Christian right vs. tea partiers

E. J. Dionne sees conservatism reverting back to its old anti-government, extremism, and conspiracy theory days while abandoning its more recent Christian versions:

Barack Obama’s campaign promise of change did not include a pledge to transform American conservatism. But one of his presidency’s major legacies may be a revolution on the American right in which older, more secular forms of politics displace religious activism.

The reaction to Obama has also radicalized parts of the conservative movement, giving life to conspiracy theories long buried and strains of thinking similar to those espoused by the John Birch Society and other right-wing groups in the 1950s and ’60s. . . .

What’s remarkable is the extent to which the Tea Party movement has displaced the religious right as the dominant voice of conservative militancy. The religious conservatives have not disappeared, and Sarah Palin, a Tea Party hero, does share their views on abortion and gay marriage. But these issues have been overshadowed by the broader anti-government themes pushed by the New Old Right, and the “compassionate conservatism” that inspires parts of the Christian political movement has no place in the right’s current order of battle.

Thus has Obama brought back to life a venerable if disturbing style of conservative thinking. In the short run, the new movement’s energy threatens him. In the long run, its extremism may be his salvation.

via E.J. Dionne Jr. – How Obama changed the right.

I appreciate a prominent liberal commentator not lumping Christian activists in with all the others and not demonizing the Christians for a change.  But do you think his analysis holds up?

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://geochristian.wordpress.com/ Kevin N

    I am a conservative, but am rather wary of the Tea Party movement. It seems to attract some of the worst elements of the right wing, such as the advocates of “drill baby drill whatever the environmental cost”, and those who seem intent—though for the most part wouldn’t admit it—on keeping the Republican party mostly white.

  • http://geochristian.wordpress.com/ Kevin N

    I am a conservative, but am rather wary of the Tea Party movement. It seems to attract some of the worst elements of the right wing, such as the advocates of “drill baby drill whatever the environmental cost”, and those who seem intent—though for the most part wouldn’t admit it—on keeping the Republican party mostly white.

  • Larry

    I don’t think it holds up. It seems crystal clear that the political Christian right and the tea party are pretty close to a distinction without a difference. It’s just the heads that have really changed places. E.g. instead of the leaders being mostly pastors or ex-pastors (like Pat Robertson) it’s more of the lay people (like Sarah Palin).

    One of the evidences of this is who in the conservative ‘big voice’ (talk radio) you hear supporting it very actively and openly verses who in the same supports it but its more of a component of conservativism. E.g. Rush Limbaugh is of course a solid conservative “big voice” but his atmosphere about the tea party, though positive, is similar to his atmosphere concerning the Christian right back in the Clinton era when that was bigger. He recognizes it but only as a component of the conservative movement (at least that’s the way he comes off on it).

    It does do one thing though the former, Christian right, didn’t. The Christian right was mostly a protestant almost only movement with a ‘tip of the hat’ the Catholic right in as much as one could get them ‘on our side’ on an issue. Under tea party its broadened the envelop a bit.

    That’s my opinion on it though I’m dogmatic about it.

  • Larry

    I don’t think it holds up. It seems crystal clear that the political Christian right and the tea party are pretty close to a distinction without a difference. It’s just the heads that have really changed places. E.g. instead of the leaders being mostly pastors or ex-pastors (like Pat Robertson) it’s more of the lay people (like Sarah Palin).

    One of the evidences of this is who in the conservative ‘big voice’ (talk radio) you hear supporting it very actively and openly verses who in the same supports it but its more of a component of conservativism. E.g. Rush Limbaugh is of course a solid conservative “big voice” but his atmosphere about the tea party, though positive, is similar to his atmosphere concerning the Christian right back in the Clinton era when that was bigger. He recognizes it but only as a component of the conservative movement (at least that’s the way he comes off on it).

    It does do one thing though the former, Christian right, didn’t. The Christian right was mostly a protestant almost only movement with a ‘tip of the hat’ the Catholic right in as much as one could get them ‘on our side’ on an issue. Under tea party its broadened the envelop a bit.

    That’s my opinion on it though I’m dogmatic about it.

  • http://ematthaei.blogspot.com Eric

    One of the weaknesses of his analysis is the tendency by liberals to equate any desire for LESS government with ANTI-government or anarchist sympathies. Yet one of the weaknesses of the Tea Party movement may be its lack of specific goals. Desiring smaller government without expressing a specific vision as to where and how to cut budgets or reform agencies, begins to look like a mindless opposition to any sort of government.

  • http://ematthaei.blogspot.com Eric

    One of the weaknesses of his analysis is the tendency by liberals to equate any desire for LESS government with ANTI-government or anarchist sympathies. Yet one of the weaknesses of the Tea Party movement may be its lack of specific goals. Desiring smaller government without expressing a specific vision as to where and how to cut budgets or reform agencies, begins to look like a mindless opposition to any sort of government.

  • Larry

    I’m a conservative too but I’ve always been very cautious about it. Conservatives in theory say “less government” is better but it never manifests itself in the big picture. What you end up seeing is a serious a spiraling swings into more and more government. When the left is in power they add laws to protect us from the right and when the right is in power they add laws to protect us from the left. The sum of 30+ years of this (my life time in experiences this) is more power to the government.

    It’s like I’m beginning to see what my dad, a very conservative man, chuckled at me years ago as young Reaganite back when I was much younger and ‘more full of fire’ as it were. I kept arguing with him basically, “yea if we would just get xyz done in elections we can get our taxes lowered.” My dad kind of chuckled at me, having been around a bit longer and more, served in the Marine corp, been around the world a bit, saying to me, “Son I’ve been voting all my life and I’ve heard that mantra all my life. The government will never shrink and taxes will never go down…just the opposite.” At the time it made me made being a young person thinking, ‘that’s just old school have not tried the right thing yet’ thinking.

    Now that I’m older and closer to the age of my dad when he made those comments and been voting for a bit longer now, I begin to see that experiential wisdom that before hand I scoffed at.

  • Larry

    I’m a conservative too but I’ve always been very cautious about it. Conservatives in theory say “less government” is better but it never manifests itself in the big picture. What you end up seeing is a serious a spiraling swings into more and more government. When the left is in power they add laws to protect us from the right and when the right is in power they add laws to protect us from the left. The sum of 30+ years of this (my life time in experiences this) is more power to the government.

    It’s like I’m beginning to see what my dad, a very conservative man, chuckled at me years ago as young Reaganite back when I was much younger and ‘more full of fire’ as it were. I kept arguing with him basically, “yea if we would just get xyz done in elections we can get our taxes lowered.” My dad kind of chuckled at me, having been around a bit longer and more, served in the Marine corp, been around the world a bit, saying to me, “Son I’ve been voting all my life and I’ve heard that mantra all my life. The government will never shrink and taxes will never go down…just the opposite.” At the time it made me made being a young person thinking, ‘that’s just old school have not tried the right thing yet’ thinking.

    Now that I’m older and closer to the age of my dad when he made those comments and been voting for a bit longer now, I begin to see that experiential wisdom that before hand I scoffed at.

  • Joe

    Kevin and Eric – I have you been in the tea parties? I ask because your observations seem to be the same story that the media puts out. I have done some work with tea party folks; there are at least 13 groups in Wisconsin that use the label tea party. The idea that they desire an all white Republican party is hogwash. Just plain and simple hogwash. Around the county non-whites are involved and in some instances leading tea party groups.

    As for specific goals its not possible yet. The idea that there is a nation wide organization is just not right. These are small clusters of people that unite only to the extent that some of the major players speak to some aspect of the beliefs of the individual groups. Some groups are libertarian, some are law and order conservatives, some are focused solely on economics and some sound exactly like the 1994 GOP. As the movement matures, a more unified platform emerges but for now it is a very localized thing.

    To me, a conservative who believes that federalism is the key principle that can save the Republican party, is glad for the tea parties. They are forcing the GOP to have a conversation about its own ideas and beliefs. Reagen was only successful because he was able to unit free market cons, libertarians and social cons in one coalition. He did this by clearly articulating to the social cons that the issues they care about are state level issues – not federal issues. I think the tea parties can have a similar effect and that would be good for the GOP and the county.

  • Joe

    Kevin and Eric – I have you been in the tea parties? I ask because your observations seem to be the same story that the media puts out. I have done some work with tea party folks; there are at least 13 groups in Wisconsin that use the label tea party. The idea that they desire an all white Republican party is hogwash. Just plain and simple hogwash. Around the county non-whites are involved and in some instances leading tea party groups.

    As for specific goals its not possible yet. The idea that there is a nation wide organization is just not right. These are small clusters of people that unite only to the extent that some of the major players speak to some aspect of the beliefs of the individual groups. Some groups are libertarian, some are law and order conservatives, some are focused solely on economics and some sound exactly like the 1994 GOP. As the movement matures, a more unified platform emerges but for now it is a very localized thing.

    To me, a conservative who believes that federalism is the key principle that can save the Republican party, is glad for the tea parties. They are forcing the GOP to have a conversation about its own ideas and beliefs. Reagen was only successful because he was able to unit free market cons, libertarians and social cons in one coalition. He did this by clearly articulating to the social cons that the issues they care about are state level issues – not federal issues. I think the tea parties can have a similar effect and that would be good for the GOP and the county.

  • Stryker

    The Tea Party is a bigger tent than many give it credit for. It includes people of different races and a spectrum of views despite the media’s claims to the contrary.

    Eric is right, the call for less government is being painted as a call for no government. The Tea party is tame compared to the rising tide of real anti government sentiment out there. Many groups reject the Tea Party and promote a ‘stronger’ reaction. Check out a couple of these:

    http://westernrifleshooters.blogspot.com/

    http://www.sipseystreetirregulars.blogspot.com/

    Warning: Some of these sites may contain graphic images or language and will probably get you on a homeland security list if you click on them.

    While I do not agree with the ideas contained in these sites, I do understand some of the frustration that can give rise to these sentiments, The Tea Party is a tame lap dog compared to these guys. These sites are multiplying quickly.

  • Stryker

    The Tea Party is a bigger tent than many give it credit for. It includes people of different races and a spectrum of views despite the media’s claims to the contrary.

    Eric is right, the call for less government is being painted as a call for no government. The Tea party is tame compared to the rising tide of real anti government sentiment out there. Many groups reject the Tea Party and promote a ‘stronger’ reaction. Check out a couple of these:

    http://westernrifleshooters.blogspot.com/

    http://www.sipseystreetirregulars.blogspot.com/

    Warning: Some of these sites may contain graphic images or language and will probably get you on a homeland security list if you click on them.

    While I do not agree with the ideas contained in these sites, I do understand some of the frustration that can give rise to these sentiments, The Tea Party is a tame lap dog compared to these guys. These sites are multiplying quickly.

  • Kirk

    I’d say the tea party is more of an evolution of as supposed to a supplanting of the Christian Right. I think Larry is right is saying that the leadership is now more lay, but I also see the motivation for their positions changing. A very basic understanding of religious right reasoning is that “if you believe in God, you will vote this way,” but that’s not something I see the Tea Partiers advocating. They seem to draw more motivation from the founders, in a positive sense, and from the hatred of a disparate ideology, in the negative sense. I think it’s a lot of the same crowd, but I think that Tea Partiers are a distinct group, now.

  • Kirk

    I’d say the tea party is more of an evolution of as supposed to a supplanting of the Christian Right. I think Larry is right is saying that the leadership is now more lay, but I also see the motivation for their positions changing. A very basic understanding of religious right reasoning is that “if you believe in God, you will vote this way,” but that’s not something I see the Tea Partiers advocating. They seem to draw more motivation from the founders, in a positive sense, and from the hatred of a disparate ideology, in the negative sense. I think it’s a lot of the same crowd, but I think that Tea Partiers are a distinct group, now.

  • http://lutherama.blogspot.com Dr. Luther in 21st Century

    The tea party is too much of a mix bag to say anything truly definitive about it outside of the people generally wanting less taxes and no government health care. The liberals keep trying to pin them down but fail simply because they are too diverse a group. Yes, some of the more fringie nuts (conspiracy theorists, racists, etc.) have found a home there, but so have Moms & Pops who just want to raise their families and be left alone to make their own decisions and take their own risks. At the same time, I think we are witnessing the total divide of our nation. I suspect anymore people in the tea party aren’t even listening to the more liberal commentators and the more liberal amongst us no longer listen to the conservative commentators, and merely content themselves with establishing talking points for preaching to the choir.

    Larry’s comments in #4 are a big reason why I have largely left behind my party affiliation (I still largely vote Republican, but now on an individual basis). It doesn’t matter which one is in office the government is going to grow larger and more intrusive each year. Every election, it becomes tempting to give into despair and write in Mickey Mouse, but I know that won’t solve anything.

    I just pray come, Lord Jesus, come quickly and save us from ourselves.

  • http://lutherama.blogspot.com Dr. Luther in 21st Century

    The tea party is too much of a mix bag to say anything truly definitive about it outside of the people generally wanting less taxes and no government health care. The liberals keep trying to pin them down but fail simply because they are too diverse a group. Yes, some of the more fringie nuts (conspiracy theorists, racists, etc.) have found a home there, but so have Moms & Pops who just want to raise their families and be left alone to make their own decisions and take their own risks. At the same time, I think we are witnessing the total divide of our nation. I suspect anymore people in the tea party aren’t even listening to the more liberal commentators and the more liberal amongst us no longer listen to the conservative commentators, and merely content themselves with establishing talking points for preaching to the choir.

    Larry’s comments in #4 are a big reason why I have largely left behind my party affiliation (I still largely vote Republican, but now on an individual basis). It doesn’t matter which one is in office the government is going to grow larger and more intrusive each year. Every election, it becomes tempting to give into despair and write in Mickey Mouse, but I know that won’t solve anything.

    I just pray come, Lord Jesus, come quickly and save us from ourselves.

  • Peter Leavitt

    EJ Dionne once wrote a book [1996] predicting that the religious-right would fold and that the “progressives” would dominate the next political era. The Dem takeover of Congress in 2006 plus St. Obama’s 2008 election were proof positive that the Progressive era had begun its redemptive work.

    Lo and behold the religious “right” by and large melded nicely with the centrist conservatives when most of these folk realized that Obama/Pelosi/Reid were stridently at work hustling the country in a hard-left direction that is unsustainable financially and dangerous to traditional American liberties.

    Dionne is one of those ubiquitous Harvard educated fools saturated with liberal ideology, quite lacking understanding of the real strengths of most American people who are willing to work hard and skeptical of inefficient, ferociously expensive government programs, along with the public-employee unions that that support them.

    Obama is in process of shattering “progressive” illusions; of course Dionne and his ilk are striking back by labeling the Tea Party folk extremists. In truth the real extremists are huddled together in Washington sucking their thumbs and hurling assorted anathema at the Tea Party folk, a delightful, soul satisfying spectacle.

  • Peter Leavitt

    EJ Dionne once wrote a book [1996] predicting that the religious-right would fold and that the “progressives” would dominate the next political era. The Dem takeover of Congress in 2006 plus St. Obama’s 2008 election were proof positive that the Progressive era had begun its redemptive work.

    Lo and behold the religious “right” by and large melded nicely with the centrist conservatives when most of these folk realized that Obama/Pelosi/Reid were stridently at work hustling the country in a hard-left direction that is unsustainable financially and dangerous to traditional American liberties.

    Dionne is one of those ubiquitous Harvard educated fools saturated with liberal ideology, quite lacking understanding of the real strengths of most American people who are willing to work hard and skeptical of inefficient, ferociously expensive government programs, along with the public-employee unions that that support them.

    Obama is in process of shattering “progressive” illusions; of course Dionne and his ilk are striking back by labeling the Tea Party folk extremists. In truth the real extremists are huddled together in Washington sucking their thumbs and hurling assorted anathema at the Tea Party folk, a delightful, soul satisfying spectacle.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    It seems to me that the right-wingers under Obama have picked up more than a few tips from the left-wingers under Bush. People upset at a President and the other political side for ramming through an ill-advised, major policy? Check. Large massings of people? Check. Little to no actual defined policies or goals? Check. Large massings mainly composed of disparate groups which may or may not have much to do with each other or even like each other? Check.

    And so on. If this keeps up, they’ll be able to maintain their fervor throughout Obama’s administration — though less and less so as their lack of any goals or major points becomes burdensome — but once he’s gone (and, just guessing, a Republican fills the office), the movement will more or less die. Oh sure, not entirely (I mean, MoveOn is still around, right? I’m honestly asking, I don’t personally know without Googling).

    It’s convenient right now for the tea party types to not have any clear planks in their platform. It allows everyone to join and vent their anger in a way that seems really impressive — hey, are you angry and not a Democrat? Come join us. And those affiliating themselves with the movement can easily dismiss its less savory elements, because, hey, it’s a big tent and I don’t agree with those guys and that’s not what we’re about. Naturally, the less savory elements are probably saying the same things about you. But if the tea party stays inchoate like this — the only apparent requirement being that you label yourself part of the “tea party”, and maybe being for lower taxes, no matter what — it will never go anywhere.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    It seems to me that the right-wingers under Obama have picked up more than a few tips from the left-wingers under Bush. People upset at a President and the other political side for ramming through an ill-advised, major policy? Check. Large massings of people? Check. Little to no actual defined policies or goals? Check. Large massings mainly composed of disparate groups which may or may not have much to do with each other or even like each other? Check.

    And so on. If this keeps up, they’ll be able to maintain their fervor throughout Obama’s administration — though less and less so as their lack of any goals or major points becomes burdensome — but once he’s gone (and, just guessing, a Republican fills the office), the movement will more or less die. Oh sure, not entirely (I mean, MoveOn is still around, right? I’m honestly asking, I don’t personally know without Googling).

    It’s convenient right now for the tea party types to not have any clear planks in their platform. It allows everyone to join and vent their anger in a way that seems really impressive — hey, are you angry and not a Democrat? Come join us. And those affiliating themselves with the movement can easily dismiss its less savory elements, because, hey, it’s a big tent and I don’t agree with those guys and that’s not what we’re about. Naturally, the less savory elements are probably saying the same things about you. But if the tea party stays inchoate like this — the only apparent requirement being that you label yourself part of the “tea party”, and maybe being for lower taxes, no matter what — it will never go anywhere.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Also, Peter (@9), “one of those ubiquitous Harvard educated fools”? Please do not tempt me.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Also, Peter (@9), “one of those ubiquitous Harvard educated fools”? Please do not tempt me.

  • DonS

    EJ Dionne is a doctrinaire liberal who is viewing the current resurgence in conservative politics through a liberal prism. He is trying to understand something he is not disposed to understand. It is the same reason the mainstream media seldom properly reports on conservative politics — they just do not understand the philosophy.

    Joe’s comments are salient. The tea party movement is not a cohesive thing — it is an uprising of ordinary Americans, of all races and walks of life, who are sick and tired of an ever increasing federal government which is bankrupting the country. The platform is simple — shrink the federal government to its constitutionally authorized responsibilities. The fact that Dionne considers this viewpoint to be extreme indicates why we are in dire straits. We as a nation are conditioned to want a government that will “do something”. What we on the right are saying is we want a government that recognizes when it shouldn’t DO ANYTHING about matters that are not within its purview! Return the power to the people, where it constitutionally belongs. Let states and local governments handle their responsibilities, such as public safety, education, social welfare, etc.

    It is an educational process to help people understand that they are better off without nanny government. It will take time. But, given, the unsustainable course our government is currently on, with almost certain eventual collapse, the movement, while it may ebb or flow at certain points in time, will not fade away.

  • DonS

    EJ Dionne is a doctrinaire liberal who is viewing the current resurgence in conservative politics through a liberal prism. He is trying to understand something he is not disposed to understand. It is the same reason the mainstream media seldom properly reports on conservative politics — they just do not understand the philosophy.

    Joe’s comments are salient. The tea party movement is not a cohesive thing — it is an uprising of ordinary Americans, of all races and walks of life, who are sick and tired of an ever increasing federal government which is bankrupting the country. The platform is simple — shrink the federal government to its constitutionally authorized responsibilities. The fact that Dionne considers this viewpoint to be extreme indicates why we are in dire straits. We as a nation are conditioned to want a government that will “do something”. What we on the right are saying is we want a government that recognizes when it shouldn’t DO ANYTHING about matters that are not within its purview! Return the power to the people, where it constitutionally belongs. Let states and local governments handle their responsibilities, such as public safety, education, social welfare, etc.

    It is an educational process to help people understand that they are better off without nanny government. It will take time. But, given, the unsustainable course our government is currently on, with almost certain eventual collapse, the movement, while it may ebb or flow at certain points in time, will not fade away.

  • Tom Hering

    A federal government shrunk to its constitutionally authorized responsibilities is a pipe dream. Even if you could get it there, how would you keep it there? I mean, the federal government has already been there – back on day one of its existence. But it didn’t stay there for long (probably not beyond day two of its existence). And for good reason. The country was growing – fast.

    A federal government returned to its 18th-century limits simply could not govern a 21st-century nation that has grown incredibly in geographical size, population and complexity-of-life.

  • Tom Hering

    A federal government shrunk to its constitutionally authorized responsibilities is a pipe dream. Even if you could get it there, how would you keep it there? I mean, the federal government has already been there – back on day one of its existence. But it didn’t stay there for long (probably not beyond day two of its existence). And for good reason. The country was growing – fast.

    A federal government returned to its 18th-century limits simply could not govern a 21st-century nation that has grown incredibly in geographical size, population and complexity-of-life.

  • DonS

    Tom @ 13: Thank you, at least, for acknowledging that the federal government as currently operating is acting unconstitutionally. Most people having a more liberal viewpoing are not that honest (about this issue — I am NOT saying that liberals are inherently dishonest :-) )

    Why, exactly, did (and does) the federal government need to expand into areas not constitutionally authorized, just because the nation grew? Why does the federal government need to be involved in education, which is much better handled more locally? Why all the social welfare programs and entitlements? Why the tremendous debt and unfunded future liabilities? How do these things make our nation stronger?

  • DonS

    Tom @ 13: Thank you, at least, for acknowledging that the federal government as currently operating is acting unconstitutionally. Most people having a more liberal viewpoing are not that honest (about this issue — I am NOT saying that liberals are inherently dishonest :-) )

    Why, exactly, did (and does) the federal government need to expand into areas not constitutionally authorized, just because the nation grew? Why does the federal government need to be involved in education, which is much better handled more locally? Why all the social welfare programs and entitlements? Why the tremendous debt and unfunded future liabilities? How do these things make our nation stronger?

  • Joe

    tODD – I don’t disagree with a lot of what you wrote, but you are wrong when you characterize the tea party as not being inclusive of democrats. I have democrat voting friends who are involved, a tea party group in Idaho (I beleive) endorsed a dem candidate and several of the Wisconsin tea party groups have ask Sen. Russ Feingold for a meeting because they are considering who they should endorse if anyone in his race. Obviously, these dems are more conservative in nature but they are involved.

  • Joe

    tODD – I don’t disagree with a lot of what you wrote, but you are wrong when you characterize the tea party as not being inclusive of democrats. I have democrat voting friends who are involved, a tea party group in Idaho (I beleive) endorsed a dem candidate and several of the Wisconsin tea party groups have ask Sen. Russ Feingold for a meeting because they are considering who they should endorse if anyone in his race. Obviously, these dems are more conservative in nature but they are involved.

  • Joe

    “A federal government returned to its 18th-century limits simply could not govern a 21st-century nation that has grown incredibly in geographical size, population and complexity-of-life.”

    that’s the point Tom – its not supposed to. The States are supposed to be the government that plays the more active role in governing this land of ours.

  • Joe

    “A federal government returned to its 18th-century limits simply could not govern a 21st-century nation that has grown incredibly in geographical size, population and complexity-of-life.”

    that’s the point Tom – its not supposed to. The States are supposed to be the government that plays the more active role in governing this land of ours.

  • http://www.lordjimemperoroficecream.blogspot.com James Banks

    I’d say that the argument that Dionne is putting forward–that the Tea Party is actually a liability rather than an asset to the Republican Party–is really getting old. It is what basically everyone on the left has said so far. My guess is that this is because they are concerned about November.

  • http://www.lordjimemperoroficecream.blogspot.com James Banks

    I’d say that the argument that Dionne is putting forward–that the Tea Party is actually a liability rather than an asset to the Republican Party–is really getting old. It is what basically everyone on the left has said so far. My guess is that this is because they are concerned about November.

  • Tom Hering

    Don @ 14, I wouldn’t say the federal government is acting unconstitutionally (against the constitution) just because it has expanded its role. I’d say it’s acting extraconstitutionally, because reality demands it.

