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If There is No Real God, How About an Artificial One?

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Judeo-Christian religion in the United States is far from dead, but other religions are increasingly viable. In addition to Radical Islam ("eighty percent of the prisoners who 'find faith' in prison convert to Islam,"  generally of the radical kind), Leftism, Multiculturalism, Progressivism and the like seem pervasive. Even the Church of Global Warming, while modestly weakened, remains sufficiently vibrant that absolution may yet be had by buying dispensations. Mere ideologies perhaps, aside from Radical Islam, but their adherents bring religious passion to their dogmas and consider it churlish, if not criminal, to question them. While the Judeo-Christian religions remain vibrant, the others seem not only indignant but overtly hostile; there is at least a chance that they will prevail, if not soon then eventually. As suggested below, that would be unfortunate.

Douglas Adams, author of Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy and other neat stuff, died in 2001. Although his memorial service was held at the Anglican St. Martin in the Fields Church, he had described himself as a "radical atheist" in order not to be confused with mere Agnostics. Adams did not "believe" in God, nor did he "believe" that there is no God. He was "convinced" that there is no God, and that is rather different. Like Adams, I don't "believe" one way or the other; unlike Adams, I am not "convinced" that there is no God and consider myself an Agnostic rather than an Atheist. I am also partially color blind and can't distinguish various color shades. I understand that most others can do so and I act on the assumption that the various shades exist. I accept that my sensory perceptions as to such matters may be inferior to theirs and also that there is no cure; stuck is stuck. Somewhat analogously, other people may have superior ability to sense the divine than I do; so be it  There is nothing I can do about that either; again, stuck is stuck. Although in some ways I behave as though they may be right, just "going along to get along" wouldn't work because belief cannot be faked; there is also the problem that there are very many divergent perceptions of the divine. It seems unlikely that all of them are right but it is quite possible that all of them are wrong.

In a 1998 speech, Adams propounded a fascinating question, "Is There an Artificial God?" He suggested that there is and cited an example from Bali.


Now, rice is an incredibly efficient food and you can grow an awful lot in a relatively small space, but it's hugely labour intensive and requires a lot of very, very precise co-operation amongst the people there, particularly when you have a large population on a small island needing to bring its harvest in. People now looking at the way in which rice agriculture works in Bali are rather puzzled by it because it is intensely religious. The society of Bali is such that religion permeates every single aspect of it and everybody in that culture is very, very carefully defined in terms of who they are, what their status is and what their role in life is. It's all defined by the church; they have very peculiar calendars and a very peculiar set of customs and rituals, which are precisely defined and, oddly enough, they are fantastically good at being very, very productive with their rice harvest. In the 70s, people came in and noticed that the rice harvest was determined by the temple calendar. It seemed to be totally nonsensical, so they said, 'Get rid of all this, we can help you make your rice harvest much, much more productive than even you're, very successfully, doing at the moment. Use these pesticides, use this calendar, do this, that and the other'. So they started and for two or three years the rice production went up enormously, but the whole predator/prey/pest balance went completely out of kilter. Very shortly, the rice harvest plummeted again and the Balinese said, 'Screw it, we're going back to the temple calendar!' and they reinstated what was there before and it all worked again absolutely perfectly. It's all very well to say that basing the rice harvest on something as irrational and meaningless as a religion is stupid – they should be able to work it out more logically than that, but they might just as well say to us, 'Your culture and society works on the basis of money and that's a fiction, so why don't you get rid of it and just co-operate with each other' – we know it's not going to work!

So, there is a sense in which we build meta-systems above ourselves to fill in the space that we previously populated with an entity that was supposed to be the intentional designer. . . and create one and then allow ourselves to behave as if there was one, all sorts of things begin to happen that otherwise wouldn't happen.

Let's assume for purposes of argument that Adams was correct. Then comes the tricky bit: what sort of artificial God should there be and how should we go about behaving as though He exists and cares about what we do and don't do? Egocentric to raise such questions? Perhaps, but if an actual God made us and is "good," He surely included a healthy dose of ego as well as lots of less desirable attributes. If He exists, I hope that he will not be much offended by the process.

For devout Christians and Jews, these questions probably needn't be answered; their beliefs suffice. Adherents to Radical Islam, the "religion of peace," probably don't need to answer them either, but it might be useful for all of us if, while taking qat breaks from suicide bombings, honor killings and beheadings, they were to give some thought to the matter.

Since Christians long ago ceased burning witches and heretics at the stake and now generally abjure the killing of Jews for having crucified Jesus and thereby kick-starting Christianity, the God of the New Testament might be a good model for an artificial God. The United States, like the rice farmers in Bali, did pretty well until He was shoved to the side by multiculturalism and became decreasingly relevant to the behavior of modern American society. Multiculturalism is not a very propitious God.

Here is what I make of it all. We should act on the assumption that the United States' Judeo-Christian heritage is good rather than bad, that it merits our determined defense and that there are objective standards of right and wrong. Like the rice farmers in Bali, some of us may not know exactly where the standards came from or why, and there is less than unanimous agreement at the periphery as to what they are. Still, I think we can agree that the basics do exist, that they work and that we ignore them at our national peril. It strikes me as plausible that the basic moral teachings of traditional religions which succeeded over the centuries did so because their basic principles worked and were grounded in the nature of man. A variation on a principal teaching of Christianity, the Golden Rule, was articulated by Socrates and many others long before Jesus came on the scene, and if generally observed, it works. The concept of individual charity toward those less fortunate has roots at least as deep, and it would be a good thing if there were enough of it for the government to curtail its own politically directed, profligate and often socially disastrous efforts. My frame of reference, lest there be any doubt, is countries which, like the United States, have their roots in the Judeo-Christian religion but don't enforce an official state religion. Other countries might fare better than at present under such an Artificial God, but I lack sufficient familiarity with them to offer even remotely useful suggestions.

There must be tolerance toward those who disagree, within limits: those who wish to celebrate Saturnalia, or nothing at all, rather than Christmas, for example. That seems very unlikely to harm others and they should be free to do as they wish; that tolerance must be reciprocated if it is to persist. For example, those who wish their non-belief to be tolerated must learn to tolerate such things as Christmas trees, Easter bunnies and the public display of the Ten Commandments. I understand that in some communities, Jews work overtime during Christian holidays so that Christians can be free of secular obligations; I also understand that in some communities this kindness is reciprocated. Those who consider abortion an abomination per se should act in accordance with their views; however, they should not force others, on pain of criminal prosecution or private violence, to adhere to those views; neither should they be required to support, financially or otherwise, abortion or those who advocate abortion.

Kipling's In the Neolithic Age offers some useful insights.There, he essentially channeled a tribal singer from the Neolithic age, who recounted how he had murdered a rival who didn't approve of his songs and a "mammothistic etcher" whose art he didn't care for, because he knew his own work was right and theirs was wrong. His totem saw the shame, and in a vision of the night appeared to him, commenting that "there are nine and sixty ways of constructing tribal lays, and every single one of them is right." Then, the silence closed upon him and he awoke in a modern age, once again a poet.

Still the world is wondrous large,–seven seas from marge to marge,–
And it holds a vast of various kinds of man;
And the wildest dreams of Kew are the facts of Khatmandhu,
And the crimes of Clapham chaste in Martaban.

Here's my wisdom for your use, as I learned it when the moose
And the reindeer roamed where Paris roars to-night: —
There are nine and sixty ways of constructing tribal lays,
And — every — single — one — of — them — is — right!

We are in danger of forfeiting much that heretofore made the United States what many of us wish she still were. If the descent is to be halted or possibly even reversed, we had better be careful. Mark Steyn recently wrote,

Every time I retail the latest indignity imposed upon the "citizen" by some or other Continental apparatchik, I receive e-mails from the heartland pointing out, with much reference to the Second Amendment, that it couldn’t happen here because Americans aren’t Euro-weenies. But nor were Euro-weenies once upon a time. Hayek . . . wrote with an immigrant’s eye on the Britain of 1944:
the virtues which are held less and less in esteem and which consequently become rarer are precisely those on which the British people justly prided themselves and in which they were generally agreed to excel. The virtues . . . were independence and self-reliance, individual initiative and local responsibility, the successful reliance on voluntary activity, noninterference with one’s neighbor and tolerance of the different and queer, respect for custom and tradition, and a healthy suspicion of power and authority.

Two-thirds of a century on, almost every item on the list has been abandoned. . . [T]he reflex response now to almost any passing inconvenience is to demand the government "do something," the cost to individual liberty be damned. . . As Europe demonstrates, a determined state can change the character of a people in the space of a generation or two. Look at what the Great Society did to the black family and imagine it applied to the general population: That’s what happened in Britain.

Regardless of whether there is an actual God and regardless of our views on the matter, we should behave as though there were one of the sort on whom our fundamental national character has long been based. Failure to do so has already led the United States down the road toward oblivion, and this process must be reversed. Whether that can or will happen remains to be seen, but with the resurgence of popular support for the basic principles upon which the nation was founded, there is reason for optimism.

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About Dan Miller

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    Interesting piece, Dan. Calls for a second reading.

  • http://ruvysroost.blogspot.com Ruvy

    Dan,

    You weren’t looking at the AA Blue Book when you were writing this, were you? Your whole concept could be boiled down to “act as if” – which is straight out of AA.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    It comes from the philosophy of als ob, before AA’s inception.

  • http://pajamasmedia.com/blog/author/danmiller/ Dan(Miller)

    Ruvy and Roger,

    Nope. I hadn’t seen the AA Blue Book (or read about als ob either). I need all of my spare money to buy booze, and in any event don’t want to associate with a bunch of drunks.

    Dan(Miller)

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/dr-dreadful/ Dr Dreadful

    Steyn doesn’t quite understand the UK.

    The government is routinely blamed for almost everything, as a convenience. However, most people don’t actually expect them to do anything about whatever it is.

  • http://pajamasmedia.com/blog/author/danmiller/ Dan(Miller)

    Doc,

    most people don’t actually expect them to do anything about whatever it is.

    And that, Sir, may be one of the principal differences between British Subjects and US Citizens.

    Dan(Miller)

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    I don’t blame you, Dan. If you have to drink, go to a decent pub and rub elbows with the rich drunks.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    Interesting sideline discussion.

    Is the Tea Party Movement an expression, as per Steyn, of the “American Spirit”?

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    I hope Dreadful and STM will get involved in the discussion. A heck of an article by Steyn – provocative as hell.

  • Brian aka Guppusmaximus

    Sorry, Dan, I don’t buy the idea that turning away from religion or a belief in “god” has run this country into the ground. I think that the action taken under the guise of an “Act of God” or that has been influenced by the bible has led us into far more trouble. I feel that one’s moral compass should be led by an honest caring for each other as opposed to one that is thrust upon us by law or rule.

    My prime example would be the genocide that the Christianity has been inflicting upon South Africa. These people follow the Pope’s interpretation of the bible that condemns the use of contraceptives. These contraceptives could reduce the spread of AIDS in that country.

    A few of my favorite quotes:

    “A man’s ethical behavior should be based effectually on sympathy, education, and social ties; no religious basis is necessary. Man would indeed be in a poor way if he had to be restrained by fear of punishment and hope of reward after death.” -Albert Einstein

    “What can be asserted without proof can be dismissed without proof.” -Christopher Hitchens

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    I think Dan is looking for a way of reinstating “moral fiber” in his countrymen, Brian, and he happens to think that religious values might be of help.

    For full context, you should read the article he linked to on page three, by Mark Steyn.

  • Baronius

    Dan – It’s been said that the mindset you’re describing existed in the 1950’s. There was a common understanding that “acting as if” would allow a society to function, but there was no (or at best diminished) underlying belief. When the rebellions of the 1960’s took place, they were able to topple the established structures rather easily because the support for them had been pragmatic rather than principled.

    I don’t know if I agree with that analysis. But if it’s correct, it would seem that a society won’t defend a belief that it pretends to have, only a belief that it has.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    I think Dan is more keen on convincing himself, Baronius, rather than others.

    Good observation, by the way.

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/dr-dreadful/ Dr Dreadful

    And that, Sir, may be one of the principal differences between British Subjects and US Citizens.

    I was reading something yesterday – damned if I can find it now – in which a commentator was assessing the mood of the British voting public, and discussing the factors that might cause people to shy away from voting the Conservatives back into power. In particular, he was pointing out the general wariness of giving too much power to… local government.

    City and county (and lower) governments in the UK are often regarded as being bureaucratic, over-idealistic, incompetent, incestuous and petty, and in my experience that’s quite often a fair assessment.

    There’s a perception, the commentator said, that Westminster can get most things done far more effectively; and it is true that a lot of people don’t trust their local council with anything much more sophisticated than making sure the streetlights work.

    It’s the polar opposite of the prevailing mood in the US.

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/dr-dreadful/ Dr Dreadful

    Baronius: interesting comment 12. I’m a bit surprised you didn’t argue that this article belongs in the Culture section! ;-)

    Douglas Adams’s comparison with our money economy is interesting. Money only has the value we agree that it has, and it often doesn’t even physically exist.

    Do you see money as being a sort of belief, or merely a convention?

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    Well, then you should be able to account for such a significant difference, Dreadful. What are the critical factors?

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    Good question, but the analogy doesn’t work, I think. Or does it?

  • Brian aka Guppusmaximus

    I’m with him on that most of the way, Roger. I just believe that the truth will better guide us to that then some faux belief system that is based on superstition. With regards to the article, I see a lot of complaints (and they may be valid) but I didn’t read any solutions!

    “The United States now spends more on its military than the next 40 or so nations combined. Yet in two rinky-dink no-account semi-colonial policing campaigns, it doesn’t feel like that, does it? A lot of bucks, but not much of a bang.”

    what were we supposed to do…Nuke the f*ck out of our “enemies”?!

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/dr-dreadful/ Dr Dreadful

    Size and history, I should say, Rog. Britain is confined to one island and has, in general, been a homogenous unit for centuries. America started as a disparate set of colonies, situated several weeks’ journey from one another on a vast continent, all with their own ideas as to how things should be run.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    Size I’d definitely agree with, and homogeneity too. There’s got to be a greater bond between the peoples of Britain, including the Scotch, the Irish, and the Welsch, than there exists amoung Americans whose the only basis for “national unity” rests on the conception of government which guarantees each and every subject certain right, liberty and freedoms.

  • John Wilson

    Dan has a delusional view of US history and religion.

    Just 40 years ago good god-fearing christian soldiers gunned down 4 unarmed students at Kent State, and some parents even said they deserved it, as did a few god-loving politicians.

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/dr-dreadful/ Dr Dreadful

    Don’t let a person from Scotland hear you call them ‘Scotch’, Rog…

    Scotch is a drink. A Scot is a person of Scottish nationality. Scots is both the plural of ‘Scot’ and the name of the (almost extinct) Scottish language, which is similar to but significantly distinct from English.

    I’ll forgive your mangling of the spelling of ‘Welsh’ this once and once only. :-)

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    Sorr, Dreadful, was in a hurry.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    I still think, Brian, that the key to Dan’s article is the piece by Mark Steyn (linked). I see Dan as groping here, because he himself is an agnostic.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    John Wilson,

    The problem at hand is one of grounding morality. And it’s awfully difficult without an appeal to the highest authority.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    The tile, BTW, reminds me of Flannery O’Connor’s short story, “The Artificial Nigger.”

  • Brian aka Guppusmaximus

    @24,

    Well, that’s what I was referring to when I mentioned that it was complaint laden.

    @25,

    So, you’re saying that without being enslaved to a fear of punishment, the human race would go about their day committing moral atrocities?! Come on, Roger, you’re smarter than that. You don’t need religion to respect & care for one another.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    I’m aware of that, Brian, and I don’t disagree with you. My point, however, is that the problem of grounding still remains, especially for those who are agnostics or atheists and suddenly look to morality as a kind of solution. Not that they shouldn’t, only that they have a problem with their own past view(s) of “moral relativity.”

  • Cannonshop

    #21 John, those were National Guardsmen who went NG to avoid being drafted, dude. Hardly your “God Fearing” myrmidons. (one of the most prevalent means of avoiding the letter from uncle sam was joining the National Guard at the time…)

  • http://handyfilm.blogspot.com handyguy

    The first page of this piece is so full of Dan’s usual right-wing assumptions and prejudices [Islam = assumed bad, entirely equated to “the radical kind”; any liberal idea, very bad, and akin to religious cults — but no acknowledgment of right-wing equivalents like anti-tax mania or gun worship] that I have a hard time taking any of it seriously.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    Dan craves for the old America, Handy, and for the old-fashioned values. You can understand that, can’t you? Again, the article he links to is the key.

  • http://ruvysroost.blogspot.com Ruvy

    “The United States now spends more on its military than the next 40 or so nations combined. Yet in two rinky-dink no-account semi-colonial policing campaigns, it doesn’t feel like that, does it? A lot of bucks, but not much of a bang.”

    what were we supposed to do…Nuke the f*ck out of our “enemies”?!

    Brian, if you don’t know who your enemies are, you will get very little bang for your buck. Since you Americans obviously have no clue as to who your real enemies are, a whole sackful of your gold sits in the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers and you have wasted a whole lot of time and money fighting people who will ultimately do to you what they did to the Russians and the British – they’ll kick the shit out of you.

    Talk about superstition. A dumb headwaiter to the ibn Sauds (Geo. Bush) wouldn’t attack them – even though they finance most of the Wahhabi terror. And the successor to the stupid monkey – a Wahhabi in spirit, if not actual open belief – won’t attack them either. Why should he attack people who he admires in his heart?

