Alone in the World

I’ve been thinking lately about a bunch of philosophical conceptions on the left side of the island.

First, I’m going to say that this is to an extent the result of self-selection that has nothing to do with politics.

The left has a narrative that is a just so story.  It is, as was pointed out here, in the comments, a Christian heresy, but one that caters to fake “rationalism.”  What I mean is that the narrative of the leftist/communist/socialist story includes all the comforting high points of Christianity but avoids the opprobrium of “superstition” cast by enlightenment onto traditional Christianity.

Leftism, whatever they call it, has its roots in Marxism, and Marxism offers a comforting view of paradise (primitive times, when property was communal and blah blah blah.  If the flavor is feminist, it was communal property and ruling matriarchs) fall (we discovered something that changed us.  These days it’s fashionable in academic circles to blame agriculture, which apparently was no good, very bad, terrible for us, even though, you know, it allowed us to colonize the Earth and have a vast and varied population.  In the seventies it was war.  There are as many candidates for the liberal sin that caused human fall, as there is for the Christian sin, and honestly, none of them make a heck of a lot of sense) and redemption (here it’s different from Christian redemption, where each individual redeems himself, but the species can’t be redeemed till the second coming.  Um… scratch that. Perhaps not that different.  It is assumed that the evils of the human species are because we are not designed to live in “capitalism” which these dodos seem to think is any kind of trade or hierarchy.  They actually do call monarchies “capitalist” even absolute monarchies.  And because we are distorted and made “evil” by this structure, when the communist state withers away into a perfect classless, communal society, we’ll be redeemed, as surely as by the second coming.  Frankly, at least the second coming is more plausible from a scientific point of view.  At least it doesn’t require a bloated, totalitarian state to behave in ways that no totalitarian, bloated state ever behaved.  And while our species might have no experience of the Son of the Creator returning again in full glory this time to rule over us, we do have endless experience of totalitarian states.)

However, all of this mystical belief is dressed up in “science.”  History is taught with the idea that it has an arrow and the arrow leads inevitably to collectivism, and because they only teach select portions of history, the poor kids are convinced of it.

This is partly what I meant by self-selected.  The people who tend to gravitate left, PARTICULARLY those older than say 25, are the GOOD kids.  This is something that is rarely appreciated, and poor things, they view themselves as daring rebels.  It’s sort of pathetic, actually.  (Having grown up in a village, I’ve had a great chance to observe human nature, and one of the inevitable funny twists of the human mind is that the most flexible of humans like to think themselves steadfast and inflexible.  The kindest flatter themselves they’re cruel.  Meek women think they’re termagants.  I’m not sure why, really.  It just seems to be an invariable part of the human “package.”)

They’re the people who went to school and listened really well, and answered what the teachers wanted to hear.  They’re the ones who internalized lessons, and explanations, and the ones who want to have a system in which to integrate everything they learn. Everything has to “fit” in their world view.

I kind of understand that because I too like “grand unified theories.”  It’s just that after the age of fourteen, I started discovery too many things that didn’t fit anything they’d taught me.

I think those of us on the conservative/libertarian side are more like that, because though we were raised in the same culture, a culture permeated with the mechanistic view of Marxism, we COULDN’T integrate every fact, and instead of choosing to ignore those facts, we realized it invalidated what we’d been taught.  Instead of shutting up and fitting in, we went rogue.  We went against the school, books, entertainment, the way news were reported, the way history was taught, and started looking for non conforming facts.  We, in fact, preferred to believe our lying eyes over their sacred narrative.

This makes us a little odd but also predisposes us to be able to process five incompatible facts before breakfast.  It doesn’t mean we’re always right, but it means we can go “Okay, that doesn’t fit what I would like to believe, and I’m okay with that.  I’ll wait more facts.”

The left’s beliefs aren’t in general that robust.  They must silence dissenting facts and opinions, because the dissonance is unbearable.  They’re terrified they’ll become “of us” you see.

Why is this important?

Because over time, with their dominance of the entertainment-educational-intellectual establishment (which let’s face it, like all ESTABLISHMENTS prefers good boys and girls) they’ve become more an more solipsistic.

They were always a little solipsistic, a little convinced that what you believed was most important.  What you believed (not what you did) made you good or bad.

But now they have to defend against so many attacks to their vision — be it blogs, or people talking peer to peer about the things the media would rather not be mentioned — that they’ve retreated into a sort of crazy solipsism.  Or if you prefer, a crazy religious frenzy.  What we believe is paramount, and making the right gestures — even when we know they’re futile or counterproductive (raising taxes.  Leaving the borders open and encouraging the destitute of the world to come in. Encouraging America’s enemies.) will eventually, automagically, bring about a world in consonance with their beliefs.

Obama’s administration was most obviously in thrall of this vision of the world.  Most of what he did — the apology tour; refusing to lower taxes (even though he admits high taxes depress the economy which is bad for the poor); refusing the pipeline, giving uranium to Russia and money to Iran who is still by declaration at war with us — were akin to sacrificing goats in front of a shrine, because then the rain will come.

That they do this while calling it scientific and proclaiming they’re the party of science is part of that humans liking to think themselves EVERYTHING they aren’t.

But it also makes their vision not only dangerous, but frail.  They can’t allow us to dispute it at all, because what people BELIEVE determines how the world is.

This kind of mentality led to most religious massacres in the world.  It is the belief system that is at bay and indefensible that goes on the attack, that must silence the opponent and make them BELIEVE OTHERWISE at all costs.

When you view antifa, or the other various children’s crusades, as well as their romantic imaginings of resistance, remember that’s what you’re seeing: a belief system that can no longer confront reality, and is therefore trying to impose itself by force alone. (This is probably why they have such high affinity for Islam.)

I’m not telling you it’s not dangerous.  Sure it is.  It is at this stage that belief becomes fanaticism, that annoyance becomes fury, etc.

And it’s dangerous in and of itself to have a religion masquerading as a political party, because sooner or later they win elections, and then you get… well… craziness.

Will there be blood?  Almost for sure.  How much blood?  Well that depends when and where and how many of them there really are, outside of “positions formerly of power.”  I can’t answer that, because part of what they did was corrupt all statistics and data.  Since what you believe is more important than reality, they’ve massaged data to be what they want, because thoughts create reality.

Solipsism is a fun set of believes, until the bus you don’t believe in runs you over, and unfortunately their bus can run all of us over.

But I do know something: in the long run what can’t go on, won’t go on.  In the long run reality wins.  And we at least try to understand there is a reality external to our skulls.

It’s going to be bumpy as hell, but be not afraid.

In the end we win, they lose.



348 thoughts on “Alone in the World

  1. It is assumed that the evils of the human species are because we are not designed to live in ‘capitalism”’

    They consider Capitalism to be an expression of unleashed Greed when in fact it is by harnessing Greed to greater service that Humankind has created vast wealth. Created, not distributed.

    Funny how few critics of Capitalism are eschewing material comfort — and when they do it is typically for the moral gratification (a form of wealth in itself) of condemning others.

    1. They are only eschewing material comfort for US. Not for themselves. As long as they have all the wonders of modern life they’re content. Our ability to enjoy those same luxuries will destroy the planet. So, as with much of the Left, it’s important that those less enlightened suffer and sacrifice.

      1. AS soon as “‘We’ don’t need all these luxuries” becomes “Give your iPhone 8 to the United Way, then” it becomes something for us and not them.

      1. All animals are not equal…
        Communism: “They will be once we finish.”
        Red Environmentalism: “Yes, they are, and humans have gotten out of their proper place and need to be put back into it.”
        Capitalism: “I bet there’s a way to make money from that.”

        1. “Capitalism: “I bet there’s a way to make money from that.””
          Which is why you see surplus army coats decorated in sharpie with Leftist slogans selling for $375 in New York Boutiques.

      2. Capitalism is descriptive, not prescriptive. It doesn’t tell us how we should organize our economy, it tells us how our economy is organized when we’re left to our own devices. That’s why you see capitalism in every socialist state, in the black market or the trading of favors, while it’s possible to find capitalist states without socialism.

        1. It also acknowledges that people are ingenious when it comes to finding loopholes, exceptions, ect, so why not harness that energy in legitimate business?

          1. ‘Enlightened self interest” as Adam Smith phrased it back in 1775, giving a name to what people had pretty much been doing since, oh, ten days after “Let there be light.”

    2. Yeah, well…. Let us remember that the entire construct “capitalism” is a creation of the left in the first place, and that it is the ultimate in straw men.

      Very little of what the left terms “capitalist” actually exists, and what they decry most is often that which they have enabled themselves, such as cronyism and government intervention.

      Every time I hear someone of the left start going on and on and on about the evils of the right, and of capitalism, what strikes me is this: Nearly all of what they are decrying are things that don’t really exist, and which aren’t really the policies or goals of who they think of as the “right”.

      The immature asses have been allowed to define the terms and the conditions of the discussion, and the reality is that they have done so in a totally delusional and erroneous way.

      I honestly don’t know why we let them do it. The reality is, “capitalism” doesn’t exist, at least as they project it. It is striking, to me, how we have allowed the term to be defined by people who are self-declared enemies of the so-called system they’ve defined as the “enemy”.

      Reality is, capitalism is a projection of the left. What we should more accurately term what they are talking about would be, instead of this straw-man edifice they’ve constructed, would be “Traditional Market Economics”, because it’s rooted in the long-standing traditions of rational transactions between people.

      What’s funny as hell is to look over the way the Soviet Communists had to resort to a lot of work-arounds that essentially mimicked the mechanisms of traditional market economics, in order to make their charade work. And, I’m not even talking about the various “peasant garden plot” things they all wound up implementing to feed themselves, but the way the various factories and state enterprises had to have “fixers” running around making trades and conducting what the French term “Systeme D” operations, in order to keep the factories running even semi-productively.

      We would all be a lot better off if we cease letting these low-grade mumbling morons define the terms of the discussion.

  2. which let’s face it, like all ESTABLISHMENTS prefers good boys and girls

    I think you may have misspelled “biddable” as g-o-o-d.

    1. meekly ready to accept and follow instructions; docile and obedient.

    1. Ah, but that’s what people in positions of authority have been defining as “good” for their entire lives.
      By virtually any system of ethics, I was a very good kid.
      I also know for a fact that few (if any) of my teachers growing up thought of me as such.

      1. “Maybe Jesus was right when he said that the meek shall inherit the earth—but they inherit very small plots, about six feet by three.”
        ―Robert A. Heinlein

        1. Beat me to the quotation.

          The thing that always boggles my mind is that the collectivists always assert a moral right to take your things and order you around, and decry “selfishness” (ie: keeping your own things, and making your own choices) – but explicitly rejects any non-relativistic morality. At most, they say that “the people” determines morality.

          Which means, by their own standards, if the majority, say, decided that all communists, socialists, and left-handed redheads were to have their goods confiscated before they, themselves, were to be burned at the stake that would be “moral”.

          And the more extreme of the political left are annoying me to the point that there’s a small-but-nasty voice in the back of my head that’s willing to go along with that.

      2. Don’t confuse “meek” with “weak” or “pushover”.
        Moses was described as the world’s meekest man, yet there was nothing weak or wimpy about him.
        Jimmy Stewart was also a very meek man, but actually fought to be inducted into the US Armed forces, fought for an actual combat position, and led multiple daylight raids over Germany from the front.
        I’ve got a buddy who’s a pretty meek guy- and a Pararescue Jumper.

        1. Isn’t a better definition for meek “in full control of one’s strength at all time under all circumstances”? or something along those lines.

          1. For a fictional example of meekness done well, look at both Superman and Captain Marvel in the DCU.

                1. More than one. The first was the one where DC sued Captain Marvel’s original creators as a Superman rip-off. Before they bought the rights.

                1. And Marvel has had more than one.

                  The original one died of cancer. The second one was a woman with an entirely different power set (who now calls herself Spectrum, and is arguably one of the most dangerous humans around). The third and fourth were the first one’s kids (both are now dead). There have been three or four since then, with the current user of the title being the former Ms. Marvel, Carol Danvers.

                    1. As The Other Sean notes, you’re thinking of Doctor Spectrum.

                      Spectrum is a black woman named Monica Rambeau. She has the power to transform herself into various forms of light and energy, and can shoot that energy at others. So she can do things like transform herself into pure light (i.e. intangible), and shoot laser blasts at people while she’s in that state. And since she’s pure light, guess how fast she can travel…

                      Thus my comment about her being one of the most dangerous humans around. Fortunately, she’s one of the more decent characters in the Marvel setting.

        2. The Greek word translated as “meek” was also used for a colt or young horse that has been trained to the saddle. I.e., an animal of great strength, that has learned to use that strength to serve other people rather than to hurt others.

          (Of course, it is entirely in keeping with that definition of meekness to pick up a weapon and attack the guy who’s shooting into a crowd. Violence in defense of others, rather than violence for personal gain.)

            1. Which, now that I think about it, comes under the category of “property owner kicking out badly-behaved guests who are breaking his rules for the use of his property”.

        1. “Meek” also doesn’t mean “timid” or “cowardly”, either.
          It’s one of those things that just irritates me.

              1. Dear Kevin,
                We don’t know what a fault will be, or what the environment will be, either. What we know is that in the infinity of space humans will be more scarce and therefore the individual more valued.
                Sorry, she sounded exactly like the people who said we needed a “mild socialist dictatorship” like Sweden. PFUI

                1. I would agree with her statement if it surely indicated “self-disciplined”. That *will* be required in space.
                  It was also a feature of all successful pioneers here on this ball of mud, too. Risks, yes, aplenty. But self-discipline enough to not eat all the seed corn, no matter how high the snow gets.

                2. What I was thinking about is self discipline. You can be as independent as the old mountain men, and still be disciplined.

                  Even in my day job, where we don’t work in hard vacuum, there are things that are flat-out deadly if we don’t exercise some diligence, and we don’t work in hard vacuum. Those who eventually colonize space will have the sort of self-discipline to not do something stupid. The environment will weed out those who don’t.

                  That doesn’t mean they’ll go for totalitarianism. If they have the means to strike out in relatively small groups, it practically ensures they won’t. And if we end up with the stereotypical lone miner operating digging machines, we certainly won’t.

