A conversation about the Hutaree

It was tODD, who is politically more liberal than most denizens of this blog (though arguably more theologically conservative than most denizens of this blog, Wisconsin Synod Lutheran that he is), who urged me to post something about the Hutaree (above). That started an e-mail conversation that I thought was worth posting in itself. Here are excerpts, arranged in dramatic form:

tODD: This story (also) has everything for conservatives! Christianity! Eschatology! And a strong belief in a limited federal government and the Bill of Rights (or at least some parts thereof). . . .

Okay, so maybe I’m tweaking you a bit, but I do wonder. You seem to enjoy posting articles about liberal ideology gone wrong. How do you feel when you read this article? After all, these people do have vigorous conservative beliefs. Obviously, we both believe that these people are wrong, though. But how do the Hutarees’ beliefs and actions relate to the modern right-wing/conservative/Republican/tea party movement? Can the latter completely wash its hands of the former? And
if so, do left-wingers/liberals/Democrats get the same pass?

Also, does it feel to you like we get more of these stories — or possibly more action from this type of people — when Democrats are in power? I’m reminded of Waco and Timothy McVeigh. I realize that
anti-government militia types are not only anti-Democrat-run-government, but I wonder if they’re more emboldened (or frightened) by the strong talk of socialism/treason/whatever from seemingly legitimate right-wing sources these days.

But if you don’t like that angle, there is always this irony: “Each of the suspects is being held without bond and they have all requested a public defender.” Ah, nothing like depending on the same government you were allegedly planning on attacking.

ME: I’m trying to figure out, though, in what sense are these people conservative? I know the unbiased media is characterizing them as such, and associating them as you do with the “tea party” protesters.

But just as I question this cult’s Christianity (doing battle with the anti-Christ? killing the children of police officers?), I question their conservatism (killing policemen? Uh, conservatives are the ones with “support your local police” bumper stickers. Do battle against America? Conservatives are the ones who are always patriotically wanting to fight for–not against– their country). And do you really think they are Republicans? Didn’t they get started to fight a Republican administration?

When I was in college, back in the 1970′s, before I became a born again conservative, I hung out with leftists of every description. There was talk of “offing the pigs” and of rising up against the government all the time. I don’t know any of that crew who got prosecuted. The ones who come to mind are now lawyers.

tODD: Ooh, I kind of thought you’d sloughed this one off. Also, yes, I smiled when you wrote “unbiased media”, even though you may remember that my claim isn’t that the media is unbiased, but rather that it is not monolithically liberally biased. All media is ultimately biased towards ensuring its own existence (which, for the “mainstream media” is, of course, biased towards ensuring income streams, namely advertisers and readers). Anyhow.

Of course, asking “in what sense are these people conservative” is just another way of asking what “conservative” means — by no means an easy feat these days. Is conservatism an ideology rooted in a few basic principles, from which flow various applications and actions? I’m sure you’d like to think so — as would I. Or is conservatism any one or more actions taken from a checklist labeled “Conservative actions” by someone claiming to be conservative? That’s the impression I get these days from most people. It’s why people can’t tell the difference between conservatism, Republicanism, republicanism, etc. For most people, conservatism has lost its rooting in ideas.

By way of explanation from a common ground we share, you can see that the same thing has happened to Christianity. Is Christianity a core belief in Christ the Son of God, who died for our sins and was raised, etc., from which idea flow various applications and actions? Yes. But there are lots of “Christian” things out there for which that idea is alien. All you have to do to witness this is to walk into a “Christian” bookstore. “See, this music is Christian because it talks about ‘love’ and references an ill-defined ‘him’ or ‘you’.” “This exercise book is Christian because it contains Bible verses.” And so on.

So, in that sense, we agree that these militia people are not conservative — provided that you and I have in mind the same definitions for the ideology at the root of that philosophy. And I don’t know if we do, because I’m a little wishy-washy on it myself.

And yet, as I noted in my previous email, they appear — “on paper”, as it were — as checklist conservatives. Pro-2nd-Amendment? Check. Opposed to large federal government? Check. Use Christian language and symbolism? Check. I’m pretty certain that much would earn you a vote from several self-professed Tea Partiers.

And no, I don’t think these people are Republicans at all. I thought I made that clear, but I can’t see that I wrote anything about that now. No, these people would also attack a Republican-run federal government, as I understand it.

And yet, I feel you’re missing something here, when you say “Conservatives are the ones who are always patriotically wanting to fight for–not against– their country.” Well, most of the time. And yet I’m pretty certain most conservatives are also strongly in favor of the American Revolution, and see in it the expressing of their ideals. Revolution: Not exactly conservative, of course. And so we’re back to the question of what the word means. But I’m betting that most conservatives today would fight on the side of the Colonies if they were back in the day of King George III — and that means fighting against their country, doesn’t it?

I’m also worried that not a few “conservatives” see themselves in a similar situation today, and are considering whether or not it’s really “their country” anymore. After all, if King George went too far, and that resulted in armed revolution (to, it may be argued, restore the way things used to be), then what is to be done when conservatives (quote-unquote?) are arguing that Obama has gone too far, that things need to be restored? King George was accused of making the monarchy into tyranny. Is Obama accused of doing anything less with the republic?

And that was ultimately my question. When legitimate conservatives delegitimize the President and our government, when they accuse them of destroying democracy and instituting socialism, how much are they responsible for the nuts who take their arguments seriously, for taking them to their, perhaps, logical conclusion?

ME: [I don't have the exact words, but I came back with the point that it was the left that spent most of the last decade delegitimizing the President--claiming that Bush was not really the president because they rejected the Supreme Court's decision on the Florida recount--and claiming that he destroyed democracy, instituted a fascist state, etc. I also pointed out that this group existed before the Tea Party protests. I since learned from the Wikipedia article that they were founded in 2008. Thus, they were not influenced by today's conservative rhetoric, and the government they were originally planning to overthrow was that of said President Bush.]

Now you jump in.

About Gene Veith

Professor of Literature at Patrick Henry College, the Director of the Cranach Institute at Concordia Theological Seminary, a columnist for World Magazine and TableTalk, and the author of 18 books on different facets of Christianity & Culture.

  • http://www.newreformationpress.com Patrick Kyle

    Liberals gained much fame in the 60′s and 70′s for their talk of Revolution. The Weathermen and Symbionese actually carried out violent campaigns against our country. What about Obama’s associate Ayers? Didn’t that guy and his friends actually kill some people and get away with it on a technicality?

  • http://www.newreformationpress.com Patrick Kyle

    Liberals gained much fame in the 60′s and 70′s for their talk of Revolution. The Weathermen and Symbionese actually carried out violent campaigns against our country. What about Obama’s associate Ayers? Didn’t that guy and his friends actually kill some people and get away with it on a technicality?

  • Winston Smith

    Many conservatives were not that crazy about Bush either.

    It’s funny — if you visited red-meat conservative sites like Free Republic back in the ’90s, you would have read some very unkind words about Bill and Hillary Clinton. The Clintons were having all kinds of people killed, and they were treading all over the Constitution as they massacred the Branch Davidians and sent the storm troopers in after Elian Gonzalez, etc.

    Fast-forward to the latter part of 2001, and all of a sudden conservatives got over their irrational fear of the federal leviathan and its jackboots. Now the government was there to keep us safe, with heroic Skull and Bones Christian President Bush leading the Great Patriotic War Against Trrrism. Warrantless wiretapping, torture, etc. were all back in vogue — what’s the matter, citizen? Haven’t you heard we’re at war?

    Anyone who piped up about the Fourth, Fifth or Sixth Amendments was little better than Tokyo Rose.

    Now that a Democrat is back in the Oval Office, one can discern a faint glimmer of comprehension in the minds of the Free Republic types. Maybe those of us who spent the Bush years respectfully questioning the awesome scope of federal law enforcement and anti-terrorism powers in a Constitutional republic weren’t just unpatriotic whiners. Maybe some of us are going to be under the magnifying glass now.

    Ultimately, left-right is a meaningless distinction. What matters is binding down the federal leviathan with the chains of the Constitution that they swore to uphold.

  • Winston Smith

    Many conservatives were not that crazy about Bush either.

    It’s funny — if you visited red-meat conservative sites like Free Republic back in the ’90s, you would have read some very unkind words about Bill and Hillary Clinton. The Clintons were having all kinds of people killed, and they were treading all over the Constitution as they massacred the Branch Davidians and sent the storm troopers in after Elian Gonzalez, etc.

    Fast-forward to the latter part of 2001, and all of a sudden conservatives got over their irrational fear of the federal leviathan and its jackboots. Now the government was there to keep us safe, with heroic Skull and Bones Christian President Bush leading the Great Patriotic War Against Trrrism. Warrantless wiretapping, torture, etc. were all back in vogue — what’s the matter, citizen? Haven’t you heard we’re at war?

    Anyone who piped up about the Fourth, Fifth or Sixth Amendments was little better than Tokyo Rose.

    Now that a Democrat is back in the Oval Office, one can discern a faint glimmer of comprehension in the minds of the Free Republic types. Maybe those of us who spent the Bush years respectfully questioning the awesome scope of federal law enforcement and anti-terrorism powers in a Constitutional republic weren’t just unpatriotic whiners. Maybe some of us are going to be under the magnifying glass now.

    Ultimately, left-right is a meaningless distinction. What matters is binding down the federal leviathan with the chains of the Constitution that they swore to uphold.

  • http://www.bikebubba.blogspot.com Bike Bubba

    Given Obama’s historic support of single payer health care, I can’t exactly argue against the idea that he’s a socialist. His associations with Ayers, Wright, Pfleger, ACORN, and a host of others indicate that he’s very clearly at least a mild socialist.

    Where these guys went wrong, IMO, is most obviously thinking they could fight the Evil One with AR-15s, and then thinking that the way to obstruct the federal government is to lie in wait for local police officers. So they’ve got some seriously wrong theology, as well as a basic misunderstanding of the federal system.

    Ironically, as the feds attempt to bend states and localities to their will, we find that the Hutarees and the Obama administration have more or less the same basic misunderstanding of our system of government. Nice irony.

  • http://www.bikebubba.blogspot.com Bike Bubba

    Given Obama’s historic support of single payer health care, I can’t exactly argue against the idea that he’s a socialist. His associations with Ayers, Wright, Pfleger, ACORN, and a host of others indicate that he’s very clearly at least a mild socialist.