  • Tom Hering

    Don @ 14, I wouldn’t say the federal government is acting unconstitutionally (against the constitution) just because it has expanded its role. I’d say it’s acting extraconstitutionally, because reality demands it.

  • Tom Hering

    Joe @ 16, if you think the states should handle this land of ours – each on their own, and to a larger degree – that’s fine. Just be ready for huge increases in your state taxes. Unless you, and the majority of the people in your state, don’t want much in the way of services. But I bet your state would eventually work together with bordering states on many things it can’t do by itself, and you’d end up with governing entities whose reach extends both beyond, and back into, your state. And your life.

  • Tom Hering

    Joe @ 16, if you think the states should handle this land of ours – each on their own, and to a larger degree – that’s fine. Just be ready for huge increases in your state taxes. Unless you, and the majority of the people in your state, don’t want much in the way of services. But I bet your state would eventually work together with bordering states on many things it can’t do by itself, and you’d end up with governing entities whose reach extends both beyond, and back into, your state. And your life.

  • DonS

    Tom @ 18 & 19: I’m not sure I understand the distinction between “unconstitutionally” and “extraconstitutionally”, or that there really is one. The Constitution was devised to limit the federal government to certain defined responsibilities, with the remaining responsibilities expressly reserved to the people and the states. To the extent that the federal government exceeds its defined responsibilities, it is unconstitutionally pre-empting the states’ rights to act in those areas.

    When you say “reality demands it”, what say you concerning the $100 + trillion in debt and unfunded future mandated spending we have selfishly imposed on future generations?

  • DonS

    Tom @ 18 & 19: I’m not sure I understand the distinction between “unconstitutionally” and “extraconstitutionally”, or that there really is one. The Constitution was devised to limit the federal government to certain defined responsibilities, with the remaining responsibilities expressly reserved to the people and the states. To the extent that the federal government exceeds its defined responsibilities, it is unconstitutionally pre-empting the states’ rights to act in those areas.

    When you say “reality demands it”, what say you concerning the $100 + trillion in debt and unfunded future mandated spending we have selfishly imposed on future generations?

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    DonS opines (@12) of Dionne, “he is trying to understand something he is not disposed to understand.” I see. And is this a problem all “doctrinaire” partisans have? Can I use this line to explain why you, Don, are incapable of understanding anything liberal, that you “just do not understand the philosophy”? Because you certainly spend a not-insignificant amount of time here telling us about liberals and their ways. Or are you just saying you personally are smarter than Dionne because you understand the philosophies of both sides?

    Joe (@15), that’s interesting. Not exactly the sort of stuff that I’ve heard about, even from self-proclaimed tea partiers. For instance, a perusal of any of a number of apparent tea party Web sites would not lead me to the conclusion that you state. So while I believe you about these instances, I have a hard time believing that party-agnostic attribute holds overall.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    DonS opines (@12) of Dionne, “he is trying to understand something he is not disposed to understand.” I see. And is this a problem all “doctrinaire” partisans have? Can I use this line to explain why you, Don, are incapable of understanding anything liberal, that you “just do not understand the philosophy”? Because you certainly spend a not-insignificant amount of time here telling us about liberals and their ways. Or are you just saying you personally are smarter than Dionne because you understand the philosophies of both sides?

    Joe (@15), that’s interesting. Not exactly the sort of stuff that I’ve heard about, even from self-proclaimed tea partiers. For instance, a perusal of any of a number of apparent tea party Web sites would not lead me to the conclusion that you state. So while I believe you about these instances, I have a hard time believing that party-agnostic attribute holds overall.

  • DonS

    Tom @ 19: I forgot, in my prior comment, to address your comment to Joe @ 19. I think, though, that he would agree that your scenario is actually a desirable one. Let those states that are willing to shoulder a greater tax burden do so, and those that wish to be more free take that course. The states are a great laboratory, where we as a nation can evaluate what works and what doesn’t. Moreover, the advantage of having states and local governments be responsible for social spending programs is that they cannot print money. They need to balance their budgets, so cannot leave the same level of debt and unfunded liabilities to future generations as the federal government so cavalierly does.

  • DonS

    Tom @ 19: I forgot, in my prior comment, to address your comment to Joe @ 19. I think, though, that he would agree that your scenario is actually a desirable one. Let those states that are willing to shoulder a greater tax burden do so, and those that wish to be more free take that course. The states are a great laboratory, where we as a nation can evaluate what works and what doesn’t. Moreover, the advantage of having states and local governments be responsible for social spending programs is that they cannot print money. They need to balance their budgets, so cannot leave the same level of debt and unfunded liabilities to future generations as the federal government so cavalierly does.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    James (@17), it’s no different than when everyone was saying that left-wing protesters were a liability to the Democratic Party. Of course, some are still saying that.

    But is the tea party “an asset to the Republican Party”? That would certainly seem to contradict Joe’s statements (@15). Moreover, if the Republicans see the tea party as just one of their wings, then they’ve been coopted, and their influence is pretty much over. After all, if you’re already going to vote Republican no matter what, then the Republicans have no reason to curry your favor. This is the tea party’s fundamental difficulty to overcome.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    James (@17), it’s no different than when everyone was saying that left-wing protesters were a liability to the Democratic Party. Of course, some are still saying that.

    But is the tea party “an asset to the Republican Party”? That would certainly seem to contradict Joe’s statements (@15). Moreover, if the Republicans see the tea party as just one of their wings, then they’ve been coopted, and their influence is pretty much over. After all, if you’re already going to vote Republican no matter what, then the Republicans have no reason to curry your favor. This is the tea party’s fundamental difficulty to overcome.

  • DonS

    tODD @ 21: I freely admit that I have no understanding of the liberal mind. I cannot fathom the concept of substituting government programs for individual responsibility, or how those programs in any way satisfy Christ’s command to love our neighbor. I cannot begin to understand the notion that we must entitle endless spending to satisfy every perceived social need, without regard for budgetary limits or the ever ballooning national debt. Or why Democrats, even though holding overwhelming majorities in both House and Senate, refuse to pass a budget this year, allegedly because they do not wish to draw attention to this ballooning debt, yet will do nothing meaningful or sacrificial to address that debt. When I comment about “liberals and their ways”, I do so from a conservative point of view. I do not pretend, as Dionne has done, to have any insight into what makes them tick, or predict how their movement will progress in the future. If you can find any such predictions in my past comments, please let me know.

  • DonS

    tODD @ 21: I freely admit that I have no understanding of the liberal mind. I cannot fathom the concept of substituting government programs for individual responsibility, or how those programs in any way satisfy Christ’s command to love our neighbor. I cannot begin to understand the notion that we must entitle endless spending to satisfy every perceived social need, without regard for budgetary limits or the ever ballooning national debt. Or why Democrats, even though holding overwhelming majorities in both House and Senate, refuse to pass a budget this year, allegedly because they do not wish to draw attention to this ballooning debt, yet will do nothing meaningful or sacrificial to address that debt. When I comment about “liberals and their ways”, I do so from a conservative point of view. I do not pretend, as Dionne has done, to have any insight into what makes them tick, or predict how their movement will progress in the future. If you can find any such predictions in my past comments, please let me know.

  • Tom Hering

    Don, when did the federal government stop cooperating with the states in carrying out its policies, or when did the states stop saying “no” to some things? We didn’t get where we are because of the decisions and actions of the federal government alone. What about state and local budget crises? They’re legion – debt and spending are hardly unique to the federal government. The American people are an excess-debt-and-spending people. Our different levels of government simply reflect us in this … and will continue to do so, until we ourselves become a more virtuous people. (Don’t hold your breath.)

  • Tom Hering

    Don, when did the federal government stop cooperating with the states in carrying out its policies, or when did the states stop saying “no” to some things? We didn’t get where we are because of the decisions and actions of the federal government alone. What about state and local budget crises? They’re legion – debt and spending are hardly unique to the federal government. The American people are an excess-debt-and-spending people. Our different levels of government simply reflect us in this … and will continue to do so, until we ourselves become a more virtuous people. (Don’t hold your breath.)

  • DonS

    Tom @ 25: The doctrine of federal preemption actually excludes the states from legislating or regulating in many areas governed by federal programs. Take the ERISA statute, related to employment and benefits, as one very significant example of this. Preemption is hardly cooperation.

    I agree that we didn’t get where we are solely because of the decisions and actions of the federal government. BUT, state and local budget crises need to be relatively quickly resolved or they will no longer be able to borrow money and will default. The federal government, because of its immense size and ability to print money, is not appropriately constrained by borrowing limitations, and thus has been allowed to grow a debt and unfunded liability obligation which dwarfs by a factor of 50 or more the total liabilities of all of the states and local governments. What the Tea Party is doing is exactly what you claim needs to be done. It is advocating that we become a more virtuous people by honoring our own Constitution and reducing our spending to that for which we have means. Living within budgetary limitations is a virtuous thing — let’s have our government lead by example instead of leading us into ruination.

  • DonS

    Tom @ 25: The doctrine of federal preemption actually excludes the states from legislating or regulating in many areas governed by federal programs. Take the ERISA statute, related to employment and benefits, as one very significant example of this. Preemption is hardly cooperation.

    I agree that we didn’t get where we are solely because of the decisions and actions of the federal government. BUT, state and local budget crises need to be relatively quickly resolved or they will no longer be able to borrow money and will default. The federal government, because of its immense size and ability to print money, is not appropriately constrained by borrowing limitations, and thus has been allowed to grow a debt and unfunded liability obligation which dwarfs by a factor of 50 or more the total liabilities of all of the states and local governments. What the Tea Party is doing is exactly what you claim needs to be done. It is advocating that we become a more virtuous people by honoring our own Constitution and reducing our spending to that for which we have means. Living within budgetary limitations is a virtuous thing — let’s have our government lead by example instead of leading us into ruination.

  • Peter Leavitt

    Tom: The American people are an excess-debt-and-spending people. Our different levels of government simply reflect us in this …

    That’s an airy generality. Plenty of responsible, hard-working, American people and some states live well within their means. These people just now have had it with those who live irresponsibly beyond their means and somehow expect the gov’m’nt to bail them out.

    The trouble is that mainly the left, with admittedly help from the soft right, has tried to sell people on the idea that statism as opposed to individual responsibility is the solution to our problems.
    Fortunately, the Republicans are developing some statesmen, including Paul Ryan, Eric Cantor, Mitch Daniels, Carly Fiorina, Meg Whitman, and Scott Brown who have the capability to steer the country sensibly out of this miasma that comes from big, spendthrift, unsustainable, and foolish government.

  • Peter Leavitt

    Tom: The American people are an excess-debt-and-spending people. Our different levels of government simply reflect us in this …

    That’s an airy generality. Plenty of responsible, hard-working, American people and some states live well within their means. These people just now have had it with those who live irresponsibly beyond their means and somehow expect the gov’m’nt to bail them out.

    The trouble is that mainly the left, with admittedly help from the soft right, has tried to sell people on the idea that statism as opposed to individual responsibility is the solution to our problems.
    Fortunately, the Republicans are developing some statesmen, including Paul Ryan, Eric Cantor, Mitch Daniels, Carly Fiorina, Meg Whitman, and Scott Brown who have the capability to steer the country sensibly out of this miasma that comes from big, spendthrift, unsustainable, and foolish government.

  • Eric H.

    The assertion that the “tea bag” movement is anything but overwhelmingly white is unproven. Where’s proof of a substantial number of black or Latino leaders?
    Rather, the movement consists of white folks who live pretty comfortably but are mad they don’t have it even better.
    Period.

  • Eric H.

    The assertion that the “tea bag” movement is anything but overwhelmingly white is unproven. Where’s proof of a substantial number of black or Latino leaders?
    Rather, the movement consists of white folks who live pretty comfortably but are mad they don’t have it even better.
    Period.

  • DonS

    Eric H. @ 28: Or, to put it another way, the assertion that the Tea Party movement is overwhelmingly white is unproven. Where’s proof that there aren’t a substantial number of black or Latino leaders?

    The rest of your comment is conclusory nonsense.

  • DonS

    Eric H. @ 28: Or, to put it another way, the assertion that the Tea Party movement is overwhelmingly white is unproven. Where’s proof that there aren’t a substantial number of black or Latino leaders?

    The rest of your comment is conclusory nonsense.

  • Joe

    Tom asked “when did the federal government stop cooperating with the states in carrying out its policies, or when did the states stop saying “no” to some things?”

    Generally, the states stopped saying no and the feds stopped using co-operative approaches after Dole v. South Dakota. That case for the first time held that the US Congress could condition a State’s receipt of federal funds upon the State’s compliance with federal policies that the federal gov’t was without the authority to compel a state to comply with. Since the feds were going to take the taxes in the first instance for the express purpose of sending it back to the states, a states only choices are do as your told or keep giving us money that we will give to some other state. All of the right people were on the wrong side of this case. The Dole is Elisabeth Dole who was Reagan’s sec. of transportation at the time.

    tODD and James, I would say that the tea parties are neither and asset or a liability. They are a challenge to the GOP. As in, “get your act together.”

  • Joe

    Tom asked “when did the federal government stop cooperating with the states in carrying out its policies, or when did the states stop saying “no” to some things?”

    Generally, the states stopped saying no and the feds stopped using co-operative approaches after Dole v. South Dakota. That case for the first time held that the US Congress could condition a State’s receipt of federal funds upon the State’s compliance with federal policies that the federal gov’t was without the authority to compel a state to comply with. Since the feds were going to take the taxes in the first instance for the express purpose of sending it back to the states, a states only choices are do as your told or keep giving us money that we will give to some other state. All of the right people were on the wrong side of this case. The Dole is Elisabeth Dole who was Reagan’s sec. of transportation at the time.

    tODD and James, I would say that the tea parties are neither and asset or a liability. They are a challenge to the GOP. As in, “get your act together.”

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Don (@29), while Eric’s comment did make the Troll-o-Meter go “ping”, I can’t believe you attempted to rebut it with “Where’s proof that there aren’t a substantial number of black or Latino leaders?” Um, that’s not how it works. The person making the claim has the burden of proof. Joe made the claim (@5) that “non-whites are involved and in some instances leading tea party groups.” I have no reason to doubt him, but he offered no proof. Eric (@28) asked him for that proof. Nobody has bothered to answer his request, yourself included. It’s fine for you to plead ignorance, especially if you don’t claim tea party affiliation (pegging down members can be almost as difficult as pegging down their goals). But Joe should probably provide evidence for his claim at this point, if he can.

    And Joe (@30), a “challenge” without a credible threat isn’t much of a challenge. If tea partiers always end up voting Republican anyhow, there is no reasons for the GOP to get their act together.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Don (@29), while Eric’s comment did make the Troll-o-Meter go “ping”, I can’t believe you attempted to rebut it with “Where’s proof that there aren’t a substantial number of black or Latino leaders?” Um, that’s not how it works. The person making the claim has the burden of proof. Joe made the claim (@5) that “non-whites are involved and in some instances leading tea party groups.” I have no reason to doubt him, but he offered no proof. Eric (@28) asked him for that proof. Nobody has bothered to answer his request, yourself included. It’s fine for you to plead ignorance, especially if you don’t claim tea party affiliation (pegging down members can be almost as difficult as pegging down their goals). But Joe should probably provide evidence for his claim at this point, if he can.

    And Joe (@30), a “challenge” without a credible threat isn’t much of a challenge. If tea partiers always end up voting Republican anyhow, there is no reasons for the GOP to get their act together.

  • Tom Hering

    Okay, questions. Was the expanded role of the federal government created illegally? Or was it, over time, created legally (constitutionally) by the judicial and legislative branches? Which part of the federal government’s current expanded role has been challenged on constitutional grounds, but allowed to stand by congress and the courts in acknowledged opposition to the constitution?

  • Tom Hering

    Okay, questions. Was the expanded role of the federal government created illegally? Or was it, over time, created legally (constitutionally) by the judicial and legislative branches? Which part of the federal government’s current expanded role has been challenged on constitutional grounds, but allowed to stand by congress and the courts in acknowledged opposition to the constitution?

  • DonS

    tODD @ 31: I wasn’t aware that Eric was specifically attempting to rebut Joe’s comment @ 5. If so, he misquoted. Here is what Joe said: “Around the county non-whites are involved and in some instances leading tea party groups.”

    Eric asked: ” Where’s proof of a substantial number of black or Latino leaders?” Notice the difference — “substantial number”. Joe’s comment, probably anecdotal, is based on his personal observation of minorities leading various cells of this non-centralized movement. I, too, have seen video and facebook references involving minorities “leading” (to the extent leaders exist) in the movement. Anecdotal evidence to support a statement as bland as Joe’s is perfectly sufficient — you can believe it or disbelieve it, but it is clearly evidence. Whether there is a “substantial number” is an entirely different point. Who knows? Who cares? What constitutes “substantial”? There is no “leadership roster” for the Tea Party movement that I am aware of, and no way to prove or disprove Eric’s baseless assertions.

    Thankfully, most of us have moved past the issue of race, and, frankly, don’t care.

  • DonS

    tODD @ 31: I wasn’t aware that Eric was specifically attempting to rebut Joe’s comment @ 5. If so, he misquoted. Here is what Joe said: “Around the county non-whites are involved and in some instances leading tea party groups.”

    Eric asked: ” Where’s proof of a substantial number of black or Latino leaders?” Notice the difference — “substantial number”. Joe’s comment, probably anecdotal, is based on his personal observation of minorities leading various cells of this non-centralized movement. I, too, have seen video and facebook references involving minorities “leading” (to the extent leaders exist) in the movement. Anecdotal evidence to support a statement as bland as Joe’s is perfectly sufficient — you can believe it or disbelieve it, but it is clearly evidence. Whether there is a “substantial number” is an entirely different point. Who knows? Who cares? What constitutes “substantial”? There is no “leadership roster” for the Tea Party movement that I am aware of, and no way to prove or disprove Eric’s baseless assertions.

    Thankfully, most of us have moved past the issue of race, and, frankly, don’t care.

  • Joe

    As for the diversity of the tea parties. Go to one. you might see this:

    or this:

    or this:

    or this:

  • Joe

    As for the diversity of the tea parties. Go to one. you might see this:

    or this:

    or this:

    or this:

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Don (@33), any evidence whatsoever would be appreciated. Thanks.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Don (@33), any evidence whatsoever would be appreciated. Thanks.

  • DonS

    Tom @ 32: If something is unconstitutional, it is, per se, unlawful or illegal. The judicial and legislative branches are powerless to change the constitution, absent proceeding through the constitutional amendment process. The judicial branch is empowered to interpret the constitution, and some of the things the federal government has done have been interpreted as being constitutional. However, many disagree with those interpretations (which, of course, are subject to review by future courts). Some unconstitutional things are considered too political for judicial review. So those things require review by the people, in future elections, wherein they voice their desire for change to those unconstitutional programs or laws.

    To summarize, fealty to the Constitution is often left only to the purview of those entrusted to govern. Sadly, these individuals often fall short, preferring political convenience to Constitutionality.

  • DonS

    Tom @ 32: If something is unconstitutional, it is, per se, unlawful or illegal. The judicial and legislative branches are powerless to change the constitution, absent proceeding through the constitutional amendment process. The judicial branch is empowered to interpret the constitution, and some of the things the federal government has done have been interpreted as being constitutional. However, many disagree with those interpretations (which, of course, are subject to review by future courts). Some unconstitutional things are considered too political for judicial review. So those things require review by the people, in future elections, wherein they voice their desire for change to those unconstitutional programs or laws.

    To summarize, fealty to the Constitution is often left only to the purview of those entrusted to govern. Sadly, these individuals often fall short, preferring political convenience to Constitutionality.

  • DonS

    tODD @ 34: It has already been provided. You just don’t like it.

  • DonS

    tODD @ 34: It has already been provided. You just don’t like it.

  • Tom Hering

    Don @ 35. So, the federal government, as it stands now, was created legally/constitutionally, but may be changed in some ways in the future, as interpretation of the constitution continues to change. Good enough.

  • Tom Hering

    Don @ 35. So, the federal government, as it stands now, was created legally/constitutionally, but may be changed in some ways in the future, as interpretation of the constitution continues to change. Good enough.

  • Peter Leavitt

    While there are in fact black and Latino members of the various Tea Parties, some of whom I’ve talked to at our local Sam Adams Tea Party group meetings, though they would be the last ones to call attention to their ethnic identity, preferring to be regarded as Americans who care about the direction of their country. I witnessed a very successful black person whom I happen to know cringe when a breathless, rather gauche fellow expressed his thrill at his presence as a black person at the meeting.

    Tom, big government has evolved perfectly legally, as the Supreme Court is reluctant to take a strict view of the Constitution. In fact some of the liberal agenda including issues of abortion and homosexuality have been imposed on the state through a dubious usurpation by the federal courts of state’s rights.

    What’s needed is the sort of uprising of the people who will elect presidents and congressmen to change this over time. We are likely just now at the beginning stage of accomplishing this.

    Personally, I favor a strong federal government when it comes to national security, federal justice, foreign relations, and regulation of inter-state commerce and finance, though what’s happened is the federal government has become badly bloated with power and influence disproportionate to its constitutional purpose as a federal government.

  • Peter Leavitt

    While there are in fact black and Latino members of the various Tea Parties, some of whom I’ve talked to at our local Sam Adams Tea Party group meetings, though they would be the last ones to call attention to their ethnic identity, preferring to be regarded as Americans who care about the direction of their country. I witnessed a very successful black person whom I happen to know cringe when a breathless, rather gauche fellow expressed his thrill at his presence as a black person at the meeting.

    Tom, big government has evolved perfectly legally, as the Supreme Court is reluctant to take a strict view of the Constitution. In fact some of the liberal agenda including issues of abortion and homosexuality have been imposed on the state through a dubious usurpation by the federal courts of state’s rights.

    What’s needed is the sort of uprising of the people who will elect presidents and congressmen to change this over time. We are likely just now at the beginning stage of accomplishing this.

    Personally, I favor a strong federal government when it comes to national security, federal justice, foreign relations, and regulation of inter-state commerce and finance, though what’s happened is the federal government has become badly bloated with power and influence disproportionate to its constitutional purpose as a federal government.

  • Joe

    tODD said, “And Joe (@30), a “challenge” without a credible threat isn’t much of a challenge. If tea partiers always end up voting Republican anyhow, there is no reasons for the GOP to get their act together.”

    I agree with your premise, but the are not just voting Republican and in the cases that they are backing Republicans it is often the non-establishment Republican candidates that get the tea party support. Here is a link to the endorsement of the democrat in Idaho. http://www.idahostatesman.com/2010/04/16/1154934/do-tea-partyers-really-want-rep.html

    And in Utah the tea party candidate defeated the GOP establishment candidate and incumbent int the GOP U.S. Senate primary.

    The tea party is having an effect on the GOP. What will happen on election day 2010? Only time will tell, but I suspect some will take the lesser of two evils others will lodge a protest vote or vote third party.

  • Joe

    tODD said, “And Joe (@30), a “challenge” without a credible threat isn’t much of a challenge. If tea partiers always end up voting Republican anyhow, there is no reasons for the GOP to get their act together.”

    I agree with your premise, but the are not just voting Republican and in the cases that they are backing Republicans it is often the non-establishment Republican candidates that get the tea party support. Here is a link to the endorsement of the democrat in Idaho. http://www.idahostatesman.com/2010/04/16/1154934/do-tea-partyers-really-want-rep.html

    And in Utah the tea party candidate defeated the GOP establishment candidate and incumbent int the GOP U.S. Senate primary.

    The tea party is having an effect on the GOP. What will happen on election day 2010? Only time will tell, but I suspect some will take the lesser of two evils others will lodge a protest vote or vote third party.

  • Joe

    tODD – go to a tea party look around and judge for yourself 1. if it is all white people and 2. if the nature of the over all message has anything to do with race.

    I live in Wisconsin, every thing here is overwhelmingly white. That is just the reality of Wisconsin. But at the tea parties there is no shortage of blacks and hispanics relative to the over all demographics of the state. It has not come through yet but I posted some video links from tea party gatherings around the country that were put together in response to the allegations that its just a bunch of upset white dudes. Obviously, the videos were made with the purpose of finding minorities but it demonstrates that they are there.

  • Joe

    tODD – go to a tea party look around and judge for yourself 1. if it is all white people and 2. if the nature of the over all message has anything to do with race.

    I live in Wisconsin, every thing here is overwhelmingly white. That is just the reality of Wisconsin. But at the tea parties there is no shortage of blacks and hispanics relative to the over all demographics of the state. It has not come through yet but I posted some video links from tea party gatherings around the country that were put together in response to the allegations that its just a bunch of upset white dudes. Obviously, the videos were made with the purpose of finding minorities but it demonstrates that they are there.

