Sunday, May 21, 2006
War and Piece:
Laura points us toward an interesting article that distinquishes between liberalism and the left, which is a nuance lost on most political commentary. It may be helpful to visualize the political spectrum as a circle rather than a straight line. I’m not sure how tightly that would dovetail with reality, which is more globular, but I think that it is probably a more accurate discription of the spectrums. It would explain violence from the left and the right as being polar opposites of the centrists in methods and outcomes. The left has a lot in common with the libertarians, and from the articles perspective, they spring from the same source.
Daily Kos: Religious Left
Here is some more info on the developing resurgence of the religious left.
I would only interject into the conversation that Christ came to save the world not condemn it.
Saturday, May 20, 2006
OK let’s talk about the religious left
To be honest, I am uncomfortable with the politicization of religion on the left — just as much as the politicization of faith by the right has disgusted me the past few years. Pragmatically, I understand the need to fight back publicly — to dispel the notion that the only issues which trouble people of faith in this country are abortion and homosexuality. (As if.) But faith, for me anyway, has always been in the realm of personal, of private, of actions speaking louder than any hired publicist could. And that has been true for a lot of the folks that I know who are members of one faith or another — Catholic, protestant, Jewish, and so on and so on through the litany of religious beliefs.
But one thing that I have noticed, both in and out of blogdom, is that religious intolerance runs both ways — from the folks on the right, who proclaim that their view of God is the only view and any dissenters be damned (literally) and from the scorn on the left of people of faith who are, all too often, lumped in with the Pat Robertsons and the Jerry Fallwells, even when nothing could be further from their beliefs.
We have a very good shot at taking back both houses of Congress this Fall. But to do so, we all have to start pulling on the ropes together. All of us, in concert, in accordance with those issues that move us — in our hearts and at the ballot box. To get there, we have to start listening to each other, and not just tuning out those things that make some of us uncomfortable or ever-so-slightly angry.
It is a break from my new found habit of ignoring the debate, but between the post, the article in the Post, and the commenters, anyone with an open mind on the subject can see all the cross currents that run through this issue.
FWIW, I accept that not all people believe in God, of gods, or even science for that matter. What we do all agree on I think, is that we as a individuals and hence as a group, can do better than what we are doing now.
Contrary to popular opinion I do not judge conservative Christians any more than I judge non believers, because I do not judge the deceivers of Christianity either. There are Christ mongers in the Church, today, yesterday and tomorrow, and so I don’t judge them either. I do not have authority to do so. Each individual eventually has to come to terms with all of these issues and resolve them in such a way as to be comfortable within their own skins, and I doubt that it will be any easier for them than it was for me, although I hope and pray that it is. Sooner or later it all gets real, as the tunesmith said, and so we walk on. Let the other person do so as well.
I have over the years as a political agitator raised more than one issue, and assumed a position beyond what I thought possible to acheive for the sole purpose of obtaining what is possible. I have had more success and failure than I thought I ever would, and sometimes on subjects and topics that I thought would go the other way. It wasn’t enough to ask for a loaf a bread, I suppose, I wanted to ask for a wheat loaf, or a rye loaf, and hopefully obtain half of the loaf that I wished for. I wish the MSM/Traditional Media would at least get a clue about politics, especially from the ground up side of the equation. I think that the pros left themselves wide open to the blogosphere, not because they were inept at using computers, but because they limited its’ capabilities to those killer apps that fit their skill set. I think the same thing has happened to the political pros as well. They failed to negotiate the ramp up to the computer era as quickly as the young who by nature are more liberal than their elders, or the technically inclined who are more incline to libertarianism, which by definition is going to be an oppositional force to the status quo.
It isn’t much wonder then that the Traditional Media and politically established got blindsided by the Netroots. When I was posting on the WaPo forums I don’t recall ever being engaged by Cohen or any of the rest of the WaPo columnists when I ripped their opinions apart right under their noses, so it seems a little immature on their part, to me, for them to become so vitrolic now that they are discoverying that somebody has moved their cheese. I can only encourage them to get on the ball.
But let’s not kid ourselves here either. Just as the religious left is not an enemy of the religious right, it does not mean that we don’t have a different emphasis in our understanding and so it comes out in politics just as it does in good works. The same is probably true in netroots activism, although I think some of the non religious adversarial relationships do border on hatred, I don’t think that as a whole the blogosphere hates the Traditional Media/MSM other than as a concept, which it has yet to grow into and assume in time upon itself.
The thing is that I don’t let PZ Meyers veiws on religion stop me from picking up scientific information on biological things any more than I let the skepticism of the Bad Astonomer stop me from gleaning NASA and space information off of his blog either. I still read Pandagon and Pam’s House blend too. My faith does not close my mind to those who strongly disagree with me in lifestyle and politics, nor does it cause me to judge them. If they are honestly expressing a veiw then, so be it. However when I think someone is pandering or outright fabricating things to maintain an appearance of nuetrality I tend to get ticked off. If those people don’t have a thick enough skin to stand by what they are, and who they are then there is a loss of credibility, which is bad enough if you are a nobody, but is devastating when you are a public figure.
