I Blame God For the Shutdown

I understand the delusional thinking leading to the potential government shutdown. I understand it from the from the inside and better than the editors of the New York Times do. See, they leave God out of the equation. Rational people just don’t “get” holy war.

I’ve spent the last twenty-five years writing my way out of my false past certainties. My latest attempt to explain myself to myself is my book about religious delusion: And God Said, “Billy!” Yet in spite of the therapy of writing five novels and many nonfiction books that describe my tortured journey from fundamentalism to a fact-based way of looking at the world, I keep being reminded of my old self.

When I see Ted Cruz and the forty Tea Party extremists in the House grandstanding
and ready to plunge the world economy into a tailspin I understand who they are and why they’re seemingly crazy. You see thirty years ago I was one of them. More over without my late father’s work energizing the religious right the Tea Party as we know it would never have emerged from the swamp of American politics to haunt us.

Readers of the New York Times have had the right wing delusional echo chamber explained to them. Most recently Nicholas D. Kristof (Suffocating Echo Chamber, NYT Sept. 26,) wrote about the deleterious effect of the closed circuit thinking of Fox News, the talk radio hosts and other culture warriors. Kristof‘s emphasis in his excellent column was on the political consequences of far right delusional thinking that’s literally threatening our economic well-being by threatening a government shutdown.

But what his article did not address is the deeper question of how it is that a large minority in our country got into the habit of mind that accepts alternative realities as par for the course.

The reality based community suffers from its own version of closed circuit thinking. Ironically it’s their reasonable commitment to reason that blinds many people to what is underlying our poisonous political climate on the right wing fringe.

What the reality-based community, especially in our media savvy centers of intellectual life forget, is that a big chunk of our population has been groomed from birth to embrace delusional thinking.

Put it this way: you can’t understand who supports and voted for Senator Ted Cruz and the forty extremists in Congress holding the rest of us hostage, unless you first understand why the Creation Museum has so many enthusiastic visitors. When they are there they can learn how dinosaurs cohabited the earth with people and why the planet is only six thousand years old, sort of the scientific equivalent to claims that President Obama is a secret Muslim who was born in Kenya.

Creation Museum, Kentucky

Until the root of myth-based political thinking is admitted and understood it can’t be addressed. Pointing out that the right lives in an echo chamber solves nothing. The point is why?

Problem is that to admit the reality underlying the political myths of the moment necessitates admitting that our society isn’t a mirror of reason. It means admitting the failure of enlightenment thinking to win the day over religious myth. It means admitting the possibility of the failure of secularism.

From the alienated point of view of his Fox News audience Cruz and the Tea Party congressional extremists are doing what Jesus would do. It’s all about angry faith not reason.

I know. I grew up in the 1950s and 60s as the son of fundamentalist Protestant missionaries. In the 1970s and 80s my late father, Francis Schaeffer, became a leader of the religious right. He’s been credited by historians as being the founder of the Protestant wing of the anti-abortion, movement along with our family friend Dr. C. Everett Koop. Koop, Dad and I made the film series “Whatever Happened to the Human Race?” that along with its book companion, called on evangelicals to take action on the so-called life issues.I became Dad’s young nepotistic sidekick. Soon I was speaking to tens of thousands of people at places like the Southern Baptist convention. I even preached from Jerry Falwell’s pulpit and was a frequent guest on Pat Robertson’s 700 Club.

Dad and I counted on our audience’s theological thinking – thinking we sincerely shared — to open them to political and economic theories like our good personal friend Congressman Jack Kemp’s ideas he was spouting about “supply side” trickle down Reaganomics. We asked people to accept this alternate reality as faith-based. My parents were invited to the White House by presidents Ford, Reagan and Bush. I often visited Congressman Jack Kemp’s home and met Bob Dole, Henry Hyde and the other leaders of the Republican Party.