            1. I think I’m with overgrownhobbit on this one. If an asteroid miner routinely gets drunk while operating his equipment, sooner or later he’s going to have an accident that makes him dead. And if he holds back on his desire to drink while he’s working, and only cuts loose when he’s back at the station (where someone ELSE is responsible for maintaining pressure), well, then he’s someone who can bridle his passions, pretty much by definition.

              1. Sure. Asteroid miners. But is that what she said? No, she said space.
                Space is no place for regimented societies and petty tyrants. You’ll need people with their wits about them and able to have independent thought.
                You know this is true because the left knows it instinctively. It is the fear we’ll escape them that causes them to hate the idea of space exploration.
                What you just said would be in the 17th century “the new world is no place for individualists. If you’re living on a ship and you get drunk and a storm hits” Again, I say PFUI.

                1. And when I hear “space”, I think “vacuum”, not “planet” or “habitat”. So you and I were hearing different things there. And we’re apparently hearing different things when we hear the phrase “bridle their passions” too, because the “regimented societies and petty tyrants” thing you’re talking about is coming WAY out of left field for me. I was thinking about individuals bridling their own passions, not society being structured to force them into it. I’m with you on the “societies leaning towards liberty” thing: that’s the kind of people who are attracted to the frontier, so that’s the kind of person you’ll get signing up for space exploration.

              1. Well, actually the blast from the past I’ll put up will answer that. Yeah, “meek” as in well broken to governmental saddle is possible only in government run government emigration programs (if it’s us. China…) There will be competition.

            2. Addendum: I *was* referring to the thread that defined “meek” not as “doormat / pacifist” but “self-disciplined” i.e. IFF it were true.

              If you think I’m wrong about the definition, no worries. I have no opinion either way until I research it.

  3. One salient distinction between Science and Religion is that Science fits theory to facts while Religion selects facts to fit the theory.

    1. Well, maybe in the old days.

      Since we’ve moved from “replication crisis” to “feels no shame after being caught falsifying data”, the labcoat brigade have shown fraud, maintaining the Narrative, and grant whoring trump the scientific method.

      Remeber the rallying cry of the environmental alarmists, “It’s not lying if we all speak together!”

      1. If you call a tail a leg, how many legs does a dog have?

        If you dress Religion up with white lab coats and graphs and charts and computer models it does not become Science.

        Nor can Science answer questions about the non-material world, even as it attempts to measure how we react to that realm.

        1. Science and religion are closer than either would like to admit, because, with most, it comes down to nothing more than trust. With science, it’s trust in what is said is so; with religion, it’s trust that the clergy and the scriptures are accurate. Very few will think of how to evaluate an experiment and model validity, or check into what we can of religious claims. No, most accept it out of hand. Even something as trivially easy as comparing predicted rise in sea levels verses claims by various AGW supporters, much less with actual data, is seldom done.

          The result is evident in what passes for reporting. “Scientists say” is a common hook. If they want to be more precise, they’ll say something like “In a study from the Hokum Institute of Lower Slobovia …” They’ll never go into details about the study, only with the results. They might as well say “Conjure men say,” or “In a vision by the Oracle of Booga-Booga …” They are relying on trust instead of presenting information for us to evaluate.

          1. It is useful to ponder that the originators of Science did so as a matter of Faith, an expression that God was not mad and that to understand His creation was to appreciate more fully His crafting. The physical world was not made subject to the whims of arbitrary deities of field and forest but was consistent and uniform in application of the Creator’s laws.

          2. My preference is for the Oracle of Booga-Wooga: Cab Calloway. Well, maybe it’s someone else; he was the first one to come to mind.

          3. There’s a big difference between the two. Science is necessarily falsifiable. And yes, there are some areas generally considered science that are more properly understood to be right on, if not beyond the fuzzy border (string theory, I’m looking at you). Not many people bother testing every scientific precept, but enough do*. That’s why science is so useful, it produces tested ideas that can be used in a predictable matter in the real world. You can pray that a bridge will stay up, but studying engineering is a more reliable way to do it.

            *We have a real problem in modern science with nobody going back to check findings and validating them. Maybe if 40% of federal grants were used to fund repeatably studies?

            1. This gets into “believe” as though the act has some sort of value, when it’s what we base that belief on that counts.

              Religions, as accounts of events, lend themselves to the same sort of investigation as another type of accounts of events called history. There are limits, of course, just as there are limits in what we can glean from historical records. And this gets into apologetics and religious debates, and I’ll go no further.

              1. It’s not so much the recitation of the past that’s important as the predictions made about the future.

                1. Apples and oranges. Knowing an area was used as a live round artillery range in WWII is a recitation of the past, but it’s important to know before building a sub division there. Yet that doesn’t mean that it’s impossible to have some idea that reports an area was an artillery range in WWII are accurate or just rumors.

                  A recent example is the Great CNN Koi Pond Story. CNN edits the video and spins the event. Can we verify it happened like CNN claimed? Well, yes we can. The full video tells a different story. From that we can ask an important noon-scientific question: If CNN is willing to spin a lie about feeding koi, what else are they willing to lie about?

            2. Besides which, the point is that while the scientific method and apologetics exists, few bother to do more than to accept pronouncements based on authority. It is how the general public treats both that are similar, even though the two are different things.

              1. True. A major problem in our polity is people who take the pronouncements of those who claim to be scientists as established fact without thinking about how those making the claim actually do their job.

                1. Or that people lump ‘scientists’ all together in one great amorphous mass and treat them all equally. Thus an astrophysicist’s pronouncements on, say, AGW carry as much ‘weight’ as an actual climatologist’s, though his actual expertise may be less than that of a well-read layman’s.

                  1. Or someone who thinks that global warming must be true because they read about it in Scientific American – or worse, a journalist on the science desk – and never saw a contrary article .

                    If I had a dollar for everyone who said that they loved science without actually understanding what science is…

                    1. Science is what we believe to be true.

                      Superstition (aka Religion) is what the other guy believes to be true.

                    2. I took the comment as sarcasm on the level of “I’m firm in my positions and you’re pig-headed stubborn”.

                2. Because – despite some people’s assertions that “all people have freedom burning in their heart” or some such – a great many people want to live with an authority over them, to which they can point and say, “Because He said so!” It is sooooo much easier than figuring things out for yourself and having to prove your conclusions.

                  That mentality makes a religion of all things in which it places its faith.

                  1. My wife has occasionally observed that nearly every religion has very detailed rules of what you should do to be a good person, down to the fine detail: give alms, pray five times a day, fast during the daytime in a certain season of the year (and “daytime” is carefully defined by reference to a more-or-less objective* standard), and so on. There seems to be something in the human heart that wants that sort of thing — hard-and-fast rules, nicely** defined — from a religion. But Christianity is different: the rules found in the New Testament are more sort of guidelines***: “Love your neighbor as yourself” and “Do to/for others what you would want them to do to/for you” are very broad rules, and the specifics of how to apply them in each situation are left up to us to figure out. In other words, God expects us to use the brains and consciences that He gave us.

                    Now, since many people really want those specifically-defined rules, they end up inventing some for themselves — like “Christians shouldn’t drink, smoke, or dance”. I think many of them would have been happier living under the sort of rules that God laid out for Israel in the Old Testament: a much more legal-code sort of system (since it pretty much was the legal code for the new nation that God was putting together, with many specific details defined. How many days you would be unclean if you touched a dead body, what to do if you showed symptoms of certain skin diseases, and so on). But the core of what Christians are told to do in the New Testament is a set of attitudes (love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control) rather than specific rules. It’s practically unique among world religions in that way, as far as I know. (If it’s not completely unique, and there’s a counterexample or two that I’m not aware of, it’s still almost unique).

                    * With modern technology you could define daytime more objectively, but “when you can visually distinguish a black thread from a white thread” is pretty good as far as objectivity goes, given the level of technology generally available at the time.

                    ** In the original sense of the word nice.

                    *** Pirates of the Caribbean may not rank among the greatest films of all time, but I’ll always appreciate it for giving me that phrase. I love to use it.

                    1. Christians shouldn’t drink, smoke, or dance

                      Given the general lack of rhythm amongst white folk, of which Christians overwhelming tend to be, I can understand that last ban.

                      In which it is also explained why White People ought not drink as it leads to attempts at dancing.

                    2. One of the interesting tidbits about all those traditions that Jesus criticizes, is that they were primarily built up to fence off the Hebrew from getting even close to sinning under God’s Law.

    2. I hear that a lot, and it’s true in theory. In practice, every time there’s a big shift in scientific theory there’s also a big resistance by the Established Big Brains. The theory of continental drift (the version that was, more or less, eventually accepted) was promulgated 8n the 1930’s. It took until the 1960’s for it to be broadly accepted…or long wnough for the generation of scientists whose reputations had been built under the previous system to die off.

      1. An expert is somebody who has been recognized as having mastered the conventional wisdom. Experts have a vested interest in defending their turf. Rarely is there sufficient evidence to toggle any experts from one to the other view.

        Which is why the expert who proves capable of reversing an understanding of reality is particularly noteworthy.

      2. There are a lot of examples like that. Here’s the one I usually use:

        It used to be that we thought there were 100,000-200,000 genes in the human genome. Once the human genome project started, the people involved published a paper suggesting that it was probably at the low end of that, probably 125,000-100,000. A while later, they published a paper suggesting that it might be even lower, perhaps only 75,000. Later still, they published a paper suggesting that it might be only 50,000. It wasn’t until the project was finished that the scientists finally admitted what their numbers had been telling them all along: there are only 20,000. The official explanation for the gradually shrinking number is that the scientists assumed that they were dealing with a particularly sparse region of the genome. That explanation might have held water when they had made it 10% of the way through the genome and only found 2,000, but it’s no longer a plausible lie when they’ve gotten 90% of the way through, only found 18,000, and are still insisting that the remaining 10% must contain almost twice as many genes as they have seen so far.

        No, I think it’s pretty obvious that those in charge of the human genome project just didn’t want to rock the boat too much, so they had to get everyone used to the idea of there being fewer genes than we thought gradually. We had no real reason beyond a guess for that 100-200K number, no one’s career was based on that number, there are no policy implications of us having tens of thousands of genes vs. hundreds of thousands–and the scientists still weren’t willing to rock the boat with a number that was a long way from what everyone thought.

        Now imagine these same people dealing with something like AGW…

        1. There is a quote from Max Planck that illustrates this.
          “a new scientific truth does not triumph by convincing its opponents and making them see the light, but rather because its opponents eventually die, and a new generation grows up that is familiar with it.”

          1. It wins by direct competition for the minds of those not already committed to the present wisdom.

            Alternatively, it wins because a bunch of young snots eager to make a mark pursue the new idea because it is easier to get grants for “groundbreaking” research and to develop thesis topics in ground not already plowed.

      3. One of Wegener’s big problems in getting continental drift accepted was that he didn’t have a driving mechanism. Everybody thought it was a matter of granite continents dragging across basalt seafloor and the energy requirements to do that were absurd. It wasn’t until plate tectonics gave us the paradigm of continents embedded in basalt plates floating on a plastic mantle that continental drift became plausible, and thus accepted.

        1. And to follow this, when the technology to map the ocean floor was available and not dominantly in military hands they did so. With a firm ‘we should find X if current theories are correct’ They instead found the mid-Atlantic ridge. Which had them looking at Wegner’s theories again. It was actually a pretty quick turn around as shifts in scientific schools of thought go. Partly because Geology, as a codified science rather than a part of ‘natural sciences’ was relatively young. Partly because there were holes in Eugeosynclinal theory that they knew about, but didn’t have the data to figure out.

          1. It was actually a pretty quick turn around as shifts in scientific schools of thought go.
            You’re saying the idea’s acceptance wasn’t as slow as the idea in practice?

        1. a certain respected physicist said “God does not play dice.”

          Well, it ends up he does, and the dice are constantly changing… like AD&D, basically.

      1. Comment threading mean the above came before I read all the comments following RES remark that “Science fits theory to facts while Religion selects facts to fit the theory.”

        Lord love a duck. Can you just say “Christianity” is [x] ?” 8 tries out of 10 you’ll get it wrong thanks to the anti-Catholic propaganda pervading the mal-education system. But at least you’ll be sort of functionally wrong.

        Do you a honestly think that animism, Islam, Buddhism, Shintoism and Christianity (just to name 5) all have the same relation to the scientific method?

  4. It reminds me of the dwarves(?) at the end of Narnia. THEY knew what should be so they stayed right where they were, waiting for their version of the End to happen. They ignored all that was going on around them as “not real” because it didn’t belong in their version.

    1. “They have chosen cunning instead of belief. Their prison is only in their minds, yet they are in that prison; and so afraid of being taken in that they cannot be taken out.”

        1. Once, carrying my father to a check-up, we made a quick rest stop, and soon after heard a roaring sound that sounded like the car was in low gear. I checked the indicator to make sure it was in drive, and saw the truck with mud tires slightly behind up in the adjacent lane.

          Father says, “I think you’ve got it in low.”

          “I did, too, but we’re in drive, it’s that truck over there with mud tires.”

          One mile later, my father says the same thing again. I assure him it’s in drive, and the sound is coming from the truck beside us.

          Two or three miles later, when we pull into the doctor’s office, my father says, “Now, move the gear shift over one and try it.”

          I did so. The car was now in neutral and didn’t move. I revved the engine where he would know it was out of gear.

          “You moved it over too far,” he said.

        2. The story about Koigate reminds me of this. It’s like the reporters are all fantasy writers and keep playing out in their mind, “if this was in the world we keep dreaming of where “Trump = always rude and crass” this is how it would have gone down” and wrote that, editing video for their home movie collection to “prove” it happened that way and then released it to the public for their fans to buy. Except they aren’t published by the Big 5. They are published by the newspapers. (Maybe this is the new route for fantasy authors to break in to the market?)

          1. I don’t know. Dave Freer said today that we need to be willing to get out of our comfortable fields, but we are too used to having to have a coherent plot and to make logical sense within the story. The press don’t have those restrictions.

      1. Fortunately, Aslan didn’t give up on them. While the dwarves are stuck, the path to redemption remains open, even after nothing else is left around them.

      2. This seems to me to be a trap for the Alt-Right.

        Please don’t get me wrong, I am not saying that the dwarves from the Narnia story and all the Alt-Right are the same thing. But that based on how it came to be, this is a real danger that they seem to face.

