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Utopian fantasies and patriotism
Posted by: McQ on Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Dale Franks touched on this in his post last week entitled "But Don't Question their Patriotism...".

Out there among us are the "utopians" who aren't able to acknowledge the good they see for all the bad they imagine.
They are so disappointed that their internal fantasy about their country isn't reality that they are forever ashamed about who they are and where they live.

They usually exacerbate the condition with shallow analysis and the development of a one-sided narrative filled with loaded words such as "genocide" and phrases such as "ethnocentric gods" which fit their biases.

Someone named Joe Cole has managed to communicate his utopian disappointment in an op-ed. He begins by relating a terrible choice with which he was faced while accompanying his family to a baseball game:
But when the announcer declared that a choir would be singing "God Bless America" (which supplanted "Take Me Out to the Ball Game" for seventh inning stretches after 9/11), I faced a dilemma: Should I stand with my family or remain seated to protest the gratuitous patriotic cheerleading?
Maybe it is just me, but singing "God Bless America" has never been something I even remotely thought of as "gratuitous patriotic cheerleading" (speaking of loaded phrases). A nice song about the country. Yes. One which reinforces the ideals by which we strive to live. Of course. But patriotic cheerleading?

How? The one how that is answered in his statement of his dilemma is how extreme his position appears to be.
I read about the genocide against Native Americans and the enslavement of Africans, and learned how, even in current times, the U.S. armed and supported oppressive dictatorships from Southeast Asia to Latin America to the Middle East. The knowledge gave me headaches that crying didn't relieve, but I kept reading. And because school, church and government had covered over all the blood and injustice with pretty patriotic myths about a Good America blessed by an ethnocentric god, my youthful disappointment and anger blazed even hotter.
Key words: "youthful disappointment". How difficult it is to have your unsupported fantasies dashed. But note the loaded words and the contextless narrative he's put together to support his disappointment.

Not a word about where we were and what we've overcome as a nation and a people. Or how we've attempted to right wrongs. Nothing about the fact that even with the problems noted we worked earnestly to overcome them and have enjoyed a measure of success. No historical context which points out that in the case of race and gender discrimination, this nation has worked, fought and bled to change them to better reflect our ideals. None of that. Instead his anger is stoked by other myths he's made absolutely no effort to dispel, because they fit his narrative so well.

If I had to, and it's purely a guess, I'd say that Joe Cole has never once set foot outside the country in which he seems so badly disappointed.
Once when I was a graduate student in philosophy at Duke, someone on my Durham summer league softball team inquired what I was doing for Independence Day.

"Asking forgiveness for a nation built on slavery, genocide, and war," I replied.

Our 40-something pitcher, who worked for the phone company and had taken me fishing a few times, glared at me. "If you hate America so much, why don't you just leave?"

"Because I want to watch this system burn."
Cole says he's mellowed over the years and no longer wants to see the system burn. In fact, he even stood up during the singing of "God Bless America", while with his family at the ballgame. He claims that over the years and through his travels across and around this country, he's been awed by its beauty and majesty ... exactly those things you sing about in "God Bless America." But, he claims, he's still not turning 'patriotic":
I love the land and people and potential of America. But rather than worship this nation, I'm asking it to live up to its ideals and even embrace some new ones.
The irony, of course, is that's precisely what a patriot would say. Otherwise, they just wouldn't care. But in Cole's case, admitting that would mean admitting his fantasy was nonsense. In his case, and that of many like him, the problem isn't so much the patriotism of others, but instead, their unfounded and unrealistic expectations of this country. It drives them to ignore the good, focus on the bad and pretend it is they who have been personally let down by something that never existed anywhere but in their mind.

I wonder if Cole had frozen pizza and saw "Sicko" on the 4th?
 
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Comments
"If I had to, and its purely a guess, I’d say that Joe Cole has never once set foot outside the country in which he seems so badly disappointed."
"Oh well, oh well, I feel so good today,
We touched ground on an international runway
Jet propelled back home, from overseas to the USA.

New York, Los Angeles, oh, how I yearned for you
Detroit, Chicago, Chattanooga, Baton Rouge
Let alone just to be at my home back in ol’ St. Lou.

Did I miss the skyscrapers, did I miss the long freeway?
From the coast of California to the shores of Delaware bay
You can bet your life I did, till I got back to the USA.

Looking hard for a drive-in, searching for a corner cafe
Where hamburgers sizzle on an open grill night and day
Yeah, and a juke-box jumping with records like in the USA.

Well, I’m so glad I’m livin in the USA.
Yes. I’m so glad I’m livin in the USA.
Anything you want, we got right here in the USA."


(Chuck Berry — "Back In The USA", 1959)

Be it ever so crumbly, that’s what I think of when I come home from anywhere else in the world. It’s rotten and it’s circling the drain right before my eyes. But even so, there is nothing remotely like it anywhere else, and even if we only coast on the inertia of what it once was, for the rest of our lives, then I will nonetheless die a born American. (Eat turds and die, Scott Erb.)

It’s why I have the attitude on that I do: this is it; this fight, for this place and the ideas on which it stood for as long as it did. In thirty years on the road, now, I’ve seen every nook and cranny of it, and I know: no place else in the world is worth it.
 
Written By: Billy Beck
URL: http://www.two—four.net/weblog.php
Ah, yes, the good ol’ News & Disturber. They just couldn’t be satisfied with their July 3rd, front-page effort to preempt everyone’s holiday mood — maybe because the tale of woe was 16 years old, for Chrissake. Just in case anyone missed that and basks yet in the afterglow of an unruffled Fourth, better just get this Joe Cole character — correspondent — to straighten them out with his fascinating story from, hey, just this past June — and his late 20s and 30s and the mid-80s.

What a laughing-stock. And the Cole guy they published is pretty funny too.
 
Written By: Linda Morgan
URL: http://
It’s rotten and it’s circling the drain right before my eyes. But even so, there is nothing remotely like it anywhere else, and even if we only coast on the inertia of what it once was, for the rest of our lives,
how sad, we must be PERFECT or we are just circling the drain....you’re not that much different from the goombah in the article. Being better than most or all of everyone else really IS an accomplishment, but unless we achieve some ideal we’re nothing? OK.
 
Written By: Joe
URL: http://
But when the announcer declared that a choir would be singing "God Bless America" (which supplanted "Take Me Out to the Ball Game" for seventh inning stretches after 9/11), I faced a dilemma: Should I stand with my family or remain seated to protest the gratuitous patriotic cheerleading?
What a hump. Life isn’t politics, politics isn’t life. Even I manage to have a few beers with people whom I would virulently disagree with politically once or twice a week. When you’re so politcally addled and besotted that you face moral dilemmas over banal everyday things- just put the shotgun to your mouth and pull the trigger, since you’re already dead.

America- like it, love it, hate it, whatever. It’s your choice.
 
Written By: shark
URL: http://
"Asking forgiveness for a nation built on slavery, genocide, and war," I replied.
He is describing not only the history of this nation but the whole history of the human race.
 
Written By: Aldo
URL: http://
I wonder what Jon Cole feels when he contemplates how black africans were enslaved for centuries prior to European colonialism by tribes such as the Ibo, Ashante, Songhai ect... and how all slaves brought to the colonies were sold to Europeans by such tribes.

I wonder if he has an opinion of Mezzo-American empires ethnically cleansing territories of aboriginal tribes for thousands of years prior to Columbus, or how the Aztecs used to breed slaves for the purpose of human sacrifice - sometimes 1000 a day on one altar.
 
Written By: Jimmy the Dhimmi
URL: http://www.warning1938alert.ytmnd.com
I wonder what Jon Cole feels when he contemplates how black africans were enslaved for centuries prior to European colonialism by tribes such as the Ibo, Ashante, Songhai ect... and how all slaves brought to the colonies were sold to Europeans by such tribes.

I wonder if he has an opinion of Mezzo-American empires ethnically cleansing territories of aboriginal tribes for thousands of years prior to Columbus, or how the Aztecs used to breed slaves for the purpose of human sacrifice - sometimes 1000 a day on one altar.
It only counts when Americans (specifically white Americans of Eurpoean ancestry) do it.
 
Written By: shark
URL: http://
"how sad, we must be PERFECT or we are just circling the drain..."
You said that, son, not me.

Piss off.
 
Written By: Billy Beck
URL: http://www.two—four.net/weblog.php
"I wonder what Jon Cole feels when he contemplates..."
I’ll be he has no clue about the history of the rest of the world. Most people don’t, but especially those who think America is so terrible.

 
Written By: Grimshaw
URL: http://
I’ll be he has no clue about the history of the rest of the world. Most people don’t, but especially those who think America is so terrible.
Well, of course, narcissism demands that we only feel guilty about what OUR fore-fathers did, even if, in your particular case, they weren’t here when slavery was legal...

I’ve never understood white guilt, or blood feuds for that matter.

We are a shadow of what we could be, but that will always be so, as long as the human heart aspires to be better then we already are.
 
Written By: Keith_Indy
URL: http://asecondhandconjecture.com
Ah Billy Beck ever the reasoned one...
Get over yourself....
You’re an ideologue, Pat Buchanan, "We’re circling the drain", Peter Camejo/Michael Moore "We’re circling the drain", Billy Beck "We’re circling the drain" yeah yeah how many drains can we be circling? The country’s been going H#(( in a handbasket sense it was founded, after a while it simply gets tedious.

Because we have NOT ACHIEVED THE BECK-APPROVED LEVEL OF PURITY, does not mean we’re circling the drain. Next try the Golden Men/Golden Age ploy and move on to how then were the Silver men, and how we’re not even them....
 
Written By: Joe
URL: http://
What a hump. Life isn’t politics, politics isn’t life. Even I manage to have a few beers with people whom I would virulently disagree with politically once or twice a week.
Exactly. In any event, what place on this planet doesn’t have something in the past which could be taken as evil or vile. Human history has a lot of good, and a lot of evil. See in the good the potential for what can be, learn from the evil what we should try to work against. Guilt, shame, those are not only misguided emotions, but they keep one from being able to act in a positive way.

Also, I think we can learn from our past: we had slavery, destruction of indian nations, women couldn’t vote...yet through it all we worked, improved, and went from a nascent proto-democracy with individual rights limited to sub population to a country that has expanded rights. Government has expanded too much as well. But the lesson of the past is that we self-correct and improve. I’m pretty confident that will continue.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
Joe, you illiterate slob:

There have been cultures in the past that survived ignoramuses like you, but when they did, it was always because of trouble-makers like me who were never concerned with ignoramuses like you, in the first place.

You don’t count.

And I might not count, either, over the long run, but it won’t be because I’m like you.

There is a whole world in that final sentence. Good luck with it.
 
Written By: Billy Beck
URL: http://www.two—four.net/weblog.php
Yeah thanks Billy...I can hardly wait until trouble-making YOU saves all of us...You keep on with those thoughts then...

Just one question will you be saving us whilst wearing tights and a cape or will yours be less a Marvel/DC rescue and that you’ll be leading the Ayn Rand Brigade of uber-kommandoes?

Tell you what to take a page from the Left’s book, don’t do it in my name but do send out an e-mail, have Dale post something here, se we can all see it on CNN or Fox, though....
 
Written By: Joe
URL: http://
If you had half a brain, I might suggest that you check your premise: I’m not interested in saving you.
 
Written By: Billy Beck
URL: http://www.two—four.net/weblog.php
Classical Values just had a post about the Abraham Lincoln Totem Pole in Alaska...in it, I learned that the Tinglit indians had slaves, a lot of slaves, in fact, and would remove an eyeball to show property.

This writer’s head would explode if he tried to figure out how the US was to blame for freeing the Tinglit slaves...
 
Written By: Harun
URL: http://
Life isn’t politics, politics isn’t life.
Actually, in many ways, the opposite is true. One’s politics, I have always held, are the reflections of one’s most intrinsic values.
 
Written By: Bithead
URL: http://bitsblog.florack.us
It should never have to come to that, Eric. In a time and place where political principles are not in dispute (which is the ideal of "unity" originally set out in American politics, although we all know how racially defective it was), nobody would go about their lives with any political touchstone constantly at hand. Human action would be aimed at all kinds of other ethical goals. (This general premise is implicit in "the pursuit of happiness".)