The question they asked Dad and me boiled down to this: “How do we get blue collar Roman Catholics and non-political apathetic evangelicals to vote for us?” Our answer was, “You get these folks mad about something.” We helped craft the social litmus test approach to politics that became the culture wars. Facts weren’t the point, belief was.

The congress people threatening the shutdown count on the kind of voters Dad and I motivated to fear, even hate our government—on grounds of religious conviction. People like us helped turn policy debates into absolutist stands with no room for compromise.

To those forlornly appealing to reason I’d say that you’d do well to remember that at the Creation Museum they have displays of Noah loading the animals onto the ark and those animals include dinosaurs. And these displays are presented as literal – dinosaurs and men all created in six days at the same time.

Reason-based Americans need to address non reasoning America on its own terms. Those terms are about something that makes many reason-based people feel uncomfortable: religion. The real issue facing us in a threatened shutdown isn’t government or economics. The real issue is what it’s always been in America since our founding: religious delusion, and the search in all the wrong places for philosophical presuppositions that give our lives meaning.

It’s not about the economy stupid, here in America it’s always about God.

Frank Schaeffer is a writer and author of And God Said, “Billy!” on Kindle and NOOK for $3.99 or in paperback.

About Frank Schaeffer

Frank Schaeffer is an American author, film director, screenwriter and public speaker. He is the son of the late theologian and author Francis Schaeffer. He became a Hollywood film director and author, writing several internationally acclaimed novels including And God Said, "Billy!" as well as the Calvin Becker Trilogy depicting life in a fundamentalist mission home-- Portofino, Zermatt, and Saving Grandma.

  • ronmurp

    Frank, It’s fascinating to hear the ‘inside story’, as you experienced it.

    But there’s an interview uploaded in 2009 on youtube (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kgd6TJnCPYQ) in which you criticised Dawkins, Hitchens, Harris. Your understanding of them seemed to be that they were equally as dogmatic, though less dangerous, than the religious-political right.

    You said that if you sat down with them you’d want to stress how none of us has access to certainty. When I first saw that interview I thought, wow, he doesn’t get it: the whole point that people like Dawkins make is merely that there is no evidence for a God, and that indeed humans do not have access to certainty. Consequently the whole point of New Atheism in this regard is making that same point, and criticising the religious not just from an intellectual perspective, but also because the religious, without any certainty available to them, claim certainty, and then, worst of all, use that false impression of certainty to force those beliefs and the moral consequences on others.

    This is the position of contingency from which New Atheist make their case. Even in books like The God Delusion Dawkins makes the very point that he is strictly agnostic on matters of origins, but disbelieves in any god (as some unspecific intentional entity) because there is no evidence, and has even less time for religions because they go way beyond that simple hypothesis to tell us what this ineffable God thinks about us and wants us to do.

    It seems that the religious are unable to break down the different positions atheists take on these issues:

    1) The intellectual argument about theology, philosophy, science and the best way to go about understanding the universe and our place in it. The basic thread is that science is the best attempt that limited and fallible humans can make of acquiring knowledge about the world. Philosophy has its place too, but unless it can actually test its ideas it is pretty much hypothesising only, even if doing so in a highly rational way. Theology seems to take what amount to imaginative guesses that fit in with one’s emotional response to the universe, and goes all out to affirm them, relying on faith if evidence can’t back up what one believes, which is always the case. A lot of the detail of theology amounts to counting angels dancing on pins because theology has to try to rationalise its way out of difficulties when earlier errors are shown for what they are.

    2) The religious-political argument against the way the religious take their dogmatic certain beliefs and impose them on others that don’t see the world the way they do; which includes the acquisition and maintenance of political privilege, and the use of very dishonest methods to impose that religiously motivated political will.

    3) The secular principles: they support the freedom of belief, even if a belief seems irrational or even crazy, and consequentially the requirement of the separation of church and state and the state’s commitment to support freedom of belief.

    The problem seems to be that the religious can’t understand that an atheist might be arguing all these points at the same time.