  5. As a semi-tangent, the other day I was linked to an article on how liberals and conservatives think differently. As suspected, it was all about how liberals base things on evidence and conservatives on emotion, which is something that makes me laugh every time I see it because I see that argument made for both sides. Everybody is convinced that they base decisions on logic and not emotion*, and that therefore, they’re always in the right.

    It’s why I treasure a particular friend of mine who is very leftist, Berni-bro flavor. Ever since the election, she’s been publicly examining where the left has gone wrong—and right now, she’s registered as a Republican, specifically to give the finger to the DNC. She still holds many of her beliefs and values, but she hates the reflexive way in which many of those theoretically on her side treat those views as dogma, and thinks that if the left is to succeed, it has to learn to not denigrate those it wants to grab. (Her views on feminism are also interesting. She’s a first-wave type who thinks the current group is out of their gourds.)

    *This is not the place to do the argument that human beings are more than logic, but it should be noted.

    1. She’s a first-wave type who thinks the current group is out of their gourds.

      That is not an opinion, it is a demonstrable fact.

      I recently heard a statement attributed to Ramesh Ponnoru. of National Review, to the effect of, Of course I think every opinion I hold is factually true; if I didn’t think so I would change my opinion.

      The virtue of conservatism is that, by restraining the reach of government we restrain the effect of wrong opinions. It does not matter whether my neighbor believes in no god or one hundred gods so long as he lacks ability to impose his beliefs on me.

      Similarly, it doesn’t matter to me whether you imagine yourself a boy, a girl or one of fifty-seven varieties of gender identity so long as you cannot require me to share a bathroom.

      1. Well, it does matter to me whether you imagine yourself a boy, a girl or one of fifty-seven varieties of gender identity as that does have an impact on the growth and health of our communities, society, and nation; and therefore on the future well being and opportunities of me, my family, and my friends. I’m not about to impose force detrimental to those with non-standard gender identity because: (1) we’re rich enough in resources and people to afford a certain amount of deviance from the norm on gender and still remain healthy, and (2) I don’t think we’ve exceeded the safe limit, yet. Don’t ask me what that point is as I’m not quite ready to do the 6 months+ of nightly research needed for that study. It would make a great psychology, sociology, or anthropology PhD thesis; but good luck defending it against the Establishment.

        1. Conversely, persons of these alternate genders have no place in the military if their alternate gender would require extra and constant medical care to maintain that gender. I’m sorry, people get discharged all the time for medical problems that cost the DoD money to keep in check, … *I* was discharged for that reason, largely… so their condition is one of those that entails extra constant expenses that the DoD doesn’t need to be paying.


          Also, i dread us getting involved somewhere like Iran and a transperson of either of the standard varieties getting caught by the enemy.

      2. Yep. I had a convo with an old guard feminist friend of mine and we both commiserated over the recent protests, to whit: OMG! they are marching around in public with knitted vaginas on their heads–! What is wrong with these young women?

          1. Makes you just want to gather them up, and dump them, as is, in either North America or Australia 10,000 years ago. Learn, root, hog, or die. I wonder how many of the first peoples of each continent wouldn’t even accept them into their bands as slaves?

            1. All the tears would have made the steps to the top of the temple too slippery for the Aztecs to bother sacrificing them.

    2. It sounds like your friend is just a few economics lessons away from being a Reagan Republican. Maybe you should get her a book of Bastiat’s writings, tell her it’s this French economist she might like.

      1. At this point, I’m just happy to have a friend who is civil to and listens to the arguments of conservative types without dismissing them out of hand. (She’s apparently married to a conservative type, so she apparently has lots of practice.) These days, finding someone who is civil about things and willing to admit fault on “their side” is a rare and precious thing.

        1. Feeding with a dropper rather than a fire hose is a good idea. Once they’ve accepted the premise that evil conservative is not redundant they will generally reach the proper conclusions on their own.

          It is possible to laud Bernie’s goals while deploring his efforts as counter-productive. Always make sure to praise the intent while observing its futility, e.g., “The Head Start program is a wonderful idea but all evidence is that it doesn’t produce any educational achievement. That money could be much better spent or even just left in people’s pocketbooks.”

      1. I’ve walked across a bridge that had nothing to stand on and prevent falling for much of the span, by the simple expedient of not looking at the lack of support. Yes, just like in a cartoon. Of course, I was dreaming at the time. I am not about to attempt such a thing while awake.

        1. I’ve walked across a shallow creek on a foot log that I believed would hold my weight. It didn’t hold my weight; it wasn’t a foot log; and the creek wasn’t as shallow as thought.

          1. A perfect illustration of the folly of the relativists. It doesn’t matter how sincerely you believe in something*; what matters is how well your beliefs correspond with objective reality. “Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn’t go away.” (I probably mangled the quote since I don’t recall where I got it from.)

            * Except insofar as it will enable other people to predict your actions. So in that one, narrow sense, the relativists are kind of right when they say that everyone has their own truth. Because if someone believes something false, but believes it in complete sincerity, he will act on that belief. And so, while it’s always important to know what the real truth is, it’s nearly as important to know what someone else believes to be true — because that belief, not the reality, is what will inform his actions. And if his probable actions are likely to harm you, it behooves you to know what his beliefs are so that you can anticipate what actions he will take.

      2. You are entitled to your feelings but not your own truth. I mean there is one objective reality. I have no problem with people having different religious revelations.

      3. It’s why it’s so hard to argue for the value of emotion. The value of emotion has been overlaid by people who think that “feelz” is the same thing as “not just logic but the extra bit that makes people human instead of computers.”

  6. “These days it’s fashionable in academic circles to blame agriculture, which apparently was no good, very bad, terrible for us…”

    Of course, one attribute of pre-agriculture societies was an absence of academics…

      1. Depends on your definition of “politician”. If it includes chiefs and their sycophants……….

        1. I’d be willing to bet that an incompetent chief probably didn’t last to long when there were no laws or rules to prevent somebody from offing him.

          1. Then there would be the would-be tyrants that lose because they don’t control all of the warrior types.

            IE He may be the “Alpha Male” but there are plenty of “Strong Beta Males” that would oppose him if he “goes too far”.

          2. Competent enough to become chief but not competent enough to ensure there were rules or laws to prevent somebody offing him?

            That seems a very specific level of incompetence.

    1. *SIGH* When Richard Manning first came out with “Against the Grain,” which blames all of society’s woes on the domestication of small grains in particular, the environmental and ag historians all rolled their eyes and sighed, then took his arguments apart. That was 2005.

      Aaaaand I see that at least one reviewer on Amazon has taken the new book (James C. Scott’s new one, [he is a political anthropologist specializing in Southeast Asia]) book apart, and did it very well.

        1. I’d skip both. Manning’s theory is interesting, but he falls flat when he tried to explain how we can go back to being hunters and gatherers and not have mass starvation. He also overlooked a few things, as I recall. Scott’s research sounds pretty flawed, just based on the review. I may see if the library has a copy and skim it, just to get an overall sense. His other work is pretty heavily anti-State, and he leans toward an anarchist idealist world view (life is freer and less arduous without the State.)

          1. Who says we’re not still hunters and gatherers? At least the farmers and ranchers and gardeners are. They’ve just made the hunting and gathering much, much easier and more abundant,

    2. This reminds me of an episode of the BBC quiz show QI. Alan Davies made some comment about bread and milk beng bad for humans, and David Mitchel went off on him; “That’s right! We’re all supposed to live to a hundred and eight, but we’re eating all this poisonous bread and milk!”

      1. I’ve also got the funny feeling that those who condemn agriculture haven’t ever tried their hand at fishing, hunting, and gathering.
        Heck, I’m a fairly rubbish fisherman & hunter myself, so I know what I’m taking about.

  7. So that is what is missing. Flexibility. They think they are, but internalize the Marxist thought is if it is the only thing they can hang onto, therefore inflexible. *sigh

    1. They are plenty flexible. They have to be in order to adapt to the constantly changing ‘facts’ and contrary beliefs to which the Left adheres via the sacred ‘Narrative’. Facts and reality only exist to support belief via the ‘Narrative’ that is passed down from on high. When they don’t support the ‘Narrative’ than they can be safely brushed aside. (They also have to learn it through 140 characters or less as Twitter drives the flock).

  8. “If you call a tail a leg, how many legs does a dog have?” – A. Lincoln

    As a physicist one of the hardest things to do is to eliminate “belief” from observed evidence. Almost never completely successful but the failure to at least try is the road to ruin.
    The problem is that the failure to believe in something/someone greater than yourself is a faster road to ruin. As a bit of an amateur historian, I note that no civilization survives the death of its god(s). Even the change from pantheism to monotheism proved fatal to the Roman Empire. Yes, I know, there were a lot of factors but without the spiritual grounding of their founding faith, the empires failed.
    Every time the social contract between rulers and ruled is broken, violence results. Our contract is extremely fragile at the moment. Baring Divine intervention, I see no way to avoid the second American Civil War. This one will not be another “war of Northern Aggression” but will likely be a revolt of the heartland (flyover country if you prefer) against the coasts. Since I am a Catholic I feel no reluctance to pray,”God save my beloved country”.

    Answer to Lincoln’s riddle: Four, calling a tail a leg does not change the tail into a leg.

    1. ” As a bit of an amateur historian, I note that no civilization survives the death of its god(s)”

      This was a theme of Arthur Koestler’s neglected novel ‘The Age of Longing.’ Excerpt:

      “You cannot cure aberrations of the political libido by arguments…Now the source of all political libido is faith, and its object is the New Jerusalem, the Kingdom of Heaven, the Lost Paradise, Utopia, what have you. Therefore each time a god dies there is trouble in History. People feel that they have been cheated by his promises, left with a dud check in their pocket. The last time a god died was on July 14, 1789, the day when the Bastille was stormed. On that day the Holy Trinity was replaced by the three-word slogan which you find written over our town halls and post offices. Europe has not yet recovered from that operation, and all our troubles today are secondary complications. The People–and when I use that word, Mademoiselle, I always refer to people who have no bank accounts–the people have been deprived of their only asset: the knowledge, or the illusion, whichever you like, of having an immortal soul. Their faith is dead, their kingdom is dead, only the longing remains. And this longing, Mademoiselle, can express itself in beautiful or murderous forms, just like the frustrated sex instinct…Only the longing remains–a dumb, inarticulate longing of the instinct, without knowledge of its source and object. So the people, the masses, mill around with that irksome feeling of having an uncashed check in their pockets and whoever tells them ‘Oyez, oyez, the Kingdom is just round the corner, in the second street to the left,’ can do with them what he likes.”

      Another character, at the end of the book:

      “Her thoughts travelled back to Sister Boutillot standing in the alley which led to the pond…Oh, if she could only go back to the infinite comfort of father confessors and mother superiors, of a well-ordered hierarchy which promised punishment and reward, and furnished the world with justice and meaning. If only one could go back! But she was under the curse of reason, which rejected whatever might quench her thirst without abolishing the gnawing of the urge; which rejected the answer without abolishing the question. For the place of God had become vacant and there was a draught blowing through the world as in an empty flat before the new tenants have arrived.

      A very worthwhile and thought-provoking work

      1. In regard to the death of gods, it is well to remember the most important aspect of apocalyptic cults, that when the apocalypse fails to appear as scheduled many of the members will redouble their beliefs.

          1. “They say the world will end on Wednesday. What do you think?”

            “Always bet against the end of the world. If it doesn’t end, you win the bet. And in the unlikely event it does end, who’d be around to collect?”

            1. I have read that Teller and Oppenheimer (I think) had a bet that the Trinity test would ignite the atmosphere. A safe bet I guess, if it did, you wouldn’t be alive to pay off and if it didn’t, you get the money.

          1. Oh, such a mild thing as that, huh?
            Perhaps something more along these line:

            You will find me on the tiles.
            You will find me wreathed in smiles.
            I’m gonna get so lit up,
            I’ll be visible for miles!

    2. Every time the social contract between rulers and ruled is broken, violence results.

      A recent post at NRO gangblog The Corner shed some useful light on this, quoting John O’Sullivan:

      Liberal democracy, too, can be an example of verbal shape-shifting. [James] Kirchick writes at one point that democracy has to be intertwined with liberalism in order to be truly democratic. That would be true, as it used to be, if liberalism meant such things as free speech, free assembly, a free press, etc. How can an election be free without free speech to enable discussion of the issues?

      In recent years, however, liberalism has come to mean the proliferation of liberal institutions—the courts, supranational bodies, charters of rights, independent agencies, U.N. treaty monitoring bodies, etc.—that increasingly restrain and correct parliaments, congresses, and elected officials. This shift of power was questionable when these bodies merely nullified or delayed laws and regulations. But more recently they have taken to instructing democratically accountable bodies to make particular reforms and even to impose them on the entire polity through creative constitutional and treaty interpretation…Liberal democracy under this definition becomes the undemocratic imposition of liberal policies (often with the silent cooperation of liberal legislators), and if unchecked over time, it devolves into a new political system that Hudson Institute scholar John Fonte calls “post-democracy.”

      Once we take this (fairly major) development into account, it becomes possible to reach a definition of populism that is not simply a way of abusing a political party or set of proposals. Political scientists are belatedly realizing this. As the Dutch political scientist Cas Mudde said some years ago: “[P]opulism is an illiberal democratic response to undemocratic liberalism. It criticizes the exclusion of important issues from the political agenda by the elites and calls for their re-politicisation.” That is true and important of no issue more than of the massive flood of immigrants into Europe that began in the 1950s and that may now be reaching a crescendo…

      By redefining what Liberalism is they have broken the Social Contract as surely as your local car dealer selling you a “sedan” and delivering “an enclosed chair for conveying one person, carried between horizontal poles by two or more porters.”

      1. I’ve never liked the “Social Contract” idea. The name implies there’s some choice involved. When one side enforces its idea of the contract at gunpoint, I don’t see any difference between “society” and “an offer you can’t refuse.”

        1. Oh, yeah. Indeed, I ran across a leftist whose idea was that if you didn’t get out, you were consenting, by the social contract, to whatever the politics inflicted on you.

          I pointed out that by our social contract, that would be void as a leonine contract.

        2. I’ve always felt that at some point, the “social contract” ought to be enumerated, written down, and then signed off on by all concerned. This would effectively make it clear just what that “social contract” consists of, what your responsibilities and duties are under it, and what benefits you accrue from it.

