« Paul's Apologetic Strategy | Main | Was Jesus Misquoted? »

September 29, 2006

Comments

Here’s the difference: Pundits, the media, and the ACLU-types know the Kerry and the rest really don’t mean it when they talk about their faith—it’s just politics. The “Religious Right,” however, mean it. This is what they can’t abide.

Perhaps you all will now understand one reason for the hostility the religious right brings down on itself. Note that the first post attacks the faith of those on the left. Now that isn't all of you, of course, but it's all too typical.

"Most on the "religious right" many hold their values because of their faith but attempt to lobby for them in the public square with public policy arguments."

This is a howler - would some care to point out a serious public policy argument, please. For example, I have yet to see a serious public policy argument on criminalizing first trimester abortion, Plan "B", torture, optional war or same sex marriage that seriously considers the interests of the individual balanced with the interests of the state.

The main problem is that there are few serious public policy arguments on the right, conservatives in general having long ago substituted ideological cant for serious policy analysis.

Also it would be useful for folks on the Christian right to apologise for lying or passing on the lies of the Schaivo fiasco. Also why do those of you who acted in good faith on Schaivo continue to have anything to do with the liars?

Oh, and where were the conservative Christians when the Congress and Administration shamed the nation this week?

And, of course, sites of interest:

http://faithfuldemocrats.com/

http://faithfulprogressive.blogspot.com/

http://thecatholicalliance.org/new/

Oh, and it seems to me that a good Christian could get behind this: "Treat them with humanity, and let them have no reason to complain of our copying the brutal example of the British army in their treatment of our unfortunate brethren” Gen. George Washington.

And shouldn't our good Christian be troubled by this:

VICE PRES. CHENEY: "We also have to work, though, sort of the dark side, if you will. We've got to spend time in the shadows in the intelligence world. ... A lot of what needs to be done here will have to be done quietly, without any discussion, using sources and methods that are available to our intelligence agencies, if we're going to be successful. That's the world these folks operate in, and so it's going to be vital for us to use any means at our disposal, basically, to achieve our objective... Oh, I think so. I think the--one of the by-products, if you will, of this tragic set of circumstances is that we'll see a very thorough sort of reassessment of how we operate and the kinds of people we deal with. There's--if you're going to deal only with sort of officially approved, certified good guys, you're not going to find out what the bad guys are doing. You need to be able to penetrate these organizations. You need to have on the payroll some very unsavory characters if, in fact, you're going to be able to learn all that needs to be learned in order to forestall these kinds of activities. It is a mean, nasty, dangerous dirty business out there, and we have to operate in that arena. I'm convinced we can do it; we can do it successfully. But we need to make certain that we have not tied the hands, if you will, of our intelligence communities in terms of accomplishing their mission."

http://www.whitehouse.gov/vicepresident/news-speeches/speeches/vp20010916.html

"David Hackett Fischer, author of Washington’s Crossing, writes that George Washington “often reminded his men that they were an army of liberty and freedom, and that the rights of humanity for which they were fighting should extend even to their enemies.”

http://irregulartimes.com/index.php/archives/2005/03/10/washington-and-bush-on-torture/

I agree with Melinda, because she has the right point of view and Alan the wrong one, objectively speaking.

The popular liberal politicians are interested only in power, not people. Thier hypocrisy is increasingly apparrent, and as I have mentioned before, if they do not take either the house or the senate this year, you will see liberals (not likely the political leaders, they will be behind the scenes hiding and orchestrating) resorting to violence in this country. You heard it here first!

PS Let us all be grateful for the legislation passed this week. It is good to know that deliberate murderers and plotters of the demise of innocents can be held until a time seen fit by our government. It is about time!

Alan:"Oh, and it seems to me that a good Christian could get behind this: "Treat them with humanity, and let them have no reason to complain of our copying the brutal example of the British army in their treatment of our unfortunate brethren” Gen. George Washington.

Alan, that is predictable that you would find moral equivalency between the British monarchy/Continental Army and terrorists.

King George imposed taxes without representation, illegal search and seizure etc. Islamo terorists slowly saw off heads, rape young teenage girls, flog for indecency,
and take ejaculatory delight in knowing that innocent people will have thier body parts exploded into fragments in a blood path specially prepared for Allah, who of course takes great delight in the same and commands it, with the reward of more young virgins, who have no more rights in thier heaven than they did thier hell on earth.

Alan, I think you ought to consider your rage against Christians and others that disagree with you, and consider whether you want that to mark your humanity, before it is irreversible.

Alan, I may be reading the VP wrong, but he seems to be advocating the same type of procedures to find terrorists that domestic law enforcement uses to infiltrate the mob, drug cartels and groups like the Aryian Brotherhood. Sometimes, you give a low-level street soldier for the John Gotti-s of this world a "Get out of jail card" so you can get to the big boys. There is nothing in his statement (as you quoted it) to indicate anything illegal or immoral. Now, based on your presuppositions, you see bad stuf there, but you're biased. I doubt the VP or Pres could say anything without you first assuming they are wrong/ lying until proven otherwise.

As for you statement that, "I have yet to see a serious public policy argument on criminalizing first trimester abortion, Plan "B", torture, optional war or same sex marriage that seriously considers the interests of the individual balanced with the interests of the state," I can only assume that you don't watch much C-Span. As one example, a number of weeks ago, Sen.s Brownback & Coburn discussed the issue of ESCR to the senate before their voting on a particular bill (can't remember which one) which was an excellent example of what you say they don't do. Also, Greg and Melinda regularly, on the issue of same-sex marriage, do the same. They consider the rights of the individual and those of the state. They come to a different conclusion than you, but that doesn't mean they don't consider it.