    Talk about superstition?

    I do better and get a whole lot more truth believing in the G-d of Israel than in all the foolishness I see bruited about here. At least the author, an agnostic, has enough sense to understand that he needs a facsimile of the G-d of Israel to cement morality in his society. He’s batting way higher than you in the wisdom category, Brian.

  • Jeff Forsythe

    The American defense budget problem with Israel is twofold

    The U.S. contains a superstitious majority of hard-nosed “Christians” who firmly and unwaveringly believe that if Israel falls it will bring forth the ending of days and Armageddon. Therefore it is above all else essential to spend dollar after dollar into the thousands of millions to protect a nation that is both ungrateful for American support (judging by Ruvy’s attitude) and constantly being threatened by its neighbors and half of its own population. A lose-lose scenario if ever I have heard one.

    While I am not advocating the destruction of Israel as a nation, I am suggesting that perhaps it is time to teach that very fragile nation a lesson and cut the purse strings that they are dangling by to see if they are as self-sufficient they boast and in the process improve America’s budget in the process.

    911, terrorist attacks in Europe and religious zealots causing havoc are undeniably all directly or indirectly caused by the existence of the Nation of Israel.

    With this enormous waste of money on just that one issue, the States could’ve employed every man, woman and child and wiped out its debt in a fortnight.

    Mr. Forsythe

  • Jeff Forsythe

    Roger is personal vituperation really advancing your cause?

    Jeff

  • Baronius

    Ruvy, other than your fascination with the Pashtun, what reason do you have for predicting failure in Afghanistan? I mean, as much as I enjoy Mark Steyn, he didn’t really back up his “feeling” in that article.

  • http://ruvysroost.blogspot.com Ruvy

    While I am not advocating the destruction of Israel as a nation, I am suggesting that perhaps it is time to teach that very fragile nation a lesson and cut the purse strings that they are dangling by to see if they are as self-sufficient they boast and in the process improve America’s budget in the process.

    9/11, terrorist attacks in Europe and religious zealots causing havoc are undeniably all directly or indirectly caused by the existence of the Nation of Israel.

    My, my, Jeff – the Jew-hater in you has finally come slithering out from under the rock. Well, it is always good to know who your enemies are. We can dispense with all the phony politeness now, Jeff.

    If the Americans finally decide to cut their stranglehold of money over this nation, they will have to enforce their policy of destroying us themselves. I do not doubt they will try, either. Obama has shown his true colors and now any Israeli can understand just what black-hearted evil bastards stroll the halls of power in the United States.

    But that is just the pustule of evil in the government and the halls of what used to be academe in the United States.

    Your comments illustrate that while we Jews need to seek reconciliation with the Children of Ishmael based on the Qur’an and the Torah – we ALSO need to do what we can to bring you Europeans down to the dust where you belong.

    By the way, I will not bother refuting your claims. I’ll let them stand unchallenged so that the whole internet can see what Jew-hatred looks like when perfumed in politeness – Mr. Forsythe.

  • http://pajamasmedia.com/blog/author/danmiller/ Dan(Miller)

    Mr. Forsythe,

    I support Israel obviously, if you have read the article, not because of any Biblical stuff, but because she (a) has long been an ally and (b) is the only reasonably “democratic” and sane nation in that part of the world. Those who are out to extinguish her, with small but frequent missiles, suicide bombers and the like, are not the sort of folks I like and are the sort whom I consider very dangerous to the security of the United States and to the world in general; even way down here in Panama — where Jewish – Islamic relations have thus far been so good that I might characterize them as a model for civilization — there are potential dangers. We live about 450 KM from the Panama Canal, and were someone to do something very naughty to it that could impact indirectly but significantly on me and, of course, on international trade.

    Dan(Miller)

  • http://ruvysroost.blogspot.com Ruvy

    Ruvy, other than your fascination with the Pashtun, what reason do you have for predicting failure in Afghanistan?

    It’s simple, Baronius. Nobody has succeeded in conquering Afghanistan for long in the past. Why should you succeed where everyone else in history has failed? You mean to tell me that you think you are better than Brits or Russians? Your brutality is just as vicious, and you are just as pernicious and two-faced. The Pashtun are getting sick of both you Americans and the Taliban, and the day of reckoning will not be pleasant for either of you.

  • Jeff Forsythe

    Mr. Ruvy-you are a bigot, and a blatant one at that. You presume that a person cannot be a true Jew unless they are Israeli.

    I have every respect in the world for Jews. Jews and Israelis are of two different stripes and you have no business lobbing them into the same bomb crater together or accusing me of the same.

    There are Jews all over the world who are not trouble-making fools such as you and your nation and I have nothing but trust and admiration for them.

    Mr. Forsythe

  • STM

    I’ll agree with Doc here. The British don’t expect their government to do anything about much.

    They will whinge and moan but they are happy with a steady as she goes attitude and not too much change in the status quo.

    And even where there is quite radical change (for Britons), they will go with it because – and here is the key difference between parliamentary democracies like Britain and Australia compared to the US – they are confident enough in the rule of law that has lasted over the centuries to understand that the people actually are the ones with the power, so there is no need to live in fear of the government.

    Rule of law will trump every time.

    That is also the case in America. A lot of Americans either don’t understand that about themselves, or don’t believe it.

    I see the US government as an oligarchy driven behind the scenes by people with power, money and influence who can catch too many ears in the corridors of power in Washington. Having grown up in parliamentary democracies, unelected cabinets also fill me with fear. You vote in a very powerful person – a prez – and he chooses who he wants to sit with hi,. Bizarre. As a result, do those who are unelected feel beholden to the people who put them there? No. No wonder there are tails wagging dogs.

    Which seems to me to be the reasonw Americans seem live in fear of their federal government.

    Be that as it may, the process seems to work … and is underpinned by rule of law that gives them the chance every few years to give whoever it is they don’t like the boot.

    If the behind-the-scenes-power issues and manipulation can be addressed, end of problem. More transparency is the key.

    I see the same problem existing at state level in the US as well, so I don’t buy into the argument about “smaller” government.

    It’s not about that. It’s about the apparatus of the state in the US that makes it too easy to for people to gain power on a nod and a wink and to manipulate it and milk it for all it’s worth.

    Also, for some reason, Americans seem determinedly unable to accept the results of a democratic election.

    I dislike what the previous government did in this country, so I was one of the army of voters who gave them the royal boot up the bum.

    Now I consider the new government to be engaging in complete buffoonery. But I can’t exercise my vote until the next election. I’m happy to jump up and down with the best of them but I’m not that worried about outcomes that I think the idiots are robbing me of my national identity like the teabag over there.

    Here’s counting down to the next ballot.

    Also, I’ve worked in government, for a minister of the crown. It’s very easy for these people to lose touch with reality (my boss didn’t but he was an exception).

    The only lesson politicians really understand is a drop in the polls or a loss of seats in the house when you vote.

    If they didn’t, they wouldn’t employ expensive spin doctors in an attempt to manipulate outcomes.

    Look beyond the spin. See what you’ve got on your side: rule of law.

    Nothing beats it.

  • Jeff Forsythe

    Mr. Miller-do not presume to know me or my mind. The catholics and protestants in Ireland once fought bloody and deadly battles simply because of a difference of religion. If you stood two of them up beside each other you could never tell the difference by looking at them, and yet in their black hearts they were sworn enemies determined to kill each other because of their “christianity”

    Only until people like Mr. Ruvy stop asserting his (quasi) differences, and exploiting them by claiming that the Israeli Jew is far superior to any other kind of common Jew, or christian for that matter will there be peace in his region.

    If the Arabs and Jews sat down and discussed their common heritage and similarities and worked together instad of separatley there would indeed be peace there and no obscene waste of worldwide resources and lives on their useless behalf.

    Mr. Forsythe

  • http://pajamasmedia.com/blog/author/danmiller/ Dan(Miller)

    Stan, re # 40,

    After articulating a bunch of reasons why they don’t, including:

    I see the US government as an oligarchy driven behind the scenes by people with power, money and influence who can catch too many ears in the corridors of power in Washington. Having grown up in parliamentary democracies, unelected cabinets also fill me with fear. You vote in a very powerful person – a prez – and he chooses who he wants to sit with hi,. Bizarre. As a result, do those who are unelected feel beholden to the people who put them there? No. No wonder there are tails wagging dogs.

    you say,

    Also, for some reason, Americans seem determinedly unable to accept the results of a democratic election

    Curious. Perhaps I just don’t understand

    Dan(Miller)

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/dr-dreadful/ Dr Dreadful

    “Also, for some reason, Americans seem determinedly unable to accept the results of a democratic election”

    Curious. Perhaps I just don’t understand

    Allende
    Sandinistas
    Algeria
    Bush v. Gore
    Chavez
    Bush v. Kerry
    Ahmedinejad
    Obama v. McCain
    etc. etc…

  • http://ruvysroost.blogspot.com Ruvy

    Jeff Forsythe, unlike the author of this article, I do believe in the Living G-d of Israel. And speaking to you as a Jew who knows his faith, practices his faith, as well who knows his history, I’m telling you that Israel is the destiny of the entire Jewish people. Whether you believe that or not is irrelevant. It is not for you to judge – or to decide. You are not the arbiter of the destiny of the Children of Israel.

    Those Jews who reject that destiny (and there are many who do) will be judged by G-d accordingly, and that judgment will not be pleasant at all. But that is not your problem.

    However, if you attack our settlement in our homeland, you attack all of us, no matter what you protest to the contrary. And yes, that IS Jew-hatred, and I will call it for what it is. Whether you like that or not does not interest me. At least I know who my enemies are – and you are one of them.

  • http://pajamasmedia.com/blog/author/danmiller/ Dan(Miller)

    Mr. Forsythe,

    I certainly don’t presume to know you or your mind. Nor do I think I suggested otherwise either in the article or in my responsive comment. Rather, I was attempting to express my own views, neither on you nor on your views, but on the topic at hand.

    As to Jews and adherents to the religion of Islam, they seem to get along very well here. There is a very large free zone in Colon, where many goods are bought and sold internationally. There, Jews and Muslims are in partnerships and other business relationships. The Jews tend to live in Panama City and the Muslims in Colon. I understand that they generally put any religious differences aside, don’t speak of religion or politics, and simply do business. That’s why I said it might well be a suitable model for society.

    Dan(Miller)

  • Jeff Forsythe

    Ruvy, at one time I did explore the Jewish faith as you may have surmised and found it welcoming until I encountered such as you. You are no more loving than a Christian that insists that unless you have accepted Jesus Christ in only his denomination, you will rot in Hades or an Islamic fundamentalist who insists that anyone of his faith will be cast out. A Jew is a jew even if he does not accept his “destiny” in Israel. For you to reject so many loving people brands you a beastly bigot and my distaste for you is entirely justified.

    You, who fancy yourself to be one of God’s chosen few to the exclusion of all others just as worthy of his love, disgust me.

    Mr. Forsythe

  • Jeff Forsythe

    Point well taken and expressed Mr. Miller. I will put forward that your circumstance precludes you understanding those in quite different situations. Not out of ignorance, but out of lack of experience to the otherwise.

    Jeff

  • http://pajamasmedia.com/blog/author/danmiller/ Dan(Miller)

    Doc, re comment #43. Perhaps. However, I was seeking enlightenment based on the other quoted part of Stan’s comment.

    Dan(Miller)

  • http://pajamasmedia.com/blog/author/danmiller/ Dan(Miller)

    Jeff — If I may presume to refer to you in that fashion — I agree that my experiences are limited.

    While I am confident that you are familiar with Kipling’s poem partially quoted and linked toward the end of the article, I think he did have quite a lot of experience with the strange and different. I like Kipling, and think he has been grossly disparaged in these modern, multicultural but nevertheless insular times.

    Dan(Miller)

  • http://ruvysroost.blogspot.com Ruvy

    Jeff,

    You explored the Jewish faith. I live the Jewish faith. There is a critical difference.

    In your explorations, you missed a whole lot of essential points. And your attitudes expressed here only highlight how much you have missed. Go re-read the Ten Commandments – particularly the commandments to honor one’s parents and to observe the Sabbath. Read the whole thing. Then re-read Chapter 18 and 19 of Leviticus – again read the whole thing.

    At the heart of the faith are three Covenants between G-d and the Children of Israel. A Land Covenant, a Torah Covenant, and a People Covenant. Those Covenants are incumbent upon all Children of Israel, and the Child of Israel who rejects one or the other does so at his own peril.

    I do not stand in judgment of such individuals. It is far from me to do so. But G-d does.

    The Land Covenant is why we are here. The Torah Covenant is the law we follow – here. And the People Covenant establishes our relationship with G-d. A Jew – or any other Child of Israel – is commanded to follow these Covenants.

    If you attack us for following the Land Covenant – you are guilty of Jew-hatred. The Jew who attacks other Jews who follow the Land Covenant are guilty of far worse.

  • Jeff Forsythe

    Ruvy, I surmised through study that there will be three assemblies on the Day of Judgment: one of meticulously righteous people, one of completely wicked people and one of inhabitants in between. The first assembly will be immediately inscribed for perpetual life; the second will be condemned in Gehinnom or Hell if you like, as it says, “And many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life and some to reproaches and everlasting abhorrence” [Daniel 12:2], the middle group will go down to Gehinnom and squeal and rise again, “And I will bring the third part through the fire, and will refine them as silver is refined, and will try them as gold is tried. They shall call on My name and I will answer them” Zechariah 13:9 ~ Babylonian Talmud, tractate Rosh Hashanah 16b-17a

    The school of Hillel recommended a more merciful view, in which the middle people are sent directly to Gan Eden, or Heaven if you like, instead of Gehinnom after death. Rabbi Hanina taught that all who go down to Gehinnom will rise eventually, with the acception of adulterers, those who shame others in public, and those who call their friends by an obnoxious name – Babylonian Talmud, tractate Baba Metzia 58b.

    The Talmud shows that all Israel will have a share in Olam Ha-Ba, but makes some prominent exceptions:

    While I was taught that all Israelites have a share in the world-to-come, they do not, nor should they assert that it was theirs exclusively. There is no resurrection of the dead prescribed in the Torah.

    I was also taught that one need not be Jewish to enjoy Heaven. “Moses Maimonides, echoing the Tosefta to Sanhedrin, maintained that the pious of all the nations of the world have a portion in the world-to-come – Mishneh Torah, Repentance 3:5.”

    Do not presume to throw your “enclyopedic” knowledge at me and not expect me to answer it. There is a vast difference between knowing something, and knowing what it means.

    Mr. Forsythe

  • http://www.RoseDigitalMarketing.com Christopher Rose

    Hey Doc, I’m surprised that you appear to need reminding that there is rather more than one island in the British Isles

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/dr-dreadful/ Dr Dreadful

    [sigh] Yes, Chris, I know. (I also know that you live on one of them.) I was generalizing for expediency’s sake.

  • http://www.maskedmoviesnobs.com El Bicho

    Welcome, Mr. Forsythe. You seem to have assessed the inmates quickly

  • http://www.RoseDigitalMarketing.com Christopher Rose

    You may know, Rob, but I doubt most of our regular readers do.

    As you’ll also know, I live on a nice warm-ish island in the south but unfortunately most of our islands are up there in the largely frozen north we know as Scotland.

    Right, that’s the geography lesson over, so you can all get back to your philosophical debate.

  • http://pajamasmedia.com/blog/author/danmiller/ Dan(Miller)

    With all the religious discussion about Heaven and Hell, particularly Comment # 51, I feel obliged to offer my own perceptions on those places, well stated by someone else, here.

    Dan(Miller)

    NB: Our four dogs have authorized me to state that they concur. Our cat has reservations and our horses have not committed themselves.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    Are you saying, Mr. Foresythe, understanding may be more important than knowledge?

    Strange notion in some circles.

  • Jeff Forsythe

    No you have misread my boy, I said knowing something is vastly different than understanding it.

    One can memorize anything without understanding it. One can memorize Bible verses to pass an exam without actually understanding what their moral implications are.

    Jeff

  • http://jetsgaypride.blogspot.com/ Jet Gardner

    After all I’ve been through and all of the prayers that have been offered to me from every sort of religion, I’m convinced that “ours” IS and artificial one.

  • Jeff Forsythe

    “Now they know how many holes it takes to fill the Albert Hall,” eh Mr. Rose?

  • Jeff Forsythe

    Cheers, um Mr. El Bicho?

    Jeff

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    #57: “Are you saying, Mr. Foresythe, understanding may be more important than knowledge?
    Strange notion in some circles.”

    #58: “No you have misread my boy, I said knowing something is vastly different than understanding it.”

    Thanks for clarifying it. They must speak a different language in Utopia.

  • Jeff Forsythe

    You have no idea Roger, you have no idea.

    Jeff

  • http://ruvysroost.blogspot.com Ruvy

    About comment #51:

    All this fancy stuff is nice. But Jeff, you miss the basics, which is what I attempted to get you to see. I believe it is a Christian saying though, “he who will not look will not see”, and you fit the bill to a “T”.

    Which assembly one winds up in for Judgment depends on how one fulfills adherence to the Three Covenants I pointed out to you, and the commandments in chapters 15, 16, 17, 18 & 19 in Leviticus.

    But hey, what do I know? I’m just a unletered Jew who lives his faith, that’s all…. You’re a sampler of faiths like bouillabaise or wine.

  • http://ruvysroost.blogspot.com Ruvy

    modéh aní l’fanékha….

  • http://ruvysroost.blogspot.com Ruvy

    That was unlettered Jew – not unletered – or unlitered – Jew….