    Where these guys went wrong, IMO, is most obviously thinking they could fight the Evil One with AR-15s, and then thinking that the way to obstruct the federal government is to lie in wait for local police officers. So they’ve got some seriously wrong theology, as well as a basic misunderstanding of the federal system.

    Ironically, as the feds attempt to bend states and localities to their will, we find that the Hutarees and the Obama administration have more or less the same basic misunderstanding of our system of government. Nice irony.

  • Joe

    No, I don’t think that conservative politicians bear the blame for these folks (assuming they did anything wrong – innocent ’till proven guilty and all). These people are adults. Someone saying that the healthcare bill is unconstitutional or that it is another step on the road to European style socialism or that Obama is a 60′s style radical trying to ruin the country cannot be credibly blamed for a group of 9 folks planning shoot a cop – who is not even a federal agent. Especially, when that group existed and had the same purpose prior to Obama’s election and the response to it from the right and when the groups beliefs are based on their leaders false prophesy about needing to start a war to prepare for the return of Christ. The disconnect should be obvious to anyone who looks at it objectively.

    They fact that they share some common beliefs with some on the right is no different then the fact that the still Black Panther Party shares some ideals with those on the left. Should we have blamed the Congressional Black Caucus for the murders and the shoot outs that Black Panther Party did have with the police over the years, or for every time the New Black Panther Party intimidates voters with a pipe, etc. Or perhaps one that is easy to understand for all of us – Are we (the pro-life crowd) to blame for Dr. Tiller’s murder simply because we (rightly) pointed out that Dr. .Tiller was himself a murderer?

    Such violent actions are not the necessary conclusion of rhetoric.

  • Joe

    No, I don’t think that conservative politicians bear the blame for these folks (assuming they did anything wrong – innocent ’till proven guilty and all). These people are adults. Someone saying that the healthcare bill is unconstitutional or that it is another step on the road to European style socialism or that Obama is a 60′s style radical trying to ruin the country cannot be credibly blamed for a group of 9 folks planning shoot a cop – who is not even a federal agent. Especially, when that group existed and had the same purpose prior to Obama’s election and the response to it from the right and when the groups beliefs are based on their leaders false prophesy about needing to start a war to prepare for the return of Christ. The disconnect should be obvious to anyone who looks at it objectively.

    They fact that they share some common beliefs with some on the right is no different then the fact that the still Black Panther Party shares some ideals with those on the left. Should we have blamed the Congressional Black Caucus for the murders and the shoot outs that Black Panther Party did have with the police over the years, or for every time the New Black Panther Party intimidates voters with a pipe, etc. Or perhaps one that is easy to understand for all of us – Are we (the pro-life crowd) to blame for Dr. Tiller’s murder simply because we (rightly) pointed out that Dr. .Tiller was himself a murderer?

    Such violent actions are not the necessary conclusion of rhetoric.

  • trotk

    This highlights the uselessness of the words conservative and liberal and political distinctions. Both groups include a number of diverse subgroups that oftentimes disagree with one another. Both terms don’t actually describe the fundamental characteristic of the corresponding groups. (Note that, in recent years, “liberals” are most supportive of and vocal about policies that reduce liberties.)
    Even half a century ago in England, the term liberal as a political group meant the exact opposite of what it means now.
    A further confusion is that while conservative only has meaning in reference to what is to be conserved, liberal both has meaning in reference to what we are freed from and in an absolute sense.

  • trotk

    This highlights the uselessness of the words conservative and liberal and political distinctions. Both groups include a number of diverse subgroups that oftentimes disagree with one another. Both terms don’t actually describe the fundamental characteristic of the corresponding groups. (Note that, in recent years, “liberals” are most supportive of and vocal about policies that reduce liberties.)
    Even half a century ago in England, the term liberal as a political group meant the exact opposite of what it means now.
    A further confusion is that while conservative only has meaning in reference to what is to be conserved, liberal both has meaning in reference to what we are freed from and in an absolute sense.

  • trotk

    The above post should read “uselessness of the words conservative and liberal AS political distinctions”

  • trotk

    The above post should read “uselessness of the words conservative and liberal AS political distinctions”

  • Paul

    My mind is running with the “check-list conservative” idea. Indeed, there are really three types: conservative, liberal, and check-list types in every category. How about “check-list” Christians, check-list parents, check-list employees, check-list Muslims, etc.? In fact, I would say that the majority of folks on the planet give little if any real thought to their views, positions, responsibilities, and so on. So can we not discount the “check-listers” from every group and limit our discussion to those who attempt to make arguments that are consistent with the with their views? For example, Garrison Keillor has always expressed informed opinions. Therefore, I am ready to take issue with his references to GW Bush as “the current occupant” but I don’t even bother with those who want to dream that Obama is not a true citizen of the US and therefore ineligible to be President. I suspect that there are probably many “Tea Party” participants who are check-listers (is Sara Palin among them?). However, are there any arguments in the Tea Party movement that are based on a world-view and not just a checklist? I believer there are. Perhaps that is how we should be addressing all these groups: (i) distinguish between checklist arguments and world-view arguments. (ii) ignore the checklisters on every side. (iii) debate only the world-view arguments.

    This same approach can be applied to many settings. In our (LCMS) polity, you’ll find “check listers” who say and do all the “right” things (from their positions) but really don’t know why they hold those beliefs. Then there are rational arguments on both sides which deserve consideration and debate. We simply must ignore the spurious arguments (check lists) but engage the legitimate views as we approach any discussion.

  • Paul

    My mind is running with the “check-list conservative” idea. Indeed, there are really three types: conservative, liberal, and check-list types in every category. How about “check-list” Christians, check-list parents, check-list employees, check-list Muslims, etc.? In fact, I would say that the majority of folks on the planet give little if any real thought to their views, positions, responsibilities, and so on. So can we not discount the “check-listers” from every group and limit our discussion to those who attempt to make arguments that are consistent with the with their views? For example, Garrison Keillor has always expressed informed opinions. Therefore, I am ready to take issue with his references to GW Bush as “the current occupant” but I don’t even bother with those who want to dream that Obama is not a true citizen of the US and therefore ineligible to be President. I suspect that there are probably many “Tea Party” participants who are check-listers (is Sara Palin among them?). However, are there any arguments in the Tea Party movement that are based on a world-view and not just a checklist? I believer there are. Perhaps that is how we should be addressing all these groups: (i) distinguish between checklist arguments and world-view arguments. (ii) ignore the checklisters on every side. (iii) debate only the world-view arguments.

    This same approach can be applied to many settings. In our (LCMS) polity, you’ll find “check listers” who say and do all the “right” things (from their positions) but really don’t know why they hold those beliefs. Then there are rational arguments on both sides which deserve consideration and debate. We simply must ignore the spurious arguments (check lists) but engage the legitimate views as we approach any discussion.

  • http://www.bikebubba.blogspot.com Bike Bubba

    Keillor expresses informed opinions? Say what? Having read him lately, that’s the LAST thing I’d accuse him of these days.

    My take here is that this group is a little bit off in thinking one can fight Old Scratch with an AR-15, and they’ve ironically made the same mistake as the government in thinking that attacking local police fights the feds–more or less assuming that local officials can, and should be, in DC’s pocket.

  • http://www.bikebubba.blogspot.com Bike Bubba

    Keillor expresses informed opinions? Say what? Having read him lately, that’s the LAST thing I’d accuse him of these days.

    My take here is that this group is a little bit off in thinking one can fight Old Scratch with an AR-15, and they’ve ironically made the same mistake as the government in thinking that attacking local police fights the feds–more or less assuming that local officials can, and should be, in DC’s pocket.

  • DonS

    The idea that we have to restrain our opinions for fear of otherwise inciting nuts to violence is an abominable one. And the idea that nuts are aligned with one or another political movement, or that legitimate adherents of a particular political persuasion are responsible for the actions of nuts is also abominable. Certainly, liberals didn’t hold back in their criticism of Bush and his Iraq War policy, even when confronted with the argument that they were giving aid and comfort to the enemy during a time of war. But now that they are in power, they want conservatives to just sit and be quiet, for fear of inciting the rabble.

    And the whole idea, specifically, that the Michigan militia group is somehow “conservative” is ridiculous. As I linked above, the one party registration which could be verified was that of a Democrat (http://www.toledoblade.com/article/20100401/NEWS16/4010369).

  • DonS

    The idea that we have to restrain our opinions for fear of otherwise inciting nuts to violence is an abominable one. And the idea that nuts are aligned with one or another political movement, or that legitimate adherents of a particular political persuasion are responsible for the actions of nuts is also abominable. Certainly, liberals didn’t hold back in their criticism of Bush and his Iraq War policy, even when confronted with the argument that they were giving aid and comfort to the enemy during a time of war. But now that they are in power, they want conservatives to just sit and be quiet, for fear of inciting the rabble.

    And the whole idea, specifically, that the Michigan militia group is somehow “conservative” is ridiculous. As I linked above, the one party registration which could be verified was that of a Democrat (http://www.toledoblade.com/article/20100401/NEWS16/4010369).

  • sg

    tODD has fallen for the logical fallacy that if the plotters aren’t specifically lefty, then by default they are conservatives and any other conservative is therefore guilty of harboring the same sentiments as these misfits. His “argument”, if you can even call it that, is farcical.

    How about each person is responsible for his own associations and actions. Those of us who had never even heard of these folks are not answerable for what they think nor what they do. Also, notice that they were turned in by folks who knew them. Notice the gov’t chose to take seriously whatever threat they might pose. Notice the difference in the gov’t response to suspicious behavior of the Fort Hood shooter and the reports by the father of the underwear bomber.

  • sg

    tODD has fallen for the logical fallacy that if the plotters aren’t specifically lefty, then by default they are conservatives and any other conservative is therefore guilty of harboring the same sentiments as these misfits. His “argument”, if you can even call it that, is farcical.