IT seems to me that this has gotten off topic.

The issues themselves were not the topic of Melinda's post. The disparity of how the left treats those who speak with a religious motivation on the two sides, is.

Additionally, there seems to be so much polarization going on that sometimes I think the left and the right can't come together in the middle of a topic because they don't want to be labeled as "becoming more like them"

There is no growth at all where compromise is impossible.

Sometimes I have seen "the right" be against a proposal that could reduce abortions, but then speak against it because it's rhetoric isn't strong enough against it. To me it is like saving no one from a burning building because you can not save them all.

All in all, the nature of the discourse has to change drastically from both sides. I believe there is more than enough sincerity on either side without having to scream malevolance all the time. I doubt those who thing this way in perpetuity.

Finally, my own thoughts on something. I am a little worried by people that think that "dubya" should have a blank check on what he does regarding the war on terror. Even if at this exact moment his cause is benevolent, granting too much power without reasonable oversight is dangerous. It could lead to major infringement of our rights. That more people on the right side of the aisle (where I live and breath, really) are not even slightly worried about this bothers me. This is speaking more on his policy of wiretapping and the like.

We need not be conspiracy headed monsters to say that we are concerned. There is reason for us to be wary. Anything less would be irresponsible citizenship.

"We now continue with our regularly scheduled programming"

"Finally, my own thoughts on something. I am a little worried by people that think that "dubya" should have a blank check on what he does regarding the war on terror."

I agree. I also think that regardless of our loyalties to parties, etc., we ought to refer to elected officials by thier duly elected titles. Hence, President Bush, Vice President Cheney, Senator Kennedy, etc.

I agree. I also think that regardless of our loyalties to parties, etc., we ought to refer to elected officials by thier duly elected titles. Hence, President Bush, Vice President Cheney, Senator Kennedy, etc.

Perhaps you are right, however, that is a triviality.

I voted for George BUsh in the last election that continued his Presidency, and I have no regret for this, so this isn't a "dig" at him. Perhaps I am a bit informal at times, which is often my nature.

"The Catechizer" - I disagree, and even a cursory reading will find many counterexamples to your claim (that liberals don't really believe their faith but conservatives do). Counterexamples, I might add, in both directions.

alan - I find your reading of conservatives and our causes to be highly partisan and unfair, to say nothing of selective and unsupported. Your posts are poorly equipped to persuade, and since you're posting on a site with which you disagree, I think a more ambassadorial approach would be more effective for everyone concerned. I do agree with your condemnation of strawman, false stereotyping, and ad hominem arguments.

Joseph - *great* post. The problem you're complaining of I call "partisanship". I agree that it's deadly in all of its manifestations, on both right and left. Of particular interest is the fact that partisanship breeds more partisanship, so that when Democrats accuse Bush of being just short of baby-eating, otherwise reasonable people start defending Bush just because they hate such an obviously false accusation. (And yes, I saw that accusation just yesterday.)

Patrick, the British were executing wounded Continental soldiers and practiced torture.

Re: policy - I asked for examples and so far have received none - links folks, links.

Robert, I used the whole quote for Cheney. It is clear from his active and persistent lobbying against prohibitions on torture that he meant more than your suggestion. It is as if Roosevelt had not only joined with Stalin in fighting Hitler but had adopted Stalin's governing methods.


William, I can't write a book; that is why I try to add as many links as I can so you all can investigate on your own. The posts are often so detached from reality that I find it dificult to know where to begin. If you want to understand the left - religious and secular - go read the left. Don't get your information from the right.

Joseph's point is a good one. Most folks on the left will agree that less abortions are better than more. Instead of using this as common ground to make good public policy, we too often get a rigid ideological stand.

There is a huge record out there from O'Neil's book to the coming Woodward book (this Monday). Check it out.

More later, got to go say hello to Al Gore.

"Most on the "religious right" many hold their values because of their faith but attempt to lobby for them in the public square with public policy arguments."

William, what do I do with this assertion? Where are the examples? You criticize me for my arguments but how do I argue with this generality except to point out what has become obvious to all in the public policy arena; conservatives, secular and religious aren't very good at policy.
Give me something to work with.

Another matter is the general tone of Melinda's post. "Squawk", "rant", and a generally combative tone along with mixing apples with oranges. Read Kerry's speech. Most everyone will agree with those points in a general manner. He offers no policy recomendations in his numbered list and only the vaguest in the balance of the speech.

Put the agenda of the Christian right in the same general terms and your won't get many objections. The problem is that the Christian right does bad policy. For example if Kerry took his point 9. "When should our nation use, or avoid the use of, military force -- for what purpose, under what authority, and at what human cost?" and came up with a policy that we should never use force even to defend the nation from attack or, on the other hand, advocate an agressive use of force based on the "one percent" rule. Well I suppose that he would get quite a bit of negative feedback - just like Christian conservatives get when they advance really bad policy.

I am sure that when Patrick reads Kerry's rough policy reccomendations on abortion and his analysis on the Iraq war he, as well as others will have serious problems with them.

The Christian right translates its values into policies that, in the opinion of many, would make us less free, poorer, dumber and endanger the Republic by afflicting her with rulers who are sociopaths.

Joseph, your learning curve on GWB is about to accelerate.

The links I provided have many other links. Here is another good blog list (list towards the end of the post): http://delong.typepad.com/sdj/2006/09/why_oh_why_cant_25.html

I would hope at least some of you would start reading liberal religious and non-religious blogs instead of settling for filtered information.