    But, contrary to your point in this post I think the atheist left does understand how much it’s about God, and that’s why New Atheists have been making noises to that effect. So I couldn’t understand how you didn’t get that back in the interview I cited, or that you still make the point now.

    Maybe you’re referring to what New Atheists term ‘accommodationists’, who are the atheists liberals that give the religious right too easy a pass, who do say that the New Atheists are too stringent and should leave religion alone. I’m sure the New Atheists would happily leave religion alone if only religion remained a matter of personal belief and not a dogmatic evangelicalism that demands such a ‘stringent’ response.

    Given a few more years to get to know more about New Atheism, and given your own criticism of the religious right seems pretty much the same case the New Atheists make, has your view of the New Atheists changed? Have you had the opportunity to sit down with any of them and actually find out what they think? Are you targeting the ‘accommodationists’ here, when you say they don’t get that it’s about God?

    • frankschaeffer

      Hi Ron, Wow! I response longer than my essay, I’m flattered. You make great points. My critique of the New Atheists was/is the same as ever. It’s not about political sympathies, or issues where I’d find myself with Dawkins and co most of the time. It’s about the fact that certainty is the enemy of truth. They just draw too many conclusions as if they (like other fundamentalists) are observing us from a distant outside platform instead of being stuck here like you and me in an evolutionary warp that can’t be summed up from the inside. It isn’t that god is an open question, it’s that everything is because we are evolving, not “evolved.” That said I’d rather have a Dawkins running things than a GW Bush, any day. Best, F

      • ronmurp

        Frank, thanks for responding. The conclusions are always tentative, and Dawkins and other stress this often. Of course science is an ‘attempt’ to compensate for human limitations and fallibilities, and Dawkins and others acknowledge this limitation too. They know too that we are part of an evolutionary process that continues – though there is a genuine question over whether that is now natural selection of human instigated enhancement – see transhumanism, for example. What they also appreciate is that being evolved animals we are derived from animals with much more limited brains, and back to simpler organisms that didn’t have brains at all. In this regard human intelligence, and the human mind generally, is a physical system, part of the material universe. There is no evidence of anything ‘extra’ being injected, as would be required by religion, or by something like Cartesian dualism. As such the ‘conclusions’ they draw, while tentative in the bigger picture of the universe, are still good working conclusions. The evolution, the second law of thermodynamics that models how simple systems can give rise to complex systems like brains, is all contained within a wider contingent philosophy. Since that’s how tentative and contingent they see it I’m not sure what you see in them that makes them some ‘other fundamentalist’.

  • BillClintonsShorts17

    I am no fundamentalist. Orthodox Catholic. And Noah’s Flood could not possibly have covered the whole globe. Am I firmly in the camp of observation and fact? And in my humble opinion (yeah, I know, everybody has one…) Frank has it completely bass-ackwards. It is the left which operates in an echo chamber and has fantasy based thinking.

    • Oswald Carnes

      As an orthodox catholic, do you believe that you drink some guy’s blood and eat his flesh during one of your services? I mean, talk about fantasy-based thinking.
      I won’t even bother mentioning all the raped kids. I know how little you people care about them.

      • gimpi1

        Do you think lampooning BillClintonsShorts17′s beliefs will make any headway with him?

        I also feel he’s incorrect politically, but his beliefs are his own, and you do your cause no good by going sharky. I have always believed that people resort to rudeness when their arguments are shaky. What good arguments to you have? And if you have them, why get nasty?

        • BillClintonsShorts17

          And unless he has moved on, Frank has the same doctrine as an Orthodox.

      • BillClintonsShorts17

        It is interesting and very ironic that prior to the revelations of clerical sex abuse in the Catholic Church pedophilia and interest in the sexuality of very young people was all the rage. Remember NAMBLA? Now it is not in fashion any more. Your child is more safe in the Church nowadays than in public school.