          Make it a rite of adulthood, and if you don’t want to sign off on it, so be it. But, there goes your right to vote, and you just get to maintain residency-by-birthright, and get no say in the fees/taxes you’re charged for things like national defense and the legal system. As well, if you’re not going to abide by the contracted rules, no bennies are coming to you, either.

          To me, the Constitution should have been framed as an agreement between citizens, something we all agreed to abide by, with personal responsibility to do so. Call it “consensual government” with teeth, if you like–No consent? No government participation, past “use fees” for infrastructure and services provided by those who do consent and participate under the established rules.

          1. The Constitution was an agreement among the states, which were recognized as sovereign. Individuals residing in any of those states are bound to the agreement by remaining in those states. You are not restricted as to in which state you live nor from revoking your citizenship.

            This is not the only instance of being bound by virtue of not rejecting a contract. It is an imperfect situation but we are in an imperfect world.

            1. The trouble is, the Constitution is not made “personal” enough. Every new generation coming along needs to be bound to it, with understanding and personal act. Military personnel take an oath upon enlistment or commissioning to “support and defend”, as do most of our elected officials. The rest of the citizenry should do something similar, if only to achieve “buy-in”, and understanding of what the Constitution is.

              As well, there ought to be penalties for breaking that bond. Are you a politician/demagogue, urging the violation of the Constitution in order to achieve some nebulous goal of the moment? Then you ought to be held accountable, especially if you undertake to undermine or ignore it. By that standard, Mr. Obama should have been put up on charges and jailed several dozen times over, during just his first year in office.

              No accountability, no responsibility, no consequence. We can’t keep going on like this, or the whole shambolic structure of consent, consensus, and governance will collapse.

              1. The trouble is, the Constitution is not taught. We were granted a republic if we could but keep it. It’s enforcement mechanism is dependent on the will of the body politic. Violation of the office is not a criminal act, it is grounds for dismissal. If the principle will not fire the agent there is no recourse at law.

                I concede Obama ought have been impeached, but the representatives of the People had no cause for confidence such action would be endorsed by the public, and ample reason to believe it would be repudiated.

                We get the politicians we are willing to accept and there is neither legal nor Constitutional basis for holding them to higher standard.

                As for the shambolic structure, I think the election of President Trump is ample evidence it is in collapse, as would have been the case had Hillary been elected. The only real question is whether anything can be done about it.

                1. The trouble is, the Constitution is not taught.
                  Was going to say in response to the “make it a pact before majority” bit that we used to do that – it was called Civics class (or Government).

                  And you’re absolutely right about the people (and the States!) jealously guarding their freedom and sovereignty as the enforcement mechanism.
                  But we don’t get the politicians we are willing to accept, nor what we deserve. When we nationalize everything, we get the government that 50%+1 of the people deserve. And that isn’t pretty at the moment.

        3. 1. Declaration of Independence – The current “Social Contract” is bad, see lists of faults. WE are creating a NEW “Social Contract” and you and yours are NOT part of. If you try and enforce the OLD “Social Contract” we will kill you. Please Just go Away!

          2. Constitution – defines the New “Social Contract”. So it took awhile.

          3. Second Adm. – Keeps the “Social Contract” from becoming to bad. If necessary see 1.

    3. Our contract was shattered 20+ years ago; too many people are pretending otherwise because acknowledging that leads to a place they are unwilling to go.

      1. What moment are you thinking of? I would say that it goes back about 100 years to the First World War.

      2. The election of Trump proved that it was still possible to effect change through the Ballot Box. Let us hope that the change continues in the right direction.
        It is a very sad day to realize that change can no longer come from the ballot box. But it is not BAD enough to start shooting people.

        The REALLY HARD question that should be answered is “Who do you shoot that will make a difference?” Many people forget to answer that. Just shooting people is what terrorists and Lefties do. If it becomes necessary I hope we will be better than that.

  9. Dear, dear Sarah, you are one of my all time favorite essayists but this one and the belief of vast, oh so very vast, majority of humans believe is mind-baffling to me. This is the very thing has me thinking about non-stop for a several weeks now.

    First, it makes me wonder why in world anyone on the Right side of the aisle could ever, ever even *consider* being Christian or hold a belief in any deity. It makes zero sense to me. How can we be the party that requires fact, logic, and proof and believe in a deity? Then that shooting right here in the area I live in had me laughing so hard (at the responses to it not the shooting itself, that was horrific and uncalled for) yesterday I had to completely isolate myself from the internet and my own family who are believers. I flat out couldn’t help it. The mental acrobatics the responses required were exhausting!

    We require absolute proof of results. I do just as much as anyone else on the right side of the spectrum. Why would I not require as much for any deity or leader or those wishing to make me toe a system of beliefs in a government, movement, or deity? Until heaven gets CCTV I ain’t gonna believe it. And I won’t believe the hogwash the Left pushes. It’s the same. damn. thing. I do not have faith in the ideas of the Left nor of the Right-sided person of faith. It’s all utter tripe.

    Do as I say or you will be punished for not falling in line, comrade! Isn’t religious faith the same thing? Properly kiss my ass or burn in a fiery hell. Same song, just slightly different words. By either standard we cannot win. Don’t tell me But well, Mother Teresa. I seriously doubt if there is this vaunted Paradise that she resides there regardless of her great assistance to Humankind. For she allowed the glorification of her works and her person in front of TV cameras, newspaper and magazine articles, et al. True good works are done quietly and without adulation. Oh she may well have given lip service to the Oh no, I’m not looking for fame but she nevertheless allowed it. That is not a great woman by Biblical standards. Now, by human standards, the chick totally rocked.

    If there were truly a power that can make everything all better, i.e. A Benevolent Dictator or a merciful God, that son-of-a-bitch yesterday would’ve been struck down by lightning the second he walked out his door. There was nothing but rain and clouds in our area yesterday. It would’ve made logical sense and wouldn’t have been anything other than one of those Weird News type stories. Single bolt of lightning strikes one man and kills him. See Page Six. But no, people who were probably literally on their knees telling the deity how fabulous he was and he was The Man and they’d spend all their lives telling folks how marvelous he was evidently were doing it to his satisfaction so they got mowed down. Just like all the monsters in human history he just shook his head and Sorry, y’all, you didn’t do good enough and I’m so sad that you let me down. That’s Stalin.

    Yeah, two totally different animals, I get it. But here the correlation is being made and I had to get it out or burst. I do not begrudge anyone any faith they have in a deity or system of government. I just don’t want either camp condemning me to a fiery existence here or in the hereafter, without showing me it actually works save but for the whims of the one in control. Be it man or deity. Left or Right, neither system makes one iota of sense save for the very Capitalism I think was supposed to be the point of the essay. Even Jesus said there would always be the poor and rich among us. Winners and losers. I just want us to focus on making us all as big a winner as we can be while leaving us our dignity without being under someone’s thumb.

    To me, that is a system that truly would work.

    1. I just don’t want either camp condemning me to a fiery existence here or in the hereafter

      Your grasp of theology is no more solid than a Pleistocene ape’s understanding of science. I shall not attempt debate as it does not matter. Rather, focusing on your statement as excerpted: No one can condemn you to “a fiery existence” in the hereafter, but many believe it is as assured as your falling into an abyss if you step off a cliff.

      Unlike a fall from a cliff the circumstances of an after life are not evident in this world, but it requires a certain metaphysical faith to think this world is all there is.

      As for your confidence that “A Benevolent Dictator or a merciful God,… would’ve been struck down by lightning the second [that son-of-a-bitch yesterday] walked out his door.” — that’s absurd.

      In the first place, a benevolent of merciful God would have struck him down the moment he entered that church; a Just and Vengeful one would have waited until after the deed was perpetrated.

      In the second place, as you do not know what lies after this life you cannot reasonably judge His decisions, can you? If you believe there is nothing afterward, then what matters what we do in this world? All ethics become just a slate of personal preferences, a matter of style and taste unsupported by any solid ground.

      1. That does not follow. Plato explains the whole thing in the Euthyphro:

        Do the Gods love holy things because they are holy, or are holy things holy because the Gods love them? If the latter, than holiness is just an arbitrary decree of the Gods, with no objective truth; it’s a matter of superior power, and respecting holiness is submitting to the personal preferences of the powerful. But if the Gods love holiness because it is holy, then there must be an objective standard of holiness to which even the Gods are subject; and then human beings can know it without any appeal to divine authority.

        The argument that what we do in this world doesn’t matter if there is no afterlife seems to be a variant of Pascal’s Wager. If there is an infinite afterlife ahead of me, then what I do in the life is of small value (though not negligible, if I have a positive discount rate). But if there is no afterlife, then this life is all I have and is of tremendous value to me, and what I do affects what kind of life I have and how happy it is, and thus matters tremendously. The good life, as Aristotle says, is one that provides eudaimonia, and certain actions and qualities support eudaimonia and others don’t.

        I won’t try to argue that your assumptions are wrong. But I think you ARE making assumptions that not everyone shares.

        1. if there is no afterlife, then this life is all I have and is of tremendous value to me, and what I do affects what kind of life I have and how happy it is

          This still reflects only your personal preferences, what you value, what you opt for, what makes you happy. Your life being of “tremendous value” to you is largely irrelevant; people treat valuable things carelessly all the time.

          Your initial assertion of “That does not follow” lacks specificity due to the unassociated pronoun; unless I know what “that” references it is impossible to agree or disagree.

          1. I thought that it would be clear that the antecedent of “that” was the nearest complete assertion, that is, the final sentence of the post of yours to which I was responding. I’m sorry to have confused you.

            What I am saying is that, first, objectively true ethical claims do not require the existence of a God, and second, if ethical claims are not independently knowable as true then any appeal to divine authority is simply an appeal to superior power. If you don’t like Plato, C.S. Lewis discusses this in his response to Haldane’s review of That Hideous Strength, where he says that he worships God not because God is powerful but because he is good, and that if God were not good the right thing to do would be to oppose him, however hopelessly. That only makes sense of we can know, by the use of our own minds, what is good and what is bad.

            You also seem to be assuming that what makes us happy is subjective. I don’t think this is true, and in any case I don’t share the assumption, so an argument that makes it is not going to reach me.

            1. Okay – I wasn’t sure if “that” was the first assertion or the last, as many times people takes these things sequentially.

              As for what makes a person happy not being subjective, whatever floats your boat.

              1. I find it surprising that you think this is weird. Haven’t you met people who confidently went after what they felt like they wanted, and discovered the hard way that just because they wanted it didn’t mean it made them happy? I’ve known a fair number.

                1. Weird? Who said anything was weird?

                  What makes an introvert happy is intolerable to an extrovert, and vice-versa. That seems subjective.

                  1. I don’t think so. I think you’re confusing “relative” with “subjective”. Philosophers have been doing that since Einstein made relativity trendy, not bothering to actually understand Einstein’s physics.

                    A good friend of mine has allergies. If I fed her a handful of cashews she would end up in the hospital, and quite possibly in the morgue. For me they’re a pleasant and fairly healthy snack. So they’re a poison to her and a nutrient to me. But I don’t think it makes any sense to call that “subjective.” It’s just a difference between us; it’s not something about which either of us has a choice. She couldn’t arbitrarily decide that cashews were edible; if she tried it would kill her.

                    And I think psychologists are starting to get the idea that happiness has objective requirements and can’t be attained by going after whatever you feel is desirable, after a two-century detour inspired by David Hume.

                    1. Happiness, being a psychological state, certainly seems to fit the first definition of subjective: based on or influenced by personal feelings, tastes, or opinions.

                    2. That’s way too broad a definition, I think. All human knowledge is mediated by psychological states; there is no knowledge whatever that comes directly from physical reality without neural and mental processes being involved. So it seems you are saying that all human knowledge is subjective, and that there is no assertion whatever that can be said to be definitely true regardless of belief. That seems, well, kind of postmodernist. It’s definitely not my view, at any rate.

                    3. I think you both may be right, and talking past each other. Perhaps the issue was definitional perhaps one of you is talking about pleasure and the other is talking about happiness?

        2. If the latter, than holiness is just an arbitrary decree of the Gods, with no objective truth; it’s a matter of superior power, and respecting holiness is submitting to the personal preferences of the powerful.
          This is only true if you believe the gods are not the creator and sustainer of the universe. Which is most assuredly not the case with Christians and Jews.
          The holy things are holy because He is holy, and the universe was created by His character, so holiness is innate based on His creative act.

          (Not argument for belief, but to make the distinction between a polytheist/pantheist and a Jew or Christian.)

          1. Religion is a matter belief. The last time there was absolute proof of G-D was (for Jews) The giving of the Torah at Mt Sinai. I think that for Christians it was the Resurrection of Jesus.

            I think Science and Religion deal with two quite different parts of human life. Science deals with things that can be proved and are quantified and falsifiable. E.g. How do I build a bridge? What are stars? On the other hand, religion deals with ultimate questions. How should one live a good life? What is good? What is moral? Is there a G-D? All questions that only be answered with belief. You cannot quantify or measure G-D. You may quantify an action but not certain concepts: Morality, the existence of G-D.

            1. I think that for Christians it was the Resurrection of Jesus.

              Correct; see my (quite lengthy) comment downthread where I explain the chain of logic that got me believing in the Resurrection as a provable, historical fact. Which in turn helped me resolve almost all the doubts I had been having at the time about whether Christianity was true. (The rest of them became mere questions, like “Which branch of the faith is correct about this particular point of doctrine?”)

            2. I believe C.S. Lewis would have said that science can’t even tell us “What are stars?” At best, it may tell us what they do or how they operate.


          2. I know ‘panthesit’ is not the same as ‘pan-theist’ (perhaps a cookery religion or such?) though I’ve met one or two pot-theists. They made exactly as much sense as you think they did. Possibly even less.

          3. Well, I’m going to note that one of the people I cited was that notorious polytheist Clive Staples Lewis. See his essay “A Reply to Professor Haldane,” in his collection On Stories.

            But also, your argument about the Judaeo-Christian God seems to come close to conceding my point. You asserts that holy things are holy because they are created by a being who is holy. It doesn’t sound as if your God is saying, “I say I’m holy, and you better agree with me or I’ll hurt you beyond your capacity to imagine”; it sounds as if, as a matter of (in your view) fact, he actually is holy, and is recognizing that fact as a fact. And it sounds as if, in saying that he is holy, you believe that there is an objective quality of holiness that you are capable of recognizing.