Why is there criticism of conversatives regarding separation of church & state but not for liberals, even when the liberals camp out in black churches just before elections? Two reasons:

1. When Hillary & Co. throw out Jesus' name it is pretty obvious they aren't taking it seriously and that their views don't square with Christianity (partial birth abortion, anyone?).

2. It is a cheap, shrill debating ploy that the liberals use to silence their opposition. Sadly, it often works. Many middle ground people buy into the sound bites because no one has pointed out to them the absurdity of not letting one's religous beliefs inform their political views.

BTW, here's the "values" you are really voting for (note that the Republican leadership knew about Foley months ago at least).

Things like this are typical of these guys.

http://www.washingtonmonthly.com/archives/individual/2006_09/009595.php

IT'S NOT THE CRIME, IT'S THE....Our story so far: Republican congressman Mark Foley has resigned after a 16-year-old former House page complained that he had received repeated emails from Foley that he described as "sick sick sick sick sick....." You can see Foley's emails here, and the New York Times reports that there were more:

By Friday, other pages had come forward with more blatant instant messages. “What ya wearing?” Mr. Foley wrote to one, according to the network. “Tshirt and shorts,” the teenager responded. “Love to slip them off of you,” Mr. Foley replied.

This is bad enough. But Foley resigned very abruptly after the emails came to light, and it turns out this was probably because the Republican House leadership had known about Foley's behavior for some time and had simply been hoping nobody would find out about it. The Republican chairman of the House Page Board learned of Foley's behavior last year and House Majority leader John Boehner learned of it sometime this spring.

And how about Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert? As Brad DeLong points out, Boehner's story has gone from "we told Hastert and he said he was taking care of it" to "I don't remember if I talked to Hastert" to "I never told Hastert a thing about this and if you say otherwise it's a scurrilous lie." Hastert's office may have known about this, but not Hastert.

Sure. Of course. Hastert's office. And the lone Democrat on the House Page Board? He wasn't told about this. And Foley? As a member in good standing of the law-and-order party, he just went on his merry way after some no-doubt stern counseling from....someone.

So: what did Boehner and Hastert know, and when did they know it? Somehow it always comes back to that same question, doesn't it?

Alan,

Your reasoning is amazingly weak but what makes it a harder read is that they're always sooooo long. (Which I always find is evidence of disorganized thinking).

By the way I agree wholeheartedly with The Catechizer statement at the beginning of this thread "Pundits, the media, and the ACLU-types know that Kerry and the rest really don’t mean it when they talk about their faith" and what one does not believe (despite of what one professes) does not drive one's actions.

Hi Santos, sigh, I can't please everyone, or anyone, I guess. I suppose it would be too much to expect you point out just where my reasoning is weak; it might help me.

Also you seem to believe that you are able to judge the faith of those you neither know nor have never even met. What sort of "strong" reasoning do you use when you make those judgements?

Melinda is accurate in pointing out that there is a double standard here. In Nov. 2004, the "value voters" who re-elected Bush was the big news story. The Democrats immediately responded that they have their own Judeo-Christian values like taking care of the poor (which they then legislate, forcing their values on people).

My response is simply: "Of course I agree that we should take care of the poor, but I don't want to force my values on anyone. I believe in the individual's right to choose."

Depending on how we define "values" I'm sick of both sides legislating them. Government exists and wields the power of a legal monopoly on coercive force for only one legitimate purpose: to prevent the initiation of coercive force, which violates the lives, liberties, and properties of its victims.

I am certainly tired of all this "values" legislation goin on out there. But they started it. I mean, the Left. We simply need to undo what has been perpatrated. I have been listening to an interview with Patrick Hynes who wrote, In Defense of the Christian Right, where he mentions the growing numbers of Christian conservatives, 6 million since the 1970s. He describes this as a kind of backlash against the Left's assault on American culture. Hey, count me in.

Alan, if your world view is true, then what Foley did is neither right nore wrong - it just is. That is the secular humanism you espouse. And your comments about conservative policies producing dumber, poorer etc just does not line up with real facts, only your link addicted liberal loving filter sees it that way.
Our nation richer, better educated and prosperous than ever along nearly all ethnic lines.

Also, you continue to draw moral equivalency between our policy and the ones that the Islamists espouse . That is almost enough to ruin your credibility. But you seem likeable enough!

Patrick, what is your opinion of Republican Foley's hitting on teenage male pages and what is your opinion of the House Republican leadership covering it up for almost a year? Does this tell you anything about their general character?

My reference to poorer and dumber is what will happen should the policies your side advocates be implimented. As it is, poverty is up over the past few years and there is a growing gap in income distribution. Sadly, you have already done your part in afflicting us with the sociopaths.

You are, of course, free to ignore the links I provide. They will still be there when you tire of being lied to.

Your last paragraph puzzles me. I hear they hate our freedom. We now have limited our rights and instituted arbitrary detention and torture.

As I am a liberal who reveres our Constitution, I haven't a clue as to why the Bush Administration and the Republican Congress have decided to adopt some of the policies of the socially conservative Islamists to which you refer; all I know is that they have.

As you seem to be a social conservative yourself and part of the forty percent of Americans who seem to value life over liberty, perhaps you can give me some insights into all this.

Patrick, just came across a couple of the dreaded links - this time on "dumber".

http://scienceblogs.com/evolvingthoughts/2006/09/teaching_science_in_an_antisci.php

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/09/29/AR2006092901628.html

Alan"Patrick, what is your opinion of Republican Foley's hitting on teenage male pages and what is your opinion of the House Republican leadership covering it up for almost a year? Does this tell you anything about their general character?"

