great Britain. determined to keep open a market where MEN should be bought & sold. he has prostituted his negative for suppressing every legislative attempt to prohibit or to restrain this execrable commerce; and that this assemblage of horrors might want no fact of distinguished die, he is now exciting those very people to rise in arms among us, and to purchase that liberty of which he has deprived them, by murdering the people for whom he also obtruded them: thus paying off former crimes committed against the liberties of one people, with crimes which he urges them to commit against the lives of another.” – Thomas Jefferson in the original draft of the Declaration of Independence

On Michele Bachmann Retiring

Oh, the self-anointed progressives are happy about this.

To them, it’s all about what a scandalously crazy idiot she is – an image they, through their enablers in the press, have carefully crafted over the last few years.

But, you know… I’ve been paying attention to the lady. And I like her.

She organized the Tea Party Caucus in the House. She organized impromptu Tea Party rallies in DC that got huge crowds with less than a week’s notice. She knows, respects, and loves the Constitution.

And she’s a Christian. A real one, not so much the a-la-carte Christianity that has gained so much popularity of late. She is not afraid to stand up for her beliefs.

Which means she is not afraid to say that she believes homosexuality is a behavioral issue, not something like race.

Race is genetic. Culture … behavior, is … well, that has been an argument for quite some time now. Nature vs. nurture. The progressive movement that spawned Margaret Sanger and Adolf Hitler, among others, really bought into the nature thing. And history tells us what that brought us.

Those who are more predisposed to believe in free will … believe that behavior can be wrong, no matter how much nature may have as an input. I believe it is probably true that some people (of any race) can be born more predisposed to violence. It does not make assault or murder less wrong, though.

A good friend pointed this out to me when we were discussing the issue of homosexuality and tolerance.

Of course, homosexual behavior and murder are far from equivalent. But one can certainly argue that one born with a more maleficent predilection still has a choice whether or not to assault or murder, and one could similarly argue that one who might be born with a predilection, a sexual attraction to someone of the same sex … still has a choice whether or not to act upon it.

Which is all separate from the issue of whether or not it should be legal in a free society between consenting adults.

In a free society, legal and moral are not necessarily equivalent to everyone.

But it does not follow that just because one believes that certain behavior is immoral, or even simply believe that one can choose to engage in a particular behavior or not … that said belief is in any way hateful or should be illegal or outside of the realm public conversation.

Now the deal is, Michelle Bachmann — to me — seems to be a perfectly rational, decent, kind, loving human being who can hold two opposing principles simultaneously in her mind and effectively separate them into their proper spheres of influence. This, to me, is the essence of a thoughtful, enlightened human being.

Bachmann isn’t trying to pass any legislation to force anyone to go through gay/straight therapy, or outlaw gay behavior. It’s the mere fact that she believes it can be overcome that is an anathema to them. Again, see, it’s projection. Progressives are all about making their beliefs about what constitutes social progress into law…. they know if they believed what she believes, they’d be passing laws to force it right and left. And if they couldn’t, say, if the gate were closed, they’d go over the fence. And if the fence was too high, they’d pole vault in. And if that didn’t work, they’d parachute

From what I’ve seen, there is nobody in politics any more mindful (there are a few that are as mindful … but I don’t think any that are any more mindful), and respectful of our founding .principles than Mrs. Bachmann.

But the George Lakoffs and Joseph Goebbels of the world know that he who controls the language controls the narrative. And to them and their acolytes of political correctness, the mere fact that she believes that homosexuality is a behavioral issue and not a genetic issue is an anathema. But if you ask me, this is not their main issue with her. It’s just one they can use in the language of “tolerance” they have so carefully constructed.

The fact is is that by and large they hate the Constitution. It stands in the way between them and their various visions of statistic utopia. But they can use “homophobe” (though there’s no evidence that she is afraid of homosexuals) or “hater” (though there’s no evidence that she actually hates … anybody) to paint her as the crazy b*tch from Minnesota, and then heap on all kinds of other nonsense about what a white supremist hateful woman she must be because she’s “conservative” and “conservative” is “all that”. Oh, they’ll argue that she must be hateful, but it all has to be couched in the deconstructionist construction that is the essence of political correctness to make any sense at all.

Now … I’m not really naive enough to believe that her decision is based solely on self-term-limiting, though it’s a great reason. On the other hand, the lady has done more to preserve our founding principles in government than most politicians in recent memory. She’s had some good company, but she is ingood –company. I don’t begrudge her bowing out.

Because as I think she would be among the first to agree… it’s not the person. It’s the principles.

Which has a lot to do with why I like her.