            I’m left wondering if perhaps I failed to make the structure of my argument clear to you. You cite a passage beginning “If the latter” as if what follows from it represents my view. But in fact I am proposing that one of two things must be true: “If the latter . . . but if [on the other hand] the Gods love holiness because it is holy”. Quoting one passage from an argument and responding to it as if it were my position does not necessarily fairly represent that argument; the passage you quote may very well be a supposition I put forward only to reject it, and you may be taking it out of context.

            1. I wonder whether you are aware of the dictionary meaning of holy: “dedicated or consecrated to God or a religious purpose; sacred”

              This does not seem to meet the usages to which you apply it, and in some uses becomes wholly nonsensical. Consider also what is entailed within the concept “desecration.”

              1. “The” dictionary definition? My Merriam Webster Collegiate offers no less than five different definitions, of which the one that most nearly fits yours is the third: devoted entirely to the deity or the work of the deity. The first definition, exalted or worthy of complete devotion as one perfect in goodness and righteousness, seems very close to my usage and my argument seems to make perfect sense if you substitute it. So I think your appeal to the authority of the dictionary fails to support what you are claiming.

                1. Sorry; my Yahoo search offered up the Oxford definition, which in its complete form asserts:


                  1 Dedicated or consecrated to God or a religious purpose; sacred.
                  ‘the Holy Bible’
                  ‘the holy month of Ramadan’

                  1.1 (of a person) devoted to the service of God.
                  ‘saints and holy men’

                  1.2 Morally and spiritually excellent.
                  ‘I do not lead a holy life’

                  2 dated, humorous Used in exclamations of surprise or dismay.
                  ‘holy smoke!’

                  The first definition given is consistent with the etymology of the word:

                  holy (adj.)
                  Old English halig “holy, consecrated, sacred; godly; ecclesiastical,” from Proto-Germanic *hailaga– (source also of Old Norse heilagr, Danish hellig, Old Frisian helich “holy,” Old Saxon helag, Middle Dutch helich, Old High German heilag, German heilig, Gothic hailags “holy”), from PIE *kailo- “whole, uninjured” (see health). Adopted at conversion for Latin sanctus.

                  Primary (pre-Christian) meaning is not possible to determine, but probably it was “that must be preserved whole or intact, that cannot be transgressed or violated,” and connected with Old English hal (see health) and Old High German heil “health, happiness, good luck” (source of the German salutation Heil). Holy water was in Old English.

                  Holy has been used as an intensifying word from 1837;

                  Found at: etymonline[DOT]com/word/Holy

                  I have taken the liberty of eschewing italicization of all etymological root terms as tedious (for me) and unnecessary (for others).

                  I think my authority trumps yours. A quick check of other dictionaries supports my contention that “holy” as set apart by or for God. I note that two of the three relevant definitions of “holy” at Merriam Webster are consistent with the primary one from the Oxford. As for the first definition which you contends supports your usage, “one perfect in goodness and righteousness” clearly does not comport with your use, as such a one would be God Himself, as non other can be perfect.

                  You have posited two relationships of God to Holiness and one of them is utter nonsense comparable to Zeno’s paradoxes.

                  I think this riddle has been gnawed beyond any constructive purpose and decline to pursue it further. Pose your paradoxes as you like, the sophistry creates a warm breeze.

                  1. Well, it wasn’t my argument, particularly; it was Socrates’s, as presented by Plato.

                    Of course Plato didn’t use the word “holy” in the first place; it’s an English word, from Germanic roots, and not a Greek one. It was the translator’s choice to use that word to convey Plato’s idea.

                    But the word that the translator chose has more than one possible meaning. And you seem to be insisting on a meaning in which Plato’s statement, as rendered by the translator, does not make any sense, when there is another meaning of that word for which Plato’s statement does make sense. I don’t think that’s a good approach to the interpretation of texts.

                    And even if your criticism were well taken, which it isn’t, it would say at most that the translator made a poor choice in using the word “holy” to convey Plato’s idea; it wouldn’t show that the idea was wrong.

                    1. And Plato and Socrates are both great places to turn for information on christian beliefs, just like American Rifleman has some really excellent pieces on philosophy.

                    2. Since when is this a discussion of “Christian beliefs”? I was responding to the statement that “If you believe there is nothing afterward, then what matters what we do in this world? All ethics become just a slate of personal preferences, a matter of style and taste unsupported by any solid ground.” That seems to me to be a philosophical position: The claim that the only possible basis for ethics is reward and punishment in the afterlife. I was discussing it in philosophical terms, as a view that can be rationally debated.

            2. I don’t know whether this is what GWB intended to say, but try this formulation. God created the universe according to His will: that which furthers His purpose is “good” both in the moral sense and the functional one (“a good toothpaste”); that which hinders that purpose is “bad” (the Hebrew רע, ra‘ = bad/destructive, being related to the root רעע = to shatter). God’s commands are then a combination of God-the-Creator informing us of His purpose for the universe and God-the-Psychologist/Sociologist telling us what rules will help us live toward that purpose.

              (Yes, this will often conform to our moral intuition—no surprise, since we are God’s creation.)

              Could we work out morality without God’s explicit Word? perhaps, since it is inherent in His creation, but it would be a chancy prospect with our ability to rationalize.

              At any rate, morality so understood is neither arbitrary and capricious, to be accepted because God so commanded, nor is it something imposed from beyond God’s will.

              (My own summary of a longer discussion by Rabbi Micha Berger; links in a reply comment so WordPress lets this through.)

              1. Here’s the discussion I referred to, though it’s aimed at a scholarly Jewish audience and many terms are left untranslated:
                Or, to quote his own summary:

                Plato presents us with a false dichotomy: either there is a reason for one thing being pious and another not, or there is no reason at all. However, G-d had a purpose for creating the universe, which in turn gives a means for ranking our actions. Moral actions are those that further His purpose, immoral actions are ones that are counter to them. In this way, morality is both a product of Divine Will not imposed from without, and yet not simply capricious.

                1. Those arguments seem to apply to the statement “It’s good [or evil] for a person to do X.” But I’m not seeing how they apply to either the statement “God saw that the world was good” or the statement “God is good.” They kind of seem to reduce to a tautology: God saw that the world was as God made it; God does what God wants.

                  Do you think there is a single underlying concept of “goodness” that applies not only to human acts, or human beings, but also to divine acts or to a divine being? Can we use our understanding of ethics to judge God? Or is God beyond human judging, and does the statement “God is good” mean nothing in human terms?

                  1. Ah, I see another bit of subtlety at work between us, I think.
                    “God does what God wants”
                    I think you might be using a phrasing that implies more than you intend (or perhaps you do intend it). That implies to some a capriciousness, a fickle character, which would be counter to the Judeo-Christian belief about God. God does not change, according to scripture. He does what He does because He is who He is. Perhaps a more Christian way of phrasing your statement would be:
                    “God does what God is

                    Yes, God is beyond judging. He is the judge.
                    And “God is good” is a tautology, yes. God is good because good is God. (However, that statement is used to also imply that God treats us well, in our usual understanding of that idea.)

                    And, I hope there’s no ill will being formed here. I welcome the chance to explain the Creator and Redeemer that I love. As lowly as that effort might be.

                    1. There is a great distinction to be made between the Judeo-Christian-Islamic conception of God and the multiple “power-of-the-earth” gods envisioned by the Greeks, Norse, Persians, Hindus, etc. Equating the two concepts tends to provoke incoherence.

                  2. They kind of seem to reduce to a tautology: God saw that the world was as God made it; God does what God wants.

                    Not a tautology at all, rather a deep statement contrasting God’s creation of the world to the various mythologies that have been told: God is not constrained by fate or chance or limitations; what He intended was what He made.

                    Or is God beyond human judging, and does the statement “God is good” mean nothing in human terms?

                    Can we judge God in human terms? not safely. But when God tells us He is “good”, I take that to mean that the human understanding of “good” is a sufficiently-close analogy for most purposes.

              2. Can you say that God is good? Is that a meaningful statement? Do you think there can be compelling rational grounds for doing so?

                The fallibility of human reason seems to me to be a nonstarter here. Of course human beings are neither omniscient nor infallible; that’s why we need philosophy, and in particular epistemology and logic, in the first place. But that no more invalidates ethics as a discipline than it invalidates engineering, or medicine, or law, in all of which error, wishful thinking, and rationalization are quite possible. It just says we have to include safeguards against error in our methods, and accept that sometimes we’ll fall into error despite those safeguards.

                But suppose, to the contrary, that it is impossible to know rationally what is right or wrong. Then isn’t ethics purely a matter of arbitrary commitments? And in that case, the ethical judgment that God is good must also be arbitrary and capricious. I don’t think that’s a position you want to take, so I don’t think the skeptical conclusion is one you want to draw.

            3. I am sorry if I am unclear. I was addressing your point, but not assuming it was one you necessarily held.

              Yes, I am almost conceding the point you made. Except that “objective” would seem to indicate that standard exists outside of the deity. As if it is a standard to which he is subject.
              My point was addressing that. The creator-god of Judaism and Christianity bears that holiness within himself, but it is neither an external standard (implying something greater than Him), nor some whim of power (implying He is arbitrary). It is His character, and it is a standard for the universe He created because He created it.

              Perhaps I read into your statement, but I don’t think so.

              1. Well, let me put it this way. On one hand, you could program a computer to generate a specific set of results. On the other hand, you program it to do some general sort of problem solving, and then have a set of results emerge from that problem solving as applied to some body of evidence. In the same way, you can envision human beings as arriving at certain ethical beliefs because we are programmed to hold those particular beliefs; or you can envision ethics as a product of rationality applied to the facts of human life and of the observable universe.

                In the first place, if God programmed us to hold certain ethical views, then our holding those ethical views would not count as independent confirmation that God was right about ethics, or as good. In the second place, if God made us capable of reasoning and seeking truth, and we arrived at the judgment that God was good, that would be independent confirmation of God’s goodness.

                (I could also suggest that in terms of the Judaeo-Christian mythology, that independent confirmation must be important to God, because God gave us free will, and as a consequence the ability to decide for ourselves what is true or right. Perhaps God wants to be loved by beings that chose to love him, and not by beings that he programmed to do so?)

                As to where this is going: Let me offer a parallel argument. A state (I use the word in the political philosophy sense, not the peculiar American sense) might set up an organization to carry out certain functions. And an employee of that organization might work hard and conscientiously to do their job well, and could be said to be a good worker; and we might suppose that all the employees did so, and even that all their jobs were well defined and resulted in the organization functioning effectively and achieving the purpose for which it was set up, and we might say it was a good (functionally good) organization. But would that make those employees, or that organization, ethically good? What if the state was the Kingdom of Qin, or the Democratic Republic of Korea? What if it was Oceania or the Domination of the Draka?

                There is a legal philosophy that says that, by definition, whatever the state commands is law, and obeying the law is right, and so questions of goodness don’t arise; of course it’s good because obeying the state is good. That’s not my philosophy, and I hope it’s not yours. So then it’s possible that the state is evil, and that by being a good employee and doing your duties effectively, you are serving evil. Or so I think.

                You can suppose, in parallel, that God created the universe to serve a purpose, and gave us a set of rules to direct us to serve that purpose. But if God is not known to be good, then following those rules also can’t be known to be good. And it seems to me that the only way it can be claimed that God is known to be good is for human beings to have the capacity for knowing good and evil for themselves, and can decide that God is good and not evil. But if we have that capacity, then we can judge what is good and evil without depending on God to tell us.

                So I don’t think it makes sense to say both that God is worthy of worship, and that we can only know what is good and what is evil by having God tell us.

                1. You repeat a common difficulty: you treat God as a being within some larger context. Given what has been revealed, you must (I speak purely within Christian theology, here) not assume any context greater then God Himself. It’s difficult, since all of our analogues and parables can only come from a different paradigm, where there *is* another layer above.

                  We must judge good and evil by the standards of our Creator, since we have no other framework by which to judge. And, since he is our creator, his standards are the correct ones to judge by. You wouldn’t ask a toaster to calculate pi to the 20th decimal place – that’s not what its creator intended.

                  I do comprehend your confusion/doubt. But it is indicative of human pride in our own reason. Your final two statements are not actually contradictory.

                  1. There is a lot that could be said about this, but I think I should be brief. You take God’s existence and goodness as axiomatic. I don’t. I take the existence of the physical universe as axiomatic, and the need to rely on my own rational judgment to acquire knowledge of it. And I judge good and evil in terms of what sustains my life as a rational being, and what damages or imperils it. Indeed, that is the thing of which I would say “we have no other framework by which to judge.”

                    So, at the very least, I think that your claim that moral judgment is impossible without reliance on the God you believe in is clearly wrong. And an argument for God’s axiomatic goodness that is based on that claim does not convince me.

    2. Respectfully, the fact that the way the universe works and how humans behave don’t comport with the way it would happen if you were the driving force behind the universe doesn’t mean that there are no other ways that an external driving force could make those things possible.

      You have a strong sense of how you think humans should behave toward each other. Consider the origin of that. Is it internal or external?

      1. Is it internal or external?
        Hmmm, that’s a bit of a trick question. 🙂
        External means might include such things as how you were raised or educated. Which leads back to “Whence came their ethics?” Internal becomes external, which raises the child to reinforce some thing which is already in the heart or mind.

        I’m of the firm belief that Scripture is right in saying that His law (in the most generic, basic sense) is written on our hearts, regardless of our beliefs. And it is therefore easily reasoned to the same end by our minds and by observation.

        A pastor last weekend remarked that it’s interesting that almost every culture on this rock agrees with the Second Table of the 10 Commandments (whether you think that means 6 or 7 of them). Summarized in a couple of places by “love your neighbor as yourself” or “do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” Until modernism/post-modernism, no one of a right mind ever really disputed that.
        It’s just that First Table that seems to get people hung up. 🙂

        1. I would quibble with just one small part of that pastor’s comments: the Tenth Commandment (I nearly wrote “the Tenth Amendment” there 🙂 ) is one that many cultures disagree with. Specifically, communist regimes generally come to power on the backs of covetousness (a.k.a. envy), and do their best to encourage it in their citizens.