    How about each person is responsible for his own associations and actions. Those of us who had never even heard of these folks are not answerable for what they think nor what they do. Also, notice that they were turned in by folks who knew them. Notice the gov’t chose to take seriously whatever threat they might pose. Notice the difference in the gov’t response to suspicious behavior of the Fort Hood shooter and the reports by the father of the underwear bomber.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    SG (@10), I don’t think they’re “conservative” by “default” (by virtue of not being “specifically lefty”). I think they’re “conservative” by virtue of these items from the “conservative” checklist:

    * Distrust of powerful federal government
    * Fear of United Nations
    * Strong favor of gun ownership
    * Use of Christian symbolism

    Perhaps that sounds “liberal” to you. I don’t know. But it reminds me of not a few things I’ve heard from conservatives (or at least “conservatives”) here and elsewhere. Anyhow, your conspiracy theory about the supposedly differing government responses to the Hutaree compared with that for the underwear bomber and the Ft. Hood shooter would be ridiculous, except for the fact that several “conservatives” hold this view. That’s kind of what I’m talking about here. “The gov’t has it out for us! They’re letting the Muslims commit terrorism!” Maybe you should stock up on guns, SG?

    Anyhow, it should be obvious (straw men aside, @9) that I think it’s fine for people to express their opinions — even political ones. But I think there’s a difference between legitimate political opinions and outright slander disguised as political opinion (e.g. Obama’s “true” birth place, “true” religion, etc.). There’s plenty of the latter in “conservative” circles right now.

    And I’m happy to concede that nutjobs are ultimately responsible for their own behavior and one cannot blame any influences they may have had. But don’t think I won’t be repeating several of the defenses made here when the tables are turned and some liberal nutjob is being held up as the epitome of liberalism/Democrats/whatever. We’ll see if you believe such defenses at that point.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    SG (@10), I don’t think they’re “conservative” by “default” (by virtue of not being “specifically lefty”). I think they’re “conservative” by virtue of these items from the “conservative” checklist:

    * Distrust of powerful federal government
    * Fear of United Nations
    * Strong favor of gun ownership
    * Use of Christian symbolism

    Perhaps that sounds “liberal” to you. I don’t know. But it reminds me of not a few things I’ve heard from conservatives (or at least “conservatives”) here and elsewhere. Anyhow, your conspiracy theory about the supposedly differing government responses to the Hutaree compared with that for the underwear bomber and the Ft. Hood shooter would be ridiculous, except for the fact that several “conservatives” hold this view. That’s kind of what I’m talking about here. “The gov’t has it out for us! They’re letting the Muslims commit terrorism!” Maybe you should stock up on guns, SG?

    Anyhow, it should be obvious (straw men aside, @9) that I think it’s fine for people to express their opinions — even political ones. But I think there’s a difference between legitimate political opinions and outright slander disguised as political opinion (e.g. Obama’s “true” birth place, “true” religion, etc.). There’s plenty of the latter in “conservative” circles right now.

    And I’m happy to concede that nutjobs are ultimately responsible for their own behavior and one cannot blame any influences they may have had. But don’t think I won’t be repeating several of the defenses made here when the tables are turned and some liberal nutjob is being held up as the epitome of liberalism/Democrats/whatever. We’ll see if you believe such defenses at that point.

  • John C

    Considering the incompetence of the Bush administration, liberal restraint was the only redeeming feature of his presidency.
    I have not heard of anyone who wants conservatives to sit down and be quiet Don. However, inciting the rabble can be dangerous. Palin targetting Democrats with gunsights is just irresponsible. She may get the maddies out to vote but she will scare off the independents.

  • John C

    Considering the incompetence of the Bush administration, liberal restraint was the only redeeming feature of his presidency.
    I have not heard of anyone who wants conservatives to sit down and be quiet Don. However, inciting the rabble can be dangerous. Palin targetting Democrats with gunsights is just irresponsible. She may get the maddies out to vote but she will scare off the independents.

  • http://www.bikebubba.blogspot.com Bike Bubba

    tODD, most rappers meet at least two or three of your criteria…. :^)

  • http://www.bikebubba.blogspot.com Bike Bubba

    tODD, most rappers meet at least two or three of your criteria…. :^)

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Bubba (@13), a lot of rappers also believe very strongly in free enterprise and pulling yourself up by your own bootstraps — and probably aren’t big fans of taxes, or at least the IRS. Your assumption is that rappers are Democrats. Myself, I have no idea.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Bubba (@13), a lot of rappers also believe very strongly in free enterprise and pulling yourself up by your own bootstraps — and probably aren’t big fans of taxes, or at least the IRS. Your assumption is that rappers are Democrats. Myself, I have no idea.

  • DonS

    JohnC @ 12: Oh, my goodness. Will liberal hypocrisy ever end? “Targeting” has been a political term since the year one. Take a look at the two links below, one from 2006 and the other from 2004, both DLC (Democratic Leadership Committee). Both use exactly the same language as Palin used, and the 2004 link includes a map with *gasp* bullseyes on Republican “targets”! Just like Palin’s map. Funny thing — that wasn’t a big deal, labeled as “irresponsible”, or blamed for inciting the “rabble”. Nor should it have been.

    http://www.dlc.org/ndol_ci.cfm?contentid=253728&kaid=127&subid=171

    http://www.dlc.org/ndol_ci.cfm?contentid=253055&kaid=127&subid=171

    Or, is it that only conservatives and Republicans have “rabble”?

  • DonS

    JohnC @ 12: Oh, my goodness. Will liberal hypocrisy ever end? “Targeting” has been a political term since the year one. Take a look at the two links below, one from 2006 and the other from 2004, both DLC (Democratic Leadership Committee). Both use exactly the same language as Palin used, and the 2004 link includes a map with *gasp* bullseyes on Republican “targets”! Just like Palin’s map. Funny thing — that wasn’t a big deal, labeled as “irresponsible”, or blamed for inciting the “rabble”. Nor should it have been.

    http://www.dlc.org/ndol_ci.cfm?contentid=253728&kaid=127&subid=171

    http://www.dlc.org/ndol_ci.cfm?contentid=253055&kaid=127&subid=171

    Or, is it that only conservatives and Republicans have “rabble”?

  • DonS

    tODD @ 11: “Anyhow, it should be obvious (straw men aside, @9) that I think it’s fine for people to express their opinions — even political ones. But I think there’s a difference between legitimate political opinions and outright slander disguised as political opinion (e.g. Obama’s “true” birth place, “true” religion, etc.). There’s plenty of the latter in “conservative” circles right now.”

    I agree with you on the birther and Muslim issues. But, that’s no different than, for example, the “9/11 Truthers” during the Bush administration. There will always be nuts, and they will always populate both segments of the political map. So, if you’re going to call out one side, you should also be calling out the other.

  • DonS

    tODD @ 11: “Anyhow, it should be obvious (straw men aside, @9) that I think it’s fine for people to express their opinions — even political ones. But I think there’s a difference between legitimate political opinions and outright slander disguised as political opinion (e.g. Obama’s “true” birth place, “true” religion, etc.). There’s plenty of the latter in “conservative” circles right now.”

    I agree with you on the birther and Muslim issues. But, that’s no different than, for example, the “9/11 Truthers” during the Bush administration. There will always be nuts, and they will always populate both segments of the political map. So, if you’re going to call out one side, you should also be calling out the other.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Wow, Don (@15). That was a pretty quick turnaround! In the same thread, you went from arguing (@9) that the idea “that legitimate adherents of a particular political persuasion are responsible for the actions of nuts is also abominable” to ascribing to “liberal hypocrisy” the words of one person (@12).

    So when John C speaks, he speaks for all liberals? Why reply solely to him when you can defame the whole group along the way? Seems fair.

    (John C, I’m not actually calling you a “nut”, though I think the Palin “target” thing is much ado about little, and, as Don notes, not without its Democratic counterparts.)

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Wow, Don (@15). That was a pretty quick turnaround! In the same thread, you went from arguing (@9) that the idea “that legitimate adherents of a particular political persuasion are responsible for the actions of nuts is also abominable” to ascribing to “liberal hypocrisy” the words of one person (@12).

    So when John C speaks, he speaks for all liberals? Why reply solely to him when you can defame the whole group along the way? Seems fair.

    (John C, I’m not actually calling you a “nut”, though I think the Palin “target” thing is much ado about little, and, as Don notes, not without its Democratic counterparts.)

  • DonS

    tODD @ 17: I’m sorry, but if your point is that I was being inconsistent between posts 9 and 15, then, logically, it must be concluded that you were calling John C a nut, your apology to him notwithstanding. Otherwise, your linkage of the two posts makes no sense.

    John C is not the originator of that ridiculous charge against Palin. That is from a March 23 Huffington Post entry. So, I was not addressing his hypocrisy along. Since you have disavowed the “targeting” nonsense, I am not addressing you, at least on that specific issue. As far as the whole point of this thread, though, I think you need to take a careful look in the mirror, to the extent that you seem to be smearing the entire conservative movement with this militia incident, despite the fact that you have previously acknowledged that nutters are generally not cogent enough to have a definitive ideology, and despite the evidence that at least one of the arrestees was a registered Democrat.

  • DonS

    tODD @ 17: I’m sorry, but if your point is that I was being inconsistent between posts 9 and 15, then, logically, it must be concluded that you were calling John C a nut, your apology to him notwithstanding. Otherwise, your linkage of the two posts makes no sense.

    John C is not the originator of that ridiculous charge against Palin. That is from a March 23 Huffington Post entry. So, I was not addressing his hypocrisy along. Since you have disavowed the “targeting” nonsense, I am not addressing you, at least on that specific issue. As far as the whole point of this thread, though, I think you need to take a careful look in the mirror, to the extent that you seem to be smearing the entire conservative movement with this militia incident, despite the fact that you have previously acknowledged that nutters are generally not cogent enough to have a definitive ideology, and despite the evidence that at least one of the arrestees was a registered Democrat.

  • DonS

    “along” should be “alone” in post 18.

  • DonS

    “along” should be “alone” in post 18.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Actually John (@12), I still don’t think you’re a nut, no matter what Don says. I thought he would complain if I altered his quote to make my point, but it turns out he’ll complain either way. So I’ll try to make my point a different way.

    Don said (@9) that it is “abominable” to blame the “legitimate adherents of a particular political persuasion” for the actions of a few. And he is right. Except that he then goes on to blame the repeating of a story from the Huffington Post, not on the person repeating it, not on Jeff Muskus (the HuffPo author), not even on the Huffington Post itself, but on “liberal hypocrisy”. See how that works? This story isn’t the fault of any one person or source. It’s the problem of liberals! Don could have written about the fallacious arguments made by JEff Muskus. He could have complained about the consistent bias at the Huffington Post. But he chose to whine about “liberal hypocrisy”.