  • Brian aka Guppusmaximus

    I will respond one comment at a time because I missed out on so much…

    @Ruvy

    Wow, for someone so full of the spirit of “G-d”, you definitely offer up way more violence then the atheists or “non-believers” that I know of. But, it’s nothing new. Your kind always offer violence as a solution! You follow the fictitious writing of people who probably had lower IQs then a f*cking goat and if those are the morals that you think need to be cemented in my society then I am glad you packed your sh!t and left the US when you did.

    “He’s batting way higher than you in the wisdom category, Brian.”

    That’s not saying much coming from someone who fills his short life up with such fairytale bullshit! Go on, keep being the enslaved, oh wise one…

  • Brian aka Guppusmaximus

    Here’s a snippet of some brilliant wisdom:

    “During many ages there were witches. The Bible said so. The Bible commanded that they should not be allowed to live. Therefore the Church, after doing its duty in but a lazy and indolent way for 800 years, gathered up its halters, thumbscrews, and firebrands, and set about its holy work in earnest. She worked hard at it night and day during nine centuries and imprisoned, tortured, hanged, and burned whole hordes and armies of witches, and washed the Christian world clean with their foul blood. Then it was discovered that there was no such thing as witches, and never had been. One does not know whether to laugh or to cry.” -Mark Twain

  • Brian aka Guppusmaximus

    @28,

    Makes sense, I understand where your coming from now.AND, I just wanna say that you’ve been the most delightful out of this bunch to talk to because you are truly analyzing this from a point of intelligence and not emotion. BUT, I guess, I still don’t believe that using such a simple minded tool as Religion would benefit anyone in the long run. For example, “Treat those how you would want to be treated yourself”, well, what happens then if you’re a Serial Killer?!

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    “the fictitious writing of people who probably had lower IQs then a f*cking goat . . .”

    Not necessarily, Brian. On some views, it was a means of preserving the hegemony of the priestly class. And imagine, it still works (on some) to this very day.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    Brian, your very notions of empathy and considering “the other” are at the root of Christ’s teachings. So you’ve got to be able to separate what individuals do, as well as the institutional aspects, from the idea of spirituality (for lack of a better word), or let’s just say, a sense of moral concern which make all of us better at being human.

    If you were to apply the same standard to other fields, you could just as easily condemn all politics and all practice of politics (judging by the results). But you shouldn’t dismiss the idea.

  • Mark

    parenthetical Dan, your link to your partisan pajamas article on ‘basics’ in the context of this piece is wonderfully absurd.

    You write, “If the incubus of leftist control is to be felled and the country is to revive, substantial change is needed.”

    Yup, I’m sure that we can all agree.

  • Mark

    “It strikes me as plausible that the basic moral teachings of traditional religions which succeeded over the centuries did so because their basic principles worked and were grounded in the nature of man.”

    Perhaps the principles worked because powerful priesthoods were able to manipulate ‘human nature’ to accept domination (see the first [couple of] commandments of our Judeo-christian tradition) as the natural order.

    ‘As above, so below': “I am your boss. You shall hold no other boss before me.”

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    #72,

    Indeed. Deliciously true in more than one way.

  • http://www.indyboomer46.blogspot.com Baritone

    Jeff #33

    “…if Israel falls it will bring forth the ending of days and Armageddon.”

    Therein lay the conundrum. It is just that supposed “end of days” christians covet. Only then will they all be “raptured” off to paradise while Jesus comes galloping down upon the heathens upon his great white steed brandishing a sword in each hand (or for the benefit of gun worshippers – two 50 caliber machine guns – it’s assumed that Jesus, in his long anticipated return, will be huge and “ripped” – having great abs, thereby being able to easily handle such hardware.)

    The point being, they should, if true to their beliefs, want to hasten the demise of Israel so they can reserve their seat on the paradise express.

    B

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    Nark,

    Importing the following from another thread:

    #120 – a regular feature of the first 2/3 of 20th century US economics when rising productivity corresponded with rising wages.

    # 122 Indeed. And that was the formula for building the wealth of nations and spreading prosperity, if not worldwide at first, than at least one nation at a time, times, in short, when capitalism was still “working.”

    So yes, it’s imperative to put one’s finger on what had changed.

    —————————————–

    So what do you suggest about restoring the proper balance?

  • http://www.indyboomer46.blogspot.com Baritone

    To Ruvy, everyone is a jew hater if they don’t lie down in abject supplication to all things Israeli.

    Well, if it means anyone who criticizes Israel – which BTW Ruvy does in volumes [self-hatred?] – is a jew hater, so be it.

    It’s getting to be a time when jews should start getting over themselves. Israel bullied its way into existence, and now expects everyone to bear the guilt of the holacaust and bend over at every turn.

    As I’ve stated before, historically there are reasons why jews have been hated, and it goes far beyond any connection with christ’s crucifixion. When any group of people purposefully and pointedly sets itself apart from the larger society as jews have done throughout much of their history, suspicions will arise – justified or not. It is simply human nature. By setting themselves apart from society, they also set themselves up as scapegoats and as convenient targets. Some jews, it seems, revel in their victimhood.

    Afro-Americans are now far less apt to “play the race card” than are jews apt to bring up the holacaust and other pograms against them. I certainly do not believe such actions were in any way just. But, given history and human nature, they are not without at least a seed of explanation.

    B

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/dr-dreadful/ Dr Dreadful

    Afro-Americans are now far less apt to “play the race card” than are jews apt to bring up the holacaust and other pograms against them.

    B-tone, for once I vehemently disagree with you. I’ve rarely heard or read a Jew do anything of the kind. (Unless you count Schindler’s List and similar movies.) Quite the contrary: Jews, I think, tend to want to keep their feelings about the Holocaust to themselves.

    Even our Ruvy seldom references it, unless someone brings the topic up.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    That may be so, Dreadful, but it’s still the determining aspect of the mindset, don’t you think?

  • http://www.indyboomer46.blogspot.com Baritone

    I must disagree Doc. The reference may not be made specifically, but it is, as Roger notes a significant part of the mind set. That is what Ruvy plays off of constantly.

    B

  • http://www.indyboomer46.blogspot.com Baritone

    I haven’t addressed the heart of Dan’s article, but will try to do so perhaps later this evening.

    In the interim, I’m wondering if we or any nation or large group were to adopt an “artificial” god, who would be allowed in on the joke as it were? Without getting too fraut with contention, suffice to say that such a move would require a monumental wall between the “knows” and the “don’t knows.”

    While perhaps an interesting mental exercise, the reality of trying such a thing is preposterous.

    B

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    Notice, Baritone, that Dan has yet to respond to some of the comments.

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/dr-dreadful/ Dr Dreadful

    The reference may not be made specifically

    Either it is or it isn’t, B-tone.

    But in my experience, Jews don’t harp on along the lines of ‘you gentile bastards murdered my people so you’d better be nice to me’.

    For the record, while we’re on the subject, I completely support Israel’s right not only to exist but to every square inch of the territory she now occupies. I also think she’s shown more than reasonable restraint both in her internal dealings with Palestine and in the wider Middle East region.

    I’m entirely aligned with Ruvy on that score. His nonsense about the rest of the world is where he loses me.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    It’s not an issue of playing a “race card” per se. However, the insistence on the Chosen People stuff and the idea of separatedness from the entire human community implies playing a race card (and a sense of victimhood).

  • Jeff Forsythe

    Doc puts forward a valid point of which I have droned on about at length. Israel does deserve every square kilometer they occupy. Where I disagree is that Israeli Jews seem to have recently begun asserting that they are not only equal to their fellows, but are some sort of “master-race” that is solely entitled to enter the kingdom of heaven because of their past martyrdom above we simple people.

    Jeff

  • STM

    Dan, I said that nevertheless, the American people do have rule of law and a voice at the ballot box on their side and what I meant was, they seem unable to accept it.

    I am suggesting that the governments they democratically vote in don’t always seem that democratic (in the modern sense, not the ancient Greek).

    Hope that clears the air.

  • http://pajamasmedia.com/blog/author/danmiller/ Dan(Miller)

    Thanks, STM, for the clarification.

    Roger, re Comment # 83

    Once upon a time, when I was new to BlogCritics, I tended to respond to most comments. My position on that has evolved. Now, I tend to respond only to comments to which I think that a response would serve some useful purpose. I follow the same policy on other blogs where I write articles or post comments.

    Simply repeating what I said in an article would (should) insult the commenter by suggesting that he had posted a comment without reading the article. Should a comment seem to require clarification of something in the article or in one of my comments, I try to provide it.

    I don’t consider that comments disparaging others, or me, need a response. I have developed rather thick skin and others are quite capable of responding to comments disparaging them if they wish.

    Sometimes, social chit-chat is fun and I respond; most of the time I don’t bother.

    Comments which do little more than complain that I have a conservative or otherwise disagreeable mindset state the obvious; I know that and anyone who bothers to read my articles here and elsewhere knows as well. it would be a waste of my time, and that of anyone who bothered to read my response, were I to post one.

    I try to respond to comments which I think warrant a response, when I have the time to do so. During our rainy season, generally from early-May through mid-December, it rains a lot (eight inches already this month) and there are thunderstorms, sometimes violent. When they are nearby, I turn off my computer. I do so because I have spent about $1,000 replacing stuff damaged by lightning. This problem is most frequent during the afternoons and occasionally during the evenings. I find it necessary to be economical with my computer time.

    Dan(Miller)

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    Well, I find your article more interesting than usual, in that it poses some interesting questions. I’m sorry that you don’t think so.

  • http://ruvysroost.blogspot.com Ruvy

    Baritone,

    I’ll reply to your comment #78 simply because it displays the level to which you have sunk in purposely misreading everything I write. In doing so, your ignorance grows by leaps and bounds.

    So far as I’m concerned, the Nazi murder of my people (along with 6 million others who did not necessarily deserve to die) is done and over with. The Jews in exile and here who worship the “Holocaust” and their own victimization disgust me and are fools. However, this does not mean that I will forget or forgive. I won’t. But, it’s over, and it is long time to move on – bearing in mind that anybody who wants to reprise Hitler’s role should be nuked – by us. While we Jews move on, hopefully bringing the world to a Full Redemption that will be peaceful and joyous rather than filled with war and death, there is no reason for us to take that kind of shit ever again from anybody. Full stop.

    The same thing applies to the pogromniks of Russia, who deserve to be killed if they seek to reprise their vicious riots against my people, and the various Jew-haters in Europe who attack Jews daily. However, the Jews in these countries, if they are too stupid or too stubborn or delusional to leave these graveyards of Judaism, and if they are too cowardly to meet violence with violence deserve what they get until they absorb the lesson – AND COME HOME TO ISRAEL. What Jews face in Europe and Russia, they will soon face in America. And what I have said above will then apply to these Jews as well.

    Israel is the Destiny of the Jewish People, and of all the Children of Israel. Anybody who attacks our resettlement of our land is a Jew-hater – an enemy.

    That said, not all enemies are the same. Different classes of enemies need to be treated differently. The Pashtun, many of whom hate the State of Israel because they have been propagandized to do so, need to be won over with the extended hand of brotherhood. The Pashtun are fellow Children of Israel, and they know it.

    Most “Palestinian” Arabs who live in Judea as well as in Jordan were once Jews who were forced to convert under the lash of pressure from the Turk. And they know it, too. They also need to be won over with the extended hand of brotherhood. This bullshit about “two states for two peoples” is based on a lie, and gradually, Jews are exposing that lie among the Arabs who live in Judea and Samaria. Planting the bomb of truth to blow up the rotting embers of the bullshit fed Arabs is another step in going on the offensive against our real enemies – who are not Arabs, but those Americans and Europeans who encourage and enable their enmity to our country..

    Those two classes of people – “lost tribes” and Muslims or Christians forced to be so and forced to leave Judaism – need to be reached out to and brought back to the fold gently.

    As for the rest of the world, the following applies: “he who curses Israel will be cursed, and he who blesses Israel will be blessed.”

  • http://pajamasmedia.com/blog/author/danmiller/ Dan(Miller)

    Ruvy,

    As for the rest of the world, the following applies: “he who curses Israel will be cursed, and he who blesses Israel will be blessed.”

    I don’t “bless” Israel, but I consider that her survival as a Jewish — yes, Jewish — state is very important. Does that count? Or am I to be condemned to some species of purgatory or worse?

    I can’t understand those who support Islamic states but have a problem with a Jewish state.

    Dan(Miller)

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    You’re building a strawman, Dan Miller. Besides, that’s not what your article is about.

    Nice diversion.

  • http://ruvysroost.blogspot.com Ruvy

    Dan,

    Your statement above is k’ílu (like) a blessing. Take your cue from that.

  • http://ruvysroost.blogspot.com Ruvy

    Roger,

    Dan is not building a strawman, nor is he conduction a diversion – he is agreeing with me. I appreciate the support.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    Yes he is, insofar as he is considering bigot positions from either side.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    And the diversion pertains to some poignant questions I put to him concerning his article. I suppose he’s not comfortable discussing some of the issues he raised. But if he is uncomfortable discussing them and follow thought, then my question is: Why write an article in the first place?

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    follow through . . .

  • http://pajamasmedia.com/blog/author/danmiller/ Dan(Miller)

    Roger, re # 95-96

    I am quite comfortable speaking to the various issues I raised in the article and in the comments. I don’t consider your various comments purporting to psychoanalyze me worth a response. If you would be so kind as to give me the numbers of the other comments to which you think I should respond, I shall try to do so.

    As to my response to Ruvy’s comment, it dovetails nicely with the article. Although I don’t think a Jewish state would be suitable for the United States, it seems quite reasonable for Israel. I understand that even secular Jews, of whom I have known many, value their Jewish heritage — just as I argued that even secular citizens of the United States should value their Jewish-Christian heritage.

    Dan(Miller)

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    I wasn’t psychoanalyzing you, Dan. It’s a cop-out. In fact, I am very sympathetic with your overall intent of trying to restore a sense of decency to our political life and discourse.

    I just happen to think that your search for grounding everyday, common morality in an “as-if deity” interesting. I wasn’t trying to put you on a defensive.

    And BTW, I don’t think that Ruvy’s detour dovetails at all: it’s a peripheral issue at best.

  • http://pajamasmedia.com/blog/author/danmiller/ Dan(Miller)

    Re # 98 — Roger,

    That’s a relief. I recently retained Gag Halfrunt, Zaphod Beeblerox’s personal brain care specialist, and I wouldn’t want him to feel superseded. He is, after all, my second semi-cousin twice removed.

    As to the Ruvy detour, you and I disagree.

    Anyway, I’m happy that you are not displeased with my overall intent of trying to restore a sense of decency to our political life and discourse.

    Such a restoration seems appropriate.

    Dan(Miller)

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    Whatever pleases you, Dan. I thought it would be nice to discuss the implications of your article. So do let me know when you’re up to it.

  • http://pajamasmedia.com/blog/author/danmiller/ Dan(Miller)

    Roger, re #100

    In #97 I said, If you would be so kind as to give me the numbers of the other comments to which you think I should respond, I shall try to do so.

    Dan(Miller)

    NB: Gosh darn! I hate repeating myself

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    Dan,

    I think I expressed the point of departure in # 98.

    Can’t we take it from there?

  • http://pajamasmedia.com/blog/author/danmiller/ Dan(Miller)

    Roger, re #102 — I will try, tomorrow morning, to respond to your #98. I’m an old fart, and its getting to be time for me to go to bed and read a bit.

    I assume you want me to expound upon your comment in #98 that And BTW, I don’t think that Ruvy’s detour dovetails at all: it’s a peripheral issue at best.

    I appreciate your statements,

    I am very sympathetic with your overall intent of trying to restore a sense of decency to our political life and discourse.

    I just happen to think that your search for grounding everyday, common morality in an “as-if deity” interesting. I wasn’t trying to put you on a defensive.

    I thought that I had responded to the part your comment pertinent to Ruvy’s position and my comment concerning it, but tomorrow morning I shall give it another shot.

    Dan(Miller)

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    Fair enough, Dan. I think it’s a good idea.

  • http://ruvysroost.blogspot.com Ruvy

    Ruvy’s diversion? No, Roger. Baritone decided to attack me, and I answered him. I diverted nothing, and would have said nothing had Baritone not attacked me. But I won’t tolerate deliberate distortions of what I say in silence.

    This is Baritone’s diversion. Maybe his knee was acting up – or he had an acid stomach or something. I wouldn’t know. He writes like a cranky liberal. Or a liberal crank.

    But let’s be clear here, since I’m on the topic. I don’t give a tinker’s damn why Jews or other Children of Israel are hated. That is not my problem. MY PROBLEM, what matters to me, is that those who do the hating don’t actualize that hatred so as to hurt us. If they do, they deserve a response that is painful, insulting, preventative and educational.

    No Jew should spend his time answering to beer willing slobs who go scream Christ-killer, or who are jealous of our intellectual achievements, or bloodthirsty fools incited by angry an hateful imams or anything else. What I learned from the time I spent with Rav Meir Kahane, may his soul be for a blessing and his blood avenged at the Hand of G-d, is that such shit deserve a bullet that costs no more than NIS 1.50. NIS 1.60 is too much to spend on such trash.

    That is not hatred. That is the healthy arrogance required to survive in what is yet a hateful world.

