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Social Conservatism: An Obituary

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Last Tuesday night, something died on the stage of American politics.

It was an ideology; a particularly repugnant one, whose adherents believe that they have the right to control the private lives of their peers for the sake of promoting moral order. Needless to say, its rampant implementation over the last decade or so cost the congressional Republicans their majorities on Capitol Hill over the course of the 2006 and 2008 election cycles. It has a name, which is particularly deceptive in its nature.  It is called “social conservatism.” In all honesty, a more fitting title for this oppressive school of thought would be social authoritarianism. After all, as most conservative political philosophies seek to limit the control of government, can anyone seriously refer to the idea of imposing a narrow, restrictive agenda onto the lives of millions, and enforced by the Feds as anything remotely resembling conservatism?  I did not think so.

The cause for the so unfortunately prolonged demise of social conservatism can be almost solely attributed to the United States’ failing economy, which is evidenced by the Federal Reserve’s recent attempt effectively to monetize our nation’s staggering debt. Though, thankfully, the GOP managed to capitalize on this seemingly endless recession during last week’s midterm elections, its overall performance was not as stellar as many had expected: the Republicans did not manage to capture the Senate, despite enjoying a total blowout in the House of Representatives and winning a vast majority of gubernatorial and state legislative races from Florida to Alaska. The reason for this damper on what was otherwise a spectacular evening was that a cadre of far right senatorial candidates, Ken Buck of Colorado, Sharron Angle of Nevada, Christine O’Donnell of Delaware, and a few others not worth mentioning, during the final days of their campaigns chose to place their focus on such relevant issues as whether or not homosexuality is a choice, what exactly is it that makes a person look Hispanic, and of course, why the practice of abortion should be criminalized, even when a woman’s life is placed on the line.  All lost because of those choices.

It is inescapable that the American public, with the exception of a few incendiary fringe activists, no longer cares about what their neighbors do behind closed doors. All they want is a stronger economy, the chance for a decent retirement, and their taxes kept at minimal levels. Should the GOP choose to aid them in meeting their goals with its new-found political power, then it should face no problem in seizing the presidency two years from now and the Senate along with that. Should the incoming congressional Republicans, however, stray away from the will of their constituents by kowtowing to the whims of the religious right and the so-called values movement, they will be met by resounding defeat, with President Obama, Nancy Pelosi, and Harry Reid laughing all the way. Right now, it seems as if they will opt to do the former, and as said by influential San Diego-based U.S. Representative Darrell Issa, “take America back to the middle”.

Let us hope so.

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About Joseph F. Cotto

  • Baronius

    There are sixteen new members of the Senate, three Democrats and thirteen Republicans. Of the Democrats, all but one of them (Joe Manchin) is pro-choice. Of the Republicans, all but one of them (Mark Kirk) is pro-life.

  • Baronius

    Permit me to make another observation, one I’ve made before on the relationship between fiscal and social conservatism. Unstable families are the surest way to drive up the cost of government.

    There’s nothing in the world cheaper than governing a community of stable, rural, intergenerational, home-schooling families with their own wells. Those conditions don’t apply any more though. Some increase in government spending across the past century is appropriate. And a lot of the societal changes in the past century have been for the better.

    But a good deal of the costs of modern government have their origin in the darker side of family disintegration: poverty and crime. This is what the Schwarzeneggers of the world don’t understand. Progressive policies that weaken the family will lead to social crises that will in turn lead to greater demands on government. Cali could go bankrupt paying for social services and prisons alone. The more they accomodate the broken family, the easier it gets to become one.

    (If someone latches onto that last sentence they could make me look bad. I’m not saying we should abandon the poor. I’m not. I’m saying that we need to change policies that make it easier for the next generation to become poor, and that includes any policy that weakens the family.)

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

    Joseph, your thesis is somewhat kneecapped by the failures of marijuana legalization initiatives in California and three other states, the approval of a measure restricting abortion in Alaska, and the results of several other referenda in which the voting public appeared to approve of the government Poking Its Nose In Where It Doesn’t Belong.

    Admittedly there were fewer of these types of ballot initiatives this time around, and my general impression is that public opinion is gradually coming around to the notion that privacy doesn’t require regulation. Nevertheless, to declare the demise of social conservatism with such confidence is premature.

  • http://handyfilm.blogspot.com handyguy

    Rand Paul and Marco Rubio and Pat Toomey are as socially conservative as any sitting senators. Jim DeMint, who thinks gays should not be allowed to be schoolteachers, is a strong influence on them and has a lot of influence in the GOP. The incoming Republican House members are hard-line conservatives, and if you can find any social moderates among them, you let me know.

  • http://handyfilm.blogspot.com handyguy

    Baronius, you don’t specify what you mean by “progressive policies that weaken the family.” Gay marriage? Does that lead to poverty and crime? Legal abortions — which made obsolete the horrendous back-alley abortion industry?

    Social conservatism tends to be about sex [gay rights, abortion rights] or about guns, or about religion [prayer in schools, teaching creationism in schools’].

  • zingzing

    a “scientist” who “studies” creationism. and the painting in the back! such art.

  • http://handyfilm.blogspot.com handyguy

    Eek, zing. Scuse me, I have to go find metal blankets to hide under.

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

    Did you watch that episode of Mythbusters too, Handy?

  • http://handyfilm.blogspot.com handyguy

    No, I’m just scared of that crazy lady in zing’s YouTube link.

  • zingzing

    she is something else, isn’t she? and the text that’s on the right side of the “vidio…” my god. classic stuff. i just hope she’s not some liberal plant, although that is the only plausible explanation. beyond pure insanity. but what, really is the difference? yes, yes, reptilian aliens is a little far-fetched, but what of a lonely bearded man floating in the heavens?

  • Arch Conservative

    You call social conservatism social authoritarianism.

    I call sociali liberalism moral relativism.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Baronius –

    Progressive policies that weaken the family will lead to social crises that will in turn lead to greater demands on government. Cali could go bankrupt paying for social services and prisons alone. The more they accomodate the broken family, the easier it gets to become one.

    Sooo…if that’s the case, then red states should generally have lower divorce rates and lower teenage pregnancy rates, right?

    From census.gov (you’ve got to compile them and resort to get the following result):

    Divorce rates, 2008, top ten:

    Massachusetts 2.0
    Iowa 2.4
    District of Columbia 2.5
    Illinois 2.5
    South Carolina 2.5
    New York \5 2.7
    Rhode Island 2.7
    North Dakota 2.7
    Pennsylvania 2.7
    Maryland 2.9

    And the bottom fifteen:

    Oregon 4.0
    New Mexico \5 4.1
    Alabama 4.2
    Tennessee 4.2
    Colorado 4.2
    Alaska 4.3
    Mississippi 4.4
    Florida 4.5
    Idaho 4.7
    West Virginia 4.8
    Kentucky 4.9
    Oklahoma 5.0
    Wyoming 5.1
    Arkansas 5.6
    Nevada 6.5

    (California, Georgia, Hawaii, Indiana, Louisiana, and Minnesota did not submit stats)

    For teenage pregnancies:

    States ranked by rates of pregnancy among women age 15-19 (pregnancies per thousand):

    1. Nevada (113)
    2. Arizona (104)
    3. Mississippi (103)
    4. New Mexico (103)
    5. Texas (101)
    6. Florida (97)
    7. California (96)
    8. Georgia (95)
    9. North Carolina (95)
    10. Arkansas (93)

    States ranked by rates of live births among women age 15-19 (births per thousand):

    1. Mississippi (71)
    2. Texas (69)
    3. Arizona (67)
    4. Arkansas (66)
    5. New Mexico (66)
    6. Georgia (63)
    7. Louisiana (62)
    8. Nevada (61)
    9. Alabama (61)
    10. Oklahoma (60)

    The above were from a survey in 2000. Here’s what the CDC said about 2008:

    Whatever the reason, the regional disparities are stark. In Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Vermont, for instance, 2008 birth rates were less than 25 per 1,000 teens aged 15 to 19, CDC found. In the same year, Arkansas, Mississippi, New Mexico, Oklahoma and Texas all had rates topping 60 per 1,000 teens.

    Mississippi had the country’s highest rate (65.7), CDC says, while New Hampshire had the lowest (19.8).

    Sooo…Baronius! Since it is quite clear above that the divorce rates and teenage pregnancy rates are generally HIGHER in red states, exactly how is it that progressive ideals weaken the family and lead to more crises and greater demands on government?

    I’m really, truly looking forward to your answer!

  • Glenn Contrarian

    (doggone it – there I go again! I forgot that FACTS mean absolutely squat to the Right unless those facts somehow support conservative dogma!)

  • zingzing

    so, archie… you’d rather be told what to think rather than be able to make up your own damn mind about something’s morality?

  • Clavos

    For one thing, Glenn, just exactly WHO are the teens getting pregnant?

    Daughters of well-to-do upper middle class Republicans? Perhaps a few, but I’d wager that the vast majority of teen pregnancies in every state occur among the poor and disadvantaged, most of whom vote Democrat, not among the comfortable and wealthy.

    Further, most of the poor ignorant crackers vote Democrat, as do the poor blacks in the South, regardless of how the Census categorizes their states of residence.

    That, too, is FACT.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Clavos –

    Remember, the South has been conservative since just about forever…and it was only after the Civil Rights Act was passed by the Democrats that the South began voting Republican. Whether Democrat or Republican, the South has always been conservative. That point is beyond question.

    1 – You’re absolutely right that the vast majority of the teen pregnancies occur among the poor and disadvantaged…but WHY is it that these red states have been under conservative governance since before the War – meaning, the Civil War – and it is current conservative dogma that Republican governance that will lead to economic prosperity, lower crime, and (as Baronius implied) stronger families and fewer (familial) crises. Sooo…Clavos! Since the South has been solidly conservative for well over a century, WHY ain’t they better off yet?

    2 – You are absolutely WRONG that most among the “poor and disadvantaged” vote Democratic. Most of the MINORITIES do…but minorities comprise only a MINORITY of the “poor and disadvantaged”. Most of the rest of the poor and disadvantaged proudly call themselves REDNECKS…and they very strongly vote Republican.

    YES, Clavos, when it comes to this, I DO know the people of the South better than you. I grew up there, remember, and I go back there every year or so to see my family and their friends – almost all of whom are poor, disadvantaged, white, and hate Obama.

    Tell you what, Clavos – I won’t try to educate you about life in Mexico, and you don’t try to teach me about people Down South…because if you knew ANYthing about the South, you’d know that Florida AIN’T the Deep South – it’s just the Great Northern Retirement Home. That’s not an insult, btw – it’s a simple fact about what is and what ain’t the South.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    And Clavos –

    If it’s the poor and disadvantaged who normally vote for Democrats, that strongly implies that you think that those who are prosperous and educated normally vote Republican.

    So…why, then, are the blue states – which are generally better off by almost ANY standard from income to poverty rate to divorce rate to teen pregnancy rate to crime rate to life expectancy – WHY do the blue states REMAIN blue when their people are generally more prosperous and educated than those in red states?

    But you know what you’re going to do? You’re going to do your doggonedest to tap-dance your way around these FACTS, all the while never approaching the REAL reason: states (NOT inner cities, but the STATES) that are more urbanized tend to be better off by almost any measure you care to name even though the blue states generally receive LESS money from the federal government than they pay in taxes and the red states generally receive MORE money from the federal government than they pay in taxes!

    – And they tend to vote Democratic.
    – And they REMAIN generally better off than the red states.
    – And they STILL vote Democratic.
    – And they REMAIN generally better off than the red states.
    – And they STILL vote Democratic.
    – And they REMAIN generally better off than the red states.

    D’ya see a little pattern developing here? Yes, you do – but you’ll never admit it.

    Tap-dance all you want, but that’s the reality of the American political scene for at least the past forty years.

  • zingzing

    oh, glenn… how is that brick wall doing? you’ve been bashing into it for so long now, it must be getting rather stained.

    clavos: “Further, most of the poor ignorant crackers vote Democrat.”

    goddamn man! the south is loaded with well-to-do folk! must be like 70% of them, given them voting patterns. funny thing… the per capita income down there must be ASTOUNDING. sheeit.

    all joking aside… ignorant crackers voting democratic… that’s just ridiculous… let me wipe away this tear… ok. the ignorant cracker is just one of the many republican bases, and it is especially powerful in the south. i grew up in the south among many an ignorant cracker, and they are, without exception, all republicans. of course, that’s part of what makes them ignorant in my eyes, i guess. that and they got no education and shoot guns INSIDE their own homes at times. (actually, i fired off my only gunshot INSIDE an ignorant cracker’s home, at his behest. he’s a fine fellow, except for being ignorant.) and they fry EVERYTHING. would you ever consider owning a deep fat fryer? they’re everywhere! it’s crazy.

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

    The only thing liberal about Archie is his spelling… :-)

  • zingzing

    maybe he types too fast… but really, to get from the “L” at the end of “social” to the “L” at the beginning of “liberalism,” you don’t even have to move your finger. it’s just inexcusable.

    police: DON’T MOVE!
    archie: i

    *blam*

    police: told him not to fuckin move. all he had to do was not move. but what did he do? mother fucker moved. that’s expressly what he should not have done given the situation, if he intended to live. i have no idea why he did it. we’ll never know now… oh well, tag em, bag em. let’s move on. another soul gobbled up by the irresistible urge to do just what you shouldn’t do just at the moment you shouldn’t do it.

    police #2: shut up.

    police: but, you see, i’m just trying to explain that he didn’t need to do what he done. it’s just as easy to do nothing, if by doing nothing, you obtain your objective. “don’t move.” i was very clear. i’d have let a twitch of a thumb go by, but he came out with all that “i” shit, and i just blew my top. that’s blatantly disobeying my express request. and because of that…

    *blam*

    police #2: he wouldn’t shut up.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    zing –

    wait – there’s a brick over there on the right – it ain’t stained yet!

    Ready…

    Aim…

    OWWWW!!!

    Cap’n Ahab had his Great Cracker Whale, and I got me that there brick wall that I’m a-wailing at with my stupid head. “To the last I bash my head upon thee! From mediamatters.org’s heart I stab at thee! For factual and accurate reporting’s sake I spit at thee!”

    Arr…avast, ye swabs! There be another brick! Ready…aim…

    ======================

    btw, zing – d’ya know why pirates say ‘Arrrr!”? Easy. You see, ol’ Blackbeard knew his pirates weren’t too literate. He could teach them only one letter, so he tried different letters, one at a time. “Ayyyy” sounded too much like a sitcom based in the 1950’s, “Double-Youuuuuu” was too complicated, and “Peeeeee”…well, the ship almost capsized from all the sailors running to the leeward side to relieve themselves. So “Arrrr!” it was!

  • Irvin F. Cohen

    In short response to comrade Glenn the exalted and most esteemed comrade, fellow traveler, commie-lib, commie-symp, true believer, sophistic, nay, make that the highly sophistic, Neo-Marxist, New Age Marxist Contrarian,

    To paraphrase (cause I can’t quote anyone to save my life) a fellow honky, cracker, good ‘ol southern boy of yours, Mark Twain; “there are lies, damn lies and statistics.”

    My question to you is are all these so-called facts of yours, when taken out of their full factual context of which you appear to be so expert, that does that make you a liar and a damn liar?

    Where there is divorce that by logical necessity presupposes marriage, yet you very conveniently leave these rates out and their obvious relationship to both the former and to birth rates. Moreover, you also conveniently leave out the percentage of how many births there are to married women and and how many are to out-of-wedlock and below the age of majority, all of which I would assume are extremely important contributing factors to all the phony issues you raise.

    Then there are a myriad of other factors, such as social, cultural and yes, religious factors as well which would go a long way in explaining, defending or refuting your phony, highly contrived statistics. All of which you do not address.

    [Personal attack deleted by Comments Editor]

    I would further like to discuss your rhetorical MO, but that has already been addressed in this article and elsewhere by other commentators. And to do so would detract from the author’s article herein, that of comrade Cotto.

    But I’m here, and I’ll address the former in another comment. So here goes:

    You establish these rather elaborate straw-man arguments of yours based upon rather dubious and spurious so-called, supposed facts. The problem here is that these arguments of yours are essentially built upon a house of cards in which only one card need be proved false, because then this straw-man, house of cards of yours will simply fall apart and implode of its own accord into contradiction and nothingness.

    However be forewarned cause I’m going to commit and perpetrate a bit of Classical Greek philology, rhetoric and grammatical construction and analysis herein, hereat. The Greeks devised and created a special mood and conjugation for such sophistic and spurious argumentation (as embodied and embraced by you) called the “potential optative.”