  • Tom Hering

    Peter @ 38, “strict” is a form of interpretation, which the Supreme Court is free (and was meant to be free) to follow, or not follow, as it does its appointed job of interpreting the constitution. Either way, you end up with rulings that are legal/constitutional. Again, my question to the proponents of strict limitations on the federal government is: how is a legally/constitutionally-expanded federal government “unconstitutional” (as some of them claim)? I can understand how it might be unwise, or oppressively expansive – but not unconstitutional.

  • Tom Hering

    Peter @ 38, “strict” is a form of interpretation, which the Supreme Court is free (and was meant to be free) to follow, or not follow, as it does its appointed job of interpreting the constitution. Either way, you end up with rulings that are legal/constitutional. Again, my question to the proponents of strict limitations on the federal government is: how is a legally/constitutionally-expanded federal government “unconstitutional” (as some of them claim)? I can understand how it might be unwise, or oppressively expansive – but not unconstitutional.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Don (@36), what evidence has “already been provided”? Are you referring to when you said (@33), “I, too, have seen video and facebook references involving minorities”, without even pointing us the video? Apparently Joe has (@40), but his link hasn’t come through yet. Fine. At least Joe is trying, and I appreciate that.

    Don, you’re a lawyer. You have some idea of how evidence works. Telling me you’ve seen something on the Internet, without so much as pointing me to it so I can also see it, is next-to-worthless to me.

    The claim is still standing that “non-whites are involved and in some instances leading tea party groups.” Joe has apparently linked to a video that demonstrates “non-whites … involved [in] … tea party groups.” Great! The “leading” part really shouldn’t be difficult to prove.

    I mean, honestly, if anyone asked me to prove that there are white people leading tea party groups, it wouldn’t be hard. I did some Googling. Geoffrey Ludt is behind the group Oregon Tea Party. He’s white [1](pictures of him are on his wife’s Facebook profile). Keli Carender, generally credited as starting the tea party movement, is white [2]. See how easy this is?

    Tea party groups are all over the internet. They have leaders. Those leaders have names. This isn’t hard.

    [1]facebook.com/geoffludt
    [2]nytimes.com/2010/02/28/us/politics/28keli.html

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Don (@36), what evidence has “already been provided”? Are you referring to when you said (@33), “I, too, have seen video and facebook references involving minorities”, without even pointing us the video? Apparently Joe has (@40), but his link hasn’t come through yet. Fine. At least Joe is trying, and I appreciate that.

    Don, you’re a lawyer. You have some idea of how evidence works. Telling me you’ve seen something on the Internet, without so much as pointing me to it so I can also see it, is next-to-worthless to me.

    The claim is still standing that “non-whites are involved and in some instances leading tea party groups.” Joe has apparently linked to a video that demonstrates “non-whites … involved [in] … tea party groups.” Great! The “leading” part really shouldn’t be difficult to prove.

    I mean, honestly, if anyone asked me to prove that there are white people leading tea party groups, it wouldn’t be hard. I did some Googling. Geoffrey Ludt is behind the group Oregon Tea Party. He’s white [1](pictures of him are on his wife’s Facebook profile). Keli Carender, generally credited as starting the tea party movement, is white [2]. See how easy this is?

    Tea party groups are all over the internet. They have leaders. Those leaders have names. This isn’t hard.

    [1]facebook.com/geoffludt
    [2]nytimes.com/2010/02/28/us/politics/28keli.html

  • Tom Hering

    “I live in Wisconsin, everything here is overwhelmingly white.” – @ 40.

    Oh, I don’t know about that, Joe. I live in a city of 25,000 – in the middle of Wisconsin – and there’s lots of blacks, asians and hispanics here. Though they haven’t fully assimilated. None of the ethnic restaurants offer kielbasa stir-fry or keishka and cabbage burritos yet. I keep hoping, though. :-)

  • Tom Hering

    “I live in Wisconsin, everything here is overwhelmingly white.” – @ 40.

    Oh, I don’t know about that, Joe. I live in a city of 25,000 – in the middle of Wisconsin – and there’s lots of blacks, asians and hispanics here. Though they haven’t fully assimilated. None of the ethnic restaurants offer kielbasa stir-fry or keishka and cabbage burritos yet. I keep hoping, though. :-)

  • DonS

    Tom @ 37: No, that is not what I said, at all. What I said was that some things happen which are unconstitutional, but not justiciable. Just because certain unconstitutional things cannot reasonably be or are not challenged does not somehow whitewash them and make them constitutional.

  • DonS

    Tom @ 37: No, that is not what I said, at all. What I said was that some things happen which are unconstitutional, but not justiciable. Just because certain unconstitutional things cannot reasonably be or are not challenged does not somehow whitewash them and make them constitutional.

  • Joe

    tODD – I amtrying to find the names and/or pictures of leadership for you. I believe that the three person steering committee of the Dallas Tea Party is comprised of a white guy, a hispanic woman and a black woman. Trying confirm.

  • Joe

    tODD – I amtrying to find the names and/or pictures of leadership for you. I believe that the three person steering committee of the Dallas Tea Party is comprised of a white guy, a hispanic woman and a black woman. Trying confirm.

  • Peter Leavitt

    Tom, few conservatives rely on strict interpretation of the Constitution to effect necessary change to bloated federal government. We understand that in the long run this will come through the ballot box.

    Todd Also, Peter (@9), “one of those ubiquitous Harvard educated fools”? Please do not tempt me. Note that the full sentence was: Dionne is one of those ubiquitous Harvard educated fools saturated with liberal ideology, quite lacking understanding of the real strengths of most American people who are willing to work hard and skeptical of inefficient, ferociously expensive government programs, along with the public-employee unions that that support them.

    Actually, earnest liberals like Dionne didn’t and don’t count for much at Harvard. The worst of them became Communists and most of them joined assorted leftist literati. Any class leader knows that they are among the lesser contributors to the Harvard Endowment; those few who attend class reunions tend to dress poorly and pontificate about the latest liberal nostrums for utopian change. One of them, Ted Kaczynski, aka the Unabomber, class of ’62, I’m told is presently doing jail time.

  • Peter Leavitt

    Tom, few conservatives rely on strict interpretation of the Constitution to effect necessary change to bloated federal government. We understand that in the long run this will come through the ballot box.

    Todd Also, Peter (@9), “one of those ubiquitous Harvard educated fools”? Please do not tempt me. Note that the full sentence was: Dionne is one of those ubiquitous Harvard educated fools saturated with liberal ideology, quite lacking understanding of the real strengths of most American people who are willing to work hard and skeptical of inefficient, ferociously expensive government programs, along with the public-employee unions that that support them.

    Actually, earnest liberals like Dionne didn’t and don’t count for much at Harvard. The worst of them became Communists and most of them joined assorted leftist literati. Any class leader knows that they are among the lesser contributors to the Harvard Endowment; those few who attend class reunions tend to dress poorly and pontificate about the latest liberal nostrums for utopian change. One of them, Ted Kaczynski, aka the Unabomber, class of ’62, I’m told is presently doing jail time.

  • DonS

    tODD @ 42: What is your assertion? Do you assert that there are NO people who may be categorized as a racial minority serving in leadership (whatever that is) in the Tea Party movement? You need proof that there is one such person, or you will refuse to believe it? And, further, you will not accept my statement of personal observation to that point (apparently considering me to be, thus, a liar)? I just don’t understand why you are belaboring this ridiculous issue.

    And, if, as you assert, it is so easy to prove the issue of race in Tea Party leadership, why don’t you obtain the evidence yourself, readily, through the magic of Google, rather than wasting your time trying to get me to produce whatever it is that you would consider acceptable evidence, in your personal view.

    Now, if you want to challenge Eric’s clearly ugly and ignorant assertions, have at it.

    The whole notion of simply accusing folks of being racist white fat cats, rather than considering their point of view, whatever their ethnicity, is a repugnant one. The Tea Partiers are raising legitimate issues that need to be addressed. We cannot continue to blindly spend ourselves into oblivion and ruin, without a plan.

  • DonS

    tODD @ 42: What is your assertion? Do you assert that there are NO people who may be categorized as a racial minority serving in leadership (whatever that is) in the Tea Party movement? You need proof that there is one such person, or you will refuse to believe it? And, further, you will not accept my statement of personal observation to that point (apparently considering me to be, thus, a liar)? I just don’t understand why you are belaboring this ridiculous issue.

    And, if, as you assert, it is so easy to prove the issue of race in Tea Party leadership, why don’t you obtain the evidence yourself, readily, through the magic of Google, rather than wasting your time trying to get me to produce whatever it is that you would consider acceptable evidence, in your personal view.

    Now, if you want to challenge Eric’s clearly ugly and ignorant assertions, have at it.

    The whole notion of simply accusing folks of being racist white fat cats, rather than considering their point of view, whatever their ethnicity, is a repugnant one. The Tea Partiers are raising legitimate issues that need to be addressed. We cannot continue to blindly spend ourselves into oblivion and ruin, without a plan.

  • Tom Hering

    Don, I can’t imagine anything unconstitutional that some group in our society hasn’t, or wouldn’t bother to, challenge. Do you know of specific examples?

  • Tom Hering

    Don, I can’t imagine anything unconstitutional that some group in our society hasn’t, or wouldn’t bother to, challenge. Do you know of specific examples?

  • Joe

    tODD – said: “Don, you’re a lawyer. You have some idea of how evidence works.”

    You know, Kevin N. started this whole mess by making the claim that the tea parties want to keep the GOP white. Like Don, I am a lawyer – a litigator in fact, and in addition to knowing how evidence works, I know how burdens of proof work. It seems Kevin N and those agreeing with him have the burden to prove the absence of minorities. But, because I want to try to get the it right I will keep trying to find things I can post for you.

  • Joe

    tODD – said: “Don, you’re a lawyer. You have some idea of how evidence works.”

    You know, Kevin N. started this whole mess by making the claim that the tea parties want to keep the GOP white. Like Don, I am a lawyer – a litigator in fact, and in addition to knowing how evidence works, I know how burdens of proof work. It seems Kevin N and those agreeing with him have the burden to prove the absence of minorities. But, because I want to try to get the it right I will keep trying to find things I can post for you.

  • Joe

    Tom – I guessing Wausau?

  • Joe

    Tom – I guessing Wausau?

  • Tom Hering
  • Tom Hering
  • DonS

    Tom @ 48: Yes, I do. A recent example was the “deeming” procedure that the Democratic leadership in the House was ready to use to pass ObamaCare earlier this year, where they were going to simply have the House pass a measure which included a provision “deeming” earlier Senate legislation to have been passed without actually having been voted on. See here for more details: http://www.redstate.com/brian_d/2010/03/13/van-hollen-advises-silence-on-unconstitutional-obamacare-procedure/

    Although even honest Democrats recognized this as being an unconstitutional approach, the courts have clearly stated that matters of legislative perogative are not justiciable in the courts, and it is up to the legislature to police itself in following Constitutional procedure in these areas.

  • DonS

    Tom @ 48: Yes, I do. A recent example was the “deeming” procedure that the Democratic leadership in the House was ready to use to pass ObamaCare earlier this year, where they were going to simply have the House pass a measure which included a provision “deeming” earlier Senate legislation to have been passed without actually having been voted on. See here for more details: http://www.redstate.com/brian_d/2010/03/13/van-hollen-advises-silence-on-unconstitutional-obamacare-procedure/

    Although even honest Democrats recognized this as being an unconstitutional approach, the courts have clearly stated that matters of legislative perogative are not justiciable in the courts, and it is up to the legislature to police itself in following Constitutional procedure in these areas.

  • Joe

    Hey Tom – I went to UWSP for my undergraduate degree.

  • Joe

    Hey Tom – I went to UWSP for my undergraduate degree.

  • Tom Hering

    Don, that ruling sounds like an appropriate separation of powers. As for the Dems, you’re talking about something that didn’t happen (and something that the Repubs could do as well someday). Any examples of something unconstitutional that has happened?

  • Tom Hering

    Don, that ruling sounds like an appropriate separation of powers. As for the Dems, you’re talking about something that didn’t happen (and something that the Repubs could do as well someday). Any examples of something unconstitutional that has happened?

  • Tom Hering

    Joe, it’s a small world after all, eh? :-)

  • Tom Hering

    Joe, it’s a small world after all, eh? :-)

  • Peter Leavitt

    Todd is apparently taking one of his powders.

  • Peter Leavitt

    Todd is apparently taking one of his powders.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Joe (@49), yes, Kevin (@1) was the first with a racial claim, though you seem to have distorted it yourself. He said the tea party movement “seems to attract some of the worst elements of the right wing, such as … those who seem intent—though for the most part wouldn’t admit it—on keeping the Republican party mostly white.” Now, given my ignorance of tea party members, I have no factual basis for assessing this, though charity obliges me to assume Kevin is, overall, wrong. That said, his assertion is also impossible to prove, much as it’s hard to prove that someone is, at heart, a racist. Still, reported incidents of tea partiers, for instance, chanting “nigger” at Rep. John Lewis, do bear up Kevin’s assertion in the particular. His claim was, after all, that the tea party “seems to attract” racists. Admittedly, I am assuming that those tea partiers chanting “nigger” also favor a whites-only Republican Party. Is that uncharitable?

    Besides, Joe, you did more than call on Kevin to back his assertion, you made your own assertion. Since yours was more easily proven, I asked you to back it up. How hard would it be to prove that there are non-white tea party leaders, after all? It should only be difficult if they are nonexistant or very rare. I do appreciate your efforts, though.

    Don (@47), you’ll note that I’m steering clear of making assertions here. As for your assertions, if you repeatedly refuse to even provide a link to the things you’ve seen online, what reason do you think I have for listening to you? I’m not saying you’re a liar, I’m just continuing to note that you have failed to provide any evidence. At some point, your reticence to copy and paste a URL does seem suspicious, though.

    As for why I won’t do it, I’ve already admitted my ignorance on the topic. Joe admits his familiarity with it. And he made the claim. What, exactly, is your problem?

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Joe (@49), yes, Kevin (@1) was the first with a racial claim, though you seem to have distorted it yourself. He said the tea party movement “seems to attract some of the worst elements of the right wing, such as … those who seem intent—though for the most part wouldn’t admit it—on keeping the Republican party mostly white.” Now, given my ignorance of tea party members, I have no factual basis for assessing this, though charity obliges me to assume Kevin is, overall, wrong. That said, his assertion is also impossible to prove, much as it’s hard to prove that someone is, at heart, a racist. Still, reported incidents of tea partiers, for instance, chanting “nigger” at Rep. John Lewis, do bear up Kevin’s assertion in the particular. His claim was, after all, that the tea party “seems to attract” racists. Admittedly, I am assuming that those tea partiers chanting “nigger” also favor a whites-only Republican Party. Is that uncharitable?

    Besides, Joe, you did more than call on Kevin to back his assertion, you made your own assertion. Since yours was more easily proven, I asked you to back it up. How hard would it be to prove that there are non-white tea party leaders, after all? It should only be difficult if they are nonexistant or very rare. I do appreciate your efforts, though.

    Don (@47), you’ll note that I’m steering clear of making assertions here. As for your assertions, if you repeatedly refuse to even provide a link to the things you’ve seen online, what reason do you think I have for listening to you? I’m not saying you’re a liar, I’m just continuing to note that you have failed to provide any evidence. At some point, your reticence to copy and paste a URL does seem suspicious, though.

    As for why I won’t do it, I’ve already admitted my ignorance on the topic. Joe admits his familiarity with it. And he made the claim. What, exactly, is your problem?

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Tom (@43), is Stevens Point really that Polish? I always pictured Wisconsin being more German-y. That said, Wikipedia begs to differ with you on the racial composition of your town:

    The racial makeup of the city was 92.53% White, 0.47% African American, 0.46% Native American, 4.78% Asian, 0.09% Pacific Islander, 0.48% from other races, and 1.19% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 1.61% of the population.

    And, for what it’s worth, while they didn’t have kieshka, I’ve had a burrito in Krakow, and yes, it had cabbage in it. And all manner of not-even-close-to-Mexican fare as well. What can I say? I was curious beyond all reason. Not worth it. Now, a kiełbasa stir-fry, on the other hand, I could get behind.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Tom (@43), is Stevens Point really that Polish? I always pictured Wisconsin being more German-y. That said, Wikipedia begs to differ with you on the racial composition of your town:

    The racial makeup of the city was 92.53% White, 0.47% African American, 0.46% Native American, 4.78% Asian, 0.09% Pacific Islander, 0.48% from other races, and 1.19% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 1.61% of the population.

    And, for what it’s worth, while they didn’t have kieshka, I’ve had a burrito in Krakow, and yes, it had cabbage in it. And all manner of not-even-close-to-Mexican fare as well. What can I say? I was curious beyond all reason. Not worth it. Now, a kiełbasa stir-fry, on the other hand, I could get behind.

  • DonS

    tODD @ 57: “Still, reported incidents of tea partiers, for instance, chanting “ni**er” at Rep. John Lewis, do bear up Kevin’s assertion in the particular. His claim was, after all, that the tea party “seems to attract” racists. Admittedly, I am assuming that those tea partiers chanting “ni**er” also favor a whites-only Republican Party. Is that uncharitable?”

    tODD, you seem to be accepting these “reported incidents” as fact, even though they, to my knowledge, consisted only of statements by people that they heard other people say these things. This seems an odd double standard. Did the reporters provide you with links to the actual recordings of the statements being made? Why do you so uncritically accept these incendiary second-hand reports, yet challenge so vociferously my bland and entirely unremarkable statement that I have seen at least one minority Tea Party leader?

    ‘Tis curious, to say the least.

  • DonS

    tODD @ 57: “Still, reported incidents of tea partiers, for instance, chanting “ni**er” at Rep. John Lewis, do bear up Kevin’s assertion in the particular. His claim was, after all, that the tea party “seems to attract” racists. Admittedly, I am assuming that those tea partiers chanting “ni**er” also favor a whites-only Republican Party. Is that uncharitable?”

    tODD, you seem to be accepting these “reported incidents” as fact, even though they, to my knowledge, consisted only of statements by people that they heard other people say these things. This seems an odd double standard. Did the reporters provide you with links to the actual recordings of the statements being made? Why do you so uncritically accept these incendiary second-hand reports, yet challenge so vociferously my bland and entirely unremarkable statement that I have seen at least one minority Tea Party leader?

    ‘Tis curious, to say the least.

  • DonS

    Tom @ 54: Yes, exactly my point. Not all unconstitutional things are subject to challenge as such because of the separation of powers and justiciability. That doesn’t make them constitutional, however. In the “deeming” case, Congress came within one day of using the procedure. It was thwarted on Saturday, prior to a Sunday vote, because of pressure from certain congress people and, I believe, a sense that they had the votes to avoid the political risk of the “deeming” process.

    I cannot think of another example off the top of my head, but I think the point has been amply illustrated. I’ll noodle it some more.

  • DonS

    Tom @ 54: Yes, exactly my point. Not all unconstitutional things are subject to challenge as such because of the separation of powers and justiciability. That doesn’t make them constitutional, however. In the “deeming” case, Congress came within one day of using the procedure. It was thwarted on Saturday, prior to a Sunday vote, because of pressure from certain congress people and, I believe, a sense that they had the votes to avoid the political risk of the “deeming” process.

    I cannot think of another example off the top of my head, but I think the point has been amply illustrated. I’ll noodle it some more.

  • Joe

    tODD – I am was just trying to have a bit of fun with re: burden shifting comment. I enjoy this banter, I hope you do too. btw – my comment is still awaiting moderation. based on what I can see, it will jump in at #34.

    Re: Wisconsin demographics (from Wikipedia):

    “The five largest ancestry groups in Wisconsin are: German (42.6%), Irish (10.9%), Polish (9.3%), Norwegian (8.5%), English (6.5%).[38] German is the most common ancestry in every county in the state, except Menominee, Trempealeau and Vernon.[39] Wisconsin has the highest percentage of residents of Polish ancestry of any state.[38] The various ethnic groups settled in different areas of the state. Although Germans settled throughout the state, the largest concentration was in Milwaukee. Norwegians settled in lumbering and farming areas in the north and west. Small colonies of Belgians, Swiss, Finns and other groups settled in their particular areas, with Irish, Italian, and Polish immigrants settling primarily in urban areas.[40] African Americans came to Milwaukee, especially from 1940 on. Menominee County is the only county in the eastern United States with an American Indian majority.”

  • Joe

    tODD – I am was just trying to have a bit of fun with re: burden shifting comment. I enjoy this banter, I hope you do too. btw – my comment is still awaiting moderation. based on what I can see, it will jump in at #34.

    Re: Wisconsin demographics (from Wikipedia):

    “The five largest ancestry groups in Wisconsin are: German (42.6%), Irish (10.9%), Polish (9.3%), Norwegian (8.5%), English (6.5%).[38] German is the most common ancestry in every county in the state, except Menominee, Trempealeau and Vernon.[39] Wisconsin has the highest percentage of residents of Polish ancestry of any state.[38] The various ethnic groups settled in different areas of the state. Although Germans settled throughout the state, the largest concentration was in Milwaukee. Norwegians settled in lumbering and farming areas in the north and west. Small colonies of Belgians, Swiss, Finns and other groups settled in their particular areas, with Irish, Italian, and Polish immigrants settling primarily in urban areas.[40] African Americans came to Milwaukee, especially from 1940 on. Menominee County is the only county in the eastern United States with an American Indian majority.”

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

    “Still, reported incidents of tea partiers, for instance, chanting “nigger” at Rep. John Lewis, ”

    Several videos and their respective audio tracks showed no such racial slurs being chanted or shouted at Rep. Lewis.

    Go back to square one please

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

    “Still, reported incidents of tea partiers, for instance, chanting “nigger” at Rep. John Lewis, ”

    Several videos and their respective audio tracks showed no such racial slurs being chanted or shouted at Rep. Lewis.

    Go back to square one please

  • Tom Hering

    tODD @ 58, yes, my statement “lots” was statistically incorrect. But “lots” compared to a decade ago. I guess it’s a perception thing. Definitely, historically and predominantly Polish in ethnicity though. Curious, that Wikipedia article. It states there are a “few” Lutheran churches in the area. I just counted sixteen in the local-area phone book.

  • Tom Hering

    tODD @ 58, yes, my statement “lots” was statistically incorrect. But “lots” compared to a decade ago. I guess it’s a perception thing. Definitely, historically and predominantly Polish in ethnicity though. Curious, that Wikipedia article. It states there are a “few” Lutheran churches in the area. I just counted sixteen in the local-area phone book.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Peter, dear (@46), you remain hilarious. Do go on (and on) about Harvard. I can’t get enough. Liberals there “tend to dress poorly”? Scandalous! Next you’ll be telling me these liberal cads have taken to associating with Yalies or pronouncing their R’s!

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Peter, dear (@46), you remain hilarious. Do go on (and on) about Harvard. I can’t get enough. Liberals there “tend to dress poorly”? Scandalous! Next you’ll be telling me these liberal cads have taken to associating with Yalies or pronouncing their R’s!

  • Tom Hering

    I just realized that the title of Dionne’s article bugs me. “How Obama Changed the Right.” I’d be happier with “How the Election of Obama Accelerated Changes the Right was Already Undergoing.”

  • Tom Hering

    I just realized that the title of Dionne’s article bugs me. “How Obama Changed the Right.” I’d be happier with “How the Election of Obama Accelerated Changes the Right was Already Undergoing.”

  • The Jungle Cat

    @Todd. I should point out that I’m neither a Republican nor a Tea Partier (though I do generally vote Republican.) But in answer to your question about whether the Tea Party could be easily co-opted by the Republican Party and that the party will have no reason to curry the movement’s favour once they theoretically take back Congress, I would have to say that I think this looks at the issue to narrowly. As we have seen from the primary season, there are ample reasons for Republican politicians to curry favour with the Tea Party movement. Numerous “Tea Party” candidates have already won the primaries–notably Rand Paul and Nikki Haley. In other words, the Tea Party can affect the agenda of the Republican Party without threatening either to run their own candidate or vote Democrat.

  • The Jungle Cat

    @Todd. I should point out that I’m neither a Republican nor a Tea Partier (though I do generally vote Republican.) But in answer to your question about whether the Tea Party could be easily co-opted by the Republican Party and that the party will have no reason to curry the movement’s favour once they theoretically take back Congress, I would have to say that I think this looks at the issue to narrowly. As we have seen from the primary season, there are ample reasons for Republican politicians to curry favour with the Tea Party movement. Numerous “Tea Party” candidates have already won the primaries–notably Rand Paul and Nikki Haley. In other words, the Tea Party can affect the agenda of the Republican Party without threatening either to run their own candidate or vote Democrat.