Two things. There is no evidence at all that the Republican leadership covered it up. If they did, each should step down. This, of course would be very unlike Gerry Studds in MA who stayed in office another 14 years despite his man boy love affair. Don't even get me started on Barney Frank. But there will always be a double standard, one for liberals (no consequence) and one conservatives who ALWAYS set the moral standard by taking the high road even to the point of thier political ruination. Good riddance to Mr. Foley - he needs more than Alcohol rehab.

And thanks ( a third time) for drawing moral equivalency between the present admin and terrorists. I am ashamed of you, and I hardly know you! If you lived near enough, I would meet you for lunch and make you buy!!!

I will try to read your links, but what if I disagree? What if I offer contrary evidence? I just fear that you dismiss it a priori and do not quite trust you enough to invest the time. Promise to be nice!?!


Patrick, it looks like a slam dunk for the Republican leadership knowing for quite a while. Seems like pages were warned about him for several years. A good place to start - scroll down:

http://www.talkingpointsmemo.com/

We really shouldn't mix apples and oranges here. Franks' case was with an adult and the sex lives of many of our representatives of both parties and orientations is problematic.

Studds (D, Mass.) and Crane (R, Ill.) were both censured in the early 1980s. Both involved 17 year old pages - a male with Studds in 1973 and a female with Crane in 1980. Both stood for re-election and Studds was re-elected and Crane defeated. Studds, being gay, was single and Crane was married with six kids. Crane was 44 at the time of the affair and Studds was 36.

Foley is 52 and sent rather explicit and unwelcome e-mails to a number of pages over a period of time. My gut feeling is that Foley's actions are wrong in a far more serious way than the others.

I have to commend you for pointing out that I am comparing the Administration to our enemies and not the country as a whole. With all of our faults and problems the United States is one of the best things to happen to the world. It is the high expectations that America engenders from its citizens as well as much of the rest of the world that makes our present situation so distressing.

Read the links I gave you as well as others you will find and check things out. That we are ruled by fools, thugs and crooks is becoming all too evident.

A note on "values": It seems reasonable that one would check on the fruits of ones voting patterns from time to time. If, in doing so, one discovered out of control debt, unparalled corruption, forced abortion and prostitution, two lost wars, neglected homeland security and a foreign policy designed to gain us international scorn and more numerous and dedicated enemies then perhaps one should take a good look at how one orders ones values.

Given our current situation you would do well not to be seen with the likes of me. No doubt, my kind will soon be taken on very long "vacations" to Cuba.

One more fruit of you all voting your "values".

http://www.dailykos.com/story/2006/10/2/183139/861

And another:

http://www.nytimes.com/2006/10/02/washington/03ricecnd.html?ex=1317441600&en=5b2729634605a9e1&ei=5090&partner=rssuserland&emc=rss

I'll stop for a while, you all sleep well.

"If you want to understand the left - religious and secular - go read the left."

For what it is worth, I have read the left or what has been posted at what I presume to be "left" oriented sites - DemocraticUnderground.org, Moveon, Daily Kos, etc.

Much of what I read at those sites (maybe I picked the wrong ones) makes it nearly impossible for me to understand the left. There appear to be a large number of unhappy people posting there, many of whom seem to take great joy in bashing the "religious right" just because they can.

BTW, I believe that is is DemocraticUnderground.org whose rules of use state that you are not welcome to post anything there if you think GWB is doing a good job. If you do, you will be banned. That's what I call open minded.

Note to Alan:
FYI, I will never read anything by the NYT - they are deliberate deceivers, hypocrites, whose ideology dictates thier front page. I think anyone that takes that paper seriously has sold thier soul for purposes of attacking thier opponents.

By the way Alan, you continue to condemn Christians for voting thier conscience. How would you have us vote? Furthermore, if Christianity is true, then it is the bets guide in everything. If radical Islam is true (i.e. represents how God really is and what his revelation truly is) then we should pursue thier course and top condemning thier killing. If your view of God is true, then we should do things the way you suggest. So you must either demonstrate where Chrisitianity errs, or where someone like me errs in understanding Christianity. The only truth that you seem to allow for is the one the government mandates as long it comports with your view of how things should be. Pluralism and relativism are self refuting and should be the basis for nothing. I understand you to be both a pluralist and relativist, in which case, there is no right way to really do anything - only the use of raw power to get what you prefer. So there is no right and wrong just power.

Patrick

Here you go Alan. I know thhat you are fond of links. This one details the Barney Franks and Jerry Studds sexual debacles in the eighties, as well as Clinton rushing to pardon a child molester. And of course, the rank hypocrisy that attends liberalism, as it now seems apparent that some Democrats had wind of this way back last November. Now I ask you, did you demand the resignation of Gerry Studds in the eighties, and condemn Bill Clinton (no stranger to sexual misconduct himself, mind you) and do you call for the resignation of Democrats if they knew about the Foley issue some time ago, and waited for a more politically expedient opportunity to exploit yet another young person for political gain?
http://news.yahoo.com/s/ibd/20061002/bs_ibd_ibd/2006102issues01
Patrick

This seems to have drifted pretty badly. I hereby restate my agreement with Melinda's original post.

1. alan, you're being too demanding when you insist that unless the right advances a public policy argument that persuades you, they haven't advanced any at all. The fact is that we advance MANY public policy arguments. You don't agree with them or don't think they hit the point -- but we do advance them, and we do so because we honestly believe them.

2. You accuse us of systematically bad policy. Um... That's called "partisanship", when you imagine that the Other Side has all bad policy just because they're the other side.