    The operative phrase here is for “statements contrary to fact” amongst many others phrases. Or as I would generically describe and characterize them as a whole lot of “should have, would have, could haves.”

    Well, after having read many of your articles and far, far too many of your comments here and elsewhere, and on my own articles as well; I must conclude that the overwhelming vast majority of your so-called, supposed facts, are nothing more than pure, unadulterated “could have, should have, would haves.”

    Such so-called, supposed facts of yours, are in fact, never facts. But rather are purely in the realm of factional and partisan desire, whim, caprice and wish, or also solely a matter of partisan and factional demand, dictate, dogma and orthodoxy. And again, all of the former is never fact.

    But I am quite certain such a refutation of your ideological sophistry shall fall on deaf ears. Well so be it. Because you are a true believer ideologue and partisan who never enters a debate to discover wisdom and more importantly, ultimate, absolute truth, but only enters to win and persuade through sophistic deception
    and factual lies, untruths and mistruths. The more deceit the better.

  • Clavos

    if you knew ANYthing about the South, you’d know that Florida AIN’T the Deep South…

    When did you ever hear me claim Florida was the deep south (note the lower case), Glenn? Not only is Florida NOT the deep south, my part of Florida, is not even AMERICAN anymore. We are the financial and cultural capital of Latin America — an area where white Americans comprise only 12% of the population — a share that is steadily declining as we drive all of you the hell out of here. As for the rest of Florida, the north of it is referred to by those of us fortunate enough not to have to live there as L.A., lower alabama, while central Florida, thanks to Uncle Walt, bears a much closer resemblance to southern california than than it does to the deep south. As for the northern retirement home canard — those days are receding fast, as the yankees retreat to cheaper places to live, primarily the carolinas and sun states in the west.

    The Latinos are taking over Florida, as we will the whole country, so long as we can make more money here than back home. You’d better learn to speak Spanish, Glenn — and soon.

    No, Glenn, I know where the deep south is and what states comprise it — I lived in one of them, Georgia, for 20 years, and I found the Crackers voted Dem far more than they did Rep — at all levels: city, county and state (and in Atlanta, a majority black city for more than 40 years, the blacks have consistently voted democratic that whole time). It was the carpetbaggers like me who voted Republican.

  • Clavos

    And, of course Glenn, you still have not addressed the point that correlation does not imply causation in regard to the reasons for your “fact” that the “blue” states outperform the “red” states.

    So the granite wall remains — intact and unblemished…

  • Glenn Contrarian

    *sigh*

    Irvin, back in the Navy, this…

    Where there is divorce that by logical necessity presupposes marriage, yet you very conveniently leave these rates out and their obvious relationship to both the former and to birth rates. Moreover, you also conveniently leave out the percentage of how many births there are to married women and and how many are to out-of-wedlock and below the age of majority, all of which I would assume are extremely important contributing factors to all the phony issues you raise.

    Then there are a myriad of other factors, such as social, cultural and yes, religious factors as well which would go a long way in explaining, defending or refuting your phony, highly contrived statistics. All of which you do not address.

    …is what we called tap-dancing. George Orwell would’ve called it something else.

    But you, like so many other conservatives, feel that if the statistics (the divorce stats and CDC observations were taken during the BUSH administration) don’t say what YOU want them to say, then the statistics must be wrong.

    That’s why you call them ‘phony’ and ‘contrived’ – because they don’t say what YOU want them to say.

    But howzabout I give you a chance to expose my ignorance to all and sundry? All you gotta do is explain why it generally is that:

    – Residents in blue states are MORE likely to be covered by health insurance than residents in red states

    – Residents in blue states have a LONGER life expectancy than residents in red states

    – People in blue states are generally healthier than people in red states

    – People in blue states generally have a HIGHER level of education than people in red states

    – People in blue states generally have a higher median and higher per capita income than people in red states

    – Blue states generally receive LESS money from the federal government than they pay in federal taxes, whereas red states generally receive MORE money than they pay out in federal taxes

    – Blue states generally have a lower crime rate, a lower violent crime rate, and a lower murder rate than red states

    – States that do not have a death penalty generally have a lower murder rate than states that do carry the death penalty

    – And of course there’s the divorce and teenage pregnancy rates which are generally LOWER in blue states than in red states.

    – But there is ONE area in which blue states are worse off – residents in blue states are generally more likely to use illegal drugs than residents in red states.

    References for all of the above can be found here.

    So…let’s see if you’ll do what NO BC conservative has even attempted to do – will you explain exactly how it is that all of the above has nothing to do with conservative governance? Here’s a clue – I gave the explanation in the comments to the article…and in comment #17 above.

    But you will NOT do that. What you WILL do is bury your head in the sand and claim that the statistics (all from reputable sources, most from the Bush administration) are still ‘phony’ and ‘contrived’. Not a one of you will even try to give an honest and forthright explanation concerning the disparities listed above…because they don’t fit your DOGMA.

    Back in the Navy, after every event where something went wrong, there’s always a ‘lessons learned’ meeting of some sort or another (and sometimes it’s in the form of a court-martial). During these meetings, pride is checked at the door. The officer or chief testifying has to own up to where he was right AND where he was wrong…because it is only then that the real cause can be determined and (hopefully) the problem can be avoided in the future.

    That’s why I am NOT afraid to give an honest and forthright explanation concerning any problem pointed out to me. But this is NOT the case with the BC conservatives. They will NOT give an honest and forthright explanation of the statistics I pointed out. They will only say the statistics are ‘phony’, ‘contrived’, or that they simply don’t matter.

    Honest and forthright explanations take guts, take courage. Avoiding the questions…takes quite the opposite.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    And for Clavos, on your usual correlation/causation excuse –

    How many major universities are situated in small towns?

    How many major factories that do hundreds of millions of dollars in business are situated in small towns?

    How many major stock exchanges are located in small towns?

    How many major shipyards are located in small towns?

    None, none, none, none, and none.

    ALL of these require significant infrastructure that a rural environment simply CANNOT provide. All of these make money, and bring prosperity to the surrounding population.

    This is why states with a higher overall level of urbanization are generally wealthier, healthier, and safer. Rural states have less of the wealth, less of the education, less of the health care…and lower education almost always results in a greater level of crime, familial strife, and social disorder.

    This is a simple explanation that you KNOW to be true…but I strongly doubt you’ll admit it even though there’s NOTHING about politics in the entire explanation. Instead, you’ll just continue trying to push my buttons in the assumption that you’re somehow making all the facts I listed go away.

    But facts are stubborn things….

  • Baronius

    Glenn, facts are useless things when you don’t understand them.

    There are no blue or red states. There are, at most, blue and red counties. Rural Georgia votes like rural New York, and urban Georgia votes like urban New York. Two-thirds of Washington State is as conservative as the day is long, but nobody lives there.

    And what does blue or red mean anyway? Just to belabor an obvious point, I went on Wikipedia to look at the last few elections for major statewide office (Senators and Governor). How many states are dominated by one party? Seven. Republicans have consistently won in Alabamaa, Idaho, Texas, and Utah. Democrats dominate in Delaware, Washington, and West Virginia. How many states are “purple”? Forty-three.

  • John Lake

    Mr. Cotto, a philosopher and a pundit, has written a perceptive article. Social conservatism, currently viewed as having a strong and ongoing connection to a certain here-in defined strain of religious extremists, may have no place in American government. The concept of “separation of church and state”, referred to in the U.S. Constitution, is vague, but is generally construed as being applicable to this discussion.
    The religious right is not the source of enduring debate concerning life vs. choice. The religious right is that group of out-of-touch believers, with membership originally from remote areas of America, membership now expanding even into American cities, whose pre-occupation with distorted, devolved religion, allows them to embrace racial discrimination, the teaching of unacceptable notions of science — creationism is an example — which allows them to consider the changing of history by non-historians to further their goals, and perhaps most importantly, which allows the belief that they in unity can ignore constitutional and legal principles dealing with church groups, and independent pastors,church leaders, who would promote from the pulpit political candidates of their choosing. This promotion, in addition to fervor in some cases, is the driving force behind political embracement of social conservatism.

  • Baronius

    Glenn, I wonder if this isn’t part of your black/white thinking. All liberals good, all conservatives bad. All Democrats good, all Republicans bad. All Californians rich and educated, all Texans illiterate and racist. I wonder if you were elated after the 2000 election, when reporters began to bunch the whole country into two categories.

  • Baronius

    John – You make it easy to dismiss your argument when you refer to the separation of church and state, in quotations no less, as being in the Constitution.

  • zingzing

    that whole “concept” word is the giveaway, baronius. so is the word “vague.” did you miss those two words? or indeed, the rest of the sentence? it’s kind of easy to dismiss your argument when you obviously (purposefully?) miss the point of the sentence.

  • Baronius

    Zing, there are a lot of concepts in the Constitution that are vague. There’s no precise definition of freedom of speech, for example. On the other hand, the law against the quartering of troops is very specific. So there are degrees of vagueness within the written words of the Constitution.

    As for the word “concept”, it does argue against my reading of John’s comment. But the words “referred to”, and the quotes around “separation of church and state”, argue in favor of my reading.

  • Baronius

    Also, those exact words and their relationship to the Constitution was an issue in this past campaign cycle. If you read the news, you’d have to be aware of it. It’s part of current events. Any ambiguity about it has to fall on the writer.

  • Cannonshop

    Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

  • Cannonshop

    Dunno, seems pretty clear to ME.

  • zingzing

    yes, but the “concept” of something, even if that thing is in quotes, is the concept of it. he’s putting quotes around “separation of church and state” not because it’s quoted to in the constitution, but because it’s a concept. the “concept” of it is “referred to” in the constitution.

    “Any ambiguity about it has to fall on the writer.”

    i think he did his best to dispel any ambiguity. that’s why he had all those words in the rest of the sentence. it’s pretty obvious that he isn’t saying those words are in the constitution. you just read it wrong is all. go look at it again.

  • zingzing

    “Dunno, seems pretty clear to ME.”

    heh. it seems clear to everyone. but when you look at what i call a dog, you might see a school bus for all i know.

  • zingzing

    sorry, 36 was for 32 and 33. sneaky cannon.

  • http://handyfilm.blogspot.com handyguy

    They were most prominently an issue when Christine O’Donnell demonstrated her appalling ignorance of the 1st Amendment. She didn’t do a lot to advance the cause of other Christian conservatives.

  • Clavos

    How many major universities are situated in small towns?

    You’re kidding,right Glenn? Many, if not most:

    Yale – New Haven
    U Wisconsin – Madison
    U Florida – Gainesville
    U Georgia – Athens
    Auburn – Auburn
    Princeton – Princeton
    Dartmouth – Hanover
    Cornell – Ithaca

    …and the list goes on and on.

    The small college town is almost a cliché…

    How many major shipyards are located in small towns?

    Again, many:

    Ingalls – Pascagoula, MS
    Halter Marine – Moss Point, MS
    Bath Iron Works – Bath, ME
    Fore River Shipyard – Quincy MA
    General Dynamics/Electric Boat – Groton, CT. and North Kingstown/Quonset Point, RI

    Again, the list goes on and on…

  • John Lake

    Twas an issue indeed!
    As Baronius said, vague is vague. And no amount of study of the quote provided by Cannonshop will grant lucidity to the idea of seperation…

  • John Lake

    As you were, gentlemen. That’s “separation”.

  • zingzing

    Yale – New Haven (123,00 pop city, 600k pop metro)
    U Wisconsin – Madison (235k city, 560k metro)
    U Florida – Gainesville (125k, 260k)
    U Georgia – Athens (115k, 190k)
    Auburn – Auburn (58k, 136k)
    Princeton – Princeton (15k–hey a town!)
    Dartmouth – Hanover (11k–two!)
    Cornell – Ithaca (30k, 100k)

    not too many “small towns” in there, clavos…

  • Baronius

    A brief time-out.

    This is one of those situations where the left and the right seem to be talking past one another. If I recall correctly, O’Donnell asked Coons where the separation of church and state is in the Constitution. (Maybe there was more to it than that.) To liberals, this seemed like an unpardonable gaffe. To conservatives, it seemed like a knockout punch.

    Is there some way that the two sides can talk about this? It scares me that our understanding is so different.

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/joseph-cotto/ Joseph Cotto

    Wow! Talk about sparking a debate.

    I would like to make it abundantly clear that my article was in no way, shape or form an endorsement of the cabal of leftist policies which have so infuriatingly come to be known as social “liberalism”. Seeing as they are not liberal at all, but instead neo-socialist at best, it is truly a shame that the Left has managed to destroy a term which at its quintessence means “liberty” for the sake of promoting its destructive agenda, as evidenced by Glenn’s absurd comments here and delusional, crypto-racist article a few days back on the results of the midterm elections. I am, as stated in my biography which can, needless to say, be seen on this very page, a social centrist. Therefore, I have a live and let live mentality on what happens behind closed doors, no more and no less.

    Now, to address a specific question from Dr Dreadful, I do not believe that what happened last week marks the absolute end of social so-called conservatism. Not by a long shot. However, it will ultimately be recognized in history as the defining moment in its decline, when the reactionaries who rammed their authoritarian agendas down the throats of the Silent Majority of the American public permanently lost their footing on the political stage. The defeat of marijuana legalization in California, from my perspective, was not so much an act of social conservatism, but instead a seemingly rational one by concerned voters fearing situations such as grow houses popping up across the street from their homes. Nonetheless, many of the newly elected Republican senators and congresspersons do tend to harbor rather extreme views on social matters, but I do not feel that they will try to pull anything idiotic within the near future as the economy is so badly tattered that bringing it back from the brink will be a full time job for them in itself, as well as dealing with pressing national security issues.

    I believe without doubt that the new class of Republicans headed to Capitol Hill understand exactly why it is that their party was returned to power and will follow the lead of soon-to-be House Sepaker John Boehner and, of course, Representative Issa in restoring fiscal, national security, and judicial conservatism while towing a more centrist line on social matters. all of the evidence that I have seen indicates this, anyhow.

  • Clavos

    Depends on your def of small, zing.

    Mine is anything less than 250K, having lived in several that small in my day.

  • John Lake

    Representative Issa would do well to avoid the influence of Mr. Rush Limbaugh. Issa we recall, following the mid-terms, got caught up in a Limbaugh rant and made some very extreme statements. Darrell Issa, Republican from California, the incoming Chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform committee was expressing concern about the Presidents $700 billion in stimulus spending; “That $700 billion is gone, we have to figure out, one, where it went and two, how to keep it from going away that way again” Issa, on ABC’s Good Morning America program recanted, saying he was “caught up in the heat of the campaign!” Issa is still at a loss to find the $700b.

  • Dan

    “If I recall correctly, O’Donnell asked Coons where the separation of church and state is in the Constitution.”—Baronius

    It demonstrates progressives appalling ignorance to mock her. The phrase is, of course, not in the Constitution.

    There was no mystery about what an “establishment of religon” meant when it was inserted into the Constitution.

    The Church of England was an “establishment of religion”. It was financed by government and it’s members had privileges members of other religons didn’t.

    The founders intent is clear when you consider the prayers, religous symbols, and references they mixed with government during their times.

  • zingzing

    a quarter a million people does not a “small town” make. that’s a city, clavos. pretty big one, too. by your definition, there are only 75 municipalities in america that qualify above “small town?” reno really is a small town in your estimation, eh? that city across the river from dc? small town of arlington. boulder? that’s a rural place.

    come on, clavos. what defines “small town” is vague, but damn if 250,000 people living in an incorporated area with a city government is a small town… and i’m sure you don’t think that glenn was talking about cities of 250,000 people when he was searching for examples of “major universities in small towns.”

    a town would generally be below 10 or 20k, i’d say. and a small town… i’d be interested in a list of major universities in cities under 25 or 30k. i’m sure there are some, but the university must be “major,” like having medical and law schools, research facilities and phd programs, and you don’t get to include some school in orlando or jersey city or duke university in the small town of durham (pop 220k, 1.75 million in the larger metro area).

  • zingzing

    to make your search even more maddening, find “major” universities in municipalities under 30k which actually vote republican on a local level (even in federal elections).

    feel free to include any municipalities of 30k that are actually cities and not towns (or even small towns) in your list.

  • Clavos

    zing, my figure of 250K is for the incorporated town, not metro areas. If you include metro areas, Ft. Lauderdale is a big city, and it damn sure ain’t.

    Also, I would bet you couldn’t find a 100,000 Republican votes out of all the universities in the USA added together– academics don’t vote Republican, neither do students.

