Democrat and Independent Thinker..."The individual has always had to struggle to keep from being overwhelmed by the tribe. If you try it, you will be lonely often, and sometimes frightened. But no price is too high to pay for the privilege of owning yourself." -Nietzsche

Commenting on many things, including..."A government more dangerous to our liberty, than is the enemy it claims to protect us from." - Keith Olbermann

Friday, February 23, 2007

Catching up a little...

Since I've been out of it for awhile, I'll catch up on a few thoughts.

Anna Nicole Smith
I have an idea. Why not lay the poor dead corpse out on a slab in a public venue suited for live television feed 24/7, perhaps the Hollywood Bowl or some such? Then the media could broadcast round the clock coverage of vultures picking the flesh off of the bones for the entertainment and amusement of those who choose to expend whatever few brain cells they may have on the decomposition of this particular corpse. Once the bones are picked clean, then they could be parceled out amongst those fighting over them, perhaps by drawing lots for the left femur, right bottom rib, etc. and then we could hold a state funeral for each bone. That should guarantee a ratings bonanza for at least a few more months.

The John Edwards Blogger Brohaha
While I admire anyone who has the courage to speak out about their other than mainstream religious convictions, their other than mainstream anti-religion convictions, or their other than mainstream lack of religious convictions whatsoever, I find the rush of many to define or delineate their said convictions hilarious and somewhat surreal in the aftermath. Hells bells, my convictions incorporate buddhism, taoism, Judaism, spiritualism, Christianity, and a large degree of quantum physics but I'm sure as shit not about to try to explain them on my blog when I cannot even explain them to my closest and most cherished loved ones.

So, I couldn't give a rat's ass.

However, the so-called reality based community might attempt to come to grips with the fact that, in reality, the vast majority of people in the world to the extreme do hold a religious conviction of some type. If you do not, then you are probably in a minority of something like 10%, if that, of the world population. Therefore, if you attack or criticize religion in general or any religion in particular, you should have prepared yourself for a massive backlash from those who are religious or who do profess whatever specific religion in question. The form of the backlash and the intelligence or representative or non-representative "godliness" of those defending their beliefs is irrelevant. You have no chance in this fight. You will be overwhelmed by sheer numbers. Do what you feel you must, but don't be so naive as to assume that you will win this fight.

What do you think? That a small group of non-religious liberal bloggers are going to successfully abolish religion or even its influence when the first piece of rendered art in the history of mankind was a goddess figurine? Get real. Grow up. Learn your history. At least, try to get a grip on the nature of your own species.

The best that could be achieved in any attempt to address the role of religion in society is to put the pursuit of reason "in the air" as did Voltaire, Rousseau and a few slightly lesser minds (or reintroduce it, or keep it afloat). Unless you equate your intellect in the same stratosphere, and can manage to do the same as they without attacking the "church(es)" and/or particular religious faiths and rather direct your attentions to the clergy and, possibly, the liturgy, as did they, then you might want to take another tack in achieving your aims.

If you disagree with, for an example, the Catholic Church's position on birth control, then you are free in this society to do any number of things to help promote birth control. It is not necessary, nor demonstrably helpful to include attacking the Catholic Church itself while promoting birth control.

If your position is that religious viewpoints play too large a part in society and thereby in influencing government, then your argument that your religion-free or atheistic viewpoints should be playing a larger part is invalid on the face of the argument. Neither should be of influence, in a perfect world, but that utopia doesn't exist nor likely ever will. Because we live in a republic with representative democracy, people are the representatives and people have their own religious or non-religious viewpoints. Even our Founding Fathers, children of the Age of Reason, were Deists, as was Voltaire. All you can do that is worthwhile is work to elect representatives that are most likely to support the causes you believe to be important, regardless of the religious beliefs or lack thereof of those candidates. One can only hope that they will exercise reason in their representation of their constituents, but there is no guarantee and there never was a time when religious beliefs had no influence on those in governance over this land.