    But how does Don feel about blaming, say, “conservative extremism” in the case of the Hutaree? He doesn’t like it.

    And Don, while you say I “seem to be smearing the entire conservative movement with this militia incident” you ignore the actual questions I was asking:

    How do the Hutarees’ beliefs and actions relate to the modern right-wing/conservative/Republican/tea party movement? Can the latter completely wash its hands of the former? And if so, do left-wingers/liberals/Democrats get the same pass? …

    When legitimate conservatives delegitimize the President and our government, when they accuse them of destroying democracy and instituting socialism, how much are they responsible for the nuts who take their arguments seriously, for taking them to their, perhaps, logical conclusion?

    These are questions, Don. You are attempting to turn them into accusations.

    My whole point is that liberals (yes, all of them) not infrequently are taken to task on this blog (in the comments and in the posts) for the actions of a few, who may in fact be rather extreme. Right-wingers want me to believe that these actions are symptomatic of the left, not extreme forms of it.

    I’m fine with the idea that political ideologies should not be blamed for the actions of any one person. I just would appreciate it if that idea was applied uniformly (including, yes, liberals and HuffPo bloggers).

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Actually John (@12), I still don’t think you’re a nut, no matter what Don says. I thought he would complain if I altered his quote to make my point, but it turns out he’ll complain either way. So I’ll try to make my point a different way.

    Don said (@9) that it is “abominable” to blame the “legitimate adherents of a particular political persuasion” for the actions of a few. And he is right. Except that he then goes on to blame the repeating of a story from the Huffington Post, not on the person repeating it, not on Jeff Muskus (the HuffPo author), not even on the Huffington Post itself, but on “liberal hypocrisy”. See how that works? This story isn’t the fault of any one person or source. It’s the problem of liberals! Don could have written about the fallacious arguments made by JEff Muskus. He could have complained about the consistent bias at the Huffington Post. But he chose to whine about “liberal hypocrisy”.

    But how does Don feel about blaming, say, “conservative extremism” in the case of the Hutaree? He doesn’t like it.

    And Don, while you say I “seem to be smearing the entire conservative movement with this militia incident” you ignore the actual questions I was asking:

    How do the Hutarees’ beliefs and actions relate to the modern right-wing/conservative/Republican/tea party movement? Can the latter completely wash its hands of the former? And if so, do left-wingers/liberals/Democrats get the same pass? …

    When legitimate conservatives delegitimize the President and our government, when they accuse them of destroying democracy and instituting socialism, how much are they responsible for the nuts who take their arguments seriously, for taking them to their, perhaps, logical conclusion?

    These are questions, Don. You are attempting to turn them into accusations.

    My whole point is that liberals (yes, all of them) not infrequently are taken to task on this blog (in the comments and in the posts) for the actions of a few, who may in fact be rather extreme. Right-wingers want me to believe that these actions are symptomatic of the left, not extreme forms of it.

    I’m fine with the idea that political ideologies should not be blamed for the actions of any one person. I just would appreciate it if that idea was applied uniformly (including, yes, liberals and HuffPo bloggers).

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    John (@12), I still don’t think you’re a nut, no matter what Don says. I thought he would complain if I altered his quote to make my point, but it turns out he’ll complain either way. So I’ll try to make my point a different way.

    Don said (@9) that it is “abominable” to blame the “legitimate adherents of a particular political persuasion” for the actions of a few. And he is right. Except that he then goes on to blame the repeating of a story from the Huffington Post, not on the person repeating it, not on Jeff Muskus (the HuffPo author), not even on the Huffington Post itself, but on “liber@l hypocrisy”. See how that works? This story isn’t the fault of any one person or source. It’s the problem of liber@ls! Don could have written about the fallacious arguments made by Jeff Muskus. He could have complained about the consistent bias at the Huffington Post. But he chose to whine about “liber@l hypocrisy”.

    But how does Don feel about blaming, say, “conservative extremism” in the case of the Hutaree? He doesn’t like it.

    And Don, while you say I “seem to be smearing the entire conservative movement with this militia incident” you ignore the actual questions I was asking:

    How do the Hutarees’ beliefs and actions relate to the modern right-wing/conservative/Republican/tea party movement? Can the latter completely wash its hands of the former? And if so, do left-wingers/liber@ls/Democrats get the same pass? …

    When legitimate conservatives delegitimize the President and our government, when they accuse them of destroying democracy and instituting soci@lism, how much are they responsible for the nuts who take their arguments seriously, for taking them to their, perhaps, logical conclusion?

    These are questions, Don. You are attempting to turn them into accusations.

    My whole point is that liber@ls (yes, all of them) not infrequently are taken to task on this blog (in the comments and in the posts) for the actions of a few, who may in fact be rather extreme. Right-wingers want me to believe that these actions are symptomatic of the left, not extreme forms of it.

    I’m fine with the idea that political ideologies should not be blamed for the actions of any one person. I just would appreciate it if that idea was applied uniformly (including, yes, liber@ls and HuffPo bloggers).

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    John (@12), I still don’t think you’re a nut, no matter what Don says. I thought he would complain if I altered his quote to make my point, but it turns out he’ll complain either way. So I’ll try to make my point a different way.

    Don said (@9) that it is “abominable” to blame the “legitimate adherents of a particular political persuasion” for the actions of a few. And he is right. Except that he then goes on to blame the repeating of a story from the Huffington Post, not on the person repeating it, not on Jeff Muskus (the HuffPo author), not even on the Huffington Post itself, but on “liber@l hypocrisy”. See how that works? This story isn’t the fault of any one person or source. It’s the problem of liber@ls! Don could have written about the fallacious arguments made by Jeff Muskus. He could have complained about the consistent bias at the Huffington Post. But he chose to whine about “liber@l hypocrisy”.

    But how does Don feel about blaming, say, “conservative extremism” in the case of the Hutaree? He doesn’t like it.

    And Don, while you say I “seem to be smearing the entire conservative movement with this militia incident” you ignore the actual questions I was asking:

    How do the Hutarees’ beliefs and actions relate to the modern right-wing/conservative/Republican/tea party movement? Can the latter completely wash its hands of the former? And if so, do left-wingers/liber@ls/Democrats get the same pass? …

    When legitimate conservatives delegitimize the President and our government, when they accuse them of destroying democracy and instituting soci@lism, how much are they responsible for the nuts who take their arguments seriously, for taking them to their, perhaps, logical conclusion?

    These are questions, Don. You are attempting to turn them into accusations.

    My whole point is that liber@ls (yes, all of them) not infrequently are taken to task on this blog (in the comments and in the posts) for the actions of a few, who may in fact be rather extreme. Right-wingers want me to believe that these actions are symptomatic of the left, not extreme forms of it.

    I’m fine with the idea that political ideologies should not be blamed for the actions of any one person. I just would appreciate it if that idea was applied uniformly (including, yes, liber@ls and HuffPo bloggers).

  • trotk

    I think that it is amusing this conversation has devolved into the finger pointing that is typical of political argument and the analysis of current news from a political perspective. It reminds me of why George Washington warned against political parties.

    Instead of talking about the merits (is freedom to do and think whatever you want so precious that even the Hutaree are to be tolerated and even honored?) and ideas (can you call what they believed an idea? or was it merely a visceral response to authority?) and (il)legitimacy of the Hutaree, we got lost in whether the other side is playing fair in their reporting of this.

    Again, I think the terms conservative and liberal are useless, for the reasons stated at #5, and now because they profit us nothing in our dialogue.

  • trotk

    I think that it is amusing this conversation has devolved into the finger pointing that is typical of political argument and the analysis of current news from a political perspective. It reminds me of why George Washington warned against political parties.

    Instead of talking about the merits (is freedom to do and think whatever you want so precious that even the Hutaree are to be tolerated and even honored?) and ideas (can you call what they believed an idea? or was it merely a visceral response to authority?) and (il)legitimacy of the Hutaree, we got lost in whether the other side is playing fair in their reporting of this.

    Again, I think the terms conservative and liberal are useless, for the reasons stated at #5, and now because they profit us nothing in our dialogue.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Don (@16), I’m happy to call out any 9/11 “truthers” that come across this blog. I haven’t seen any; have you? In contrast, I have seen not a few allusions to Obama’s birth certificate and “true” allegiance in the comments on this blog. I called them out when I saw them. Did you?

    (Also, my apologies for all the @s in the previous comment, but a previous version got caught in the spam filter; yes, it likely is the word “soci@lis[t,m]” doing it again.)

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Don (@16), I’m happy to call out any 9/11 “truthers” that come across this blog. I haven’t seen any; have you? In contrast, I have seen not a few allusions to Obama’s birth certificate and “true” allegiance in the comments on this blog. I called them out when I saw them. Did you?

    (Also, my apologies for all the @s in the previous comment, but a previous version got caught in the spam filter; yes, it likely is the word “soci@lis[t,m]” doing it again.)

  • Peter Leavitt

    Don, Todd is at his usual game of discrediting conservatives, a bit of an obsession with him. In this case, though dancing around the issue, he is basically claiming that the wing-nut Hutarees are the responsibility of conservatives.

    In his initial E-Mail to Dr. Veith, Todd wrote: This story (also) has everything for conservatives! Christianity! Eschatology! And a strong belief in a limited federal government and the Bill of Rights (or at least some parts thereof). . . . i.e. those slippery conservatives have everything to do with these wing-nut Hutterites; Guilt by patent association. Had we wrote a similar screed connecting him and St.Obama with Wright and Ayers, he would have acted like an assaulted virgin.

  • Peter Leavitt

    Don, Todd is at his usual game of discrediting conservatives, a bit of an obsession with him. In this case, though dancing around the issue, he is basically claiming that the wing-nut Hutarees are the responsibility of conservatives.

    In his initial E-Mail to Dr. Veith, Todd wrote: This story (also) has everything for conservatives! Christianity! Eschatology! And a strong belief in a limited federal government and the Bill of Rights (or at least some parts thereof). . . . i.e. those slippery conservatives have everything to do with these wing-nut Hutterites; Guilt by patent association. Had we wrote a similar screed connecting him and St.Obama with Wright and Ayers, he would have acted like an assaulted virgin.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Hi Peter (@23), it helps if you read everything I wrote.