  • SAL

    America will fall behind and be a relatively poor nation in a couple generations. Neither of the parties as currently constituted can do anything about this.

    Anyone who cares for their children should make sure they learn a foreign language and leave the US for a nation with more reasonable government as soon as they’re able. I certainly hope my children are able to leave America before the government builds walls to keep people in.

  • SAL

    America will fall behind and be a relatively poor nation in a couple generations. Neither of the parties as currently constituted can do anything about this.

    Anyone who cares for their children should make sure they learn a foreign language and leave the US for a nation with more reasonable government as soon as they’re able. I certainly hope my children are able to leave America before the government builds walls to keep people in.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Don (@59), as to these “reported incidents”, I heard about them from the only source of news I trust, Fox News, which reported that “Reps. John Lewis, D-Ga, and Andre Carson, D-Ind., both members of the Congressional Black Caucus, said that a group of protesters hollered at them and called them the N-word.” And, of course, as Bill O’Reilly himself said on his show, “I think Lewis is an honorable man. If he says it happened to him, if Lewis says it happened to him, I will believe Lewis.”

    Now, you are free (though not necessarily charitable) to call Reps. Lewis and Carson liars. I wasn’t there when the incidents allegedly happened. Unfortunately, there’s really no evidence to be offered in this case. The Representatives say it happened, and others say it didn’t. You can’t make a video of something not happening, Patrick’s comment (@62) notwithstanding, unless you happen to capture the entire time during which the event was alleged to occur, and in sufficiently high quality to tell what’s going on. No online videos meet these qualifications that I can tell.

    Anyhow, the difference between those Representatives and you is that I’m talking to you. I’ve repeatedly asked you for evidence — mere names of non-white tea party leaders would do, mind you! — and you fail, over and over again, to provide it. What’s the phrase, “put up or shut up”? A little harsh for my taste, but still. I’m forced to conclude that you don’t have any evidence, but you want to be outraged if I note that. Have at it. Try acting like this in your capacity as a lawyer some time, won’t you? Should work just swell.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Don (@59), as to these “reported incidents”, I heard about them from the only source of news I trust, Fox News, which reported that “Reps. John Lewis, D-Ga, and Andre Carson, D-Ind., both members of the Congressional Black Caucus, said that a group of protesters hollered at them and called them the N-word.” And, of course, as Bill O’Reilly himself said on his show, “I think Lewis is an honorable man. If he says it happened to him, if Lewis says it happened to him, I will believe Lewis.”

    Now, you are free (though not necessarily charitable) to call Reps. Lewis and Carson liars. I wasn’t there when the incidents allegedly happened. Unfortunately, there’s really no evidence to be offered in this case. The Representatives say it happened, and others say it didn’t. You can’t make a video of something not happening, Patrick’s comment (@62) notwithstanding, unless you happen to capture the entire time during which the event was alleged to occur, and in sufficiently high quality to tell what’s going on. No online videos meet these qualifications that I can tell.

    Anyhow, the difference between those Representatives and you is that I’m talking to you. I’ve repeatedly asked you for evidence — mere names of non-white tea party leaders would do, mind you! — and you fail, over and over again, to provide it. What’s the phrase, “put up or shut up”? A little harsh for my taste, but still. I’m forced to conclude that you don’t have any evidence, but you want to be outraged if I note that. Have at it. Try acting like this in your capacity as a lawyer some time, won’t you? Should work just swell.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    SAL (@67), I’m just dying to know what country you’ll be moving to to find a “more reasonable government” than ours! Do tell!

    “I certainly hope my children are able to leave America before the government builds walls to keep people in.” Your family could always leave now, just to be sure.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    SAL (@67), I’m just dying to know what country you’ll be moving to to find a “more reasonable government” than ours! Do tell!

    “I certainly hope my children are able to leave America before the government builds walls to keep people in.” Your family could always leave now, just to be sure.

  • http://carolmsblog.blogspot.com/ C-Christian Soldier

    “…do you think his analysis holds up?”
    NO—
    I have a question.-When are we Christians going to start obeying Christ’s command to “Occupy til I come.”? Luke 19 OKJV–
    Occupy is a military term meaning – (simplified) – hold the ground won!!
    We have not been doing that!
    Let’s start–
    Ideas-
    real/ red letter believing Christians run for office..
    Christians with a back-bone-speak up-w/o caring what others think…
    Repeal the Un-Constitutional 501C3
    C-CS

  • http://carolmsblog.blogspot.com/ C-Christian Soldier

    “…do you think his analysis holds up?”
    NO—
    I have a question.-When are we Christians going to start obeying Christ’s command to “Occupy til I come.”? Luke 19 OKJV–
    Occupy is a military term meaning – (simplified) – hold the ground won!!
    We have not been doing that!
    Let’s start–
    Ideas-
    real/ red letter believing Christians run for office..
    Christians with a back-bone-speak up-w/o caring what others think…
    Repeal the Un-Constitutional 501C3
    C-CS

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    C-CS (@70), a few notes. First, that passage comes in the middle of a parable. Parables are meant to teach us something spiritual, and it’s bad practice to take any one statement from them as an actual command to Jesus’ followers, since parables are metaphors.

    More importantly, however, you’re misreading the word “occupy”. While the military sense you referred to is more common today, the word also means “to reside in as an owner or tenant” — a more sensible reading, given the context of the parable. Of course, I don’t know why the KJV chose to use that word, but nearly every other translation has that phrase as something like “Do business until I come”. Regardless, nothing in the context of the parable implies a military reading, so to impose one on it is to read what we want to hear, not what the text is saying.

    As for your question, “When are we Christians going to start obeying Christ’s command to ‘Occupy til I come’” (the above issues aside), I think it’s equally important to ask, “When are we Christians going to start obeying all of Christ’s commands?” To which the rather obvious answer from the Bible is: never. Which is why Christ came. To forgive us for failing to follow his Law. Not to give us a new law.

    Finally, it should be noted that God’s Word also includes the black letters. To ignore them is to ignore what God wanted you to know.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    C-CS (@70), a few notes. First, that passage comes in the middle of a parable. Parables are meant to teach us something spiritual, and it’s bad practice to take any one statement from them as an actual command to Jesus’ followers, since parables are metaphors.

    More importantly, however, you’re misreading the word “occupy”. While the military sense you referred to is more common today, the word also means “to reside in as an owner or tenant” — a more sensible reading, given the context of the parable. Of course, I don’t know why the KJV chose to use that word, but nearly every other translation has that phrase as something like “Do business until I come”. Regardless, nothing in the context of the parable implies a military reading, so to impose one on it is to read what we want to hear, not what the text is saying.

    As for your question, “When are we Christians going to start obeying Christ’s command to ‘Occupy til I come’” (the above issues aside), I think it’s equally important to ask, “When are we Christians going to start obeying all of Christ’s commands?” To which the rather obvious answer from the Bible is: never. Which is why Christ came. To forgive us for failing to follow his Law. Not to give us a new law.

    Finally, it should be noted that God’s Word also includes the black letters. To ignore them is to ignore what God wanted you to know.

  • DonS

    tODD @ 68: Frankly, I’m stunned. I expect much better from you. I’m not sure what the “Fox News” part of your story is about, but the bottom line is they, like other news organizations, merely reported the hearsay statements of Lewis and Carson. You admit that there is not a shred of audio, visual, or other corroborative evidence to support their statements, and then make some kind of lame statement that my statement (evidence) is different because you’re talking to me (whatever that means). The worst part is that you knowingly slandered (libeled) tea partiers, based on this slender, unsupported evidence, the kind you refused to accept from me for proving a much less contentious and controversial point, when you uttered the statement: “Still, reported incidents of tea partiers, for instance, chanting “nigger” at Rep. John Lewis, do bear up Kevin’s assertion in the particular. His claim was, after all, that the tea party “seems to attract” racists. Admittedly, I am assuming that those tea partiers chanting “nigger” also favor a whites-only Republican Party. Is that uncharitable?”

    Bottom line — yes, it is uncharitable, even libelous, to accuse those claiming a tea party affiliation with racism, and wanting a whites-only Republican party, and to agree that Kevin’s statement that the tea party movement seems to attract racists, based on this slim evidence, uttered by men who have a history of charging racism, and are known to have an axe to grind in this area. And I know how you hate libel. I guess your high and mighty evidentiary standards only apply to evidence you don’t like.

    I didn’t provide you with a URL because I don’t have one. I saw video in the past where a person of color claiming to lead a tea party cell was interviewed on a news program. Most people are well beyond the point where they are fixated on race, so they don’t tend to identify themselves in an Internet-searchable way as a person of color leading a tea party group. That may be stunning to you, but we are not all race-obsessed. Hopefully, someday, none of us will be.

  • DonS

    tODD @ 68: Frankly, I’m stunned. I expect much better from you. I’m not sure what the “Fox News” part of your story is about, but the bottom line is they, like other news organizations, merely reported the hearsay statements of Lewis and Carson. You admit that there is not a shred of audio, visual, or other corroborative evidence to support their statements, and then make some kind of lame statement that my statement (evidence) is different because you’re talking to me (whatever that means). The worst part is that you knowingly slandered (libeled) tea partiers, based on this slender, unsupported evidence, the kind you refused to accept from me for proving a much less contentious and controversial point, when you uttered the statement: “Still, reported incidents of tea partiers, for instance, chanting “nigger” at Rep. John Lewis, do bear up Kevin’s assertion in the particular. His claim was, after all, that the tea party “seems to attract” racists. Admittedly, I am assuming that those tea partiers chanting “nigger” also favor a whites-only Republican Party. Is that uncharitable?”

    Bottom line — yes, it is uncharitable, even libelous, to accuse those claiming a tea party affiliation with racism, and wanting a whites-only Republican party, and to agree that Kevin’s statement that the tea party movement seems to attract racists, based on this slim evidence, uttered by men who have a history of charging racism, and are known to have an axe to grind in this area. And I know how you hate libel. I guess your high and mighty evidentiary standards only apply to evidence you don’t like.

    I didn’t provide you with a URL because I don’t have one. I saw video in the past where a person of color claiming to lead a tea party cell was interviewed on a news program. Most people are well beyond the point where they are fixated on race, so they don’t tend to identify themselves in an Internet-searchable way as a person of color leading a tea party group. That may be stunning to you, but we are not all race-obsessed. Hopefully, someday, none of us will be.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Don (@72), did you notice the part where you concluded that Reps. Lewis and Carson are liars? Do you stand by that conclusion? I have to assume you do, since you don’t seem to have a problem slandering these men.

    And yes, I do think there’s a difference in standards between (1) assuming that an elected official is telling the truth about some unnamed individuals’ comments (my supposition) and (2) assuming that some unnamed individuals are telling the truth about some elected officials’ claims (your apparent conclusion). In the first case, we’re talking about the reputation of real people. In the second case, we are not. I am more inclined to be charitable to real, named people.

    Believing that Rep. Lewis is telling the truth does not slander any individual. It merely means that there were racists at a tea party rally, not that all tea partiers are racists. And that is not hard for me to believe. If this Lewis incident were the only thing, maybe I’d be inclined to believe that there are never racists at tea party rallies. But there are no small number of photos on the Internet of signs carried at tea party rallies that are, or smack of, racism. And if you’re shocked — shocked! — that racists would be attracted to a group that favors limits on the federal government, then you’ll be absolutely gobsmacked when you Google the phrase “Southern strategy”! Or do I have to explain to you why the Southern states were so opposed to federal intervention in the 60s?

    And hey, “I didn’t provide you with a URL because I don’t have one.” It only took you five comments to admit that. Thanks.

    “I saw video in the past where a person of color claiming to lead a tea party cell was interviewed on a news program.” And for some reason it stuck in your mind, even though there are so many non-white people leading tea party groups!

    “Most people are well beyond the point where they are fixated on race, so they don’t tend to identify themselves in an Internet-searchable way as a person of color leading a tea party group.” Yes, you already admitted that you can’t remember the URL. Look, it’s not like it’s hard to find the leaders of tea party groups, whether they identify their race in text form or not. I looked up the leader of an Oregon and a Washington group. Guess what? White! If non-white tea party leaders are not unusual, how hard would it be to find them via a search for tea party leaders?

    I mean, here we are at the end of the day and, while Joe appeared to have given it a go and might have had a lead, we have zero evidence of non-white tea party leaders. If the challenge were about non-white Republican politicians or non-white Lutheran pastors, we would not have this problem.

    So is the evidence abundant but just really hard to find, or what?

    As for being “well beyond the point where they are fixated on race”, that’s probably a lot easier for white people, wouldn’t you say? Just like it’s easy for rich people to be well beyond the point where they are fixated on paying the utility bills. It’s easy to assume that, if you’ve never had a problem with racism, it’s not really much of a problem anymore.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Don (@72), did you notice the part where you concluded that Reps. Lewis and Carson are liars? Do you stand by that conclusion? I have to assume you do, since you don’t seem to have a problem slandering these men.

    And yes, I do think there’s a difference in standards between (1) assuming that an elected official is telling the truth about some unnamed individuals’ comments (my supposition) and (2) assuming that some unnamed individuals are telling the truth about some elected officials’ claims (your apparent conclusion). In the first case, we’re talking about the reputation of real people. In the second case, we are not. I am more inclined to be charitable to real, named people.

    Believing that Rep. Lewis is telling the truth does not slander any individual. It merely means that there were racists at a tea party rally, not that all tea partiers are racists. And that is not hard for me to believe. If this Lewis incident were the only thing, maybe I’d be inclined to believe that there are never racists at tea party rallies. But there are no small number of photos on the Internet of signs carried at tea party rallies that are, or smack of, racism. And if you’re shocked — shocked! — that racists would be attracted to a group that favors limits on the federal government, then you’ll be absolutely gobsmacked when you Google the phrase “Southern strategy”! Or do I have to explain to you why the Southern states were so opposed to federal intervention in the 60s?

    And hey, “I didn’t provide you with a URL because I don’t have one.” It only took you five comments to admit that. Thanks.

    “I saw video in the past where a person of color claiming to lead a tea party cell was interviewed on a news program.” And for some reason it stuck in your mind, even though there are so many non-white people leading tea party groups!

    “Most people are well beyond the point where they are fixated on race, so they don’t tend to identify themselves in an Internet-searchable way as a person of color leading a tea party group.” Yes, you already admitted that you can’t remember the URL. Look, it’s not like it’s hard to find the leaders of tea party groups, whether they identify their race in text form or not. I looked up the leader of an Oregon and a Washington group. Guess what? White! If non-white tea party leaders are not unusual, how hard would it be to find them via a search for tea party leaders?

    I mean, here we are at the end of the day and, while Joe appeared to have given it a go and might have had a lead, we have zero evidence of non-white tea party leaders. If the challenge were about non-white Republican politicians or non-white Lutheran pastors, we would not have this problem.

    So is the evidence abundant but just really hard to find, or what?

    As for being “well beyond the point where they are fixated on race”, that’s probably a lot easier for white people, wouldn’t you say? Just like it’s easy for rich people to be well beyond the point where they are fixated on paying the utility bills. It’s easy to assume that, if you’ve never had a problem with racism, it’s not really much of a problem anymore.

  • http://carolmsblog.blogspot.com/ C-Christian Soldier

    tODD-as I see the parables they are of
    war-
    money
    agriculture-planting-sowing–

    let’s discuss war-
    Is 59- God asks-(paraphrase) “what are you dong about the shedding of innocent blood and unjust judges?”
    “Nothing!”
    God then put on the Full Armor…

    He also commanded-Occupy til I come—
    He also gave us the Full Armor–and not to just be nice!!
    I could go on—I’ll conclude wit this:

    -I – for one- do NOT want God to TAKE BACK the Full Armor -because WE have NOT done anything about the shedding of innocent blood or un-just judges—

    My God is a God of Love and WAR!!!
    Until He Come Again…
    C-CS

  • http://carolmsblog.blogspot.com/ C-Christian Soldier

    tODD-as I see the parables they are of
    war-
    money
    agriculture-planting-sowing–

    let’s discuss war-
    Is 59- God asks-(paraphrase) “what are you dong about the shedding of innocent blood and unjust judges?”
    “Nothing!”
    God then put on the Full Armor…

    He also commanded-Occupy til I come—
    He also gave us the Full Armor–and not to just be nice!!
    I could go on—I’ll conclude wit this:

    -I – for one- do NOT want God to TAKE BACK the Full Armor -because WE have NOT done anything about the shedding of innocent blood or un-just judges—

    My God is a God of Love and WAR!!!
    Until He Come Again…
    C-CS

  • http://carolmsblog.blogspot.com/ C-Christian Soldier

    that would be “-conclude with this…”
    C-CS

  • http://carolmsblog.blogspot.com/ C-Christian Soldier

    that would be “-conclude with this…”
    C-CS

  • DonS

    tODD @ 73: “did you notice the part where you concluded that Reps. Lewis and Carson are liars?”

    Uh, back @ 57, you stated: “I’m not saying you’re a liar, I’m just continuing to note that you have failed to provide any evidence”. I am saying exactly the same thing about Lewis and Carson, but now you consider that to be a charge of lying. Which is it?

  • DonS

    tODD @ 73: “did you notice the part where you concluded that Reps. Lewis and Carson are liars?”

    Uh, back @ 57, you stated: “I’m not saying you’re a liar, I’m just continuing to note that you have failed to provide any evidence”. I am saying exactly the same thing about Lewis and Carson, but now you consider that to be a charge of lying. Which is it?

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    As for my own assertion (@73) of “signs carried at tea party rallies that are, or smack of, racism”, the most popular one seems to be a lovely one still hosted on the Houston Tea Party Society Web site [1] that shows self-proclaimed tea party “founder” Dale Robertson holding a sign that reads “Congress = Slave owner, Taxpayer = Niggar [sic]“. Classy, that.

    How about the sign reading “Obama’s plan: White slavery” [2]? Admittedly, the racist overtones are more subtle in that message. Ahem.

    How about the always popular (but never racist!) tactic of equating a black man with a monkey, as in “Obamanomics: Monkey See, Monkey Spend” sign? [3]

    Then there’s always that poster depicting Obama as a witch doctor with a bone through his nose. [4] Which is not racist.

    But hey, this is so much piddling compared to just asking the racists themselves. Let’s peruse the forums over at StormFront.org (motto: “White Pride, World Wide”). What do they have to say?

    “What’s so encouraging is that the organizers and participants are pre-dominantly whites. The remnants of traditional 1950′s. Old white America. The historical, traditional population.” [5] (After that comment, lots of posters on StormFront indicated they would be attending a tea party rally, which is pretty much what Kevin asserted in the first place). The White Nationalists don’t seem to find such an assertion controversial.

    Or how about this other quote from Storm Front: “Ladies and gentlemen, I think every WN needs to not only attend the April 15th Tea Party nearest you (I’m going to the Alamo in San Antonio) but then stay involved and help provide leadership to this movement.” [6]

    Look, I’d dig up more evidence of how much the White Nationalists love the tea party movement, but I don’t want to spend any more time than I have to on Storm Front’s Web site.

    [1]houstontps.org/audio/4995.jpg
    [2]flickr.com/photos/calistan/3447473218/
    [3]generalforum.com/political-news/glenn-beck-left-right-confusion-64018-page2.html
    [4]tpmmuckraker.talkingpointsmemo.com/2009/07/conservative_activist_forwards_racist_pic_showing.php
    [5]stormfront.org/forum/t588834/
    [6]stormfront.org/forum/showpost.php?p=6725312&postcount=1

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    As for my own assertion (@73) of “signs carried at tea party rallies that are, or smack of, racism”, the most popular one seems to be a lovely one still hosted on the Houston Tea Party Society Web site [1] that shows self-proclaimed tea party “founder” Dale Robertson holding a sign that reads “Congress = Slave owner, Taxpayer = Niggar [sic]“. Classy, that.

    How about the sign reading “Obama’s plan: White slavery” [2]? Admittedly, the racist overtones are more subtle in that message. Ahem.

    How about the always popular (but never racist!) tactic of equating a black man with a monkey, as in “Obamanomics: Monkey See, Monkey Spend” sign? [3]

    Then there’s always that poster depicting Obama as a witch doctor with a bone through his nose. [4] Which is not racist.

    But hey, this is so much piddling compared to just asking the racists themselves. Let’s peruse the forums over at StormFront.org (motto: “White Pride, World Wide”). What do they have to say?

    “What’s so encouraging is that the organizers and participants are pre-dominantly whites. The remnants of traditional 1950′s. Old white America. The historical, traditional population.” [5] (After that comment, lots of posters on StormFront indicated they would be attending a tea party rally, which is pretty much what Kevin asserted in the first place). The White Nationalists don’t seem to find such an assertion controversial.

    Or how about this other quote from Storm Front: “Ladies and gentlemen, I think every WN needs to not only attend the April 15th Tea Party nearest you (I’m going to the Alamo in San Antonio) but then stay involved and help provide leadership to this movement.” [6]

    Look, I’d dig up more evidence of how much the White Nationalists love the tea party movement, but I don’t want to spend any more time than I have to on Storm Front’s Web site.

    [1]houstontps.org/audio/4995.jpg
    [2]flickr.com/photos/calistan/3447473218/
    [3]generalforum.com/political-news/glenn-beck-left-right-confusion-64018-page2.html
    [4]tpmmuckraker.talkingpointsmemo.com/2009/07/conservative_activist_forwards_racist_pic_showing.php
    [5]stormfront.org/forum/t588834/
    [6]stormfront.org/forum/showpost.php?p=6725312&postcount=1

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Don (@76), look. You told me you had seen “seen video and facebook references involving minorities ‘leading’”. You asserted that there was evidence. I asked you for them. Repeatedly. Many comments later, you now tell me you don’t know where those videos are. I never claimed you were lying about those videos, I simply requested that you point to them. You did not and cannot. I believe those videos exist, but as far as substantiating your claims, they are moot. Your claims remain sans evidence.

    Will you agree that Reps. Lewis and Carson are not lying, as I’ve now done to you?

    And as for the claims I’m defending, the whole Lewis thing is just one aspect of the many things I’ve now linked to showing that, yes, racists do seem to be attracted to tea party gatherings.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Don (@76), look. You told me you had seen “seen video and facebook references involving minorities ‘leading’”. You asserted that there was evidence. I asked you for them. Repeatedly. Many comments later, you now tell me you don’t know where those videos are. I never claimed you were lying about those videos, I simply requested that you point to them. You did not and cannot. I believe those videos exist, but as far as substantiating your claims, they are moot. Your claims remain sans evidence.

    Will you agree that Reps. Lewis and Carson are not lying, as I’ve now done to you?

    And as for the claims I’m defending, the whole Lewis thing is just one aspect of the many things I’ve now linked to showing that, yes, racists do seem to be attracted to tea party gatherings.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    C-CS (@74), I’m sorry to hear that you “see the parables they are of
    war, money, [and] agriculture-planting-sowing”. As for the latter two, those were not the points of the parables I can think of, but rather merely their figurative elements. (I can’t recall any parables that even figuratively deal with war.)

    Jesus makes it plain that nearly all of his parables are about “the kingdom of heaven”, but you have interpreted them as merely moral lessons about the kingdoms of the earth. I’m sorry to say that appears to miss the point of the Gospel entirely.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    C-CS (@74), I’m sorry to hear that you “see the parables they are of
    war, money, [and] agriculture-planting-sowing”. As for the latter two, those were not the points of the parables I can think of, but rather merely their figurative elements. (I can’t recall any parables that even figuratively deal with war.)

    Jesus makes it plain that nearly all of his parables are about “the kingdom of heaven”, but you have interpreted them as merely moral lessons about the kingdoms of the earth. I’m sorry to say that appears to miss the point of the Gospel entirely.

  • DonS

    tODD @ 78: I never said that Lewis and Carson were lying — you said that I said they were lying. I don’t know if they were lying. However, their statements are “sans evidence”, as you say. Certainly, under your standards, they do not constitute evidence, and most certainly do not justify libel, of either an entire movement or of the group of protesters present at the demonstration in question.

  • DonS

    tODD @ 78: I never said that Lewis and Carson were lying — you said that I said they were lying. I don’t know if they were lying. However, their statements are “sans evidence”, as you say. Certainly, under your standards, they do not constitute evidence, and most certainly do not justify libel, of either an entire movement or of the group of protesters present at the demonstration in question.

  • http://geochristian.wordpress.com/ Kevin N

    My apologies for starting off the discussion with a negative statement yesterday morning. The perceptions are real and the Tea Party leadership has not always done enough to dispel them, but I didn’t mean to paint the entire movement.