Everyone, and I mean everyone, left, right, suspended from the ceiling, needs to read the first amendment:
"Amendment I

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

"Separation" of church and state means that Congress will not legislate to establish a religion or prohibit people from freely exercising their religion. This means that no religion will be established as the state religion, nor will the state interfere with the practice of any religious beliefs by any people. No where does it say that religious people cannot participate in government, be elected to office, use their religious beliefs to guide them in the exercise of their office once elected. But, then, it doesn't say you have to be religious to participate in government, be elected to office, etc., either. That is just the way it is, folks. You don't have to like it either way, but you all do have to deal with it. If someone or a group of someones elected to office manage to get something into law that you don't like, use the rest of the amendment to get it abolished. What's your freakin' complaint?

If you have published writings in the public sphere on religion or any other topic which could damage that candidate you have chosen to support should you go to work for them in the public arena, you really shouldn't. That would be contrary to your objectives, now wouldn't it? Does that really take a great leap of imagination or intellect to work out?

Yes, you absolutely have the right to fully express your mind in free speech and I, for one, would defend to the death anyone's right to do so still. But, every action has consequences, and you should keep those consequences to yourself.

I admire Melissa and Amanda and their courage to speak their minds and their diligence and devotion to their blogging and subsequent climb up the blogosphere ladder, so to speak. I wasn't aware of every single thing they had ever written, but they surely were and I had assumed that if there had been anything which could have been potentially damaging to John Edwards they would have made sure that the candidate was fully aware and in full support of their viewpoints. Obviously, I was wrong. As were they since this apparently did not take place. That's rough. Too bad, really. Especially since this entire episode has apparently turned some bloggers against Edwards when he did nothing wrong, even supporting them and their right to express themselves long after they should have resigned. That earned him even more of my respect, but some in the blogosphere seem to blame him and give all their respect to the unfortunate bloggers themselves. To me, that exhibits both logical fallacy and a blindness to their own interests. At this point, I fully support and endorse Edwards. I also fully support the two bloggers since they did finally do the right thing, and will continue to read them and cheer them on.

Now, in general, all this Christofascist shit and "I'm an atheist so I don't want any people of religion to impose their beliefs on me by being an influence on government" crap is incredibly infantile and really must stop if the Democratic Party has a chance in hell to succeed in winning and maintaining their hold on two of the three branches of government. The vast majority of Democrats (like the vast majority of nearly every group of people other than a group of atheists) are people of some type of religious faith, and, in this country, that means mostly some version of Christian.

All Christians are individuals. Not only do their beliefs and values vary wildly from denomination to denomination, but their individual beliefs and values vary wildly from one person to another person. Assuming that all Southern Baptists are anti-choice or even whether they consider themselves "evangelicals" as evangelicals are currently defined in mainstream thought is W-R-O-N-G and to do so simply displays your own ignorance, prejudices and bigotry. To assume that all Catholics are anti-contraception is both historically and obviously W-R-O-N-G, and, likewise, doing so makes you a bigot. If you are so concerned about gay people or other minority groups being discriminated against and yet you bunch a rather undefined group of people together and call them Christofacists, what, exactly, does that make you? Other than a hypocrite. Which is, ironically, what you are attempting to paint this ill-defined group of people as with your broad brushstrokes.

In a way, it's like saying I'm not Irish, but I have no problem with Irish people, but I think all O'Connells and O'Malleys are fucking fascists. While standing in the center of Boston.

Grow a fucking brain and sense of yourself. And try to remember, especially to those bloggers who have massive followings and huge groups of commenters, that a really huge percentage of your spawn are 12, have the mental capacity of 12 year olds, or have been living in mom's basement for the 12 years since they graduated vocational school. So, just because you get agreed with a whole bunch, or hero worshipped, you're just another person with a blog and having your coined word or phrase or halfway reasoned thought passed around your echo chamber doesn't make you any less of a bigot, or an idiot, for that matter, so try to be a positive influence at the very least. Encouraging hate, or even hate speech against those of religious persuasion by proclaiming yourself a ever-enobled atheist to your followers may be candid and all, but what good are you doing and what makes you different than evangelicals except that you are preaching atheism while they are preaching some form of deism. Who died and made any of you right?