  • Clavos

    New Haven, Gainesville, Athens, Auburn, all of which I know well, are small towns — whether you accept them as such or not.

  • zingzing

    when o’donnell asked “where in the constitution is separation of church and state,” she was responding to coons saying that “one of those indispensable principles is the separation of church and state.” so she asked where the principle of separation of church and state is in the constitution. of course, if he wasn’t talking about the principle, and was instead talking about the phrase, that would make sense. and that’s the trap she tried to lay, but she got laughed at instead.

    she then is asked about her thoughts on three constitutional amendments, and she doesn’t know what two of them even are.

    coons then says “the 1st amendment establishes a separation, the fact that the federal gov’t shall not establish any religion; and decisional laws in court over many, many decades…”

    o’donnell then breaks in: “the first amendment does?”

    maybe she’s just being ridiculously nitpicky. i dunno. but it doesn’t look so smart. if she does know her constitution (kinda doubtful at this point), she also knows that the “establishment clause” has come up before the courts many times and has legal precedent as the “separation of church and state. thomas jefferson even labeled the clause as designed to do exactly that.

    i have no doubt she knows the first amendment and what it does, including that it is responsible for the principle in question. but she’s making a fool of herself trying to make some point, which is kinda nitpicking and presented in a childish manner.

    and if conservatives thought that was a “knockout punch,” they was wrong, because she lost pretty bad in the election, and, in my opinion at least, in that debate. she clearly has no idea what she’s doing.

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

    The Church of England was an “establishment of religion”. It was financed by government and it’s members had privileges members of other religons didn’t.

    Exactly…

    The irony (other than Dan’s possible obliviousness that he just demolished his own argument) is that there’s far less religious interference in government in the UK than there is over here.

  • zingzing

    “New Haven, Gainesville, Athens, Auburn, all of which I know well, are small towns — whether you accept them as such or not.”

    i know new haven and athens fairly well, and i’ll have to inform you that they are in fact cities. most of those that you mention have well over 100,000 people, clavos. they are not small towns. by any stretch of the imagination, either legally or in the minds of the vast amount of people not trying to make a point they can’t support.

    and why not include metro areas? the political lines are fairly arbitrary, and those in the metro area live within close proximity and in city-type environments.

    but even without the metro areas, you’re flat-out wrong if you think those are small towns in all but the most colloquial and disingenuous terms.

  • zingzing

    and ft lauderdale isn’t necessarily a big city. but it’s certainly not a small town.

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

    I can tell you from personal experience that it is entirely possible to physically cross a municipal boundary and go to school in the next town.

    If there is some sort of forcefield preventing one from doing so, it must have been switched off when I did it.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Baronius –

    Glenn, I wonder if this isn’t part of your black/white thinking. All liberals good, all conservatives bad. All Democrats good, all Republicans bad. All Californians rich and educated, all Texans illiterate and racist. I wonder if you were elated after the 2000 election, when reporters began to bunch the whole country into two categories.

    Sooo…if I think that conservatives are bad, then why is it that I’ve stated several times that Reagan was one of our greatest presidents? Why is it that I hold Eisenhower in high regard? Why is it that I have no problem pointing out what Nixon, Bush Sr., and even Dubya did that was RIGHT?

    Why?

    Because unlike you and most of the rest of the BC conservatives, I have no problem with being objective.

    Think about it, Baronius – how many of you have stood up and said “this is what Obama did that was right!”? How many of you have defended Clinton or Carter or LBJ or Kennedy or Truman or FDR?

    Zero.

    So who, then, is truly seeing things in terms of black and white? All I’m doing is abiding by advice as old as the Bible: “By their works shall ye know them.” The RESULTS of Republican governance falls short of the RESULTS of Democratic governance in almost every area including social stats, crime stats, educational stats, financial stats…you name it! I’m judging by the RESULTS, Baronius, not by the dogma and certainly not by the political promises! Who is it that is PROVEN to give the better results for Joe Main Street?

    Everyone does things that are right and things that are wrong – I HAVE defended Reagan on this blog even against my fellow liberals. Can you name even ONE Democratic president that you’ve defended? I’d love to see a challenge between the conservatives and liberals on BC – the challenge being for the liberals to honestly state in unambiguous terms what Republicans have done that was RIGHT and good for America…and for the conservatives to honestly state in unambiguous terms what liberals have done that was RIGHT and good for America.

    And how many here will step up to the challenge? *sounds of crickets chirping at night*

    Yes, Baronius, one of us sees in terms of black and white – and it ain’t me.

  • Dan

    Usually when someone asks to have shown to them the language for seperation they are nitpicking. It is a common case made by Constitutional scholars sticking to a strict interpretation.

    I’m sure that was what she was trying to pull off. I didn’t see it and don’t know how well she did.

    But it’s a good argument that’s relevant when you consider that the bounderies for a phantom seperation directive are still being stretched.

    People would vote for someone who could articulate the argument.

  • zingzing

    “People would vote for someone who could articulate the argument.”

    well, after her display of constitutional ignorance, it wasn’t a good idea to “articulate the argument” in a manner that was that vague. she was suggesting a lot of things, but she wasn’t addressing what he actually said, and it just made her look even more ignorant.

  • Dan

    Glenn, surely everyone knows by now that you insist on being thought of as objective.

    Dr. Dreadful, you don’t have to save me embarrassment, you can cure my obliviousness.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Dan –

    I’ll ask you the same question I asked Baronius – can you point out ANY BC conservatives who have stood up and said that Obama or Clinton or Carter or Kennedy or LBJ did this or that which was right and good for America? Maybe one of you has – but I haven’t seen it.

    Being objective, Dan, means being able to see BOTH sides of the story, and being able to understand that everyone does something right at least once in a while. Even Hitler did something right – it was called the Autobahn, and it was the precursor to our interstate highway system.

    So…my challenge stands – if you can honestly and forthrightly (with NO sarcasm) point out what Democrats did that was right, then you’re making progress towards being an objective person. If you can’t – or if you refuse to do so – then you see things in black and white and pay little attention to the gulf of gray that lay in between the two polar opposites.

  • Dan

    I don’t think it would be too big of a problem to think of good things to say about Democrat Presidents. Even Obama.

  • zingzing

    but…

  • Baronius

    See, this is what is so important. We interpret this event so differently that Dan goes to his corner and Zing to his, sure that the other is beaten. Zing, to conservatives, the appearance of a casual approach to what the Constitution says is a red flag. Dan, the use of a common phrase to describe an important principle shouldn’t shut down conversation. This seems so “a house divided” that I can’t understand how we got here, or what we can do to get back.

  • zingzing

    if hundreds of years of legal precedent is supporting what you’re saying, if the guy who wrote the damn thing says exactly what it’s supposed to do and that supports what you’re saying, it’s not exactly a casual approach. it’s knowing history and the constitution. and not being a little nitpicker who’s trying to say that he’s trying to say that which he expressly avoids saying because he knows what she’s trying to do. it’s ridiculous. no, the phrase is not in there. he never came close to saying it was. but the court of law and the guy who wrote it says that the principle is spelled out in those words. and that’s how we’ve come to understand the principle. her’s was the casual, lazy approach. she (apparently) doesn’t understand what those words mean in reality. she (apparently) is willing to play fast and loose with the prevailing interpretation to make a tired, childish point that was totally expected of her ilk. i’m surprised he didn’t totally roll his eyes at that chestnut of a strategy. it’s the “we’ll cut em off at the pass” of political debate at this point.

  • zingzing

    also, dan claims to have not seen it. i don’t blame him. the 8-minute segment i viewed in order to get the quotes correct is an embarrassment. that someone so whacked out and ignorant got that close to a seat is a condemnation of our national politics. or at least another example of how shitty things can get around here.

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

    Glen, re your comment # 62 —

    I am one of the conservatives whom you seem to disparage; I won’t attempt to speak for others here.

    I have, indeed, been critical of President Obama but I have also said some rather nice things about him (and more about former President Truman who, despite his faults, has long been one of my very favorite presidents) and the things he did and and permitted his administration to do when I thought it called for, here, here, here, here, and here on BC and elsewhere. There may well be more examples but I’m too lazy and indifferent to your spin to look for them. Having made the accusation, and if sufficiently interested, you might want to look for them yourself. I rather doubt that you have said anything significantly derogatory of President Obama or the policies of his administration, even the lack of effort to avert the disenfranchisement of military personnel serving overseas in combat areas. Surely, as a former Navy non-commissioned officer, you must have some opinions on that sort of thing. I cannot understand your seeming indifference to it.

    I have now become disgusted with President Obama, his administration and most of the stunts he has pulled, even though I initially tried very hard to give him the benefit of the doubt; it was difficult. I can no longer do so, and shall not absent some dramatic changes which I do not anticipate. I may not have given him as many passes as you might wish, but so be it. I don’t think he warrants them or that he or the country needs them.

    Dan(Miller)

  • Baronius

    Zing, I know you see your point of view. That’s not really a revelation. I’m asking if you see the other point of view. The interpretation of the First Amendment is a hot-button issue for conservatives, and the way that phrase has been written into the Consitution in the past 60 (not hundreds of) years is a legitimate point. And the guy who wrote the thing was Madison (albeit with some of Jefferson’s ideas in mind). And Coons basically did roll his eyes at O’Donnell.

    Back to the main point. The Founders don’t speak with one voice on this subject. There were a lot of different approaches to the church/state dilemma. (Remember that some states had an official religion.) So your approach of taking one whole side of the argument off the table, that’s not really historically valid, is it?

  • zingzing

    “the guy who wrote the thing was Madison (albeit with some of Jefferson’s ideas in mind)”

    alright, granted. but one of those ideas, as jefferson wrote to madison, was “a bill of rights….providing clearly….for freedom of religion, freedom of the press, protection against standing armies, and restriction against monopolies.”

    jefferson later wrote “…I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their legislature should ‘make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof,’ thus building a wall of separation between Church & State.”

    this text was quoted by the supreme court in 1878. (so not hundreds… but 130 years is pretty good.)

    madison himself wrote “Strongly guarded as is the separation between Religion & Govt in the Constitution of the United States, practical distinction between Religion and Civil Government is essential to the purity of both, and as guaranteed by the Constitution of the United States.”

    “And Coons basically did roll his eyes at O’Donnell.”

    well, good. o’donnell got so mush-mouthed at that point, i was trying to read her lips to make sure i got it right.

    my argument isn’t taking a whole side off the table. that side of the argument was clearly taken off the table by the founders. establishing an official religion would kill religious freedom. if you value your religion, you had better value your religious freedom.

    “I’m asking if you see the other point of view.”

    i do, in fact, see the other point of view. the words aren’t in the constitution. great. a lot of words aren’t in the constitution. but we’ve come to the understanding that the establishment clause guarantees separation of church and state. (even then, it doesn’t do such a great job.) and even if you’d like to challenge that understanding, i wish you godspeed in get anything like that past the people and the law. the other side’s point of view is a pipedream, and if it ever becomes more than that, it’s dangerous.

    i see the other side’s point of view but i find it unbelievably short-sighted. could you imagine if we declared islam to be the national religion? what of southern baptism? witchcraft (that might actually be funny)? it’s not going to be catholicism, you understand. never that.

    also, if you really want to complain about a “casual approach” to the 1st amendment, why is it cool to play fast and loose with the 2nd? interpreting the words that are there is one thing, but just ignoring other words… wow.

  • Clavos

    Glenn, a solemn promise:

    The day Obama does something I perceive to be good for the country, I will publicly proclaim it as such on this site.

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

    Dr. Dreadful, you don’t have to save me embarrassment, you can cure my obliviousness.

    Dan, you’re basically asking us to accept your curious idea that the Establishment Clause, because it was put in place to guard against the situation in English law wherein there is no separation of Church and State (quite the opposite, in fact), was not intended to bar religion from government.

    Cannonshop is right. The Establishment Clause makes it quite clear that religion has no place in the affairs of state – and (this bit is often forgotten) vice versa.

    I’ve no problem with (for example) Congress beginning its daily business with a prayer – as long as there is a general consensus among its members that this is what they want to do; as long as it’s merely a tradition and not a mandated part of the procedural rules; and as long as any non-religious or atheist congresspersons have the option not to participate.

    The printing of “In God We Trust” on the currency, however, is certainly a violation of the Establishment Clause, because an atheist citizen – or even one such as a Satanist who does believe in God but doesn’t trust him – has no choice but to use that money. That’s coercion.

  • Jordan Richardson

    Safe to say we’ll be waiting a while, Clav? :)

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Dan (Miller) –

    I should have listed you as the probable exception to the rule, because – unlike your fellow conservatives – you’re not afraid to take on any particular subject and earnestly defend the conservative viewpoint. You know my opinion of you, I think that you can see by the follow-on responses by Baronius, Clavos, and Dan, that you’re the exception, and they’re the rule.

  • Irvin F. Cohen

    Dear comrade Glenn; [Personal attack deleted by Comments Editor]

    I am proud to say that I spent my “four in the Corps” honorably and with a modicum of distinction. I made sergenat in two and a half years and served a year (which for us Marines was actually 13 months) in Vietnam where I participated on a personal basis in real-live combat and in which I myself was severely wounded.

    To emphasize the point, I ain’t no war hero, and make no claim whatsoever as such; but I am a somewhat decorated Marine combat veteran of that war. I have 11 ribbons and medals in toto, nine of which are for combat, directly or indirectly, and two for just being alive, vertical and breathing. However, the two of which I am most proud are the Purple Heart Medal and the Navy Achievement Medal with combat “V” for valor.

    [Personal attack deleted by Comments Editor]

    This forum (Blogcritics) is supposed to be about rigorous discourse and reasoned debate through the pursuit of the life of the mind – and not your lousy military service.

    If you read my articles and even my many comments I either one; do not gratuitously raise my military service at all; or second, if I do it is almost always in response to others and I keep it to a bare minimum without any boasting whatsoever. You might try the same.

    [Personal attack deleted by Comments Editor]

  • Cannonshop

    #72, Once I got old enough to think about it at all, I always thought “In God We Trust” was half of a joke- “in god we trust, all others pay cash”-sort of affirming that one should remain skeptical of promises, especially with a fiat-based monetary system backed by nothing more than shady “Economic” data and consumer confidence.

    Or maybe an affirmation and explanation for why the presses continue to run when there’s a deficit in the kitty-waiting on God to save them just as their constituencies wait on Uncle Sam to bail them out-trusting in a higher power to erase the mistakes made by the issuers of the coinage…

    Either way is bad policy, but points up the cosmic (or is it cosmetic) joke of trusting Uncle Sam to handle anything other than wars effectively…

    Now, on another Comment…

    Glenn, JFK was definitely one of the better presidents we’ve had in the 20th century, and one of the few men with the balls to stand up to the Communists and make them back down, he also put the drivers into NASA (and it was HIS administration that produced the NASA that started with Mercury and went to the Moon.)

    He was also the genuine article in terms of “war hero” (actually EARNED his medals), and he turned the Democratic Party from the Party of Jim Crow to the party that passed (and signed) the Civil Rights acts that Eisenhower couldn’t get through a Democrat-dominated Congress.

    Truman’s another Great-again, he stood up to the Communists and quelled the expansion of the Soviet Empire in East Asia, dragged America into prosperity from a post-war bust, ended the second World War without expending the lives of millions of Japanese or Americans, and stopped Communist forces by standing with South Korea against soviet and chinese backed invaders.

    He also sacked MacArthur, a move that would have been politically impossible with a lesser man, and it was Truman’s administration that integrated the Armed Forces and that integration is probably one of the biggest reasons that the Civil Rights movement was able to actually ACHIEVE anything.

    I just don’t have anything nice to say about Democrat Presidents AFTER John Fitzgerald Kennedy-though to be honest, Clinton wasn’t that bad, once he had an opposition congress. (Single party rule is BAD.)

    On the other hand, Glenn, I have very little nice to say about former-spook George Herbert Walker Bush, whose foreign policy resulted in our having to go BACK to the middle east ten years later for an extended period of time, whose domestic blunders included saving his son from the consequences of bad management in the S&L bailout, whose entire regime was, frankly, everything that is wrong and precious little that is right, about the party on the left.