Back Slapping

After a recent discussion I attempted to have on facebook about the second amendment, sensible gun laws, and culture after the Sandy Hook murders, the idea that it’s actually liberal, ahem, “thought” … that is awash in chest thumping looking for approving slaps on the back, with strawman arguments based on the idea that my side is indifferent to murders committed with guns, even to go so far as to say we think that “the tree of liberty must be frequently watered with the blood of kindergarteners”  — yeah, you hear that one everywhere you go, don’t you? to illustrate the people they’re not like looking for puffy chests and kudos (talk about setting a fictional bar insanely low and then claiming credit for being some sort of super compassionate deep thinker …..

I ran across this.

If you look at the “story”, it basically consists of a paragraph containing the “offending” quote about the feminization of our culture … and then showing a barrage of tweets decrying that it is “stupid” in varying bits of verbiage.

This is a story, I guess.  “Here’s a quote that challenges one of our leftist sacred cows, now everybody gets a chance to pile on and say it’s stupid so we know you’re a Goodperson™“. 

I went and read the original story, and it’s clear that by “feminzation” the female author of the peice was referring really to emasculation — of our culture.  It was a thoughtful peice. on the whole.  She has some good points.  If we expect less from our own culture, we’ll surely get less.  Self reliance and self defense are not the virtues they once were.  In fact, they’re derided as “jingoistic”.

But the story must be derided to death in the leftosphere, because it laments the emasculation of our culture and points out some of the downside — that being, we discourage taking matters into our own hands and suffer the mercy or lack thereof of evildoers until the authorities come — and suffer the body count.   This is considered not only acceptable, but proper.   And if you dare to suggest trying to stack the cards against the purputrators by enabling those present to more effectively defend themselves against these threats — it’s “stupid”.  No explanation as to what, exactly, is stupid about it.  It’s just reflexively self-evident.  Why, look at all the tweets that say the same thing!

I wasn’t shocked.  The story doing the deriding is on Salon, where I also saw headline teasers for stories such as “Time to Profile White Males” and something about Mike Huckabee saying gays caused the shooting  (which of course, he didn’t, but the unquestioned queens of rationalization can write a story and half-convincingly make it sound like that was even close to what he was saying).

And of course, what led me to all of this was a post citing the original Charlotte Allen piece for winning “The Olympics of Stupid”, pointing to the Salon article whose case seemed to be “I think it’s stupid.  And see, look at all the other people who tweeted that it was stupid” —  for other people on facebook to “like” and comment that they, too, thought it was “stupid”.

But “stupid” is not an argument, it’s a judgement (made by our non-judgemental crowd that Ishmael Effect that Severian brought up a couple of posts ago).  If you can’t explain what you think is stupid about it… you might be arguing like a fourth grader.

Actually a bit depressing this is about as deep as so many people who are chronologically adults seem to be willing to go.

Missing Something

A friend posted a quote and a link to a Jack Shakley opinion piece in the LA Times.

In February 2003, 450 economists, including 10 of the 24 living Nobel laureates in economics, made a public plea to President George W. Bush not to enact the recent tax cuts passed by Congress. [..]

In the nearly 10 years that have elapsed since that plea, the budget deficit has ballooned, the gap between the wealthy and the middle class has expanded, and the American economy has spiraled into the greatest decline since the Depression. History has proved the 450 economists were correct. On Dec. 31, these same Bush-era tax cuts are set to expire. This, we are told in hushed or hysterical tones, could push the American economy off a “fiscal cliff.”

Am I missing something here? Can letting a failed tax policy die be such a bad thing?

Ignoring the huge non sequitur that 1) the tax cuts were implemented and 2) all this bad stuff happened, that 3) the bad stuff happened because the tax cuts were implemented, because a big sounding number of economists including 10/24 sooper smart people said it would (does anyone wonder what the other 14/24 thought?), I said … yeah, you are missing something.

Something like any sort of balancing opinion.

So I linked that day’s Thomas Sowell column on the subject, in which he directs us to look at the Obama Administration’s own economic report as well as a New York Times headline from after the tax cuts were passed expressing surprise at increased tax revenue from corporations and “the rich”.

To which a friend of that friend thoughtfully countered Sowell’s argument and evidence with the brilliant argument, and I quote, “Thomas Sowell is a shill”.

He followed that with something very close to (I later embarrassed him into deleting his own comments, so I’m not sure how word-for-word this is …) “and before you go spouting off about the founders, let’s remember they crapped in buckets, owned slaves, and wore satin pants and powdered wigs. But times change, don’t they?”