  • zingzing

    “Judeo-Christian religion in the United States is far from dead, but other religions are increasingly viable. In addition to Radical Islam (“eighty percent of the prisoners who ‘find faith’ in prison convert to Islam,” generally of the radical kind), Leftism, Multiculturalism, Progressivism and […] the Church of Global Warming […] Mere ideologies perhaps, aside from Radical Islam, but their adherents bring religious passion to their dogmas and consider it churlish, if not criminal, to question them. While the Judeo-Christian religions remain vibrant, the others seem not only indignant but overtly hostile; there is at least a chance that they will prevail, if not soon then eventually.” (dan)

    vs.

    “my overall intent of trying to restore a sense of decency to our political life and discourse.” (dan via roger)

    sigh. then why point out one side’s faults while ignoring the sins of your side? unless you’re wrapping up everything done in the name of conservatism under the almighty banner of “god…”

    “Baritone decided to attack me, and I answered him. I diverted nothing, and would have said nothing had Baritone not attacked me. But I won’t tolerate deliberate distortions of what I say in silence.” (ruvy)

    vs.

    “No Jew should spend his time answering to beer willing slobs who go scream Christ-killer, or who are jealous of our intellectual achievements, or bloodthirsty fools incited by angry an hateful imams or anything else.” (ruvy)

    sigh. make up your mind.

    more ruvy: “That is not hatred.”

    yeah, wanting to kill people for hating you is hatred. you’re just as bad, and feeding their fire, which feeds your fire. good luck dousing that flame. it’s too dumb to know it’s time to go out.

    and no one is a “jew-hater” because they disagree with the state of israel. you disagree with israel’s actions as much as any of us do, although for opposing reasons. a lot of people don’t believe that your “land covenant” is anything but myth. it didn’t actually happen. a spiritual deity did not make some ancient real estate deal with your people. all that happened was that a person, some thousands of years ago, wrote down a sentence that you, thousands of years later, have decided to base your life on. but if someone doesn’t believe that fantasy, and politically disagrees with your steadfast belief in it, that doesn’t mean they hate you.

    “That is the healthy arrogance required to survive in what is yet a hateful world.”

    and don’t your arab neighbors know it…

  • zingzing

    as an addendum to your “if you don’t believe in the ‘land covenant,’ you’re a jew-hater” argument, i’ll say that if you don’t believe in unicorns, you hate 8-year-old girls. 8-year-olds, dude.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    I didn’t notice the discrepancy, zing. Still, I’m extending Dan credit for putting his finger on the nature of our/America’s problem: it’s not just an economic crisis; it’s a moral crisis.

  • http://ruvysroost.blogspot.com Ruvy

    zing,

    “That is the healthy arrogance required to survive in what is yet a hateful world.”

    and don’t your arab neighbors know it….

    You have more surprises coming your way. You just don’t realize it…. But I need to work on the articles explaining those surprises first. Gimme a few days….

  • Mark

    “…intent of trying to restore a sense of decency to our political life and discourse.”

    Nonsense. The intent is to battle the ‘incubus’.

    It’s always a emboldening to have an ersatz god by your side in an argument. Thus, Dan feels comfortable characterizing the left as demonic. Nothing decent here.

  • Mark

    Rog #76 – Godly Capitalism has been grinding towards its Armageddon for a while. Restore balance? How about, ‘Always forward; never back.’

    Worker democratic control of the product of labor is a place to start.

  • Mark

    Ruvy, follow your own advice; write about what you know. Save your talk of killing until you have blood on your hands.

  • http://ruvysroost.blogspot.com Ruvy

    yeah, wanting to kill people for hating you is hatred.

    Ruvy, follow your own advice; write about what you know. Save your talk of killing until you have blood on your hands.

    Obviously, neither of you know how to read. Go back to fuckin’ kintergarten or get a good pair of glasses!

    Let’s repeat this for the slow kids at the back of the class.

    I don’t give a tinker’s damn why Jews or other Children of Israel are hated. That is not my problem. MY PROBLEM, what matters to me, is that those who do the hating don’t actualize that hatred so as to hurt us. IF THEY DO, they deserve a response that is painful, insulting, preventative and educational.

    That is not hatred – that is the arrogance needed to survive in a dog-eat-dog world where hate is as common as dust. The willingness to kill – at a moment’s notice – is what will keep me from having to. It will allow me to offer my hand in friendship to people who seem to be my enemies and to seek peace with them, make peace with them, and live in peace with them.

  • Mark

    “What I learned from the time I spent with Rav Meir Kahane, may his soul be for a blessing and his blood avenged at the Hand of G-d, is that such shit deserve a bullet that costs no more than NIS 1.50. NIS 1.60 is too much to spend on such trash.”

    Ruvy, my comment was made with ‘good intentions’.

  • zingzing

    as mark points out in #114, you need to learn how to read what you write.

    and i said in #106, make up your mind.

    talk about the slow kid at the back of the class… sheeeesh.

    “The willingness to kill – at a moment’s notice – is what will keep me from having to.”

    you’ve read too many comic books or something.

  • Mark

    “The willingness to kill – at a moment’s notice – is what will keep me from having to.”

    As in ‘War is peace’

    More nonsense. The willingness to kill is what gets people killed.

    But my point is a personal one, Ruvy.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    I’m going to re-read Dan’s article, then.

  • Mark

    Beware of conservative wolves dressed up as lambs of god.

  • zingzing

    roger: “it’s not just an economic crisis; it’s a moral crisis.”

    first of all, it’s an economic crisis, not a moral crisis. and even if it was a moral crisis, which it’s not (unless you consider the greed of those who got us in this mess, but that hardly matters anymore), if the right wants to start legislating morality (again), they’re going to find out very quickly how stupid that is.

  • http://delibernation.com Silas Kain

    Wow. I’ve been very deliberate in considering that which I am about to share. I guess where I want to start is with the notion of “if” there is no God. There IS a God. Of that I have no doubt. It is defining exactly what or who “God” is — I am inclined to believe that we are really incapable of comprehending the Divine. We are the 386 chip in a Core i7 universe. We’re not hard wired for that portion of the trip in our evolution.

    Christ, in His own words, pretty much lays the foundation in the separation of Church and State by His declaration, “Render unto Caesar the things which are Caesar’s, and unto God the things that are God’s”. Unfortunately organized religion has a tendency to become political because it is governed by frail humans. In studying religions of the world we can quickly see how politics becomes a major factor in how organized religions are operated. This was true at the time of Christ (Sadducees), in the Middle Age Roman Church (the Borgias), and today with the Taliban.

    Individual faith and secular governance can coexist without incidence when leaders of both divorce themselves from the other. Religion has no place in American political theater yet we have this misinformed assumption that the United States is a country ordained by the Divine. In my mind this is a direct affront to the Divine.

    I try to approach my view of the Divine from the point of logic. In my mind the Divine is about balance. That energy which powers this Universe must be in balance for in chaos there can be no Universal order. Until we arrive at a point in the physical world where we recognize that there must be balance, we will never come close to an intimate understanding of God.

    Referring back to my days in high school studying religion and philosophy the words of Sister Ronald reverberate in my mind. The Old Testament is full of symbolism. Wade through that symbolism. Read other writings of the time which are not included. Compare the symbols. Compare the words. You will find the Ultimate Truth or as much as you are capable of understanding.

    As explosive as Ruvy’s words may be at times, I continue to marvel at his tenacity and faith. It’s genuine. That’s something that is lacking in the fundamentalist Christian community and in the Muslim world. If one stops even for a moment and examines the history of the Jews one can clearly understand Ruvy’s perspective. How do the Children of Israel fit into today’s world? I don’t know. For me that is a dogmatic matter best left to theologians. From a secular point of view, I do believe that Israel must exist after the centuries of abuse suffered. And in recognizing the same, I steadfastly believe that Palestine must exist as well, not in opposition to Israel, but in harmony.

    Last weekend I had the good fortune to spend an evening in an art gallery. I loved it. It was such a delightful break from politics and cable news. While the President was joking at the White House Correspondent’s Dinner and NYC Police were diffusing a bomb threat, I marveled at art. What a nice change of pace. And for a few hours I experienced “God” in a different way by appreciating the simpler things in life and the intrinsic beauty which is present even in the most mundane of “things”. So, in the end, where is this so-called “God”? As complicated as the answer may be, it’s simple for me. By finding balance in our individuality, we find “God”.

    A Reading from the Book of Silas. Amen.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    Missing my point, zing. You’re looking through the liberal lenses.

    I’m not speaking from the vantage point of Dan Miller. In fact, I may have misread Dan in this respect, believing him to be addressing the moral crisis in general (whereas I see that he may well have reserved this description just for the Right). But yes, what started as an economic crisis (and continues to be so) has evolved into a moral crisis (not in any sense attributed to it by the Right or the Left) but moral (not religious) in the ordirnary sense of the term.

    To wit, just as a person may be in a grip of a moral crisis, so can a nation.

    I suggest you re-read the article in the National Review (as per one of Dan’s links): very eye-opening.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    Mark, concerning #111:

    That would have been the right move forty years ago when we still had a formidable productive capacity. However, all that has been transferred offshore.

    Capitalism has syphoned all the wealth it possibly could from the working class in the West; and now it’s in the process of syphoning whatever labor and material resources there remain in the Third World.

    I see no other recourse but a straightout acquisition of all the capital resources; dissolve all major corporations.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    Silas – you should have stuck to your gut reaction and abstained. This is a secular discussion, and you’re playing into the hands of the enemy.

  • zingzing

    sigh. roger, what do you mean by a moral crisis?

  • Mark

    Because capitalists move their investment capital overseas, therefore the productive capacity of this ‘country’ evaporates. It’s a mirage, Rog.

    “I see no other recourse but a straightout acquisition of all the capital resources…”

    Agreed, but by whom?

    “…dissolve all major corporations.”

    Leave the corporations to their workers. Dissolve all major governments.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    Sorry, zing, if your lingo has become too politicized. I’m speaking ordinary English.

  • Mark

    It’s a sleigh of hands to present our moral crisis as independent of our economic crisis or vise versa. This is one of those overdeterministic concept pairs.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    The capital dictates, Mark, where the factories are going to be and the labor pool. I’m not saying that productive capacity is not recoverable in the West – only addressing the present situation.

    “Leave the corporations to their workers.”

    And how do you propose to accomplish that other than by meanss of political authority?

    Politics is not irrediemable under more congenial circumstances; it is corrupt under the present setup.

  • zingzing

    where’s the moral crisis? i’m just not sure what you’re talking about, roger. completely in the dark.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    I did not present it as an independent phenomenon but as a consequent.

    Dan may have done the former.

    Good point, though.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    Zing,

    You’ve got to be able to distinquish morality from religion, especially from the “Moral Majority.” That’s not at all what I’m talking about; and your inability to discern the meaning only shows the extent to which your understanding has been politicized.

  • Mark

    “And how do you propose to accomplish that other than by means of political authority?”

    The question is how to protect workers who have the audacity to ‘expropriate the expropriators’ from existing political authority.

  • zingzing

    good god, roger. just tell me what you’re talking about. what moral crisis? there are so many ways you can take that. haiti is a moral crisis. suicide is a moral crisis. losing one’s religion is a moral crisis. all i see is the words “moral crisis” with no explanation of what you mean by it.

  • Mark

    zing, you pointed to an example of the moral crisis above when you brought up the greed trap. I’m not sure why you dissed it as irrelevant.

  • zingzing

    because that’s not some example of a morally degenerate nation. it’s a few greedy fatcats. and we’re not going to change them. all we can do is change their ability to pull the same stunt. they’ll find another. but there’s no way we can make them less greedy. trying to change the morals of these individuals is a waste of time. if we try to change the morals of the country before first fixing the economy, the economy will just slide further south.

    this is an economic crisis. the “moral crisis,” if indeed this is what roger refers to, and if it does indeed exist beyond this shallow layer, is like complaining about a stubbed toe when you’ve got colon cancer.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    zing, I must have heard it before countless times, but it was an epiphany for me. For some reason, Dan’s article and the link to the National Review article triggered it.

    I’m not just talking about the limited point Mark raises – about greed or whatever. Those people are beyond repair. I’m talking about ordinary Americans who have lost the ground from under their feet – not just those who have been laid off and are unlikely to become fully employed again but yet – even the teapartiers as well.

    In fact, one way of accounting for the confusion withing the movement, lack of unified messages, etc., etc., – indeed, even the lunatic fringe – is precisely becuase these people are in the grip of a moral crisis – individually and collectively – except they don’t realize the nature of their ailment. America is no longer what they believed it to be, and yes, they are going through a kind of shock.

    Mark, perhaps you can explain it to him better.

  • Mark

    “it’s a few greedy fat cats.”

    No, it’s the logic of capitalist production and acquisition reaching a limit.

    “…there’s no way we can make them less greedy.”

    So why bother? We don’t need them to make our business decisions for us.

    Here’s the concept: hey you warped pricks (many of whom I’m sure are nice guys), you’re fired.

  • http://pajamasmedia.com/blog/author/danmiller/ Dan(Miller)

    Roger, re Comment #98, And BTW, I don’t think that Ruvy’s detour dovetails at all: it’s a peripheral issue at best.

    That seems to be an attempt to respond to my #97, stating: As to my response to Ruvy’s comment, it dovetails nicely with the article. Although I don’t think a Jewish state would be suitable for the United States, it seems quite reasonable for Israel. I understand that even secular Jews, of whom I have known many, value their Jewish heritage — just as I argued that even secular citizens of the United States should value their Jewish-Christian heritage.

    In #102, you said: I think I expressed the point of departure in # 98.

    So, here is an attempt at elaboration on how and why Ruvy’s “detour” is not a detour, and dovetails nicely with the article. The article suggests that moral and social precepts grounded in the Jewish and Christian religions, as now generally practiced by believers, are a wholesome part of the heritage of the United States and that respecting them would be a good idea in the United States, even for those of us who recognize no God. I don’t know whether precepts based on her Jewish heritage would function well in Israel, which I have never visited. I don’t even know to what extent they are currently practiced in Israel, which I understand is in many respects a secular rather than Jewish state. That’s among the reasons why I said in the article,

    My frame of reference, lest there be any doubt, is countries which, like the United States, have their roots in the Judeo-Christian religion but don’t enforce an official state religion. Other countries might fare better than at present under such an Artificial God, but I lack sufficient familiarity with them to offer even remotely useful suggestions.

    As I tried to indicate in comment #97, it seems reasonable to me for Israel to honor her Jewish heritage and for her people, secular as well as religious, to deem it the foundation of their society. While it seems reasonable to me, that probably isn’t worth much. It’s up to them.

    It is unfortunately necessary for Israel to defend herself from outsiders who demand that she conform to their desires and that she abandon her sovereignty over all or part of Israel. The media and various Islamic states tend to side against Israel’s attempts to do so, even though her actions have been defensive in nature. Were people in Mexico to try to “take back” Texas and California by lobbing missiles and dispatching suicide bombers to do so violently, I should hope that the United States would defend herself. Were the United States to claim parts of Canada in that fashion, I should hope that Canada would defend herself.

    I don’t understand the reasoning behind attacks on Israel as a Jewish state or as a state based on her Jewish heritage by states which are themselves Islamic, and place numerous restrictions on peaceful activities of non-Islamists. Israel seems to me to have responded very modestly and even extraordinarily “proportionately” to those who would eliminate her. She does not fire missiles at them or dispatch suicide bombers to conquer new territory; if they were to cease such activities, she would not need to respond to them. The Obama administration seems quite prepared to demand that Israel facilitate the “peace process” by giving up parts of her territory and making other concessions, while making only subdued and pro forma objections to terrorist attacks on Israel. As a consequence, the demands of those supportive of Palestine have intensified; that does not promote the “peace process,” if that’s what it is.

    Dan(Miller)

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    Again, who will do the firing, Mark? You need political authority to rein in on the economic powers.

  • Mark

    “You need political authority to rein in on the economic powers.”

    No; again, you need protection from it.

    “…who will do the firing”

    Hopefully their erstwhile workers and not Monsieur Guillotine.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    Mark, I’m still pondering your #132.

  • http://www.401kfundadvice.com Jeff

    Baritone,

    Not all us Christians covet this end time fallacy as you suggest….much is yet to be interpreted correctly.

    The following, however, has no room for interpretation. He died on a cross and rose again. If this is to be believed, it is indeed a “game-changer.”

    If not, I stand with the great preacher, Paul…..”we are of all men the most pitiable.”

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    You mean physical takeover, then, a kind of revolution?

    BTW, in this connection, look Richard Marcus’s latest article in Politics. I’ll provide one particular link shortly.

  • Mark

    “You mean physical takeover, then, a kind of revolution?”

    While some start-ups are beginning to experiment with worker direction/management, I don’t see an underemployed population waiting around while their interests are ignored.

    …however — Wendy’s still serves up a double for a buck…the capitalists are safe for now.

  • Mark

    (…its interests)

  • Baronius

    You guys are drifting toward the heart of the question. Let me obnoxiously step in and point out where you’re headed.

    Dan made three implicit assumptions in his article: that we had a common moral code, that we don’t any more, and that the loss of it was harmful. Roger seems to have bought into all three assumptions – I’m surprised about #3. I don’t know if Zing would buy into any of the propositions, but if he does accept the first two, he’d definitely reject the third. Both Zing and Silas identify the old moral code with the Moral Majority.

    Ultimately, we probably can’t even have this disucssion if we don’t have a similar concept of morality or ethics (terms that I consider to be interchangable).

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    OK, here’s the link. I hope it works. The relevant quote:

    In the battle for corporate profit, it is the workers and their communities which end up as collateral damage. Across the globe, capital is protecting cash reserves and shareholder dividends while schools are shut down, citizens are bankrupted and homes foreclosed. When one considers the loyalty and accountability of Smurfit-Stone and Macy’s workers for many years, we wonder: where is the accountability of these corporations? Is it naïve to believe that any corporation would prioritize people above profit?