  • http://geochristian.wordpress.com/ Kevin N

    My apologies for starting off the discussion with a negative statement yesterday morning. The perceptions are real and the Tea Party leadership has not always done enough to dispel them, but I didn’t mean to paint the entire movement.

  • Larry

    SAL @ 837,

    I’m geniunely curious, what makes you say that?

  • Larry

    SAL @ 837,

    I’m geniunely curious, what makes you say that?

  • Joe

    Kevin N. – Thanks and I should apologize too. I took your statement a bit further than you intended.

    Hey tODD, the problem with the Dallas tea party steering committee is that the women who I belive is hispanic does not run around saying I’m hispanic. In one of the videos (still) awaiting moderation, the DTP points out that its steering committee is more diverse than the all white MSNBC line up (the video was made as a challenge/invite for Olberman to come to a rally and see what it is like first hand). One of the women on the steering committee appears to be hispanic but I am not sure how to confirm it short of calling her up and asking (I will not do that).

    The Tea Party Express, a national group that is attempting to become an umbrella organization for all the local tea parties, includes Llyod Marcus and William and Selena Owens (all three are black) and a rapper who goes by Politik, who appears to be hispanic among their leadership team. http://www.teapartyexpress.org/about/
    These are the folks who organized the tea party bus tours across the country.

    As an aside, it appears that the tea parties also attracted Black, female democrat congressional candidates who want to revive the principles of FDR, impeach Obama and carry around Obama/Hitler signs (btw – she won her primary and will be on the ballot this fall):

    http://www.facebook.com/#!/photo.php?pid=31472853&id=1256824428&ref=mf

  • Joe

    Kevin N. – Thanks and I should apologize too. I took your statement a bit further than you intended.

    Hey tODD, the problem with the Dallas tea party steering committee is that the women who I belive is hispanic does not run around saying I’m hispanic. In one of the videos (still) awaiting moderation, the DTP points out that its steering committee is more diverse than the all white MSNBC line up (the video was made as a challenge/invite for Olberman to come to a rally and see what it is like first hand). One of the women on the steering committee appears to be hispanic but I am not sure how to confirm it short of calling her up and asking (I will not do that).

    The Tea Party Express, a national group that is attempting to become an umbrella organization for all the local tea parties, includes Llyod Marcus and William and Selena Owens (all three are black) and a rapper who goes by Politik, who appears to be hispanic among their leadership team. http://www.teapartyexpress.org/about/
    These are the folks who organized the tea party bus tours across the country.

    As an aside, it appears that the tea parties also attracted Black, female democrat congressional candidates who want to revive the principles of FDR, impeach Obama and carry around Obama/Hitler signs (btw – she won her primary and will be on the ballot this fall):

    http://www.facebook.com/#!/photo.php?pid=31472853&id=1256824428&ref=mf

  • http://www.redeemedrambling.blogspot.com/ John

    @tODD
    “IT IS NOT SLANDER!…
    in print it’s libel.”
    J. Jonas Jameson

  • http://www.redeemedrambling.blogspot.com/ John

    @tODD
    “IT IS NOT SLANDER!…
    in print it’s libel.”
    J. Jonas Jameson

  • Harry

    E.J. Dionne is prominent liberal commentator and a thoughtful Christian. Too often on this blog Christian = political conservative.
    False.

  • Harry

    E.J. Dionne is prominent liberal commentator and a thoughtful Christian. Too often on this blog Christian = political conservative.
    False.

  • DonS

    Kevin @ 81: Thank you for your gracious apology, but we are each responsible for our own actions and comments in furthering the discussion. You are correct about the perceptions, but I think they are largely due to an attempt to smear a movement that scares people on the left because it challenges their power and the dominance they traditionally hold in the culture. They would rather talk about race than engage the real issues.

  • DonS

    Kevin @ 81: Thank you for your gracious apology, but we are each responsible for our own actions and comments in furthering the discussion. You are correct about the perceptions, but I think they are largely due to an attempt to smear a movement that scares people on the left because it challenges their power and the dominance they traditionally hold in the culture. They would rather talk about race than engage the real issues.

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

    ‘Look, I’d dig up more evidence of how much the White Nationalists love the tea party movement, but I don’t want to spend any more time than I have to on Storm Front’s Web site.’

    Guilt by association. I could easily paint all sorts of causes as illegitimate by digging up fringe groups that support them.

    Hey, I have an idea; let’s lambast immigration reform by publicizing MEChA’s pro secession , fascist racist pronouncements.

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

    ‘Look, I’d dig up more evidence of how much the White Nationalists love the tea party movement, but I don’t want to spend any more time than I have to on Storm Front’s Web site.’

    Guilt by association. I could easily paint all sorts of causes as illegitimate by digging up fringe groups that support them.

    Hey, I have an idea; let’s lambast immigration reform by publicizing MEChA’s pro secession , fascist racist pronouncements.

  • Tom Hering

    Harry @ 85, the blog author is certainly a politically conservative Christian, but both he and the regulars here recognize one another as Christians first and foremost. I think we hash out our differences on social and political issues in a civil manner.

  • Tom Hering

    Harry @ 85, the blog author is certainly a politically conservative Christian, but both he and the regulars here recognize one another as Christians first and foremost. I think we hash out our differences on social and political issues in a civil manner.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Don (@80), you didn’t answer my request (@78). Again, will you agree that Reps. Lewis and Carson are not lying, as I’ve now done for you?

    Oh, and if it were really libel to say what Reps. Lewis and carson alleged, I kind of doubt that hundreds of media outlets — including Fox News — would have done it.

    Moreover, I no longer consider that (or the many posters I pointed to @77) the best evidence that the tea parties seem to attract racists. Instead, I refer you to the discussions on White Nationalist (WN) site StormFront.org (@77). Here are some more fun quotes from that site:

    In one comment titled “White Racial Resentment Bubbles Under the Surface of the Tea Party Movement” links to an article with this note: “Good article on the tea party and how their agenda ties in with race.”

    To which someone replied, “Every Preisdent [sic] in American History has attracted protesters, of all races. The only difference here is the dearth of black and brown faces. Nobody asks why. Cheers for all the unconscious racists in the TEA parties.”

    One WN advised this: “I’ve noticed that there are two kinds of TEA party groups. There are the GOP lackey groups and there are independent groups who are vehemently opposed to the betrayal of conservatives by the GOP. I say get a feel for some of your more mainstream local groups, work your way into meeting some of the organizers, and if possible, seize the opportunity of promoting white racial, and cultural preservation. Be wise. Cautiously use common sense.”

    I could go on. There’s no small amount of talk about tea parties on StormFront.org

    Of course, some WN’s recognize that tea partiers “don’t want to appear as racists or extremists like us,” but, of course, that doesn’t mean WN folks are not attracted to the tea party movement.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Don (@80), you didn’t answer my request (@78). Again, will you agree that Reps. Lewis and Carson are not lying, as I’ve now done for you?

    Oh, and if it were really libel to say what Reps. Lewis and carson alleged, I kind of doubt that hundreds of media outlets — including Fox News — would have done it.

    Moreover, I no longer consider that (or the many posters I pointed to @77) the best evidence that the tea parties seem to attract racists. Instead, I refer you to the discussions on White Nationalist (WN) site StormFront.org (@77). Here are some more fun quotes from that site:

    In one comment titled “White Racial Resentment Bubbles Under the Surface of the Tea Party Movement” links to an article with this note: “Good article on the tea party and how their agenda ties in with race.”

    To which someone replied, “Every Preisdent [sic] in American History has attracted protesters, of all races. The only difference here is the dearth of black and brown faces. Nobody asks why. Cheers for all the unconscious racists in the TEA parties.”

    One WN advised this: “I’ve noticed that there are two kinds of TEA party groups. There are the GOP lackey groups and there are independent groups who are vehemently opposed to the betrayal of conservatives by the GOP. I say get a feel for some of your more mainstream local groups, work your way into meeting some of the organizers, and if possible, seize the opportunity of promoting white racial, and cultural preservation. Be wise. Cautiously use common sense.”

    I could go on. There’s no small amount of talk about tea parties on StormFront.org

    Of course, some WN’s recognize that tea partiers “don’t want to appear as racists or extremists like us,” but, of course, that doesn’t mean WN folks are not attracted to the tea party movement.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Patrick (@87), pay attention. I’m not saying that tea partiers are racists. I am (and have been for some time now) providing evidence for the assertion that tea parties seem to attract racists. Several here seem to reject that assertion. But it seems obviously true to me.

    Maybe those people think the best way to save the tea parties is to ignore this racist element? I don’t think that’ll work so well.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Patrick (@87), pay attention. I’m not saying that tea partiers are racists. I am (and have been for some time now) providing evidence for the assertion that tea parties seem to attract racists. Several here seem to reject that assertion. But it seems obviously true to me.

    Maybe those people think the best way to save the tea parties is to ignore this racist element? I don’t think that’ll work so well.

  • http://www.john8.com John8com

    I don’t think Dionne’s theory holds water. The Tea Party Movement is a patchwork of conservatives, libertarians and even moderate Democrats clamoring for small government. In fact, I think the TPM is better compared with Ross Perot voters of the early to mid 90s than the so-called “Christian right.”

    Brad

  • http://www.john8.com John8com

    I don’t think Dionne’s theory holds water. The Tea Party Movement is a patchwork of conservatives, libertarians and even moderate Democrats clamoring for small government. In fact, I think the TPM is better compared with Ross Perot voters of the early to mid 90s than the so-called “Christian right.”

    Brad

  • Peter Leavitt

    Don S: They would rather talk about race than engage the real issues.

    Yes, this gets to the heart of the matter. Liberals including Todd incessantly bring up race in order to divert discussion from the relevant issues.

    The best summary of Tea Party objectives is the Contract From America as follows:

    1. Protect the Constitution
    2. Reject Cap and Trade
    3. Demand a Balanced Budget
    4. Enact Fundamental Tax Reform
    5. Restore Fiscal Responsibility and Constitutionally Limited Government in Washington
    6. End Runaway Government Spending
    7. Defund, Repeal, and Replace Government-run Health Care
    8. Pass an ‘All-of-the-Above” Energy Policy
    9. Stop the Pork
    10. Stop the Tax Hikes

    Not one of these deals with the issue of race. While undoubtedly the Tea Party has a few racist wing-nuts, it stays focused in on the above issues.

    .

  • Peter Leavitt

    Don S: They would rather talk about race than engage the real issues.

    Yes, this gets to the heart of the matter. Liberals including Todd incessantly bring up race in order to divert discussion from the relevant issues.

    The best summary of Tea Party objectives is the Contract From America as follows:

    1. Protect the Constitution
    2. Reject Cap and Trade
    3. Demand a Balanced Budget
    4. Enact Fundamental Tax Reform
    5. Restore Fiscal Responsibility and Constitutionally Limited Government in Washington
    6. End Runaway Government Spending
    7. Defund, Repeal, and Replace Government-run Health Care
    8. Pass an ‘All-of-the-Above” Energy Policy
    9. Stop the Pork
    10. Stop the Tax Hikes

    Not one of these deals with the issue of race. While undoubtedly the Tea Party has a few racist wing-nuts, it stays focused in on the above issues.

    .

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Joe (@83), thanks for your research. The Tea Party Express site at least proves that there are some non-white leaders.

    As to your “Black, female democrat congressional candidate who wants to revive the principles of FDR, impeach Obama and carry around Obama/Hitler signs” … did you do any research on her, or read the comments below that Facebook photo? Not only does she value the principles of FDR, she also calls out the principles of Lyndon LaRouche on her site, several times, perhaps most notably with “After we impeach Obama, we are going to implement the LaRouche Plan.” Yeah.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Joe (@83), thanks for your research. The Tea Party Express site at least proves that there are some non-white leaders.

    As to your “Black, female democrat congressional candidate who wants to revive the principles of FDR, impeach Obama and carry around Obama/Hitler signs” … did you do any research on her, or read the comments below that Facebook photo? Not only does she value the principles of FDR, she also calls out the principles of Lyndon LaRouche on her site, several times, perhaps most notably with “After we impeach Obama, we are going to implement the LaRouche Plan.” Yeah.

  • Louis

    Well, PL@92, you are quite happy to bring up race yourself (http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/business/10409354.stm) , so look in the mirror, will you?

    BTW, what is a liberal in your definition? I’ve never been quite clear on that.

  • Louis

    Well, PL@92, you are quite happy to bring up race yourself (http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/business/10409354.stm) , so look in the mirror, will you?

    BTW, what is a liberal in your definition? I’ve never been quite clear on that.

  • Tom Hering

    Seems to me that Tea Party organizers could do themselves a lot of good by asserting (every chance they get) that “Racists and advocates of violence who think they have a place in our Tea Party are not welcome.” Maybe they’ll start doing this once we get closer to the Fall elections, and the worries of moderates have to be addressed.

  • Tom Hering

    Seems to me that Tea Party organizers could do themselves a lot of good by asserting (every chance they get) that “Racists and advocates of violence who think they have a place in our Tea Party are not welcome.” Maybe they’ll start doing this once we get closer to the Fall elections, and the worries of moderates have to be addressed.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Hi, Peter (@92). Regarding your claim that, “liberals including Todd incessantly bring up race in order to divert discussion from the relevant issues,” I have a simple request. Point to one — just one — thread on this blog where I have been the one to introduce the topic of race. Just one.

    Thanks.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Hi, Peter (@92). Regarding your claim that, “liberals including Todd incessantly bring up race in order to divert discussion from the relevant issues,” I have a simple request. Point to one — just one — thread on this blog where I have been the one to introduce the topic of race. Just one.

    Thanks.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Louis (@94), um, I don’t think that’s the link you wanted to post. “Why we all want to be Canadian now”? :)

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Louis (@94), um, I don’t think that’s the link you wanted to post. “Why we all want to be Canadian now”? :)

  • Louis

    Yes Todd, wrong link. But Peter needs to read that anyhow.. :) :)

    Here’s the link:

    http://www.geneveith.com/may-israel-defend-itself-at-all/_5704/

  • Louis

    Yes Todd, wrong link. But Peter needs to read that anyhow.. :) :)

    Here’s the link:

    http://www.geneveith.com/may-israel-defend-itself-at-all/_5704/

  • Peter Leavitt

    Todd, you’ve spent a large part of this thread discussing the Tea Party’s attractiveness to “racists.” Take a look at the Contract From America and let us know your views on the real issues as opposed to bogging the thread down with racial matters.

  • Peter Leavitt

    Todd, you’ve spent a large part of this thread discussing the Tea Party’s attractiveness to “racists.” Take a look at the Contract From America and let us know your views on the real issues as opposed to bogging the thread down with racial matters.

  • kerner

    Tom H @51:

    Never mind your water. The best beverage from your town is here:

    http://pointbeer.com/Rootbeerfourpack.jpg

    And I love the artwork:

    http://www.rachelleb.com/images/2008/09/point_brewery_caps.jpg

  • kerner

    Tom H @51:

    Never mind your water. The best beverage from your town is here:

    http://pointbeer.com/Rootbeerfourpack.jpg

    And I love the artwork:

    http://www.rachelleb.com/images/2008/09/point_brewery_caps.jpg

  • Peter Leavitt

    Louis, on that thread May Israel defend itself at all? I argued that the Arabs clearly stated their intention is to annihilate Israel and that their level of civilization was far below that of the Israelis, for which you then called me a “racist.” This would be just about a perfect example of a feckless liberal introducing the subject of “racism” into a discussion of whether Israel had a right to defend itself from Arab enemies.

  • Peter Leavitt

    Louis, on that thread May Israel defend itself at all? I argued that the Arabs clearly stated their intention is to annihilate Israel and that their level of civilization was far below that of the Israelis, for which you then called me a “racist.” This would be just about a perfect example of a feckless liberal introducing the subject of “racism” into a discussion of whether Israel had a right to defend itself from Arab enemies.

  • kerner
  • kerner
  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Actually, Peter (@99), I’m more interested now in defending myself from your malicious, ignorant, and incorrect statement that I “incessantly bring up race in order to divert discussion from the relevant issues.”

    Don’t try this nonsense of just pointing to this one, singular thread as somehow justifying your ridiculous claims. Once is not “incessant”. If it’s incessant, point to one of the many, many times I’ve done it.

    And, if you will actually pay attention, you will note that I was not the one here who “brought up race”. It was first mentioned by Kevin (a conservative) in the first comment. Joe (a conservative) then countered that assertion (@5). The first (presumed) liberal to bring it up was Eric “Troll” H. (@28). Don (a conservative) replied to him (@29). And I entered the fray all the way down at comment #31.

    Plus, I’m not a liberal. You think I am, because to you, I guess, “liberals” are just people you disagree with. Or something. But that’s an entirely different problem you have.

    So, to recap: just because you claim something doesn’t mean it’s true. So you’d best make claims that aren’t so easily falsifiable by the content of the same page on which they’re made.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Actually, Peter (@99), I’m more interested now in defending myself from your malicious, ignorant, and incorrect statement that I “incessantly bring up race in order to divert discussion from the relevant issues.”

    Don’t try this nonsense of just pointing to this one, singular thread as somehow justifying your ridiculous claims. Once is not “incessant”. If it’s incessant, point to one of the many, many times I’ve done it.

    And, if you will actually pay attention, you will note that I was not the one here who “brought up race”. It was first mentioned by Kevin (a conservative) in the first comment. Joe (a conservative) then countered that assertion (@5). The first (presumed) liberal to bring it up was Eric “Troll” H. (@28). Don (a conservative) replied to him (@29). And I entered the fray all the way down at comment #31.

    Plus, I’m not a liberal. You think I am, because to you, I guess, “liberals” are just people you disagree with. Or something. But that’s an entirely different problem you have.

    So, to recap: just because you claim something doesn’t mean it’s true. So you’d best make claims that aren’t so easily falsifiable by the content of the same page on which they’re made.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Peter (@101) said, “This would be just about a perfect example of a feckless liberal introducing the subject of ‘racism’ into a discussion of whether Israel had a right to defend itself from Arab enemies.”

    You know, I think I see the problem here, Peter. You don’t know the meaning of the words “liberal” or “racist”. The latter was proven in your discussion on that thread. And the former is apparent in this thread, where you blame “liberals” for introducing the subject of racism, even though on that thread, the people denouncing your racism were Cincinnatus, Louis, Bror, and myself. If all those folks are liberals, then I’m even more certain that you define that word as: anyone you disagree with.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Peter (@101) said, “This would be just about a perfect example of a feckless liberal introducing the subject of ‘racism’ into a discussion of whether Israel had a right to defend itself from Arab enemies.”

    You know, I think I see the problem here, Peter. You don’t know the meaning of the words “liberal” or “racist”. The latter was proven in your discussion on that thread. And the former is apparent in this thread, where you blame “liberals” for introducing the subject of racism, even though on that thread, the people denouncing your racism were Cincinnatus, Louis, Bror, and myself. If all those folks are liberals, then I’m even more certain that you define that word as: anyone you disagree with.

  • Louis

    Peter, in that thread you had argued extensively about racial superiority. See comments #16, #43 (and my follow-up on #44), #51 (second paragraph onwards) , #56, #59, and the responses from myself, Todd, Cincinnatus, Kerner and Bror.

  • Louis

    Peter, in that thread you had argued extensively about racial superiority. See comments #16, #43 (and my follow-up on #44), #51 (second paragraph onwards) , #56, #59, and the responses from myself, Todd, Cincinnatus, Kerner and Bror.

  • Louis

    I see I cross-posted with Todd.

  • Louis

    I see I cross-posted with Todd.

  • Tom Hering

    kerner @ 100 & 102, don’t tell the chamber of commerce here, but I much prefer this stuff. It has a “bite” to it.

    Maybe it’s time to organize the Root Beer Party. Our platform? “Enjoy the good things in life, and keep politics in the realm of temporary insanity where it belongs.”

  • Tom Hering

    kerner @ 100 & 102, don’t tell the chamber of commerce here, but I much prefer this stuff. It has a “bite” to it.

    Maybe it’s time to organize the Root Beer Party. Our platform? “Enjoy the good things in life, and keep politics in the realm of temporary insanity where it belongs.”

  • Louis

    Tom – I make my own at home – it’s cheaper, with plenty of bite. I started doing this after I got complaints about me brewing beer just for me – I’m the only beer drinker in the house ;). Now everybody’s happy.

  • Louis

    Tom – I make my own at home – it’s cheaper, with plenty of bite. I started doing this after I got complaints about me brewing beer just for me – I’m the only beer drinker in the house ;). Now everybody’s happy.

  • Peter Leavitt

    Todd, on that thread Cincinnatus, Bror, and you disagreed with my position without calling me a racist. Louis is the only one that called me a racist for being so critical of the Arabs. One may point out the intention of the Arabs to annihilate Israel and their lesser status in terms of economic, technological, and cultural development without being involved in “racism.”

    I shan’t be bothered to do one of your obsessive Google searches to prove the point that you and your liberal buddies bring up “racism,”
    as you’ve patently done on this thread. On this thread and most others you distinctly place yourself on the political liberal end of the spectrum, at least in terms of a contemporary American definition of liberalism.

    BTW, good to see you a bit hot under the collar instead of playing the role of the dispassionate seeker after truth. That’s the kind of fight that Marines love to see.

  • Peter Leavitt

    Todd, on that thread Cincinnatus, Bror, and you disagreed with my position without calling me a racist. Louis is the only one that called me a racist for being so critical of the Arabs. One may point out the intention of the Arabs to annihilate Israel and their lesser status in terms of economic, technological, and cultural development without being involved in “racism.”

    I shan’t be bothered to do one of your obsessive Google searches to prove the point that you and your liberal buddies bring up “racism,”
    as you’ve patently done on this thread. On this thread and most others you distinctly place yourself on the political liberal end of the spectrum, at least in terms of a contemporary American definition of liberalism.

    BTW, good to see you a bit hot under the collar instead of playing the role of the dispassionate seeker after truth. That’s the kind of fight that Marines love to see.

  • Louis

    Peter, please define liberalism then. Pretty please??

    Regarding Racism: I stand by my previous assessment. I might be the only one actually using the r-word, but the arguments from the other people pretty much follow the same line.

  • Louis

    Peter, please define liberalism then. Pretty please??

    Regarding Racism: I stand by my previous assessment. I might be the only one actually using the r-word, but the arguments from the other people pretty much follow the same line.

  • DonS

    tODD @ 89: I answered your request by saying that I have no idea as to whether Messrs. Lewis and Carson were lying. I can’t say they weren’t lying because I don’t know. I wasn’t there, and there is no direct evidence of the truth of their statements. Similarly, since you are still asking me for “evidence” to prove my innocuous statement, it is apparent that you still don’t believe me. Which, of course, means that you think I may be lying as well. That’s fine. Just say so.

    Here is what I think, in support of my earlier comment that liberals use the race issue to deflect attention from the real issues. Lewis and Carson were strolling down the street in front of the Capitol, through a throng of protesters, accompanying Nancy Pelosi and her big Medicare stick, at the time of the alleged comments. They were being deliberately provocative, at a time that they were ramming through an unpopular and ill-considered piece of historic legislation, by taking that route, rather than the usual approach of riding the underground train through the Senate tunnel. They wanted this confrontation. Then, instead of focusing on the issue at hand, they made this scandalous race allegation, true or not. They could have easily ignored a few isolated ignorant comments — such things happen all the time and get ignored by politicians having more noble objectives. President Bush, whatever you think of him, never focused on the many hateful things that were directed at him. They could easily have focused on the issue at hand, and directed their comments to the legislation and how great they thought it would be for the American people. But, they didn’t. They deliberately chose to play up the race issue — to be divisive — and to attempt to de-legitimize the opposition on the actual issues by painting everyone in that crowd with the racist tag.

    It was a despicable act by the Democratic leadership, well beneath the dignity of the office. The whole episode, the entire way the legislation was passed, was utterly shameful.

  • DonS

    tODD @ 89: I answered your request by saying that I have no idea as to whether Messrs. Lewis and Carson were lying. I can’t say they weren’t lying because I don’t know. I wasn’t there, and there is no direct evidence of the truth of their statements. Similarly, since you are still asking me for “evidence” to prove my innocuous statement, it is apparent that you still don’t believe me. Which, of course, means that you think I may be lying as well. That’s fine. Just say so.

