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March 19, 2007

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More later but careful readers should have alarms going off. Now days any article that uses "danger" and "liberal" in the title should be viewed as suspect.

The implications of Tonkowich's article would seem to be "from my point of view somebody's got to prevail and it should be me". Historically this attitude hasn't worked out so well.

His view of Christianity and public policy easily leads to the conclusion that Christianity, like Marxism and Whabbism are incompatible with democratic states.

Should articles with "conservative" and "danger" in the title be viewed as suspect? If so, I'll have to stop reading the NYT.

Yes, although I haven't seen any lately. BTW, would you provide a list of the NYT articles so titled?

Assessing the value of an article based on a headline is illogical and silly.

Dude - if you are too lazy to find something that obvious - I can't help you.

Alan,
Saying that Christianity, Marxism and Whabbism are incapatible with democratic states leads me to think you can't see the forest through the trees. We have a very large group of Christians in this nation and they seem to coexist quite nicely with our system. If you can recall when Christ held up the Roman coin and made the point about giving to Cesaer what is Cesaer's and to God what is God I think it is very clear that we are not to mix the government with our faith. Although our faith can influence the world which in turn will influence the government. The U.S. has a secular government that has (whether you like it or not) been greatly influenced by the Bible and Judeo-Christian traditions.

I guess you can judge a book by it's cover.

"Assessing the value of an article based on a headline is illogical and silly."

Actually...it is willfully ignorant. Not only that...but proudly ignorant.

"Saying that Christianity, Marxism and Whabbism are incapatible with democratic states leads me to think you can't see the forest through the trees."

Les, I didn't say that, I merely reported what Jim Tonkowich in effect said. That isn't my view of Christianity but as a non-Christian, I am somewhat limited here. If those Christians who hold his views prevail, then Christianity will either have to end our Republic or become irrelevant. I would prefer Christianity to be a constructive and participatory element in our culture, but that is your choice not mine.

"Assessing the value of an article based on a headline is illogical and silly"

Hi Alan, not if one has been attuned to our culture for the past fifty years. Starting with "Up from Liberalism" and still going on with books like "Treason: Liberal Treachery from the Cold War to the War on Terrorism" and "Let Freedom Ring: Winning the War of Liberty Over Liberalism" and "Slander: Liberal Lies about the American Right" and "Deliver Us from Evil: Defeating Terrorism, Despotism, and Liberalism" and "How to Talk to a Liberal (If You Must): The World According to Ann Coulter", there has been a consistent right wing strategy to demonize the word liberal. When known liars start using a word to defame, perceptive folks' antennae will go up when others of the same ideological ilk also use the word. Amusing side note: Back in 1994 when Dennis Prager came out as a Republican operative, he wasn't yet used to automatically inserting "liberal" in the appropriate places (his moral compass was still somewhat operative). This one really stood out - he did a riff on some evil in our culture and seemed to finish, then there was a little hem and haw and out came the L word - a little hesitantly but he was no longer a virgin; he got better with practice and now he can associate "liberal" and evil with the best of them.

"Dude - if you are too lazy to find something that obvious - I can't help you"

Paul, Paul, Paul, you still don't know me. You're busted! Do you think I would have posted without googling first? There are no such headlines in the NYT that I could find. Everyone, this is what happens when you don't check out the other side for yourselves. Trust no one, Suspect all!!!

BTW Louis, I didn't say "don't read the article", I merely said beware.

However, if you get and e-mail from Nigeria offering you a fabulous opportunity, do you read each one or do you form a judgement based on experience? As with the Swiftboaters, Schaivo and Fox news in general, when known liars, using their proven tactics, use them yet again, only a fool uncritically falls for it.

>>“Paul, Paul, Paul, you still don't know me. You're busted!”

Actually, the fact that you had to Google it first speaks volumes.

And the forum says:....Amen.

Busted

Hi Kevin, am I supposed to memorize the all the headers of the NYT, the LA Times, the Washington Post, Dawn, Haaretz and a dozen or more other publications?

I like to check things out and you like to shoot from the hip. OK, now we all know.

Alan, Alan, Alan

Once again your intollerance, bigotry, and hyprocracy are on display for all the world to see.

You judged an article by the title without reading it first, got called on it, and then came back with a defensive emotional answer. Busted.

You make an implication and then Google it to see if its true.

That's the same kind of thinking that goes into a sermon when the pastor finds a few verses to supplement his already preconceived ideas.

In your haste to be the first to post on this subject, you have lost all credibility.

Didn't look too hard did you?

http://www.nytimes.com/2006/10/19/opinion/19thu1.html?ex=1318910400&en=d9587f965017b0fc&ei=5088&partner=rssnyt&emc=rss

Clear and Present Dangers

http://www.nytimes.com/2006/03/19/books/review/19brink.html?ex=1300424400&en=b418049d5787048d&ei=5088&partner=rssnyt&emc=rss

"Now days any article that uses "danger" and "liberal" in the title should be viewed as suspect."

I would agree if the title read:
"Liberals are not a danger to society"

Now days any article that uses "danger" and "liberal" in the title should be viewed as suspect.