    Also, “he would have acted like an assaulted virgin.” You stay classy, Peter!

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Hi Peter (@23), it helps if you read everything I wrote.

    Also, “he would have acted like an assaulted virgin.” You stay classy, Peter!

  • Peter Leavitt

    Todd, I wearily read everything you wrote; as stated earlier, though dancing around the issue, you tried to get away from the beginning with associating the Hutarees with conservatives in general.

  • Peter Leavitt

    Todd, I wearily read everything you wrote; as stated earlier, though dancing around the issue, you tried to get away from the beginning with associating the Hutarees with conservatives in general.

  • http://planetaugsburg.wordpress.com Andy Adams

    I think this reveals more about Todd’s view of conservatives than any connection between the “Hutaree” and conservatism.
    He equates support for constitutional federalism (a truly core “conservative” viewpoint) and support for the second amendment rights with the “Hutaree’s” goal of overthrowing a government they equate with the anti-Christ and their penchant for stockpiling automatic weapons to accomplish said goal. Please.
    It is a slander to even call this group “conservative” or “Christians.”
    Liberals are constantly committing category errors through name-calling against conservatives (i.e., the repeated “Nazi” or “brown shirt” slanders). I guess that’s easier than trying to argue ideas.

  • http://planetaugsburg.wordpress.com Andy Adams

    I think this reveals more about Todd’s view of conservatives than any connection between the “Hutaree” and conservatism.
    He equates support for constitutional federalism (a truly core “conservative” viewpoint) and support for the second amendment rights with the “Hutaree’s” goal of overthrowing a government they equate with the anti-Christ and their penchant for stockpiling automatic weapons to accomplish said goal. Please.
    It is a slander to even call this group “conservative” or “Christians.”
    Liberals are constantly committing category errors through name-calling against conservatives (i.e., the repeated “Nazi” or “brown shirt” slanders). I guess that’s easier than trying to argue ideas.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Andy (@26), I appreciate your desire to distance yourself (and any labels you happily wear) from the Hutaree. In fact, as Lutherans (I assume you are from your group blog), we both want to distance ourselves from this group inasmuch as they are called (and labeled themselves) “Christian”.

    But here’s the thing. We can both agree that their actions were un-Christian (well, allegedly, at least, they were a violation of Romans 13, among other things). But does that mean we get to say they’re not Christians? Have you even been to their Web site to read what they say they believe before you render this judgment?

    Does the fact that someone holds an incorrect theology in part (and how!) mean that they’re not Christian? I mean, if all it takes for me to be able to judge a man’s heart is to observe that he has an incorrect understanding of the End Times and the Antichrist, then several commenters on this blog are in trouble! Should we be able to tell them they’re not Christians? Ask yourself if, every time you see a commenter on this blog lose his cool or show less than perfect love for his neighbor, you can judge that he is not a Christian.

    And that’s just for the case of whether or not they’re Christian, for which we at least have an obvious standard by which to judge.

    By what standard do you say that they’re not conservative? You imply that it’s not enough for them to agree on several key points with conservatives. So what, exactly, is the standard being used here? It has to be something more than the fact that you disagree with them and their actions. If your idea of conservatism boils down to a core ideology, then on what basis can you say that they didn’t share that ideology? Does your ideology necessarily and always preclude armed revolution, for instance?

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Andy (@26), I appreciate your desire to distance yourself (and any labels you happily wear) from the Hutaree. In fact, as Lutherans (I assume you are from your group blog), we both want to distance ourselves from this group inasmuch as they are called (and labeled themselves) “Christian”.

    But here’s the thing. We can both agree that their actions were un-Christian (well, allegedly, at least, they were a violation of Romans 13, among other things). But does that mean we get to say they’re not Christians? Have you even been to their Web site to read what they say they believe before you render this judgment?

    Does the fact that someone holds an incorrect theology in part (and how!) mean that they’re not Christian? I mean, if all it takes for me to be able to judge a man’s heart is to observe that he has an incorrect understanding of the End Times and the Antichrist, then several commenters on this blog are in trouble! Should we be able to tell them they’re not Christians? Ask yourself if, every time you see a commenter on this blog lose his cool or show less than perfect love for his neighbor, you can judge that he is not a Christian.

    And that’s just for the case of whether or not they’re Christian, for which we at least have an obvious standard by which to judge.

    By what standard do you say that they’re not conservative? You imply that it’s not enough for them to agree on several key points with conservatives. So what, exactly, is the standard being used here? It has to be something more than the fact that you disagree with them and their actions. If your idea of conservatism boils down to a core ideology, then on what basis can you say that they didn’t share that ideology? Does your ideology necessarily and always preclude armed revolution, for instance?

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Peter (@25), I’m glad that you read everything I wrote, but I would also appreciate it if what you wrote reflected that knowledge. Thanks.

    As to your being weary, perhaps some rigorous Zen Buddhism will clear that up.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Peter (@25), I’m glad that you read everything I wrote, but I would also appreciate it if what you wrote reflected that knowledge. Thanks.

    As to your being weary, perhaps some rigorous Zen Buddhism will clear that up.

  • DonS

    tODD @ 20 & 22:

    “Don said (@9) that it is “abominable” to blame the “legitimate adherents of a particular political persuasion” for the actions of a few.” — No, that’s not what I said. I said that it was abominable to blame the legitimate adherents of a particular political persuasion for inciting violent nutjobs, like the Huttaree. Especially when the prescribed cure is to restrain the free speech of the legitimate adherents. And even more especially when it’s a one-way street. As for the original incident of which you complain, all I called out was “liberal hypocrisy”. I didn’t call out all liberals, or even any liberals in particular (except John C, who had the poor judgment to post on the issue). You were free to disassociate yourself from that particular hypocrisy, and you did. Kudos.

    As for the Hutaree, I object to the label “conservative extremism” because it is demonstrably false. The Hutaree are not conservatives any more than the Unabomber is a liberal. They don’t have a cogent world view. They are not capable of being cogent. That’s my whole point, and my objection. Moreover, your “conservative checklist” is a straw man. Let’s take your example of such a checklist, to start with:
    * Distrust of powerful federal government — uh, liberals distrust powerful federal government as well. Just different parts. How about the Patriot Act? Defense Department? CIA? FBI?
    * Fear of United Nations — OK, no question more conservatives than liberals fear the UN, with good reason. But I know a number of non-interventionist liberals who despise the UN’s tendency to insert itself into internal national matters so often, and hate the fact that these insertions inevitably drag the U.S in as well. Others fear its corruption. So, it’s far from a slam dunk that fear of the UN is a conservative trait.
    * Strong favor of gun ownership — Most of the radical anti-war groups of the 60′s and 70′s used guns and other weapons in furthering their violence. SLA, Black Panthers, etc.
    * Use of Christian symbolism — Are you kidding? Aren’t you a liberal Lutheran? Are you saying that liberals are godless?

    As for your “questions”, let me answer them for you:
    1) They don’t
    2) Yes
    3) Yes
    4) They didn’t, so the premise of the “question” is invalid. No one “delegitimizes” a President by challenging his actions and policies, if that’s what you mean. And, if what you meant was the “birther” issue, then my response is that is not a question posed by legitimate conservatives. Any more than a question regarding Bush authorizing the destruction of the World Trade Centers is one posed by legitimate liberals.

    As for whether I “called out” birther comments on this blog, I’m sure that if they were raised, and I saw them, I did. Because that issue seriously annoys me. It is an unworthy and ridiculous distraction from the many other issues that we should be focusing on.

  • DonS

    tODD @ 20 & 22:

    “Don said (@9) that it is “abominable” to blame the “legitimate adherents of a particular political persuasion” for the actions of a few.” — No, that’s not what I said. I said that it was abominable to blame the legitimate adherents of a particular political persuasion for inciting violent nutjobs, like the Huttaree. Especially when the prescribed cure is to restrain the free speech of the legitimate adherents. And even more especially when it’s a one-way street. As for the original incident of which you complain, all I called out was “liberal hypocrisy”. I didn’t call out all liberals, or even any liberals in particular (except John C, who had the poor judgment to post on the issue). You were free to disassociate yourself from that particular hypocrisy, and you did. Kudos.

    As for the Hutaree, I object to the label “conservative extremism” because it is demonstrably false. The Hutaree are not conservatives any more than the Unabomber is a liberal. They don’t have a cogent world view. They are not capable of being cogent. That’s my whole point, and my objection. Moreover, your “conservative checklist” is a straw man. Let’s take your example of such a checklist, to start with:
    * Distrust of powerful federal government — uh, liberals distrust powerful federal government as well. Just different parts. How about the Patriot Act? Defense Department? CIA? FBI?
    * Fear of United Nations — OK, no question more conservatives than liberals fear the UN, with good reason. But I know a number of non-interventionist liberals who despise the UN’s tendency to insert itself into internal national matters so often, and hate the fact that these insertions inevitably drag the U.S in as well. Others fear its corruption. So, it’s far from a slam dunk that fear of the UN is a conservative trait.
    * Strong favor of gun ownership — Most of the radical anti-war groups of the 60′s and 70′s used guns and other weapons in furthering their violence. SLA, Black Panthers, etc.
    * Use of Christian symbolism — Are you kidding? Aren’t you a liberal Lutheran? Are you saying that liberals are godless?

    As for your “questions”, let me answer them for you:
    1) They don’t
    2) Yes
    3) Yes
    4) They didn’t, so the premise of the “question” is invalid. No one “delegitimizes” a President by challenging his actions and policies, if that’s what you mean. And, if what you meant was the “birther” issue, then my response is that is not a question posed by legitimate conservatives. Any more than a question regarding Bush authorizing the destruction of the World Trade Centers is one posed by legitimate liberals.

    As for whether I “called out” birther comments on this blog, I’m sure that if they were raised, and I saw them, I did. Because that issue seriously annoys me. It is an unworthy and ridiculous distraction from the many other issues that we should be focusing on.

  • DonS

    tODD: Oh wait, I forgot. You TOTALLY trust the CIA. So that one doesn’t apply to you :-)

  • DonS

    tODD: Oh wait, I forgot. You TOTALLY trust the CIA. So that one doesn’t apply to you :-)

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Don (@9): “the idea … that legitimate adherents of a particular political persuasion are responsible for the actions of nuts is also abominable.”