    As for Obama-He makes very nice speeches, so long as they’re prepared, and he writes about himself rather eloquently. Beyond that he’s a lawyer who never tried a case, and never clerked for a judge, a community organizer whose organizing did jack shit for his community beyond raising his own political profile, a crap manager who chooses to surround himself with people who should not be given responsibilties when they can’t attend their own business in a legal manner (Geithner in particular), and a dogmatic leftist whose idea of “compromise” is that his opponents must compromise all, and he gives nothing in return, whose first actions as president were to replicate his predecessor’s biggest mistakes, but with a supercharger on them. thirty two “Czars” to run his government unsupervised and non-answerable, Glenn-and I remember the shit-storm when Reagan appointed ONE to run the DEA and war on drugs (which was and is a mistake that has only created a vast, and useless weight on the taxpayer.)

    Which brings us back around to the topic of “Social Conservatism” and the urge to meddle in the affairs of one’s neighbours using the force of Government.

    excessive. Meddling. Expensive. Useless.

  • Baronius

    Zing, you’re right that the phrase appears in the Reynolds decision in 1878. But the case didn’t revolve around it (so the experts tell me). It was used again in the Emerson decision in 1947 as an essential part of the ruling. The Emerson case also “incorporated” the ruling (made it binding on the states). These two steps – the shift from the establishment clause as written to the “wall of separation” and the application of the standard to the states – constituted a turning point in jurisprudence. That decision set the stage for all the restrictions on vaguely-religious public action of the last few decades. And we know that the current approach is different from the Founders’ intentions because the current approach overturns many of their actions (public prayer, 10 Commandments, etc.). These days, a public school is forbidden from doing an instrumental version of “Ave Maria” at their holiday concert. This is the stuff that drives social conservatives crazy.

  • Baronius

    I’m such a moron. Everson. Everson v. School Board.

  • http://handyfilm.blogspot.com handyguy

    Just to clarify:

    The line that got Ms. O’Donnell [why are we still talking about her anyway?] laughed at by the audience at the debate was:

    “That’s in the First Amendment…?”
    [with a quizzical, skeptical look in her eye]
    This came in response to Coons’s slightly mangled quotation of the establishment clause.

    Her intention may have been to emphasize that the words “separation of church and state” are not in the Constitution. But the clear [and comical] implication was that she didn’t recognize the establishment clause and didn’t realize that it’s part of the First Amendment.

    The audience of law students laughed at her spacey-brained cluelessness. And to Baronius and Dan, she ‘won’ the argument because of the point she tried, but failed, to make.

  • Baronius

    I don’t expect college students to be savvy. I do think that both political sides were dismissive of the other side. I can’t be alone in seeing that dismissiveness as a bad thing.

  • Baronius

    This is all you have to know about social conservatism. Enjoy!

  • Irvin F. Cohen

    A few days ago I wrote a comment (#75) highly critical of comrade Glenn (expurgated, expunged, deleted, erased, fornicating wiped out, totally obliterated, etc.) the Contrarian. Yes I admit that I cast many vile and evil reproaches his way (which in my estimation were all quite thoroughly well earned by him), but so fornicating what!

    I myself have been the recipient of a lot far worse vile and evil aspersions cast and directed my way by the former and by hosts of many others too. I suppose I should actually be proud of that fact, you know, in a perverse sense, as my well earned “badge of honor!” But again so fornicating what and a BFD to boot.

    However that’s not the point here. The comments editor saw fit to sanitize my perceived excesses while at the same time keeping the gist of my criticism intact. OK.

    But that only gives the reader the viewpoint of the comments editor and not mine. It also detracts from and entirely misreads and diminishes the integrity, intent and import of my commentary.

    Well, in an utter exercise in futility, I will make the attempt to clean up and sanitize what was deleted from # 75 in such a manner that it will be virtually impossible to offend the rather arbitrary and capricious standards of sensitivity and hysterical sensibility of the comments editor.

    Or allow me, dear readers, to express myself thusly: Whoever expurgated, expunged, erased and deleted, and cut and shred my commentary to pieces for the sake of making nice-nice in his or her well-meaning attempt at the highly sought after goal of the thoroughly bland, insipid and lifeless and toward the utterly inoffensive holy grail of blah – I humbly submit myself to your wonderful niceness, exceedingly good taste and Solomonesque judgement and magnanimous fairness. All of which even you must recognize is more than sufficient suck-up, obsequious brown-nosing and cringing and fawning sycophantic obeisance.

    Nevertheless, I shall, in my inimitably superfluous manner, make a humble attempt at clarifying some of the “edited (out of existence)” commentary – of course, in a thoroughly bland, insipid and nice way.

    The first is that I found that comrade Glenn’s constant crowing and self-puffery as to his military service was quite “self-absorbed” and self promoting.”

    In this regard I also quoted from Boswell’s “Life of Jonhson.” That “Patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel.”

    Now what pray tell in Hades is so celestial, supreme being, imprecation wrong or beyond the pale with this quote; which by the way happens to be one of the most famous and oft used literary and political quotes in political and polemical discourse in the English language?

    Is the comments editor really that uncultivated, unlettered and ignorant not to know this?

    Moreover I also pointed out that comrade Glenn’s rather gratuitous overuse of his military service seemed to be an apparent method of his to both impress and browbeat his mostly civilian audience, i.e., a clear case of naked and brazen, self-promotion.

    Admittedly there were some other references which even I will cede and yield to the discretion of the comments editor. Yeah man, there was some rather rank excrementum on my part. So duly fornicating noted!

    However I closed out the commentary with a line which I cannot fathom how anyone, that is to say any reasonable, rational person could possibly consider to be offensive, personal attack beyond the pale.

    Essentially I said I was sick and tired of being lectured to, by a career military person (by the way, the common phrase used promiscuously in the military itself, for any of you who have not served, is “lifer”) whom I must assume never even remotely faced for a second, real live combat up close and personal such as I did. And a full year of combat, dodging bullets, grenades, mortars, rockets and self-propelled grenades and their deadly shrapnel almost on a daily basis as I also did.

    Again I find it extremely offensive to be so lectured by a careerist and not a true warrior as I consider myself.

    But of course this was entirely deleted. Well maybe I didn’t say it in the nicest, most insipid and bland way possible…but so fornicating what! Know this and know it quite well, dear, most esteemed and exalted comrade comments editor…it is the ideas which count here, and not your celestial, supreme being, imprecation, overwrought and hysterical sensibilities and sensitivities which are paramount within these pages!

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/alan-kurtz/ Alan Kurtz

    Irvin F. Cohen (#82), thanks for your astute and remarkably apt post on this Veterans Day. I’ve had similar experiences with both the lifer and the comments editor you describe, and hold them in at least as much contempt as do you.

    I confess surprise at the uncommon restraint you demonstrate in your post today. Of course, you were forced into this ruse in order to express yourself in a Blogcritics commentary thread, and who knows how long even your overly polite missive will remain online. Since the comments editor in question resides in England, your post may be allowed to stand for a few hours thanks to the grace of distant time zones. But when he rouses to assume his daily mantle of Almighty Arbiter and Bodacious Bowdlerizer, I predict both your and my comments will bite the dust.

    In any case, Sarge, enjoy today’s national tribute to you and America’s 25 million other military veterans. Like our contempt attached to the lifer and the comments editor, your day of honor has been well earned.

  • Irvin F. Cohen

    Dear comrade Cotto,

    Finally as promised, I come here to praise thee and add my worthless two cent. (And by the way, that’s “two cent” and not two cents!)

    Your article is excellent, well-written and well-thought out – I agree with about just everything save I take exception with your attitude and comments about social conservatism and in particular your characterization of it as “moderate.”

    On this one, social conservatism, we might not be on the same wavelength so I am quite willing to give it a rest and sit this dance out.

    However not so “compassionate conservatism.” I had my concerns and was quite disquieted with it as did its two ostensible main architects, Ph.D.s Marvin Olasky and John Dilulio, Jr. who lasted only seven months or so in the Bush administration
    (from inauguration of January 2001 to August 2001).

    As I see it, for us conservatives it is not solely and must not be just a matter of personal responsibility and individual accountability, as important as those are; but additionally and more importantly it must also be a matter of knowing and being able to discern and distinguish right from wrong, good from evil, and that which is truly moral from that which is truly immoral.

    Incredibly, I maintain that both the liberal, lefty-pinkos and the libertine-arians, I mean libertarians, have this one quite wrong and ironically, from extremely diametrically opposed positions.

    One from a position of freedom as an uncompromising absolute (hence my description of it taken from the philosophy of Thomas Hobbes, that such a position is nothing more than a not so veiled justification for libertine and licentiate behavior).

    And the other from a position of pure unadulterated moral relativism as well as instrumentalism, social Darwinism, and what I call and have termed social-scientific-determinism; all of which, especially moral relativism, are rather nasty and evil philosophic schools of thought. And all of which are innate, inherent and endemic, for all intents and purposes, exclusively to the liberal-left.

    Unfortunately the liberals and now the commie-libs and pinkos etc., et al ad nauseam, have used the word “compassionate’ as a cudgel with which to beat us conservatives over the head for the past 80 years or so. And unfortunately quite successfully so.

    They have essentially all but won the argument (propaganda, spin and rhetoric really) that they and they alone have a vice-grip, stranglehold monopoly and cartel-like death-hold on compassion. With the implication that all we conservatives are un-compassionate, insensitive, mean-spirited, heartless and cruel bean counters. That we are utterly rational and too logical for anyone’s good.

    But if that is the case, if we conservatives are too damn rational and logical and hence insensitive, callous, etc.; then what are liberals save for irrational, emotionalist, irresponsible and incompetent demagogues?

    Moreover I maintain that conservative rationality by definition and logical necessity is always much more compassionate than demagogic and emotionalist, liberal irrationality is or could ever be.

    Because rational conservatism creates both freedom and liberty, and from thence not only subsistence but also prosperity and wealth which are all desirable social goods. Whereas demagogic, liberal, hysterical emotionalism and irrationality produces nothing but social disorder and dysfunction, dependence on government rather than self-reliance, massive poverty and ultimately serfdom and tyranny and slavery.

    Furthermore, in the final analysis, to paraphrase Will Durant; the ultimate responsibility and duty of the broad spectrum of the leadership of any society whatsoever; whether governmental, religious, military, social, financial and business, cultural, artistic and intellectual; is to do two things, is “to both instruct and enforce morality.”

    Conservatives know this viscerally and ineffably but unfortunately do not articulate it as clearly as they ought, should and must.

    Unfortunately the libertine-arians don’t have a clue and the logical progression and conclusion of their ideology is simply chaos and anarchy.

    As for the liberal, lefty pinkos and commie-lib, commie-simp, Marxist, Neo-Marxist and New Age Marxists; the natural progression and logical conclusion of their ideology is tyranny and universal poverty and ultimate iron-fisted dictatorship and slavery!

    However, the natural progression and logical conclusion of conservatism is rationality which breeds and propagates its own prosperity and again, from whence comes personal freedom and individual liberty tempered by personal responsibility and individual accountability.

    And oh yes, throw in God and Christian charity too. And while we’re at it, might as well throw in some real (and not phony and faux) faith and hope as well.

  • Irvin F. Cohen

    Jesus H. Christ,

    Dear comrade, most esteemed and exalted fellow traveler, commie-lib, commie-symp, Neo-Marxist, New Age Marxist scumbag, etc., etc., expletive-deleted, really, really, choice expletive-deleted, etc., ad nauseam

    What the fornication is happening to me here, I actually agree with you. I actually fornicating like what you just done did say.

    Oh shit, I know what’s going to happen – my right fornicating hand is going to fall off. Save me, celestial supreme being, save me!

    Go figure…of course it would be a slimy…the word is in reference to a citrus, green-colored fruit and it rhymes with, oh, I dunno. But go figure.

    Listen Kurtz I don’t begrudge you your service in the Air Force, even if it was and still is the civilian branch of the military. And believe it or not, I don’t begrudge Glenn his service either. But what I do fault him for is his scumbag, blowhard false humility and lifer, know-it-all never wrong bull excrementum attitudes…actually, that’s not so much a lifer as it is a celestial, supreme being, imprecation commie-lib etc., maternal fornicator.

    Yeah subdued…but not quite dead yet…almost…but not quite yet.

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

    One from a position of freedom as an uncompromising absolute (hence my description of it taken from the philosophy of Thomas Hobbes, that such a position is nothing more than a not so veiled justification for libertine and licentiate behavior).

    The snag with that is: who gets to decide what is not “libertine and licentiate behavior”? Your own answer is problematic: the ultimate responsibility and duty of the broad spectrum of the leadership of any society whatsoever […] is “to both instruct and enforce morality.” Yet if the particular morality being enforced doesn’t coincide with the conservative’s personal values, he’s the first to get hopping and vocally mad about it.

    And the other from a position of pure unadulterated moral relativism as well as instrumentalism, social Darwinism…

    Eh? What? Irv, social Darwinism was a philosophy adopted by 19th and early 20th century capitalist industrialists to justify their own wealth. How exactly do social programs like TANF, food stamps and low-income housing fit into Darwin’s theory that the fittest survive and the rest perish?

  • zingzing

    “How exactly do social programs like TANF, food stamps and low-income housing fit into Darwin’s theory that the fittest survive and the rest perish?”

    it’s about the nazis, doc. never forget the nazis. they killed people because they thought them lesser. liberals are evil nazis. so they believe in the same things. get it now?

  • Irvin F. Cohen

    Dear comrade Dr. Dreadful,

    You sound like a typical commie-lib, etc., etc., et al, et al. Like those who are so confused and confounded by their own moral relativism etc., that they no longer know the difference between right and wrong, good and evil, morality and immorality; or why they should, ought and must. Or as zingzing puts it, that, or they are purposefully evil. Which is it, is it because they are confused, ignorant and too fucking stupid to know the difference between good and evil; or is it simply because they truly are that evil? On this issue I tend to agree, as much as I hate to say it, with zingzing. They really are that fucking evil!

    Now your other issue, who gets to decide what is moral and what is immoral which is redolent of the typical, moral relativist commie-lib lament I constantly hear and one which too often goes unchallenged: don’t impose you morality on me, you religious, conservative, reactionary, Christian, God-loving, God-fearing son-of-a-bitch, yeah, whose morality is it anyway? Simple answer, it is everyone’s. That’s the starting point and I’m going to give it a rest, well not quite.

    Morality is like truth, it is indivisible, it is universal and it is independent of what we mere mortals wish or desire or command it to be. It is also a natural occurring phenomenon in the universe, as long as the seeming so-called anarchy and chaos of the seeming, supposed random selection of atoms and molecules is slavishly ruled and determined by the laws and principles of mathematics, physics and the simple equation of 2 + 2 = 4 and the not so simple equation of E = mc(squared), there is an underlying pattern to the universe and an underlying natural moral order as well. Darwinism in its own right presupposes a natural moral order as well.

    And finally, the robber barons of yore were not all Social Darwinists nor as evil and callous as the commie-lib historians and the true eugenicists claimed them to be. Why? Because they had a vested interest in keeping their employes alive and reasonably well, happy and satisfied. Yeah they kept them in debt, that is in the state and condition of owing their collective souls to the company store, but they also fed and housed them and provided doctors and clinics as well. Of course by today’s standards it would appear absolutely dreadful, but then, given the tenure of the times and the nature of the struggle, it wasn’t all that bad either. Certainly not as bad as the liberal-progressive, commie-lib propagandists would have us believe. Me thinks you ought to drop your Marxist, English, typical, class warfare bias and brainwashing on this one, Dr. Dreadful.

  • Irvin F. Cohen

    Just one more point. Dr. Dreadful, please get you history straight.

    Yes the time frame is correct and yes some of the Robber Barons of yore were eugenicists. But they were in fact more philanthropic than they were Social Darwinist. No the true Social Darwinists and eugenicists were liberal and social progressives beginning with Oscar Wilde (who died a few years before the Fabian socialists came into being but nevertheless very much influenced their birth) to GBS and H. G. Wells et al, et al. So do not underestimate the influence of the Fabians upon the left, for it still is very much alive and amongst them.

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

    Mr Cohen, you really are all sound and fury, signifying nothing.

    If morality really is as fundamental as 2 + 2 = 4 or e = mc squared* (which actually is a very simple equation), then please express it for us in mathematical terms.

    There’s also nothing moral about the theory of natural selection: Darwin merely described the natural world as he observed it.

    And I never said 19th century industrialists were callous eugenicists (although some were). I merely remarked that they were the first to try to apply Darwin’s theories to their own gathering of capital and use of labour.

    * You used to be able to put superscript in comments. No longer, alas and dammit.

  • El Bicho

    Appointing a czar was Bush’s biggest mistake? Not ignoring the August 2001 memo, allowing Bin Laden to remain free, sending insufficent forces into Iraq, squandering the surplus, failing to secure the borders, TARP, the slow response to Katrina, his “weak dollar” policy, the prescritpion drug benefit, or failing to veto Republican spending bills?