For whole generations now, however, the central political antagonism in this country — indeed the whole world — has been between collectivism and individualism. The former is diametrically contrary to American ideals, and more: it necessarily makes all personal values political. This is why the assertion — "Life isn’t politics, politics isn’t life" — is wrong, now. More and more, politics is life, less and less as metaphor and more and more in actual, factual reality. What do you think the fight over health care, for only one glaring example, is about?

The more that life depends on the state, it is only natural that life is dominated by politics.

The assertion is actually ignorant. (This is not pejorative: nobody knows everything and ignorance over all kinds of things is present in all of us.) It should be true — and would be, in a rational culture — but it’s not, now, and that is a very good indicator of where we are.
 
Written By: Billy Beck
URL: http://www.two—four.net/weblog.php
"The knowledge gave me headaches that crying didn’t relieve,"

What is there to say about such a twit? It’s a good thing he wasn’t(obviously) a student of world history, else his depression would have been terminal. Then again,....
 
Written By: timactual
URL: http://
To paraphrase Machiavelli, all nations are built to one degree or another on the riches and blood of someone. National histories are often built on forgetting that.


Ambrose Bierce on history:

HISTORY, n.
An account mostly false, of events mostly unimportant, which are brought about by rulers mostly knaves, and soldiers mostly fools.


 
Written By: Grotius
URL: http://
I sent an email to Dr. Cole, basically restating my previous comment above, regarding African slavery and Aztec human sacrifices. This was his response:
Dear James
Thanks for reading my column and taking the time to respond. The historical examples you mention are significant examples of injustice, but they don’t justify other acts of injustice—"Two wrongs don’t make a right." So I still feel we as a nation must take full responsibility for our history.

best wishes, Joe
He sort of missed my point, I wasn’t suggesting other acts were justified. It seems this guy just hates all of humanity, period.
 
Written By: Jimmy the Dhimmi
URL: http://www.warning1938alert.ytmnd.com
This story so reminded me of an NPR regular saying, just days after 9/11, that this wasn’t "his war".

It’s like wanting the "icy" but not the "cake".

Only little kids believe this to be true.

And .. I’m sure that those 3000 or so injured and dead of 9/11 didn’t want it to be their war either .. but it was.
 
Written By: Neo
URL: http://
I sent an email to Dr. Cole...
Dr. Cole. Oh God. I missed that entirely. Wow. It figures, though.
 
Written By: Linda Morgan
URL: http://
Funny how we only see bleatings like this when there’s a Republican in the White House, and the poor darlings of the left feel that their country has been taken away from them (hence the caterwauling of the Democrat in any election - "let’s take our country back!!!"). Somehow, were Jean Fraud Kerry in the Oval Office this past Fourth, I suspect Dr. Cole would be waxing ecstatic about the promise of America and its committment to diversity, justice and equality. The man’s a fatuous lefty blowhard - but I repeat myself.
 
Written By: Christopher
URL: http://
Christopher, you make yourself less credible when you complain that Democrats unjustly think "their" country is being taken away and then follow it with a "Jean Fraud Kerry" comment. If you are going to complain about Democrat "bleatings" you probably should avoid bleating yourself.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
"Christopher, you make...avoid bleating yourself."

Whoa. Pricked by the truth, eh Scottie?

Yours, TDP, ml, msl, & pfpp
 
Written By: Tom Perkins
URL: http://
It should never have to come to that, Eric. In a time and place where political principles are not in dispute (which is the ideal of "unity" originally set out in American politics, although we all know how racially defective it was), nobody would go about their lives with any political touchstone constantly at hand. Human action would be aimed at all kinds of other ethical goals. (This general premise is implicit in "the pursuit of happiness".)
Billy;

Sorry for the delay in responding... I’m terribly behind in my reading the last day or two.

I hear you, and no offense taken. I know what you’re saying here. But here we’re going to have one of our milder disagreements, I think.

The thing is, it did come to that. The ideas and ideals that this country, and this culture was founded in, as in freedom, and individualism, are under attack as never before. For the early part of this country’s existence, those principles were not in dispute, and as such the country had a chance to get itself going, while its political machine ground away on minutiae.

Were our intrinsic values not in dispute today, our political machine would still be traveling on, arguing on such small matters. But at a more basic level, that lack of dispute, over our fundamental beliefs, far from disconnecting our politics from those beliefs, rather solidifies the connection. Put another way; A lack of a political dispute surrounding those fundamental beliefs would be an indication that the intrinsic values of all concerned were in unity. What I’m suggesting is, I don’t think you can disconnect our politics from our intrinsic value system regardless of whether those values are in dispute or not.

To partially illustrate this, consider the specter of war, ...which is, as the euphemism goes, politics expressed by other means... and for the moment, for the most part I am speaking irrespective of country... what else but a very personal, intrinsic value, would cause someone to risk their life in such a venture? What is it that such individuals as where our uniform(s) seek to protect by their actions? Is it land? Is it a corporate name? No. The fighters seek to defend the culture they come from, and it’s values. Which, in turn, is precisely why the left of today’s America holds such dislike (dare I say, hate) for our military. The military is standing up for values that the left does not share. they will tell you, of course, that they are against fighting of any nature. But the number of military actions under Bill Clinton was higher than in any time in our history, including the current president. Clearly, there argument is not against violence and against the military person eight, but rather the values that they are seeking to defend. (Of course, this part of the discussion makes the assumption that the individuals in uniform have not been conscripted, or co-opted in some fashion, such as a communist state, let’s say. The Reactions of those people I would regard as wholly separate from this discussion, but perhaps worth the thread of their own )

Which, to tie it all back to the topic of the post , is precisely why such people as Cole find themselves so conflicted. He’s being asked by societal convention to stand up for values he doesn’t share. But, as the saying goes, don’t question his patriotism. The mere mention of such lack, will likely cause the subject become uncharacteristically violent in spite of his protests against others being violent. (Chuckle)

With all this established, I could very easily get into a discussion about immigration, versus shared values, and the effect all that will have. But I think the implications are fairly clear on that point without my diving into it.
 
Written By: Bithead
URL: http://bitsblog.florack.us
Who’s bleating, Scott? I live in Massachusetts. Kerry is a dilettante, a fraud and an utterly worthless crapweasel of a Senator who has spent his entire legislative career doing nothing. The only thing he’s really known for in Massachusetts is as the butt of the major afternoon talk show host’s "DO YOU KNOW WHO I AM?" segment, where people swap stories about JFK and his attempts to bully, impress or otherwise club people over the head with his entitlement as a member of the governing class.

Frankly, he’s Ted Kennedy’s insurance against a Sirhan Sirhan or Lee Harvey Oswald - nobody wants Kerry as the state’s senior senator.
 
Written By: Christopher
URL: http://
"Like it or not, man is a political animal."
That’s not the point of dispute, Eric. That’s like saying, "Freedom is a political concept." Of course. The point, however, is how seriously it’s come to dispute, and for how long, in a nation erected on the principle of freedom. Pay attention to my phrase, "...political touchstone constantly at hand." Politics is the overweening preoccupation of this country now where it wasn’t for long periods of American history during which free people produced as no one ever had before in human history, and the good reason for why it shouldn’t be that way is that the unself-conscious application of freedom is always an easier and better way of life than constantly having to fight for it. It means that we can enjoy, for instance, "The Sound of Music" instead of having to put up with Michael Moore.
 
Written By: Billy Beck
URL: http://www.two—four.net/weblog.php
political touchstone constantly at hand." Politics is the overweening preoccupation of this country now where it wasn’t for long periods of American history
How would measure and prove this statement? POLITICS has been CENTRAL to the development of this nation, from tariff questions, to the doctrine of nullification, to discussions of the Trans-Continental Rail Road, Manifest Destiny, Imperialism, pro and con, and that’s all from 1790 to 1898. Seriously, just how do "prove" your assertion? Obviously we don’t agree and probably don’t like each other much, but how, were this a college, would you make an assessment of that statement and then "prove" it’s truth or falsity?

during which free people produced as no one ever had before in human history
To be distinguished from this current period, how? Are you saying that our economic growth or dynmism is less now that in 1907 or 1807? I would argue that Germany, post-1870, had an equally spectacualr economic rise, and yet they were not Americans. What distinguished our rise from theirs?

I ask the above not because I am a"statist" but in the spirit of critical inquiry. You’ve made an assertion, two in fact, and I would like you to produce some evidence to back up your assertion(s). How do you propose to measure the centrality of politics in various periods and how do you intend to compare the US today to the US of the 19th C. or to other then-rapidly industrializing powers, such as Germany, Russia, and even China?
 
Written By: Joe
URL: http://
Christopher, your ad hominem style shows only that you’ve fallen into the right wing talk radio style of attack. It discredits you.

Billy, when was America at its best? Certainly not while we had slavery. Certainly not while women were treated as second class citizens. Certainly not when there was forced government segregation of schools and much of society. I suspect that the mythical America you imagine is more in your mind than has ever been in reality. We’ve made much progress, and some things have gotten worse. There has been a erosion of freedom, and government has gotten too powerful. Our foreign policy doesn’t match our ideals (though in the 19th century we were conquering nations in North America with fierce brutality, so arguably we’ve never really had an ideal foreign policy either). Reality is messy, it is guaranteed to disappoint idealists.

But you can either stay aloof from it saying "it really stinks, I’m just going to do my own thing and try to avoid the stench as much as I can," or "I’ll roll up my sleeves and try to make a difference in whatever way I can."
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
Politics is the overweening preoccupation of this country now where it wasn’t for long periods of American history during which free people produced as no one ever had before in human history, and the good reason for why it shouldn’t be that way is that the unself-conscious application of freedom is always an easier and better way of life than constantly having to fight for it.
Hmmm. Ya know, in a backhanded sort of way, I’m encouraged that such a debate exists, rather than us going to socialism by way of mere capitulation by either the ballot, or the sword. Perhaps we stand a chance, after all. There are, apparently, some willing to take the fight yet. But not enough to keep the fights from being as figuratively bloody as they’ve gotten.


And look... we agree...I can’t argue that on the whole, having it come naturally, as opposed to having to fight for it would be the preferable path. It might have rendered our past more productive, and significantly less (literally) bloody, particularly as regards to our own civil war.

That said, history speaks to the issue clearly; The reality is that Freedom has always had to be fought for, even before our country existed... and in more than just military means. There is always resistance to someone else’s freedom. (Note the word use, here) We humans have to fight for it, because there’s always somebody willing to take it away.

Jefferson recognized this, when he allowed a revolution every ten years or so would be a good thing. It’s not much of a stretch, to suggest that that fight gets carried on, every time there’s an election.... and I wonder if that not precisely what the founders in mind, and specifically what Franklin was thinking, when he wondered if in voting, we could keep this republic, as opposed to allowing it to slide into a pure Democracy, which would clearly put our country at the mercy of such as Cole, or Erb.

We have a military, which has the express purpose of defending our freedom from external enemies. We have a ballot box, with the express purpose of defending our freedom from internal enemies. Granted, in fact more than granted, that the ballot and its purposes can be corrupted. On the other hand, that’s why we have elections fairly frequently. So can the military be corrupted in it’s purposes, for that matter. But there it is.

It’s that whole scene, that has me at the ballot box every time there’s an opportunity.... I’m busy plugging holes in the dike, myself. That’s a fight I don’t see myself ever giving up on. I recognize the danger that you’ve repeatedly pointed out over the years about using the ballot box to inflict my view on somebody else. But usually the somebody else is trying to inflict a lack of freedom on me and mine. I consider that to be the greater danger, and that danger multiplies when I’m not in the fight.

Indeed, I suppose that the reason that it has come to this point as you mention...
The point, however, is how seriously it’s come to dispute, and for how long, in a nation erected on the principle of freedom.
...is that so few are willing to stay in the fight; the numbers of people at the ballot box for even the major elections, are abysmal anymore. If there are so few people willing to fight to keep their freedom, is it any wonder that those willing to take it away from us have made such inroads?

It means that we can enjoy, for instance, "The Sound of Music" instead of having to put up with Michael Moore.
Damn it, Billy... now I’m flashing on the Great Rotundo trying to cover "The Lonely Goatherd". Arrrgh.