        As for what happens in Eucharist, well, you haven’t thought it through, have you? It isn’t, and can’t be, dead flesh and blood as would be the case with cannibals. It is the substance of the living God. And before you come back, find a good working definition of ‘substance.’

        • Oswald Carnes

          I wonder how many children have been raped because of filth like you. I hope you get what you deserve.

          • BillClintonsShorts17


    • gimpi1

      What fantasy-based thinking are you referring to?

      The economic model used by President GW Bush Tax cuts pay for themselves) is largely fantasy. The polling clearly showed that President Obama would win re-election, as he did, and yet conservative groups were claiming Mr. Romney would win massively up to the point he conceded. Global climate-change has been accepted by 95% of all scientists who study climate, yet many on the right continue to talk about the “controversy” regarding climate change. The same people also talk about the “controversy” regarding the evolution of life, undermining the basics of biology.

      There may have been a time when the people on the left were the ones indulging in fantasy. That appears to no longer be the case.

      • BillClintonsShorts17

        The economic model which depends on government spending to generate prosperity. Wealth is not generated by distribution programs. And what has ‘climate change’ to do with spending money we don’t have? And why do you think ‘science’ is a matter of consensus? Before Galileo all the best and the brightest agreed that the Earth was at the center of the sphere of revolving heavenly bodies. Consensus.

        • gimpi1

          We have money. We have cut the taxes on the richest Americans for 30 years running, while providing tons of services. They can afford to pay their own way for a change. The larger the middle-class, the better most businesses do. Over the last 30 years we have made it policy to concentrate wealth in fewer and fewer hands. I believe that to be a mistake.

          Wealth can, indeed be generated by what you call distribution programs. Putting money in people’s pockets allows them to patronize businesses, buy things and generally contribute to the economy. It’s best if they produce things as well, but our infrastructure needs a ton of work. Building bridges, caring for the disabled, teaching math, or doing research is productive, even though it’s often done on the government’s dime. I believe that to be of value.

          Science is a matter of scientific consensus. When virtually all scientists come to agreement, we can be pretty sure that they are on the right track. Yes, science self-corrects. People always raise the many times science has discovered its own errors as though that means it is weak. The scientific method that allows for experimentation and peer review is what allows science to discover and correct its mistakes. I believe that to be its principle virtue.

          Global climate, MR. Romney’s defeat and President G.W. Bush’s economic policy are all examples of fantasy-based reasoning on the right. I believe that makes my point.

          • BillClintonsShorts17

            In the Carboniferous Epoch, we were promised abundance for all,
            by robbing selected Peter to pay for collective Paul.
            But though we had plenty of money, there was nothing our money could buy.
            And the Gods of the Copybook Headings said, “If you don’t work, you die.”

            Money is not wealth. A farmer growing apples is producing wealth. An actor making a film is producing wealth. You can print all the ‘money’ you like but if the farmer and the actor are not working you will not be able to use your ‘money’ to buy either apples or see films.

            And there simply are not enough ‘Rich’ people out there. Do the math sometime. After you have eaten the ‘Rich’, which would take less than a year, then what are you going to eat?

            And infrastructure? Our rail system is privately owned, and in pretty good shape. Lots of stockholder wealth gets re-invested in the physical plant every year. Compare that to the government owned and operated highways. The problem is that governments just can’t operate efficiently. It is inherent in their cumbersome and sloth like structure.

            And please PLEASE don’t think Romney represents my side. The RINOS who run the Stupid Party have given us moderate candidates the last two elections. Worked really well, dontcha think?

            And when Dr. Richard Lindzen gets aboard the ‘Global Warming’ train I’ll perk up and listen. I promise.

  • LDH

    Mr. Schaeffer,

    I completely agree with your assertion that “It’s all about angry faith not reason” but I’m not sure how to effectively put into practice addressing “non reasoning America on its own terms.” How does my acknowledgement of our religiously-sourced political differences bridge the gap with a religious conservative?