  • http://tmackorg.com/ Tommy Mack

    the Robber Barons of yore were eugenicists reads like a Palin post.

  • Irvin F. Cohen

    Dear comrade Dr. Dreadful, I’ll allow you and others to express it mathematically cause I’m just a poor, dumb ol’ good ol’ boy who’s just too ignorant, primitive and backwards-stupid to understand that thar calculus of your’en and that thar post-modernist, deconstructionist, logical positivist, instrumentalist deeply profound heaviosity an’ really, really, really smart shit of your’en too is just too, too far above my liddle ol’ pea-brain o’ mine…cause yah see, I only understand Latin, Greek and French and of course English too. Which only goes to prove what a dumb, useless son-of-a-bitch I truly am.

    Now you see nothing of a moral nature to the survival of the fittest nor to the ultimate fealty of the survival of the species? Nor the balance of predators to prey where hormonal balances or imbalances determine the number of predator offspring in order to regulate the genetic quality and vitality of the herd?

    I suppose you are so conditioned to viewing morality as an artificial construct of mankind, that you do not recognize it in its more fundamental and primitive forms.

    Man, I’m beginning to sound like platitudinous ol’ Polonius. Nevertheless a little dosage of skepticism is healthy but a large dosage of nihilistic cynicism is not, and in fact is rather dangerous.

    And ultimate, absolute truth is a difficult commodity to nail down. So therefore I give to you and Darwin’s science in the guise and form of Heisenberg’s Theory or Principle of Uncertainty a heavy dosage of agnosticism. For science and mathematics tells us, clearly dictates and reveals to us that there is more rhyme and reason, order and natural morality to the universe than there is seeming chaos and anarchy.

    The problem is as Heisenberg points out, we are limited in our epistemology and means of knowing any of this for an ontological certainty by our limited, highly fallible, flawed and imperfect human pea-brains with their limitations of language, logic and perception.

    But as futile as that might seem for moral relativists and nihilists such as yourself, that doesn’t mean we should or ought not at least make the effort – as flawed, as fallible, as imperfect and doomed to failure as that exercise in futility might be. Making the effort to understand the universe is in fact what makes us so very human and allows us to transcend the mindless instinctual nature of all the other creatures of the universe.

    So at least go through the motions, even as futile as they may seem to you.

  • Baronius

    El B – I’d put the prescription drug plan as his biggest mistake, with TARP second. I’m surprised you’d rank them as mistakes at all.

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

    Now you see nothing of a moral nature to the survival of the fittest nor to the ultimate fealty of the survival of the species? Nor the balance of predators to prey where hormonal balances or imbalances determine the number of predator offspring in order to regulate the genetic quality and vitality of the herd?

    Irv, very close to 100% of the species that have ever existed on this planet are now extinct. So clearly there is nothing “good”, from nature’s point of view, about the survival of any particular one.

    And I wouldn’t say that morality is an entirely human construct. Many mammals and some birds have a behavioral code, especially those that live in groups. But such codes developed in response to the environment, and continue to develop. The social code that meerkats have, for example, in which one individual climbs a tree and acts as a lookout while the others do their meerkat thing, isn’t going to do them much good if their environment changes and their predators are underground rather than on land or in the air.

    So yes, if you like, in very crude terms morality is “good” (that which keeps a species alive) vs. “bad” (that which kills it). But it’s only the members of the species itself to whom that distinction is important. Nature couldn’t give a shit.

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

    or science and mathematics tells us, clearly dictates and reveals to us that there is more rhyme and reason, order and natural morality to the universe than there is seeming chaos and anarchy.

    Not really. See the second law of thermodynamics. The apparent order we see in the universe is temporary. Or you could look at it the other way: since all systems naturally progress towards entropy, or balance, it is actually entropy that is order, and what we see today is really closer to chaos.

    Either way, science and mathematics are just tools humans use to understand the way the universe works.

  • http://handyfilm.blogspot.com handyguy

    Doc as I watch you actually plow through those shockingly lengthy and empty rants and actually take time to respond to them thoughtfully, I am not sure whether it’s more appropriate to say,
    God bless you
    or
    Don’t you have anything else to do?

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/alan-kurtz/ Alan Kurtz

    “… shockingly lengthy and empty rants …”

    Shockingly? At this late date, if you are shocked, SHOCKED by Irvin F. Cohen’s lengthy and empty rants, you simply haven’t been paying attention.

  • http://handyfilm.blogspot.com handyguy

    Well, I try not to pay attention, but… Some things remain jaw-droppingly ridiculous no matter how many times you notice them.

  • Irvin F. Cohen

    Dear Dr. Dreadful,

    It’s shocking to me that you still just simply don’t get it. Well actually not.

    The point is I am dealing here, I like to think, with the broader, more fundamental core philosophic issues of existence itself and of not only human civilization but all of life and all of its moral implications.

    I’m sorry but you’re just tinkering around the edges and not addressing the core, central issues raised so far. Yet even so, your attempts to explain away this or that natural phenomenon actually reaffirms the broader questions I have posited. The second law or principia of Newton only goes to reaffirm the natural order of the universe rather than the sheer chaos and anarchy you see in everything. Furthermore, the science of entropy also reaffirms the natural order of the universe as well – I suppose you’ll go apeshit over this – but it indicates both a complex blueprint or template or whatever you desire to call it, and also a grand design.

    Now as for a rant on my part. Hey you, that’s right, that’s you handyguy. Rant? I doan see nooh steenking rant, what steenking rant? I doan got to show yooh nooh steenking rant!

    But I will say this, if you think these long-winded (evidently more than you can intellectually handle or comprehend) so-called, supposed “empty rants” of mine are rants, you really don’t know me nor have you read any of my former comments. (Or at least the ones the avenging comments editors Gods of arbitrary and capricious censorship have already cut, sliced and diced into oblivion or have erased entirely). I assure you these are not rants – not even remotely so.

    Moreover I find your comments to be less than handy – handyguy – in fact I find them to be quite uninformed and utterly ignorant.

    I am going to quote from an ancient pre-socratic philosopher (whose name escapes me – damnit – but not the Greek which I however will spare you):

    “Dogs bark at what they do not understand.” So bark on handyguy, bark on.

    Am I saying – handyguy – that I do not suffer fools easily and that your are a damn fool? Most emphatically so! And you can bet your sweet (or bitter) bippee on that one too! And take the money you win to the nearest bank or casino and blow it all there.

    But you better read this fast because the comments editor storm troopers are going to cut these last remarks of mine into oblivion and spare you the perfect mirror image of yourself, which of course is both a fool and a leftist village idiot.

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

    Irv, whilst enjoying the passion and energy you bring to your entertaining views, I’m unclear as to your substance.

    Granted, philosophy and its even more degenerate cousin morality are great platforms for speculation and debate, but they can never deliver more than the occasional insight because of their lack of any substantial basis in fact, unlike more demanding sciences.

    Here you seem to be enthused about notions of patterns you see as blueprints or templates but, despite your references to “addressing the core” or theoretical political constructs such as “rational conservatism”, I must be mentally deficient in some way because I only see excessive confidence, presumption and bravado but very little actual coherent argument.

    Perhaps it would be more helpful to slowcoaches like me if you lay off the pyrotechnics and came up with some reasoned argument.

    For just one example, you breezily assert that “Morality is like truth, it is indivisible, it is universal and it is independent of what we mere mortals wish” but I fail to see why any of that is even remotely credible, let alone possibly true.

    Are you in fact here to exchange views or simply to spar with some other virtual souls?

    If it is true that you don’t suffer fools easily and are so absolutely sure that you aren’t a “damn fool” yourself, clearly engaging with others here is going to be difficult for you, though I guess you could see your efforts to straighten out people’s misconceptions as in some way noble.

    Moving on, fun as your vivid personal characterisations have been, they have now had their fifteen minutes and become unwelcome, so let’s knock it off and concentrate on the actual debate.

  • Irvin F. Cohen

    Dear comrade most esteemed and exalted etc., etc., and expletive deleted, etc., commie-lib, commie-symp, etc., etc.,

    “I must be mentally deficient in some way because…yah-dah-yah-dah-yah-blah-blah-blah.”

    Well, Christopher the answer to your implied question is “yes, yes and yes.” You are mentally deficient not in some little, itsy-bitsy, teensy-weensy way but in a great big, humongous way.

    May I also add that yes I am a “damn fool” to think you commie libs would actually enter a debate solely in the pursuit of attaining both wisdom and ultimate absolute truth through rigorous discourse and reasoned debate. But then like a true leftist intellectual fascist you tell me I have no place whatsoever in the marketplace of ideas nor do I possess my God-given inalienable right to intellectual freedom and my voice to air that intellectual freedom. Moreover, I’m only allowed by you, quite reluctantly I surmise, my proverbial allocated “fifteen minutes” which you further state has “become unwelcome.”

    Who the fuck are you to grant anyone their fifteen minutes or 15 hours or two fucking seconds..isn’t that the purview of the market place of ideas to decide? Who fucking died and appointed you tsar, commissar and master of any fucking thing?

    One last fucking point, I cannot provide you with either the cognition and comprehension or the willingness to entertain the idea that every issue has at least two sides to it, and of course the more complex, the more sides. That just seems to be a concept simply beyond your comprehension and or tolerance.

    Just to be clear here, am I saying that you are a typical commie-lib, intolerant fascist? Will – you goddamn right I am – suffice?

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

    Irv, stripping out the many superfluous words from your latest posting, I see nothing but insults, presumptions, entirely false assertions and a frankly bizarre way of thinking, but again nothing of substance, so there is nothing to engage with.

    It seems to me that it is actually you that is more inclined to intolerance and fascism as apparently you can’t express yourself without belittling others.

    I have now had it with the inaccurate, repetitive insults though, so either knock it off or I don’t really have any option left but to reluctantly but thoroughly efficiently do it for you…

  • Irvin F. Cohen

    Jesus H. Christ.

    Who’s the fascist here? If # 103 is not a veiled threat to shut me up, then what is? And denying people their voice and intellectual freedom and shutting them up through coercive threats, isn’t that a classic definition of what fascism is?

    No comrade Rose, it’s you who just doesn’t get it. And if you take that as an insult, then you are not only insanely thin-skinned, but you are also really extraordinarily obtuse and stupid.

  • zingzing

    irvin, you do nothing but insult everyone. even when you try to make a point, you couch it in an insult. and even then, you obscure the point by repeating and repeating it for paragraphs on end. if all you can offer is endless insults, you’re going to run afoul of the comments policy. chris is the comments editor. doing nothing but insulting the comments editor isn’t exactly the best way to avoid this “classic definition of what fascism is.”

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

    Again, nothing but bluster. I’m neither interested in nor trying to shut you up, I’m simply asking you to stop insulting people.

    It follows, therefore, that I’m not denying anybody anything except their freedom to be rude, so claiming fascism on my part is yet another somewhat hysterical over-statement.

    You’re right to say I don’t get it though; I don’t get what you’re saying because you are too busy enjoying this back and forth with me to make any coherent remarks on your many debating points at all.

    Personally, I find much of your arguments about conservatism, morality and the like to be based in unproven and untested ideas that are mostly ideological in origin and naively idealistic in practice. That might lead me to infer that you are too dogmatic and sure of your inadequately supported perspective to be anything but a dimwitted dolt, but my opinion of you won’t do anything to facilitate communication, so I see no benefit in making it, only distraction.

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/alan-kurtz/ Alan Kurtz

    Mr. Rose, it’s clear why you’ve singled out Irvin F. Cohen for your threats and micromanaging, which as comments editor you direct towards no one else. It’s not because he insults “people.” It’s because he insults you, Mr. Rose. You take it personal. He gets under your skin. So you conduct yourself in an increasingly unprofessional manner, all the while protesting how fair and balanced you are. That’s mighty thin gruel you cook up from your perch on high.

  • Mark

    Why not leave it alone and let ol’ Irv live out his experiment in style?

    …easy enough to ignore if he’s not your cupa java.

  • Irvin F. Cohen

    I see…because I disagree with you or my arguments do not conform with your dogma and or orthodoxy then I must be a “dimwitted dolt”…I see.

    Or if I point out that your behavior of threatening to shut me up is tantamount to intellectual fascism, I am at fault and guilty of “hysterical overstatement” as if the aspersion of “hysterical overstatement” itself is not a snide and petty insult (which is as about as profound as your criticisms and personal ad hominem attacks against me have been).

    Fading out quickly, got to take me spin-itch and lie down. So hasta manana.

  • zingzing

    nah, it’s because you’re an asshole to everyone, irvin. chris got involved because he got sick of you insulting everyone, and you took to insulting him. do you not see the problem here? if not, you ARE a “dimwitted dolt.” he tried some constructive criticism, but you just responded with insults. connect the dots, idiot.

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/irene-athena Irene Athena

    Baronius, you’re not alone in seeing dismissiveness as a bad thing. You MAY be alone in seeing anything but a blank page in that Youtube link you posted in #81…unless it was irony that went over my head…til just now.

    Comment Editorship for the Unassuming:
    “Please try to be a little quieter.”
    “No, YOU shut up.” {Futurama}

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/irene-athena Irene Athena

    Joseph Cotto, No war–not even a Culture War–proceeds without an obituary or two, but there are still HUGE armies of -ist’s and -anti’s who are still at it, and probably will be for awhile.

    Some social conservatives see end-of-life and beginning-of-life as human rights issues. Some of their opponents do, too, of course. Maybe if they both viewed one another in that light, there’d be a fruitful exchange of ideas rather than imprecations (love that word, Irv’) of “idjit!”

  • Irvin F. Cohen

    Dear comrade-ette Athena,

    In order to both keep in character and to further ingratiate myself with the army of idiots who besiege me almost on a daily basis, and likewise win you over and befriend you as I have influenced, won over and brought friendship to myself and to these many jack wads – I too will now do likewise with you. [Edited] And oh yes, of course, accentuate, punctuate and emphasize all of the former with a rather factitious and insincere “have a nice day!” too.

    However my beef with you in particular is the following. I read an article of yours a few weeks ago and found it rather interesting and extremely worthy, but thoroughly non-committal and spineless and in that sense I was disappointed even though I admire it for its thoughtfulness, style and its superior literacy. But that academic style of on the one hand and on the other hand, although de rigueur in this day and age, even so, I still find it rather maddening.

    But my real beef with you is a quote you had in Latin, I was quite impressed. However, I must ask you, where did you get that quote from or did you make it up yourself? Why do I ask? Because the quote is somehow familiar to me but I can’t recall or locate who made it; and second, because the Latin is godawful wrong which could be a matter of orthographical error or just lousy Latin.

    Quote, “Scientia inicum habit prater ignorationem.” Unquote.

    Well it should be “habet” and “praeter.”

    A simple translation: The only enemy (or foe or opponent) of science is ignorance.

    Actually stylistically it should be a neologism and should have a “non” before habet so that the better classical Latin would read “Scientia inicum non habet praeter ignorationem.” And translate as “Science has no enemy other than (or, save for) ignorance.”

    So get it right comrade-ette Athena.

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

    Alan, in your comment #107 you join with Irv in displaying a peculiar inability to follow simple written information or to follow simple reasoning.

    If you could follow such logic, you wouldn’t be able to make such blatantly false statements nor toss in such laughable conjectures as you do. Well done on your personal integrity and your unshakeable commitment to truth and honesty, it really does make you look such a shining champion of those less gifted than you. Oh, wait, it doesn’t!

    Irv, I see you went for the old “I’m clinging on to my dubious and possibly corrupted reasoning at all costs regardless of the facts” routine. Shame…

    You and Alan are increasingly reminding me of characters from a UK TV show called “Grumpy Old Men”. The resemblance would be complete but for the fact that they are actually funny in their bile and frustration.

  • Baronius

    I wouldn’t remove Irv’s comments because they’re insults; I’d remove them because they’re spam. But that’s just me.

  • Clavos

    Either way…

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

    Nalle still didn’t own up to introducing IFC to the BC community. Perhaps he’s being remorseful.

    Anyway, it’s the one that got away.

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/irene-athena Irene Athena

    On one hand, Irv’, I’m amused. On the other hand I’m irked. That wasn’t MY crappy Latin. HAD you clicked the link to E. Sandifer’s article on Euler’s work with projectile paths, and HAD you progressed through the article TO the footnote on PAGE TWO, you would have known this. Please don’t tell me you’re one of those people who doesn’t read the footnotes of mathematical articles. That’s where they put the humor.