Yes, I couldn't agree more. There is absolutely nothing dangerous about liberalism.

Now some may say that there are liberal extremests and give examples of eco-terrorists that burn down poultry farms or spike forrests.

But if you really think about it with the left side of your brain for a moment, you will see that these acts are totally justified.

The capitalist who profits from keeping chickens in confined quarters deserves no less than bankruptcy. I mean those birds have to stoop all day. Have you ever stooped? It hurts the thighs.

And the random logger who has his chainsaw kick back into his face when he hits a spiked tree, pretty much gets what he deserves, right? Who is the logger to think that his life is more important than a Red Oak? I mean the tree is older. With age must come respect.

In conclusion, I offer this inconvenient truth:
Liberal Good - Conservative Bad.

I hope that is simple enough for some of you extra-chromosome republicans.

Peace,

Elizabeth

"As with the Swiftboaters, Schaivo and Fox news in general, when known liars, using their proven tactics, use them yet again, only a fool uncritically falls for it."

You left out Bill Clinton.

"Paul, Paul, Paul, you still don't know me. You're busted! Do you think I would have posted without googling first? There are no such headlines in the NYT that I could find."

This reminds me of a the person who forwards an urban legend and says that they know it sounds fantastic, but they couldn't find it listed on Snopes so it must be true. Bad Logic.

Elizabeth wrote, "Yes, I couldn't agree more. There is absolutely nothing dangerous about liberalism."

If "liberalism" today was a little closer to its roots, I might agree, since then their principle of "protecting the helpless" would apply to those whom they now endorse killing by the millions.

I might be a little slow but I am hoping Elizebeth's comments were full of sarcasm? Or am I mistaken?

Wes

"But if you really think about it with the left side of your brain for a moment, you will see that these acts are totally justified.

The capitalist who profits from keeping chickens in confined quarters deserves no less than bankruptcy. I mean those birds have to stoop all day. Have you ever stooped? It hurts the thighs.

And the random logger who has his chainsaw kick back into his face when he hits a spiked tree, pretty much gets what he deserves, right? Who is the logger to think that his life is more important than a Red Oak? I mean the tree is older. With age must come respect.

In conclusion, I offer this inconvenient truth:
Liberal Good - Conservative Bad."

And Elizabeth gives an excellent example of the liberal view of tolerace and the fractured moral compass that places a higher value on chickens and trees than a human life. Peace?

"The implications of Tonkowich's article would seem to be "from my point of view somebody's got to prevail and it should be me".

Hi, Alan.

If you inferred this from the article, maybe you should read it again. What Tonkowich was arguing was that under the popular version (is that better than liberal?) of "tolerance," the only viewpoints allowed are those which agree with this version of tolerance. He is simply stating that all ideas should come, and let the best one(s) win. Granted he believes his ideas would prevail, and in as much as those are that of Christianity, I would agree, the classical idea of tolerance welcomes all comers and lets the chips fall where they may. You make your best case, and hope you persuade enough of your neighbors to your view to effect public policy.
I can only speak for myself, but I don't automatically think any idea labeled "liberal" is wrong. Let me invite you to evaluate the argument in the article apart from the word. If "liberal" had never appeared in the article, it would have changed nothing of substance. The bottom line is there is nothing tolerant about excluding viewpoints one disagrees with. The fact is if there is no disagreement, there is nothing to tolerate.

"As with the Swiftboaters, Schaivo and Fox news in general, when known liars, using their proven tactics, use them yet again, only a fool uncritically falls for it."

So you admit that Michael Schiavo lied about his wife?

Paul, what are you talking about? For the record I read the article before I the wrote the post. It met my expectations. How about an article in the NYT with "conservative" and "danger" in the title? Still waiting?

Elizabeth, are you really a leftist pretending to be an ignorant Christian conservative in order to discredit Christian conservatives or do you really believe that you have captured the essence of liberalism? Instead of trying to be cute how about a comment on the topic. You have read Rawls, of course?

Hi Daniel , I see the article differently, I'll be back after "24".

"

"Paul, Paul, Paul, you still don't know me. You're busted! Do you think I would have posted without googling first? There are no such headlines in the NYT that I could find."

This reminds me of a the person who forwards an urban legend and says that they know it sounds fantastic, but they couldn't find it listed on Snopes so it must be true. Bad Logic."

My stars, what is it tonight. Bill do you know the difference between a web site like Snopes and a SEARCH ENGINE? Have I missed something?

If you haven't guessed the above two are me. I guess the terrorists used Bill O'Reilly as a consultant on target selection.

Hi Daniel, re-read the article several times and stand by what I wrote. The article is reallt a mess and not much more than special pleading. I understand Rawls to have assumed that in a liberal democracy different dispensations would develop areas of commonality. Just how Tonkowich justifies his claim about religions being banned from the public square in the light of the First Amendment I don't know. Tonkowich also seems to see religions as monolithic while the reality seems to be broad differences within religious traditions.

Alan,

I take it you think that this misrepresents Rawls position?