 
Written By: Bithead
URL: http://bitsblog.florack.us
we could keep this republic, as opposed to allowing it to slide into a pure Democracy, which would clearly put our country at the mercy of such as Cole, or Erb.
Heh, you can add a lot more names then that on there. Does anyone think they could live perfectly under the rules of anyone else??

And one thing we need to realize, fighting politically among ourselves is big business.

Think of all the money given to various political causes, the people they employee, the advertising/marketing agencies, the lobbyists that get paid, the tele-marketers who raise the money, etc...

How many millions/billions of dollars do we spend each year to either control someone else, or fight someone else’s control of ourselves.

All that money spent on political advocacy and elections are tax on liberty.
 
Written By: Keith_Indy
URL: http://asecondhandconjecture.com
Bithead, I believe by "pure democracy" you are referring to crude majoritarianism, which nobody wants. I won’t go over the essentials of democratic theory as that would be what timactual would consider very boring and academic. Bottom line: any system that would allow a majority to prevent a minority from having a voice or exercising equal political rights could not be considered a viable democracy. Thus for democratic theory, it is hard to imagine anything but Republic yielding true democracy (though Great Britain is an exception due to the power of its traditions and customs).

Of course, the idea that there is a "fight for freedom" is overstated. The differences between the Republicans and Democrats are tiny, especially in ideological terms. That’s one reason people fall into emotion and ad hominems, there aren’t real ideological battles taking place. Billy is taking a very different ideological position than the major parties, but most posters here are actually quite close in their basic ideological beliefs.

Keith, I’m also afraid the big business of our political fights actually hides the lack of true alternatives. Americans disagree on issues (Iraq, abortion, health care), but even then the differences are more about the proper means to achieve particular goals rather than core values. So the big business gives us talking heads yelling each other on CNN, or talk radio, or Michael Moore’s movies, or blogs on the left and right ranting about how evil George W. Bush or Hillary Clinton are, and how one is ruining the counry, or will ruin it if elected. The good news is that we aren’t as divided as we seem, and if you get past the politically active there is a common sense moderate middle that represents the vast majority. The bad news is that this middle often feels alienated by leftists on one side yelling "impeach Bush" and talk radio jocks on the other saying "liberals are evil." They see the money being spent on campaigns, with the result being that candidates are scripted via focus groups, and with Youtube now only the most careful to stick to the script survive, and don’t really see much room for debate and discussion. It’s all marketing.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
All that money spent on political advocacy and elections are tax on liberty.

Really I see that as THE EXERCISE OF LIBERTY, when did advocacy and elections become detriments to liberty? In professor mode, today, define "advocacy", by this do you mean campaign ad’s by politiicans or such things as the SBVFT or any anti-war ad’s produced? Why are either a tax on liberty, are they not groups and indiviudals exercising their right to speech and urging people to vote for/against someone? And elections, are a tax on liberty, so we can eliminate this "tax" by eliminating elections? This ensures our freedom(s), how?

As I told Captin Sarcastic on another thread, Being Anti-Da Man is NOT the same things as being Pro-Freedom.
 
Written By: Joe
URL: http://
Are you people un-aware that there was once a time in this country when a man could just go put up a building, put a sign on it, call it a "bank", and start doing business without government permission? And that others were free to take their chances with him, or not? Now, you can’t even start on the building without all kinds of unilaterally presumptive "authorities" crawling right up your ass. You could have started a hospital, built an airport, started an airline — and flown any damned place you wanted to — built an oil refinery (are you getting this yet?), an automobile manufacturing plant — or a car in your own back yard or even a road on which to drive it anywhere you had the money to buy the land on which to lay it — or started your own postal service (go read about Lysander Spooner, goddammit, if you can’t stand to read him), or any number of other applications of reason to the problem of survival and flourishing (this is known as "production", kids), for the simple reason that freedom was the wide-scale resolution to every forcible prohibition that had plagued mankind’s "access" (to coin a term) to "quality of life" (to coin a whole phrase) since the rise of "civilization".

Erb: I don’t need your punk lecture on racism, and if you want to blither about "North American nations" then I will commend you to Tecumseh’s peremptory and strictly racist claim of a whole continent and urgently advise you — again — to close your ignorant yap and hide. And while I’m condescending to address your paper-thin crap, I’ll only point out that, because this essentially a war of ideas, the most noble thing that I can do to "make a difference" (to coin a prominent ethical vacuity) is to just kick your ideological ass around the schoolyard any time I bloody feel like it. To quote from a noted 20th century cinematic ethicist: "Disappear, scumbag."

Eric:
"The reality is that Freedom has always had to be fought for, even before our country existed..."
The second clause of that quote is the dead-giveaway. Because of the life and death importance of ideas to human existence, this is like saying that the sum of 2+2 "has always had to be fought for, even after it was established as a proper reference to reality." Well, I’m here to point out that any culture that has to fight for such elemental truths is neck-deep in an alligator swamp of its very own making.

Now, look, you people: I’m dealing in essentials here, and if you aren’t interested in that, then I suggest that you move along to discussions of how to make socialism work, like the one going on in that "John Stossel" thread.
 
Written By: Billy Beck
URL: http://www.two—four.net/weblog.php
Are you people un-aware that there was once a time in this country when a man could just go put up a building, put a sign on it, call it a "bank", and start doing business without government permission? And that others were free to take their chances with him, or not?
Are you aware how many people had their life savings wiped out and businesses ruined, by "wildcat banks"?

What you view as freedom, many consider anarchy/chaos, and in that situation that is not Freedom, read Hobbes.

You don’t seem to see any middle ground between An-Cap and Tyranny and that is simply not a tenable position. One can support Privatized Social Security and still support government regulation of banks and financial organizations. And to believe in them does not equal "Socialism."

Any way, any thoughts on defining and measuring the "Centrality of politics" in various epochs? Any discussion on the differences between now and then, in terms of economic growth and dynamism or how the US in 1880 was more or less dynamic that Wilhelmine Germany, even though Germany was not organized like the US?
 
Written By: Joe
URL: http://
"Are you aware how many people had their life savings wiped out and businesses ruined, by ’wildcat banks’?"
Look, Joe: if you don’t have a spine for "the animating contest of freedom," then just say so, and you will instantly find knocking at your door any number of people willing to build you a nice safe cage.

In no case, however, do you have a moral right to chain anyone else to your fear.
 
Written By: Billy Beck
URL: http://www.two—four.net/weblog.php
I suggest that you move along to discussions of how to make socialism work, like the one going on in that "John Stossel" thread.
Funny it looked to me like a DEBATE, where both sides were mustering arguments FOR and AGAINST various positions...or is this one of those "non-debatable" or is it "Inarguable" points you are so enamoured of?
 
Written By: Joe
URL: http://
That’s exactly what it is, Joe.

I don’t care if, say, the Canadians’ health-care plans would "enable" people to have miraculous sex into their eighteenth decade of age and exchange their Raleigh cigarette coupons for a new set of lungs every single month. The essential matter — to me, even if I’m the only one — is the simple political leave to say no to it without a socialist drawing the weapon of state in dealing with the dissent known as freedom.

No discussion beyond that. Period. Full-stop.
 
Written By: Billy Beck
URL: http://www.two—four.net/weblog.php
Look, Joe: if you don’t have a spine for "the animating contest of freedom," then just say so, and you will instantly find knocking at your door any number of people willing to build you a nice safe cage.

In no case, however, do you have a moral right to chain anyone else to your fear.
Funny lotsa folks seem to like the deposit insurance corporation idea...so to push for it and therefore sound accounting and regualtion is socialism? Would I prefer FDIC be a private-public entity, yes, so that voters not simply avail themselves of tax dollars to pay out for their poor ideas?

So wildcat banks that abscond with or fold, taking capital and productive assets with them are GOOD for capitalism? I would note that FDIC emerged as a GOVERNMENT idea, why not as a PRIVATE one Billy? IF, this market is such a grat one, why not a Lloyds policy group that mimiced FDIC,yet none emerged. I’d call that a problem that the government solved.

I note you are quite long on the romantic/poetic about "freedom" and "Cages" but just a little short on the more pedantic side of things. Yuo really ARE an anti-Marxist, you sound just like the young Marxists at my Uni’s Free Speech Area, who love to wax eleoquent on Social Justice, Inequality, and Peace, yet really don’t ahve a lot of substance to say when it comes to policy specifics. In your case just substitute, "Freedom" for "Social Justice" and "Slavery/Socialism" for "Inequality" and one gets much the same effect.
 
Written By: Joe
URL: http://
Funny Billy I saw folks debating both sides, pretty much ending the idea that some things are not debatable, I guess, as folks are legitimately debating the issues, well, cogently, with evidence...the essence of debate, IMO.

That has been one of your flaws, you are constantly talking about non-debatable, when it is most obvious it IS debatable, as folks are doing and have been doing it for hundreds of years....

Your point is not that it is not debatable but that it OUGHT not be debatable, and the hubris and self-centredness of that assertion is mind-boggling. Sadly folks do disagree with your position and can legitimately make arguments against it, and better arguments than you make for it, as they use logic and evidence, not simple dismissal. Now, you may have arguments and facts at your command, you simply don’t bother to use them, but in this arena simply stating something is not debatable and that your opponent(s) is/are wrong begins to wear thin and fail as a debate tactic.
 
Written By: Joe
URL: http://
"Funny lotsa folks seem to like the deposit insurance corporation idea..."
I don’t care what "lotsa folks seem to like". "Lotsa folks" are nicely-dressed chimpanzees — and not even so nicely-dressed anymore — and they have liked all kinds of ridiculous and horribly destructive things, like black slavery, for instance.

I don’t take my ethical and political cues from the madness of crowds. I’m not like you.

No social metaphysics allowed.
 
Written By: Billy Beck
URL: http://www.two—four.net/weblog.php
Boris Erb writes:
Christopher, your ad hominem style shows only that you’ve fallen into the right wing talk radio style of attack. It discredits you.
Why, that couldn’t be the very same Boris Erb who routinely patted the backs and praised the most squalid, sickening Leftwing posters on Usenet?

Oh, that’s right, we used to hear the same platitudinous claptrap back then, too, often simultaneously with the Friends of Boris screeching like demented monkeys in the background. Somehow, Boris never quite got around to noting their "ad hominem style," but always appreciated it when they would use that style to come to his defense or when they’d come rub themselves up against him and coo. Right, "Dr. Erb?"
 
Written By: Martin McPhillips
URL: http://mcphillips.blogspot.com/
{hah!} Talk about "credits"...

He was a regular cricket in the same meadow with those insects.
 
Written By: Billy Beck
URL: http://www.two—four.net/weblog.php
No social metaphysics allowed.
Philosophy | Metaphysics
P560 | 3560 | Schmitt

————————————————————————————————————————

Topic: Social Metaphysics

Social metaphysics studies the nature of sociality and its relation
to individual human beings (and more broadly, the world). It
overlaps the foundations of social theory, philosophical social
theory, the philosophy of social science, and the metaphysical
foundations of social and political philosophy. There are at least
two components to social metaphysics. One is the study of sociality
and especially collectivity: the nature of social actions, social
relations, joint agents and actions, joint intentions and beliefs,
social groups and group mentality and activity, society and culture,
social institutions and institutional facts, social role, norms, and
practices, and social and linguistic conventions. One basic question
here is how social relations and collectivities relate to the
individual human beings who instantiate or constitute them. Do
collectivities amount to anything over and above these individuals?
The other component of social metaphysics is the flip side of
collectivity. One question here is whether individual human beings
are already social in a way that precludes any sensible reduction of
collectivities to individuals. In this vicinity, we find such
questions as whether solitary individuals are possible, whether
language and mental representation are inherently social, whether a
private language is possible, etc. A broader issue is whether nature
is already in some sense social. This is the issue of social
constructionism. In this course, we will focus on issues about
collectivities and their relation to individuals. The most
substantial book written on this subject is Margaret Gilbert’s On
Social Facts. We will need to devote close attention to it. We will
also read John Searle’s The Construction of Social Reality. Other
authors treated will include Michael Bratman, Seumas Miller, David-
Hillel Ruben, and Philip Pettit. If there is any time left after
considering issues about collectivities, we may move on to questions
about whether individuals are already social, or to social
constructionism. For those who need more information about the sorts
of issues we will discuss, the introduction to my collection
Socializing Metaphysics gives a fairly detailed review of the
territory. This course will presuppose no knowledge of metaphysics.
Wow a whole class on it...must be a bummer thinking that these non-debatable points are being discussed all across this great land. Or is this now simply a "Double-plus-Ungood" idea that can not be discussed because it doesn’t exist?