    To test the idea that a corporation cares about its people, we suggest that Smurfit-Stone Container Corporation turns the keys to this supposedly “unprofitable” mill over to the workers as their severance package. With keys the workers could then reopen the mill, recuperate their jobs, and use the profits to invest in their operations instead of multi-million dollar salaries for inept executives. Let’s see if the long-term and competent workers of Stone Container can run the mill more effectively when they don’t have to pay unwarranted salaries to executives and fund the spending habits of billionaire owner’s like Sir Michael Smurfit. Also, the mill workers could consider their own direction into the future as a worker-owned mill and the best use of the wealth and property they produced.

    It is understandable that people are confused, angry and hurt that their perilous situation was exploited by hoaxers. The question is, who should we really be angry at? And if these corporations won’t throw Missoula a party perhaps we should throw our own. And if these corporations can’t guarantee basic job security and dignity because they value only profit, then maybe we need to explore new ways of managing ourselves, rather than waiting for them to do the right thing. Perhaps we can take charge of our own future.

    Isn’t it up to us try to answer these questions? Can we sit down together as a community and begin talking about how we want to live? Can we do this without politicians, managers, and bosses dominating the conversation?

    Also look into the following.

    PS: I’ll respond to the intermittent comments shortly.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    “I don’t see an underemployed population waiting around while their interests are ignored.”

    Neither do I, so at least we’re on the same page here.

    Do you care to answer Baronius’s positing of the obstacles standing in the way of reaching a modicum of consensus here – i.e., about “the standard of morality” and/or “moral relativity”?

  • Mark

    I blame the godless communists.

  • Jeff Forsythe

    Mark, if I consider myself godless does that make me a communist?

    Mr. Forsythe

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    I guess Baronius’s bait is off the table, is it, Mark?

    As regards the other issue, Greece should serve as a crucible, and the proper thrust of the protest ought to be physical takeover of plants, banks, etc.

    A question: would the government idly stand by?

    Would it stand by in the US – even under this “liberal” administration or send the National Guard instead.

    The kind of scenario you’re envisaging is one comparable to the one when the National Guard was dispatch to guarantee the integration in education – which one all-important twist.

    The workers would be taking possession of the facilities while the National Guard would stand by to protect the takeover.

    For some reason, it’s difficult to envisage such a possibility just yet.

  • Doug Hunter

    #149

    They were responsible for the greatest genocides in human history. Hitler is the only other coming close and he was fairly hostile to religion (as with any other alternate avenue of power). Let’s give em a pass though becuase atheism is yet young, and we all know the left only has the best interests at heart.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    Suspending #150 and #152 for a while, Mark, don’t you think Baronius’s bait deserves an answer?

  • http://delibernation.com Silas Kain

    Baronius, to me in the secular world that which is moral is equivalent to a common sense approach. Do no intentional harm to others. Encourage a free market in an atmosphere which has boundaries and a level playing field whereby anyone who wishes to participate may do so and reap the reward of hard work and sound business practice. Government’s role should be limited to defense, laying out the foundation by which the games are played and insuring that no entity becomes “too big to fail”. That’s it. Government is not a moral authority. Morality is not objective — it is rooted in belief systems. We’ve taken the word “moral” and have applied a varying array of definitions to the same. We’ve complicated that which is quite simple. Ethics, however, are quite logical when applied correctly in a transparent manner. One can be “immoral” in one’s individual actions whist maintaining ethical practices in public.

    Matthew 7:15 Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves. The wolves are out there, especially in the Moral Majority.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    I see you took the bait, Silas. I was hoping you wouldn’t.

    Still, your exposition doesn’t address the notion of “moral crisis.” I’d argue it’s a somewhat distinct notion, and that it stands on its own two feet.

    Don’t you think so?

  • Jeff Forsythe

    Well expressed Silas. I have found through personal experience that it is a rare occasion when “religious morality” and “common sense” intertwine without a massive amount of conflict.

    Mr. Forsythe

  • Mark

    (“Mark, don’t you think Baronius’s bait deserves an answer?”

    Yes, but a careful one in which the distinction can be seen for the canard that it is. The shared morality the loss of which Dan bemoans is the morality of the ‘ruling class’.

    The intent of the golden rule in today’s translation is: ‘treat your boss as you would be treated were you his boss’)

  • http://ruvysroost.blogspot.com Ruvy

    I think what all you guys really need is a falafel break. This is in Hebrew with English subs but one small item is missing. Towards the end of this video, you will see a chart with an arrow going upwards and a term in Hebrew. The term, avtalá means unemployment.

    Have fun!

  • Mark

    Jeff, were you really looking for an answer to #150?

  • http://ruvysroost.blogspot.com Ruvy

    By the way, if I might be a just a bit gracious, thank you, both Silas and Dan for you kind words.

  • Doug Hunter

    #151

    Legalizing theft… genius. Another wonderful idea from the left. Why not allow theft on a micro scale as well? (hint: they’re both bad ideas and largely for the same reason)

  • http://ruvysroost.blogspot.com Ruvy

    And zing, when I saw the video I linked to, I was thinking of you….

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    I don’t need any break, Ruvy, when I’m on fire. That’s when I function best.

    Can’t speak for the others, however. Perhaps too much heat for them.

  • Mark

    #161…like it isn’t legal already.

    Thou shalt not steal (from your boss even if he steals from you)

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    Doug is just another victim, of the crisis, albeit he doesn’t know it. Their values are being shuttered and they’re all panicking.

    At last I’m beginning to understand the main source of the conservative’s unrest. Indeed, the ground is moving under their feet.

  • zingzing

    baronius, when did americans EVER have a “common moral code?”

  • Jeff Forsythe

    The homecoming of Israel’s exiles to Zion was conceived to be a messianic occurrence In Jewish prayers and principle, providentially determined by the will of God, at God’s selected hour. Therefore that would make the Zionist scheme rather usurpation of God’s will and without a doubt a stain of heretical impatience on their part, not to speak of sinful hubris? Regardless of its secular passion and profane achievements, is Zionism to be ultimately conceived as the longed-for redemption?

    And with Jewish sovereignty reestablished, another outstanding question concerns the theological significance of the very adjective “Jewish” when functionally applied to a nation’s affairs conducted according to strict secular principles and considerations.

    Does the holiness of the territory remove it from ordinary geopolitical considerations? Does not the commandment to honor the land as the locus of the heavenly promise to the people of Israel supersede all pragmatic, even ethical, approaches to solving the quarrel with the Arab residents of the land, who have their own competing national claims to the nation state? With such a situation of total refusal to listen to reason can sovereignty over the land or heaven be shared with non Jews?

    Mr. Forsythe

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    “The shared morality the loss of which Dan bemoans is the morality of the ‘ruling class’.”

    Great point. One might add it’s also the morality of all who have, once upon a time, believed in the American Dream.

    Now, here is a twist. It’s not the ruling class that is experiencing any kind of crisis, economic or moral – for their “morality” was a kind of morality applicable to the members of the same country club.

    But the crisis is real and most formidable on the part of the hoi poloi – all those who believes.

    So in essence, the National Review article (as per Dan’s link) is an appeal to the hoi poloi – the good old-fashioned Americans – not to succumb to depresssion or panic but to keep on believing in the “good ole morality” and the capitalist class will surely pull ‘em through. And the sky will be blue again.

    Very incisive.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    #166,

    Zing, you’re falling into a trap.

  • http://delibernation.com Silas Kain

    Perhaps it is that I do not believe we are in a “moral crisis”. We are having an identity crisis. From faith to politics, humanity is at the crossroads. It’s not easy to let go of that which we have blindly accepted. It is not easy to admit that the system in its present form is not flawed it is failing. “Morality” is such an easy buzz word which implies so much yet in our society it means very little when you get to the root of what ails us.

    And now I am off to lunch. And, thinking of Ruvy here, I am having my favorite — falafel, tabouleh and babaganoush with some marble halva for desert! lech chaim!

  • Jeff Forsythe

    and bicarbonate of soda!

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    Silas, you’re either complicating things too much or being purposefully obtuse. I would expect better of you.

    You don’t need to bring religion into the picture, nor any methaphysical theories, whether with respect to ethics or religion.

    Forget all of the above. I’m speaking ordinary language – nothing fancy.

    What part of “no” don’t you understand?

  • Jeff Forsythe

    Mr. Nowosielski, when I first initially joined some of the converstations on this site, it was speculated that I was actually you “minus your meds, or Mr. Kain.

    I’m going to take that as a compliment.

    Jeff

  • http://ruvysroost.blogspot.com Ruvy

    Jeff, rather than waste bandwidth on an unrelated topic, let’s send you here and here. Both articles together will address the issues you raise.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    “It’s not easy to let go of that which we have blindly accepted. It is not easy to admit that the system in its present form is not flawed it is failing.”

    Of course it’s not easy, Silas. Did I argue otherwise. And then again, to refer to the kind of conditions you’re speaking of above as “moral crisis” is a very apt description, way apter than you imagine.

    Just like zing, you suffer from the politicization of everyday terms and it blinds you.

  • Doug Hunter

    #165

    When your brand of radical leftism wins we are all victims. The pyrrhic victory one experiences in bringing ‘the man’ down is short lived. Class hatred, race hatred, and envy can only take you so far. Eventually the brain in our heads will retake the reins from the hate in our hearts. In the end the old problems return.

    Can you compete with an equivalent factory in the 3rd world where the workers are going on $10 a day? (is it ethical to artificially prop up your $50K/year job in the face of a starving third worlder in that circumstance in the first place) Where is the capital for a new factory going to come from when yours falls apart? (I would assume the government since private enterprise would be dead) Your going to find the only savings you can muster are the conspicuous consumption or luxury spending of the rich (the rest is tied up in businesses). Even that isn’t found money as that consumption supports jobs in itself (Clavos comes to mind immediately).

    Silas #154 was dead on as to the role and response of government faced with the types of crises we face today, and that’s what it shall be. The national guard won’t be taking over any factories (at least en masse) anytime soon. The rest of the world is becoming more free, even if the US is taking a lurch backwards.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    You’re reacting, Doug, to events yet to unfold. Why don’t you expand your energy on trying to fix the problem, since you think it’s fixable? Since I don’t, you’re wasting your time on me.

  • Jeff Forsythe

    Mr. Ruvy, are we destined to be rams butting heads in perpetually? It is obvious that you and I will never agree, nor change each other’s view on the area under discussion as we are really too intractable to acquiesce.

    The putting forth of my view here is not directed at you, but rather an expression of opinion as it pertains to the contents of the article at hand

    Mr. Forsythe

  • zingzing

    roger: “Just like zing, you suffer from the politicization of everyday terms and it blinds you.”

    roger, i honestly had no idea what you were talking about. still not quite sure. you haven’t bothered to explain what you mean, only saying that “politicization of the term leaves you blind to my meaning” or some such claptrap. that doesn’t help.

    i looked back through the comments to try and get an idea of what it is you think this “moral crisis” is, but, unless i missed something, i found nothing. kindly point me to a comment #.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    For starters, you might look up my #168 as response to Mark’s earlier comment (can’t find the number offhand).

    Second, I should think that an expression “moral crisis” carries a certain meaning in English. Doesn’t it to you?

    And it’s not predicated any any agreement as to whatever moral code one subscribes. The espression is relative and self-referential.

    And what it usually suggests is that whatever the values an individual used to hold, or used to subscribe to, have been shuttered.

    Are we getting any closer?

  • http://ruvysroost.blogspot.com Ruvy

    Jeff,

    You raised a question that I considered and answered in a pair of articles 3½ years ago. And the answer might well surprise you, if you bother to look. But if you do bother to look, read the comments as well.

    If you don’t, it is your loss – illustrating your own closed mindedness. Have a pleasant evening.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    “Mr. Nowosielski, when I first initially joined some of the converstations on this site, it was speculated that I was actually you “minus your meds, or Mr. Kain.
    I’m going to take that as a compliment.”

    Should I take it as a compliment, too?

    Anyways, the only meds I’m ever on is good ole sour mash whiskey – unless it’s time for Johnny Walker Black.

  • Doug Hunter

    “Why don’t you expand your energy on trying to fix the problem”

    Perhaps I believe the cheerleaders of failure are the problem. I believe in win-win, in the American dream, that humans are capable of individual freedom, that one can move forward and succeed in whatever sphere they value without another failing or falling back, I don’t believe life is a zero sum game.

    Those things are self fulfilling, they are as real as you believe them to be. The problem are those indoctrinating us into the pessimism, defeatism, and fatalism prevalent on your side of the aisle (which share the same self fulfilling properties). I don’t buy your view of the world. I know your enslavement in this capitalist hell is hard on you (you can barely squeeze in 12 hours a day posting on this site edgewise), but it’s not all bad. I know we built too many McMansions and got ourselves into a pickle, too many nice houses, that’s rough but we also spawned this little thing called the internet. For every step backwards we take two steps forward, and as bad as you hate to admit it, the rising tide has lifted all boats.

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    Your going to find the only savings you can muster are the conspicuous consumption or luxury spending of the rich…

    What rich? (yummy)

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    Thanks for the heads-up, Roger. It is an interesting thread.

    Here is something I was just watching today that goes right along with the discussion:

    Capitalism Hits the Fan: A Marxian View (Airdate May 8th – see below) (by Richard Wolf)

    I am a little ways through. He may answer the question you posed earlier about how do we get there from here. If he does, I will let you know.

  • http://delibernation.com Silas Kain

    Silas – you should have stuck to your gut reaction and abstained. This is a secular discussion, and you’re playing into the hands of the enemy.

    A secular discussion becomes void when the Deity is invoked, Roger. And just WHO is the enemy? Are we not our own worst enemies?

    We need a new paradigm. Not only in the United States but on a global scale. As technology expands in the under-developed world, more shall come to the table with ideas for forging that new “world order” whatever it may be. I’ve said it before and I’ll repeat it ad nauseum. We need to create a level playing field for all who come to the table.

    I see the “enemy” as the large corporation, Wall Street and politicians who reap the benefits of corporate cash. Why is it that Muslim terrorists understand this notion and we do not? Religious zeal is a by-product of the collective frustration experienced by the disenfranchised.

  • Franco

    Why are we trying to reinvent the wheel when we already have it? What possible (non-religious) moral code could be better for so many people of diversity in America today, to live in harmony together, then the moral codes that are enshrined in the US Constitution, the US bill of Rights, and the Deceleration of Independence?

    A challenge.

    1.) What can you add, or take away from any one of the 3 of them, that would improve them.

    2.) What can you assert that they do not cover completely for common bond among peoples.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    First, let me correct #180, the penultimate paragraph: shattered (instead of shattered).

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    Well, I can’t help you there, Doug.

    And no, I am not cheerleading, just calling it as I see it.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    “A secular discussion becomes void when the Deity is invoked, Roger.”

    Who invoked the Deity, Silas? And in the context of Dan’s article, wasn’t it in vain?

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    I’ve always maintained, Franco, that under your secular demeanor there lurks a deeply religious person.

    Welcome back, BTW. How did you fare during the Chilean quake?

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    Welcome back, Cindy, if only for a while. Help me out while I’m being attacked by this pack of dogs.

    Just kidding.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    BTW, thanks for the link to the video, Cindy. I’ll certainly watch it later today.

    Is that the same Wolf Mark was referring to earlier?

  • Jeff Forsythe

    Interesting turn of phrase at the end of observation 181, therefore I shall return the favour ergo I expect you to scrutinize the entire Encyclopedia Britannica and for every single reference to Christianity. Should you refuse I declare you just as closed-minded as I.

    Despite your ranting to the contrary, I am neither anti-Israeli nor anti-Jew. What I vehemently oppose is a religious sect’s assertion that only they are exclusively worthy of the right to ascend into paradise excluding all others who seek to enjoy the rapture from wherever they shall be or the religion (or lack of it) that they worship.

    Heaven is not an elite members-only club at the steps of the Princes Street Station where one must have permission from the pious to cross the holy threshold.

    Mr. Forsythe

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    To add to my #180, zing – morality must have a resonance with you on a personal level, aside from whatever associations which may creep in from the political – i.e., partisan – universe of discourse.

    If it doesn’t, I’m afraid I can’t help you.

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    Earlier on this thread? I didn’t see that. In any case I don’t recall that mention. It could be. He’s a professor out of Amherst.

  • http://jetsgaypride.blogspot.com/ Jet Gardner

    Good God! How long has this religious cat fight been going on between Ruvy and Forsythe?

  • Baronius

    Franco, the people who wrote those documents believed they’d fail in a society without morals. Early Americans shared a similar ethical code based on natural law (despite differences in belief about that law). Do we still share a code based on the individual’s rights and responsibilities? Traditional Democrats and Republicans, maybe. Libertarians, Communists, supporters of sharia, no. We’ll drive ourselves crazy trying to construct a tent big enough to include all of them.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    “Heaven is not an elite members-only club at the steps of the Princes Street Station where one must have permission from the pious to cross the holy threshold.”

    Amen!

    Although I must add that “scrutiniz[ing] the entire Encyclopedia Britannica . . . for every single reference to Christianity” is a rather tall order.

  • Mark

    Rog re #168, this is what the marxists mean by the notion that the dominant ideas are reflections of the dominator’s ideology.

    Yup, that’s the same Wolff that I’ve referred to in other threads.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    I meant on our own thread. It’s not important anyway.