    • BillClintonsShorts17

      How is objecting to our government spending money it does not have equate to ‘non reasoning’? I base my objections to a state directed economy on the evidence we have of how state directed economies perform. Remember the USSR? Now go visit Zimbabwe. You want that for us?

      • LDH

        Neither this article (as I understand it) nor my comment have anything to do with calling for a state directed economy. The current congressional impasse doesn’t even have to do with the gov’t spending on credit. It’s all about shutting down the Affordable Care Act as shamelessly and desperately as possible. The Republicans in the House would rather shut down the government than allow the ACA to go into affect, despite its having been legally passed by Congress, signed by the President, and successfully been upheld by the Supreme Court. That’s absurd.
        If the Republicans want to legislate their political platform, then they need to win elections. Holding government spending hostage until they get their way will be disastrous to our economy and our democratic process.

        • BillClintonsShorts17

          And why does the Congress need to tie the funding of every program and government function with every other program and government function? Why does the budget need to be an omnibus bill? Fund each and every thing with it’s own clean bill. Then Social Security would not be a hostage to either side.

          And as for the legitimacy of funding the ACA, why is it sacrosanct because it was passed, signed and reviewed? So was the Fugitive Slave Act. A bad law should be opposed by good people always and everywhere.

          And I agree the the Republicans need to win more elections. That effort includes educating people to see that opposing the financial lunacy of the Dems is not of a piece with Young World Creationism.

          And the government getting in between you and your doctor is not ‘state directed economy’? The IPAB is not ‘state directed economy? Come on.

          • LDH

            “Fund each and every thing with it’s own clean bill.”
            Placing the laws of the land on the budget chopping block of the minority party each year would perpetually subvert the legislative process as we know it (which is exactly what’s happening right now). As a governing principle that would be irresponsible and destructive, as it would forever remove the need to compromise and put laws into effect.
            You thinkg the IPAB is an example of ‘state directed economy’? Fine. Then REPEAL the laws that put in place when you have the congress and presidency. Shutting down the government over every law you don’t like is the wrong way.

          • LDH

            Your question, “why is [the ACA] sacrosanct because it was passed, signed and reviewd?] answers itself. The law is sacrosanct when it becomes THE LAW, passed signed and reviewed. Otherwise, why bother? The strategy of the House Republicans, if successful, would render the passage of laws, as prescribed in the Constitution, largely meaningless. It’s dismaying to watch the House Republicans gleefully set such a harmful precedent.

          • BillClintonsShorts17

            Law is not ‘sacrosanct’ in any case whatever, being merely a human construct. And if the law is morally bad enough (The Fugitive Slave Act) then disobedience is justified. The government has no authority to compel citizens to purchase insurance services. The SCOTUS ruling by Roberts is in the same line as Dred Scott and Roe vs. Wade.

          • LDH

            I would define “run[ning] the ball towards our own endzone” as a political party trying to achieve its legislative goals. Agreed? And that’s absolutely expected. Both parties in Congress attempt to legislate their own political platform. So how do we assign blame for a shutdown?

            Say one party has gotten a bill approved by both houses of congress, signed by the president, and judged legal by the supreme court. They have achieved a legislative goal.

            The second party opposes the new law, but doesn’t have the enough seats in the House or Senate to repeal the law or over-ride a presidential veto of a repeal. The law stands.

            The time comes to pass a continuing resolution to fund the government. The first party agrees to pass the CR. The second party, unable to achieve its legislative goals, refuses to pass the CR unless the new law is delayed or struck down. By definition, the second party is “holding the gov’t hostage” if it refuses to fund the gov’t because of a standing law.

            Bad laws can be repealed. If a party wants to repeal a law, it is more than welcome to if it has the legislative muscle (enough seats in the house and senate to repeal and over-ride a veto). The alternative, shutting down the government as a last resort, is harmful and irresponsible.
            I think that’s a pretty accurate description of what the House Republicans are doing. Don’t you?