I don’t really care what the political opinions of the top tier jounalists are, so long as they don’t try and obscure it with a veneer of impartiality. FOX has a lead in cable news because everyone knows where they stand. The same thing goes for politicians too, who are basically the most dishonest race of man on the face of the earth. The Press should understand that inately, and understand that there is no class, in all senses of the word, in being ripped off by politicians. Politicians steal taxpayers money. They make sweet heart deals with crooks and unethical businessmen, and they do the same thing with each other. I want this stuff exposed and reported on. I don’t care if it is is my mother who is running for President or City Council, do your job.
In the end the job of a political agitator is to make other people see and do the right thing, as we see it. It is one against the world, the ultimate underdog of endeavors. Doing the right thing is easier done as a habit, not as a reform. Spiritual awakenings occur to individuals, not institutions. Human nature doesn’t change. No matter what progress I have made as a Christian I have not out run my past personality, I have learned to fight it, to subdue it. It is a full time job, which leaves me wanting to let you do the same thing. It would have been nearly impossible in the public spotlight to pull it off, so I would urge you public figures not to fall too far off the beam. There is a crowd inside the circus tent waiting to watch you miss the net when you fall. Walk the wire, bank the fire, fall and you fry.
Wednesday, April 19, 2006
Solomon wrote that he who increases knowledge increases vexation, which probably explains a lot about the American in particular, and the West in general, educational systems. We produce a lot of people who “know” a lot about a few things, or think they do, and very little about most things or how they all come together to produce this system of things, we call modern humanity.
One of the most notable things about the American system is that is a facade for anarchy. The charade of the Constitution is a good example. The separation of powers thing is probably the most obvious exception to the rule right now. That is why it is both fair and accurate to call Bush a king, as there is no check on his power, snide asides about Cheney not withstanding. Or the First Amendment, the freedom to peacefully assemble and seek redress for grievances. HA! Or the Fourth Amendments protections from unreasonable search and seizures. Anyone who still believes that crap is educated beyond their intelligence no matter what level of indoctrination they have achieved to, or to be civilized, no matter what degree they have obtained, from the institutions of higher propagandization.
It is inherent, I think in the University system because that system is derived from the Churches scholastic system. The Church and its’ teachings are a wonderful study in hypocrisy. Anyone who has read the bible with an open mind and then looked at the Church and its’ works would think the one is in alternative universe from the other, and that would be a fairly accurate assessment. The children of that system of “knowing” are imbued with that same delusional assuredness as is the Church.
I don’t think people are born stupid, I think they are trained to become so. The average child listens to his parents and teachers and being a good lad internalizes all that he or she is taught and then goes to school or out into the real world where they are exposed to the exceptions to the rules that are so ubiquitous that there are no rules really, and this anarchy is called order and this insanity is called reality. The mainstream media reports on individuals who crack under the strain and start blowing up courthouses or shooting people with high powered rifles from the trunks of their cars.
Naturally it has to be an individual mental breakdown that is perpetrating these acts of total insanity on the rest of us, or else we would have to conclude that these activities are a rather rational response to our collective insanity. We as a group have to rationalize these behaviors so that it is a crime to murder except if one is an abortionist or President or executioner. There have to be exceptions to the rule that to knowingly take another’s life is murder except when…
Since I am a professing Christian I am limited to remarking on Christianity as that is the religion I am familiar with, and I suppose like poetry one can only write a really nuanced poem in one’s own mother tongue. Christians have an amazing ability to internalized what they wish to, and so have no need really of the Bible. After all if the Padres don’t have to internalize the Gospels there is no rationale reason for encumbering the flock with that requirement either. So most Christians internalize all the exceptions to the rules as their padres, priests and preachers instruct them to do. It only appears insane from the outside, which is a good place to be to observe the doctrines dogmas and creeds. I would imagine that the same is true for other religions as well.
That would not be too difficult to overcome were it not the foundation of the educational system of the west. Unfortunately the entire Western world is groomed on internalizing knowledge that can only be “known” as “knowing” as defined by people who died thousands of years ago completely ignorant of the world and universe inwhich they lived. Modern science isn’t really much more than new siding and paint on the same intellectual shack that Socrates lived in and Plato and Aristotle added a bedroom and privy to. This is the West.
I almost always enjoy reading an atheistic rant about religion since it is pretty much a given that five hundred years from now all of our science will be junk, while our religions will be pretty much be locked into the same hypocrisy that they are locked into today, and have been since the first wise man became wiser than the one who established the system, and laid down an orthodox parameter for defining exceptions to the rules. Internal contradictions cease to be problems so long as they are exceptions to the original rule.
That of course is on an intellectual level. Some exceptions are forbidden if they threaten the power or wealth of those who have mastered deception, which we call playing by their own rules or titans of industries, political innovators and religious leaders.
So long as you do not threaten wealth and power one might live out life as a quack or eccentric turning a phrase for the mongers to use in a press conference now and then. Be careful not to go sane however. The world has enough religions and car bombers. Suffice it to say that six and a half billion people really can be wrong. The only question about their extinction will be, “What took them so long?”