          Now, some might think that envy is a driving force behind free-market capitalism as well, but that’s not correct. Desire for material goods is a driving force behind free-market capitalism, but that’s not the same thing as envy. The way to distinguish the two is to perform a thought experiment. Let’s say that you see your neighbor with some expensive, luxury item that you would also like to have. (A Porsche, a huge widescreen TV, a beautiful house with a swimming pool, whatever appeals to you.) To tell whether your reaction is desire or envy, ask yourself the following question: “If some disaster happened to my neighbor and he lost that thing: totalled the car, someone stole the TV, the house burned down, whatever… would it make me happy that now things were “fair” again?” If your answer is yes, then you’re succumbing to envy, your heart is full of venom, and you’d be wise to change your attitude. (Also, you’re someone who will be vulnerable to the Communist propaganda). But if your answer is “I don’t want my neighbor to lose his stuff, I just want to be rich enough to buy something like that myself,” then you aren’t coveting, and your attitude is perfectly healthy. (Like Sarah talked about in some of her essays, when Dan and she would go on walks past richer neighborhoods, and how it made them happy that some people could live in such nice houses — and gave them something to aspire to. That’s the right attitude, and pretty much the opposite of envy.)

          1. the Tenth Commandment (I nearly wrote “the Tenth Amendment” there ) is one that many cultures disagree with. Specifically, communist regimes
            Well, note that I *did* say:
            Until modernism/post-modernism, no one of a right mind ever really disputed that.
            So, your point was covered. 😉

            Your discussion is very correct, though.

    3. Well, the Good News for you is that as long as the leftists don’t hold enough of the political power you get to believe whatever you wish.

      The Good News for those of us who believe in God is that there is an afterlife and that His Son personally delivered the invitation, should we choose to attend.

    4. My belief in God comes first. Facts, logic, and reasons come afterwards; and so far have not refuted the existence of God.

      Now what the Catholic Church, various other Christian denominations, as well as other religions say about God, the Creator, the First Cause, or whatever you designate as the Primary Supernatural is open to question and personal evaluation. Why shouldn’t it be? All that is being told to us by human beings. You know, those frail critters with imperfect senses, imperfect memory, imperfect reasoning, and often with both major biases and corrupting desires. How I see God is unique to me; firm, but still subject to some malleability.

      God didn’t strike down the crazed killer in Texas yesterday because that would violate our free will. That same free will that allowed all those parishioners to choose not to go to church armed, and that same free will that had that one neighbor with a gun return fire at the nutcase, and with another bystander, pursued that crazy son of a bitch to his death.

      1. This. Thank you.

        I’ve heard / read of a number of stories where people describe seeing Jesus / The Virgin Mary / an angel who steps in and either suggests that going down that way is a bad idea, or comforts them with reassurance that it will be okay. Most of the examples I’ve seen described give option to the person involved to choose to ignore that advice. It seems that even divine intervention leaves room for free will.

    5. From my experience, there are two types of atheists.

      Type 1: “I don’t understand this whole religion thing, but if it works for you, I’m not going to quibble.”
      Type 2: “This whole religion thing is entirely incomprehensible and because I don’t understand it, it must be destroyed, never mind if it seems to work for other people (they don’t count).”

      1. More from Type 2: “And I need to tell everyone how stupid this whole religion thing is. At every opportunity. Whenever it’s even remotely relevant. Or even if it isn’t, I’ll drag it into the conversation.”

        These types, despite their alleged “rationality” are fanatics by the old quip, “Can’t change their minds and won’t change the subject.”

        1. Ah, yes. The old Evangelical Atheist. The “Allow me to rant about my beliefs for an hour because you had the misfortune to be introduced to me at a party” type. Only slightly less annoying than Evangelical Vegans.

          1. Well, no. Evangelical Vegans can always be silenced by saying “I butcher my own. Would you like to come over next Saturday and learn how to properly kill and butcher a rabbit?” For whatever reason, this leaves them entirely sputtering and unable to form words.
            I haven’t yet found an equivalent for Evangelical Atheists, which makes them more annoying.

              1. Probably not with their lack of belief. Mass is a good place to have some Scripture read to you, and a sermon trying to apply it to your life. Of course many ministers, parsons, priests, etc. are way the heck out in Left field with their sermons, which is why so many people go to sleep in the pews.

                But to change their lack of belief really requires a personal miracle, a transformative, mystical event that breaks through the walls they have around their minds.

                1. I thought it was being proposed as an equivalent to shutting up militant vegans by inviting them to butcher a rabbit, but I still suspect it would not have quite the corresponding effect.

            1. Quite a few years ago, a friend who raised rabbits for meat offered to given anyone who wanted to learn a lesson in butchering one. I was the only one who took her up on it. I wrote it up for an amateur press association I belonged to (this was the print equivalent of a newsgroup or a group blog). And the overwhelming majority of the other members said they couldn’t bring themselves to do that, even though they ate meat.

              Now, I have a vegan friend or two. I don’t agree with their choice of diet, but I respect them more than I do meat eaters who couldn’t bring themselves to kill their own meat. Though really, the only ones who truly merit opprobium are the ones who hold butchers in contempt, while benefiting from their labors; no one is fully accountable for the things that horrify them emotionally.

          2. Yep. And if you don’t endure their screeds, you’re an ignorant superstitious scumbag who isn’t worth the space on the planet that you occupy and you seriously need to step in front of a bus.

            My atheist housemate hates them. Probably because he’s more educated in religions (plural) than most of them are (who only hate Christianity.)


            Enjoy. Also, don’t drink while reading.

      2. Pretty much. Type 1 was me, years (gah, decades now) ago: had no faith. Couldn’t find it in me. This type of atheist never makes headlines, or gets invited to argue his case against high-profile Christians. It wouldn’t be very exciting.

        “How can you not believe?”

        *shrugs* “Dunno. I just don’t. It’s cool if you do though. That whole Christian charity thing is pretty sweet.”

        “Oh. Um. Thanks?”

        Type 2 I always thought of as “I hate faith, especially Christians. Okay mostly Christians. Err. Only Christians.” That’s how it usually turned out. Buddhists? Cool. Hindu? They’d never met one. Wiccan? Awesome! Muslim? Bro. Christian? Hissssss!

          1. You have to separate the religion from its adherents. You may hate Judaism because you were dragged to synagogue by your folks, however you shouldn’t hate Judaism because of your family issues.
            I think that some Jews are progs as a replacement for Judaism.

              1. Well, Sarah, everyone (except the masters) gets the short end of the stick in those cases. Jews seem to get the shortest end, though, so very often.

        1. Housemate is a Type 1. He’s more aware of type 2 Atheist VS Christian violence and crime than I am – and there is apparently a rise in such, especially in cybercrime done against Christians – website defacement being the most minor.

          In fact his first thought when he heard about yesterday’s shooting was “Atheist hate crime.”

        2. Although I prefer agnostic, I would fit your Type 1.
          I can’t prove nor disprove existence of deity. It seems likely to me from the lack of solid evidence that if deity exists (to quote Ian Anderson) “He’s not the kind you have to wind up on Sundays”.
          However, the religious texts of the world describe plans for working societies, and we know they work because the texts & societies survived. I find that the societies that seem most advanced and pleasant to live in are based on the New Testament model. Therefore I encourage people to pay attention to the teachings of Christ. Whether or not He/They are divine, the teachings *work*.

          1. What about a society based on the Old Testament? I think that they are modern and pleasant. Except for the Muslims trying to eradicate them.

          2. “He’s not the kind you have to wind up on Sundays

            What kind would He /She / It be? And how, having figured this out, ought you respond. There might be a test if it turns out that the “you” that existed past gross physiological changes from infancy, through toddler-hood, through adolescence, and into adulthood, also continues past the biological change that is death.

          3. In addition to overgrownhobbit’s comment, you might be interested in reading the long comment I made earlier around 10:19 PM (located downthread from here). In it, I explain the logic chain that I used when I was in college and doubting my faith, to arrive at the conclusion that at least one of Christianty’s claims (in fact, the central claim of Christianity, as acknowledged by the Bible itself) has some solid evidence for it. It is not necessary to just “close your eyes and believe”; many people, myself included, have arrived at (or in my case, remained in) Christianity because we were persuaded by solid evidence.

      3. In furnace to some of my atheist friends who are philosophers, both of whom are in fact Christian now …so perhaps this is not as fair as I would like it to be… Anyhoo.

        They were atheists, because they love the truth and they were convinced that the truth was that there was no God.

        That seems to me, to be a perfectly reasonable position. It is wrong granted, but it still reasonable.

        1. The fact that they love the truth is also why they converted once they became convinced that the truth was other than what they believed. Once you are confronted with evidence that one of your most cherished beliefs is false, that’s when you suddenly discover which one you care about more: the truth, or that precious belief. Those who are willing to discard their previous beliefs and change their minds when confronted with the evidence are honorable men and women whom anyone should be proud to call a friend. Such people are, sadly, far rarer than they should be.

    6. First, it makes me wonder why in world anyone on the Right side of the aisle could ever, ever even *consider* being Christian or hold a belief in any deity.

      Since you ask, I’ll tell you why I believe. I worked through this logic when I was in college. We’ll start with a few premises that pretty much everyone, Christian or atheist, can agree with. (There are some people who deny one or another of these premises, but they do so in the teeth of the evidence).

      1. There was an actual, historical person named Jesus (well, technically his name would be transcribed as Yeshua, but Jesus is the most commonly-accepted variant of the name these days), who lived in the region of Galilee and was a religious teacher.
      2. His teaching were rather popular with a bunch of people, but not with the religious authorities of his day.
      3. The religious authorities who hated Jesus were able to get him executed by the Romans.
      4. Not too long afterwards, Jesus’ disciples started claiming that he had risen from the dead.
      5. Despite attempts to stamp out this new-formed belief, it spread like wildfire and now there are millions, maybe billions, of people who believe it.

      None of these premises rely on the Bible as evidence; you can find mentions of Jesus and the Christians in various Roman historians’ writings, for example. Which is why these premises are generally accepted as true.

      Thing is, from those premises alone, you get the following chain of logic:

      A. If Jesus’ body was still in the tomb, it would have been easy to disprove the disciples’ claim that he had risen from the dead. Just have someone go to the tomb and bring out the body and exhibit it. Or if it wasn’t done to exhibit dead bodies, even of condemned criminals, then arrest a bunch of people and have them marched to the tomb and forced to look in. Some people would believe anyway — there’s always some who would say, “How do we know that’s Jesus’ body in there? It’s just a skeleton by now; could be anybody.” But the story would have fizzled for most people, and it wouldn’t have spread like wildfire if there had been a body to see.

      B. Therefore, Jesus’ body was no longer in the tomb when the disciples started claiming he had risen from the dead. So where was it? Well, we can rule out one theory right away. If the religious authorities had taken Jesus’ body out of the tomb, then they could easily have produced it, and things would have proceeded just as in part A of this logic chain: some people would have believed anyway (because there’s always SOMEONE who will hang on to their convictions in the teeth of the evidence), but it wouldn’t have spread like wildfire.

      C. The most plausible scenario, of course, is that the disciples themselves came along and took the body. It’s plausible at first, that is, until you start to look at the implications. Human nature, as just about any conservative will acknowledge, doesn’t change over the centuries — and one of the things about human nature is that people will often die to protect their friends, or in defense of something they know (or truly believe) to be true. But how many people are willing to die, especially under torture, in order to protect something that they know to be a lie? Darn few. I won’t say it could never happen, but darn few people would go to their death by torture to protect a lie that could no longer benefit them (because, well, they were facing death by torture if they didn’t confess). In the case of some of the disciples, their deaths were recorded by history, while in other cases our only source for how they died is the tradition of the Christian church. But I don’t know of anyone who’s seriously claiming that the Christian tradition is wrong about this specific point, how Jesus’ hand-picked disciples died. (The ones called the Twelve Apostles: Peter, James, John, and the others). John died a natural death, and Judas Iscariot committed suicide after his betrayal of Jesus — but the other ten disciples were executed, mostly by torturous methods (such as crucifixion). And none of them recanted; if they had, the Romans (who also hated Christianity at the time — this was a couple centuries before Constantine) would certainly have spread the word widely: “Hey, Peter confessed that it was all a hoax: he and John stole Jesus’ body and lied about Jesus rising from the dead”. And again, there would have been some people who continued to believe in the teeth of the evidence, but the belief in Jesus’ resurrection would not have spread like wildfire if there had been a confession, witnessed by multiple people, that it was a hoax.

      D. Therefore, the disciples did not steal the body either. We can quickly dispose of any other possibilities for who stole the body — it’s just not plausible in the least that anyone would rob the grave of a condemned criminal who was buried with no wealth. Notoriety also doesn’t work as a motive for this, since crimes committed for notoriety require the ability to tell other people of your crime and not get executed for it. And, if you’re willing to take the Bible’s word for some of the details even though you doubt the idea that Jesus was really raised from the dead, there was a guard posted to make sure that nobody stole the body. The Jewish religious leaders had thought of precisely this scenario (or rather, the scenario where the disciples stole the body and claimed that Jesus had been raised) and taken steps to guard against it.

      E. So nobody can have stolen the body. And yet, from our widely-accepted premises we’ve already concluded that Jesus’ body was not in the tomb by the time the disciples started claiming that he had been raised from the dead! So if his body was no longer in the tomb, and yet nobody stole it… what happened to the body? There’s only one scenario that could possibly explain the missing body. It’s a scenario that normally doesn’t happen, so it’s natural that it wasn’t the first scenario that came to mind. And yet that’s the scenario that the disciples were claiming did happen. And as we’ve just seen, it’s the only scenario that remains. We’ve eliminated everything else; and as Sherlock Holmes famously (if fictionally) said, “when you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth.”

      That’s the chain of reasoning by which I worked out that I could indeed believe the story I had been told about Jesus’ resurrection. The rest of the Christian doctrine stands or falls on that one point: if Jesus was not raised from the dead, he cannot have been God after all, and Christianity is false. (As the Bible itself acknowledges: “And if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is in vain and your faith is in vain.” – 1 Corinthians 15:14). But if Jesus was raised from the dead, then that’s one thing that is normally impossible which nonetheless really happened. So we have to start looking at the other claims — like the idea that Jesus was really God, as he claimed to be — with a new perspective. After all, there is no possible natural explanation for someone rising from the dead (we’re not talking about a few minutes of heart stoppage here). So the only possible explanation is supernatural. I won’t get into the rest of the logic chain since this comment is already extremely long, but the resurrection is the cornerstone of the whole edifice. Take it away and the building falls; but if it’s solid, the rest of the building can be built on top of it. Various branches of Christianity will build slightly different buildings on top of that cornerstone, so just because you accept Jesus’ resurrection does not mean you have to accept this or that branch of Christianity. But if you have come to believe that Jesus really was raised from the dead, then this does require you to accept some branch of Christianity.