          • BillClintonsShorts17

            It’s an accurate description of what the Dems are doing.

          • LDH

            Haha, the Dems are shutting down the government because they can’t otherwise repeal a law? I’m not sure you’re keeping up with the same government shutdown as I am.

          • LDH

            Ezra Klein has put it much more succinctly:
            “Republicans are trying to create a new, deeply undemocratic pathway through which a minority party that lost the last election can enact an agenda that would never pass the normal legislative process. It’s nothing less than an effort to use the threat of a financial crisis to nullify the results of the last election.”

            How is the Republican attempt to defund the ACA by means of a government shutdown anything other than just that?

          • BillClintonsShorts17

            The last election put a House in place where a majority of members intend to defund the ACA. They are acting on my instructions. And the instructions of everyone who voted them into office.

          • BillClintonsShorts17

            They are holding everything else hostage because the ‘Pubbies’ won’t give them the keys to the Beamer.

          • BillClintonsShorts17

            Repeal, no. They are shutting it down ’cause daddy won’t give them the money to buy gas for the Beamer.

          • BillClintonsShorts17

            Minority party? Last I looked the Repubs were the majority party in the House. We get to run the ball towards our end zone, you know? And who is shutting down the government? That would be Reid in the Senate and Obama in the White House, both of whom insist it is illegitimate for us to run the ball at any end zone but theirs.

          • longtail

            Not quite true. The Republicans are refusing to fund the government until a standing law is stricken. That would be the definition both of shutting down the government and blackmail.

          • BillClintonsShorts17

            The Dems are refusing to fund ANYTHING if they don’t get funding for their baby, ACA. Kind of like Dad refusing to pay for rent and groceries if he doesn’t get his beer!!!

          • longtail

            I prefer the government to an insurance monopoly. At least with the government I have a chance.

          • BillClintonsShorts17

            I carry no brief for insurance companies. In my opinion 3rd party payment for services is a flawed paradigm. The government is an insurance company PLUS guns. Why do you think you will have a better result with a government entity? They are both staffed by fallible humans.

          • longtail

            Because, even with all it’s failings, the government does not approach my health with the premise of making a profit. My state had only one health insurance provider and was able to dictate any terms that would profit it’s shareholders and CEO. The ACA may not save me much money but at least I will get some benefits for my insurance dollar.

          • BillClintonsShorts17

            They approach your health with the premise of maximizing their appropriation of your assets coupled with the view that you now useless and retired worker bees should just die already and stop costing us money.

      • gimpi1

        Try Somalia. There’s an example of no government. Now try Sweden. Lots of governance, and functioning very well, thank you.

        • BillClintonsShorts17

          Somalia? That’s a non-sequitur in an argument centered on whether we have the money to spend. And Somalia does have government. It is called ‘Sharia’.

          • gimpi1

            No, it doesn’t. It’s called a failed state. That has nothing to do with Sharia. I bring up Somalia because so many libertarian types seem to feel no governance is necessary. That’s pretty much the definition of a failed state.

            I notice you didn’t respond to Sweden? Or for that matter, Germany, Iceland, Australia or Japan? They all have a much more generous safety net, and all work quite well. That’s the point I was trying to make.

            There is a happy medium between gutter-capitalism, a failed state and communism. Much of the developed world seems to have found it. I think we can learn from them.

          • BillClintonsShorts17

            Any state which uses Sharia is a failed state. Sweden has been having real problems financing their ‘safety net’. Japan has been an economic sick man for decades. Didn’t Iceland just default? Germany is quite sick of paying for everyone else, parasites on their national habit of industry. Oz I don’t know.

          • gimpi1

            Sharia and failed state have no connection. Failed state is generally taken to mean a governmental collapse.

            All countries have problems. Do you know how few people living in these countries would trade places with us? In my experience, very few.