  • Jeff Forsythe

    As would perusing the entire written ramblings of Mr. Ruvy concerning Judism I suspect.

    Jeff

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    Well, Ruvy is a true believer.

  • http://jetsgaypride.blogspot.com/ Jet Gardner

    Forsythe: “Heaven is not an elite members-only club at the steps of the Princes Street Station where one must have permission from the pious to cross the holy threshold.”

    Quoted for truth.

    Should I be afraid to ask where Princes street station is?

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    Thanks for the vote of confidence, Mark. I would have never suspected that the class concept had any leg left to run on – especially not in the West which prides itself for its egalitarian values. But I suppose that economic hardship can make the fool of us all.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    It’s for the princesses, Jet – and I don’t mean the Jewish ones.

    Our beloved drag queens, don’t you think?

    Are you eager to visit the locale? I can suggest a few hot spots in San Francisco.

  • Jeff Forsythe

    I believe the term would be devout and uncompromising fanatic Roger

    Jeff

  • Doug Hunter

    #186

    How about a new world order of people who aren’t interested in foisting their idea of a new world order on everyone else from the top down. A little less hubris and alot more freedom. How about a world that looks towards utopia in reality, not in ideology? (the first clue that your utopia is a fantasy should be when you realize you must force feed it to others) Live and let live. Build it and they will come. If your order can’t exist without the participation or enslavement of those who oppose it then you should hit the drawing boards again. The internet is a microcosm of what a free world can be.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    I was using Eric Hoffer’s nomenclature – just being kind.

  • Mark

    Right, Rog. Who needs class consciousness/solidarity when we’ve got our egalitarian values and the rule of law to keep us warm.

  • Jeff Forsythe

    Roger, Princes-as in plural for Prince. It is a rather illustrious train station in Edinburgh Scotland and not a camp bar

    Jeff

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    What on earth gave you the idea, Doug, that anyone here is against freedom?

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    I was playing up to Jet’s hopes and expectations, Jeff.

  • http://jetsgaypride.blogspot.com/ Jet Gardner

    Despite the stereotypes Roger, I’m not into drag queens.

  • Jeff Forsythe

    You must make a clean breast that that was rather prejudicial Roger

    Jeff

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    And this is the bum rap, Mark. We’ve been sold on a bill of goods by the bourgeois class. And they know nothing of honor.

    At least with the aristocracy in charge, we had noblesse oblige.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    I would have never accused you of that, Jeff. I admit it was all my spin – for Jet’s benefit, if I may add. Hence the redeeming virtue.

  • http://jetssciencepage.blogspot.com// Jet Gardner

    Do me a favor Forsythe and click on my link and send me a private e-mail…

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    Jet, they’re my favorite beings.

    Anyway, I was just fishing.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    Can I join to make it ménage à trois?

  • http://jetssciencepage.blogspot.com// Jet Gardner

    Okay, I’ve either been insulted or befriended… now all i have to do now is figure out which… ha ha

    ):p~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

  • http://jetssciencepage.blogspot.com// Jet Gardner

    Jeff?

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    If it was the former, Jet, I wouldn’t have the balls. So go on and figure.

  • http://jetssciencepage.blogspot.com// Jet Gardner

    Great, I think you drove him off Roger and I can’t afford a flight to Scotland either…

  • http://jetssciencepage.blogspot.com// Jet Gardner

    Aside from that, wouldn’t you be cheating on Cindy??????

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    #198, Baronius:

    “the people who wrote those documents believed they’d fail in a society without morals.”

    But that’s true of any society, Baronius, if it has any hopes of remaining a society – with or without a written document (such as the Constitution).

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    I’m open minded.

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    227 was for Jet.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    I was only talking about a chat – a fantasy kind of thing . . .

    Never mind!

  • http://jetssciencepage.blogspot.com// Jet Gardner

    Imagine my relief…

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    I’m certain, Jet, that Mr. Forsythe is a cosmopolitan kind of fella to be discouraged by cheap shots, such as by yours truly.

    Have faith, you imperfect being, or perish.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    Now we’re turning Dan Miller’s perfectly respectable article into a farce.

  • Baronius

    Roger, #226 isn’t remotely true. Social structures that rely on power don’t require a shared ethical code. Our system does, along with requiring general compliance with that code.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    “Blogcritics” is the name, satire is the game.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    What kind of a distinction are you making, Baronius – as between our society and what other, for example?

  • Mark

    Baronius, I find it hard to fathom that you believe that our social structure doesn’t rely on power.

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/dr-dreadful/ Dr Dreadful

    It is a rather illustrious train station in Edinburgh Scotland

    “Is”? It was closed in the 1960s. The station hotel is all that remains.

    The main Edinburgh station nowadays is Waverley: quite impressive in an understated way, but nowhere near as grand as Prince’s Street was.

  • Franco

    191 – roger nowosielski

    I’ve always maintained, Franco, that under your secular demeanor there lurks a deeply religious person.

    Roger, your point concerning my personal religious faith is mute with respect of my challenge in post 187. Because the documents I refer to make it perfectly clear, that Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof;

    So given that clear understanding, my challenge is in fact purely secular, making it in complete harmony with the propositions that Dan (Miller) has posted in his piece and the many comments in this thread.

    It would be enlightening for me as for others to have you address this challenge, should you choose to do so.

    Welcome back, BTW. How did you fare during the Chilean quake?

    Thank you roger. The Chilean quake was a monster of biblical proportions (no secluar pun intended).

    I am not a stranger to earthquakes. I grew up in So Cal and went through the 1971 Sylmar earthquake a magnitude of 6.6, and the 1994 Northridge quake of 6.7. Both of these quakes were major. But this 8.3 in Chile was beyond my wildest imaginations. I had no idea how violent and how loud they could get. I ran out of the house and into a clear field away from all structures, power lines and anything man-made. The moon was full so you could make out where you were going. There were dogs, cats, rabbits, and critters roger that I had no idea what they were, all running at full speed in all directions all around me. You had to stand with your feet at close to 4 feet apart and your arms full extended just to keep from having it knock you to the ground.

    I live out side of a small town in the country and from the field I could see explosions all over town lighting up the night sky as the transformers on electrical poles started blowing up everywhere. With these explosions and the violent shaking and the tremendous roar from the earth it was as if we were under a full-scale military bombardment. I have to admit I truly believed that I was not going to make it with the way the earth was contorting and roaring that it was going to open up and I was going in.

    The quakes in Cal are the result of two plates grinning against each other. The Chilean quakes are the result of one plate sliding under the another. Each year in Chile they say the plate moves about 3 feet under the other over a period of a year, and we do feel those little quakes all the time during the year. But this time the plate moved a full 25 feet under the other in less then 90 seconds.

    The clean up and repair work has been remarkable and will be ongoing for a few years. The Chileans are an independent, hardworking and industrialist bunch and look to themselves for what they need, and I can not have anything but respect their sovereign independence and work ethic.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    Franco,

    I meant no disrespect. Only saying that your faith is a document is no different, in principle, to the kind of faith that the deeply-religious people share.

    That’s all!

  • Doug Hunter

    #212

    First, I view government as almost the antithesis of freedom. If we freely agree to do something of what use is government involvement? None. The only use is when you need to enforce, regulate, or control someone who disagrees. As egregious as our corporations can be at least they are bound by actual agreements and contracts (enforcing these is one of the useful roles of government), not this imaginary “social contract” wih the government I was never allowed to review and that can be changed on a whim yet am bound by being born in these borders. This is a spectrum obviously, I believe less is better, I don’t believe in no government. (Neither do I fall into the Marxist trap of believing that more government is the way to less government)

    Secondly, I’m suspicious of top down approaches for reasons mentioned above and many, yourself included, seek out these solutions up to and including one world government. What that tells me is that people are afraid their ideas can’t coexist with alternatives, that they need to eliminate choices (and freedom). I view that as an infringement on freedom.

    I have no qualms with people who want to take the world in a different direction, away from greed, consumerism, and material infatuation. My only request is that you build it and let people come of their own free will. If you have the secret to how we should live, lead by example, let people see your enlightenment, and people will gladly follow in your footsteps if that is their choice. You don’t need to weasel your way into government and with a bare majority mandate your world from the top down.

    In short, if you support more government involvement or involvement at a higher level of government I view you as an enemy of freedom and diversity.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    Most anarchists would agree with you, Doug. And I have also expressed my misgivings about the role of the federal government in our own circumstance.

    So far so good. So where is the beef?

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    Roger,

    I highly recommend the Wolff lecture. The one I posted is a short version. I had come across it today as it is on the first page at OneBigTorrent.org – I had downloaded it as a one hour version. I think it’s worth seeing in full if you are inclined. He answers your question plus, explains the dominant thinking left and right–and why it won’t work.

  • Mark

    Doug, were I a serious drinker, I’d raise my glass to #240. It contains the appropriate and supportive challenge.

    cheers

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    I’m doing it, Cindy. Thus far, it’s great.

  • Jeff Forsythe

    Yes yes indeed Waverly.

    Dear me, my beloved father used to constantly prattle on of his boyhood adventures with his chums in and about the station to the point where it became quite real to me and I just assumed it was still there.

    As a child I used to love the beautiful Gardens; the same didn’t befall it I pray now cluttered with shops and office blocks?

    How appropriate to depart for a mythical locale such as heaven from a no longer existant rail station. Rather “Harry Potterish” eh?

    Jeff

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    244 (just in case I wasn’t clear, the one hour version is at that link)

    :-)

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/dr-dreadful/ Dr Dreadful

    Rest assured, Jeff, the gardens are still there and just as beautiful as you remember them.

  • Franco

    198 – Baronius

    Franco, the people who wrote those documents believed they’d fail in a society without morals. Early Americans shared a similar ethical code based on natural law (despite differences in belief about that law).

    Yes they did Baronius, and they where/are correct IMO. But we are having a secular discussion/debate in this thread. And because you and I know, whether we, or the founder like it or not, that as a whole, today’s sociality is not of that same mindset as our founders were. Right or wrong, that being the case, it still dose not cancel out the moral code found in those 3 documents for a people to live under its high standard. Because they still do in fact contain an ethical code based on natural law.

    Do we still share a code based on the individual’s rights and responsibilities?

    I assert that those 3 documents do in fact clearly define the very principles of individual rights AND responsibilities that come with those rights. The two go hand in hand. You can’t have rights without responsibility. The very moment we violate someone else’s rights by some action of ours, we break the moral code of these 3 documents. Volition requires restitution.
    If don’t agree, then sight the document and the wording that counters my assertion.

    Traditional Democrats and Republicans, maybe. Libertarians, Communists, supporters of sharia, no. We’ll drive ourselves crazy trying to construct a tent big enough to include all of them.

    Baronius, why are you lumping Libertarians in with Communists and Sharia? Clearly, Libertarians believe in individual rights AND responsibilities more then traditional Democrats and Republicans do. If you don’t agree, they sight an example.

    But Communists and supporters of Sharia, by there own admission, do not want to live under the moral code of these 3 documents. Their very belief contradicts and violates them. So what would ever make you think they have a place under the moral code of these 3 documents IF they intend to violate them by violating the rights of other individuals. Such violations require restitution by the violator to the violated. If they don’t like this they are free to find another tent to live under. Why is that a problem? Ironically, the fact they are free to leave is something they, if they were in power, would not grant to us without threat of punishment or death as they have and still prove to the world over.

  • Jeff Forsythe

    One of the world”s most incredible clocks was there. I pray it has survived?

    Jeff

  • Franco

    239 – roger nowosielski

    Franco, I meant no disrespect. Only saying that your faith is a document is no different, in principle, to the kind of faith that the deeply-religious people share.

    That’s all!

    None taken roger. Only want to keep it secular as Dan (Miller) post has been slated as such. I was only making that clear.

    Now do you think those 3 documents are a good moral code?

  • STM

    Provided they’re not just the legal equivalent of lip service, Franco, they’re perfectly fine.

    Unfortunately, in many cases, reality and good intent took a long time to come together.

    200 years in some cases. If a black bloke can’t use the same shithouse as a white bloke, or sit in the same bus seat, or eat at the same place, or get the same job when he’s equally qualified, or have the same opportunity to attend university, then that’s not equality.

    It’s actually only the laws enacted and – key – acted UPON since the writing of those documents that have truly laid the groundwork for all men being born equal in America, and even then, it’s not quite there yet, as we are all aware.

    I agree it’s better than most, but it’s still not the shining beacon on the hill that Americans like to think it is in terms of freedom. Words on paper mean diddly squat unless they’re backed up by action.

  • http://delibernation.com Silas Kain

    Why are we trying to reinvent the wheel when we already have it?

    The wheel is meant to be in constant motion, Franco. The Constitution is not a static document.

    What possible (non-religious) moral code could be better for so many people of diversity in America today, to live in harmony together, then the moral codes that are enshrined in the US Constitution, the US bill of Rights, and the Deceleration of Independence?

    To interpret the three sacred documents as the foundation of a “moral code” is the first mistake. These are frameworks. The Declaration of Independence merely states that the Colonies were declaring their independence from an unjust King. The Constitution is the framework of our government. There’s no morality, just a foundation built upon (gasp!) common sense.

    A challenge.
    1.) What can you add, or take away from any one of the 3 of them, that would improve them.

    Can’t change the Declaration or the Constitution. We can amend the Constitution. If anything, I would ammend the Constitution to include a set of parameters for the Federal Election process:

    a) One National Primary day among all the states at which time each party may nominate a candidate of their choice to be held on the Second Tuesday in September every fourth year.

    b) A Federal Election Season which begins the day following the National Primary at which time candidates may campaign for Federal Office. Campaigns would be financed under stringent campaign finance regulations which only allow individual contributions with a $500 limit. No corporate or PAC money would be allowed, period.

    c) The dissolution of the Electoral College in favor of each duly elected member of the House of Representatives casting their respective District’s majority candidate. The winner of the Presidential Election would be required to win 50% + 1 of the 435 votes in the House. In the event any candidate does not achieve 50% + 1, the election shall move to the Senate where each Senator shall cast one vote for the Presidential candidate who received the majority of votes for their respective state.

    2.) What can you assert that they do not cover completely for common bond among peoples.

    Please explain.

  • http://delibernation.com Silas Kain

    Anybody watching the election results in Britain? I’ve yet to hear a candidate say God Bless England. The disarray of the politics in Great Britain this night is but a prelude for the disaster we here in America will encounter in November.

    Tonight it’s a chaccarero for supper with an empanada on the side. What an international day of cuisine!

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    God bless the Queen.

    Let me the first to say it.

    And let the British election stand as a standard to us all.

    Good night!

  • http://delibernation.com Silas Kain

    Indeed, Roger.

  • Ruvy

    . What I vehemently oppose is a religious sect’s assertion that only they are exclusively worthy of the right to ascend into paradise excluding all others who seek to enjoy the rapture from wherever they shall be or the religion (or lack of it) that they worship.

    Heaven is not an elite members-only club at the steps of the Princes Street Station where one must have permission from the pious to cross the holy threshold.

    That is an assertion I have never made. In fact, I no of no Jew stupid enough to make such an assertion. That is a very CHRISTIAN assertion. So, if that is your beef – and I do not honestly believe it is – we have nothing to either argue over or to discuss. I bid you adieu for now. Other things call.

  • http://delibernation.com Silas Kain

    I have to agree with Ruvy on this one. Growing up I was led to believe by my Roman Catholic teachers that only baptized Roman Catholics had a ticket through the Pearly Gates. Even as a child I found that assumption to be ridiculous.

    In my experience with true Jews I have never heard one among them utter a thing about Heaven. They have quite a different interpretation of the same which I will leave to Ruvy to explain if he so desires.

    Anyway, that’s it for now. I have a show to do.

  • zingzing

    christianity is stupid.

    negativland!

  • Franco

    Cindy,

    I watched your video link to Richard Wolf’s lecture. I offer this response to what he said.

    Right from the very start of his lecture, he says this “word for word” opening statement.

    “Thank you all for coming. I wish it were cooler, I wish it were better lighted, I wish the carpet didn’t look like a barn. But then again this is a public institution and where’re lucky we have any lights at all. And probably within a couple of months we won’t. Then we’ll meet in the dark.”

    Right from Wolfs opening statement he exposes the never-ending socialist fallacy that without government assistance, we poor lost helpless soles will be in the dark. As if the people are mer helpless matter that can’t act on their own and thus need government to get them a lighted meeting hall. Yet what is most ironic about this is the fact that it was not even the government that invent nor produced the lights he is talking about needing in the first place, the same people he proposes are helpless invented and or produce them.

    Wolf goes on to commit other classical liberal/socialist fallacies.

    He asserts that the evil banks “MADE” people borrow money and go into dept. He actually uses the words ‘made them do it”. Cindy, you can’t make anyone do anything they don’t want to do, unless you use force. You don’t have to buy what people aare selling as Wolf would have you believe.

    When the devil is on your shoulder whispering in your ear, it is your responsibly, not the devils, to respond in your best interests. For Wolf to assert otherwise is to assert you have no personal responsibility for your own decisions. Which means he believes you are incapable of making them for yourself, so you need the government, just like his assertion in his opening statement about having to meet in the dark. It is a liberal / socialist fallacy to the extreme, and always will be. — Caveat emptor —

    He talks about greedy wicked employers as if that is the standard of the whole free market enterprises system, when in fact it is the exception, not the rule. And worse, he fails to explain how replacing the system with socialists leaders will remove the wickedness he speaks of. Are not those who he believes sould replace them not also members of the human race? Or does Wolf believe he and his ilk are angels to rule over all the rest of us in a life of selfless scrafice.