I did politely hit him back exposing his puffery knee-jerk stink bomb throwing, which apparently eventually embarrassed him into deleting those comments. Hey. Progress. They CAN be made to feel sheepish about their rude and thoughtless puffery.

Sowell is a shill, eh? There’s a deep and thoughtful assessment, Jim. So, can you tell me exactly where you think the “shill’s” argument ran off the rails and why, or, as I suspect is more likely true, that it is your attempt to pre-empt any sort of thoughtful discussion by dismissing an opinion you don’t like with a quick ad hominem?

The Republicans who lost “big time” still hold a solid majority in the House, and they are there to represent the people who voted for them. I’m pretty sure no Republicans ran on increasing taxes or increasing spending, so I’m going to assume people didn’t vote for them to do that. By pushing back, they are doing their jobs. And I’m pretty sure none of them own slaves (since they are of the party that was formed specifically in opposition to it, ended it, got the 14th amendment passed, elected the first several black congressmen, and got the civil rights legislation through the 1950’s and 1960’s passed, all on the principles of equal treatment under the law that those bucket-crapping, slave owners framed in the Constitution) …. and I’m also pretty sure none of them crap in buckets or wear powdered wigs.

Now, I told you that story to tell you this one.

The “founders were slave-owners” tack is a common one. The bucket crapping, satin-pantsed powdered-wig wearers … well, I gotta admit that was a new one on me. But this was clearly shut-uppery, which thanks to Andrew Klavan, I don’t fall for anymore. I really do think this guy thought had the last “sane” word on the subject, and that if I did pick up the mantle of the founders, it would be met by the ridicule of all onlookers.

Don’t back down, and don’t let them have their red meat. What I did was mock his shallow attack. I called him out on it and exposed his attack for what it was. I did limit it, though, and I’m going to go on a bit here with some thoughts for future trips down the road this guy tried to take it.

As far as times changing … yes, they indeed do. But human nature does not. We still have the same basic weaknesses. We want to get the most for the least amount of effort. It’s the basis of all economics, and anything that doesn’t recognize this as a central fact to be dealt with is doomed to failure, and doomed to cause more problems than it seeks to overcome.

We want a better life for our kids. We want to share our happiness with our families and our friends. The more noble of us also want to share it with strangers, and we do through our churches, community aid centers, our pet charities … and sometimes on our own, person to person.

If you read the arguments surrounding the birth of our Constitution — and I recommend it highly — for without them the Constitution is indeed vague in places if you don’t understand the frame of mind they were in — it is very clear that the Founders understood human nature and its fundamental weaknesses from wanting something for nothing to it’s ultimate manifestation in those who gain power … power corrupts. The government was limited not because they wanted people to do  whatever the hell they wanted, but because they knew what happens when you give people the power to dictate to others what they will and won’t do. It’s far worse than allowing sinners to sin outside of basic, natural law. These guys, though they may have crapped in buckets, knew their sh*t. They were far more well-read than your average mouthy pundit or blogger (on the left or the right, sadly, though I do think the right probably has a bit of a lead in at least reading the Constitution and maybe the Federalist Papers). I’ll still go ahead and say it. They were far better read than I am, though I have read a lot in the past 9 years.

So here’s a rule we need to try to live up to as best we can when we go to Stop Echoes — expose rotten chestnuts for what they are — know your sh*t. Don’t wander into unfamiliar territory and spout things you think are facts as facts. But when you have your facts, I’ll tell you those Alinsky rules for radicals are very easy to turn on these people.

These three are particularly useful to turn on them

#1) “Power is not only what you have, but what the enemy thinks you have.”

The thing here is, the enemy thinks you’re an uniformed idiot, and that they have a monopoly on truth. When you show that you are not, it shakes them up. What they’ll likely do at this point is dismiss with an ad hominem on your source, or they’ll move the goal posts … shift the argument to a new subject. It’s good to bring them back to the point that made them uncomfortable in the first place and make them sweat a little bit more before you decide whether or not you want to aim at their new goalposts.

#2 “Never go outside the expertise of your people.” It results in confusion, fear and retreat. Feeling secure adds to the backbone of anyone.

In this case, “your people” is you. Don’t spout off stuff as fact things you only think you know and can’t back up. This is good advice for anyone from Mr. Alinsky.

#3 “Whenever possible, go outside the expertise of the enemy.” Look for ways to increase insecurity, anxiety and uncertainty.

Oh yes. Well there are some better-read leftists, and you do have to size up your opponent. But chances are, at our level, they’re just spouting off opinion and misinformation they read on HuffPo or in the MSM somewhere. They don’t know jack about the Constitution or the principles that produced it, and what’s good about it. And most of them have never read Alinsky, either 😉 At this point, we know our sh*t better than they do, even about some of their own people.