The problem with Democratic policy right now is that there is almost NONE. They promise a chicken in every pot and peace all round the world; but we've seen those promises before, and neither details nor even any reasonable compromise between the Democratic factions are present. Didn't Kerry claim that if he'd been president the whole Israel-Hibollah thing wouldn't have happened? He didn't provide any explanation of how he'd have prevented it; he just made the claim.

3. The Foley thing is BAD. But it's not as bad as your people want it to sound. Foley's leadership was APPARENTLY informed about a set of relatively innocuous emails, NOT the nasty and illegal instant messages (I'm only stating what we know -- they MAY have actually known more than that, but no evidence or even supportable allegations have come out yet). They might not have gone far enough in investigating it; obviously Foley had something to hide and their system FAILED to find it.

"Note to Alan:
FYI, I will never read anything by the NYT - they are deliberate deceivers, hypocrites, whose ideology dictates thier front page. I think anyone that takes that paper seriously has sold thier soul for purposes of attacking thier opponents."

Umm, ah, er Patrick, are you aware that the sloppy standards of the NYT are part of the reason we are involved in the mess in Iraq. Google Judith Miller. The same NYT went with the bogus Whitewater stories in the mid 1990s and they went along with the lying memes bashing Al Gore. You seem to have read somewhere that the NYT is "liberal" and believed it with no evidence. The NYT has its problems but it still, along with the WP and the WSJ, necessary reading.

John, I don't read Democratic Underground; I wouldn't rank it as a "must read". I checked it out and found no indication that they wouldn;t post diagreeing comments - help me out. Kos is good and Eschaton, Political Animal, Talking Points Memo, Brad Delong's Semi Daily Journal, Angry Bear, Mark Kleiman, Firedoglake, Hullabaloo, Ezra Klein and Matthew Yglesias will give you a better sense of the center-left.

Thoughtless bashing of the religious right is wrong as is the thoughtless bashing of the left that makes up much of the right's message. The anger at the RR is due to the fruits of your voting habits.

And John, if two lost wars, tens of thousands of needless dead and wounded, hundreds of billions of wasted dollars, unparalled corruption, slave labor, forced abortions and prostitution, general incompetence and trashing the Constitution don't make you unhappy, what will? The folks you read on the left are unhappy because our nation and its values are being trashed.

Patrick, I have no problem with Christians or anyone else voting their conscience. However it is good to reflect on things every once in a while. As we have two alchoholics at the head of our government, perhaps I should put it this way. It really helps to take a fearless moral inventory from time to time. That is all I am asking you to do. You have certain priorities. Has voting those priorities made a better nation and world? Have your priorities elected good people? Have their actions shown them to be honest and competent?

And you need to read things closely. The IBD "article" is an opinion piece designed to cloud the issue at hand. if you read it closely, "We have a lot more questions about this whole affair. The timing of the revelations, as we noted, couldn't be more propitious for the Democrats. Turns out both the Democrats and several newspapers seem to have known about Foley's problem as far back as November, according to research by several enterprising blogs." The piece has several links but done for this paragraph. Why? What blogs? For a charge of this nature, you will usually have rumors. Honest people don't go with rumors, they check them out. The FBI had some e-mails in July.

The rest of it is a red herring. Foley resigned because he appears to be a serial stalker of teenage boys using the internet. I find the persistent preference for a narrow age group to be disturbing and using the internet to do this is illegal if the target is under 18.

Back in 1983, Republican Crane and Democrat Studds were judged by their peers and the voters. I would have no problem voting for either one if I found their performance as congressmen satisfactory. Clinton was a fool but Monica was in her 20s, so who cares?

Learn to differentiate between news and opinion. The news sections of IBD and the WSJ are quite good. Their opinion sections are mostly partisan and ideological hackery.

I think Alan is Tony Montano with a different name. He changed it because people got tired of wasting their time with him. Just a theory...


"This seems to have drifted pretty badly. I hereby restate my agreement with Melinda's original post."

And I will restate my point: Melinda confuses values and policy. Few would disagree with your basic values and few would disagree with Kerry's.

To untangle things a little;

1. The right as a general rule does bad policy. The Medicare Drug Bill and the Afghanistan and Irag wars are three of many examples. I did not expect this and the same is true for many others on the left. There is something basic in conservatism, neo-conservatism and the Republican Party that is good at messaging and winning elections but very bad at governing.

2. The assertion of the Christian right that they are attacked for their values is wrong. They are attacked when they attempt to implement those values because the policies chosen are usually destructive of the nation's basic values as well as often being counterproductive of those basic values.

If you want to seriously discuss this I need some examples.

"1. alan, you're being too demanding when you insist that unless the right advances a public policy argument that persuades you, they haven't advanced any at all. The fact is that we advance MANY public policy arguments. You don't agree with them or don't think they hit the point -- but we do advance them, and we do so because we honestly believe them."

Then give me some examples. Grrrr. If there are "MANY" give me one. Melinda claimed "Most on the "religious right" many hold their values because of their faith but attempt to lobby for them in the public square with public policy arguments." EXAMPLES, please.


"2. You accuse us of systematically bad policy. Um... That's called "partisanship", when you imagine that the Other Side has all bad policy just because they're the other side."

No bad policy is bad policy and I had plenty of problems with Clinton Administration policy from time to time but you folks control things now and with the exception of AIDS policy in Africa things are uniformly bad.