 
Written By: Joe
URL: http://
"Advocacy is THE EXERCISE OF FREEDOM" to paraphrase Uncle Joe.

Well, kind of, in the sense that shooting burglars is an assertion of property rights. But I don’t own things just so I can constantly experience the dubious pleasure of having to defend them all the time.

More to the point, I don’t consider burglars as a necessary adjunct to property. Burglars have no right to my property and the electorate has no right to restrict my liberty. Neither has any right to force me to "debate" the issue, although the electorate, at least, has overwhelming force and the support of idiots like "Joe" on their side.
 
Written By: John Sabotta
URL: www.superbad.com
"...must be a bummer thinking that these non-debatable points are being discussed all across this great land."
You are, very dimly, beginning to get the picture.
 
Written By: Billy Beck
URL: http://www.two—four.net/weblog.php
Joe seems to think that because vile stupidity is made into a course at some college somewhere, that means that we have to put up with the opinions of vile and stupid people.

Not so.
 
Written By: John Sabotta
URL: www.superbad.com
Joe seems to think that because vile stupidity is made into a course at some college somewhere, that means that we have to put up with the opinions of vile and stupid people.

Not so.

Funny you shold have brought up Joe Stalin....It’s called the MARKETPLACE of Ideas for a reason guys....You want the An-Cap Inquisition to issue an imprimatur for acceptable debate I guess, or in short you destroy liberty in order to save it.

You HAVE to debate it, just as Jefferson spoke of a need to water the Tree of Liberty, periodically, because no debate is ever truly ended...

And John you don’t know that Schmitt was not a libertarian, only that he, unlike SOME, had no problems arguing for, or facing the arguments against, or even presenting both sides of the argument.

You ASSUME, and there is a cute phrase about that....I’m just laughing at such brave bold folks who just don’t like to have their assumptions and beliefs questioned...Gee makes them sound like liberals/smelly hippies/Nazi’s/Communists/Bigots/Religious Fanatics, not believers in Freedom.

So to paraphrase someone, "...you will instantly find knocking at your door any number of people willing to build you a nice safe cage to protect you from the ideas of vile people."

 
Written By: Joe
URL: http://
"I’m just laughing at such brave bold folks who just don’t like to have their assumptions and beliefs questioned."
Man, you have the lingo down so pat that you might as well be doing it in your sleep, son, just like everybody else who does that.

What you’re calling "assumptions and beliefs" are actually rational convictions directly connected to facts (i.e. — reality) and no sane person ever puts something like that to debate.

And when it comes to "cages": anyone can believe any stupid thing that they want to. The political matter at hand here is whether they are morally authorized to force others to act on what they believe. This question is one thing that makes health care such a handy example of the principle.

You are equating things that are categorically different.
 
Written By: Billy Beck
URL: http://www.two—four.net/weblog.php
What you’re calling "assumptions and beliefs" are actually rational convictions directly connected to facts (i.e. — reality) and no sane person ever puts something like that to debate.
But so seldom do you ever deploy them, Billy...you simply denounce your opponent(s) and talk about things not being debatable, or simply declare "NO Social Metaphysics". No one expect a PhD dissertation in comments, but you pretty much place the bar very low on what could constitute "debate".
The political matter at hand here is whether they are morally authorized to force others to act on what they believe.
And of course, "They" answer in the affirmative. It’s not a position I accept for mostly ulitarian reasons, but it is a position and a legitimate one, subject to this thing called "debate." Consequently, it requires argument and facts, not what you present.

In fact, I am reminded of the Monty Python sketch when discussing this with you, "An argument is a connected set of statements designed to prove a point. It isn’t simply saying ’No, it isn’t’" "Yes, it is". They debate you say, "you’re wrong and I don’t ahve to debate you." Im your mind that may make you laconic, to the rest of us it simply makes you sad, laughable, annoying, poorly prepared, defensive, frustrated, but it doesn’t make you a good defender of your position.
 
Written By: Joe
URL: http://
I don’t care what nonsense people believe or say or what the hell they want to take as a "debate" subject as long as it’s understood that they have no moral right to oblige me to pay any attention to them.

Of course, like any gang of thugs, they all have recourse to the means to force me to pay attention. But I refuse to admit that they have the right to do so.
 
Written By: John Sabotta
URL: www.superbad.com
"Billy...you simply denounce your opponent(s) and talk about things not being debatable, or simply declare ’NO Social Metaphysics’."
That’s right, and I told you why in very simple and plain language.

Look: I am not responsible for your thinking your way through this stuff, so save your complaints for a therapist or a professor from the University of Maine.
 
Written By: Billy Beck
URL: http://www.two—four.net/weblog.php
I don’t care what nonsense people believe or say or what the hell they want to take as a "debate" subject as long as it’s understood that they have no moral right to oblige me to pay any attention to them.
Oh sad human, if you are human, not some Turing construct, they have no right, I guess to make you pay attention, but they certainly have the right to make you pay TAXES. And since they can do the latter, it pays to do the former as well....
That’s right, and I told you why in very simple and plain language.

Look: I am not responsible for your thinking your way through this stuff, so save your complaints for a therapist or a professor from the University of Maine.
Another sad human, whilst you can’t convinve Dr Erb, he was never your target. Your target are the folks who read but don’t comment. Whilst YOU may rest secure in your ego-driven position of superiority, THEY may find his arguments more persuasive. And since they have the power, via their vote, to compel you to part with your beloved property, it pays to woo them. And simply declaring the debate over, when obviously it continues on, doesn’t really defeat Erb, does it?

And if this is more than an exercise of the Beck Ego, then you really might want to contemplate that. After all why come here, if not to prove a point, or is it simply demonstrate, to yourself, your own, self-evident superiority? In that, case this is merely mirror preeening or mental auto-eroticism, on your part. And so, you have my sympathy, if that’s the case.
 
Written By: Joe
URL: http://
"...they certainly have the right to make you pay TAXES."
That’s what you think.

You’re dismissed.
 
Written By: Billy Beck
URL: http://www.two—four.net/weblog.php
"...they certainly have the right to make you pay TAXES."
That’s what you think.

You’re dismissed.
Oh yo don’t pay taxes, Billy? Well tell us how that works in whatever society you are posting from and let us know about the penal system in it....Otherwise now you’re just a blow-hard.
DISMISSED.
 
Written By: Joe
URL: http://
Does anyone else who knows me, here, feel like fielding that one?

I’m warning you: this is a bona fide Pearls Before Swine Moment.
 
Written By: Billy Beck
URL: http://www.two—four.net/weblog.php
Further, Billy you either don’t have to pay taxes 1) because you make too little and so what does it mean 1b) that you don’t or that you leave in a jurisdiction with no taxes, i.e. Utopia (Nowhere) or 2) you owe taxes but don’t pay them. However you benefit from services provided by those who do...making you a free-loader, an odd thing for someone who considers himself moral...or 3) You’re just telling stories about your heroic refusal to pay taxes, because after all how would we ever really know? Making you a blowhard, but I said that already.
 
Written By: Joe
URL: http://
Cast those pearls babee....
 
Written By: Joe
URL: http://
So, Billy is: (1) dealing in essentials; (2) claiming that the US is "rotten and it’s circling the drain"; and (3) thinks of Chuck Berry’s "Back In The USA" whenever he returns here from abroad.

IIRC, Chuck Berry is black and the state of race relations in the US in 1959 was not all that great. So either Chuck has a well-defined sense of irony, or Billy has none. I’m guessing it’s the latter.
 
Written By: Karl
URL: http://www.claudepate.com
I have a question for you, Karl:

Have you ever met and talked with Chuck Berry?
 
Written By: Billy Beck
URL: http://www.two—four.net/weblog.php
Let me tell you something, son: I have.

Let me give you one small clue to some things that we talked about.
 
Written By: Billy Beck
URL: http://www.two—four.net/weblog.php
Like most of his kind, "Joe" deliberately confuses the power to force someone to do something with the moral right to do so.

Pretty soon he’ll be telling us all about "the real world" where notions of justice or right and wrong don’t apply when you’ve got a big enough gang to back you up. People like him always go on about "the real world" as an excuse for their amoral power worship and craven moral submission.
 
Written By: John Sabotta
URL: www.superbad.com
Joe instructs us all in the proper method of bootlicking -

"And since they have the power, via their vote, to compel you to part with your beloved property, it pays to woo them."

Actually, it’s probably not boots Joe is advocating licking. Better remember to swallow, bitch.
 
Written By: John Sabotta
URL: www.superbad.com
Like most of his kind, "Joe" deliberately confuses the power to force someone to do something with the moral right to do so.

Pretty soon he’ll be telling us all about "the real world" where notions of justice or right and wrong don’t apply when you’ve got a big enough gang to back you up. People like him always go on about "the real world" as an excuse for their amoral power worship and craven moral submission.

No john, I’m simply informing you that there are those who make a cogent moral argument the EXACT OPPOSITE of yours, and if you don’t engage them, publicly, they shall win.

Now in the real world, unless you’re gang is large, tough and smart yes you WILL lose to the thugs that are going to take your property, as Jerry Pournelle said, "An ideology without a sword isn’t much of an ideology".
 
Written By: Joe
URL: http://
"Not one boot for tribute."

Fuggetaboudit.
 
Written By: Billy Beck
URL: http://www.two—four.net/weblog.php
I have a question for you, Karl:

Have you ever met and talked with Chuck Berry?
Billy have you ever lain in the mud on Christmas after being kicked in the head with an iron boot? No, of course not, it’s s tupid question, it never happens.

Who cares if you talked to Chuck Berry?!?! I’ve talked to Tom Peters and Hunter S Thompson...never talked to Locke or Hobbes, but have read them...does that make me a managment guru or a journalist but unqualified to discuss 18th C. Political Philosophy? Or the fact that I’ve talked to hunter S Thompson does it give me some special right to talk about Iraq?
 
Written By: Joe
URL: http://
"Who cares if you talked to Chuck Berry?"
Nobody has to care, but if they want to pose the artificially limited set of conclusions that Karl did, then I’m here to say that they are artificially limited, and I know why.

Let me tell you something, Joe: the very fact that you have the interest that you do in these general affairs tells me that you have some kind of intellectual horsepower to bring to them. But you’re barely thinking at a retard’s level, the way you’ve been going as long as I’ve watched you here. The point that I just made is not high-g thinking. I could be dead-wrong about this — I have been before — but I think you could do a lot better if you actually put your mind to it.

At the end of the day, however, it really makes no difference to me. They’re very hard to find, but my best interests are reserved for people performing on a much higher level than you’ve reached, so far.
 
Written By: Billy Beck
URL: http://www.two—four.net/weblog.php
Oh OK, you’re going to take your intellectual ball home now...OK, Mr Beck, Bye-Bye Now....
They’re very hard to find, but my best interests are reserved for people performing on a much higher level than you’ve reached, so far.
OMG that’s good! Well when you find that Intellectual Paradise let me know, I’m sure everyone there will agree with you, because that’s why it’s your pardise.

But you’re barely thinking at a retard’s level, the way you’ve been going as long as I’ve watched you here. The point that I just made is not high-g thinking. I could be dead-wrong about this — I have been before — but I think you could do a lot better if you actually put your mind to it.
As long as I’ve been here and watched you all I’ve really seen from you is Non-debatable, and personal attack...If that’s high-g thinking, leave me out, please.

You know today began with me asking you to quantify and justify certain statements that you made, which you never have. Mostly I want YOU to try to talk to, not dismiss your opponents and to justify your claims. I will say after this I’lll realize that like Dr Erb there’s no discussion with you, because like Erb you really don’t discuss. He natters on in platitudes and you just don’t respond, save with invective.

Here’s a hint: don’t debate, don’t run for office, don’t try to influence the body politc, because I think yo’d do more damge to the An-Cap Cause than good. Because as a spokesperson/recruiter, you stink...