    The link worked when I first published that comment. You seem to have the Comment Editing Staff wrapped around your little finger, Irv’. ;) See if you can get them to fix it for you.

  • Clavos

    tout a l’heure…

  • Clavos

    quod erat demonstrandum…

  • Irene Athena

    Baronius’ #81 link (v. funny) works now. So does the link to Latin in the ancient comment on my ancient thread. This probably has more to do with my switching computers than it does with Clavos being wrapped around Irv’s finger, though.

  • Irvin F. Cohen

    Dear comrade-ette Athena,

    “Irked” and “please don’t tell me etc., etc., etc.,”

    Actually it’s good Latin, you just got it messed up in three or more degrees of separation of footnotes of which I truly detest and loathe.

    Footnotes belong exactly where they occur either in parentheses or brackets or however one decides to demarcate and delineate the worthless pieces of excrementum – or I prefer to refer to them as small pieces of excrementum expressed by the word, well it’s four letters long, it begins with the consonant “t” and ends with the consonant “d” which of course everyone knows is a fricative or labial mute, and rhymes with the word “bird.” I hope I have neither shocked nor scandalized you. Actually I surmise it’ll take a little more than that, but I also surmise not that much more either.

    Yes in principle I like mathematics, but in practice, my standard view and standard MO in life in general, is fuck it, as in fuck math in particular and life in general. There, I guess I said it. Is that sufficient enough for you?

  • Irene Athena

    Yes, it would take a good deal more than that to shock me, I’m afraid. Don’t take that as a challenge, though…

  • Irene Athena

    …but if you need cheering up…there’s an argument about Afghanistan over in aisle ten with a lifer you could get involved in.

    There are three things on my list of things to do today, Irv. One of them is laundry. The other two will come to mind while I’m thanking God I have clothes and hot water. That’s the best advice I can give to get you through the day. Take it or fuck it. *shrugs*

  • Baronius

    Irv, I imagine that some of the people locked up in Soviet psychiatric facilities were legitimately crazy. The correctness of confining a babbling Russian doesn’t conflict with the incorrectness of confining a political prisoner. One would have to go cell by cell and listen to each confined man in order to judge whether he should be set free.

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/alan-kurtz/ Alan Kurtz

    One would have to go cell by cell and listen to each confined man in order to judge whether he should be set free.

    There’s the rub, Baronius. Just who, in your postulation, is “one?” Remember, doctors in Soviet psychiatric facilities were agents of the state. They were not about to overrule Comrade Stalin’s determination that dissidents were mentally unsound and must therefore be locked away for their own protection. If you could somehow find an impartial arbiter to go cell by cell and listen to each confined man, that arbiter would quickly find himself occupying one such cell.

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/alan-kurtz/ Alan Kurtz

    Anyhow, the analogy of BC’s commentary threads to Soviet psychiatric hospitals rings true. Ostracizing some commenters as “crazies” merely because you don’t like what they say or how they say it is characteristic of totalitarian regimes. And unilaterally banning such “crazies” from the site (whether that site is Moscow or Blogcritics.org) is typical of a petty tyrant with delusions of Stalinist grandeur.

  • Clavos

    One thing you can say for Stalin:

    At least he culled the herd…

  • Clavos

    Irene,

    …Clavos being wrapped around Irv’s finger, though.

    ???

  • zingzing

    “the analogy of BC’s commentary threads to Soviet psychiatric hospitals rings true.”

    quoted for absurdity.

  • Irene Athena

    So I forgot an apostrophe, Clavos.

  • Irene Athena

    I thought you were in on the joke when you admitted to editing not only his English, but his French. QED and ho ho ho.

  • Clavos

    OK (I guess), Irene, but I found it risible that ol’ Irv, who has an excessively elevated estimation of his own erudition, would use French and Latin phrases which are misspelled.

    Sorry. Can’t help myself.

    How have you been? It’s been a while since we’ve seen you in these parts…

  • http://masbury.wordpress.com Monte Asbury

    Here in Iowa, a similar paradox: Three state supreme court judges were removed from office for participating in a unanimous decision holding that Iowa’s Constitution did not allow discrimination in that one aspect of marriage that is state-related: the legal contract. The decision a) limited state power to legal matters, b)insisted on separation of church and state, c) was rooted in a cautious, literal reading of the Constitution, and d) enforced equal protection.
    And social conservatives labeled it “judicial activism” by “liberal judges.”

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/irene-athena Irene Athena

    I’ve been a-lurkin’ Clavos, trying to be like tee-vee land’s Mr. Ed, who never speaks unless he has something to say. Don’t know what came over me TODAY.

  • Irvin F. Cohen

    Dear comrade “gotcha” Clavos,

    Well, pahd-ner, I must confess, the jig is up cause you got me dead to rights. Yes, I must also confess and admit that the great and all-powerful and all-knowing, mighty, bad-ass, intellectual giant, maternal fornicator, IFC, does on occasion actually fuck up. Not just a little but a whole bunch too.

    For you see the great and powerful, mighty IFC, unfortunately is still a mere, imperfect, highly flawed and fallible mortal MOFO. You know I’m only human, in fact, perhaps only too fricking human at that.

    Alors, il faut gue j’avoue, en ce cas, que vous en aviez beaucoup de raison. Et aussi il doit gue j’avoue que donc je regrette à dire ça. Évidemment ma faute de grammaire s’agit des prépositions, est-ce que “à” oû “de”? Déjà ma faute! N’est-ce pas? Mais oui, c’est ça comme ça!

    Now as for demonstrandum. Again shame on me for so egregious an error. For surely every schoolboy knows that demonstrandum is a gerundive; that it is singular in number, that it is neuter in gender, and that it is nominative in case; and that it is derived from the first conjugation verb demonstro, demonstrare. How downright fornicating stupid of me!

    So yeah comrade Clavos, you done got me. And yeah I guess one can extrapolate from those sort of egregious errors that I ain’t that fucking erudite after all. In fact one then can make the leap of faith to the conviction that I am one helluva dumb ass like the rest of you dumb asses. The only difference here is that I can do it in roughly half a dozen languages or so.

    And yes, I readily admit that yet another logical extrapolation which can reasonably be drawn from all this is that yes, I am a rather pompous and pretentious, bombastic and highly pedantic, condescending and insufferably so, overbearing, phony, acrocephaliacal (from the word acrocephaly, go look it up) anal aperture as well. (By the way, for those of you with a typical worthless, substandard, liberal, governmental public-sdchool education, the term “anal aperture” is a euphemism {go look this one up also if you have to} for the common, ordinary idiomatic phrase “asshole.”)

    So just fucking shoot me! That’s right, have me drawn and quartered, hung from a telephone pole (in whole or in pieces) or simply stoned to death by all of thee which I surmise should make all of you quite happy. Or if you prefer I’ll just take and drink the hemlock myself or commit Seppuku or jump off a bridge or hang myself. In fact in my former branch of the military service such egregious errors of mine were considered grounds for my choice of blindfold or not. And in my former branch of the service such a choice was considered truly liberal-minded and rather lenient, and also quite progressive, enlightened and civilized.

    [Edited]

  • Irvin F. Cohen

    Hit the wrong fucking button again.

    But not feeling well, got to eat me spin-itch and rest for a while

    Will return and finish this commentary shortly. But by then the comments editor will have most likely made it disappear anyway.

  • Clavos

    Dear Commie-symp Irv,

    If yer gonna be a show-off vocabulary-wise, you should protect yourself from ridicule by verifying before posting, particularly of the more obscure terms you favor.

    You say (in # 136):

    acrocephaliacal (from the word acrocephaly, go look it up)

    Unfortunately for you, I did.

    There is no such word as acrocephaliacal, the correct forms of the adjective are acrocephalic or acrocephalous.

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

    Why should that stop our motor-mouth in residence, otherwise known as IFC? Inventing words is his MO. No doubt he fancies himself the greatest contributor to English vernacular since Ben Jonson.

  • Irvin F. Cohen

    Dear most esteemed and exalted comrade commie-lib, commie-symp fellow traveler Neo-Marxist and New Age Marxist Clavos,

    I’m glad you actually looked it up, (I actually didn’t, I first came across it 35 years ago when someone who was doing a crossword puzzle asked me a question as to it, and without looking it up or batting an eye I surmised what the compound word in Greek would be, the point is I was right then as I am now, how so? Well, the form of it I created is an adnoun, which linguistically is an acceptable means of creating a noun from an adjective. So that the word “good,” even though an adjective grammatically and linguistically becomes a noun when it is used as a noun as in “the social GOOD” rather than in the “GOOD ship Lolipop.”

    In Greek the first declension adjectival suffix is “akos, a, ov” which translates into Latin orthographically as “acus, a, um” but this fails euphonically. However the Latin adjectival suffix “alis” of the third declension fits rather well. So I combined the latininized Greek stem root of the adjectival “acrocephaliac(us, a, um) with the Latin suffix “alis” to form and create the adnoun “acrocephaliac.” The additional “i” is a copulative vowel.

    Now the word has been around for roughly three centuries but the process I have so described has been with us since at least the Renaissance. I know whereof I speak cause I had a Latin professor of little talent but some erudition who made his bread and butter and reputation by creating words such as I did here for the heavy duty scientists. They would come to him with their scientific paper and or breakthrough and he would make a word or term for them. He’d also get his name attached to their earth-shattering paper and or breakthrough, usually at the bottom of the front page of it. And for all of his five minutes or so of input, he’d share their limelight and glory for several lifetimes of hard work and toil on their part. Needless to say he, as my head professor, amongst many other academic types, soured me on a career in Academia.

    The point of all this is that I might be a pedantic asshole, but you’re still a fucking acrocephaliac anal aperture.

    By the way the word acrocephalous appears in the literature of its day and meant, literally, “pointy headed” both as a scientific and clinical medical term, and also as a rather clever putdown of intellectuals, especially by southerners in their oft angry references to northern liberal, Ivy League academics.

    I have taken the word to mean and signify “pinhead.” That today one might use it as a fancy equivalent for the highly idiomatic, slang term ‘pinhead’ which I suppose also makes you a goddamn pinhead too. Vizh-stay-a-vooh?

    One last point, I as a writer and as a poet, reserve the right to create words based on my right of autistic license to do so.

    There is another more serious issue here but running out of steam, so later and hasta manana and yes, tout à l’heure aussi.

  • Clavos

    One last point, I as a writer and as a poet, reserve the right to create words based on my right of autistic license to do so.

    Good enough. I reserve the right to laugh and ridicule your creations.

  • zingzing

    “autistic license” is pretty good. gotta hand that to ol’ irv.

  • http://blogcritics.org/culture/article/a-nasty-mathematical-myth/#comments Irene Athena

    I’m carrying one of Cotto’s comments from another thread here so we can compare and contrast: As for the wars and the Patriot Act, all three were inevitable, in my opinion, and the latter is one of the finest pieces of anti-crime legislation which I have ever seen.

    So, you can win maybe one or two folks over to your side of the political fence by distancing yourself from those icky Christians and their sometimes (yes) over-zealous intrusions into the private lives of others.

    It’s good to let these same folks know the limitations of your definition of freedom, though. That’s why I copied your comment about that “FINEST PIECE” of legislation, the Patriot Act, here.

  • Irvin F. Cohen

    Dear comrade Clavos,

    Is that snide and smarmy remark of yours “you reserve the right to blah-blah-blah” the best you can do? Don’t you think that’s in the typical category of seven year olds of accusing each other of “no I’m not…yes your are…no I’m not…yes you are…am not, am not, am not…yes you are, yes you are…ad nauseam, ad infinitum?”

    Well I suggest you get a sense of humor and stop taking yourself so seriously.

    Oh there I said it. Now I must ask, are you going to report me to the thought police comments editor head KGB agent, typical liberal fascist? Please massah, please don’t throw me into the briar patch, I’ll conform, I’ll tow the massah’s line of doctrinaire dogma and orthodoxy, I’ll conform I promise, please jess doan censor me no mo.

    Est-ce que ça suffit comme ça?

  • Clavos

    Well I suggest you get a sense of humor and stop taking yourself so seriously.

    Bwahahahaha!!

    Pot.

    Kettle.

    Black.

  • Clavos

    P.S. Irv:

    If you acted then as you do now, I’m surprised you weren’t fragged in Nam, dude.

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/alan-kurtz/ Alan Kurtz

    Clavos (#146), that’s a hateful thing to say. You are a very small man.

  • Irvin F. Cohen

    Dear comrade Clavos,

    Couple of questions for yah:

    Would you have fragged me?

    Would you have fragged anyone?

    Do you understand that fragging is essentially murder?

    And do you still condone it?

    Well, if you answer yes to any of these questions, then what does that make you?

    I know you wish I had been murdered in Nam, but do you also want me dead today, right now?

    And isn’t that a little more threatening and diabolical than a mere, harmless insult?

    I mean who ought to be muzzled and censored here? Me for questioning you, or you for wishing me dead?

    And moreover, who owes whom an apology? Me for still breahing and having a pulse? Or…well, I’ll let you figure that one out for yourself.

  • http://blogcritics.org/culture/article/a-nasty-mathematical-myth/#comments Irene Athena

    I hope for the sake of all the potential suicides in Afghanistan–dubiously friendly fire in our all-volunteer army coming via SUICIDE these days, rather than by fragging–

    –that we could find something else to talk about besides the comment policy. Truth to tell, ever since I started screaming about the war tonight, to whoever might respond, the posts have been SWIMMING in mal-ware spam, and the Fresh Comments had to be shut down, I suppose, in response.

    I’m more pissed off about that kind of EXTERNAL comment interference than I am with just about anything the editors might do or say. JUST about anything.

    Damn it. You both must have horribly shitty memories. If what the two of you are doing now is in some way healing to either of you, then who am I to interfere it? If either one of you ON THE OTHER HAND, would be grateful for the suggestion of an ALTERNATIVE to talking about fragging in Vietnam right now, I could suggest you fight about French or Latin again. It was funnier.

  • Clavos

    Would you have fragged me?

    Nah. Waste of a grenade.

    Would you have fragged anyone?

    Did you kill anyone?

    Do you understand that fragging is essentially murder?

    Do you understand that killing Vietnamese was essentially murder?

    And do you still condone it?

    Do/did you condone killing slopes?

    I know you wish I had been murdered in Nam…

    Wrong. You’re just pixels on a screen to me.

    But if you acted like the arrogant asshole you act like now while you were in country, I doubt you would have survived your tour — there’s no place for that in combat.

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/alan-kurtz/ Alan Kurtz

    If the three of us had served in the same unit, Clavos (#150), I would have had Sgt. Cohen’s back. And I’d gladly have taken your grenade meant for him. Not just to protect Sarge, who’s a better American than I could ever be, but to spite you, Carlos. Your traitorous grenade would’ve left a crater where my heart once pumped, but I’d have died proudly.

  • zingzing

    x will eat itself.

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

    The second law or principia of Newton only goes to reaffirm the natural order of the universe rather than the sheer chaos and anarchy you see in everything.

    First of all, Newton’s Second Law is not the Second Law of Thermodynamics. Second, Newton’s Laws have turned out to be approximations only and do not really work at the quantum level. So no, they do not reaffirm anything.

    We consider the universe to be ordered basically because it is still here. We have no way of knowing how many other universes have popped into and out of existence, but it probably happens all the, for want of a better word, time.

    it indicates both a complex blueprint or template or whatever you desire to call it, and also a grand design.

    I agree with you here, but I’m also prepared to accept that I’m just projecting my own notions of order. Just because we this is our conception of how a creator might design a universe does not constitute proof of design.

  • Irvin F. Cohen

    Dear comrade Clavos,

    What the fuck do you know about combat? And as for attitude, it’s yours, I assure you that would have put you in great jeopardy, and not me. I don’t think you would have lasted five fucking seconds in the field.

    Killing “slopes” who happened to be armed with AK-47s and grenades and rockets, and who were trying to kill me and my buddies, is somehow murder in your twisted mind rather than the foggy vicissitudes of war [edited].

    Did I kill Vietnamese civilians – you really are disgusting and delusional.

    I tell you what I did do. I took part in a great deal of combat in which many of the enemy were killed. How many? I do not know, nor do I know if it was my bullet or bullets, but I do know there were several.

    And oh by the way, I made a point of taking prisoners -alive and breathing. Me and my squad leader captured two VC and two NVA – we did not kill them. As a combat advisor I and my unit captured over sixty civilians – clearly part of the enemy infrastructure. We did not kill them, but at great danger to ourselves we escorted them through some very difficult jungle terrain with a company of 75 NVA sappers uncomfortably close. How do I know there were 75 of them? Because I counted them, that’s why [personal attack deleted by comments editor] – up close and personal – almost got killed twice on that day.