"The problem with Democratic policy right now is that there is almost NONE. They promise a chicken in every pot and peace all round the world; but we've seen those promises before, and neither details nor even any reasonable compromise between the Democratic factions are present. Didn't Kerry claim that if he'd been president the whole Israel-Hibollah thing wouldn't have happened? He didn't provide any explanation of how he'd have prevented it; he just made the claim."

Kerry was quoted in an interview during a campaign stop in Michigan. This has nothing to do with policy. If you look you will see plenty of democratic policy. The "where are the Democrats" meme is a creation of right picked up by a cowed and lazy media.

That the Dems need to do better is a regular theme on the left, with which i agree. That having been said, am I to understand that you believe bad policy to be better than no policy?"


"3. The Foley thing is BAD. But it's not as bad as your people want it to sound. Foley's leadership was APPARENTLY informed about a set of relatively innocuous emails, NOT the nasty and illegal instant messages (I'm only stating what we know -- they MAY have actually known more than that, but no evidence or even supportable allegations have come out yet). They might not have gone far enough in investigating it; obviously Foley had something to hide and their system FAILED to find it."

William, we know a lot more now. First of all, the e-mails aren't "innocuous". To anyone familiar with the m/o's of sexual preditors, they are a red flag, with bells ringing and sirens going off. The IMs are simply gross. It also turns out that pages have been warned informally about Foley for several years. Why would a Republican Party leadership that turned a blind eye to slave labor, forced abortion and forced prostitution be concerned about a few teenaged boys?

I am all for Christians on the left and right of the political spectrum thinking clearly about their values and participating in the political process in support of those values. I believe Melinda's point, that there does exist a double standard on the part of some that object to the the right's participation, while applauding the left activity, is accurate. Jimmy Cater is a good example, documented by his book "Our Endangered Values".

Alan is right, that if you really want to know what the religious left believes read what they say. You also have to watch what they do.

Unfortunately Alan belongs to the secular left, agnostic if not atheist. He considerers himself a utilitarian. I expect that he belives that man is the measure of all things. As a Christian who has and does read the left (now in moderation), who in fact was part of the secular left for many years, I see no ultimate solutions there. Mostly I see tyranny. I should add that the secular right runs the same risk.

Alan: As we have two alchoholics at the head of our government, perhaps I should put it this way.

Nice Alan. Real Nice. I rest my case

Patrick

"I believe Melinda's point, that there does exist a double standard on the part of some that object to the the right's participation, while applauding the left activity, is accurate."

Will everyone please note that I have yet to get any concrete examples of conservative Christian public policy arguement. All I get is generalized boilerplate. You are free to participate and I am free to object to the miserable quality of that participation. You are welcome to dazzle us with some actual public policy analysis on an issue - any issue.

"I see no ultimate solutions there. Mostly I see tyranny. I should add that the secular right runs the same risk."

If the left is tyranny and the secular right is tyranny then why not stop supporting the secular right?

Patrick, this is (or should be) a real concern. Both men are alcholics and as things fall apart the pressure has to be terrible.
Recall the fears with Nixon as things fell apart and he starting drinking way too much. We know that Cheney is drinking too much and Bush is looking and sounding shakey. Denial is a key part of the addict/codependent relationship and Woodward's new book got me thinking. To my knowledge neither man has ever done the steps.

Do you think it would be a bad thing for voters to take an inventory every once in a while?

An interesting blog:

http://acepilots.com/mt/2006/10/02/why-i-am-voting-democratic-in-2006/

Alan"Patrick, this is (or should be) a real concern. Both men are alcholics and as things fall apart the pressure has to be terrible."

Please. You have no authority on this issue at all, and you doubt the power of God, if you belive he exists at all. It is a cruel shot across the bow. You demand from conservatives a moral inventory. Not only that, you demand policy arguements, yet you dismiss each one offered with liberal link power.It is time for your own moral inventory. But how can you even suggest a moral inventory as a relativist and pluralilst. It is impossible on your world view to do such a thing. What you mean is an inventory of how well President Bush acquieces to the malaise of liberalism, and he will never concedde to that, not would any sensible conservative.

Alan: "Recall the fears with Nixon as things fell apart and he starting drinking way too much. We know that Cheney is drinking too much and Bush is looking and sounding shakey. Denial is a key part of the addict/codependent relationship and Woodward's new book got me thinking. To my knowledge neither man has ever done the steps."

You know nothing of Cheney's drinking habits, and it is typical of someone like you to focus on the negative, forgetting altogether the higher power that supplies President Bush et all with all he needs to fight on. It is typical of a pure physicalist such as yourself to doubt the will and dignity of man and reduce them to purely chemical states. In your voice I hear a self satisfied smugness that is reprehensible. How dare you exploit such a thing. You do realize of course, with your expertise in the area, that probably 3/4 of the elected people struggle or have struggled with addiction of some form. If I were to raise that with respect to a liberal you would freak.

"Do you think it would be a bad thing for voters to take an inventory every once in a while?"

Again, until you have abandoned your relativism and pluralism, or demonstrate why it is relevant, you have no standing.

Now go to your room and do not come out until you can be nice, dang it!
Patrick

Alan said "If the left is tyranny and the secular right is tyranny then why not stop supporting the secular right?"

I didn't say that the secular left is tyranny, I implied that I could see tyranny in its future as I can see it in the secular right. I do not take any specific position of political support in this thread. Though as a matter of fact, I don't believe that secularity will provide us with any values worthy of support!

Of course this thread didn't start out about public policy or the secular,
so back to the Christians.

On topic, I gave a specific example of Carter's double standard in his book. If you have not read it, you should. Alan would (unfortunately)like it. I think that you should be able to recognise that Carter objects to "fundamentalists" participation in the political process while giving himself a pass.