Before you respond with I’m not a recruiter, yadayadayada...I’ll leave witht he thought of someone who called a company adn told them that after dealing with Dewey, Cehtham, and Howe, they would never deal with Corp X again. The Corp X folks said that Dewey was their LAWYER, not them, to which the customer responded yes, they are and they were rude and supercilious. They were your corporate face and I’ll never deal with yur corporation again. You see everyone is in your Marketing/PR Department. And you, give a bad face to An-Cap’s....So, son’t try to help their cause any more than you do here.
 
Written By: Joe
URL: http://
Billy, to kick my "ass" you’d actually have to engage in something more than name calling. You have a lot of bravado and rhetorical flash, but is there substance? Could you actually handle a real discussion that focused on real debate and ideas rather than posturing and insulting?
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
"...you just don’t respond, save with invective."
That is manifestly — right here in this thread — not true.
 
Written By: Billy Beck
URL: http://www.two—four.net/weblog.php
"Billy, to kick my ’ass’ you’d actually have to engage in something more than name calling."
I have, you howling liar. I’ve done it for years, and even noted it right here in these QandO pages with linked citations.

So go put your delusions in a tin-cup full of pencils and start doing business on a crack-corner.
 
Written By: Billy Beck
URL: http://www.two—four.net/weblog.php
Boris Erb writes:
Billy, to kick my "ass" you’d actually have to engage in something more than name calling. You have a lot of bravado and rhetorical flash, but is there substance?
Actually, Boris, I think that Billy has shown that he can call you what you need to be called and whip your ass in an argument. In other words, there’s no reason to put up with your craven lying just so that he can take your empty arguments apart. He can walk all over you and chew gum at the same time. You might recall that on Usenet it was an easy sport. But that’s why you needed to cozy up with notorious lunatics like Zepp Jamieson, Richard Hanson and Kurt Lochner.

Billy has, as I recall, repeatedly shown you that you don’t have even the flimsiest grasp of the facts of history, which more or less renders your judgement about international politics (your field) worthless.

As for your garden variety academic pseudo-philosophy, where, for instance, you can’t even make the claim that you have a right to your own life, he’s had you dancing like an organ grinder’s monkey too many times to count.
 
Written By: Martin McPhillips
URL: http://mcphillips.blogspot.com/
Erb wrote:
Could you actually handle a real discussion that focused on real debate and ideas rather than posturing and insulting?
Here’s a real point to debate. You insist we had no vital national interest at stake in Vietnam, so we should not have intervened. Why was there a vital national interest at stake in either Greece or Korea, where we intervened to a lesser or greater degree in each case...or do you think we should not have intervened there either.

And while you don’t insult a great deal, just about all yo do is posture.

Yours, TDP, ml, msl, & pfpp
 
Written By: Tom Perkins
URL: http://
your judgement about international politics (your field) worthless
International politics is his field?

Jayzus Keerist.

I was hoping it was something where his idiocy could be excused.

Yours, TDP, ml, msl, & pfpp
 
Written By: Tom Perkins
URL: http://
Joe: "And since they have the power, via their vote, to compel you to part with your beloved property, it pays to woo them."

There’s a Freudian slip.

That intensity in Joe’s eyes. it’s not intellectual fervor or righteous indignation. It’s plain, blind panic. He’ll never see your argument, Billy. He can’t. He’d rather gouge his eyes out than see through them. That blindness is his last thread of safety, of sanity.

In the final episode of MASH, Hawkeye thought the woman on the bus had smothered a noisy chicken. You won’t be able to make Joe see that it isn’t a chicken.
 
Written By: Kyle Bennett
URL: http://
OMG that’s good! Well when you find that Intellectual Paradise let me know, I’m sure everyone there will agree with you, because that’s why it’s your pardise.
On the principle of the initiation of force, yes, it would be paradise. It’s amazing to see someone so earnestly not see something.

Why, Joe, do you have to try so hard not to see that you’re talking absolute nonsense? What is it about your philosophy that makes you so terrified to question what you’ve been spoonfed?

What is it that lets you talk about ideas while simultaneously clinging, as firmly as you can, to the belief that ideas have no connection to reality? I’m asking because I’ve never understood. How can someone who thinks like that even tie up their shoelaces in the morning? It’s driven me crazy trying to figure it out these past 30 years or so.
 
Written By: Michael Stone
URL: http://www.philosophicaldetective.com
Joe:

Are you aware how many people had their life savings wiped out and businesses ruined, by "wildcat banks"?

I’m not aware of any losers that were forced by state fiat to do deals with them in the first place. Conversely, I know of millions that have been forced by government fiat to pay bailouts for deals they weren’t even involved in.

So what’s your point?
 
Written By: Ron Good
URL: http://northensubverbia.blogspot.com
but they certainly have the right to make you pay TAXES

Joe: do you seriously not see any essential difference between a right and a mere legal permission? I mean, what you write here indicates you see no difference, but "benefit of the doubt" and all that, so I’m asking.
 
Written By: Ron Good
URL: http://northensubverbia.blogspot.com
D@MN all you smart people, and you like to attack me, but yet never has anyone even explained to me what ideas I can’t seem to grasp!?

Walk me thru the ideas Billy Beck has presented would you?

And then point out his rational and cogent arguments and his evidence...or yours for that matter.

What did beck get his loyal blog-mates to log on and argue as well as he does?
And Billy still waiting for that Pearls Before Swine Moment wherein you teach me about your tax status....

So any time any of you good folks can expalin Billys points, let’s start with my question of today, about the centrality of politcs to US life and then productive perioeds of US and European history, we can begin.
 
Written By: Joe
URL: http://
So any time any of you good folks can expalin Billys points

If you’re a person who spouts the grotesque dictum of "they certainly have a right to make you pay taxes", then it’s unlikely that having those points explained to you would have much effect at all.
 
Written By: Tex
URL: http://whackingday.com
I have, you howling liar.
No, Billy. You haven’t. I’m not certain you can. You’re too wedded to your ideas as a kind of faith, and when it gets challenged effectively you put a wall up and accuse the other person of being slippery or ignorant. It’s bravado and style, Billy. I admit, you have your persona well developed, it shows style, and your bravado is rhetorically interesting. But I really think you’re going more from your gut than your head.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
From Joe:
you benefit from services provided by those who do...making you a free-loader, an odd thing for someone who considers himself moral...
Interesting argument. That would logically mean that students educated in pre-WWII Germany actually owed their lives and allegiance to the Reich, having been educated by ’em, and having been provided all those services and such.

They’d have been what...freeloaders(?) if they hadn’t gone to war for Mr Hitler and dutifully paid all their taxes. Please tell me: that can’t really be your point, can it?
 
Written By: Ron Good
URL: http://northensubverbia.blogspot.com
Erb;
Bottom line: any system that would allow a majority to prevent a minority from having a voice or exercising equal political rights could not be considered a viable democracy.
You’ve pulled out quite a bit of wiggle room for yourself, haven’t you? After all, what constitutes "a voice"? You’re not that hard to see through.
Of course, the idea that there is a "fight for freedom" is overstated. The differences between the Republicans and Democrats are tiny, especially in ideological terms.
.

As Billy correctly points out, they used to be, but not anymore. The cause is to small degree debatable, but what the whole thing has evolved to, is an argument between night and day.


Billy:

The second clause of that quote is the dead-giveaway. Because of the life and death importance of ideas to human existence, this is like saying that the sum of 2+2 "has always had to be fought for, even after it was established as a proper reference to reality." Well, I’m here to point out that any culture that has to fight for such elemental truths is neck-deep in an alligator swamp of its very own making.
Agreed, fully... It is, in fact, a simple equation. It is also, however, a truth that is little spoken anymore. And there’s the issue.

And I’m here to tell you that the cause of that making, is our lack of willingness to pound on those fundamentals continually... To teach them continually to our young people, to hold them as values to be maintained, to be sought after, to be cherished.

Again, we agree ...That they are elemental truths, is beyond question to anyone who is fully exposed to it. You and I are in fundamental agreement here. (Mind you, that is not an idle choice of words.)

But of what good is it if they are not taught, as such? After a few generations of that, (along with those who object to those values, pounding out there sludge on a daily basis for 100 years or so....) they are no longer accepted as fundamentals, and we spend all of our time arguing about it, with a 50/50 chance of losing the fight. That’s one of the reasons that I object so strongly to the likes of the professor, here.

Put another way, if we actually had people who would stand up and pound on these fundamentals continually, particularly in the educational process, we would not have to put up with the opinions of "stupid people".

In short, that sticker on the back of my truck, that says "freedom isn’t free", isn’t just about military action, outside our borders.

A lot of this has to do with cultural conceptions of reality. I’ll get to that with Keith because his comments provide a nice jump off for the sub-topic.

Keith:
Heh, you can add a lot more names then that on there. Does anyone think they could live perfectly under the rules of anyone else??
I certainly think you could add a lot of names... mostl of them Democrats or further left... and no I don’t think they would.... Wherein lies part of the problem with "multiculturalism".

Before you start up, understand where I’m coming from, here; One of the things I have noticed over the years, is that cultures have a tendency to have their own fundamental truths, their own realities, in a sense, from which they operate. Perhaps more accurately, their own belief structures.

I judge that the relative successes and failures over time makes the determination of who has the closest definition to the fundamental truths in reality.

Put another way, that this country has been as successful as it has been for the last 200 years, suggests that least during the first half of its life, this country was closer than any other on the planet to the fundamentals imposed by reality.these were fundamentals that were accepted on a broad basis by the vast majority of citizens within this country, by the vast majority of the culture, let’s say.

To a large degree the arguments that we find ourselves in currently our culturally driven, and have gotten worse as we get more and more into a multi-cultural situation. The reason it has gotten worse, is because we refuse to teach our culture’s fundamentals to these newbies. Rather, we take the coward’s way out, embrace "multiculturalism", and allow the values as regards freedom and individualism to be lessened thereby.

This is not a matter of race, before you start down that road. This is a matter of cultural values, upon which this nation was founded. Remove the foundation, the result is predictable.

Joe;

What did beck get his loyal blog-mates to log on and argue as well as he does?

It’s called "shared values". That is a point that has been dwelling underneath the surface since this conversation began between Billy and myself. That you don’t understand it, I take to be at least partially my fault; perhaps I was too subtle for you.
 
Written By: Bithead
URL: http://bitsblog.florack.us
Walk me thru the ideas Billy Beck has presented would you?
No, Joe, Billy doesn’t have to present you with actual ideas. You (like me) are just too stupid and/or dishonest to grasp the deep truths he and some of his compatriots are putting forth. To get access to their views we have to show that we accept their basic assumptions and premises (thereby assuring that we won’t disagree on fundamental concepts and thereby prevent them from reaching the conclusion they want to reach). If we can’t agree on their assumptions and premises, then we aren’t advanced enough to be worth his time. Despite our differences, it’s clear we each are mere shadows of thinkers compared to the awesome brilliance of Billy Beck — brilliance so intense that he doesn’t even have to show any of it, we just need to believe him that it’s there.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
Tom: Korea was repelling aggression, and we were quickly effective at doing that. Unfortunately Truman decided to try to roll back communism, a big mistake, and it led to an humiliating retreat when the Chinese crossed the Yalu, and ultimately lengthy fighting leading to a result we could have had in 1950. So overall, that war wasn’t based on any vital national interest, though it had a moral justification as a UN backed response to aggression (and if we hadn’t turned into an aggressive act by going north, it would have been enormously successful). Greece wasn’t near as big, and in fact Stalin kept his deal with Roosevelt and dropped most of his support of the Greek Communists.

I met a fighter in the Greek civil war who by the time I met him was a shipping tycoon and hotel owner in Athens. He had fascinating stories about the fight (and was, of course fiercly anti-communist). But I’m not sure why you’re asking me about these wars as they don’t prove one thing or another about Vietnam.

Bithead, what does your question about having a voice mean? I think it’s clear that all have an equal right to free speech and participation in the system, it’s what our system is based on. I don’t see night and day differences between the Republicans and Democrats. There are a lot of emotional types who like to rah-rah for one side or another with the fervor of a sports fan. But I can’t believe these folk believe their own propaganda. It’s silly.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
Anybody else notice Erb really thinks the Soviets would have traded Moscow for Pyonyang, even though they wouldn’t get to keep Pyonyang? And that the fact the UN authorized our "police action" made it legitimate, as opposed to it’s just being an accident of history that the Soviets weren’t at the meeting to veto it? Not to mention, he sees no connection between fighting communism in places as widely separated as Korea and Greece, and sees an acceptable connection to our national interest in those fights (because he’s singled out Vietnam as not being one, but never these) and can’t say why Vietnam is excluded?