      1. I have a problem with faith. I have to be shown, and things have to be proved. I have to have a reason to believe. And right now I have a problem of faith on issues I won’t go into here.

        Yet, what it comes down to is whether the events in the gospels happened. If yes, then it follows the rest is also true. If not, then there’s no point in bothering to go through the motions.

        I’m convinced that they did, not because this is what I was told, but because it’s the most reasonable explanation. I won’t go into all the apologetics, but there are some extra-biblical sources that dovetails into the events described in the gospels, and Gamaliel’s parody of Matthew means that writings of the events were within the memories of those who were there and could have said “Nope; that didn’t happen.”

        I have to remind myself of that. A lot. I don’t have a lot of what’s generally called faith. But I can’t walk away from what I’m convinced is true.

        1. I’m not aware of Gamaliel’s parody. Got a link you could point me to?

          I’ve often wondered about Gamaliel, actually. He was one of the ones who stood up when Peter and John were on trial and said, “Let’s be careful here. If they are right, we don’t want to oppose them. And if they are wrong, they’ll fail on their own.” And then one of his best students, Saul of Tarsus, goes and turns around 180°, in about as dramatic a fashion as possible, and switches from persecuting this sect to preaching it! I’ve often wondered if Gamaliel, too, may have come to believe in Jesus later in life; his speech before the Sanhedrin makes me think that he was one of those who love the truth (like the ones I mentioned in my 1:41 AM comment upthread). And if he was, then I wouldn’t be at all surprised if he eventually came to recognize the truth.

          So any writings by Gamaliel that have survived to this day, I would be quite interested in reading.

          1. The original sources have aged off, and all I could find are tertiary sources. I remember when the story came out in the early years of the 21st Century, but that doesn’t count. I have not read the primary cite, found in Passover and Easter: Origin and History to Modern Times, in a chapter written by Israel J. Yuval of Jerusalem’s Hebrew University.

            The significance is that Gamaliel died around 52 AD. Obviously the Gospel of Matthew had to predate the parody, so it was in existence at least around 52 AD and likely earlier.

            There’s some Christian legends that Gamaliel became a Christian, but I don’t know one way or the other. Certainly his parody would argue against that, at least at the time he wrote it.

          2. Being a lover of truth does not necessarily mean that you’ll be a Christian. You might be a Jew.

      2. (The ones called the Twelve Apostles: Peter, James, John, and the others).
        Don’t forget Saul/Paul. There’s a guy who believed it to the point of death (and a lot of suffering before) – who started out persecuting those very people.

    7. How can we be the party that requires fact, logic, and proof and believe in a deity?

      Because we have, in our consideration of logic, fact, and proofs, come to the conclusion that there is a deity.

    8. If you truly don’t understand the how and the why of this stuff, I recommend Andrew Klavan’s The Great Good Thing. Your local library will have a copy, if you are willing to pay the authr for his work in this case.

      The book has two virtues: number one, it is entirely readable. The author is a Hollywood screenwriter. The other is that based on your comment you and he seem to think alike.

      My caveat, is this book it is not going to convince you that Christianity is correct. It will however answer your question , how in the world could a rational man accept this nonsense about an unmoved Mover, an intelligence that made the world? If understanding is what you want, it should prove helpful.

      On the other hand, if your comment was atheist tribal-affiliation signalling, never mind, I get the message.

  10. I’m reminded of a story I think I read in one of Joseph Campbell’s books:

    A young man in India has been to see his guru, and has been enlightened. He walked down the street, blissfully thinking, “I am God.”

    Up the street is a charging, runaway elephant. The young man sees it, and thinks, “The elephant is God. How magnificent!”

    The elephant’s mahout, clinging to its back, shouts, “Get out of the road!”

    The young man says to himself, “I am God; the elephant is God. Shall God fear God?” and walks on. And as the driver screams, “You fool, get out of the road!” the elephant comes up to the young man, swings its trunk at him, and slams him into a brick building.

    When the young man wakes up in hospital, his guru is by his bedside. And he asks, “Guru, I don’t understand. Am I not God? Was the elephant not God?”

    The guru answers, “Yes, you are God, and yes, the elephant is God. And why did youi not listen to the voice of God from the elephant’s back, telling you to get out of the road?”

    1. And that reminds me of a story about a flood victim …

      A town had flooded and one man, a devout believer, was confident that God would save him. A rescue crew came to evacuate him and he declined, stating, “God will save me.” A boat came and again he declined, saying “God will save me.” At last, a helicopter came and he waved them away, saying “God will save me.”

      The man drowned, and when he reached Heaven, he angrily asked why God hadn’t saved him. God’s response? ” I sent a rescue crew, a boat and a helicopter — what more did you want?”

  11. Easiest defense against our attacks on their vision: they ban us from their sites, flood our sites with spammage, and when that doesn’t work, run dedicated denial of services attacks against our own sites. Already happens when the news media cherry pick which things to show, and what and how much of that.

    What’s really scarey is that more and more people appear to be convinced there is going to be blood over this; that it is inevitable. IF it is indeed inevitable; it requires us to keep a close eye on current events, and make projections on what happens next so we don’t get caught with our pants down when the ball goes up. It also behoves us to be prepared for it, and to plan on being on the winning side. What I haven’t seen is effective preparation.

    Effective preparation is more than stocking food, medicine, fuel, weapons and ammunition in some remote location to ride out the disintegration of our society. Preparation also requires an agreement on common principles that justify shedding that blood. (This is a good site for that, but the numbers are low, and this “cell” doesn’t seem to have many contacts with other cells of similar view.) The American colonists did that with a lot of local debates, and formulated it with the Declaration of Independence. The other thing required for effective prepartion is an effective organization. One that can obtain and distribute resources when and where necessary. One that has as good as, if not better, communications than the opposition. And one that can make faster, better decisions than the opposition.

    It’s really too bad the Founders didn’t include a Plan B in the Constitution. One where, “In case of failure, Initiate Contingency Plan 1776.”

    1. and when that doesn’t work, run dedicated denial of services attacks against our own sites.

      Cloudflare, and Dreamhost web hosting. DDoS attacks fail regularly because of Cloudflare, which is, apparently, a source of vast frustration to the more numerous but unskilled hacktivists.

    2. “It’s really too bad the Founders didn’t include a Plan B in the Constitution. One where, “In case of failure, Initiate Contingency Plan 1776.””

      I am sorry but the Founders WERE great men and knew their limitations. They could not know what would happen or what the cause would be that required the People to Revolt. But they DID know that the People would require ARMS to Revolt so they made sure that those arms would be there in the Peoples hands.

      Do you really think that anything MORE was needed? The Cause is up to the Individual. The WILL is Individual WILL. Those Individuals getting together to say “NO, this will not continue!” start the Revolt. There is nothing guaranteeing that the revolt will succeed, the Founders never promised victory they promised a CHANCE.

      Things are not there yet, and because of Trump, let us hope they never will be.

    3. I think that was the article about amending the Constitution, very carefully surrounded by safeguards to make it hard to do. Unfortunately, both the income tax and popular election of senators got past those safeguards. There are limits to how much you can do to protect a people from their own idiocy. When they start saying, “But we want to be like all the nations, and have a king,” they’re likely to get one.

  12. I think those of us on the conservative/libertarian side are more like that, because though we were raised in the same culture, a culture permeated with the mechanistic view of Marxism, we COULDN’T integrate every fact, and instead of choosing to ignore those facts, we realized it invalidated what we’d been taught.

    It was in my last year of HS (1972-73) I heard of libertarianism. Sounds great, but even then I realized in real life it wouldn’t work, because real life is filled with real people, some of whom simply are scum. Like full fledged Communism, it works best with ideal people, the kind that don’t exist.

    That old saying saying attributed to many, “That government which governs least governs best.” seems to me the way to go. Government is indeed a necessary evil. Looking around at the world, Seems to me that since our founding that people around the world seek to come here, even now, while people from here, the malcontents complaining how evil and racist and sexist etc. we are- WON’T LEAVE! We must be doing something right.

    It’s not just the government that makes people want to come here rather than stay there, wherever there is. It’s society as a whole. And all the rules and laws that have evolved over time. It’s why I oppose radical changes, especially those ordered by Courts deliberately misinterpreting the Constitution for political ends. The Constitution does not contain a right to SSM. Or a right to not be offended. Or a right to force others to decorate cakes for you. In fact it prohibits the last in many ways. I first read of Chesterton’s Fence in the last year or so. I believed in Chesterton’s Fence long before I heard of it. If something is working, and has been that way for a long time, it probably shouldn’t be changed. Changing Aid For Widows And Orphans to Aid For Families With Dependent Children, by declaring that unwed motherhood was exactly the same as widowhood, is an example of why, even with good intentions, long standing principles shouldn’t be changed. Senator Moynihan warned what the change would bring, but all right thinking people informed us he was wrong, and made the change. He was right. The question is- Now that it’s established, how do you reverse a decision like that? For me, it’s an easy choice. Next JAN 1 AFDC becomes Aid to Widows and Orphans. Period. But, but- people will suffer! People are suffering now. Increase the suffering and mayhaps the lesson will come through. Establish yourself, get married, THEN have children. It’s a time proven system that works.

    I could go on with more examples, but in this forum, I’d be preaching to a choir that already knows them all.

    1. Very much my opinion on things. I am very libertarian, but I also know full on, it ain’t gonna work in the real world, but I do think we’d be far better off if we got closer to that ideal than we are, as every time someplace steps closer, things get better. Almost every single time.
      Commies/Marxist ways, though, not gonna work either, for those same reasons, Humans being humans . . . But the closer societies get to it, the worse things are. Every. Single. Time.

    2. ” I believed in Chesterton’s Fence long before I heard of it. If something is working, and has been that way for a long time, it probably shouldn’t be changed”
      I assume you mean G.K. Chesterton, , and he has many insightful discussions with the “intellects” of his age. He makes a very pervasive case for the rights of those who came before. Like him, I discovered I did not have enough faith to be an atheist.
      St. Thomas always insisted on basing arguments about faith on the belief of his opponent. He never used the bible with an atheist but only natural law. If you wish to talk good or evil, you must except natural law. From that basis you can read Chesterton (very easy read) or Thomas (not so easy read) and learn much and not just about philosophy or faith.
      Before I retired from NASA one of my biggest concerns was the effort of young engineers to change things they did not understand, i.e. I don’t know why the max weight on this item was 20 lbs so we will set it at 50 lbs for our convenience kind of thing. Ignorance of history is not permission to do things differently, it is a prohibition to change until you understand history.

      1. Here is the full glory of Chesterton’s Fence:

        In the matter of reforming things, as distinct from deforming them, there is one plain and simple principle; a principle which will probably be called a paradox. There exists in such a case a certain institution or law; let us say, for the sake of simplicity, a fence or gate erected across a road. The more modern type of reformer goes gaily up to it and says, “I don’t see the use of this; let us clear it away.” To which the more intelligent type of reformer will do well to answer: “If you don’t see the use of it, I certainly won’t let you clear it away. Go away and think. Then, when you can come back and tell me that you do see the use of it, I may allow you to destroy it.”

        This paradox rests on the most elementary common sense. The gate or fence did not grow there. It was not set up by somnambulists who built it in their sleep. It is highly improbable that it was put there by escaped lunatics who were for some reason loose in the street. Some person had some reason for thinking it would be a good thing for somebody. And until we know what the reason was, we really cannot judge whether the reason was reasonable. It is extremely probable that we have overlooked some whole aspect of the question, if something set up by human beings like ourselves seems to be entirely meaningless and mysterious. There are reformers who get over this difficulty by assuming that all their fathers were fools; but if that be so, we can only say that folly appears to be a hereditary disease. But the truth is that nobody has any business to destroy a social institution until he has really seen it as an historical institution. If he knows how it arose, and what purposes it was supposed to serve, he may really be able to say that they were bad purposes, that they have since become bad purposes, or that they are purposes which are no longer served. But if he simply stares at the thing as a senseless monstrosity that has somehow sprung up in his path, it is he and not the traditionalist who is suffering from an illusion.

        1. This principle can be seen by anyone debugging an old program or system, because they are full of coding that doesn’t appear to serve any purpose, but you had better not delete it until you know why it was put there.

          1. Our primary software at work is like that. Parts of it date back to the 70s and are, essentially black boxes and some of the original coders are dead not just retired. It’s large, and it’s hard to tell what’s connected to which so updating it gets… dicey. And it’s been under relatively constant maintenance since it was written. There are a fair few pieces that behave…oddly… but tracking down what’s interacting wierdly with which and fixing it without breaking something ELSE requires something akin to magic (which given their current staff cuts, they’re extremely short on magicians.) We have several apparently nonsensical things we do with each project which we do simply to prevent some mysterious part of the program from getting cranky.

            1. I’ve seen programs were it would be better to create replacement programs than to try to do major repairs.

              Of course, the money (and programmers) were available to do that. 😦

  13. For your amusement –

    Ace has a post up about an Esquire article that collected quotes from people in the press and the campaigns about Election Night last year. It covers before, during, and after the realization that Donald Trump, and not Hillary Clinton, was going to be the next President of the United States.

        1. Thanks to both of you who posted it. I found particularly striking the guy at the New Yorker who had his essay on the momentous election of Clinton all ready to post as soon as the result was confirmed—and was caught flatfooted by her losing.

          Personally, I expected that Clinton was the likely winner, and in fact I didn’t think there was enough difference between her and Trump to worry about. And then I saw the blue tide going out and I realized that I felt as if a weight was been lifted from me, and that I had really dreaded Clinton, especially the prospect of her naming a couple of Supreme Court justices, starting with Scalia’s replacement.

          1. I had TDS from May third to sometime between the election and the day after when, no longer paralyzed by dread, I could go out to enjoy myself with a book about bloody civil wars, only to be bothered by some loon with TDS. Said dread being the prospect of President Clinton, and what would likely result.