    Me: (@20): “Don said that it is ‘abominable’ to blame the ‘legitimate adherents of a particular political persuasion’ for the actions of a few.”

    Don (@30): “No, that’s not what I said. I said that it was abominable to blame the legitimate adherents of a particular political persuasion for inciting violent nutjobs.”

    I’m pretty certain my restatement actually changes the original sentence around less than does Don’s, no matter what Don may have wished he said. I substituted the word “few” for Don’s original word “nuts”, but that’s all. Meanwhile, Don’s restatement adds in the part about “inciting violent nutjobs” that simply wasn’t there before.

    Also, Don says that “the prescribed cure is to restrain the free speech of the legitimate adherents.” Don, where did I prescribe that? Sounds just a bit like a straw man.

    I report. You decide.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Don (@9): “the idea … that legitimate adherents of a particular political persuasion are responsible for the actions of nuts is also abominable.”

    Me: (@20): “Don said that it is ‘abominable’ to blame the ‘legitimate adherents of a particular political persuasion’ for the actions of a few.”

    Don (@30): “No, that’s not what I said. I said that it was abominable to blame the legitimate adherents of a particular political persuasion for inciting violent nutjobs.”

    I’m pretty certain my restatement actually changes the original sentence around less than does Don’s, no matter what Don may have wished he said. I substituted the word “few” for Don’s original word “nuts”, but that’s all. Meanwhile, Don’s restatement adds in the part about “inciting violent nutjobs” that simply wasn’t there before.

    Also, Don says that “the prescribed cure is to restrain the free speech of the legitimate adherents.” Don, where did I prescribe that? Sounds just a bit like a straw man.

    I report. You decide.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Don also said (@30), “I didn’t call out all liberals” but rather, “all I called out was ‘liberal hypocrisy’” — based on the actions of one or two (presumed) liberals. See, Don, when you make that jump from one person or a small group doing something to blaming an entire group (you don’t call out John C’s hypocrisy; you call out “liberal hypocrisy”), then you become part of the problem we’re discussing, no?

    “The Hutaree are not conservatives any more than the Unabomber is a liberal.” Okay, now I just don’t think you know what you’re talking about. The Unabomber’s manifesto said, “One of the most widespread manifestations of the craziness of our world is leftism.” He explicitly condemned leftism. How, exactly, would you argue he’s a “liberal” — doesn’t that make him sound, you know, more like a conservative? Are most liberals Luddites or something? Your argument makes no sense.

    You also said the Hutaree “don’t have a cogent world view. They are not capable of being cogent.” What are you talking about? “Capable”?! Do you have some definition for “cogent” that I don’t?

    You then proceed, Don, to try to disprove my “conservative checklist” by claiming, against everything else you’ve ever said about liberals, that they “distrust powerful federal government” as well as do conservatives. I simply cannot believe that you will maintain this position outside of this thread. So liberals are no different than conservatives when it comes to federalism? Really. And you don’t tend to conflate liberals and “big federal government” in your mind whatsoever? Really. Fascinating.

    You then try to disprove my general claims using ridiculously narrow exceptions. Who favors gun ownership more: liberals or conservatives? Don seems to think it’s a draw! After all, “most of the radical anti-war groups of the 60’s and 70’s used guns”! Who tends to use Christian symbolism more: liberals or conservatives? Don seems to think it’s a draw, because, after all, I’m a Christian “liberal”. Well! Case closed!

    As to the “birther” issue, Don says: “that is not a question posed by legitimate conservatives.” So Don asserts that Carl Vehse is not, in fact, a “legitimate conservative”. I’ll let you two work that out.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Don also said (@30), “I didn’t call out all liberals” but rather, “all I called out was ‘liberal hypocrisy’” — based on the actions of one or two (presumed) liberals. See, Don, when you make that jump from one person or a small group doing something to blaming an entire group (you don’t call out John C’s hypocrisy; you call out “liberal hypocrisy”), then you become part of the problem we’re discussing, no?

    “The Hutaree are not conservatives any more than the Unabomber is a liberal.” Okay, now I just don’t think you know what you’re talking about. The Unabomber’s manifesto said, “One of the most widespread manifestations of the craziness of our world is leftism.” He explicitly condemned leftism. How, exactly, would you argue he’s a “liberal” — doesn’t that make him sound, you know, more like a conservative? Are most liberals Luddites or something? Your argument makes no sense.

    You also said the Hutaree “don’t have a cogent world view. They are not capable of being cogent.” What are you talking about? “Capable”?! Do you have some definition for “cogent” that I don’t?

    You then proceed, Don, to try to disprove my “conservative checklist” by claiming, against everything else you’ve ever said about liberals, that they “distrust powerful federal government” as well as do conservatives. I simply cannot believe that you will maintain this position outside of this thread. So liberals are no different than conservatives when it comes to federalism? Really. And you don’t tend to conflate liberals and “big federal government” in your mind whatsoever? Really. Fascinating.

    You then try to disprove my general claims using ridiculously narrow exceptions. Who favors gun ownership more: liberals or conservatives? Don seems to think it’s a draw! After all, “most of the radical anti-war groups of the 60’s and 70’s used guns”! Who tends to use Christian symbolism more: liberals or conservatives? Don seems to think it’s a draw, because, after all, I’m a Christian “liberal”. Well! Case closed!

    As to the “birther” issue, Don says: “that is not a question posed by legitimate conservatives.” So Don asserts that Carl Vehse is not, in fact, a “legitimate conservative”. I’ll let you two work that out.

  • Dan Kempin

    tODD, #11, #23
    Don, #16,

    For the record, I do not think the whole “birther” phenomenon should be swept under the same rug as slander and wild accusation.

    (For the same record I must add that there have been many slanderings and wild accusations of the president, even here on this blog.)

    The birthplace of a president is a legitimate question, after all, and president Obama could have/can clear up the controversy in about ten seconds. One simple act from the president and the whole debate goes away. Therefore it is my opinion that the onus for the controversy rests on the president. (Note: that is not the same thing as saying I think he is not legitimate.)

    Don’t get me wrong. I don’t want to argue the issue. It just seems to be taking on the flavor of, “yeah, we know THOSE guys are crazy!” and dismissed. That, I think, is unfair.

  • Dan Kempin

    tODD, #11, #23
    Don, #16,

    For the record, I do not think the whole “birther” phenomenon should be swept under the same rug as slander and wild accusation.

    (For the same record I must add that there have been many slanderings and wild accusations of the president, even here on this blog.)

    The birthplace of a president is a legitimate question, after all, and president Obama could have/can clear up the controversy in about ten seconds. One simple act from the president and the whole debate goes away. Therefore it is my opinion that the onus for the controversy rests on the president. (Note: that is not the same thing as saying I think he is not legitimate.)

    Don’t get me wrong. I don’t want to argue the issue. It just seems to be taking on the flavor of, “yeah, we know THOSE guys are crazy!” and dismissed. That, I think, is unfair.

  • Purple Koolaid

    Are the democrats responsible for Fred Phelps and Westboro baptist “God hates fags” fame??? He ran for office as a democrat. The guy who flew his plane into the irs office killing people was a democrat.. Oh and what about David Duke (kkk fame) being a proud democrat and all??

  • Purple Koolaid

    Are the democrats responsible for Fred Phelps and Westboro baptist “God hates fags” fame??? He ran for office as a democrat. The guy who flew his plane into the irs office killing people was a democrat.. Oh and what about David Duke (kkk fame) being a proud democrat and all??

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Dan (@34), you said, regarding Obama’s birthplace, that “Obama could have/can clear up the controversy in about ten seconds”. Like, say, by releasing an image of his birth certificate? He already did that. In June of 2008.

    But, conspiracy theories being what they are, that did not, in fact, “clear up the controversy”. Now, either you were unaware of this fact and speaking in ignorance, or you were aware of this fact, and it’s still not enough for you. Either way: what, exactly, do you think the President should do “in about ten seconds” to resolve this issue?

    You said you “don’t want to argue the issue”, and yet you have. I would appreciate if your reply to this comment.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Dan (@34), you said, regarding Obama’s birthplace, that “Obama could have/can clear up the controversy in about ten seconds”. Like, say, by releasing an image of his birth certificate? He already did that. In June of 2008.

    But, conspiracy theories being what they are, that did not, in fact, “clear up the controversy”. Now, either you were unaware of this fact and speaking in ignorance, or you were aware of this fact, and it’s still not enough for you. Either way: what, exactly, do you think the President should do “in about ten seconds” to resolve this issue?

    You said you “don’t want to argue the issue”, and yet you have. I would appreciate if your reply to this comment.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Koolaid (@35), you really need to do some fact-checking.

    Yes, Phelps ran as a Democrat. He’s also a Democrat who hates Al Gore, the Clintons, Joe Biden, John Edwards, John Kerry, Howard Dean, Nancy Pelosi, and (among others) Obama — in fact, he says “Obama is the Anti-Christ!” I challenge you to find a Democratic politician that he does not hate, other than himself (and he never actually won an election).

    “The guy who flew his plane into the irs office killing people was a democrat.” Really? Where did you hear that? I can’t find it on the Internet anywhere.

    “Oh and what about David Duke (kkk fame) being a proud democrat and all??” Did you even do the most rudimentary Wikipedia check before you made that statement? I did. If you had, you’d have read that “In December 1988, Duke changed his political affiliation from the Democratic Party to the Republican Party.” And this: “He served in the House from 1990 until 1992″ … as a Republican!

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Koolaid (@35), you really need to do some fact-checking.

    Yes, Phelps ran as a Democrat. He’s also a Democrat who hates Al Gore, the Clintons, Joe Biden, John Edwards, John Kerry, Howard Dean, Nancy Pelosi, and (among others) Obama — in fact, he says “Obama is the Anti-Christ!” I challenge you to find a Democratic politician that he does not hate, other than himself (and he never actually won an election).

    “The guy who flew his plane into the irs office killing people was a democrat.” Really? Where did you hear that? I can’t find it on the Internet anywhere.