To Billy Beck, re Erb - The horror never yet dawns in full. There is always some greater depth of dumbth to be plumbed in him.

Yours, TDP, ml, msl, & pfpp
 
Written By: Tom Perkins
URL: http://
There is always some greater depth of dumbth to be plumbed in him.
Cute, and true.

And the reasons are simple enough; so as to be able to maintain his illusions, he keeps digging.

 
Written By: Bithead
URL: http://bitsblog.florack.us
Tom, you’re absolutely lying. I never said the Soviets would trade Moscow for anything. You can’t counter what I said, and your post is absolute balderdash. Give it up, man.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
"To Billy Beck, re Erb - The horror never yet dawns in full. There is always some greater depth of dumbth to be plumbed in him."
Let me put it this way, Tom: There are children who’ve been born and are half on their way to college in the time that I’ve been at it with him. It’s more than ten years. I saw enough in the very first couple of laps to be able to work out all the rest of it by implication.

I know what you mean, but I’ve got it figured out to the point where he never surprises me.


I’m off to work early tomorrow. I’ll be home late Saturday, and I’ll check in to see how this is going, if it still is.
 
Written By: Billy Beck
URL: http://www.two—four.net/weblog.php
Not having been there for his whole sordid net.history, would I be correct in assuming that the similarities between Erb and Ellseworth Toohy have already been noted numerous times?
 
Written By: Kyle Bennett
URL: http://
So overall, [the Korean War] wasn’t based on any vital national interest, though it had a moral justification as a UN backed response to aggression
You say here that the moral justification was conferred by UN backing?
 
Written By: Linda Morgan
URL: http://
Kyle,

Toohey, Nathan Thurm, and a blob of mercury, among other things.
 
Written By: Ernest Brown
URL: http://
Joe: about this:
What did beck get his loyal blog-mates to log on and argue as well as he does?
You can go to Billy’s blog and find out for yourself if you want. There’s nothing about this that wasn’t up front—and, more importantly he never asked or suggested anyone log on or comment here at all.

What he did ask was this:
If you can squeeze out a minute for this QandO thread, I wonder if you would tell me whether my point about "social metaphysics" really is unbearably obscure, or that "Joe" person really is a [—] moron.

Is there another way that I should be handling that guy, or what?

I mean, I know that it might require accounting for my impatience with people who... what? Aren’t trained to this sort of thing, or what.

My god. This stuff is obvious to me, and — this is important — I have never thought it intellectually straining to figure it out. I really don’t think I’m that special, and never have when it comes to stuff like this.

What on earth, man?
That’s a request for those who care enough to pop in and look, and see if they think he should be handling himself differently. He’s asking about his own behaviour/methodology; that’s all. Billy’s not a gangster in any way, shape or form. I’m not aware that Billy’s ever done what you asked about.

So the short, correct, answer is "no".

Act accordingly.
 
Written By: Ron Good
URL: http://northensubverbia.blogspot.com
re above:

...so when I got here following Billy’s request, I decided to ask a couple of questions.
 
Written By: Ron Good
URL: http://northensubverbia.blogspot.com
"You say here that the moral justification was conferred by UN backing?"

Nice catch, I missed that. To follow your lead—

"(and if we hadn’t turned into an aggressive act by going north"

Evidently we should have stopped at the German border and left the Japanese militarists in power during WWII, lest we become aggressors too.



"I met a fighter in the Greek civil war..."

Name dropping again. Relevance? None. Typical? Yep. Interesting? No.

You would do better to avoid anything dealing with military history, as your knowledge is at best superficial.
 
Written By: timactual
URL: http://
"To follow your lead—"

Probably a poor choice of words. I apologize for what can be interpreted as putting words in your mouth.
 
Written By: timactual
URL: http://
Anybody else notice Erb really thinks the Soviets would have traded Moscow for Pyonyang
Gee, Tom, I’ve proven you wrong on so many things, now you’re making up positions I don’t hold and assigning them to me? I guess that’s all you have left. It’s rather sad. When I point out the error made in Korea, timactual makes a false analogy to Germany, he can’t argue on the merits of the case at hand. Pathetic. Linda saying the moral justification was the UN approval, when actually the UN approved because it was morally justified. Cart before the horse. Sigh. Meanwhile, Billy is trying to avoid actually having to spell out and defend his beliefs, hiding behind obfusciation, insults, and a cadre of his own blog readers who will help him dodge and weave. Oh well, as Caroline Ingalls said, it takes all kinds to make up a world. At least it makes for an interesting show.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
I certainly think you could add a lot of names... most of them Democrats or further left... and no I don’t think they would.... Wherein lies part of the problem with "multiculturalism".
And add to that some on the religious right.

There’s the rub. It always comes down to what set of values one group is willing to force everyone else to live under. You start with a consensus, but ultimately as populations grow, that consensus can change and fracture.

I don’t think Billy Beck is all that difficult to figure out. I don’t think I could live under his set of values, but he wouldn’t require me to. Neither would I require him to live by my set of values.

Others are harder to figure out. What would and wouldn’t they allow, what do they want each level of government responsible for, who and how would they tax for those duties.
 
Written By: Keith_Indy
URL: http://asecondhandconjecture.com
Billy may not be difficult to figure out, but his tendency not to actually defend or explain his position while at the same time ridiculing and insulting those who do not share his position is a very odd mix. Usually if someone decides a person is not smart or well read enough to engage, he just ignores, rather than insults, that person. One could imagine insulting if that would somehow diminish the other person’s argument (a pragmatic use of insulting), but the way Billy does it ends up essentially making him look bad — like he’s got this fringe belief that he doesn’t explain and a few people around him who agree, and everyone else is an idiot. I’m basically a pragmatic libertarian, someone who distrusts government but recognizes that at this time in histories governments are inevitable and the goal should be to bring about cultural change in thinking so that we can have a polity that can support minimal (and someday perhaps no) government. But, like Burke recognizing the dangers inherent in the French revolution, I know that a sudden effort to have something that society isn’t ready for will lead to chaos. Billy doesn’t even want to go there because he wants to dismiss any notion of society for a radical individualist ontology — though his talk about America shows that he at least recognizes culture as being some kind of shared value system. He had little criticism of the decision to go to war to overthrow Saddam, seeming to suggest that it was a good thing but he’d have preferred it be done privately, though presumably the argument that helping the poor by government ’is a good thing, but I’d prefer it be done privately’ would not be as acceptable to him. It’s these little contradictions that he avoids explaining or discussing that also make his style seem evasive — it’s almost like he doesn’t want to confront these problems himself, so he even fools himself with the smokescreen of insult and bravado.

Nonetheless, he is interesting and appears at least to try to live by his principles, and that’s honorable. It’s just too bad he won’t engage in serious debate absent the emotionalism.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
Kyle:
Not having been there for his whole sordid net.history, would I be correct in assuming that the similarities between Erb and Ellseworth Toohy have already been noted numerous times?
Yes. Just for reference, I offer this search.

Keith:
There’s the rub. It always comes down to what set of values one group is willing to force everyone else to live under. You start with a consensus, but ultimately as populations grow, that consensus can change and fracture.
The issue, is whether or not the new values that are inserted are of value to the original culture, by the lights of the people already a part of that culture. When you consider that this culture, and that country that sprung up from it, has become the greatest living example of freedom in practice that the world has ever known, you begin to understand, why I am less than happy about that culture being overrun for whatever reason... and why I think lovers of freedom of all stripes should be very concerned for freedom itself; Because any move away from this culture and it’s values spells a lessening of freedom, in a very real and applied sense.

And there, in fact, is the real rub; do we allow the current culture... the one that is thusfar the greatest example of freedom in this world, to be over-run in the name of freedom? It would seem rather counterproductive to the stated purpose.

I have made the argument in the past that one of the fundamental tasks of any government that wants to survive very long, is to protect and nurture the culture that gave it to life. That’s because government, in its original implementation and intent, was a tool of the culture by which that culture supported itself. Government was merely the mechanism by which the culture supported itself. That’s why in retrospect we see all kinds of various governments, in all kinds of designs ; mostly the designs of the government’s are a reflection of the world view of the individual cultures that gave them life.

And so, we have ours. Our government, as originally laid out, was the result of the cultural differences that sprang up between the colony’s and great Britain, a situation that was exacerbated by the physical distance is involved, and the lack of technology of the day . George didn’t help, either.

However, as our culture becomes less and less our culture, our government becomes less and less relevant to the problems at hand. That’s one of the reasons that the numbers of people it the polls, are traditionally fairly low, the last hundred years or so. It simply doesn’t matter to people not steeped in the culture and its values. There’s no cultural connection there, anymore.

With respect to that religious right, I would suggest to you that their values would more closely fit the culture that gave this country life, then would the others under discussion. Which, in turn, furthers my point about cultural relevance.


 
Written By: Bithead
URL: http://bitsblog.florack.us
Gee, Tom, I’ve proven you wrong on so many things
Well, Scott, you have an active fantasy life, I’ll give you that much.
 
Written By: Bithead
URL: http://bitsblog.florack.us
Bithead: your search yielded four results. Only one comparison of me to that character, and that was by Billy Beck (one of the other results was someone else referring to Billy’s post, another mentioned the character as part of an argument, one was Billy referring to Harold Lasky, and one was criticism that I was painting objectivists out to be like Toohey). All of your search results were from 1998. As I recall that character, he represents just about everything I oppose. So again, ad hominems without veracity and substance seem the norm. But it’s amusing how there is one reference from Billy almost a decade ago, and you make it appear as if you had done a search and found a lot (I guess you figured people wouldn’t click the link, eh?)

 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
Gee, Scott, perhaps you’d be so good is to tell me how that comparison that I cited is not directly responsive to Kyle’s question, or how my offering the link misrepresents that the comparison was in fact made, as he asked?

This hyper defense you’re putting up to everything that anyone says, does not reflect a confidence level you doubtless would like to project. Is there something wrong that you’d like us to know about?
 
Written By: Bithead
URL: http://bitsblog.florack.us
"You say here that the moral justification was conferred by UN backing?"
Nice catch, I missed that.
Why thank you.
"To follow your lead—"

Probably a poor choice of words. I apologize for what can be interpreted as putting words in your mouth.
Not at all. I was just trying to keep it simple. Plus, I do better when I avoid anything dealing with military history as well. Only I have enough sense to know it.
 
Written By: Linda Morgan
URL: http://
As usual, Erb deftly switches the comments thread to focus on himself, what a reasonable fellow he is, the many injustices he’s suffered at the hands of the evil Beck, etc, etc, blah, blah, blah.

Shapeless and narcissistic, Erb is the Caltiki of Q and O. He smothers everything with meaningless evenhanded filler.

 
Written By: John Sabotta
URL: www.superbad.com
"Bithead: your search yielded four results."

This from a guy who once claimed he didn’t use the links provided by others because he just didn’t have the time( A rather thorough reading, at that). Unless, evidently, they refer to him.

Kyle;

You may correctly assume that many negative things have been said about Erb by many different people on this site alone. All, of course, wrong. It seems many of us biased, semi-literate, ill-informed, insensitive brutes have conspired, for no particular reason save perhaps jealousy, to pick on the sage of Maine. Unfortunate but understandable, as some of us are just incapable of using facts and rational argumentation and lash out in frustration at the one who shows us our shortcomings.
 
Written By: timactual
URL: http://
Linda saying the moral justification was the UN approval, when actually the UN approved because it was morally justified. Cart before the horse. Sigh. — Erb
Surely you see this is a breathtaking lie and that anyone can plainly see it as such. I asked politely, did I not, if you were saying UN approval conferred moral justification.

And I get this deliberately twisted nonsensical accusation for reply? Why am I not surprised?
 
Written By: Linda Morgan
URL: http://
"He smothers everything with meaningless evenhanded filler."

I like that. Sort of, at best, an intellectual hamburger helper? In this case, perhaps, tuna helper, since most of what he writes is fishy. In either case, little real substance surrounded by large amounts of pretention, posturing, and empty calories. A little fish desperately trying, and failing, to be a big fish in some pond, somewhere.
 