    Here is what I think, in support of my earlier comment that liberals use the race issue to deflect attention from the real issues. Lewis and Carson were strolling down the street in front of the Capitol, through a throng of protesters, accompanying Nancy Pelosi and her big Medicare stick, at the time of the alleged comments. They were being deliberately provocative, at a time that they were ramming through an unpopular and ill-considered piece of historic legislation, by taking that route, rather than the usual approach of riding the underground train through the Senate tunnel. They wanted this confrontation. Then, instead of focusing on the issue at hand, they made this scandalous race allegation, true or not. They could have easily ignored a few isolated ignorant comments — such things happen all the time and get ignored by politicians having more noble objectives. President Bush, whatever you think of him, never focused on the many hateful things that were directed at him. They could easily have focused on the issue at hand, and directed their comments to the legislation and how great they thought it would be for the American people. But, they didn’t. They deliberately chose to play up the race issue — to be divisive — and to attempt to de-legitimize the opposition on the actual issues by painting everyone in that crowd with the racist tag.

    It was a despicable act by the Democratic leadership, well beneath the dignity of the office. The whole episode, the entire way the legislation was passed, was utterly shameful.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Peter (@109), at this point, I’m pretty certain I don’t know what you’re talking about. And I know that you don’t know what you’re talking about. I suppose you like it that way. It’s not that hard to actually revisit the Israel thread and find what other people said, your imaginings notwithstanding:

    Cincinnatus (@42): “Peter, I don’t have much to say to your claim that the Jews are the ‘ablest’ people in the Middle East (I don’t even know what that means, but it sounds vaguely racist)”.

    Cincinnatus (@46): “That said, you’re still not justifying our support for Israel. We’ve gone from Palestinian jealousy to the claim that the Jews are ‘brave’ and ‘worthy.’ First of all, what do those words even mean? In contrast to what ‘cowardly’ and ‘unworthy’ people (and here racism would be a danger once again)?”

    Bror (@49): “The Arabs are not inherently inferior to the Jews. That sort of racism is born out of a despicable romanticism, by which dumb white guys think they are superior because of what a few smart white guys have been able to do in excelling their peers.”

    Me: (@57): “I’ve observed in my time on the Internet that Massachusetts Congregationalists tend to be racists (cf. ‘Jewish people tend to be the brightest and savviest’).”

    Cincinnatus (@63): “This is the point at which you transgress the border of empirical, historical fact into the realm of racism and ethno-centrism.”

    They’re being polite, of course. But, criminy, man up and own your own arguments. You’re arguing for the racial superiority of the Jews. Don’t run away from the label “racist” just because it’s perjorative — especially since it, in fact, describes your attitude.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Peter (@109), at this point, I’m pretty certain I don’t know what you’re talking about. And I know that you don’t know what you’re talking about. I suppose you like it that way. It’s not that hard to actually revisit the Israel thread and find what other people said, your imaginings notwithstanding:

    Cincinnatus (@42): “Peter, I don’t have much to say to your claim that the Jews are the ‘ablest’ people in the Middle East (I don’t even know what that means, but it sounds vaguely racist)”.

    Cincinnatus (@46): “That said, you’re still not justifying our support for Israel. We’ve gone from Palestinian jealousy to the claim that the Jews are ‘brave’ and ‘worthy.’ First of all, what do those words even mean? In contrast to what ‘cowardly’ and ‘unworthy’ people (and here racism would be a danger once again)?”

    Bror (@49): “The Arabs are not inherently inferior to the Jews. That sort of racism is born out of a despicable romanticism, by which dumb white guys think they are superior because of what a few smart white guys have been able to do in excelling their peers.”

    Me: (@57): “I’ve observed in my time on the Internet that Massachusetts Congregationalists tend to be racists (cf. ‘Jewish people tend to be the brightest and savviest’).”

    Cincinnatus (@63): “This is the point at which you transgress the border of empirical, historical fact into the realm of racism and ethno-centrism.”

    They’re being polite, of course. But, criminy, man up and own your own arguments. You’re arguing for the racial superiority of the Jews. Don’t run away from the label “racist” just because it’s perjorative — especially since it, in fact, describes your attitude.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    And Peter (@109), as for your “obsessive Google searches” tirade, give me a break. I was under the impression that Harvard graduates possessed the mental ability to operate the world’s most popular search engine. If you don’t, well, I’m sorry. Maybe you should ask one of your Jewish friends.

    And don’t give me more of your Marines posh. I was under the impression that Marines were brave, and not inclined to back away from their own (baseless) accusations like a coward. Man up, Peter, and defend your own accusation. Don’t slither away while whining about how “obsessive” the man you’ve baselessly accused is. I know better than to think that your behavior here is representative of the Marines.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    And Peter (@109), as for your “obsessive Google searches” tirade, give me a break. I was under the impression that Harvard graduates possessed the mental ability to operate the world’s most popular search engine. If you don’t, well, I’m sorry. Maybe you should ask one of your Jewish friends.

    And don’t give me more of your Marines posh. I was under the impression that Marines were brave, and not inclined to back away from their own (baseless) accusations like a coward. Man up, Peter, and defend your own accusation. Don’t slither away while whining about how “obsessive” the man you’ve baselessly accused is. I know better than to think that your behavior here is representative of the Marines.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Oh, and Peter (@109), I’ve already laid out in painstaking detail (@103) — so that even you can figure it out without having to tax your precious Harvard-educated brain with all that difficult Googling — that no one in their right mind could legitimately claim that I was the one who “brought up racism” on this thread. I appreciate your imagination and/or delusional status, but do realize that it doesn’t actually affect reality for the rest of us who possess the ability to read and comprehend what is on this very Web page.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Oh, and Peter (@109), I’ve already laid out in painstaking detail (@103) — so that even you can figure it out without having to tax your precious Harvard-educated brain with all that difficult Googling — that no one in their right mind could legitimately claim that I was the one who “brought up racism” on this thread. I appreciate your imagination and/or delusional status, but do realize that it doesn’t actually affect reality for the rest of us who possess the ability to read and comprehend what is on this very Web page.

  • ptl

    tODD….did you by chance, once upon a time apply to Harvard and was not admitted? No offense, but even thru the virtual world of a blog it’s so easy to read a certain insecurity/immaturity or perhaps something more along the lines of jealously in your comments in particular those directed at poor Peter? Well, hey, it’s ok with me if you went to a public university, perhaps even a real good one; say in Arkansas or Idaho :)

  • ptl

    tODD….did you by chance, once upon a time apply to Harvard and was not admitted? No offense, but even thru the virtual world of a blog it’s so easy to read a certain insecurity/immaturity or perhaps something more along the lines of jealously in your comments in particular those directed at poor Peter? Well, hey, it’s ok with me if you went to a public university, perhaps even a real good one; say in Arkansas or Idaho :)

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Ptl (@115), if you were thinking of becoming a psychiatrist, don’t quit your day job. I mention Harvard so much because Peter mentions Harvard so much in his comments here. See for yourself. Or you can see how he talks about Harvard on other Web sites [1]. It’s not unlike talking to those New Yorkers who, when visiting your city, can’t shut up about how much better everything is in “the city” and how this isn’t how things are in “the city” — you wonder if they know what they’re talking about or if they’re just trying to impress you.

    I’m sure Harvard is a fine school, Peter’s comments here notwithstanding, but I didn’t apply there. I applied to one school — Rice University — and got in. It’s a fine school, too. But I try not to mention it too much unless it’s relevant to the discussion, which I guess it is here.

    As for “poor Peter”, I don’t have a lot of pity for a man that insists on making an ass of himself in a public forum by leveling baseless and easily disproved accusations at people like me.

    [1]google.com/search?q=”peter+leavitt”+harvard

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Ptl (@115), if you were thinking of becoming a psychiatrist, don’t quit your day job. I mention Harvard so much because Peter mentions Harvard so much in his comments here. See for yourself. Or you can see how he talks about Harvard on other Web sites [1]. It’s not unlike talking to those New Yorkers who, when visiting your city, can’t shut up about how much better everything is in “the city” and how this isn’t how things are in “the city” — you wonder if they know what they’re talking about or if they’re just trying to impress you.

    I’m sure Harvard is a fine school, Peter’s comments here notwithstanding, but I didn’t apply there. I applied to one school — Rice University — and got in. It’s a fine school, too. But I try not to mention it too much unless it’s relevant to the discussion, which I guess it is here.

    As for “poor Peter”, I don’t have a lot of pity for a man that insists on making an ass of himself in a public forum by leveling baseless and easily disproved accusations at people like me.

    [1]google.com/search?q=”peter+leavitt”+harvard

  • Peter Leavitt

    Todd, while you didn’t initially raise the issue of race on this thread, you fastened on to it quickly and spent a good part of the thread claiming that the Tea Party inherently attracts racists, which is a distortion of what the Tea Party is about.

    Again one may criticize the Arabs for their well known tendency to have the most bloody borders of any civilization along with low levels of industry, technology, and culture compared to the Jews without being called a racist. I may, as I do, regard Swiss culture by and large to be superior to that of America without being a racist.

  • Peter Leavitt

    Todd, while you didn’t initially raise the issue of race on this thread, you fastened on to it quickly and spent a good part of the thread claiming that the Tea Party inherently attracts racists, which is a distortion of what the Tea Party is about.

    Again one may criticize the Arabs for their well known tendency to have the most bloody borders of any civilization along with low levels of industry, technology, and culture compared to the Jews without being called a racist. I may, as I do, regard Swiss culture by and large to be superior to that of America without being a racist.

  • Louis

    May one criticize the well-known tendency of Right Wing Harvard graduates to behave like pompous asses, to be immune to any fact, evidence or logical arrangement of the same in service of arguments to the contrary, holding fast to the apparent belief that they are God’s gift to humanity? :)

  • Louis

    May one criticize the well-known tendency of Right Wing Harvard graduates to behave like pompous asses, to be immune to any fact, evidence or logical arrangement of the same in service of arguments to the contrary, holding fast to the apparent belief that they are God’s gift to humanity? :)

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Peter (@117), congratulations on finally admitting that I “didn’t initially raise the issue of race on this thread”! Well done!

    Now all you have to do is admit that there is no basis for your ridiculous accusation that I “incessantly bring up race in order to divert discussion from the relevant issues.” Or, you know, you could spinelessly slink away from it without ever mentioning it again. You know, so you don’t have to admit you’re wrong. Which would require some amount of moral fortitude.

    And, for the love of rhetoric, please stop reframing your comments on Jewish superiority to read as you wish they’d read. I’m not talking about the relative merits of culture or industry. We’re talking about your ridiculous statements about “the superiority of the Jews” or how “the Jewish people historically have far out-performed the Arabs, intellectually”, or how “the Jewish people are clearly the ablest people in the Middle East” or how “Jewish people tend to be the brightest and savviest.” Just own your racism like a man.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Peter (@117), congratulations on finally admitting that I “didn’t initially raise the issue of race on this thread”! Well done!

    Now all you have to do is admit that there is no basis for your ridiculous accusation that I “incessantly bring up race in order to divert discussion from the relevant issues.” Or, you know, you could spinelessly slink away from it without ever mentioning it again. You know, so you don’t have to admit you’re wrong. Which would require some amount of moral fortitude.

    And, for the love of rhetoric, please stop reframing your comments on Jewish superiority to read as you wish they’d read. I’m not talking about the relative merits of culture or industry. We’re talking about your ridiculous statements about “the superiority of the Jews” or how “the Jewish people historically have far out-performed the Arabs, intellectually”, or how “the Jewish people are clearly the ablest people in the Middle East” or how “Jewish people tend to be the brightest and savviest.” Just own your racism like a man.

  • ptl

    Kevin N started it all in comment #1 with the observation of so much whiteness in the tea party, boo :( guess ones skin color implies something bad and therefore discredits them in your eyes? or does one get a free pass on anything if you are any color other than white Kevin? hope not, that would be racist!

    tODD in comment 57 took it to the lowest level with the first use of the “N” word…and rehashing charges about the tea party that to my understanding have never been proven, and to be fair, even if they were, could you condemn an entire group for the behavior of a few hooligans?

    then, sorry to say, tODD followed that up in 119, with a tender Christian attack against another contributor’s remarks dredged up from some distant past and on a different topic…so much sticking to the facts surrounding the present discussion :(

    ok, that’s my observations as a fair and balanced fan of this blog :)

  • ptl

    Kevin N started it all in comment #1 with the observation of so much whiteness in the tea party, boo :( guess ones skin color implies something bad and therefore discredits them in your eyes? or does one get a free pass on anything if you are any color other than white Kevin? hope not, that would be racist!

    tODD in comment 57 took it to the lowest level with the first use of the “N” word…and rehashing charges about the tea party that to my understanding have never been proven, and to be fair, even if they were, could you condemn an entire group for the behavior of a few hooligans?

    then, sorry to say, tODD followed that up in 119, with a tender Christian attack against another contributor’s remarks dredged up from some distant past and on a different topic…so much sticking to the facts surrounding the present discussion :(

    ok, that’s my observations as a fair and balanced fan of this blog :)

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Ptl (@120), what exactly is the value of your “observations”, added over 100 comments into a conversation you were not a part of? If you’re going to attempt to give us value-added summaries, you should do a better job at accurately summarizing.

    For example, did Kevin say anything about “so much whiteness in the tea party”? No, and a simple reading of his comment makes that clear. He said (and man, am I tired of having to copy and paste this for people) the tea party movement “seems to attract some of the worst elements of the right wing, such as … those who seem intent—though for the most part wouldn’t admit it—on keeping the Republican party mostly white.” Nowhere in that is there an observation on the whiteness of tea party members in general. It is an assertion about the racial attitudes of “some” tea party members.

    And while I acknowledge that the allegations of “n***er”-shouting are irresolvably a he-said, they-said issue, I take issue with your being offended merely by my typing out the word in full that was part of the allegation. For instance, if you called me an “idiot,” I’d have reason to be offended. But it would be silly to be offended by some third party noting quite plainly that you’d called me an idiot.

    “Even if they were, could you condemn an entire group for the behavior of a few hooligans?” Boy, that’s a popular straw man today, isn’t it? I’m not condemning the tea party movement! I’m strongly suggesting that the tea party movement condemn those racist elements undeniably present at its “parties”, but some here would rather bury their head in the sand about that, I guess.

    And your “fair and balanced” observations seem to have completely ignored the defamatory, baseless accusations leveled at me by one Peter Leavitt.

    As for my “attack against another contributor’s remarks dredged up from some distant past and on a different topic”, criminy, how many things can you get wrong? Pay attention, please: Peter (@92) made his baseless (and as-yet undefended, of course) accusation that “Liberals including Todd incessantly bring up race in order to divert discussion from the relevant issues.” Louis — not me! — replied (@94) to Peter, “you are quite happy to bring up race yourself”, pointing to a discussion on Israel that took place this month (June 9, to be exact)!

    So Ptl, do you have anything to add yourself to the discussion being had here, or did you just want to make inaccurate summaries of what’s been said so far?

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Ptl (@120), what exactly is the value of your “observations”, added over 100 comments into a conversation you were not a part of? If you’re going to attempt to give us value-added summaries, you should do a better job at accurately summarizing.

    For example, did Kevin say anything about “so much whiteness in the tea party”? No, and a simple reading of his comment makes that clear. He said (and man, am I tired of having to copy and paste this for people) the tea party movement “seems to attract some of the worst elements of the right wing, such as … those who seem intent—though for the most part wouldn’t admit it—on keeping the Republican party mostly white.” Nowhere in that is there an observation on the whiteness of tea party members in general. It is an assertion about the racial attitudes of “some” tea party members.

    And while I acknowledge that the allegations of “n***er”-shouting are irresolvably a he-said, they-said issue, I take issue with your being offended merely by my typing out the word in full that was part of the allegation. For instance, if you called me an “idiot,” I’d have reason to be offended. But it would be silly to be offended by some third party noting quite plainly that you’d called me an idiot.

    “Even if they were, could you condemn an entire group for the behavior of a few hooligans?” Boy, that’s a popular straw man today, isn’t it? I’m not condemning the tea party movement! I’m strongly suggesting that the tea party movement condemn those racist elements undeniably present at its “parties”, but some here would rather bury their head in the sand about that, I guess.

    And your “fair and balanced” observations seem to have completely ignored the defamatory, baseless accusations leveled at me by one Peter Leavitt.

    As for my “attack against another contributor’s remarks dredged up from some distant past and on a different topic”, criminy, how many things can you get wrong? Pay attention, please: Peter (@92) made his baseless (and as-yet undefended, of course) accusation that “Liberals including Todd incessantly bring up race in order to divert discussion from the relevant issues.” Louis — not me! — replied (@94) to Peter, “you are quite happy to bring up race yourself”, pointing to a discussion on Israel that took place this month (June 9, to be exact)!

    So Ptl, do you have anything to add yourself to the discussion being had here, or did you just want to make inaccurate summaries of what’s been said so far?

  • Peter Leavitt

    Todd, don’t hold your breath waiting for me to do a Google search of your comments on the subject of racism. I assume at any rate that since you don’t provide your full name it would be impossible to do so. Don made the comment on this thread that liberals tend to smear the Tea Party as racist in order to divert from the main issues. This is precisely what you have done on this thread.

    The superiority of Jewish culture and industry is directly related to the superiority of Jewish people, something quite easy to prove. Charles Murray in his book Human Accomplishment remarks that in the 20th century Jews, who represent 3/10ths of 1% of world population, won 29% of the Nobel prizes; for the 21st-century the figure is 32%. Murray, also, writes that Jews contributed 25% of recent notable human-intelectual accomplishment in the modern world. This squares with my own observation from school, college, and business that the Jews are the ablest of any ethnic group. Your American amour propre may find this hard to take, though the burden would be on you to prove otherwise. The best recent book to read on this subject is George Gilder’s The Israel Question.

  • Peter Leavitt

    Todd, don’t hold your breath waiting for me to do a Google search of your comments on the subject of racism. I assume at any rate that since you don’t provide your full name it would be impossible to do so. Don made the comment on this thread that liberals tend to smear the Tea Party as racist in order to divert from the main issues. This is precisely what you have done on this thread.

    The superiority of Jewish culture and industry is directly related to the superiority of Jewish people, something quite easy to prove. Charles Murray in his book Human Accomplishment remarks that in the 20th century Jews, who represent 3/10ths of 1% of world population, won 29% of the Nobel prizes; for the 21st-century the figure is 32%. Murray, also, writes that Jews contributed 25% of recent notable human-intelectual accomplishment in the modern world. This squares with my own observation from school, college, and business that the Jews are the ablest of any ethnic group. Your American amour propre may find this hard to take, though the burden would be on you to prove otherwise. The best recent book to read on this subject is George Gilder’s The Israel Question.

  • Peter Leavitt

    Pardon me, the book is The Israel Question.

  • Peter Leavitt

    Pardon me, the book is The Israel Question.

  • Peter Leavitt

    Rather, The Israel Test

  • Peter Leavitt

    Rather, The Israel Test

  • SAL

    #82, I see our culture and elites moving gradually and inexorably towards fascism (on both the left and the right). Also we seem to have made economic and social collapse structurally the default position.

    I don’t anticipate leaving America until retirement and I intend to honorably fulfill my vocation working for a part of the Army. My employer would certainly not appreciate me emigrating prior to retirement. However I’m certainly going to suggest my children do what’s necessary to make a life in a nation less likely to descend into authoritarianism or lawlessness.

  • SAL

    #82, I see our culture and elites moving gradually and inexorably towards fascism (on both the left and the right). Also we seem to have made economic and social collapse structurally the default position.

    I don’t anticipate leaving America until retirement and I intend to honorably fulfill my vocation working for a part of the Army. My employer would certainly not appreciate me emigrating prior to retirement. However I’m certainly going to suggest my children do what’s necessary to make a life in a nation less likely to descend into authoritarianism or lawlessness.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    SAL (@125), again, which country or countries would be “less likely to descend into authoritarianism or lawlessness”?

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    SAL (@125), again, which country or countries would be “less likely to descend into authoritarianism or lawlessness”?

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Peter (@122), “Todd, don’t hold your breath waiting for me to do a Google search of your comments on the subject of racism.” Alrighty then, spinelessly slinking away from your assertion it is! Of course you won’t do such a search! Even if you knew how, you and I both know it would turn up zero (pro tip: that’s infinitely less than “incessantly”) instances of my “bringing up race in order to divert discussion”.

    “I assume at any rate that since you don’t provide your full name it would be impossible to do so.” Wrong and wrong. First of all, if you haven’t worked out my full name yet, you’re not trying. Plenty of other Cranach readers and commenters have worked it out. Hint: my last name is magically embedded multiple times into this very Web page! Moreover, you don’t have to search the entire Internet, since I rarely discuss politics anywhere online besides here and Facebook (and to find me on Facebook, you’d have to know my last name; catch 22!). Here, I’ll make a link for you. Now, for the first time, you can do the research into whether your accusation (@109) has any merit! (Sadly, the answer is: no. But maybe you’ll learn something about Google searches, should you feel compelled in the future to make accusations against me that are founded in reality. There’s always tomorrow!)

    “Don made the comment on this thread that liberals tend to smear the Tea Party as racist in order to divert from the main issues. This is precisely what you have done on this thread.” Wow, well done, Peter! And right after I got done saying (@121) “Boy, that’s a popular straw man today, isn’t it? I’m not condemning the tea party movement!” Maybe it’s your eyes. Have you had your prescription checked lately? I bet it’s your eyes.

    As for your belief in Jewish racial superiority, I believe you’ve had more than enough rope to hang yourself with for today.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Peter (@122), “Todd, don’t hold your breath waiting for me to do a Google search of your comments on the subject of racism.” Alrighty then, spinelessly slinking away from your assertion it is! Of course you won’t do such a search! Even if you knew how, you and I both know it would turn up zero (pro tip: that’s infinitely less than “incessantly”) instances of my “bringing up race in order to divert discussion”.

    “I assume at any rate that since you don’t provide your full name it would be impossible to do so.” Wrong and wrong. First of all, if you haven’t worked out my full name yet, you’re not trying. Plenty of other Cranach readers and commenters have worked it out. Hint: my last name is magically embedded multiple times into this very Web page! Moreover, you don’t have to search the entire Internet, since I rarely discuss politics anywhere online besides here and Facebook (and to find me on Facebook, you’d have to know my last name; catch 22!). Here, I’ll make a link for you. Now, for the first time, you can do the research into whether your accusation (@109) has any merit! (Sadly, the answer is: no. But maybe you’ll learn something about Google searches, should you feel compelled in the future to make accusations against me that are founded in reality. There’s always tomorrow!)

    “Don made the comment on this thread that liberals tend to smear the Tea Party as racist in order to divert from the main issues. This is precisely what you have done on this thread.” Wow, well done, Peter! And right after I got done saying (@121) “Boy, that’s a popular straw man today, isn’t it? I’m not condemning the tea party movement!” Maybe it’s your eyes. Have you had your prescription checked lately? I bet it’s your eyes.

    As for your belief in Jewish racial superiority, I believe you’ve had more than enough rope to hang yourself with for today.

  • Tom Hering

    Not exactly “Fodor’s Guide to Fascist Nations” but this might be of some help to potential emigrants in their decision making.

  • Tom Hering

    Not exactly “Fodor’s Guide to Fascist Nations” but this might be of some help to potential emigrants in their decision making.

  • SAL

    #126 What is your purpose is asking me that?

  • SAL

    #126 What is your purpose is asking me that?

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    SAL (@129), it’s not a trick question. If you’re “going to suggest [your] children do what’s necessary to make a life in a nation less likely to descend into authoritarianism or lawlessness,” then there must necessarily be such a nation, right? A nation that is trending less towards “fascism” and “economic and social collapse”. So what would it be? Canada? Somewhere in Europe? Japan? China? Where?

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    SAL (@129), it’s not a trick question. If you’re “going to suggest [your] children do what’s necessary to make a life in a nation less likely to descend into authoritarianism or lawlessness,” then there must necessarily be such a nation, right? A nation that is trending less towards “fascism” and “economic and social collapse”. So what would it be? Canada? Somewhere in Europe? Japan? China? Where?

  • Peter Leavitt

    Todd, since you cleverly use the moniker tODD instead of a full name it would be difficult to trace all of your posts. I’m well aware of your last name, Stadler. At any rate, I don’t do obsessive Google searches of Cranach posters.

    On the issue of smearing the Tea Party: Todd at 57: His claim was, after all, that the tea party “seems to attract” racists. Admittedly, I am assuming that those tea partiers chanting “nigger” also favor a whites-only Republican Party. Is that uncharitable? At 89: Look, I’d dig up more evidence of how much the White Nationalists love the tea party movement, but I don’t want to spend any more time than I have to on Storm Front’s Web site.

    One may, as Charles Murray, George Gilder, and I do, cite objective evidence for the superiority of Jewish people without deserving to be smeared by the vicious term racist that you and many others of late use rather loosely. Ever since Murray authored the book The Bell Curve that told some home truths about the distribution of intelligence among ethnic groups, he has been attacked mainly by the Left for being a “racist,” one of the main reasons that this term has saturated the general culture. Strom Thurmond was a racist; Murray, Gilder, and I are not, though being called one by someone of your ilk is a privilege.