          2. That’s much like my experience. I kind of figured Clinton would win; I kind of figured Trump basically shared her policies and was just saying other things to maintain the charade, or possibly whatever he thought would get the most attention.

            Then all of a sudden he was winning and I was relieved, because at least there was a possibility he wasn’t going to do the same things she would.

          3. And none of you, none of you, has had a word of remorse for the hard words you sent the way of all of us who were on our knees begging you to vote for the turnip.

              1. Well, hypothetically if I were to come to certain conclusions about my level of long term mental impairment at the time, and my behavior… But in that case, I might also feel compelled to apologize to Clamps. I do have a tendency towards social anxiety about interactions long in the past, so it is plausible that losing my mind could make me behave such a way.

                My apologies that night or morning after Trump won, IIRC here and MHN, do still stand. (Or maybe it was a few days later, I forget.) I think I regularly admit certain faults when the discussion comes up. I do try to keep an open mind about Trump, put the election behind me, criticize him only for actual faults, instead of because he isn’t what I wanted, and keep the criticism in balance with a realistic prospective.

              2. Well of course. I expected that. Not having to say HRH President Hillary is it’s own reward.

                Well that, and this “I told you so.”

                Hey, I managed to hold off for a whole year!

            1. My calculations based on the information I had at the time remain largely the same.

              a) His claim about winning New York and California impeached, in my eyes, all his claims of being able to win. If someone tells me a lie that I easily easily show is a lie, and remains something that they should have known was false even after I account for the fact that I’m nuts, I try to distrust them afterwards. (Though, if he was stuck in the past regarding politics due to lack of interest, the claim is plausibly not a lie. In hindsight, and I try not to accept a bunch of special pleading as reason to trust someone.) His reaction at and after the victory makes it plausible that he had no personal expectation to win, and that he had no real plan for what to do after winning.

              b) I’ve still not been convinced that he has sincerely repented of being a Democrat. (He voted for Obama, and has not to my knowledge publicly admitted that the act raises reasonable doubts about his judgement.) Being a Democrat puts him in the same voting category as being an outright actual Nazi. (For partisan elections.) For me to vote for him based off of what I knew of him at the time, he would have needed to be excellent running against terrible. No doubt that Hillary was terrible. But I am still not convinced of excellent. In my eyes, the jury is still out on good. Foreign and energy policy are among my interests, which include some long term processes. I might be able to begin assessing impact in 2020.

              I haven’t decided if I will be trying to support or oppose him in 2018, or how.

              My reactions to ‘but you should have voted for Trump’, are largely similar to and as unsuitable for mixed company as the concealed part of my reaction to the woman who, the day after the election, was trying to scold me for not voting for Hillary.

              In fairness, while I was delusional enough to think that electoral votes might be swung to Johnson, my state had no reasonable chance of going to Hillary.

              1. No, no. no. I’m not saying you should have voted for Trump. Obviously, it would have helped matters now, a bit (Hugh Hewitt’s old adage: if we win big enough they can’t defraud us of the election)

                That would require 20/20 hindsight on your part! Foolishness.

                I’m saying you owe those of us saying “better Trump than Hillary” an kind word for trying to cheerlead (as much as we could stand) to get him elected.

                1. We voted for trump because at the last week we decided we couldn’t take the corruption in the white house with our permission/endorsement.
                  Now, we didn’t expect him to win.
                  And I’ve been very pleasantly surprised since he won.

                2. People tend to forget that American elections offer an essentially binary choice. Our option was not “Vote for Trump or Vote for the Platonic ideal of a president” nor was “Vote for Trump or Vote for Reagan” nor even “Vote for Trump or Vote for James Buchanan.”

                  The choice was Trump or Hillary. There was no choice I could vote “For” so perforce I had to vote “Against” and in this case it was easy to vote against the known evil in favor of the unknown one. This was a choice between the chicken salad sandwich which had been sitting out for days and the turkey sandwich which was at least freshly offered. To my surprise, the turkey has proven remarkably tasty, appointing quality officials and judges and reducing regulatory bloat. Sure, there’s a bit of gassiness but it’s nothing compared to the intestinal cramps likely from the chicken salad sandwich.

            2. I don’t recall ever doing so. I know three people who voted for Trump. I discussed the issue with two of them before the election; in both cases I explained why I thought Trump was too unpredictable to support, even when the alternative was Clinton, but in neither case did I say anything critical of them as people. It wasn’t as if I couldn’t understand why someone would find Clinton horrifying enough to take desperate measures.

      1. I liked this one; it captures the Clintonista attitude in a nutshell:

        Zara Rahim, Clinton campaign national spokeswoman: We were waiting for the coronation. I was planning my Instagram caption.

        1. And it probably doesn’t even occur to her that the fact that Hillary and her court believed there should be a “coronation” is a big part of why she lost.

          Americans don’t like Hillary and don’t particularly like Trump, but we REALLY don’t like people thinking they have the right to rule over us.

        2. Or this one:

          “…as reality crumbled.”

          No, as Reality *sank* *in*.
          Or: As Reality (finally) re-asserted itself.

          Sheesh, you’d think the person was trapped in a false vacuum or… hrmm, actually that might have been (be?) true in a way.

    1. I loved this one and started laughing:

      Matt Oczkowski, formerly of Cambridge Analytica (Trump campaign data firm): When you see outlets like the Huffington Post giving Trump a 1 percent probability of victory, which is not even physically possible, it’s just like, “Wow, people are going to miss this massively.”

    2. “Zara Rahim, Clinton campaign national spokeswoman: We were waiting for the coronation. I was planning my Instagram caption.”

      Boy, did that quote from the article fill me with disgust. We don’t have coronations in our Republic. Coronation≠Inauguration. But if you look at all the pro-Hillary people, and the candidate herself, it seems they were all striving for coronation.

    3. I loved how the supposedly “neutral” reporters were talking about how Trump’s election was the end of the world, like dealing with the death of a loved one, etc. It’s nice every now and then to see them with the masks off.

  14. making the right gestures … will eventually, automagically, bring about a world in consonance with their beliefs
    This is more ritual superstition than solipsism, IMO. “When the boogeyman looks at me, if I simply repeat the phrase ‘gun-free zone’ or ‘greenhouse gas emissions’, he’ll be withered on the spot!” And just as twisted from any original source (they would claim Science!) as a Santeria practitioner frantically, repeatedly, making the sign of the cross when Baron Samedi appears.

    1. Remember the scene in the first remake of _The Mummy_, where the sniveling weasel of a bad guy is frantically thumbing through various charms and talismans in hopes that one of them might work? Same idea.

      1. The funny thing is, with regards superstitions – they usually come about because an action … ‘worked’. Kind of like how back in the Philippines, superstition persists because doing (action) appeases/protects against (very specific supernatural thing.)

        (The most prevalent one is the ‘say excuse me in advance to places where spirits/fae may dwell, because you can’t see them and if you bump into their things and accidentally destroy them, they’ll know it’s because you’re a clumsy human and won’t make you incomprehensibly ill in revenge.’)

        1. There used to be a TV show called “Candid Camera” that sometimes set up that sort of thing. A group of studio people would do something, like drive up to the toll box at a pay parking lot, get out and shake their leg, and the arm would lift and let them drive through. So the sucker would pull up in his turn and try the same thing, only to be pwned by the show people.

            1. He did wind up on a plane hijacked to Cuba. The passengers recognized him and thought it was a stunt. He couldn’t convince them it was real. But I think the armed Cubans who boarded the plane did.

              1. Not really. The humor (painful, at times) was in seeing what normal people would do in strange situations. You’d look at each other and say “Well, yeah, I *might’ve* done that.”

                1. They took the show on the road once, pulling a stunt with an attractive woman asking a man if he would carry her suitcase. Said suitcase was loaded with heavy weights. One person managed to pick it up. But in West Germany, IIRC, they rigged a metal plate and electromagnet. After the man couldn’t lift the, the woman would thank him, pick it up with one hand, and go on her way.

                  During a syndicated revival of the show, they showed a clip from a Japanese version. A man would walk up to strangers and scream into their ear. The funnest reactions was the man’s when he screamed into an old woman’s ear. She slowly turned her head to look at him, gave him a “You idiot” look, and slowly walked on her way.

  15. If the reaction were not so deadly, I’d probably feel sorry for the people having their ideological/faith rug pulled out from under them by what the rest of us consider reality. You can’t force people to be altruistic [Communism]. Favoring one group over another for reasons of accident of birth never leads to real justice or mercy. [Social Justice and identity politics] Male and female humans are not identical. [Fourth wave feminism et al]. Humans can destroy or save the planet [modern environmentalism].

    I’ve had my world view shaken hard. It is dang uncomfortable, and reassessing things and reorienting hurt in some ways. I sympathize with them, but ugh. The mess they are making with their tantrums and desperate attempts to hold back the tide…

    1. Ya, it’s definitely not an easy thing. And I’d bet majority never wrap their head around it entirely. Pretty sure it’s part of what’s standing on me.

    2. I have just read a translation of the Book of Lord Shang. Plans full of harsh punishment for minor crimes, many demands for denunciation of criminals and punishments for those who don’t, organization to set fathers and sons against each other so they will denounce each other — and the blithe and innocent certainty that this would produce a completely law-abiding community.

    3. View the human mind as a computer. You can comment out the code, but the programming remains, permanently. And every so often, you run into a GOTO that references that commented code anyway.

  16. There is a prolog from a book “The Generals President” that always stuck with me on how and why political/social realities get created and destroyed.
    From: Introduction to A History of this Planet, by Mentor Hsu Mei Chun, Ministry of Textbooks, 2034.

    This textbook, which begins with the Shang Dynasty, shows you how the people of the world have created our present reality. For people create reality, create it constantly and mostly unknowingly. This is indisputable.

    It is easier to see in the case of a ruler. A ruler creates a broad reality, within which his subjects create their own realities. He creates to whom he will listen, whose advice he will heed, to whom he will give an order, who to praise and who to punish. He even helps to create what other rulers he will challenge, and who will replace him on the seat of government.

    Now I just wrote that a ruler creates a broad reality, within which his subjects create their own realities. And it is true. But the subjects also create the ruler, and thus they create their entire political reality. This creation by a people of its ruler may not be so apparent to casual observation. But look! The Russian people had repeatedly been invaded and preyed upon by outsiders—Ostrogoths, Huns, Avars, Magyars, Varangians, Cumans, Mongols—until they dreaded foreigners. And in their xenophobia, they created czars who created a strong empire, large and costly to invade. And because the Russian people were disorganized and unruly, it was necessary that they create czars who were domineering and often brutal.

    In time, however, the czars were no longer effective enough or ruthless enough. In a word, the people’s creations were no longer adequate to their need. Thus the people created an intelligentsia, which they then resented. And the hardest and most intelligent and domineering of this intelligentsia called himself Lenin, a man who had borrowed a socio-economic theory from a German named Karl Marx.

    Lenin created a social and governmental system called Marxism-Leninism, with an army and a vast secret police to support it. And from this base, through a series of rulers, the Russians created an even larger empire, and a far greater military force, than any of their czars had done. And this government and army ground the Russian people harshly, which they were used to and which was according to their image of how the world should be.

    Now let us consider our own people. Their progress through history has been quite different from that of the Russian people. They created rulers who less ruled them than fed off them. Many of those rulers ruled only enough to keep the people domesticated, so that taxing them would be less strenuous and uncertain than preying on some wild population. And by creating such rulers, our ancestors created national vulnerability as well, vulnerability of the whole nation to warlords and foreigners.

    Until finally they tired of vulnerability and the abuse that accompanied it. But they were a people resistive to working together beyond the village level. So they too created a great ruler who was overbearing and hard—Mao Tse-tung. Chairman Mao borrowed Marxism-Leninism from the Russians. But because the Chinese people were different from the Russian, and had created a ruler who was unlike Lenin, and unlike Lenin’s successor Stalin, the program and government fashioned by Mao Tse-tung was unlike Russia’s. And the successors of Mao Tse-tung were unlike Stalin’s successors, because the people created them so, and for a long time had been creating a different stage for them to rule on.

    Now in another part of the world dwelt another people, the Americans. And they created themselves as a people from elements of many nations, because mankind’s gradual creation of itself toward a space-faring socio-economic body called for such a nation in its evolution.

    The Americans too were unruly. And because they had created a very different environment for themselves, one not unduly threatened by invasions, they undertook to create a governing system that allowed them unusual freedom to create their own individual realities. Which they did, in greater diversity than any other people. And they created a series of chiefs of government who did not rule but presided. For the American people did not wish a ruler.

    But in conjunction with the other nations, the Americans, who were very powerful creators, gradually created a world which was dangerous to them. And being unruly, and lacking a ruler, they began to feel threatened….

      1. second the motion … how about a Louis L’Amour western? A great coming of age story is “Bendigo Shafter” or an action story like “Last of the Breed”(not a western but really good)?

        Just my not so humble opinion of course.

  17. Apparently not as good an idea as it quacked up to be, but it indicates her comtempt for voters’ intelligence.

    Clinton really thought these Donald Duck protesters were a good idea
    Hillary Clinton personally OK’d a plan to have protesters dress in Donald Duck costumes to disrupt Donald Trump’s campaign rallies, a stunt that led to a clash with Donna Brazile, former chair of the Democratic National Committee.

    Brazile wrote in her book about the 2016 election out Tuesday that she became infuriated by “the idiocy” of the duck plan, according to Yahoo News.

    Later, when she was told Clinton came up with the idea of using the orange-billed cartoon character to call attention to Trump’s refusal to release his tax returns and was using the impersonators at rallies, Brazile told one of her aides, “Kill the f—ing duck, goddamit,” she wrote in “Hacks: The Inside Story of the Break-ins and Breakdowns that Put Donald Trump in the White House.”

    Demonstrators wearing Donald Duck’s signature blue sailor’s shirt and red bow tie showed up during the 2016 election at a number of Trump rallies, and even at Trump Tower, some carrying signs saying the Republican presidential candidate was “ducking” releasing his returns.

    Brazile said she was worried that not only would the stunt feed allegations made by Trump campaign operatives that Clinton was hiring protesters, but that the Disney Corp. would sue the campaign for copyright infringement.


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