Written By: timactual
URL: http://
"And I get this deliberately twisted nonsensical accusation for reply"

Typical. He is like the mirrors at the carnival; the reflection of your statements is always distorted, sometimes recognizable, sometimes not.
 
Written By: timactual
URL: http://
Bithead: your search yielded four results. Only one comparison of me to that character, and that was by Billy Beck — Erb
Having read the one comparison for myself, I find it eerie — and amusing — that a person could be stupid enough to natter on so nonchalantly about having been shot in the face only once.
 
Written By: Linda Morgan
URL: http://
Our government, as originally laid out, was the result of the cultural differences that sprang up between the colony’s and great Britain, a situation that was exacerbated by the physical distance is involved, and the lack of technology of the day . George didn’t help, either.
That’s an incomplete answer. Our federal government was also the result of cultural differences between the various colonies. We were multi-cultural from the beginning, even while the colonies shared similar roots. Even though, for instance, Massachusetts was different enough in character from Virginia, they still had common values which separated them from England.

Used to be that states could have different laws, and busy bodies kept their noses in their own neighborhood. Now, the busy bodies who shout the loudest get whatever sticks in the craw passed into law.
 
Written By: Keith_Indy
URL: http://asecondhandconjecture.com

As usual, Erb deftly switches the comments thread to focus on himself,
Well, if that bothers you, why is your whole post about me? Thanks for feeding my narcissism! :-)

Linda, I’m sorry if my response to you sounded like an accusation.

Keith, I agree that we’ve been multicultural from the beginning and (to please John and talk about myself again) my families came from Norway and Germany towards the end of the 19th century and were in communities where that home language was primary for decades. We’ve had Chinatowns, Little Italy, and immigrant centers for a long time. What has made our culture great is it has been a dynamic culture changing to reflect new cultural influences. What is constant (or should be constant) is the ideals of the US Constitution. I also agree on states (but I’d rather be a confederation so what do I know?)
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
Boris Erb writes:
Meanwhile, Billy is trying to avoid actually having to spell out and defend his beliefs, hiding behind obfusciation, insults, and a cadre of his own blog readers who will help him dodge and weave.
It’s not clear to me how much more thoroughly Billy could "spell out and defend his beliefs," Boris. He argues, and has argued for years, that government is essentially unnecessary, at all, and that every government undertaking could indeed be replaced by a private one and that the moral foundation of his anarchism is the freedom of individual persons.

Now, one need not agree with that to understand it or to recognize the arguments Beck has put forward in defense of it.

You always complain about Beck’s insults, but you often respond to him. And you do that because you figure that his singular interest and radical approach will leave your "moderate reasonableness" lingering in a good light. Well, it hasn’t worked out for you like that. It hasn’t because Beck is both a theorist — disagree with elements of his theory or not — and a whole person. You are not any kind of theorist and you are not a whole person. You are an intellectual poseur and a fragment of a person, which is why you elicit the responses from person after person after person that you do.

The things you write are not controversial; they’re just so pretentious and so frankly stupid that people react with fear for their country’s posterity when they realize that you are a tenured professor at an American university. That fact gives almost anyone with a sense of common sense more than a moment of pause.

For me, however, you are just the fractured Marxist egg spilling out its fouled yoke at a contamination center (state university) in the Northeast. If I paid taxes in that state you would be back working in the pizza parlor.
 
Written By: Martin McPhillips
URL: http://mcphillips.blogspot.com/
Keith;
That’s an incomplete answer
So is yours, to the point where a full answer from either one of us would have taken hours to craft, particularly given my wordy attempts to be exact in my meaning.

That said, your point is well taken, and no slight intended. You’re quite correct.

Thing is, to the degree that the various states represented the differences in the culture of the nation overall, the Federal government was limited in its nature so as to represent only those areas in which we were culturally unified. Even that answer, I fear, is but a glancing blow at it.

To hear Erb and his ilk describe it, you’d think that our greatness late in the lack of cultural definition. Maybe that’s the situation today, after a 60 or 70 years of Liberal domination, but that’s not the way used to be. Certainly, that’s not the way it was during our country’s greatest period of expansion and our greatest period of worldwide respect.

Erb:
Thanks for feeding my narcissism!
Since you appear to think yourself the center of the universe, the logical question is... Is there anything that does not?



 
Written By: Bithead
URL: http://bitsblog.florack.us
Thing is, to the degree that the various states represented the differences in the culture of the nation overall, the Federal government was limited in its nature so as to represent only those areas in which we were culturally unified. Even that answer, I fear, is but a glancing blow at it.
I think you’re really using the term "culture" in a vague, imprecise manner, and you’re not really clear on what this culture is — what core values do you think make up this culture?

However, for once I think you’re on to something. But it’s not just culture that makes and expansive federal government dangerous, it’s the nature of power. When power gets centralized and bureaucratized, it becomes not only less efficient, but also can be used to blatantly and sometimes banally do great harm and deny liberty. That’s why I’m not a Democrat, I don’t see the Democrats truly addressing this problem and recognizing the nature of the beast. Governments are the most harmful thing humans have created. Perhaps the best check isn’t to battle to control it — after all, whoever wins will suddenly find it convenient to use the power of government to their benefit. The best check is decentralization and getting the power of government closer to the people. That, of course, also allows consideration of cultural differences between states.

To hear Erb and his ilk describe it, you’d think that our greatness late in the lack of cultural definition. Maybe that’s the situation today, after a 60 or 70 years of Liberal domination, but that’s not the way used to be. Certainly, that’s not the way it was during our country’s greatest period of expansion and our greatest period of worldwide respect.
How did things "used to be." 60 or 70 years ago there were not only Chinatowns and Little Italys, but the Midwest was dotted with German, Swedish, and Scandinavian speaking communities, and in Maine there was a vibrant French community. I’d say it isn’t culture that made us great (and if so, please explain what exactly you mean — describe this culture) but common ideals that could cross culture. Belief in individual rights, personal responsibility for ones’ choices, a sense of community, and a love of freedom (I describe this in my blog on July 4, using an example of Laura Ingalls Wilder and her family). This things can cross cultural lines and in fact bring cultures together in a positive way — you can get food, music, and even holidays and customs from different places, but you share a belief in freedom.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
Boris Erb writes:
How did things "used to be." 60 or 70 years ago there were not only Chinatowns and Little Italys, but the Midwest was dotted with German, Swedish, and Scandinavian speaking communities, and in Maine there was a vibrant French community. I’d say it isn’t culture that made us great (and if so, please explain what exactly you mean — describe this culture) but common ideals that could cross culture. Belief in individual rights, personal responsibility for ones’ choices, a sense of community, and a love of freedom[.]
Things "used to be" that immigrants were quickly assimilated, in a generation or so, from their immigrant ghettos and assumed an American identity. That’s been discouraged and even reversed by the identity politics heralded by the Left since the 1970s. There was no encouragement of the divisive "multiculturalism" before that.

And American culture was *principally* religious and Christian as that merged with the political culture of individual rights (which you do not believe in, Erb) and the uniquely American concept of freedom that stems from it.

You specifically reject the very foundation of American rights in natural law and, for the religious, divine law, and do not even claim for yourself a right to your own life. You mouth platitudes about an America that you do not believe in, respect, or even want to belong to. So stop pretending that you do.

You have two things in your mind at all times: Anti-Americanism and socialism. Everything you think and say comes from and will eventually lead back to that.
 
Written By: Martin McPhillips
URL: http://mcphillips.blogspot.com/
Martin:

You beat me to it. Your answer is close enough to what I would have typed, that I think I’ll just not my head and leave it alone. Not that I think he’s going to understand what we’re trying to explain to him, here.
 
Written By: Bithead
URL: http://bitsblog.florack.us
Martin;

We both left something out, after all, something rather crucial to the conversation. Observe the smuggled pretext, as Bruce would call it:
but you share a belief in freedom.
Use of the word freedom demands an answer to that question "freedom from what?" The very context of "freedom", the answer to that question, is culturally driven. Without that shared culture context, all that would have been shared freedom is the word, not the meaning.

Thus do we find ourselves in yet another situation where the word is whatever the good professor says it is.
 
Written By: Bithead
URL: http://bitsblog.florack.us
Use of the word freedom demands an answer to that question "freedom from what?" The very context of "freedom", the answer to that question, is culturally driven. Without that shared culture context, all that would have been shared freedom is the word, not the meaning.

Thus do we find ourselves in yet another situation where the word is whatever the good professor says it is.
As opposed to what you say it is, or what say the "culture" (which you still don’t define) says it is? Freedom to me is exemplified in the constitution, individual rights/responsibilities, and belief in limited government. I doubt my basic ideal of freedom is that much different, except I’m more libertarian than you.

In terms of religion we’re catching up the enlightenment thinking of the founders. Most enlightenment thinkers were Deists. They believed there had to be a first mover (this was pre-modern physics) but logically realized that belief in a religious mythology doesn’t make sense. What kind of God would make salvation an accident of birth — if you’re born in the right place then you’re saved, if not, SOL. I think it’s a natural aspect of intellectual and cultural development that our old religious beliefs are being modernized, and past adherence to mythology will soon be on the ashheap of history.

Nonetheless I think people need to know about the religious traditions; I’m increasingly finding that young people have no clue about basic Christian stories and beliefs (let alone Muslim, Jewish, Hindu and Buddhist!) As we enter what is becoming a post-Christian era, we need to do like Europe did: rationalize our beliefs but recognize that our culture was, indeed, defined by Christian ideas. The West is essentially a secularized Christian culture. The faith itself has been lost by many (the US has more religious folk in Europe, but that’s changing quickly amongst young people). I’m planning to start up my own little Sunday school (mostly for my kids, but a few others are planning to participate) where kids learn about the Bible, Koran, teachings of the Buddha, read the holy books, learn to respect others who hold religious beliefs but understand that these were human efforts to comprehend spiritual issues we have questions about, but not answers — as the kids age, we’ll move into philosophy and science more. BTW, check out the new Rush album, Snakes and Arrows. Here’s some great lyrics. Here’s a taste:

I’ve got my own moral compass to steer by
A guiding star beats a spirit in the sky
And all the preaching voices -
Empty vessels of dreams so loud
As they move among the crowd
Fools and thieves are well disguised
In the temple and market place

Like a stone in the river
Against the floods of spring
I will quietly resist
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
Boris Erb quotes some juvenile rock lyrics:

I’ve got my own moral compass to steer by
A guiding star beats a spirit in the sky
And all the preaching voices -
Empty vessels of dreams so loud
As they move among the crowd
Fools and thieves are well disguised
In the temple and market place


That famous band Hitler, Mussolini, Mao and Stalin (later known as Adolph and the Exterminators) had their own moral compass to steer by, too, Boris. Too bad they could never find a record label.

Boris writes:
I’m planning to start up my own little Sunday school
Huh. It seems that even the small beer totalitarian-minded answer to an urge to take over the function of religion in societies or simply redefine existing religious institutions in the context of their political movements. Here, with Boris, we have only a totalitarian homunculus in action, but its an instructive germination of the madness of the breed.

See: "Sacred Causes" by Michael Burleigh. Highly recommended. Very highly recommended.
 
Written By: Martin McPhillips
URL: http://mcphillips.blogspot.com/
I’m planning to start up my own little Sunday school where kids learn...

...to be incapable of ever learning anything. I guess by the time they’re in college, it’s too late for you, there’s only so much you can do to them, eh?

A literal chill went up my spine when I read that. He’s a one-man endarkenment, an anti-Midas - every mind he touches turns to slag.
 
Written By: Kyle Bennett
URL: http://
...to be incapable of ever learning anything. I guess by the time they’re in college, it’s too late for you, there’s only so much you can do to them, eh?

A literal chill went up my spine when I read that. He’s a one-man endarkenment, an anti-Midas - every mind he touches turns to slag.
*evil laugh* Yes, I spread the dangerous "beware of governmental power" and "be responsible for your own choices in life" propaganda, urging young people to question authority, have confidence in themselves, and show initiative. The horror!
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
Boris Erb writes:
Yes, I spread the dangerous "beware of governmental power"
Your long record of making excuses for totalitarian regimes, Boris, puts the lie to any "beware of governmental power" pose on your part. God only knows where you come by the chutzpah to make that claim for yourself.