    To believe what Wolf asserts, is to believe that we the people are helpless directionless trolls and need a government to care for us and inspire us to be active productive people living and working together in harmony, all lend by angles like Wolf and his ilk. I’m not buying this bull coming from this devil on my shoulder. I digress.

    Freedom to choose is true freedom. And with it comes the responsibility for your choices. That is the cost of freedom and it is worth paying every single time over opression in hot having the freedom to choose.

    Power of the market – Socialism vs. Capitalism

    What he prepossesses about having workers owning the company they work for and all are members of its own board of directors is fine. Nothing is standing in his way of doing that right here and now, without having to change one law. So why dose he assert that we have to change the laws. I digress. I am for freedom to choose.

    Wolf’s assertion that the individuals who left the big software corporations that were too stuffy for them and came together with like minded people to form their one collective enterprise to develop software, where all the workers are owners and board members of the company, is what he asserts Marx called communism and it was this communistic princile that allowed them to make better software then the capitils system they left. He future asserts that these people (many of them being conservative) don’t even know it is communism because they see it as creative entrepreneurship. This assertion is laughable, because it is only when the state owns the company is it communist or socialist and ironically in his example, only the people involved in that company own it, and no one else does, including the government. Wolf is intentionally misleading his young audience using the communist “soft” sell to get is foot in the door. But when were communist anything but misleading and deceitful?

    Power of the Market – The Pencil

    Power of the Market – Invisible Hand

    Wolf further intentionally misleads with his false framing of his concept of US democracy. The same way communist have always intentionally mis-framed it and still do and for good reason because they know the following statment to be true.

    “Republics decline into democracies, and democracies degenerate into despotisms.” – Aristotle

    The US was not founded as a democracy, it is a republic which is uniquely different, yet Wolf, and many others in MSM, and in our government today have failed over the past 50 years to respect and uphold that important difference, which is another major contributing factor for why we have so much division in the country today.

    Socialist and Communists like Wolf propmot this division and seek to keep promoting it.

    Where I agree with Wolf is how mega corporations can use their large profits to buy government official favors and thus gets in bed with the corporations to share in the profits of special interest where manipulation the laws that are suppest to govern a fair (risk and reward) playing field can be taken advangte of making the suposedly free market a fixed game againts the smaller players. It ‘s called corny capitalism and it is against the law. Our biggest and most sever problem has been the American peoples inability to stop the crooked crony capitalism government officers who sell out that exist in both parties. It’s going on right now as we speak even in the Obama administration. Accusing the guardians of the hen house of eating the hens is one thing, but proving it in a court of law is another. This is the core of the problem in America and the world over. I would not more acribve to Wolf’s theoy of having socliste elits run our lives then corny capitlsims. At lest with corony capitlism we can vote the crooks out. Try doing that with non-elected socalist elite and communist. I say we do are damdest to curb corny capitalism and get more serious about it. That is where our energy is best spent, for all out sake. Then if you want to state up a company with a whole group of people who together own it and are all its board of directors, I with you all the luck in the world.

    I am for freedom to choose, and I will join with every individual on the face of the earth who shares in that freedom to choose, and fight for that right with what ever it takes.

  • Franco

    251 – STM

    I’ll take that as a yes, it they are acted upon. I agree.

  • http://delibernation.com Silas Kain

    Looks like Gordon Brown may hold on to power though he is in the minority. Gee, I wonder if it has to do with initials? The last “GB” to head a government to which he was not elected by the majority was George Bush.

  • http://jetssciencepage.blogspot.com// Jet Gardner

    …and look how that turned out Silas. From what I understand the Queen’s refusing to see anyone until 2pm and the election turn out was incredible.

    Gee if only we could learn that lesson. CNN said they may contest it too as tons of people were turned away from the polls after they ran out of paper ballots in a lot of places.

  • STM

    Franco, some of us thought you might have been in Chile during the quake and were a bit worried about you. Glad to see you back and OK.

    I noticed the Chilen government seemed to move pretty quick to get everything squared up in the wake of what was an awful tragedy, and in quite an impressive fashion.

    I noticed also they weren’t calling for trillions in aid to do it.

    Considering the magnitude of the quake compared to that of Haiti, it’s also obvious that they take the building codes very seriously in what is a very earthquake prone area. Despite the scale of the tragedy, I was amazed at how low the toll was considering, and especially compared to Haiti’s toll.

    That will be cold comfort to the families of those who lost their lives and to those who lost their homes; nevertheless, the determination to crack on and get the work done in the aftermath is a credit to the Chilean people and their government.

    Once again, Franco, glad you’re OK.

  • STM

    Silas: “Looks like Gordon Brown may hold on to power though he is in the minority.”

    Possibly only for a couple of weeks Silas. In the event of a hamstrung result, The Queen – formally, as part of convention – asks him to form a new government.

    That’s because: As the incumbent, he gets first nod for a few weeks to try to form a government.

    If he can’t (and the Lib-Dems won’t do a deal, which they’ve said they won’t), then the conservatives will try to do so.

    In the worst-case scenario, if it remains hamstrung, or “hung”, it will go back to the people for another vote … which will be hugely unpopular.

  • STM

    Silas, have you visited Oz yet? If not, make sure we catch up when you do.

    Cheers

  • STM

    The latest, fresh from STM’s news service:

    Biggest swing to the Conservatives in 80 years, so far the balance of seats in the House were by late yesterday (Australian eastern standard time):

    David Cameron’s Conservative Party 147 seats, Labour 120 and the Liberal Democrats 23.

    Exit polls predicted last night the Tories would finish 21 short of a majority with 305 seats, Labour with 255 and the Liberal Democrats 61.

    Gordon will get the nod first up from Her Maj, then Cameron will be asked to form Government because there appears almost no chance of Labour and the Lib-Dems forming a coalition if Libb Dem leader Nick Clegg is to be believed. Let’s hope that’s not the first broken election promise because clearly, the majority of Britons want Cameron as the new PM.

    Wondering why I want the Conservatives to win? Two reasons. 1) I believe in the process and if the majority of Britons want him, that’s waht democracy is all about. 2) It’s also because stale and arrogant goverments who won’t listen to the people they represent only understand one thing: a kick up the pants by the electorate, and Labour has certainly got that. Simply, they have been in power too long and have lost touch.

    Under the scenario as it now exists, Cameron is likely to be the new PM. Meanwhile, UKIP leader Nigel Farage was involved in a plane crash but miraculously survived, and Gordon Brown is for the high jump by the looks of things.

    Don’t say I didn’t say Cameron was a shoo-in, all you political pundits raving about hung parliaments and what not :)

  • STM

    The only way Clegg will form a coalition is if Brown goes and Labour appoints a new leader. Given Labour’s majority in the coalition, that would mean another Labour PM and Clegg as a Deputy.

    I dunno … I can’t see it.

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    Franco,

    I will come back and read your comment when I have time. I only have a few minutes this morning and I am a slow reader. :-)

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    Franco,

    I watched the videos you presented. I will reply later today to address your post. However, there is another aspect of capitalism I’d like to address.

    I am wondering if you’d be interested in having a look at the social/psychological costs of capitalism. If you are inclined, please see these videos I have posted Consuming Kids, Tough Guise: Violence, Media & the Crisis in Masculinity, and Killing Us Softly. Generation M is not available online yet.

    The huge social/psychological problem created by a culture that operates based on greed is that children are indoctrinated into norms by corporations that have nothing but their own interests in mind. Do you see the implication of this? I think people fail to actually look at this.

    We have everyone in the culture watching what is deemed as ‘normal’ based on messages from advertisers, and adapting themselves and their expectations to those norms.

    Can you see the problems this causes? Not just individual psychological problems, but relationship problems, social problems. Not to mention that the meaning of life itself is trivialized.

    Can you see any of this?

  • Baronius

    STM – “a kick up the pants”? We kick people in the pants in America. Up the pants sounds invasive.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    Cindy,

    It’s a lost cause. Have finally seen Wolff’s video to its completion; it’s great.

    Anyone who resists or is unable to follow the logic is not worth saving. They’re a dying breed anyway.

  • Les Slater

    I was going to read the whole thread but when I read Baritone’s #77, I felt I had to comment.

    “When any group of people purposefully and pointedly sets itself apart from the larger society as jews have done throughout much of their history…”

    In feudal Europe for many centuries, Christians were proscribed from certain financial transactions. The faith held by Jews had no such proscription. The feudal courts used Jews to fulfill such financial functions. To the extent that such functions brought a certain wealth to a Jewish community that community survived. To the extent that some members of that community could not be provided by such then they ceased to be Jewish; they were assimilated.

    The above is a greatly simplified explanation but I hope it leads away from the idea that Jews ‘…purposefully and pointedly sets itself apart from the larger society…’. It was not their choice.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    Very fair of you, Les.

  • Les Slater

    Silas – 120,

    I’ve been of the opinion that the belief in the universal applicability of the second law of thermodynamics meant, deep down, you had to believe in God. But I see if you believe in God it doesn’t necessarily follow you accept the second law of thermodynamics:

    “That energy which powers this Universe must be in balance for in chaos there can be no Universal order. Until we arrive at a point in the physical world where we recognize that there must be balance, we will never come close to an intimate understanding of God.”

  • Les Slater

    Doug – 176

    “Can you compete with an equivalent factory in the 3rd world where the workers are going on $10 a day? (is it ethical to artificially prop up your $50K/year job in the face of a starving third worlder in that circumstance in the first place)”

    Good questions.

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    Hiya Les,

    Did you see the video: Richard Wolff. And what do you think about what he is saying there?

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    I’m sure he will.

  • Les Slater

    276 – 277

    I wasn’t looking forward to it.

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    You don’t like Prof. Wolff?

  • Les Slater

    I don’t know who Prof. Wolf is.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    the link.

    Should be down your alley, Les.

  • Les Slater

    Franco – 259,

    I followed your links to Friedman on the Pencil and Invisible Hand. What a shyster this Friedman is. Friedman essentially rehashed Leonard E. Read’s ‘I, Pencil’, where in it Read equates the ‘Invisible Hand’ to the hand of God:

    “Since only God can make a tree, I insist that only God could make me [a pencil]. Man can no more direct these millions of know-hows to bring me into being than he can put molecules together to create a tree.”

    Milton Friedman wrote the introduction to this in the (Irvington-on-Hudson, New York: Foundation for Economic Education, Inc., 1999) edition. In lauding this ‘delightful story’ he fails to critique Read’s equating the ‘Invisible Hand’ to God. This is Read’s take home on the Invisible Hand. It is central. So much for the progress of science in bourgeois economics!

    Friedman’s peddling of the ‘I, Pencil’ essay is another example of the bankruptcy of their explanations of how products are produced. Only God knows how to make a pencil! What a load of crap. The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith was published in 1776. In 1999 we have Friedman covering for Read in attributing the Invisible Hand to God.

    Les

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    Cindy,

    You would have done better to refer the readers to Wolff’s official website which feature a whole bunch of videos almost uncut.

  • Franco

    282 – Les Slater

    Franco – 259,

    I followed your links to Friedman on the Pencil and Invisible Hand. What a shyster this Friedman is. Friedman essentially rehashed Leonard E. Read’s ‘I, Pencil’, where in it Read equates the ‘Invisible Hand’ to the hand of God:

    “Since only God can make a tree, I insist that only God could make me [a pencil]. Man can no more direct these millions of know-hows to bring me into being than he can put molecules together to create a tree.”

    Milton Friedman wrote the introduction to this in the (Irvington-on-Hudson, New York: Foundation for Economic Education, Inc., 1999) edition. In lauding this ‘delightful story’ he fails to This is Read’s take home on the Invisible Hand. It is central. So much for the progress of science in bourgeois economics!

    Friedman’s peddling of the ‘I, Pencil’ essay is another example of the bankruptcy of their explanations of how products are produced. Only God knows how to make a pencil! What a load of crap. The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith was published in 1776. In 1999 we have Friedman covering for Read in attributing the Invisible Hand to God.

    Les, Milton Friedman did not, I repeat, did not “fail” to critique Read’s equating the ‘Invisible Hand’ to God. Friedman intentionally equates the Invisible Hand to the Power of the Market. You’re trying to make them the same thing and they are clearly not.

    Milton Friedman has always equated the invisible hand to the Power of the Market.

    The only place he has ever been associated with equating it to God is in your one and only post Les here on BC. You like to go aroung and make stuff up? It that what you are left with in pushing untrue and unrealistic and outdated centrial planning communist theories? Go fish!

    And whether you believe in God or not, or whether Milton Friedman believes in God or not, it changes nothing that Milton Friedman asserted about all the people it took all over the world to bring a pencil into creation through ———-wait for it————individuals all over the world (athities and all kinds of faiths) pursuing their own seperate interests through the Power of the Market.

    You bring up Adam Smith, which Friedman studied and talks mush on those principles. And even here, Friedman never equate the invisible hand to God when asserting the principles of Adam Smith. In all of Friedman’s assertions he talks about the importance of freedom of people and freedom for the market place where they exchange their goods and services, and it is these two freedoms that come together and form the Power of the Market which Friedman asserts is where the marvel of the invisible hand comes from, and I fully concur with this 100%.

    Here is word for word what he says about Adam Smith and the invisible hand.

    In order for a butcher, or baker, or candlestick maker to make an income he had to produce something somebody what’d to buy. Therefor in the process of looking at his own interest and promoting his own profit, he had to server the interests of his customers.

    Les, there is no argument you can mount that can hold a candle to that above statement.

    Ironically, even in the piece you sight by Read, Read says the exact same thing as Friedman.

    I, Pencil, am a complex combination of miracles: a tree, zinc, copper, graphite, and so on. But to these miracles which manifest themselves in Nature an even more extraordinary miracle has been added:——————wait for it————————— the configuration of creative human energies—millions of tiny know-hows configurating naturally and spontaneously in response to ——————wait for it—————– human necessity and desire————-wait for it——– and in the absence of any human master-minding!

    The bit about “in the absence of any human master-minding” in all of Friedmans essays his always reference to government, not God.

    You miss it completely! This can only be from being obtues, or intentionally deceptive and misleading. Can’t honestly say which yet, but won’t take me long to figure it out.

    Friedman a shyster? No Les, you’re the shyster, or your compltly obtuse. Time will tell.

    Franco

  • Franco

    263 – STM

    STM, thanks mate for your kind and thoughtful post.

    Franco

  • STM

    Baron: “Up the pants sounds invasive”

    Let’s hope it was invasive. Labor is my party in Australia, but just like political parties everywhere they lose touch and become stale.

    In the UK, the Labour Party (don’t ask my why the Australian one doesn’t have a “U” in its name) really doesn’t deserve to hold on to power.

    The political process needs renewal; for that reason, I’d like to see the Tories get the nod. And the people have voted for them.

  • Franco

    269 – Cindy

    Can you see any of this?

    Yes.

    I took a demographics / marketing class many years ago and it was eye opener to say the least. One of the experiments they showed that a major corporate laundry soap corp had conducted was spooky.

    They conducted an experiment by taking 10 women and gave them each three boxes of laundry detergent and told them to use all three boxes for one month and come back in and report which of the boxes was the best detergent. Each box was a different color. One was Blue, one was Yellow, and one was Orange.

    At the end of the month 8 of the 10 women (80%) gave the same report. They said the Blue box box was too strong and harsh on the clothing. The Yellow was weak and did not really clean up the laundry. But the Orange box was just right and they all loved it. Yet unbenonced to them, all boxes had the exact same detergent. The company was Tide and what color dominates their box – past – present – future?

    The physiology and science of the human eye/mind/color and how it all relates to the subconscience for marketing has fully developed into a science of its own. You can’t walk in a grocery store without all the packaging on the selves messing with your subcscience mind.

    None of this is new and even now that they are doing it with children more then at any time in history, parents play the most important role is this no matter what.

    Parents should be informing their kids about what is going on and setting up constructing discipline frameworks for their children. The video makes it out as if the parents are mindless helpless wimps, which is a fallacy and an insult.

    When I grew up I was given an allowance each week. The allowance was based on getting my homework done, and doing all my chores. Fulfilling my obligation I would get my allowance every Friday afternoon. I could spend this money how I pleased. Toys candy what ever.

    If I wanted something that cost more then my allowance, then I had to save 2, 3 or 4 weeks of allowances for it. If I wanted more money then my weekly allowance I could do yard work, which I did and got paid. But, of the money I made doing yard work, they made me save 50% of it, but I could spend the other 50% on anything I wanted. It blow my mind how much I had in savings after just 6 months.

    I could never get away with pleading and begging for something, and I would have never thought of throwing a fit, or I would have lost privileges and my allowance for the week.

    When I watched the video and saw how the kids pleed over and over and or throw fits to get what they want, it makes parents out to be stupend mindless trolls that give in.

    The thing that clearly registered with me was that allowing a kid to get away with that is more of a social/psychological costs for that kid and the further people he will assimilate with then the marketing itself. If nothing else, they will end up rasing children just like themselves.

    So IMO, parents play the biggest role in arresting this onslaught of marking to children.

    When the devil is on your shoulder whispering in your ear, as an adult you have to look out for your best interests and act accordingly, as a child, you need a parent to step in an set the example. If you fail to do that as a parent, how can you expect when your child in an adult that they can defend themselves?

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    An invisible hand argument is an argument from Deity, in a manner of speaking, Franco. And our discovery of “natural laws,” whether in physics or economics, doesn’t stop the believer from saying that it is God who makes the world go round.