And, yes, liberals in general who are also atheists are also a very small minority of liberals. Face it. Deal with it. Learn to get along. My advice would be to keep your mouths shut as to your own personal belief system or lack thereof and target your rebuttals or attacks based on the issues, not the religion of those you rebut or attack, regardless of whether or not you surmise it to be the basis for their objection to or advocacy of the issue.

In a civil society, you respect your opponent and their right to their own views and right to express themselves with free speech. If they lie, exercise your free speech and you say they lie and you speak the truth. When you say they lie because they are Christofascists and all Christofascists are liars, as a vague example, not only are you engaging in ad hominem idiocy, you are achieving not one wit of anything other than to lower yourself to their level. The truth will out and the truth will win, every time. If you speak it clearly enough, loudly enough and often enough.

At some level, I think the crux of the matter is that organized religion has a leg up on independent citizen commentators and/or philosophers (should there be any - I haven't come across any who would meet that level of discourse in the "top" tier of bloggers yet). It has a leg up because it is organized. Big groups of religious people gather in churches and in some of those churches, mainly very large mega-churches, the clergy speaks in more political tones than religious ones. This gets the back up of some who disagree with the clergy. Some even believe that such churches should register as PAC's or some such.

This is nonsense. You, or I, may go out on any street corner and stand on a box and espouse our political viewpoints and even urge any who gather to listen to us to give money to candidates we support. There is no reason why any preacher should be judged to be any different. Those gathering to hear whatever blather he chooses to speak do so willingly. That simply is their right.

If you don't like it, rent a hall, advertise and give your own speeches to your own crowds. It's what has been done throughout American history. Get off your asses, get out in the real world, and get organized. And quit yer whining. Even if you stay on your fat ass in the intertubes, you can still preach politics from your own laptop to probably more than attend any mega-church. You're just not likely to start a real time, real life movement involving real bodies marching in real streets and getting real media coverage.

Personally, I think all this blather about an internet "movement" is patently ridiculous. The sheer thin-skinness of those who are the most ardent of proponents is comical. You want a "movement" and yet get all up in arms and bloviated when the least bit of criticism is leveled, just typing your little fingers to the bone in your own defense and it is asinine. If you believe in any political philosophy or social change strong enough to call it, or try to make it a "movement", then you'd best be prepared to have your character assassinated, your wealth confiscated, your friends and families and your supporters persecuted and be willing to be hanged, beheaded, shot by firing squad or burned on the stake. Then you will have the right to sponsor a "movement".

Speaking of "movements
It is appalling that the so-called "netroots" are again revving up their juices and gathering up their oh-so-mighty forces again for another exercise in self-defeating cannabalism, this time against a Democrat named Tauscher. It's pathetic. Pitiful, really. Omigod, this Democrat apparently doesn't vote exactly like the "netroots" would like her to vote! So, let's ignore all the Republicans who have been elected who vote AGAINST EVERYTHING the "netroots" support and eviscerate one of our own just, well, heck, just because maybe we can, y'know? This dude we think is real cool on the internet said so, so let's. Why expend our energy getting one less Republican in office when we can get one less ideally perfect (in the "netroots" all but humble opinion) Democrat in office? It worked so well with Lieberman, after all. Dint it? It dint? Who says so? That's not what some guy on the internet said! And, if you don't agree with us, well, we'll show you. We'll make fun of you. Yeah, that'll show you.

It's kindergarten recess time play rules. Unfortunately, its being waged in the real grown up world of the political life of the United States of America.

Worse. It's the last sad, streets running rivers of blood days of the French Revolution when you needn't be a member of the aristocracy or an enemy of the Republic, you just had to be not quite as bloodthirsty, reactionary revolutionary as the knitting women of the marketplace to have your head placed squarely in the guillotine.

Obama vs. Clinton
Who gives a flying fucking shit? The election is two years away. The primaries are a year away. Who the fuck is going to remember any of this in two months? They are the "leaders" in the race only in the vapid, vast wasteland of the mind of the mass media. Give me a couple of primaries in the recent past and I'll tell you what makes a gnat's ass worth of difference.

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