As Alan says, to know what the Christian left thinks, you should read their work. I would recommend that all Christians read Carter's book (it goes quick)but borrow it from the Library, don't buy it. Then for contrast, read Chuck Colson's "Being the Body".

William, can you give me the pages of Carter's book?

Now the claim seems to be "What these dissenters don't like are the values being lobbied for." I claim that that is largely not the case.

Most who find fault with the christian right have no problem with the values but the manner in which they are inflicted upon us; i.e. bad policy.

Another factor - and what is behind my request that you all do an inventory - is that the fruits of your voting haven't bee so hot.

This is what happens when people whose "issue' is of secondary or tertiary importance, make that issue the basis of their vote.

Also you still insist on dodging my request. Melinda asserted that folks on the Christian right "hold their values because of their faith but attempt to lobby for them in the public square with public policy arguments." May I have some examples?

Patrick, I have quite a bit of experience with those who have substance abuse problems. That is why I have real concerns. Even if one has done the steps it is a life long problem.

We know Cheney is drinking because he shot someone while under the influence. The only reasonable explaination for his behavior post shooting is that he needed to sober up.

Bush exhibits the behavior of person who has stopped drinking without dealing with the problem. google "dry drunk". Backsliding under stress is a very real possibility.

How do we know? Well If someone asked me (and I assume you) about out drug history, we wouldn't have to include a cut-off date in the answer.

Alan,

Contrast for me how you see the difference between how the Christian right and the Christian left "inflict their values".

Alan:"We know Cheney is drinking because he shot someone while under the influence. The only reasonable explaination for his behavior post shooting is that he needed to sober up."

So that makes him an alcoholic? Again, you are are reading into things.

Alan: "Bush exhibits the behavior of person who has stopped drinking without dealing with the problem. google "dry drunk". Backsliding under stress is a very real possibility."

That could be said for nearly 3/4 of the people, if it were relevant at all. After all, JFK was a drug addicted maniac. In any case, you have no insight at all and are making superficial applications. I do not need to google dry drunk. I have, by the mercy and grace of God been sober for 18 years. I know all the AA lingo and know plenty of people with a black belt in Alanon., I have 12 stepped etc and have knelt at the throne of mercy and received grace to do it.

Backsliding is indeed possible for anyone at any time and to single this out only displays your bias and angst. FOr every backslider there are overcomers. And, if President Bush is a follower of Jesus Christ, then he is more than a conqueror of his disease - he is free from it and is not answerable to the likes of people anxopous to exploit personal struggle for political victory. Shame on you.
Patrick

Congratulations on your sobriety, Patrick. While your experience is more extensive then mine (thankfully), I have dealt with addiction issues for many years as a result of business connections.

Bush seems to fit the "dry drunk" bill quite well. Angry and obsessive with a cruel streak a mile wide he has managed to lose two wars and spread a lot of misery.

As for Cheney, he had several DUIs in his younger days and shoots someone while intoxicated many years later. Couple that with the really screwed up decisions he has made as VP and I have no problem being judgemental here.

I was recently describing the behavior of a person who is in the same business as myself with a friend who lives in vermont and is also in the same business. He started laughing and asked, "meth", I replied "yep, meth". If you are around it you learn to spot it and I know what I am seeing.

Alan:"Bush seems to fit the "dry drunk" bill quite well. Angry and obsessive with a cruel streak a mile wide he has managed to lose two wars and spread a lot of misery."

Thanks for the thought. It is good to have a clear mind with which to contemplate the wonder of God. In fact, if Christianity were not true, I think I would be drunk now! Why not!

Anyway, Your remarks are purely subjective Alan and there is no reason to endorse them. I do think that liberals tend to ascribe those remarks to people that have no problem calling evil evil and good good.

160,000 soldiers have not lost 2 wars. Afghanistan is free and so is Iraq. And yes, Iraq is in a mess, but far more good than harm has been done. Besides, if American crime represents the best democracy can foster, then Iraq is right on track. No attacks on America, no attacks on our embassies, Dow at an all time high, oil dropping, no govt. funding of ECSR, a horrific government overturned, wussy terrorists in the run, Sadaam about to be hanged any day now, Zarqawi dead, all the major players in the Iraq regime dead or captured, far greater equality among the races and sexes than any Democratic admin., especially in high govt. office,

Yea, looks prety miserable to me too! Now go sober up!
Patrick

Just came across this:

http://bloggingheads.tv/?id=139&rate=1.8&rate=1.2

alan:

Your comments are seriously disturbing. You seem to hold an extremely debased view of the humanity of your opponents. You justify your opinion of their inhumanity by pointing to the evidence of their "bad policy" (you called the Iraq war an example of bad policy, and then you used it as evidence of Bush's alleged cruelty); and you claim that "bad policy" is a hallmark of all your opponents. Therefore we must conclude that you believe all your opponents are inhuman.

I have to wonder... Is there anything HERE at all? Do you even have some way of judging policy to be "bad" or "good"? How about some way of deciding whether a given policy is "conservative" or not? It seems odd to me that you describe Medicare part D as being both "bad" and "conservative"; I would claim that Medicare D is certainly bad (and I think you and I would have some agreement on why), but also certainly not conservative (I'm not claiming it's liberal). The Iraq war is arguably conservative (in some senses), but also arguably not bad (in spite of some points of weak execution on our part, and other points of strong execution on our enemies' parts).

I could go on with examples on all your other "bad policies"... But let's give you a chance on my basic point.

Golly William, you are reading too much into this. Comments are always going to be compressed somewhat. I do see differences after all.