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    287- Franco,

    I think I will have to find a different way to communicate my main point. It has to do with this–indoctrination into norms. People who are brainwashed from the time they can think of the world outside themselves cannot be expected to ‘behave properly’ in order to avoid brainwashing. But let me leave this aside for a second and deal with the problem as you interpreted it.

    You see where society has gone. What help is it to blame someone? Scientifically speaking, we can expect that profit markets eventually result in a society where people become consumer oriented–that includes children and their parents. This is what happens to human beings, no matter who you blame.

    You seem to be reducing the problem down to what you, personally, might call a ‘spoiled’ child demanding things and her ignorant parents being poor teachers. How does this explain that child’s…and later that adult’s obsessive relationship with image over substance. How does that explain why boys and girls feel their bodies are inadequate or that they must look a certain way to be loved or respected? That they must buy certain clothes or products to feel okay. How does that explain why people without a minimum of things are judged poorly. How does that explain why personal power becomes ownership of things and/or power over other people?

    Marketers are spending millions of dollars to wrestle the control of your child’s mind. They spend all this to make your child into a person who (rather than, say, spending time in creative or humanitarian pursuits) spends most time seeking entertainment and developing consumer wants.

    What kind of budget does the child get to fight this?

    It’s one thing to lay blame on the parents. Let’s just for the sake of argument say I agree–it’s all the parents fault. The next question is: What do we do (as a society) about the fact that the marketers have gotten to the parents who now raise children who are just like them?

    Do you see that the more parents who do this, the more children, the more parents, etc…

    Now, to get back to the point I was making…which was not having anything to do with ‘spoiled’ children and ignorant parents…but with indoctrination of human beings (who are helpless against it) into norms of behavior, attitude, desire, and relationship–by companies whose goals are not the best interest of those which they are indoctrination, but merely profits.

    I was discussing companies creating societal norms. Norms are powerful behavior modifiers. Norms tell us how men and women should act, what they should look like to feel okay, how they should treat others, what they should expect from others, etc.

    When a company says women should look like Victoria’s Secret models (hard enough for even actual Victoria’s Secret models to do…since they can’t do it without ‘magic’ either), that boys should be tough and have a certain muscle size to be okay…there is nothing parents can tell children to stop the normalization process–even if they were to know what is happening and to try their best. For one thing, they themselves actually promote this process by being ‘normal’.

    So, the problem with companies deciding what normal is, is that that is what society becomes. We can hardly blame humans for actually being human and wanting to be ‘normal’, can we?

    What is your solution?

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    Cindy,

    Glad you checked in if only for a while. Double-check the Greece thread by Jacobine for some interesting developments. Also, I made a cross-reference there to Lynette’s article(s) on a) Money Saving Tips and b) Kropotkin.

    Perhaps we can talk later tonight, you think?

    I’ll be going to Starbucks in ten.

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    Thanks, Roger. I’ll call you tonight. And I’ll check the other thread. I have a couple hours today to devote to catching up on Greece.

  • Les Slater

    Franco,

    What follows is the complete introduction by Milton Friedman to a popular edition of ‘I, Pencil’ by Leonard Read. Even though Read explicitly links the Invisible Hand with God, Friedman does not at all comment on that aspect in this introduction; he leaves it stand in his whirlwind of praise.

    “Leonard Read’s delightful story, ‘I, Pencil,’ has become a classic, and deservedly so. I know of no other piece of literature that so succinctly, persuasively, and effectively illustrates the meaning of both Adam Smith’s invisible hand – the possibility of cooperation without coercion – and Friedrich Hayek’s emphasis on the importance of dispersed knowledge and the role of the price system in communicating information that ‘will make the individuals do the desirable things without anyone having to tell them what to do.’

    “We used Leonard’s story in our television show, ‘Free to Choose,’ and in the accompanying book of the same title to illustrate ‘the power of the market’ (the title of both the first segment of the TV show and of chapter one of the book). We summarized the story and then went on to say:

    “‘None of the thousands of persons involved in producing the pencil performed his task because he wanted a pencil. Some among them never saw a pencil and would not know what it is for. Each saw his work as a way to get the goods and services he wanted – goods and services we produced in order to get the pencil we wanted. Every time we go to the store and buy a pencil, we are exchanging a little bit of our services for the infinitesimal amount of services that each of the thousands contributed toward producing the pencil.

    “‘It is even more astounding that the pencil was ever produced. No one sitting in a central office gave orders to these thousands of people. No military police enforced the orders that were not given. These people live in many lands, speak different languages, practice different religions, may even hate one another-yet none of these differences prevented them from cooperating to produce a pencil. How did it happen? Adam Smith gave us the answer two hundred years ago.”

    “‘I, Pencil’ is a typical Leonard Read product: imaginative, simple yet subtle, breathing the love of freedom that imbued everything Leonard wrote or did. As in the rest of his work, he was not trying to tell people what to do or how to conduct themselves. He was simply trying to enhance individuals’ understanding of themselves and of the system they live in.

    “That was his basic credo and one that he stuck to consistently during his long period of service to the public – not public service in the sense of government service. Whatever the pressure, he stuck to his guns, refusing to compromise his principles. That was why he was so effective in keeping alive, in the early days, and then spreading the basic idea that human freedom required private property, free competition, and severely limited government.”

    Les

  • John Wilson

    Even conservatives are bailing out on the extremist rightist notion of “invisible hand”, noting that Smith used it 3 ways and anyway it originated with other writers. For example: von mises

    “One plausible and logical solution to the mystery of the invisible hand is that Smith found all the workings of his invisible hand in Richard Cantillon’s Essai sur la Nature du Commerce en Général (1755, hereafter, Essai). 3 We know that Smith was familiar with Cantillon because Smith names him in the Wealth of Nations. Second, we know that Cantillon heavily influenced Smith because many scholars have identified many telling similarities in their economics, such as in the case of wage rate differentials and their curious endorsements of the Navigation Acts.”

    Personally, IMO the ‘invisible hand’ is a hoax designed to justify allowing certain people to run amuck and damage other peoples lives. It’s barely better than throwing open the prison gates and madhouse doors. Maybe it’s worse.

  • Franco

    288 – roger nowosielski

    An invisible hand argument is an argument from Deity, in a manner of speaking, Franco. And our discovery of “natural laws,” whether in physics or economics, doesn’t stop the believer from saying that it is God who makes the world go round.

    roger, your assertion, in and of itself, only covers one side of it.

    The other side is that it doesn’t stop the atheist either from seeing and believing that it is the power of the market that generates the invisible hand and makes the economic world go round, as Friedman asserts.

    Just because Friedman doses not equate it to God, doses not nullify his assertion. Friedman may or may not have believed in God, but that is completely irrelevant to his assertion.

  • Franco

    292 – Les Slater
    Franco,

    Even though Read explicitly links the Invisible Hand with God, Friedman does not at all comment on that aspect in this introduction; he leaves it stand in his whirlwind of praise.

    Les, you are only confiming and repeating what I asserted. Look, just because Friedman doses not equate it to God, doses not nullify his assertion about the power of the market and freedom to choose.

    It can be said that anyone can believe in freedom to choose whether they are belivers in God of not.

    Friedman may or may not have believed in God, but that is completely irrelevant to his assertion. You’re trying to make it relevant for some reason.

    The only possible reason for you to try and draw relevance would be to try and assert that the atheist would/could never see or believe that it is the power of the market and a free people that generates the invisible hand and makes the economic world go round, as Friedman asserts. That’s an argument you can not win.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    Not an assertion, Franco, just an analogy. But yes, the argument is inconclusive. The atheists, too, is a believer of a kind – in this case, in the economic laws (of nature).

    But as regards Bastiat’s position (remember the other thread), Bastiat does make the analogy between economic laws (of the markets) and the laws of God – in that the prosperous and the industrious ones are rewarded, and those who are not (whether for lack of natural ability, laziness, or simply being prone to making errors) suffer, and justly so: it’s only through learning from their mistakes that they can truly learn, and the forces of the free market will administer the necessary lesson and might make better fitted members of society and more productive individuals; the natural selection will have worked in accordance with God’s idea of “tough love.”

  • Franco

    296 – roger nowosielski

    Concerning Bastiat, that is true roger, but what in the world dose that have to do with the invisible hand that Milton Friedman asserts comes to life as a result of a free people in an open market place with freedom to choose, when he dose not equate it to God?

    Can we agree that they are two different outlooks? One giving credit to God, and the other giving credit to people.

    If you don’t agree then outline your case and what your driving at.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    Well, Bastiat’s idea of political economy is part of conservative thought. But I’ll let Les argue the Friedman issue with you.

    I don’t know the details.

  • Franco

    293 – John Wilson

    John, you assert that the ‘invisible hand’ is a hoax designed to justify allowing certain people to run amuck and damage other people’s lives. That it’s barely better than throwing open the prison gates and madhouse doors. Maybe it’s worse.

    The invisible hand is all about the power of a free people the open market and nothing more. If what you say against it is true, then the following videos have to be false.

    I will let the videos make their own reasoned augment clearly evidencing facts against your claims. Perhaps you would like to argue with what they assert. If so, then frame a reasoned argument against them. Good Luck! I won’t be holing my breath.

    Power of the Poor

    Capitalism at Crossroads

  • Franco

    296 – roger nowosielski

    But as regards Bastiat’s position (remember the other thread), Bastiat does make the analogy between economic laws (of the markets) and the laws of God – in that the prosperous and the industrious ones are rewarded, and those who are not (whether for lack of natural ability, laziness, or simply being prone to making errors) suffer, and justly so: it’s only through learning from their mistakes that they can truly learn, and the forces of the free market will administer the necessary lesson and might make better fitted members of society and more productive individuals; the natural selection will have worked in accordance with God’s idea of “tough love.”

    Roger there is a lot that can be said for “tough love” under Bastiat’s assertion relating to God, and equally the case that can be made in support of tough love apart from it as well.

    Tough love is nothing more then: “no pain not gain” We have all had tough times leaning certain things that did not come eash and required hard time to aquire, but when once learned we valued that lesion very deeply for the rest of our lives. Beside, once again, you are only addressing one side of it. The other side of God is love and forgiveness.

    The thing that I agree with Bastiat on is the belief that people, who are capable, (which is the overwhelming majority) should ultimately be responsible for their own decisions, and the results of those, whether they be by way of vise or virtue. This has everything to do with Freedom to Choose and nothing more. Would you really want it any other way?

    In this light, if I decide to smoke, any of the health complications I could suffer, there is no way you should be held accountable for $1 dollar for my decision to smoke. In that vein, I support Bastiat assertion.

    On the other hand, if a member of society suffers from a handy cap at birth or through an accident at not fault of his own, then here is the other side of God’s tough love. We are to be our brothers’ keeper in such cases.

    And where do you suppose that is best carried out. By those close to such a person i.e., family and friends and the immediate surrounding community. Or some out of touch bureaucracy off a 1000 miles away who dose not even know this handicapped person and what he/she can do and can not do.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    We’re not discussing here an education program for the people. The point under discussion was that Bastiat elevated economic principles, as expressed under the invisible hand mechanism, to the status and level of God’s law.

    As to what’s the best policy for keeping people responsible and or teaching them the right kind of lessons – that’s an altogether different topic. I was only addressing Bastiat’s justification of his political economy in terms of, and by appeal to, “natural laws.”

  • http://ruvysroost.blogspot.com Ruvy

    Cindy,

    Most of the time I do not like your politics, at least where they involve me and my home. To be honest, I find them detestable and hypocritical. And I’m holding back on the criticism, restraining myself.

    That said, I must say that you are spot on in terms of marketing, and you are spot on in terms of protecting children from all the bullshit that marketers pull to hustle soap or candy or whatever item it is that we usually DO NOT need.

    Your parents were very wise in the way they raised you, and it’s obvious that you appreciate the lessons they tried to instill in you. I’m sure that nephew of yours has been subject to a lot of that same wise training.

    I find equally disgusting to your politics, the way brats run around and throw temper tantrums and the way the stupid shits called their parents give into them. I saw it in the States and I see it here, and it disgusts me. A spoiled brat and a cowardly parent is disgusting in any language and in any culture.

    Now, to get back to the point I was making…which was not having anything to do with ‘spoiled’ children and ignorant parents…but with indoctrination of human beings (who are helpless against it) into norms of behavior, attitude, desire, and relationship–by companies whose goals are not in the best interest of those which they are indoctrinate, but merely profits.

    The only solution to the problem you describe above is the dissolution of the companies, and the change of the attitude that profits stand above all, which is the basic attitude that your average company owner takes – if for no other reason than his own survival.

    The longest lived attempt at this was the syndicalist socialist system of kibbutzím, moshavím and collective companies that developed under British rule. The most basic fault it had was that the people doing this modeled themselves after the Mensheviks in the Soviet Union. In other words they did not really know who they were, and the man who does not know who he is will lose out in the end.

    The kibbutzniks and moshavniks (most of them) did not understand who they were, they borrowed incessantly from a treasury controlled by their own political parties – and when their political parties lost power in 1977, they were up shit’s creek.

  • John Wilson

    The ‘invisible hand’ is just a trick to convince the economically weak that they don’t need a contract and they don’t need courts to support a contract. They can depend on the prospect of market punishment of employers to support their wages.

    We see the invisible hand around here all the time. Casual laborers go and work 10 hour days and at the end the hiring boss laughs at them and sends them off without a penny. And it’s not just illegals, either.

    The ‘invisible hand’ belongs to a pickpocket.

  • Franco

    289 – Cindy

    Now, to get back to the point I was making…which was not having anything to do with ‘spoiled’ children and ignorant parents…but with indoctrination of human beings (who are helpless against it) into norms of behavior, attitude, desire, and relationship–by companies whose goals are not the best interest of those which they are indoctrination, but merely profits.

    Cindy, In the above paragraph is found a proposition that you base your whole premise on. It is the proposition that people are helpless in the face of corporate marketing. I believe that proposition to be untrue, unworthy and unrealistic, therefor I believe your premise to be false.

    People who base their worth, self-esteem, and interaction with others on what some marketing company professes is the norms of behavior, attitude in, desire, and relationship, are quite literally shallow people, but that dose not mean they are helpless. And further more, most people are not that shallow.

    If you took all the marketing companies away tomorrow Cindy, it would not change the shallowness of those impulsive people, and they would just go on to some other shallow extreme.

    What you would take away though is the opportunity of all the people who are not into letting corporate marking define who they are, but instead, can have a vast array of products offered to them that they otherwise my not know existed. Why take it all away from them, for the sake of the shallowness of the few.

    Case in point – Naomi Klein spent her youth and young adult life in the shopping malls, obsessed with brand names and designer logos and was obsessed with what she could buy that made her feel on top of it and worthy. She used to stitch little fake alligators on to her T-shirts so they would look like Lacoste. Took a Saturday job in Esprit because (they had the best logo), and her biggest fights with her parents were over Barbie and the price of designer jeans. In her high-school yearbook – where some are labeled “most likely to succeed” – she was “most likely to be in jail for stealing peroxide”. She was defined by the products she used to change the color of her hair.

    These are the actions of an extremely shallow and obsessive compulsive person lacking in both self-control and moral character.

    Then she completely makes an extreem radical 180-degree turn and comes out with her book No Logo, as if she has finally matured and sees the light. But the light she sees is the classical liberal self-induced fallacy for not having to take responsibly for her actions. Under this fallacy she can claim that it was never her fault in the first place, it was the corporate marketers. She can deny her own lack of self-control and moral character. It’s not my fault I was a shallow obsessive compulsive person, it’s those people in those companies that make those things and marketed them. Now she can play the victim, who instead of having to look at her own weakness in moral character she can falsely redirect it onto the evil corporations who must now be ripped down in her defense. Not unlike you are proposing Cindy.

    Yet what is most ironicin Naomi Klein’s about face in writing No Logo, she is using the exact same behavior traits as before. Nothing is different about her, she is the same shallow and obsessive compulsive person because she purpetuates it by denying this about herself. Only this time instead of spending money, she is making it. She is making it from all those who also buy into the self-induced fallacy of not taking personal responsibility. And all of this she uses to attack the honest hardworking people trying to make a living producing products that have Logos, and those who buy them because they like them and are not obsessed with having them define who they are.

    I digress

  • Franco

    303 – John Wilson

    We see the invisible hand around here all the time. Casual laborers go and work 10 hour days and at the end the hiring boss laughs at them and sends them off without a penny. And it’s not just illegals, either.

    Where is “around here”?

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    So it looks as though Buber’s vision of an ideal Jewish community – as exemplified by the kibbutzim – did not materialize, and I quote:

    Also in 1946 Buber published his work Paths in Utopia, in which he outlined his communitarian socialist viewpoint and his theory of the “dialogical community” grounded on interpersonal “dialogical relationships”. Communitarian socialism can be summed up, according to Kehilla Community Synagogue, as the theory that “small intentional communities were the ideal forms of social existence.”

    —————————-

    The source:“Martin Buber’s Utopian Israel.”

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    #306 is a response to Ruvy’s #302.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    Just in case you might be interested, Ruvy, here is a link to a limited preview.

  • Ruvy

    Roger,

    I haven’t been ignoring your comments. I’ve just been around elsewhere. Soon I’ll be in bed, but will be happy to check out the links later – in spite of the fact that I have little use for Buber. You were kind enough to go to the trouble to post them. Thank you.

  • Irene Wagner

    Why do I imagine muffled noises coming from Dan (Miller’s) toy box?

    Good article, Dan (Miller). I wish there were less animosity coming from BOTH sides of the Great Belief Divide. There’s enough common ground to make for a peaceful world.