    “Oh and what about David Duke (kkk fame) being a proud democrat and all??” Did you even do the most rudimentary Wikipedia check before you made that statement? I did. If you had, you’d have read that “In December 1988, Duke changed his political affiliation from the Democratic Party to the Republican Party.” And this: “He served in the House from 1990 until 1992″ … as a Republican!

  • Dan Kempin

    tODD, #36,

    I was not aware that, apparently from your link, the physical birth certificate was released for examination, and I acknowledge a great deal of ignorance on this story. If I recall correctly, all that was initially released at the time prior to the election was a “digital image.” I seem to recall, though frankly I did not follow the story, that there was something sealed in the court system that he (the president) declined to unseal. I never put much stock in it, myself, and I acknowledge that I never looked in to the finer points.

    In any case, my point was twofold: 1) It was a legitimate issue to raise, and 2) candidate and subsequent president Obama responded to the matter in a way that . . . hmmm . . . MAY have been calculated to induce controversy.

    Just to clarify, I don’t think that a candidate would ever be supported that far without friendly verification long beforehand, and if the campaign decided to slow roll the information in order to draw out their political opponents, then kudos to them for a shrewd political play. (Or, at least, I cannot object any more strenuously that I can to any other “dirtly political trick.”)

    It’s a moot point now, of course, and has been since the inaguration, but I think many of the people who were initially unsatisfied with the digital document raised the question honestly and not as “outright slander disguised as political opinion (#11).” Calling him a Muslim when he claims to be a Christian is outright slander. Desiring objective verification of eligibility is not.

    If the president has done everything in his power to grant access for verification in this matter, then I was quite incorrect about the “ten seconds” and I apologize.

    Even so, I would contend that it should be filed in the category of “question asked and answered” rather than “outright slander.”

  • Dan Kempin

    tODD, #36,

    I was not aware that, apparently from your link, the physical birth certificate was released for examination, and I acknowledge a great deal of ignorance on this story. If I recall correctly, all that was initially released at the time prior to the election was a “digital image.” I seem to recall, though frankly I did not follow the story, that there was something sealed in the court system that he (the president) declined to unseal. I never put much stock in it, myself, and I acknowledge that I never looked in to the finer points.

    In any case, my point was twofold: 1) It was a legitimate issue to raise, and 2) candidate and subsequent president Obama responded to the matter in a way that . . . hmmm . . . MAY have been calculated to induce controversy.

    Just to clarify, I don’t think that a candidate would ever be supported that far without friendly verification long beforehand, and if the campaign decided to slow roll the information in order to draw out their political opponents, then kudos to them for a shrewd political play. (Or, at least, I cannot object any more strenuously that I can to any other “dirtly political trick.”)

    It’s a moot point now, of course, and has been since the inaguration, but I think many of the people who were initially unsatisfied with the digital document raised the question honestly and not as “outright slander disguised as political opinion (#11).” Calling him a Muslim when he claims to be a Christian is outright slander. Desiring objective verification of eligibility is not.

    If the president has done everything in his power to grant access for verification in this matter, then I was quite incorrect about the “ten seconds” and I apologize.

    Even so, I would contend that it should be filed in the category of “question asked and answered” rather than “outright slander.”

  • DonS

    tODD @ 32:

    OK, this is what I said:

    “The idea that we have to restrain our opinions for fear of otherwise inciting nuts to violence is an abominable one. And the idea that nuts are aligned with one or another political movement, or that legitimate adherents of a particular political persuasion are responsible for the actions of nuts is also abominable.” As you can see, the idea of having to restrain the expression of one’s political opinions for fear of “inciting nuts to violence” was indeed identified as an abominable one. As far as whether you actually prescribed such restraint on the part of conservatives, I ask you this. If you did/do not, what is the point of your question?

  • DonS

    tODD @ 32:

    OK, this is what I said:

    “The idea that we have to restrain our opinions for fear of otherwise inciting nuts to violence is an abominable one. And the idea that nuts are aligned with one or another political movement, or that legitimate adherents of a particular political persuasion are responsible for the actions of nuts is also abominable.” As you can see, the idea of having to restrain the expression of one’s political opinions for fear of “inciting nuts to violence” was indeed identified as an abominable one. As far as whether you actually prescribed such restraint on the part of conservatives, I ask you this. If you did/do not, what is the point of your question?

  • DonS

    tODD @ 33: Here is a quote by the Unabomber, taken from his Wikipedia article (it is sourced in the article): “I don’t think it can be done. In part because of the human tendency, for most people, there are exceptions, to take the path of least resistance. They’ll take the easy way out, and giving up your car, your television set, your electricity, is not the path of least resistance for most people. As I see it, I don’t think there is any controlled or planned way in which we can dismantle the industrial system. I think that the only way we will get rid of it is if it breaks down and collapses … The big problem is that people don’t believe a revolution is possible, and it is not possible precisely because they do not believe it is possible. To a large extent I think the eco-anarchist movement is accomplishing a great deal, but I think they could do it better… The real revolutionaries should separate themselves from the reformers… And I think that it would be good if a conscious effort was being made to get as many people as possible introduced to the wilderness. In a general way, I think what has to be done is not to try and convince or persuade the majority of people that we are right, as much as try to increase tensions in society to the point where things start to break down. To create a situation where people get uncomfortable enough that they’re going to rebel. So the question is how do you increase those tensions?”

    Now, taking my “liberal checklist”, as you so fondly do, I note that he is giving up his car, his television, his electricity, dismantling the industrial system, and touting eco-anarchism. Sounds liberal to me :-)

    Actually, to my whole point, you can’t categorize people like the Unabomber or the Huttaree BECAUSE THEY’RE NUTS!

  • DonS

    tODD @ 33: Here is a quote by the Unabomber, taken from his Wikipedia article (it is sourced in the article): “I don’t think it can be done. In part because of the human tendency, for most people, there are exceptions, to take the path of least resistance. They’ll take the easy way out, and giving up your car, your television set, your electricity, is not the path of least resistance for most people. As I see it, I don’t think there is any controlled or planned way in which we can dismantle the industrial system. I think that the only way we will get rid of it is if it breaks down and collapses … The big problem is that people don’t believe a revolution is possible, and it is not possible precisely because they do not believe it is possible. To a large extent I think the eco-anarchist movement is accomplishing a great deal, but I think they could do it better… The real revolutionaries should separate themselves from the reformers… And I think that it would be good if a conscious effort was being made to get as many people as possible introduced to the wilderness. In a general way, I think what has to be done is not to try and convince or persuade the majority of people that we are right, as much as try to increase tensions in society to the point where things start to break down. To create a situation where people get uncomfortable enough that they’re going to rebel. So the question is how do you increase those tensions?”

    Now, taking my “liberal checklist”, as you so fondly do, I note that he is giving up his car, his television, his electricity, dismantling the industrial system, and touting eco-anarchism. Sounds liberal to me :-)

    Actually, to my whole point, you can’t categorize people like the Unabomber or the Huttaree BECAUSE THEY’RE NUTS!

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Don (@39), did you read what I wrote to you earlier (@20, especially the latter half)?

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Don (@39), did you read what I wrote to you earlier (@20, especially the latter half)?

  • DonS

    Let me clarify my view on the birther issue, which tODD referenced at the end of his post @ 33. I don’t question whether it was reasonable to investigate or consider Obama’s qualification to be president under the constitution, any more than the reasonableness of considering McCain’s qualification, because he was born in the Canal Zone. Both are legitimate questions. But, the time to do that is when they are running for office. These things are not justiciable — no court is going to touch them. They are matters for the voters. So, the voters answered in November 2008. As Dan, above, states “asked and answered”. The voters were satisfied that Obama was qualified to be president. At this juncture, it was time to move on.

    So, when I say that birthers are not nuts, I am not talking about those who questioned his qualification during the campaign. I am talking about those who are still railing about it, and are even filing court cases over it.

  • DonS

    Let me clarify my view on the birther issue, which tODD referenced at the end of his post @ 33. I don’t question whether it was reasonable to investigate or consider Obama’s qualification to be president under the constitution, any more than the reasonableness of considering McCain’s qualification, because he was born in the Canal Zone. Both are legitimate questions. But, the time to do that is when they are running for office. These things are not justiciable — no court is going to touch them. They are matters for the voters. So, the voters answered in November 2008. As Dan, above, states “asked and answered”. The voters were satisfied that Obama was qualified to be president. At this juncture, it was time to move on.

    So, when I say that birthers are not nuts, I am not talking about those who questioned his qualification during the campaign. I am talking about those who are still railing about it, and are even filing court cases over it.

  • DonS

    “So, when I say that birthers are not nuts” should read “So, when I say that birthers are nuts” in post 42.

  • DonS

    “So, when I say that birthers are not nuts” should read “So, when I say that birthers are nuts” in post 42.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Don (@40), the Unabomber “sounds liberal” to you solely because you’re ignoring the actual political statements he did make! I know you’re trying to be clever here, but try picking a case that works!

    The Unabomber’s manifesto (please, try actually looking at it!) is riddled with references to (and excoriations of) “leftists” — 132, in fact! — which, again he cites as one of the main things he is opposed to (“One of the most widespread manifestations of the craziness of our world is leftism,” etc.)

    In contrast, the only reference I could find to those on the right were 5 (!) references to “conservatives”:

    The conservatives are fools: They whine about the decay of traditional values, yet they enthusiastically support technological progress and economic growth. …

    Conservatives and some others advocate more “local autonomy.” Local communities once did have autonomy, but such autonomy becomes less and less possible as local communities become more enmeshed with and dependent on large-scale systems like public utilities, computer networks, highway systems, the mass communications media, the modern health care system. …

    Conservatives’ efforts to decrease the amount of government regulation are of little benefit to the average man. For one thing, only a fraction of the regulations can be eliminated because most regulations are necessary. … The conservatives are just taking the average man for a sucker, exploiting his resentment of Big Government to promote the power of Big Business. …

    Religion, nowadays either is used as cheap and transparent support for narrow, short-sighted selfishness (some conservatives use it this way) …

    This man makes obvious political claims that show him sympathetic to conservatives’ stated goals (if not their actions), and show him deeply opposed to modern leftism. And to this, you can only reply with some ridiculous, half-hearted claims that confuse leftists with anarchists or survivalists.