  • Peter Leavitt

    Todd, since you cleverly use the moniker tODD instead of a full name it would be difficult to trace all of your posts. I’m well aware of your last name, Stadler. At any rate, I don’t do obsessive Google searches of Cranach posters.

    On the issue of smearing the Tea Party: Todd at 57: His claim was, after all, that the tea party “seems to attract” racists. Admittedly, I am assuming that those tea partiers chanting “nigger” also favor a whites-only Republican Party. Is that uncharitable? At 89: Look, I’d dig up more evidence of how much the White Nationalists love the tea party movement, but I don’t want to spend any more time than I have to on Storm Front’s Web site.

    One may, as Charles Murray, George Gilder, and I do, cite objective evidence for the superiority of Jewish people without deserving to be smeared by the vicious term racist that you and many others of late use rather loosely. Ever since Murray authored the book The Bell Curve that told some home truths about the distribution of intelligence among ethnic groups, he has been attacked mainly by the Left for being a “racist,” one of the main reasons that this term has saturated the general culture. Strom Thurmond was a racist; Murray, Gilder, and I are not, though being called one by someone of your ilk is a privilege.

  • SAL

    #130 I’d suggest there are dozens of potentially safer nations with Switzerland as an obvious candidate.

  • SAL

    #130 I’d suggest there are dozens of potentially safer nations with Switzerland as an obvious candidate.

  • Tom Hering

    Let’s try to reset the conversation here. :-)

    “E. J. Dionne sees conservatism reverting back to its old anti-government, extremism, and conspiracy theory days while abandoning its more recent Christian versions … But do you think his analysis holds up?” – Dr. Veith.

    In general, yes. The Tea Party movement is the secular phoenix rising from the ashes of the Christian America movement. Fewer Americans – not more – now self-identify as “Christian.” The battles over abortion, school prayer and same-sex marriage have been permanently lost (unless government and society turn around, which is unlikely). The hope that one political party – the Republicans – would be the champion of all godliness has been disappointed.

    So, Christian conservatives failed in their project to improve the morals of government. The only thing they can do now is try to cut an immoral government down to size, and so minimize the damage it can do to a “Christian America.”

    This, too, is quixotic.

  • Tom Hering

    Let’s try to reset the conversation here. :-)

    “E. J. Dionne sees conservatism reverting back to its old anti-government, extremism, and conspiracy theory days while abandoning its more recent Christian versions … But do you think his analysis holds up?” – Dr. Veith.

    In general, yes. The Tea Party movement is the secular phoenix rising from the ashes of the Christian America movement. Fewer Americans – not more – now self-identify as “Christian.” The battles over abortion, school prayer and same-sex marriage have been permanently lost (unless government and society turn around, which is unlikely). The hope that one political party – the Republicans – would be the champion of all godliness has been disappointed.

    So, Christian conservatives failed in their project to improve the morals of government. The only thing they can do now is try to cut an immoral government down to size, and so minimize the damage it can do to a “Christian America.”

    This, too, is quixotic.

  • Peter Leavitt

    Tom, the battles over abortion, same sex marriage, and school prayer, while difficult, are not necessarily lost. Reasonable, politically savvy Christian conservatives and moderates could easily meld with the reasonable Tea Party folk and elect a president capable of choosing conservative justices and congressmen interested in dealing with these issues as well as the fiscal ones. Two or three conservative or moderate [but not liberal] Supreme Court justice appointments could make an enormous difference.

    The problem is that the federal government has become an ethically dubious colossus of powerful politicos that threatens to bankrupt the nation financially and reduce responsible, hardworking Americans to clients of a nanny state. The Tea Party movement is a genuine populist uprising; the few wing-nuts on its fringes ought not detract from its capability of having a profound long-term effect on American politics. Serious Christians should be glad of this movement.

  • Peter Leavitt

    Tom, the battles over abortion, same sex marriage, and school prayer, while difficult, are not necessarily lost. Reasonable, politically savvy Christian conservatives and moderates could easily meld with the reasonable Tea Party folk and elect a president capable of choosing conservative justices and congressmen interested in dealing with these issues as well as the fiscal ones. Two or three conservative or moderate [but not liberal] Supreme Court justice appointments could make an enormous difference.

    The problem is that the federal government has become an ethically dubious colossus of powerful politicos that threatens to bankrupt the nation financially and reduce responsible, hardworking Americans to clients of a nanny state. The Tea Party movement is a genuine populist uprising; the few wing-nuts on its fringes ought not detract from its capability of having a profound long-term effect on American politics. Serious Christians should be glad of this movement.

  • Tom Hering

    Peter, we disagree about the moral battles being permanently lost, but we seem to agree that the Tea Party movement is the Christian America movement reborn – with a secular platform, i.e., a hope of accomplishing the old movement’s goals by other means. This isn’t black-and-white, of course. The old movement sometimes talked of smaller government. The new movement sometimes talks of Christian morals. But the emphasis has changed, yes?

  • Tom Hering

    Peter, we disagree about the moral battles being permanently lost, but we seem to agree that the Tea Party movement is the Christian America movement reborn – with a secular platform, i.e., a hope of accomplishing the old movement’s goals by other means. This isn’t black-and-white, of course. The old movement sometimes talked of smaller government. The new movement sometimes talks of Christian morals. But the emphasis has changed, yes?

  • Peter Leavitt

    Well, Tom, government itself can do little in a direct way about Christian morals. The best we can hope for is a solid core of Christian and other orthodox religious politicos who pass sensible laws and support the vital functions of national security, federal justice, and regulation of commerce and finance. Supreme Court justices could make a difference on the issues of abortion, homosexual marriage, and school prayer. Otherwise, Christian morals are the responsibility of churches, families, and the consciences of we fallen individuals.

    The best book on this topic is Moral Man and Immoral Society by Reinhold Niebuhr. He was a neo-orthodox Christian realist theologian who had little use for sentimental religious attempts at social justice and legislation of morals, though he did think that Christians ought to pay careful attention to national and international issues.

  • Peter Leavitt

    Well, Tom, government itself can do little in a direct way about Christian morals. The best we can hope for is a solid core of Christian and other orthodox religious politicos who pass sensible laws and support the vital functions of national security, federal justice, and regulation of commerce and finance. Supreme Court justices could make a difference on the issues of abortion, homosexual marriage, and school prayer. Otherwise, Christian morals are the responsibility of churches, families, and the consciences of we fallen individuals.

    The best book on this topic is Moral Man and Immoral Society by Reinhold Niebuhr. He was a neo-orthodox Christian realist theologian who had little use for sentimental religious attempts at social justice and legislation of morals, though he did think that Christians ought to pay careful attention to national and international issues.

  • Tom Hering

    Peter, I’m not talking about government doing something “in a direct way about Christian morals.” (Where did you get the idea I was?) The driving idea behind the old Christian America movement was that Christian morals could do something about government, if they were operative in government. This idea has been abandoned, it seems, by the new Tea Party movement – perhaps in an effort to be a “big tent” movement. More secular in nature. But with many of the old Christian America goals still in mind. Like the moral reform of government – reduced to a “maybe someday” hope.

  • Tom Hering

    Peter, I’m not talking about government doing something “in a direct way about Christian morals.” (Where did you get the idea I was?) The driving idea behind the old Christian America movement was that Christian morals could do something about government, if they were operative in government. This idea has been abandoned, it seems, by the new Tea Party movement – perhaps in an effort to be a “big tent” movement. More secular in nature. But with many of the old Christian America goals still in mind. Like the moral reform of government – reduced to a “maybe someday” hope.

  • Tom Hering

    Perhaps there’s some vague thinking in the Tea Party movement that a smaller government could more easily be remade into a Christian government? Or, at least, a more pro-Christian government?

  • Tom Hering

    Perhaps there’s some vague thinking in the Tea Party movement that a smaller government could more easily be remade into a Christian government? Or, at least, a more pro-Christian government?

  • Peter Leavitt

    I agree with your idea of a big tent movement and regard it as possible. Lincoln termed America The last best hope for mankind, something that is still real.

  • Peter Leavitt

    I agree with your idea of a big tent movement and regard it as possible. Lincoln termed America The last best hope for mankind, something that is still real.

  • Tom Hering

    I’d be curious to hear what some of the international readers of this blog think of Lincoln’s assertion?

  • Tom Hering

    I’d be curious to hear what some of the international readers of this blog think of Lincoln’s assertion?

  • SAL

    #134 Tom, if even reducing the size of the central government is politically quixotic, then conservatives have no reason to vote in federal elections.

    I can’t imagine why Democrats wouldn’t just go out and make the point that the Republicans will do nothing to reduce government and that if you want a smaller government, too bad. Turning conservatives into non-voters would allow Democrats to rule uncontested.

  • SAL

    #134 Tom, if even reducing the size of the central government is politically quixotic, then conservatives have no reason to vote in federal elections.

    I can’t imagine why Democrats wouldn’t just go out and make the point that the Republicans will do nothing to reduce government and that if you want a smaller government, too bad. Turning conservatives into non-voters would allow Democrats to rule uncontested.

  • Tom Hering

    SAL @ 141, you speak as if there are no conservatives among the Democrats. That’s much too simplistic a view of things. What party has a harder time getting all its members on the same page?

    I don’t think all conservative efforts to reduce the size of government are quixotic. Just the Tea Party’s effort to reduce the federal government all the way back down to its 18th-century limits. Especially if the Tea Party’s ultimate (if unstated) goal is an America that’s more Christian (however you define such a thing). Doubly quixotic.

  • Tom Hering

    SAL @ 141, you speak as if there are no conservatives among the Democrats. That’s much too simplistic a view of things. What party has a harder time getting all its members on the same page?

    I don’t think all conservative efforts to reduce the size of government are quixotic. Just the Tea Party’s effort to reduce the federal government all the way back down to its 18th-century limits. Especially if the Tea Party’s ultimate (if unstated) goal is an America that’s more Christian (however you define such a thing). Doubly quixotic.

  • ptl

    Tom and 142:

    “Especially if the Tea Party’s ultimate (if unstated) goal is an America that’s more Christian (however you define such a thing). Doubly quixotic.”

    My hope is that the Tea Party does NOT have as it’s goal an America that is more Christian (at least not via government mandate) but a Government that is LESS HOSTILE to Christians.

    At least that is how it looks to me…that would be a happy result of shrinking the government down to it’s constitutional size, as well as courts that correctly interpret the 1st amendment.

    The result should be MORE religious freedom for all churches, including Christian ones.

    But am not an expert, just repeating the stuff on the radio :)

  • ptl

    Tom and 142:

    “Especially if the Tea Party’s ultimate (if unstated) goal is an America that’s more Christian (however you define such a thing). Doubly quixotic.”

    My hope is that the Tea Party does NOT have as it’s goal an America that is more Christian (at least not via government mandate) but a Government that is LESS HOSTILE to Christians.

    At least that is how it looks to me…that would be a happy result of shrinking the government down to it’s constitutional size, as well as courts that correctly interpret the 1st amendment.

    The result should be MORE religious freedom for all churches, including Christian ones.

    But am not an expert, just repeating the stuff on the radio :)

  • Tom Hering

    ptl, see my comment @ 138. Out of curiosity, could you tell me the ways in which the federal government is currently hostile toward Christians? I mean, it gives our churches tax exemptions, and allows us to believe, teach and worship as we please.

  • Tom Hering

    ptl, see my comment @ 138. Out of curiosity, could you tell me the ways in which the federal government is currently hostile toward Christians? I mean, it gives our churches tax exemptions, and allows us to believe, teach and worship as we please.

  • SAL

    #142 There are very few conservatives among Democrats naturally. If you take conservatives out of politics, the Democrats get to compete with a Republican Party that’s a third its current size.

  • SAL

    #142 There are very few conservatives among Democrats naturally. If you take conservatives out of politics, the Democrats get to compete with a Republican Party that’s a third its current size.

  • Tom Hering

    Well, SAL, most conservatives aren’t going to abandon politics – not ever – so we can’t discuss anything real by discussing the point you’ve made. I’m still curious, though, to know more about the hostility shown by our federal government toward Christians. Got any horror stories that can be fact-checked?

  • Tom Hering

    Well, SAL, most conservatives aren’t going to abandon politics – not ever – so we can’t discuss anything real by discussing the point you’ve made. I’m still curious, though, to know more about the hostility shown by our federal government toward Christians. Got any horror stories that can be fact-checked?

  • Tom Hering

    Oops, sorry SAL. I was addressing ptl in my last two sentences @ 146.

  • Tom Hering

    Oops, sorry SAL. I was addressing ptl in my last two sentences @ 146.

  • Peter Leavitt

    Tom, the Supreme Court, the judicial part of the federal government, has in recent years overruled state laws on abortion and homosexual behavior, along with drastic restrictions of Christian prayer in the public schools.

    In a less direct though real way the federal government has become in toto an integral part of what the scholar, Charles Taylor, terms the Secular Age that has relegated what’s left of serious religion to the private sphere. Secular authority doesn’t really respect the voice of religious people in the public square. Many young people have little or no understanding of what it means to live in a society that worships in its churches and homes a transcendental God and seeks to obey His moral law. The end result has become a certain decadence that has badly weakened the country.

  • Peter Leavitt

    Tom, the Supreme Court, the judicial part of the federal government, has in recent years overruled state laws on abortion and homosexual behavior, along with drastic restrictions of Christian prayer in the public schools.

    In a less direct though real way the federal government has become in toto an integral part of what the scholar, Charles Taylor, terms the Secular Age that has relegated what’s left of serious religion to the private sphere. Secular authority doesn’t really respect the voice of religious people in the public square. Many young people have little or no understanding of what it means to live in a society that worships in its churches and homes a transcendental God and seeks to obey His moral law. The end result has become a certain decadence that has badly weakened the country.

  • DonS

    Tom @ 133: Thank you for resetting the conversation. The mistake which Christians made back in the ’80′s (Moral Majority, etc.) was to attempt to use the federal government to legislate on moral issues. They essentially fell into the same trap which liberals routinely do, using activist government to address what they see as social ills. It is a mistake, especially for those desiring more limited and less intrusivfe government.

    The modern Christian approach is a more libertarian one — encouraging the government to back away from past forays into anti-Christian policies. In abortion, we are winning. Public opinion is turning strongly against abortion, as people learn, through improved technology, that it is truly the murder of a human being. Ultimately, Roe v. Wade will be vitiated, either through a ruling directly overturning it, returning the issue to the states, or by repeated decisions chipping at its corners, until it is largely irrelevant. Additionally, fewer and fewer practitioners are willing to perform abortions, realizing that doing so is a direct violation of their Hippocratic Oath.

    I think school prayer is a passe issue. No one wants school-sponsored prayer anymore, they just want the right for student-led prayer and Bible studies, etc. In other words, freedom for students to practice their faith in the public school setting. Many Christians have given up on the increasingly disastrous public schools, choosing private schooling or home schooling instead. Much of the recent energy is directed to the home school movement.

    The same-sex marriage issue does seem to be heading toward acceptance, due largely to the acceptance of homosexuality by the younger generation and inexorable pressure by a biased media and entertainment complex.

    A smaller, more Constitutional, less-invasive federal government is the answer to religious freedom, which is all we can really hope for in this life, and what we should be striving for. We should fight to the last to preserve our unique American liberties against the inexorable and coercive pressure of secular government regulation and excess.

  • DonS

    Tom @ 133: Thank you for resetting the conversation. The mistake which Christians made back in the ’80′s (Moral Majority, etc.) was to attempt to use the federal government to legislate on moral issues. They essentially fell into the same trap which liberals routinely do, using activist government to address what they see as social ills. It is a mistake, especially for those desiring more limited and less intrusivfe government.

    The modern Christian approach is a more libertarian one — encouraging the government to back away from past forays into anti-Christian policies. In abortion, we are winning. Public opinion is turning strongly against abortion, as people learn, through improved technology, that it is truly the murder of a human being. Ultimately, Roe v. Wade will be vitiated, either through a ruling directly overturning it, returning the issue to the states, or by repeated decisions chipping at its corners, until it is largely irrelevant. Additionally, fewer and fewer practitioners are willing to perform abortions, realizing that doing so is a direct violation of their Hippocratic Oath.

    I think school prayer is a passe issue. No one wants school-sponsored prayer anymore, they just want the right for student-led prayer and Bible studies, etc. In other words, freedom for students to practice their faith in the public school setting. Many Christians have given up on the increasingly disastrous public schools, choosing private schooling or home schooling instead. Much of the recent energy is directed to the home school movement.

    The same-sex marriage issue does seem to be heading toward acceptance, due largely to the acceptance of homosexuality by the younger generation and inexorable pressure by a biased media and entertainment complex.

    A smaller, more Constitutional, less-invasive federal government is the answer to religious freedom, which is all we can really hope for in this life, and what we should be striving for. We should fight to the last to preserve our unique American liberties against the inexorable and coercive pressure of secular government regulation and excess.

  • DonS

    To address this unfortunate race issue, Jews are not inherently genetically superior. Their outsized achievements and contributions to society are, I believe, directly traceable to the fact that they were blessed by God. God keeps His Word. Western European and American civilization were similarly blessed, due to Judeo-Christian influence, resulting in their tremendous achievements and advancements as a people over the last 500 years. It has nothing to do with race. It has everything to do with God’s residual blessing, even on those who have forsaken the faith. The relative achievements of western Europe and the continent of Africa illustrate the blessings of the one true God about as clearly as such could ever be illustrated.

  • DonS

    To address this unfortunate race issue, Jews are not inherently genetically superior. Their outsized achievements and contributions to society are, I believe, directly traceable to the fact that they were blessed by God. God keeps His Word. Western European and American civilization were similarly blessed, due to Judeo-Christian influence, resulting in their tremendous achievements and advancements as a people over the last 500 years. It has nothing to do with race. It has everything to do with God’s residual blessing, even on those who have forsaken the faith. The relative achievements of western Europe and the continent of Africa illustrate the blessings of the one true God about as clearly as such could ever be illustrated.

  • Tom Hering

    Peter, ptl @ 143 talked about “a Government that is LESS HOSTILE to Christians.” This presumes that the current federal government is indeed hostile toward Christians – which would be a huge story. How did I miss it? Might it be there’s a difference between government that is non-Christian, and government that is anti-Christian?

    I think what’s bothering me is how so much of the right’s talk is filled with imaginings rather than realities. An imagined Christian/constitutional golden age in America’s past. (It never existed.) Arguments in favor of a Christian/conservative utopia, unsupported by successful examples from history. (Didn’t the founders base the new republic on real, ancient models?) All-too-easily-tossed-off comments about the persecution of American Christians. (Such comments are totally clueless.) The imminent end of liberty itself. (When was the last time a police officer asked you to show your papers? Outside of Arizona, anyways?)

    Jeepers, fellers, we Christians have got it awfully dang good here. Even under a non-Christian, greatly-expanded federal government. Pray we may continue to live in exactly such peace. (While we also continue to preach, teach, worship and love our neighbor – and call our government out on its wrongdoings, of course.)

  • Tom Hering

    Peter, ptl @ 143 talked about “a Government that is LESS HOSTILE to Christians.” This presumes that the current federal government is indeed hostile toward Christians – which would be a huge story. How did I miss it? Might it be there’s a difference between government that is non-Christian, and government that is anti-Christian?

    I think what’s bothering me is how so much of the right’s talk is filled with imaginings rather than realities. An imagined Christian/constitutional golden age in America’s past. (It never existed.) Arguments in favor of a Christian/conservative utopia, unsupported by successful examples from history. (Didn’t the founders base the new republic on real, ancient models?) All-too-easily-tossed-off comments about the persecution of American Christians. (Such comments are totally clueless.) The imminent end of liberty itself. (When was the last time a police officer asked you to show your papers? Outside of Arizona, anyways?)

    Jeepers, fellers, we Christians have got it awfully dang good here. Even under a non-Christian, greatly-expanded federal government. Pray we may continue to live in exactly such peace. (While we also continue to preach, teach, worship and love our neighbor – and call our government out on its wrongdoings, of course.)

  • Peter Leavitt

    Don, I agree that to the extent that the Jewish people are superior, somehow much of this this comes from God. Many Jewish people themselves wish that they could have been a more ordinary people as opposed to a chosen one.

    Nevertheless, anyone who pays attention to the accomplishment of Jewish people has to be impressed. Jews themselves rarely call public attention to their accomplishments. Non-Jewish men like Charles Murray and George Gilder are the ones who have written objectively about this. Gilder claims that due to Jewish developments in quantum and nuclear physics, along with Von Neumann’s mathematical work on logic and set theory that substantially helped with developing nuclear weapons, the Allies won WWII. He argues that Israel has become one of the most technologically and industrially advanced nations in the world. Among other things the Jews have helped many Palestinians on the West Bank to live fruitful, productive lives. He claims that at present Mossad is providing the West crucially valuable intelligence related to the War on Terror.

  • Peter Leavitt

    Don, I agree that to the extent that the Jewish people are superior, somehow much of this this comes from God. Many Jewish people themselves wish that they could have been a more ordinary people as opposed to a chosen one.

    Nevertheless, anyone who pays attention to the accomplishment of Jewish people has to be impressed. Jews themselves rarely call public attention to their accomplishments. Non-Jewish men like Charles Murray and George Gilder are the ones who have written objectively about this. Gilder claims that due to Jewish developments in quantum and nuclear physics, along with Von Neumann’s mathematical work on logic and set theory that substantially helped with developing nuclear weapons, the Allies won WWII. He argues that Israel has become one of the most technologically and industrially advanced nations in the world. Among other things the Jews have helped many Palestinians on the West Bank to live fruitful, productive lives. He claims that at present Mossad is providing the West crucially valuable intelligence related to the War on Terror.

  • Peter Leavitt

    Tom, at 152, few conservatives envision any sort of radical change that takes us back to some sort of an imagined utopia. Conservatives as a rule are suspicious of any radical change. Don summed this up well as follows: A smaller, more Constitutional, less-invasive federal government is the answer to religious freedom, which is all we can really hope for in this life, and what we should be striving for.

    The founders wanted a republic based on the best ideas of Greece and Rome. They, also, understood that government by the people would be as straw without a core of virtuous people and sensible leaders. They were well aware that Greece and Rome both fell mainly due to the decadence and extravagance of both the people and their leaders.

    I agree that we live by and large dang good in this country, though the secular, big government colossus is real and needs to be dealt with through thoughtful, sensible, and strong measures. As far as I can tell, this is what you understand and want too.

  • Peter Leavitt

    Tom, at 152, few conservatives envision any sort of radical change that takes us back to some sort of an imagined utopia. Conservatives as a rule are suspicious of any radical change. Don summed this up well as follows: A smaller, more Constitutional, less-invasive federal government is the answer to religious freedom, which is all we can really hope for in this life, and what we should be striving for.

    The founders wanted a republic based on the best ideas of Greece and Rome. They, also, understood that government by the people would be as straw without a core of virtuous people and sensible leaders. They were well aware that Greece and Rome both fell mainly due to the decadence and extravagance of both the people and their leaders.

    I agree that we live by and large dang good in this country, though the secular, big government colossus is real and needs to be dealt with through thoughtful, sensible, and strong measures. As far as I can tell, this is what you understand and want too.

  • Tom Hering

    Peter, I can see how “A smaller, more Constitutional, less-invasive federal government” might be the answer to economic freedom. (Which begs the question, “Whose economic freedom – whose deregulation – and with what consequences for others?”) But I can’t see how it’s the answer to religious freedom, as we’re in no way short on this freedom in America. It’s a solution for a problem that doesn’t exist. Which puts us right back in the realm of conservative imaginings again.

    I watched “For Liberty” last night – a two-hour documentary about the Ron Paul campaign. (Made by a couple of guys from my hometown, woo-hoo!) It was interesting to see the roots of the Tea Party movement in Paul’s “Tea Party ’07″ campaign. (Even the Gadsden flag was displayed back then.) And I was sympathetic to it all, being a former Libertarian and “Lights of Liberty” award-winner. But, you know, it left me with the feeling that an appeal to our natural desire for peace, freedom and prosperity isn’t enough. What was missing was a certain, indefinable realism about the size and complexity of the nation (and world) we live in. I think the size and complexity of today’s federal government is – for the most part – appropriate for 21st-century America. 99.999% of us don’t live on an off-the-grid homestead with pigs and chickens, or bring home venison with a black powder rifle. Not that there’s anything wrong with that. :-)

  • Tom Hering

    Peter, I can see how “A smaller, more Constitutional, less-invasive federal government” might be the answer to economic freedom. (Which begs the question, “Whose economic freedom – whose deregulation – and with what consequences for others?”) But I can’t see how it’s the answer to religious freedom, as we’re in no way short on this freedom in America. It’s a solution for a problem that doesn’t exist. Which puts us right back in the realm of conservative imaginings again.