Indeed, the all-time classic is your saucer-eyed insistence that after 45 years of totalitarian Communist dictatorship that Castro is "still better than Batista!"

That’s almost certainly derived from the idea that the Bolsheviks, inclusive of Stalin, were "still better than the Tsar!"

Castro was most certainly better than Batista at holding onto power, executions, political imprisonment, and denying Cubans basic rights.
 
Written By: Martin McPhillips
URL: http://mcphillips.blogspot.com/
Freedom to me is exemplified in the constitution
Apparently you’ve not thought this through, very well. The values enumerated in the Constitution, already existed in the culture, else the Constitution would never have been ratified. And you grew up in that culture. So, assuming you’re telling the truth, it WOULD be.

But we know you, Erb. I mean spare me... and try that invocation of the constitution stuff with someone who hasn’t been wading through your sewer for years. As Martin says, your long record of making excuses for totalitarian regimes, Boris, puts the lie to any posing on the matters of freedom, the constitution, limited government or anything else.
What kind of God would make salvation an accident of birth — if you’re born in the right place then you’re saved, if not, SOL.
Perhaps you’ve forgotten the great commission? What about "All Nations" do you not understand? Or perhaps you’ve been ignorant of it, and so judging the religion? Are all your judgements this inaccurate?

I’m increasingly finding that young people have no clue about basic Christian stories
A laughable statement, given the flaw we’ve just seen in your thinking.


 
Written By: Bithead
URL: http://bitsblog.florack.us
Bithead, what on earth are you rambling about? The values in the constitution reflect European enlightenment values, very much informed by Deism. Deists and enlightenment thinkers noted that if you’re born in Cairo then you’re likely to be Muslim, in Paris Christian. God would have to be a real a**hole to damn one and save the other for that reason. That would obviously not be a loving god, and Deists like Jefferson rejected that. Christianity, like Islam, has led to irrational thought, massacres, and much evil, all because humans mistakenly think they have the one true faith. That kind of thinking is something I work very hard, and effectively, to counter. It works against the values of freedom and our constitution. Luckily, the culture is moving away from superstition, albeit too slowly.

And Bithead, I make NO excuses for authoritarian and totalitarian regimes. Whether Stalin, Castro, the Saudi Royal family or increasingly Chavez, those kinds of regime are evil, anti-liberty and a scourge on the planet. If you claim I believe otherwise, you are simply lying. But, of course, easier to create a fictional opponent you can argue against rather than actually responding to the views I present. But that wouldn’t fit into your left-right dichotomous world, would it, Bithead?
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
Boris Erb writes:
And Bithead, I make NO excuses for authoritarian and totalitarian regimes. Whether Stalin, Castro, the Saudi Royal family or increasingly Chavez, those kinds of regime are evil, anti-liberty and a scourge on the planet. If you claim I believe otherwise, you are simply lying.
Actually, Boris, you have a long-stated preference for Marxist totalitarian regimes over merely authoritarian regimes. Such as Castro better than Batista (clearly nonsense). Mao better than "that thug" Chiang (I don’t know, Boris, do you think that Chiang could have killed even a quarter of the people Mao killed?). Ho "surely would have been democratically elected" better than "that thug" Diem (And Vietnam, in your opinion, Boris, would have been a totalitarian Communist dictatorship in 2007 under Diem, or would it look more like South Korea and Japan today?). And so on.

As always your eelishness lets you slither back from these oft-stated views, even as you try to conflate authoritarian and totalitarian regimes in order to confuse the issue.

No, Boris, you are, as always, the liar here. According to you, you don’t really have a past (except as the manager of a pizza parlor and a Senate staffer), you just have "evolving" positions. Well, you’ve "evolved" all right. Now you have an entirely separate audience who gag in amazement at what numbnuts eel you are.
 
Written By: Martin McPhillips
URL: http://mcphillips.blogspot.com/
The statement you made, Scott, implied that at least you, if not the founders themselves, came to the rather odd conclusion:
What kind of God would make salvation an accident of birth — if you’re born in the right place then you’re saved, if not, SOL
Which is precisely why I bring up the Great Commission, of which you apparently know naught. You failed to mention the point in your reply... a usual tactic when you’ve been caught mouthing off on something you know nothing about. We’ve seen it before.

But, because I’m a nice guy, Scott, I’m going to give you a clue. The contents of that commission completely negates your objections. Indeed, it makes you out as either ignorant, or a liar. Neither one of which would be out of character with your stands on a number of issues.

To put this into figurative terms that you’ll be sure to understand: I suggest you tend that leak above your belt line... it looks like it might be dangerous, though I’m quite sure you’d not noticed it, yet.

As for the rest of it, Marten addresses the issue fairly well. Try this nonsense with somebody who hasn’t been reading you for quite some time. A simple search on your site, or on Usenet will provide ample proof of my read on the matter. Judging by my mail this morning, there’s a lot of folks who’ve already started doing their own reading on the matter..

And here’s the thing; it’s not just me saying this. Indeed, it’s just about everybody you’ve come in contact with on the net. Now, lord knows, I’ve had disagreements with people on the net. Even on this very site. But when even those people agree with my reading on you, there’s gotta be something to it.

That distinction... "On the net"... interests me just now; I wonder how your students, or for that matter your employer, would find the contents of those discussions, and how they would react to you in person, were they to know about this? I wonder, also, about this supposed lack of a past. I wonder if it isn’t just that you’d rather most people didn’t know about what your past is.

For all your attempts of projecting open mindedness, I somehow think your open mindedness does not extend quite so far as to even consider seriously, either happening.
 
Written By: Bithead
URL: http://bitsblog.florack.us
"What kind of God would make salvation an accident of birth — if you’re born in the right place then you’re saved, if not, SOL"

That is the first I have heard of a geographical qualification for salvation. What religion is that?

" you don’t really have a past (except as the manager of a pizza parlor and a Senate staffer),"

Or so he says. Has anyone actually checked?
 
Written By: timactual
URL: http://
Bithead, the "Great Commission" is irrelevant, most people will believe in the religion of their culture (that should be something you would expect) and thus in most cases religion is geographically determined. That is beyond dispute.

Of course a diety who would save someone who believed but not save a very good person who just happened not to buy into the story would not be a god of love. That kind of god would deserve contempt. As for the personal stuff that a few of you write (along side a lot of positive stuff from others) — I find it amusing. It’s sort of fun. I prefer the real engagement and give and take of ideas, but the way some of you go from the gut and attack personally, well, that’s entertainment. And, of course, I am posting publically and proudly with my name attached for anyone to see. I have done that for 1992 since I started posting in sci.skeptic, ironically arguing against hard core skeptics and atheists (atheists don’t like the fact I point out that they are taking a leap of faith as well). At times I got involved in flamewars I wouldn’t do now, and it took awhile to understand this mode of communication. But I have a longer net past than most of you, and I’m proud of that too. This is fun! (And I’m serious that I hold no grudges, neither in my ’real’ life or net life. On personality tests I’m way over to the perceiver side away from the judgmental side — I get surprised by, and think ’there but for the grace of I go I, some who hold long term personal grudges over internet flame wars. I can’t comprehend how one could do that. But you don’t strike me that way Bithead, I get the sense you’re just having fun. I respect that.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
I have a longer net past than most of you blah blah... I hold no grudges blah blah... I’m way over to the perceiver side blah blah... I get surprised by, and think ’there but for the grace of I go I, — Erb
LOL!!! Glad I swallowed before I read that. Oh it is priceless! And I know he means it just that way!
 
Written By: Linda Morgan
URL: http://
LOL!!! Glad I swallowed before I read that. Oh it is priceless! And I know he means it just that way!
Indeed, Linda, I like all of you. You make posting fun.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
Bithead, the "Great Commission" is irrelevant,
.

Which, of course, explains why you didn’t know about it. Had you known about it, he wouldn’t have made the geographical comment you made. In short, what about "all nations" do not understand? This is just one of many examples, I don’t mean to get up on religious soapbox year. But the point is that as usual, you clearly don’t know what you’re talking about.
But you don’t strike me that way Bithead, I get the sense you’re just having fun. I respect that.
Once again, you don’t know what you’re talking about. Not a bloody clue. Indeed, it appears you have an even read my comments in this thread.

If you scroll up, you may remember I said words to the effect that "One’s politics, I have always held, are the reflections of one’s most intrinsic values."

Now think about this for just a moment; How can I get involved with such a subject without taking it deadly seriously?

Tim:
Has anyone actually checked?
I don’t know, but I tend to doubt it. As I told Billy some time ago, and as I told Henke some time ago, and Willis more recently, it’s about the ideas.

Or, in Billy’s parlance, "this ain’t no disco".




 
Written By: Bithead
URL: http://bitsblog.florack.us
Bithead, what don’t you understand about the fact that geography does determine religion to a very large extent. I know theology, I went to a Christian college and have studied Christianity pretty in depth. But the reality is that if you’re born in Cairo, no matter how good a person you are, you are almost certain to be Muslim. And during the enlightenment when Deism of Jefferson’s sort was popular, Christianity was exclusive to Europeans. Sure, they send out missionaries, but the impact isn’t much — colonialism even saw "convert or die" be the theme for many, and massacres were rationalized in the name of Christianity. But geography does correlate to religion very much — that is a fact you can’t deny. Certainly saying that religion wants to spread and convert all over the world doesn’t deny it. Not in the tiniest bit.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
what don’t you understand about the fact that geography does determine religion to a very large extent


Oh, no. You’re not getting off that easily. Your implication was that salvation was limited to geography. Clearly, that implication was incorrect, your attempt to weasel out of your own words notwithstanding.

And here’s the thing; if this was the only example of your trying this trick, I’d probably have let it pass, unremarked.

(Shake of the head) Scott, lemme tell ya...one of the things that has become rather clear in this conversation is that I understand a great deal more than makes you feel comfortable.
 
Written By: Bithead
URL: http://bitsblog.florack.us
It’s not just me, enlightenment Deists made that argument: if you’re born in Cairo you would be a Muslim, if you’re born in Paris you’re Christian. It had been that way for centuries. Would a just and loving god have condemned all those from Cairo just because they were born there? Argue with Voltaire, it isn’t a new argument I’m making. For most people born in the world, they will have the religion of that region. That means that the religion of probably over 95% of the population of the planet is determined by geography.

But I’ve learned now that no matter how wrong you are, you never give in and are determined to have the last word (like in the Anwar thread where it was clear that you were completely wrong yet you could not bring yourself to admit it) — apparently you think you "win" if you refuse to admit being wrong and can outlast the other person using insults as a way to hide from reality. That is the kind of thing I work against every day, you inspire me!

So go ahead, have the last word, try to pretend that religion isn’t almost always determined by geography.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
It’s not just me, enlightenment Deists made that argument: if you’re born in Cairo you would be a Muslim, if you’re born in Paris you’re Christian.
That you happen to agree with them, in your ignorance, doesn’t make either you, nor they, any less wrong on that point, does it?
..

But I’ve learned now that no matter how wrong you are, you never give in..
True to form, Scott tries projection. This one, we have seen before, as well. It didn’t work this time, either.

Salvation, you stated, was dependent on geography. I have pointed out to you, from within the most foundational of commands from within that religion that what you’re saying is decidedly untrue.

You are demonstrated to have made an incorrect statement. At what point do you ’give in’ and admit you were and are WRONG on this point?

Mind you, this particular point of itself is not tremendously important to the conversation, it is, however, emblematic of the kind of nonsense you’ve been pulling for a decade, now.

 
Written By: Bithead
URL: http://bitsblog.florack.us
Boris Erb writes:
It’s not just me, enlightenment Deists made that argument: if you’re born in Cairo you would be a Muslim, if you’re born in Paris you’re Christian.
Oh?

"It’s not just me!" Well, Boris, it is just you.

One of the oldest Christian Churchs, the Coptic Christian Church, is alive and well in Egypt.

Christianity is alive and well in China and India. It’s booming in Africa. In fact, Boris, Christianity is the fastest growing religion in the world.

So, as usual, you’re wrong. It’s not about geography.

You don’t see a lot of conversions from Islam to Christianity, why? Because the punishment for converting from Islam is death. That’s not geography, you punk.
 
Written By: Martin McPhillips
URL: http://mcphillips.blogspot.com/

 
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