For example, you and Patrick and Melinda are often wrong when you attempt to translate generally good values into public policy but I see no evidence of debasement.

On the other hand folks like Bush, Cheney, Rove and DeLay are, besides being wrong, are simply bad people.

My comments about cruelty were quite specific, and refer to Bush, Cheney and no doubt a few others in the Administration but not all. I don't believe Powell or Wolfowitz to fall in that category - wrong, misguided, yes.

I reckon Bush to be a cruel, disturbed man based on his total life, not just Iraq. From blowing up frogs with firecrackers as a young boy, to branding pledges in college, to joking about executions, to ignoring his job, to institutionalizing torture, to doing an unnecessary war, neglecting a justified one and as a result of no planning, losing both as well as fostering a climate of corruption and incompetence here at home, I judge him to be, at a minimum, cruel and disturbed.

I admit to being sloppy in using the word conservative - most of the Republican caucus including the leadership would self identify as "conservative" however much of what they do hardly qualifies as conservative as I understand the term. The problem is that conservatism as a coherent movement is quite at sea just now.

Medicare part "D" is probably more accurately described as corporate welfare produced by a corrupt Administration and Congressional majority. It certainly isn't conservative in a Barry Goldwater sort of way but it is the product of an Administration that calls itself conservative. As policy it is just terrible and we seem to agree on that.

Neo-conservatism is now thoroughly discredited. Knowing what I knew then, I was willing to give Bush the benefit of the doubt on Iraq. Knowing what I know now about troop strength and everything else, I tend to fall into the "no way this could have worked out camp".

Going into Iraq led to the loss of focus on Afghanistan and now we have lost both.

I know now we had the troops to do Afghanistan right. We had international cooperation and a scale where economic development and human rights could be fostered. We blew that opportunity and now the Taliban is back and we have a narco state.

Based on necessary rotation requirements we never had the numbers to do Iraq. We bypassed pockets of resistance, left the ammo dumps unsecured, failed to maintain civil order, disbanded the army and blew the reconstruction, fostering the insurgency.

All we can do now is hold on while the civil war goes on around us, our guys get picked off and the average Iraqi is in more danger then under Saddam. Better to redeploy a ways back then stay in the meat grinder where we simply make things worse.

Terming policy as "bad" is always going to be somewhat subjective. I prefer to actually analyse specific policies so I can give concrete reasons for the "bad". That is why I keep asking for specific policies.

Good and bad to me are based on likely outcomes based on what I know at the moment. For example I know that out health care delivery system is in trouble. I know that tying health care delivery to employment is problematic in a globalized economy. I know how much we spend per capita as a nation and I know that other industrialized nations do better for less. Hence I favor some form of national health care and am likely to vote for someone who feels likewise.

Hope this helps.

Oh, if didn't see the PBS special on Abramoff tonight (on now) you can catch "Capitol Crimes" at : http://www.pbs.org/moyers/moyersonamerica/capitol/watch.html

It will be streaming tomorrow -10/05/06. Check it out and see what blindly voting "values" gets you.

I guess this thread just cannot stay on topic.

Alan says "Good and bad to me are based on likely outcomes based on what I know at the moment."

So good and bad are entirely based on what Alan believes!!?

Ad hominem attacks are so evident in many of Alans posts. How he knows so many of the details of personal character or voting records of people he disagrees with, but has never met, is beyond me! In fact, I believe that he is relying on stereotypes and his own biases (in spite of most of the links).

This approach is very common in the comments areas of many of the left's blogs (yes, there is the same problem on the right)and I think that Alan is carrying those bad habits with him here. I do not find them helpful or convincing. STR's comment area seems to be generally respectful of individuals (valued as being made in the image of God) as a Chrisitian site certainly should be. I think that Patrick was justifiably offended by some remarks and there was no apology. I make no judgment about Alan's character here although I might have an opinion:) Alan does make judgements easily! Patrick's responses escalated in turn but didn't cross the line to nasty personal attack.

Alan says: ".. you and Patrick and Melinda are often wrong when you attempt to translate generally good values into public policy but I see no evidence of debasement." First no argument of specifics about the "wrong" opinions. Second there is no ground for defining "good values". There is also an implied judgement of character.

I guess that I can agree that personal character makes a difference, not only in private but also in public life. Knowing my own character I am very reluctant to make sweeping judgments such as Alan does regularly "...folks like Bush, Cheney, Rove and DeLay are, besides being wrong, are simply bad people." without overwhelming evidence. Alan demonstrates a confidense in his opinion and ability to make judgements he believes to be correct, "If you are around it you learn to spot it and I know what I am seeing."

As far as I can tell, what "bad" has to mean for Alan (as an agnostic/atheist utilitarian?)is that the actions of these people do not benefit the greatest number for the greatest good.

Even on his own terms, he has not demonstrated that in this thread. He also still has the problem of defining "good". Christianity has had that answer available to all, for quite some time!

The content and development of character, the knowledge of vice and virtue is essential to the success of our democratic republic. There are many quotes from the Founders that reinforce this truth. John Adams: "Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other." Also from the Northwest Ordinance of 1787 "Religion, morality and knowledge being necessary for good government and the happiness of mankind, schools and the means of education shall forever be encouraged." How is that for public policy!!? I am afraid that this has been stripped from public education and we are suffering the consequenses.


This thread is almost done - so be it. I just wanted to mention that I listened for 4 sweconds to the blogging talking head thing - classic Bush bashing and nothing substantive. I galdly judge that book by its cover.

Alan, you lose another round of debate. But I am glad you stick around.

The comments to this entry are closed.