    Look here I’m falling into a trap here, what I did in VN is none of your goddamn business. And I’m not into war stories nor boasting and bragging of battlefield exploits. But I really don’t have to justify myself to you. Again, the shoe is on the other foot in that department.

    [edited]

  • http://blogcritics.org/culture/article/a-nasty-mathematical-myth/#comments Irene Athena

    [edited]

    Dr. Dreadful..”For want of a better word…time. I am becoming a little more persistently disillusioned every day. :)

  • zingzing

    heh. clavos as a lefty? funny stuff. how’s it feel comrade? double tap!

    the rest of that isn’t funny.

    but see? when irvin isn’t trying to prove how smart he is, he can write pretty good stuff.

  • Irvin F. Cohen

    Dear comrade Kurtz,

    You’re beginning to wear thin on me. I don’t know what the fuck to make of, or think about you. It appears you are the only decent person in this left wing zoo – full of typical intolerant, petty and officious, and unctuous little martinets; and of course, typical liberal intellectual and ideological fascists and totalitarian bullies and snipes.

    Now let’s not turn this into a love fest but I think you would have made a good Marine, and God forbid, barf, puke, I would be honored to have you cover my back. But don’t let that get to your fucking head.

    Besides which it appears that in the space of less than a month I have become the most detested, despised, hated and loathed critter in blog-o-critter-land-o-world. But don’t let that wear you down or dishearten you – there’s always hope, slim chance that that be – to overcome me. So keep on trucking on as slim as your chances are.

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

    Besides which it appears that in the space of less than a month I have become the most detested, despised, hated and loathed critter in blog-o-critter-land-o-world.

    Can’t imagine why.

  • zingzing

    we’re dancin’, dread! just keep dancin’! it’s dancin’! spin me around n round! i’ll just forget everything! the moment! it’s all there is… oh, i am dizzy. is i seeing things? or are we supposed to forget?

  • http://blogcritics.org/culture/article/a-nasty-mathematical-myth/#comments Irene Athena

    Zing…I meant persistently disillusioned in a GOOD way, of course.

    [edited]

  • zingzing

    irene: “Zing…I meant persistently disillusioned in a GOOD way, of course.”

    like i’d have any idea what you’re talking about then… (actually, i don’t). you may have been edited. probably no fault of your own, but i don’t get the reference.

    i agree with you in that we should get the fuck out of the middle east. no point. but how to do it is another thing. we’re cats who have been fucking and the spines are out and we’re just hurt each other in the struggle. we all need to relax, but we’re not doing it or we haven’t not been doing it long enough to relax yet.

    how do you like that metaphor?

    terrible stuff.

  • zingzing

    -ing

  • Irvin F. Cohen

    Dear comrade “gotcha” Dr. Dreadful,

    Well, you got me. Got to confess I was going to research Newton to make sure I had my shit right, but you caught me before I could do so. But, what took you so fucking long? Were you too unsure of your own knowledge? Perhaps?

    I also must confess that physics was not my best nor strongest suit, in fact, unfortunately, it was my least favorite subject [Gratuitous vulgarity deleted by Comments Editor]

    And as for the design, you still just don’t get it. The proof of the design is the mere existence of the design itself. I’ll let you smart ass science guys make the connections and dot all the “i”s and cross all the “t”s – that’s your fucking job not mine. So get on the fucking stick already. Let’s go, let’s go… move, move… run, run… chop, chop, etc..

  • http://blogcritics.org/culture/article/a-nasty-mathematical-myth/#comments Irene Athena

    Zing — Einstein said that time was mankind’s most persistent illusion. Time, that’s what I’m getting disillusioned about. In a very good way. Even things that are upsetting today are…in some timeless heaven..worked out.

    As for the edited stuff — it was a reference to something else that had been edited. Twas’ all for the best, I suppose.

    Goodnight, now.

  • zingzing

    heh. twice in one day irvin gets caught as an intellectual fraud… or was it really 24 hours?

    “The proof of the design is the mere existence of the design itself.”

    wow. a circular argument. the circle cannot be entered or exited. it is perfect.

    [Edited]

    “I also must confess that physics was not my best nor strongest suit, in fact, unfortunately, it was my least favorite subject.”

    that’s apparent.
    [Edited]

  • Irvin F. Cohen

    In response to # 158,

    Neither can I. Wise ass.

  • Irvin F. Cohen

    Basta fellow blog-o-critters, basta

  • zingzing

    irene: “Time, that’s what I’m getting disillusioned about.”

    well, it’s been 9 years. everyone’s getting disillusioned. but i was there 9 years ago protesting against war, and i was there 7 or 8 years ago doing the same thing, and i was there 5 years ago voting against bush, and i was there voting for obama who promised to put an end to them. i’m disappointed that it hasn’t happened. but i’m not surprised that it hasn’t. i think (believe) that obama would rather not be there as well. i think the whole of america would rather not be wrapped up in either of these wars. but we’ve had a decade of stupid war. why?

    it’s probably got something to do with economics.

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

    “The proof of the design is the mere existence of the design itself.”

    wow. a circular argument. the circle cannot be entered or exited. it is perfect.

    Not as circular as it might appear. Or circular only from the standpoint of naive realism which is oblivious of the fact that truths are function of our conceptions and aren’t ascertainable aside from language.

    As Jacques Derrida would say, there is only the text.

    For further reference, check out Donald Davidson, Hillary Putnam and Nelson Goodman. It might do wonders for the liberal mindset and its usually smug and self-assured concept of certainty.

  • Clavos

    What the fuck do you know about combat?

    More than I ever wanted to.

  • Irvin F. Cohen

    Clavos # 170

    Oh? So are you an actual combat veteran of an actual war, with actual, real live ordnance fired in anger and with malice and mayhem, death and destruction aforethought?

    Or are you in your [Edited] mind’s eye, metaphorically an esoteric victim of all war? And especially of war-mongering, jingoist, imperialist, former warrior-killers such as myself?

    Which is it comrade Clavos? Did you serve and fight or do you simply delude yourself that you did?

    This is the second time you have questioned my military service, is it that you derive some psychic gratification from my experiences just as a necrophiliac derives sexual gratification from death, from its look and images, its smell and perverse morbidity?

    Again, which is it?

  • zingzing

    “Not as circular as it might appear. Or circular only from the standpoint of naive realism which is oblivious of the fact that truths are function of our conceptions and aren’t ascertainable aside from language.”

    you have to be fucking kidding. it’s a terrible way to make an argument. it IS a circular argument. it’s proof as proved by its own proving. and even if he didn’t come out and say it, you know what he’s saying. and he’s ignoring a shit-ton of messiness that exists both within the universe and within his text.

    “As Jacques Derrida would say, there is only the text.”

    no, there’s another thing called reality. it is more pretty in text though. pretty, pretty…

    “It might do wonders for the liberal mindset and its usually smug and self-assured concept of certainty.”

    jesus. how philosophy excuses itself. a self-assured concept of certainty… let me chew on my pipe…

  • Irvin F. Cohen

    comment # 169

    So, let’s see if I got this one right? Are you saying comrade roger the not so artful dodger, that truth only exists when you perceive it?

    That it is an artificial construct of men’s idio-centric perception of it? And simply does not exist beyond human perception, language and human logic? Isn’t that sort of homo-centric?

    So to re-iterate, 2 + 2 = 4 only exists if you personally perceive it and or recognize it?

    Is that it comrade roger? Because if it is you’re more [Edited] confused and confounded by your own language and intellect, and more obtuse than I originally thought – and that’s quite a bit.

  • Irvin F. Cohen

    comment # 172

    Dear comrade zingzing and fellow traveler, science-based MOFO,

    I think you’re getting pretty damn (make that goddamn) close to hitting this one upside its worthless (fornicating) head.

    All I am saying is that if all this seeming chaos and anarchy as viewed by the miraculously and inexplicably fortuitous but random selection of atoms and molecules; actually pays so much slavish devotion to such rules and in particular, to the immutable laws of mathematics, physics and science generically, e.g., 2 + 2 = 4 and E = m(c)(squared): then there is more rhyme and reason to the universe than the nihilist scientists and logical positivists care to admit, or are willing to fathom.

    And the simple proof of all this pattern and paradigm is simply explained by the mere existence of these rules and immutable laws of science and nature, and again, in the slavish devotion to them by both reality and the seeming chaos and anarchy of the universe.

    Or put another way, these scientific rules, principles, laws and axiomata and postuata simply contradict and negate the seeming, so-called and supposed anarchy and chaos of the random selection of atoms and molecules. Herein its rigid adherence to the pattern and scientifically prescribed principles and laws of science and nature, simply belies the universe’s so-called, supposed randomness.

    So there, chew on that shit for a while.

  • zingzing

    hrm. well, of course there is some order to the universe. without some natural law, there would be no universe. but trial, error and chance play very large roles in how things work around here.

  • Irvin F. Cohen

    Well, no shit there, mergatroid

    Precisely the point, without the underlying principles, laws, etc., there ain’t no universe, in fact, there ain’t no there, there.

    And it’s not a matter of the chicken and egg bullshit either. Rather it’s a matter of simultaneity, or put another way, if there are two; reality and the laws of reality (and by logical extension,existence), they are opposite sides of the same coin. On one side is reality and existence, on the other side are the immutable laws, principles and rules of mathematics, physics and science. They in essence are one and the same – as the analogy goes, they are the same coin.

    So get your shit together science guy, and smoke yer jernt high and dry.

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

    But, what took you so fucking long? Were you too unsure of your own knowledge? Perhaps?

    No, I had things to do.

    The proof of the design is the mere existence of the design itself.

    You are mistaken. It merely seems that way to you and me. We are a pattern-seeking species that also designs stuff. It makes sense to us that if Someone set out to create a universe, that Someone would incorporate some sort of design to it.

    But we did not create the universe. We formulate “rules” to describe and predict how the place works, and they hold true up to a point. But only – as we have discovered in regard to Newton’s laws of motion – up to a point.

  • Clavos

    This is the second time you have questioned my military service

    Wrong.

    It’s not even the first time. I am not now nor have I ever questioned your military service — it’s of no consequence whatever to me; I don’t care a fig about you or your service.

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

    zing, you’ve just displayed your obtuseness to an nth degree. It’s true that liberals such as you can’t see beyond their nose, so smug they and self-confident they are in their view of the world.

    And just in case you failed to notice, my remark wasn’t intended as an invitation to a general discussion. I was mainly for your edification. My mistake. I should hhave realized it was a wasted effort.

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

    As to you, Cohen, you’re too obtuse to realize I took your side of the debate. The unfortunate thing is, you’re too full of yourself to even realize when you make a modicum of sense, so intent you seem to be with impressing yourself and others with your self-proclaimed wisdom. What a folly!

    Clavos indeed is right. If I had encountered anyone like you in a life-and-death situation where my life could be endangered by

  • María

    Sorry, but am enraged at the person that said that the teenage pregnant are from well-off families… Quite the opposite, in fact; these women have abortions. The girls that get pregnant before 18 are usually ery ignorant, and religious, and that is backed up by facts…I’m sorry to hurt your little conservative egos by pointing out that the more education a woman gets, the less likely she is to get knocked up, and if that’s the case, to have an abortion.

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

    the megalomaniac you present yourself to be, I’d be the first to put a bullet through your head and claim the credit.

    Fortunately for me, our paths haven’t meant and the only presence you’re capable of is that of a roaring mouse. In your present circumstances, you’ve been reduced to a joke, and joke you are. Consider yourself lucky to have lived to a ripe old age.

  • zingzing

    “zing, you’ve just displayed your obtuseness to an nth degree. It’s true that liberals such as you can’t see beyond their nose, so smug they and self-confident they are in their view of the world.”

    that’s a very convenient, if downright hypocritical way of seeing things, ol’ rog. pretty self-confident in that one?

    “And just in case you failed to notice, my remark wasn’t intended as an invitation to a general discussion. I was mainly for your edification. My mistake. I should hhave realized it was a wasted effort.”

    you listed off a bunch of authors, but certainly didn’t push me towards anything specific. so thanks, but no thanks. when you’ve got more than showing off the authors you know and can suggest something concrete, maybe i’ll take a look.

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

    I already stated that I didn’t open the subject for general discussion. The references provided were for the benefit of inquiring minds. If you don’t consider yourself among them, no harm done. But you certainly shouldn’t expect that I be doing your homework for you. Understanding comes at a price and there are no shortcuts. So if you expect me to make it easier for you, you had better pay me a hefty tuition. I might consider it provided you also change your general attitude toward learning and admit you know far less than you believe yourself to know.

  • zingzing

    oh for fuck’s sake, roger. admit it. you’re showing off, acting condescending and noticeably saying nothing except empty rhetoric. i’m beginning to think you CAN’T tell me what i should read by these happy philosophers. i inquire into specifics and you turn me away? oh, sure… you can’t list a title? or spell one of their names correctly? come on, between them, they have a good 100 works. i believe that you either don’t know which title it is where you read something you totally chose to believe, or you can’t even recall which one of these people said it… or you’re just trying to sound better read than you are.

    my general attitude toward learning? funny. you know nothing about it. i’m a pretty voracious reader, but since it’s not what YOU approve of, you stick your nose in the air. and how you snoot.

    “admit you know far less than you believe yourself to know.”

    well, if a person was never wrong, they’d know exactly as much as they believe themselves to know. but since everyone’s wrong about a lot of things, that describes everyone, including, and i don’t mean to shock you here, you.

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

    Sure I’m being condescending,zing. Is there another way of getting through to you?

  • zingzing

    i am sorry i ever doubted you, mighty roger god. you have enlightened me with your condescension (which shames me into immediate action rather than poisons your message completely,) and non-specific reference to three authors. i will now go and read all 100 of their works and report back to you on the state of order and disorder within the universe (it’s all just TEXXXT!) by this hour on the morrow.

    however! in that same span, i challenge ye to go read physics. i’ll not clue you in as to which texts, as they are all of equal importance, and you may learn something. oh yeah, if you’re going to read physics, you shall also have to read math.

    and for a more thorough explanation of what physics and math cannot explain, i suggest giving religion and literature a whirl. they reveal much. of course, to better contextualize religion and literature, you must be familiar with history. so go read that as well.

    there!

    i have prepared your bill for your reading materials. it is shockingly high. please send your first payment (i’ve arranged so that you can pay in equal monthly payments, for your convenience,) of $1 billion to:

    zingzing univers-ity
    [edited]
    Topeka, KS 66604

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

    Wow, to what lengths shall we go to salvage an injured ego? If you had some humility in you, pal, you wouldn’t make a big production out of it. All you need do is to google the Wiki for the three names I gave you. That would be the start.

  • Irvin F. Cohen

    Just to annoy and irk to the nth degree and beyond, all of you liberal, lefty pinko, brainiacs out there in the far, far distant, galaxy accurately named Pretentious Intellectual Masturbation,

    And in the overwhelming brilliant brilliance of Sarah from Alaska (who by the way has made it into the Oxford Dictionary with distinction I might add);

    I hereby “REFUDIATE” all of you lefty-pinko whackoes and all around, all purpose lunatic maternal fornicators.

    You hear me? I ‘REFUDIATE’ all of youse.

    And also add several profound and deep, deep, huzzah, huzzah, huzzahs and nah-nah-neh-nah-nahs to boot.