"Rawls calls each system a “comprehensive doctrine.” And since comprehensive doctrines can’t all be true, and each is more or less reasonable, the only solution for public discourse is to privatize them all, that is, ban all comprehensive doctrines from the public square. This, the argument goes, creates an environment of moral neutrality in which to make public decisions."

Hi William, I am far from an expert on Rawls but I seem to recall that he assumed that there would develop areas of overlapping interest. More then that, he seems to assume that this is an accomplished fact and i have to dispute that. there is no way, given the Bill of Rights, that you could compartmentalize religion out of the American public square. Would I want Jim Wallis values banned?

Also there is the problem of Tonkowich's notions of "comprehensive doctrines". If Rawls held that he was simply wrong as there is an overlap with all the major religions. That is why we can live together.

Anyway hanging American liberalism on his read of Rawls is a classic red herring. Rawls is hardly central to policy debates on the left.

"BTW Louis, I didn't say "don't read the article", I merely said beware. "

A poorely chose title for an article is no indicator of validity of its content. Any such conclusion is just a prejudgment and I try to stay away from that. Now, you could be right about your assessment, but then...close examination of the article will tell me that better than its title.

Louis,

Alan is untouchable. He has unfettered access to Google.

It would be nice to get the full text of the J. Budziszewski talk but I have yet to find it on line.

As to Rawls, go here:

http://www.iep.utm.edu/r/rawls.htm

especially #3 on Political Liberalism

and here:

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

Hi Alan,
I must say that while I disagree with your perspective on a lot of issues, I always find you refreshing because you don't seem tied down to the typical view, like other posters on this site.

For example if we take the way liberal is bashed, then I wonder how John Howard of Australia is viewed.

Alan Aronson wrote:
"The implications of Tonkowich's article would seem to be "from my point of view somebody's got to prevail and it should be me". Historically this attitude hasn't worked out so well."

Isn't this what debate is for? Your stating this reveals that you hold a position concerning how this attitude has worked through history and that others should adopt this stance as well.

Yet isn't this at the heart of most conflict? Two sides disagree, and one of them has to win, so they choose their battlefield. I'm glad to live in a society where the battlefield is the public fora rather than, well, an actual battlefield.

Taking an honest look at history, I'd say that, contrary to what you posit, this has worked out remarkably well. In much of the world slavery has been abolished, prostitution has been heavily regulated(if not outright criminalized), child(and female and minority) welfare has improved dramatically, standards of living have improved exponentially, and the average expected lifespan is still increasing.

How did all this change come about? A lot of things we now consider evil were once the status quo, after all. It took people with an alternate viewpoint(most often due to the influence of Christian beliefs, in fact) to challenge the status quo. It took men to say "We have differing viewpoints. One of them must win. I'm convinced by reason it should be mine," and who fought accordingly(whether it be in the public square of the 1970s or the battlefield of the 1940s).

Nobody would doubt there have been some mistakes along the way, or that sometimes the people who are actually right haven't always won. I'm convinced, however, that it's worked out for the good more often than not. It's also true that all of the benefits haven't reached every area of the earth to an equal degree. Looking at history, though, I believe it's only a matter of time.

In the meantime, the nations that have prospered the most have done some part(usually through missions work, though there are many other charities out there) to begin helping the areas of the world that weren't so lucky. I'd say it's progress. Not perfection, but progress.

And to think, none of it would have come about at all had nobody stepped up and challenged the status quo with something they believe should be fought over, something that they believe should have a chance of winning over the previous status quo.

Hi Jonathan, I believe the Liberal party is the consecrative party in Oz: Labor is the center-left party.

Good point Derek, to clarify: I read his article as advocating a special status for his version of Christianity. That, of course, is contrary to what you point out.

The toleration that developed in the West led to the changes to which you refer.

I get a bit cynical as to motives when academics and culture warriors start parsing words.

Hi William, perhaps Tonkowich's "banned" assertion came from this passage in your first link:

"To this observation, some of the critics of Rawls’s account of public reason reply that accepting this kind of restraint on public dialogue would be too high a price to pay for a stable liberalism. See Richardson & Weithman vol. 5 (1999). Yet in his last essay on the subject, “The Idea of Public Reason Revisited” (in LP as well as CP), Rawls introduced qualifications to his duty of civility that have mollified some. To begin with, he emphasizes that this stricture is not meant to restrict public discussion in the “background culture” in any way, but only to constrain certain official interactions. He further introduces a “proviso” that allows one to rely, even in official contexts, on reasons dependent on one or another comprehensive doctrine, so long as “in due course” one provides “properly public reasons.” CP at 584. Even this revised account of civility remains highly debatable. Still, it should make a difference to the debate whether we consider the restriction only as part of a hypothetical consideration of the stability of a given well-ordered society (specifically, one that has reached overlapping consensus on some political liberalism) or rather as a doctrine about what civility requires in our society, here and now."

Taken as a whole, "banned" seems a stretch and as the article is a riff on an academic's presentation, the term "willful" may be appropriate.

Busted!

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