          • BillClintonsShorts17

            And, btw gimp, that’s a real nice Strawman ‘ya got there. You know, the one where we Taxed Enough Already types favor total anarchy? Shame if anything happened to it.

          • gimpi1

            What strawman? To me, your Sharia is the strawman. Saudi Arabia comes closest to Sharia, but is in no way a failed state. I think it’s an awful, repressive place to live, but the government is in no danger of collapse.

            As to favoring total anarchy, I don’t think you want it, I just don’t think you are willing to pay enough to avoid it. I believe that a modern state requires more governmental action to prevent massive suffering and injustice than you do. I am willing to pay for those things that I think will make life better for the vast majority of people. I don’t believe that taxing the general populace to provide those benefits is theft. I think that’s where we differ.

            By the way, why are you so angry? I disagree, but I’ve been civil to you. I even defended you when someone attacked your religious beliefs. I think you need to take a step back, and try for some civility yourself.

          • BillClintonsShorts17

            Do I come across as angry? My apologies. I was trying for ‘snarky’ but I must have missed the mark. I think there is an appropriate place for the government, yes. Seeing to it that the laws are applied equally to all. Which is something which Obama, with all his waivers, is flagrantly NOT doing. It is NOT the place of the government to ensure that everything is ‘fair’. ‘Injustice’ is taking money from us worker bees and giving it to your friends in mega-banks. Yep, Obama did that.

            Thank you for your words in my defense. Please don’t think I am ‘angry’ with you. Exasperated, oh yes!

          • BillClintonsShorts17

            I don’t see the same rush for people to immigrate to Sweden as I do for people to immigrate to the U.S., no.

            And a failed state is one in which nobody can make a living. If it were not for the oil most Saudis would starve. All Islamic states are failed states to some extent or another. Depends on how deeply the virus has set in. Tunisia and Turkey seem to be in a better state than Saudi or a real snake pit like Somalia.

          • BillClintonsShorts17

            Why do you think medical care will cost less, over all, if we add a legion of faceless federal paper pushers to the cost? Our current insurance system is already stupid and costly. Putting the Feds in charge will be doubling down on stupid.

          • gimpi1

            Largely because every country that has put in “Legion of faceless federal paper pushers” has much lower medical costs than we do. They also have better medical outcomes than we do. Just look around the world. No country has kept medicine simply private-pay fee-for-service. There’s a reason for that.

            Modern medical care is simply too expensive to be paid for by individuals. No one family can afford to treat any complex condition such as cancer. That wasn’t a problem 40 years ago, because these conditions would have been untreatable. Our medicine has advanced profoundly just since the human genome was cracked.

            As i see it, we have two choices; evolve a way to permit these advanced treatments to be available to most people (as every other first-world and many second-world nation have done) or allow most people to sicken and die of treatable conditions while the super-rich have access to advanced medicine. The ACA is a flawed but passible attempt to move towards option 1. Do you prefer option 2?

  • R Vogel

    I think it is a insightful analysis but without reason how does one engage the delusional right? Being delusional, there is no basis for discussion. They start rambling incoherently about socialism, Islam, Sharia Law, ‘murdering’ the unborn, etc, etc. When any disagreement is declared to be warring against G*d, what is left? I was raised in a very fundamentalist family, and I try to have discussions with them and there is not discussion. Things just are the way they say they are and I must be an atheist. The only approach I can think of is to keep going on the track we, as a country, have been heading and hopefully in my lifetime, or at worst my sons, they will be marginalized to the point of insignificance since they don’t seem to add anything constructive to the conversation.

  • http://lotharlorraine.wordpress.com/ Lothar Lorraine

    “The real issue is what it’s always been in America since our founding:
    religious delusion, and the search in all the wrong places for
    philosophical presuppositions that give our lives meaning.”

    While I am a Frenchman I doubt that is the only real issue. America (like France or Germany) has been suffering under many delusions, some being religious.