  • zingzing

    trust me roger, you haven’t injured my ego. i’m just trying to point out how large yours appears to be. name-dropping and purposefully obscuring is vanity illustrated. then your “condescension is the only way to get through to you” line… if that’s how you “win the person,” i’m not shocked you’re failing.

    you suggest i read your three pals on the supposed fact that “truths are function of our conceptions and aren’t ascertainable aside from language.” but which works by which ones? that would be like me saying that a newspaper reported something specific, you asking where you could read that specific text, and me answering “the new york times” and scoffing.

    and the “fact” that truth is a function of our conceptions doesn’t mean that the logic isn’t circular. there may be a design, but only in our minds. it doesn’t mean there actually is a design, and in all probability, we’ve fucked up drafting the blueprints of the “design” we created. what we view as a truth is actually false, and we know it. we can’t reconcile certain bits of our “truth” at different levels.

    we will probably never know the entire “truth,” but that doesn’t mean that the truth doesn’t exist. i can see what your philosophers (not that i know which one, or what they really had to say on the matter, because you’re keeping that to yourself) are trying to get at, but our conception that something is true doesn’t mean that it is in reality. we could be deluded. so the truth is not entirely a function of the mind, and we aren’t really that much in control of the reality outside of ourselves. we don’t create the true nature of something by how we perceive it. but the very, very specific human concept of “truth” is something we create in our minds. (and philosophers should be very wary of calling something a “fact.” they can try to argue for a supposition in a convincing manner, but shouldn’t “facts” be just as conceptual as “truth?”)

    when irvin says “the proof of the design is the design itself,” we don’t really know if how we view the design has anything to do with what the design really is. there are too many holes in our “design” to know if we’ve even got one bit of it right. we can’t make it work together. we can work within certain bits of it, but only within a way that reinforces our beliefs on the subject, and when something goes wrong, we realize our “truth” wasn’t a “truth” at all and we’ve just been monkeying around and getting lucky.

    we don’t even know how much of the design we see. it could just be a speck on the total complexity, but we will always view it in a way that suggest we’re thiiiis close to cracking the entire truth of the matter. until we find that next question mark.

    but you can’t argue against that logic. because it is circular. it is self-reinforcing.

    just for kicks, try to argue against it. you absolutely can’t without calling into question the design itself, which the argument takes as a given. that’s why it’s a fallacy. it may or may not speak to a truth, but it’s certainly not the best way to prove a point.

    there. by now, i’m certain i’ve given you plenty of ammo for you to regale us all with how stupid that all was.

    (and obviously, if i know you misspelled hilary’s name [a small point, i know] and i have an approximate idea of how many works they’ve published, i’ve already done the whole wiki thing.)

  • zingzing

    and to the comment editors: that address you edited out was to fred phelps and the westboro baptist church. i was just trying to get roger to donate. or at least stumble upon their website.

  • zingzing

    and also, roger, it may or may not be that irvin was pointing towards something close to creationism, a “grand design,” as if the idea for the thing existed before the thing itself. at least that was the assumption i was working under when his design as proof of the design thing came up. i’m not so sure i’m correct in that assumption at this point, but it’s hard to be sure. it smacked of the christian “the bible is true because god says it is in the bible” thing.

  • Irvin F. Cohen

    Dear comrade zingzing (you sure you ain’t that cutesy-wootsey panda bear from the Washington Metro Zoo?)

    You had me with # 190 much of which I both agree and I maintain actually affirms my position.

    However you lost me with # 192.

    No I am not a Christian trying to promote “creationism” nor am I a Bible thumper and in fact if anything I am kind of iconoclastic and irreligious. For someone to be accused of being a religious sort; it is rather passing strange that one of his most favorite-est-ist words [Gratuitous vulgarity deleted by Comments Editor] is “goddmanit.”

    I also consider myself to be a true agnostic, not because I am de rigueur an atheist which I am not, but because I consider that both my logic and my science which both are somewhat flawed, fallible and imperfect; tell me that there is a force majeure out there, a Grand Creator, a Grand Design with a Grand Designer.
    All of which I assume makes me a heretic and apostate in all of your eyes.

    [Gratuitous vulgarity deleted by Comments Editor]

    What both of you [Personal attack deleted by Comments Editor] are glaringly omitting here is Heisenberg’ Theory or Principle of Uncertainty. Which by the way is derived from the pre-Socratic Greek philosophers’ original atomic theory.

    Chew on that goddamn one, [edited] for at least five nano seconds. Cause I got to go now.

  • zingzing

    i think heisenberg fits neatly into my own thinking here. we put our own imprint on this shit and can’t take it off again. that should be obvious from my (admittedly rather rambling) #190.

    in #192, i doubted my initial issues with your argument. obviously, you’re not a christian. you may have still been a creationist. i thought, however wrong, that that was the argument you were making. still, you “proved” it in the same language a creationist would. it was fallacious language. you can’t prove something that way.

    philosophy “proves” things by making “irrefutable” arguments that have little actual meaning outside of our heads math, because it does not deal with the physical world and only really exists in our heads, can definitely prove things within math.

    but physics has to exist in the real world. it can say something, but that something has to occur. physics rarely proves anything, except it allows that stuff will happen a certain way with almost certainty. the “laws” of physics have been broken down and fractured, with things that go one way and things that go another, and exceptions and mysteries floating all over.

    we can explain how we came to be, but we can’t explain why. if there is a design, it was designed to accomplish something. but what was that thing?

    i think it’s “just because.”

  • zingzing

    heads. math

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

    zing,I can’t do your thinking for you. All I can do is lead you to a waterhole.

    What counts as “proof” of the existence of the external world? We can never get past language, and physics, just as mathematics or ordinary language, is just another language. Cohen was clumsy in his articulation when he spoke of the existence of a design. That part of course make for circularity, but I have gave him the benefit of the doubt. Existence itself is result of conceptualization. And to envisage the world as exhibiting a design is “proof” of that design in a tautological, not circular kind of way.

    As to the question “what the world is really like, as opposed to how we conceptualize it,” I don’t find it fruitful in any kind of way. How do you suppose it will ever be resolved.

    But as I said, I don’t want to engage in any extended discussion of those issues, my initial remark was offered only as food for thought. Again, I’m not going to do any homework for you.

    And by the way, can you help me make sense of the following: “there. by now, i’m certain i’ve given you plenty of ammo for you to regale us all with how stupid that all was.” Why do you find it necessary to group yourself with others – you speak of “us all”? Are you searching for some kind of authority in group-think to validate your own views. My remark was directed against what I consider a naive positivist view, known otherwise as “scientism,” not against you personally. It seems that you have taken it to a personal level and now play the injured party.

  • Irvin F. Cohen

    Dear comrade zingzing, the science-based MOFO (you sure you ain’t that cutesy wootsey panda bear?),

    Actually you got this one only partially right.

    # 195 should read:

    “heads.math,” tails. math, you lose, I win – so therefore, igitur, ergo, hoc propter hoc – fuck you.

    And as for ol’ Heisenberg, you got that right too, cause yes, he’s only describing reality, but I as a thinker-stinker still must ask the question “why.” Which me thinks you are rather artfully dodging. If it is all such a mystery then why don’t we say it is a mystery – but nevertheless still ask the question (why it still remains such a fornicating mystery).

    Cosmology and physics and mathematics and philosophy might all appear to be a game for many, but I doth do demur. I maintain we still must make the effort in spite of opportunistic sophists and moral relativists and mindlessly cynical nihilists and idiotic logical-positivists; of whom I shall not name nor call out such as comrade rodger the not so artful dodger nor comrade the dreaded doctor dreadlocks.

    For to do so would be beneath my dignity and besides which, it would also bring down the wrath upon me of the comments editor, comrade rose-hip, the teabag, bagger, and most esteemed and exalted people’s KGB, Stalinist, Gestapo, typical, de rigueur, liberal, intellectual, fascistic censor. Oh, by the way, did I leave out arbitrary, capricious and whimsical, and also death to legitimate and bonafide debate if it doesn’t conform fawningly and cringingly and servilely to comrade rose’s sense of dogma and orthodoxy?

  • zingzing

    “zing,I can’t do your thinking for you. All I can do is lead you to a waterhole.”

    you told me there was a watering hole somewhere. i found that a little unhelpful and moved on.

    “What counts as “proof” of the existence of the external world?”

    nothing. but why do you ask?

    “We can never get past language, and physics, just as mathematics or ordinary language, is just another language.”

    physics explicitly tries to describe the outside world. the other ones are wrapped up in themselves to a large degree.

    “Existence itself is result of conceptualization.”

    come on. unless you’re talking on some meta-lingual nonsense level, how can you not exist before you figure out that you exist?

    “And to envisage the world as exhibiting a design is “proof” of that design in a tautological, not circular kind of way.”

    yeah, ok, maybe, but it still assumes a lot of things and it doesn’t reveal anything.

    “As to the question “what the world is really like, as opposed to how we conceptualize it,” I don’t find it fruitful in any kind of way. How do you suppose it will ever be resolved.”

    it won’t be. but realizing that our conception of reality isn’t the whole of reality outside of ourselves is pretty important.

    “But as I said, I don’t want to engage in any extended discussion of those issues, my initial remark was offered only as food for thought. Again, I’m not going to do any homework for you.”

    good for you. but stop with the teacher bit. it’s old now.

    “Why do you find it necessary to group yourself with others – you speak of “us all”?”

    because i’m not the only person that’s going to read this. simple as that. read sherlock holmes on obvious answers.

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

    I wouldn’t worry about who is or who is not going to read this. And neither should you. It does certainly look, though, as though whenever your back is against the wall, the only retort you’re capable of is to resort to group-think – “us all” are of the same mind, therefore I’m right and you’re wrong. Whatever, but I find it childish.

    As to my “teaching mode,” I don’t entertain any such ambitions. Find it much more profitable to to enlarge on my own understanding than those of others. Those who want to join me are welcome for the ride; those who don’t, who cares?

    I’m sorry you found the references unhelpful, but then again, that’s all I was prepared to do and I stated so at the outset. The rest is up to you, take it or leave it. So don’t be putting it on me that I’m being “unhelpful.” You seem to be chastising me for not doing the very thing you resent – which is to say, for not leading you by the nose. Sorry, but I don’t care for such relationships in person or online.

    I believe this conversation has reached its natural limit. I hope you have good enough sense to realize that too. Take care.

  • zingzing

    if you find it childish, roger, it’s because it’s in your own head. i wasn’t worried about who was going to read it. it’s a public forum. other people are going to read it. the audience is not just “me.” so i use the word “us.” get it? i wasn’t resorting to group think in the least. you’re taking one little word, purposefully misinterpreting it and coming up with some nonsense. but that’s your usual m.o., and i think you’ve been told that before by several people around here.

    “Find it much more profitable to to enlarge on my own understanding than those of others.”

    funny. that’s not what you said a week or ten days ago. but that is exactly what i said a week or ten days ago.

    “You seem to be chastising me for not doing the very thing you resent – which is to say, for not leading you by the nose.”

    i asked for a title. very simple request. that you can’t provide one is telling. you were simply name-dropping.

    “I believe this conversation has reached its natural limit. I hope you have good enough sense to realize that too. Take care.”

    yep. later on.

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

    There you go again with your censorial tone – “you’ve been told …” If that ain’t hiding behind group-think and the epitome of conventionalism, I don’t know what is.

    I was taking you for a responsible speaker, which is why I hold you accountable for your form of words. You are not a spokesperson for the general audience, only for yourself. The fact that you used the royal “we” tells me about you all that I need to know. And now that I called you on it, you’re resorting to all kinds of excuses such as “i’s a public forum” and so on, rather than simply admitting that that you simply goofed or have done it by design.

    Indeed, zing, the more you open you mouth, the more you reveal yourself to me that conversing with you is something I really don’t care for. In my book, you’re not worth engaging.

    Adios, pal.

  • zingzing

    roger, you consistently, and by your own admission, purposefully misinterpret people. so you’ve been told by yourself. if you don’t believe me, believe the other people that have told you, and believe yourself. it’s ridiculous. how many times must you be told before you get it?

    censorial tone… i wasn’t telling you not to shut up. not even you believe that. or if you do, you’re silly.

    “If that ain’t hiding behind group-think and the epitome of conventionalism…”

    by deferring to a authority outside of myself? alright fine. it’s group think. and you’re part of that group. i don’t give a shit.

    “The fact that you used the royal “we” tells me about you all that I need to know.”

    except it explicitly wasn’t the royal “we.” you’re just misinterpreting. again…

    “And now that I called you on it, you’re resorting to all kinds of excuses such as “i’s a public forum” and so on.”

    it IS a public forum. do you deny it? you’re making a mountain out of a molehill, trying to score points. and you fucking know it.

    “In my book, you’re not worth engaging.”

    well, if you can’t stop taking someone’s words and purposefully twisting them into things that aren’t there, i don’t think you’re worth talking to either. you’re disingenuous and a cheat. you didn’t always used to be that way. it’s something in the last few months that has crept in.

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

    Your protest is duly noted.

    Adios, pal.

  • Irvin F. Cohen

    Dear comrade rodger the not so artful debate dodger,

    Seems to me you’re acting like an eight year old kid when he loses at some game or such, and knows he can’t possibly win; so he concludes, “game over” and “I’m taking all my marbles with me” or “my bat and ball” or “my soccer ball” ad infinitum – “see if you can play without me now” (meaning all my equipment). Indeed what a sense of misplaced proprietorship and childish pique. For simply stated, “it’s my way or the highway,” or “do as I say, or else.” Nice going there, rodger, feel good about yourself?

    [Personal attack deleted by Comments Editor]

    Which brings me to my second point, rodger, why do you so often flee debate in such a reticent and offended huff? Could it be you cannot tolerate opposing points of view which do not jive with your rather dogmatic, orthodox and closed-minded opinions. Of which the latter, “opinions,” reminds me of a pithy aphorism by the late senator Moynihan which goes “…you are allowed your opinions, but not your facts…”

    Does construing unfounded and biased opinion into fact, and its “refudiation” just simply nauseate and piss you off? Does it anger you that your worthless premises built into straw-men facts and houses of cards, just simply fall down and collapse with the slightest huff and wind of fact and ultimately truth? Yeah, surely I can empathize with you when you are so foolishly wrong, but rodger, how can I truly feel sorry for you when you are so damn wrong so damn often?

    While I’m here please allow me to throw my worthless “two cent” (mind you, purposefully “two cent” and not two cents, get it? get my clever joke?) into the fray anyway.

    This silly notion that existence is solely a matter of human perception has been around a godawful long time, since at least the Age of Reason and I surmise, long before that too. What those who proceeded us didn’t have was technology to utterly disprove this fatuous notion. They didn’t have cameras nor tape recorders nor radios nor televisions nor video cameras – just books at best.

    So how did they know if a tree fell in the heart of the Black Forest in Germany in 1458 if no one witnessed it, or if a person in 1598 wondered to himself if the forest had ever been there in the first place without his actually seeing, witnessing and therefore perceiving it? Then it was only a matter of a written record or eye witness accounts and we all know how unreliable those are – don’t we comrade rodger the debate dodger? Especially by people who cannot perceive whether they exist or not. (Of which I have a rather crude but very simple solution, if you’re like rodger and you cannot perceive whether you exist or not, what you should do is take your hand, stick it in your back pocket and squeeze as hard as you possibly can. If you feel something, well then, sorry rodger, you’re alive. Even if your worthless brain somehow reasons you are not, that you are only a figment of your highly imaginative perception.

    So as long as there is technology which bears witness to that proverbial tree falling in that proverbial forest, well then, logically and physically, ergo, ipso facto, cogitur, hoc propter hoc, existence exists beyond our parochial selves without the need of our personally perceiving and or witnessing it up close and personal.

    Well rodger, consider yourself now thoroughly “refudiated!”

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

    Irvin, you’re gonna have to do much better if your intent was to reach me. I don’t respond to spam.

  • Irvin F. Cohen

    Dear rodger the not so artful debate dodger,

    I truly have to bow before your utterly brilliant wit and overall profound brilliance, and your just overwhelming perspicacity and earth shattering presence of mind when you reduce and refine my utter intellectual worthlessness down to and into “spam,” of which I must ask – is that the extra spicy kind or just the ordinary, tasteless sort, you know like dog food? You see I’m not a connoisseur of that sort of garbage as I assume you, as an omniscient, polymath, factotum and polyglot might be, or actually is.

    Well if that is the case, and I truly believe that it is such, then I must logically conclude that that’s your way of telling a thoroughly worthless, intellectual dolt, as well as a thoroughly ignorant lout and cultural barbarian such as myself; that it is far too beneath your dignity and empyrean intellectual stature, to condescend to debate either me or zingzing. Granted, I must reluctantly admit that you’re just too, too brilliant and smart and wise for me.

    But nevertheless, in spite of your petty and snide, small-minded smarmy comments directed towards me and zingzing; I must regrettably interpret this in spite of your rather brilliant and utterly unattainable and profound, intellectual, empyrean stature;
    that this is simply your way of saying:

    “LA, LA, LA, I CAN’T HEAR YOU.” With both your hands cupped tightly against your ears so in fact you can’t hear a damn thing,all the while you, in decibel shattering octaves, repeat your refrain over and over again. “LA, LA, LA, I CAN’T HEAR YOU”…LA, LA, LA”…ad infinitum, ad nauseam.

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

    At the risk of raking over the coals and sending Irv totally tonto again, I just came across a quote by Pope which sums up what I was trying to say very well:
    “Those rules of old discovered, not devised,
    Are Nature still, but Nature methodized.”
    An Essay on Criticism, 88-89