    Your desire to sweep all these people away as uncategorizable because you’ve declared them “NUTS” does not gibe with the actual facts. None of the Hutaree have been declared insane that I know of. Kaczynski’s lawyer attempted to plea insanity, but Kaczynski rejected the plea, and he was declared competent to stand trial. His manifesto, no matter what your opinion of it may be, is in fact cogent, or at least clear and consistent.

    Actually, it frequently reads like a conservative screed. I mean, does this sound familiar to you: “They [leftists] hate America, they hate Western civilization, they hate white males, they hate rationality.” How about this: “The leftist is anti-individualistic, pro-collectivist. He wants society to solve everyone’s problems for them, satisfy everyone’s needs for them, take care of them.” Or this: “Modern leftish philosophers tend to dismiss reason, science, objective reality and to insist that everything is culturally relative.”

    Oh, yeah, those are clearly the words of a liberal.

    Please. Try harder.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Don (@40), the Unabomber “sounds liberal” to you solely because you’re ignoring the actual political statements he did make! I know you’re trying to be clever here, but try picking a case that works!

    The Unabomber’s manifesto (please, try actually looking at it!) is riddled with references to (and excoriations of) “leftists” — 132, in fact! — which, again he cites as one of the main things he is opposed to (“One of the most widespread manifestations of the craziness of our world is leftism,” etc.)

    In contrast, the only reference I could find to those on the right were 5 (!) references to “conservatives”:

    The conservatives are fools: They whine about the decay of traditional values, yet they enthusiastically support technological progress and economic growth. …

    Conservatives and some others advocate more “local autonomy.” Local communities once did have autonomy, but such autonomy becomes less and less possible as local communities become more enmeshed with and dependent on large-scale systems like public utilities, computer networks, highway systems, the mass communications media, the modern health care system. …

    Conservatives’ efforts to decrease the amount of government regulation are of little benefit to the average man. For one thing, only a fraction of the regulations can be eliminated because most regulations are necessary. … The conservatives are just taking the average man for a sucker, exploiting his resentment of Big Government to promote the power of Big Business. …

    Religion, nowadays either is used as cheap and transparent support for narrow, short-sighted selfishness (some conservatives use it this way) …

    This man makes obvious political claims that show him sympathetic to conservatives’ stated goals (if not their actions), and show him deeply opposed to modern leftism. And to this, you can only reply with some ridiculous, half-hearted claims that confuse leftists with anarchists or survivalists.

    Your desire to sweep all these people away as uncategorizable because you’ve declared them “NUTS” does not gibe with the actual facts. None of the Hutaree have been declared insane that I know of. Kaczynski’s lawyer attempted to plea insanity, but Kaczynski rejected the plea, and he was declared competent to stand trial. His manifesto, no matter what your opinion of it may be, is in fact cogent, or at least clear and consistent.

    Actually, it frequently reads like a conservative screed. I mean, does this sound familiar to you: “They [leftists] hate America, they hate Western civilization, they hate white males, they hate rationality.” How about this: “The leftist is anti-individualistic, pro-collectivist. He wants society to solve everyone’s problems for them, satisfy everyone’s needs for them, take care of them.” Or this: “Modern leftish philosophers tend to dismiss reason, science, objective reality and to insist that everything is culturally relative.”

    Oh, yeah, those are clearly the words of a liberal.

    Please. Try harder.

  • Dan Kempin

    Don, #42

    “So, when I say that birthers are[ . . .] nuts, I am not talking about those who questioned his qualification during the campaign. I am talking about those who are still railing about it, and are even filing court cases over it.”

    That clarification makes my previous post unnecessary.

  • Dan Kempin

    Don, #42

    “So, when I say that birthers are[ . . .] nuts, I am not talking about those who questioned his qualification during the campaign. I am talking about those who are still railing about it, and are even filing court cases over it.”

    That clarification makes my previous post unnecessary.

  • DonS

    tODD @ 44: Are you seriously arguing the cogency and sanity of the Unabomber? The legal definition of insanity deals specifically with whether the defendant is capable of discerning right from wrong and capable of understanding the trial proceedings. Not whether he has a cogent and discernible world view.

    You should start on Major Hasan next. Is he a conservative in your mind as well?

    I think what’s really going on here is that you simply believe conservatives are insane. The Unabomber, although more violent, is really no different, philosophically, than DonS :-) Is that it?

  • DonS

    tODD @ 44: Are you seriously arguing the cogency and sanity of the Unabomber? The legal definition of insanity deals specifically with whether the defendant is capable of discerning right from wrong and capable of understanding the trial proceedings. Not whether he has a cogent and discernible world view.

    You should start on Major Hasan next. Is he a conservative in your mind as well?

    I think what’s really going on here is that you simply believe conservatives are insane. The Unabomber, although more violent, is really no different, philosophically, than DonS :-) Is that it?

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Don (@46), you didn’t read his manifesto, did you? Did you even scan it or peek at it? Because if you did, I guarantee you that you will find yourself agreeing with it in parts. It’s not gibberish. He has a clear, consistent world view. He and you hold leftists in pretty much the same regard. And no, I don’t think you’re insane. But then, I can’t really say with any certainty that he was, either.

    I don’t know the man, so I can’t speak to all of his issues. And he obviously had some, because he tried to kill people. But you can’t seriously argue that everyone who attempts murder is “NUTS”. His position was, simply, one of fear of the modern world. And people will do many things when they’re acting out of fear.

    Honestly, give his manifesto a look. It is wrong, but it is logical. Just like Mein Kampf was wrong, but logical.

    I think what’s really going on here is that you deeply want to believe that any conservative who does something horrible must be insane. I don’t think you have any grounds for making that claim, however, absent more specific knowledge you have not shown.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Don (@46), you didn’t read his manifesto, did you? Did you even scan it or peek at it? Because if you did, I guarantee you that you will find yourself agreeing with it in parts. It’s not gibberish. He has a clear, consistent world view. He and you hold leftists in pretty much the same regard. And no, I don’t think you’re insane. But then, I can’t really say with any certainty that he was, either.

    I don’t know the man, so I can’t speak to all of his issues. And he obviously had some, because he tried to kill people. But you can’t seriously argue that everyone who attempts murder is “NUTS”. His position was, simply, one of fear of the modern world. And people will do many things when they’re acting out of fear.

    Honestly, give his manifesto a look. It is wrong, but it is logical. Just like Mein Kampf was wrong, but logical.

    I think what’s really going on here is that you deeply want to believe that any conservative who does something horrible must be insane. I don’t think you have any grounds for making that claim, however, absent more specific knowledge you have not shown.

  • DonS

    Dan @ 45: I thought that would help you to understand where I was coming from, and to help ensure that I am not willy-nilly labeling people as nuts.

    Most of the issues that so-called “nutters” engage in are not, in and of themselves, fringe or insane, in and of themselves. It’s just that the fringies somehow develop obsessions related to certain issues and cannot let them go, ultimately building their entire lives around them. That’s what has happened to the “birthers”, or the militia, the radical eco-terrorists, etc.

  • DonS

    Dan @ 45: I thought that would help you to understand where I was coming from, and to help ensure that I am not willy-nilly labeling people as nuts.

    Most of the issues that so-called “nutters” engage in are not, in and of themselves, fringe or insane, in and of themselves. It’s just that the fringies somehow develop obsessions related to certain issues and cannot let them go, ultimately building their entire lives around them. That’s what has happened to the “birthers”, or the militia, the radical eco-terrorists, etc.

  • DonS

    tODD @ 47: No, I didn’t. And I won’t. I read some of his manifesto back in the mid-90′s when he was a news item and it was published. But, not the whole thing.

    My recollection is that he was an anti-technologist, an anarchist, and had an affinity for eco-terrorism. From the reporting on him at the time of his capture, it seemed as if he had been a young, liberal, idealistic professor at Berkeley back in the 60′s and 70′s, but had, over time become disillusioned with the liberal movement. He didn’t think they were radical enough, and that they had actually been co-opted by society. I could be wrong, but that’s my recollection. That also could explain why he seemed critical of liberals in his manifesto — not because he was a conservative, but because he was a disillusioned liberal. And because he was an anarchist. They hate everybody.

    I stand by my conviction that he was (is) nuts. You, of course, are free to consider him otherwise.

    So, we return to the question of why? Why did you raise this topic in the first place? You say that you are not holding conservatives responsible for “fringies” that happen to espouse some allegedly conservative views. And that you are not prescribing restraint on the right to free political speech for fear of inciting nuts to violence, etc. So, then, what are you asking for? Just an acknowledgement that conservatives shouldn’t hold mainstream liberals responsible for the acts of nuts who espouse liberal views (e.g. eco-terrorists who attempt to harm loggers by spiking trees, anti-war terro groups, etc.)? Because I am down with that. No problem. Like I have repeatedly said, I don’t even think you can ascribe cogent views of one persuasion or another to these people, let alone blame good, mainstream people of either political persuasion for their radical acts and views.

  • DonS

    tODD @ 47: No, I didn’t. And I won’t. I read some of his manifesto back in the mid-90′s when he was a news item and it was published. But, not the whole thing.

    My recollection is that he was an anti-technologist, an anarchist, and had an affinity for eco-terrorism. From the reporting on him at the time of his capture, it seemed as if he had been a young, liberal, idealistic professor at Berkeley back in the 60′s and 70′s, but had, over time become disillusioned with the liberal movement. He didn’t think they were radical enough, and that they had actually been co-opted by society. I could be wrong, but that’s my recollection. That also could explain why he seemed critical of liberals in his manifesto — not because he was a conservative, but because he was a disillusioned liberal. And because he was an anarchist. They hate everybody.

    I stand by my conviction that he was (is) nuts. You, of course, are free to consider him otherwise.

    So, we return to the question of why? Why did you raise this topic in the first place? You say that you are not holding conservatives responsible for “fringies” that happen to espouse some allegedly conservative views. And that you are not prescribing restraint on the right to free political speech for fear of inciting nuts to violence, etc. So, then, what are you asking for? Just an acknowledgement that conservatives shouldn’t hold mainstream liberals responsible for the acts of nuts who espouse liberal views (e.g. eco-terrorists who attempt to harm loggers by spiking trees, anti-war terro groups, etc.)? Because I am down with that. No problem. Like I have repeatedly said, I don’t even think you can ascribe cogent views of one persuasion or another to these people, let alone blame good, mainstream people of either political persuasion for their radical acts and views.


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