Easily verifiable facts make them squirm. And while that can be fun when arguing with a real a**, remember the main objective of Stop an Echo … you’re really not trying to change their mind. You’re publicly challenging the leftist point of view in front of bystanders. If they’re watching this guy squirm, his words will carry much less weight.

I recommend not getting nasty in public, either. When you do, unless everyone can see the guy is a real a**, your words carry much less weight.

And finally, on to that slave-owner thing.

It’s not like the Founders invented slavery. Many were abolitionists. The slave-owners themselves were born into being slave owners. They didn’t just wake up one day and say “hey, I think I’ll import some slaves”. Jefferson himself tried at least three times during his political career to try to restrict or abolish it. In his original draft of the Declaration of Independence, he pretty much let the King have it on the whole institution of slavery — and they created the Constitution that put the country directly at odds with the whole idea.

They even tried to restrict it, with an eye toward abolition, TWICE, in the Constitution. One is the oft-cited 3/5ths clause, which leftists love to bring up when trying to discredit the Constitution. They only considered blacks to be 3/5ths of a person, man!!!!!

The slave states wanted to count their slaves as 5/5ths, or one — person — oh yes, they did. Why was this? Not because they thought their slaves were people. They wanted them counted as a part of the population, because representation in Congress was determined in proportion to population. That’s right. They wanted the additional weight of the slave population to increase their representation in Congress … and do you think that representation was going to be used in the interests of the slaves?

Absolutely not.

The 3/5ths compromise was put in … by the abolitionists … to water down this effect. The abolitionists didn’t want slaves to count as a part of the population being represented, because their interests wouldn’t be represented.

Incidentally, the only race mentioned in the Constitution is American Indians, and even that was not brought up in a racial context, but a national context — the Indian Nations. Slave was a legal status. Africans were not the only people enslaved by others over the course of history. There were some free blacks (who could vote!) and there were probably even a few white slaves in America at various points. Slavery had been around for far longer than written history. Our country was created less than 100 years before its ultimate demise, and the ideas the Constitution was based upon had a lot to do with that.

But hey, man, they crapped in buckets and wore powdered wigs. So we can dismiss anything they had to say.

The other is that in the Constitution, it was written that the importation of slaves was to cease. Now this wasn’t abolition. But it was done in the hope that slavery would eventually die as an institution. Like I said, they were born into a slave-owning society. As they put together documents outlining a philosophy that said that “all men are created equal” … it dawned on them that the institution of slavery was diametrically opposed to these ideals. It is very easy for us to sit back and criticize these men, and they certainly deserve some for that. But I think that only underscores the fact that men are weak, and that power corrupts. These men were imperfect, but they had high principles that in their time they were not living up to. What they poured into the documents that founded the Republic.

That stuff is gold.

Read it. Know it. Love it. Teach it.

Stink Bombs

I have created a new category called “Stink Bomb”.

A Stink Bomb is an ugly, thoughtless accusation thrown out in an argument, typically ad hominem, whose purpose is to short-circuit any thoughtful discussion – really, to precipitate the avoidance of any further rational discussion that might be happening or about to happen.   “Racist” is probably the top one.  “Fascist” and “Nazi” are two other common examples.   “Shill”, with no supporting evidence.  “Uncle Tom”.  It is the intellectual equivalent of throwing a stink bomb into the middle of the round table.  It’s a non-sequitur.  Nobody wants to touch it.  And suddenly everyone wants to leave.

Let me give you an example.

Bring up the 10th Amendment and the concept of State’s Rights when discussing the proper role and scope of the Federal Government, and try to have a rational conversation about it, citing the Constitution, Federalist Papers, and other founding-era documentation.

“Jim Crow Laws!  Racist!”

End of discussion.

It’s pretty tiresome being compared (and not so subtly equated to) 19th Century Democrats and their attempted uses of that argument to argue unequal protection under the law based on race.   What they were attempting to justify using the concept was dead wrong … but the concept itself … I mean … what do they think the 10th Amendment means, anyway?

Oops.  I mentioned it again.  Here it comes ….

Racist!

And they allllll moved away from me on the Group W bench.

And then I said, “but I was gonna talk about marijuana laws”

And they all came back, shook my hand, and we had a great time on the bench, talkin about crime, mother stabbing, father raping, all kinds of groovy things that we was talking about on the bench.

Hypocrites. (<===and that is NOT a stink bomb, because I backed it up with a solid example)