    I watched “For Liberty” last night – a two-hour documentary about the Ron Paul campaign. (Made by a couple of guys from my hometown, woo-hoo!) It was interesting to see the roots of the Tea Party movement in Paul’s “Tea Party ’07″ campaign. (Even the Gadsden flag was displayed back then.) And I was sympathetic to it all, being a former Libertarian and “Lights of Liberty” award-winner. But, you know, it left me with the feeling that an appeal to our natural desire for peace, freedom and prosperity isn’t enough. What was missing was a certain, indefinable realism about the size and complexity of the nation (and world) we live in. I think the size and complexity of today’s federal government is – for the most part – appropriate for 21st-century America. 99.999% of us don’t live on an off-the-grid homestead with pigs and chickens, or bring home venison with a black powder rifle. Not that there’s anything wrong with that. :-)

  • ptl

    Am not sure if this applies to the above comment, but here goes:

    “We were the first to assert that the more complicated the forms assumed by civilization, the more restricted the freedom of the individual must become” Benito Mussolini

    This is the introductory quote to Chapter IV, The “Inevitability” of Planning” in The Road to Serfdom, by Friedrich Hayek.

    In that chapter he tries to debunk with some facts the myth that some version of central planning can do a better job of organizing a society than the free market place. Part of what he says, is that this is one of the “myths” at the core of the supporters of more planning and less freedom. He believes it’s a myth because he has so much more evidence against it which you can read in his pretty good book.

    It is interesting to note that FDR refers to that “myth” quite often in speeches and writings in support of his New Deal programs!

    Another great quote in the Serfdom book, in Chapter VIII:

    “The finest opportunity ever given to the world was thrown away because the passion for equality made vain the hope for freedom” Lord Acton

  • ptl

    Am not sure if this applies to the above comment, but here goes:

    “We were the first to assert that the more complicated the forms assumed by civilization, the more restricted the freedom of the individual must become” Benito Mussolini

    This is the introductory quote to Chapter IV, The “Inevitability” of Planning” in The Road to Serfdom, by Friedrich Hayek.

    In that chapter he tries to debunk with some facts the myth that some version of central planning can do a better job of organizing a society than the free market place. Part of what he says, is that this is one of the “myths” at the core of the supporters of more planning and less freedom. He believes it’s a myth because he has so much more evidence against it which you can read in his pretty good book.

    It is interesting to note that FDR refers to that “myth” quite often in speeches and writings in support of his New Deal programs!

    Another great quote in the Serfdom book, in Chapter VIII:

    “The finest opportunity ever given to the world was thrown away because the passion for equality made vain the hope for freedom” Lord Acton

  • Tom Hering

    ptl @ 156, that’s all good stuff to bring up, and relevant too, I’d say. Civilization is a balancing act, with the free individual and the good society up on the high wire together. The performers tilt one way and then the other philosophically. But the act is worked out politically. Both performers look shaky, but the show goes on.

    Now, how does a family, the basic unit of society, function? With everyone acting freely? Or with a central authority (the parents) planning wisely – and allowing all the individual freedom it’s possible to allow without destroying the family itself? The answer is obvious.

    Am I arguing that the state is parental? Yes, very much so.

    “… in connection with this commandment, we must mention the sort of obedience due to superiors, persons whose duty it is to command and to govern. For all other authority is derived and developed out of the authority of parents” … “Thus all who are called masters stand in the place of parents and must derive from them their power and authority to govern. They are called fathers in the Scriptures because in their sphere of authority they have been commissioned as fathers and ought to have fatherly hearts toward their people. Thus from ancient times the Romans and peoples speaking other languages called the masters and mistresses of the household patres et matres familias, that is, housefathers and housemothers. Again, their princes and overlords were called patres patriae, that is, fathers of the whole country, to the great shame of us would-be Christians who do not speak of our rulers in the same way, or at least do not treat and honor them as such.” (Martin Luther, Large Catechism, The Ten Commandments, 141-142, KW.)

    Not a convincing argument for non-Lutherans, I admit. But it’s a Confessional view of the state – of the sort of responsibility the state has, the sort of attitude we should have toward the state, and the sort of obedience that’s due the state – among those of us who are Confessional Lutherans. It doesn’t jive well with the American attitude of independence-above-everything, I also admit. But then, there’s not much in our tradition of independence that’s Biblical.

  • Tom Hering

    ptl @ 156, that’s all good stuff to bring up, and relevant too, I’d say. Civilization is a balancing act, with the free individual and the good society up on the high wire together. The performers tilt one way and then the other philosophically. But the act is worked out politically. Both performers look shaky, but the show goes on.

    Now, how does a family, the basic unit of society, function? With everyone acting freely? Or with a central authority (the parents) planning wisely – and allowing all the individual freedom it’s possible to allow without destroying the family itself? The answer is obvious.

    Am I arguing that the state is parental? Yes, very much so.

    “… in connection with this commandment, we must mention the sort of obedience due to superiors, persons whose duty it is to command and to govern. For all other authority is derived and developed out of the authority of parents” … “Thus all who are called masters stand in the place of parents and must derive from them their power and authority to govern. They are called fathers in the Scriptures because in their sphere of authority they have been commissioned as fathers and ought to have fatherly hearts toward their people. Thus from ancient times the Romans and peoples speaking other languages called the masters and mistresses of the household patres et matres familias, that is, housefathers and housemothers. Again, their princes and overlords were called patres patriae, that is, fathers of the whole country, to the great shame of us would-be Christians who do not speak of our rulers in the same way, or at least do not treat and honor them as such.” (Martin Luther, Large Catechism, The Ten Commandments, 141-142, KW.)

    Not a convincing argument for non-Lutherans, I admit. But it’s a Confessional view of the state – of the sort of responsibility the state has, the sort of attitude we should have toward the state, and the sort of obedience that’s due the state – among those of us who are Confessional Lutherans. It doesn’t jive well with the American attitude of independence-above-everything, I also admit. But then, there’s not much in our tradition of independence that’s Biblical.

  • Peter Leavitt

    ptl, you’re right to bring in Hayek to answer Tom’s view that big government is needed given the size and complexity of America. Hayek understood that central economic and social planning inevitably leads to serfdom, as it doesn’t allow individuals to fully engage in their empirical reality. I would add that big government is, also, inimical to spiritual freedom, as it tends to require in itself a sort of idolatry.

    Lord Acton’s point that the opportunity for freedom was thrown away due to the vain hope for equality explains the reason that Mussolini, Roosevelt, and recently, Obama, are able to in the short term win over many people who deep down resent able, hardworking people that become successful; they are glad
    to sell their souls to big government that promises the illusion not only of equality of opportunity but equality of result.

    In the long run limited government that allows maximum freedom is best both for spiritual and material health.

  • Peter Leavitt

    ptl, you’re right to bring in Hayek to answer Tom’s view that big government is needed given the size and complexity of America. Hayek understood that central economic and social planning inevitably leads to serfdom, as it doesn’t allow individuals to fully engage in their empirical reality. I would add that big government is, also, inimical to spiritual freedom, as it tends to require in itself a sort of idolatry.

    Lord Acton’s point that the opportunity for freedom was thrown away due to the vain hope for equality explains the reason that Mussolini, Roosevelt, and recently, Obama, are able to in the short term win over many people who deep down resent able, hardworking people that become successful; they are glad
    to sell their souls to big government that promises the illusion not only of equality of opportunity but equality of result.

    In the long run limited government that allows maximum freedom is best both for spiritual and material health.

  • ptl

    It’s somewhat ironic that it was the libs who complained so much about the big brother policy of the bush administrations patriot act, seem they knew full well the dangers of which Hayek spoke when they often quoted something along these lines…..those who are willing to trade their freedom for security will end up with neither. Wouldn’t that apply to what Tom is saying up above.

    As to Tom’s comment, yes the family is the cornerstone of the social fabric…hmm, that might be a good argument for returning to the monarchy :) But more seriously, yes the family knows how to make the best choices for itself and does look out for it’s best interest FIRST (which may include being nice to their neighbors as a way to guarantee a certain peacefulness in the neighborhood, etc. something similar to Ayn Rand’s logic as to why an individual may be interested in a bit of altruism?)….and my strong guess is because THEY know better than anyone (even an all knowing, all powerful government agent) what uniquely works for them.

    The number one obvious problem, it seems to me, with having a lot of those choices made for them is there is no one but themselves who knows what is best for them, and there is no way, without an entitiy being omniscient, etc. of being able to customize something to fit their needs.

    Hayek has a few chapters on that subject too, and one of his main points is that just because he is against central planning in so far as trying to plan competition and control the economy, that does not mean you throw out all planning….like the rules of the road, or for the distribution of public utiliites, and many other useful functions of strong, central governments. Just get out of the business of trying to plan social progress in your own image, plus more!

    As regards the stuff from Luther, well that was so long ago, even before the idea of a self governing nation (if you assume we are the first), and it seems to me would apply to a homogeneous population like the German nation and have very little to do with our situation, being a pluralistic society and all that?

    Sorry if this is not well written…am in between a whole list of weekend Honey-do’s and am not up to the background of most of the contributor’s here in the first place….anyway, thanks!

  • ptl

    It’s somewhat ironic that it was the libs who complained so much about the big brother policy of the bush administrations patriot act, seem they knew full well the dangers of which Hayek spoke when they often quoted something along these lines…..those who are willing to trade their freedom for security will end up with neither. Wouldn’t that apply to what Tom is saying up above.

    As to Tom’s comment, yes the family is the cornerstone of the social fabric…hmm, that might be a good argument for returning to the monarchy :) But more seriously, yes the family knows how to make the best choices for itself and does look out for it’s best interest FIRST (which may include being nice to their neighbors as a way to guarantee a certain peacefulness in the neighborhood, etc. something similar to Ayn Rand’s logic as to why an individual may be interested in a bit of altruism?)….and my strong guess is because THEY know better than anyone (even an all knowing, all powerful government agent) what uniquely works for them.

    The number one obvious problem, it seems to me, with having a lot of those choices made for them is there is no one but themselves who knows what is best for them, and there is no way, without an entitiy being omniscient, etc. of being able to customize something to fit their needs.

    Hayek has a few chapters on that subject too, and one of his main points is that just because he is against central planning in so far as trying to plan competition and control the economy, that does not mean you throw out all planning….like the rules of the road, or for the distribution of public utiliites, and many other useful functions of strong, central governments. Just get out of the business of trying to plan social progress in your own image, plus more!

    As regards the stuff from Luther, well that was so long ago, even before the idea of a self governing nation (if you assume we are the first), and it seems to me would apply to a homogeneous population like the German nation and have very little to do with our situation, being a pluralistic society and all that?

    Sorry if this is not well written…am in between a whole list of weekend Honey-do’s and am not up to the background of most of the contributor’s here in the first place….anyway, thanks!

  • Peter Leavitt

    Tom, take health-care as an example. Do you really think that Obamacare involved in that three-thousand-page bill is a better solution than individuals working with free doctors, hospitals, and insurance companies in a competitive marketplace?

    I’m all for family, church, and government authority kept within bounds, though the reality at present is at present the federal colossus has greatly exceeded reasonable bounds. Fortunately the Tea Party folk understand this.

    As to Luther, he certainly understood the depredations and limitations of central church authority. One might well think of him as an early sixteenth-century Tea Party leader who put his life on the line resisting out of bounds central church authority.

  • Peter Leavitt

    Tom, take health-care as an example. Do you really think that Obamacare involved in that three-thousand-page bill is a better solution than individuals working with free doctors, hospitals, and insurance companies in a competitive marketplace?

    I’m all for family, church, and government authority kept within bounds, though the reality at present is at present the federal colossus has greatly exceeded reasonable bounds. Fortunately the Tea Party folk understand this.

    As to Luther, he certainly understood the depredations and limitations of central church authority. One might well think of him as an early sixteenth-century Tea Party leader who put his life on the line resisting out of bounds central church authority.

  • Tom Hering

    Peter & ptl, I’m not familiar with Hayek’s writings, but then, how much can an actress know about these matters? She looks great in a bikini, though. :-)

    Peter @ 158. Big government requires a sort of idolatry? What sort, Peter? An idol supplies all our needs in return for worship – that’s the exact nature of the contract we believe we make with an idol. I don’t view our government that way, and I’ve never met anyone else who does. Nothing I’ve ever received from our government has made me less aware of my total dependence on God. In fact, it’s God I’ve thanked for everything I’ve received through our government. So, who are these idolatrous people you imagine, Peter? (There we are back to that imagining thing again. Can’t you guys ever make your case without falling into that?)

    I have zero resentment toward hard-working people who’ve become successful. I might criticize particular people in that category for a number of things, but never for their hard work and success. And I’ve never met anyone else who resents them for those two things specifically. (So I guess we know what we’re back to, again.)

    ptl @ 159. A concern for our civil liberties is shared by liberals and conservatives alike, wouldn’t you agree? So I’d say it’s awfully misleading to frame the issue as a “liberal” versus “conservative” thing, when in reality it’s a “powerful” versus “powerless” thing – no matter who’s in power.

    I see nothing in the Luther quote (from our Confessions) that would limit what he says to his times, or his country, or to monarchy. But as I said, it’s not an important view for non-Lutherans to consider. Unless they’re interested in Christian views of government, generally.

  • Tom Hering

    Peter & ptl, I’m not familiar with Hayek’s writings, but then, how much can an actress know about these matters? She looks great in a bikini, though. :-)

    Peter @ 158. Big government requires a sort of idolatry? What sort, Peter? An idol supplies all our needs in return for worship – that’s the exact nature of the contract we believe we make with an idol. I don’t view our government that way, and I’ve never met anyone else who does. Nothing I’ve ever received from our government has made me less aware of my total dependence on God. In fact, it’s God I’ve thanked for everything I’ve received through our government. So, who are these idolatrous people you imagine, Peter? (There we are back to that imagining thing again. Can’t you guys ever make your case without falling into that?)

    I have zero resentment toward hard-working people who’ve become successful. I might criticize particular people in that category for a number of things, but never for their hard work and success. And I’ve never met anyone else who resents them for those two things specifically. (So I guess we know what we’re back to, again.)

    ptl @ 159. A concern for our civil liberties is shared by liberals and conservatives alike, wouldn’t you agree? So I’d say it’s awfully misleading to frame the issue as a “liberal” versus “conservative” thing, when in reality it’s a “powerful” versus “powerless” thing – no matter who’s in power.

    I see nothing in the Luther quote (from our Confessions) that would limit what he says to his times, or his country, or to monarchy. But as I said, it’s not an important view for non-Lutherans to consider. Unless they’re interested in Christian views of government, generally.

  • Peter Leavitt

    ptl, your posts, however much in the midst of those honey dos and don’ts and supposed lack of background, are well thought out and written. You need not at all slight yourself. You have become a valuable member of this blogsite.

  • Peter Leavitt

    ptl, your posts, however much in the midst of those honey dos and don’ts and supposed lack of background, are well thought out and written. You need not at all slight yourself. You have become a valuable member of this blogsite.

  • Tom Hering

    Peter @ 160. I think you wrongly re-frame what Luther did. He didn’t diminish central authority. Rather, he properly relocated it to the Scriptures.

  • Tom Hering

    Peter @ 160. I think you wrongly re-frame what Luther did. He didn’t diminish central authority. Rather, he properly relocated it to the Scriptures.

  • Tom Hering

    Peter and I agree on this: there’s no need for you to slight yourself, ptl! Your opponents in arguments here will do that for you! (Seriously, I appreciate your challenges to my thinking.)

  • Tom Hering

    Peter and I agree on this: there’s no need for you to slight yourself, ptl! Your opponents in arguments here will do that for you! (Seriously, I appreciate your challenges to my thinking.)

  • DonS

    ptl — yes, what Peter and Tom said! Your contributions are much valued. And, Tom, I really appreciate your good humored and thoughtful style. Thank you for your input.

    Tom, going back to your comments @ 152 and 155 (and following), I don’t think that government is hostile to religion. But, because of very aggressive interpretations of the First Amendment establishment clause, the PRESENCE of government in a particular area of society is hostile to the PRESENCE of expressive faith. So, the bigger government grows, the more it crowds religion out of the public square, to the great detriment of society. Satan loves it when we substitute a faith in government for a faith in the living Christ.

    This answers your question @ 155 as well. A smaller and less intrusive government government allows for a greater religious influence, and requires those of faith to pick up the slack in ministering to their neighbors in need, both physically and spiritually.

    I don’t see our society as a family, nor could I ever see our government as our parents. Certainly, that is an unconstitutional view, as the founders were quite clear that the government serves the citizens and the state, not vice-versa. The government is in no way our master. But, more importantly, whether Lutheran or not, I don’t see a biblical teaching that secular government is our parent. God the Father is our parent, and the Body of Christ is our spiritual family. We are to acknowledge, respect, and obey civil authority where appropriate (i.e. where it does not conflict with God’s teachings), but that’s not the same as desiring or supporting an expansion of civil government’s rightful role.

  • DonS

    ptl — yes, what Peter and Tom said! Your contributions are much valued. And, Tom, I really appreciate your good humored and thoughtful style. Thank you for your input.

    Tom, going back to your comments @ 152 and 155 (and following), I don’t think that government is hostile to religion. But, because of very aggressive interpretations of the First Amendment establishment clause, the PRESENCE of government in a particular area of society is hostile to the PRESENCE of expressive faith. So, the bigger government grows, the more it crowds religion out of the public square, to the great detriment of society. Satan loves it when we substitute a faith in government for a faith in the living Christ.

    This answers your question @ 155 as well. A smaller and less intrusive government government allows for a greater religious influence, and requires those of faith to pick up the slack in ministering to their neighbors in need, both physically and spiritually.

    I don’t see our society as a family, nor could I ever see our government as our parents. Certainly, that is an unconstitutional view, as the founders were quite clear that the government serves the citizens and the state, not vice-versa. The government is in no way our master. But, more importantly, whether Lutheran or not, I don’t see a biblical teaching that secular government is our parent. God the Father is our parent, and the Body of Christ is our spiritual family. We are to acknowledge, respect, and obey civil authority where appropriate (i.e. where it does not conflict with God’s teachings), but that’s not the same as desiring or supporting an expansion of civil government’s rightful role.

  • sg

    The more things change, the more they stay the same.

    Check out this fun chart of the silver content of the Roman denarius:

    http://www.businessinsider.com/chart-of-the-day-roman-denarius-2010-6

  • sg

    The more things change, the more they stay the same.

    Check out this fun chart of the silver content of the Roman denarius:

    http://www.businessinsider.com/chart-of-the-day-roman-denarius-2010-6

  • Tom Hering

    Don @ 165, thanks. I certainly appreciate the civility of everyone here. Debates can get heated, even personal, but they’re never downright nasty. Unlike these guys.

    Along the lines of the questions I asked Peter, who substitutes a faith in Christ for a faith in government? Who? Do you know anyone who has done this? I don’t.

  • Tom Hering

    Don @ 165, thanks. I certainly appreciate the civility of everyone here. Debates can get heated, even personal, but they’re never downright nasty. Unlike these guys.

    Along the lines of the questions I asked Peter, who substitutes a faith in Christ for a faith in government? Who? Do you know anyone who has done this? I don’t.

  • http://www.redeemedrambling.blogspot.com/ John

    SAL wrote something very interesting. He wrote that Switzerland is safer. I was always under the impression that America was founded on the belief that individual liberty is more important than security and safety. I wonder where these ideals went.

  • http://www.redeemedrambling.blogspot.com/ John

    SAL wrote something very interesting. He wrote that Switzerland is safer. I was always under the impression that America was founded on the belief that individual liberty is more important than security and safety. I wonder where these ideals went.

  • sg

    Switzerland is safer because it has more Swiss. If we had the same proportion of Swiss here, we would be safer too. Duh.

  • sg

    Switzerland is safer because it has more Swiss. If we had the same proportion of Swiss here, we would be safer too. Duh.

  • Joe

    tODD at 94. I did look at that women’s website. I only linked her because when I stumbled upon that link it made me laugh. She seems like a real A-1 nut job. Thought everyone else might get a kick out of it too.

  • Joe

    tODD at 94. I did look at that women’s website. I only linked her because when I stumbled upon that link it made me laugh. She seems like a real A-1 nut job. Thought everyone else might get a kick out of it too.

  • Peter Leavitt

    John, at 168, Switzerland ranks among the freest countries in the world. In terms of economic freedom it ranks sixth to our eighth.

    SAL’s concern for safety makes sense, as without it freedom would be as straw.

  • Peter Leavitt

    John, at 168, Switzerland ranks among the freest countries in the world. In terms of economic freedom it ranks sixth to our eighth.

    SAL’s concern for safety makes sense, as without it freedom would be as straw.

  • DonS

    Today’s Supreme Court decision affirming the 2nd Amendment as an equal with other Amendments comprising the Bill of Rights is a big step in the direction of permitting Americans to ensure their own safety.

  • DonS

    Today’s Supreme Court decision affirming the 2nd Amendment as an equal with other Amendments comprising the Bill of Rights is a big step in the direction of permitting Americans to ensure their own safety.

  • Peter Leavitt

    Don, that was indeed an excellent decision.

    Unfortunately, the 5-4 decision in the case of Christian Legal Society v. Martinez was a blow against religious freedom in that the court ruled schools may require religious groups to admit dissidents into the group. In this case a group of gays, lesbians, and transgendered folk sought admissions to the Hastings College of Law Christian Legal society.

    Justice Alito in his dissent remarked as follows:

    In response to the argument that the accept-all-comers-policy would permit a small and unpopular group to be taken over by students who wish to silence its message, the Court states that the policy would permit a registered group to impose membership requirements “designed to ensure that students join because of their commitment to a group’s vitality, not its demise.” … With this concession, the Court tacitly recognizes that Hastings does not really have an accept-all-comers policy—it has an accept-some-dissident-comers policy—and the line between members who merely seek to change a group’s message (who apparently must be admitted) and those who seek a group’s “demise” (who may be kept out) is hopelessly vague.

  • Peter Leavitt

    Don, that was indeed an excellent decision.

    Unfortunately, the 5-4 decision in the case of Christian Legal Society v. Martinez was a blow against religious freedom in that the court ruled schools may require religious groups to admit dissidents into the group. In this case a group of gays, lesbians, and transgendered folk sought admissions to the Hastings College of Law Christian Legal society.

    Justice Alito in his dissent remarked as follows:

    In response to the argument that the accept-all-comers-policy would permit a small and unpopular group to be taken over by students who wish to silence its message, the Court states that the policy would permit a registered group to impose membership requirements “designed to ensure that students join because of their commitment to a group’s vitality, not its demise.” … With this concession, the Court tacitly recognizes that Hastings does not really have an accept-all-comers policy—it has an accept-some-dissident-comers policy—and the line between members who merely seek to change a group’s message (who apparently must be admitted) and those who seek a group’s “demise” (who may be kept out) is hopelessly vague.

  • DonS

    Peter, I agree. I have not yet read the opinion, but it is a distressing decision. It further muddies the water surrounding the Establishment Clause and its modern interpretation, which actually swallows the Free Exercise Clause as well as the First Amendment right of free association.

  • DonS

    Peter, I agree. I have not yet read the opinion, but it is a distressing decision. It further muddies the water surrounding the Establishment Clause and its modern interpretation, which actually swallows the Free Exercise Clause as well as the First Amendment right of free association.

  • DonS

    Tom @ 167: Of course, few would say that they trust government rather than God, per se. However, Scripture tells us that we worship idols whenever we place anything or anyone else ahead of our worship of the one True God. Scripture also promises God’s provision for us as His children. Whenever we demand guaranteed government entitlements, even when they come to the detriment of our children (through extreme government debt and unfunded obligations, to be paid for in the future by them), we are demonstrating that we trust the government’s provision and promises more than the promises of God.

  • DonS

    Tom @ 167: Of course, few would say that they trust government rather than God, per se. However, Scripture tells us that we worship idols whenever we place anything or anyone else ahead of our worship of the one True God. Scripture also promises God’s provision for us as His children. Whenever we demand guaranteed government entitlements, even when they come to the detriment of our children (through extreme government debt and unfunded obligations, to be paid for in the future by them), we are demonstrating that we trust the government’s provision and promises more than the promises of God.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    “Whenever we demand guaranteed government entitlements, … we are demonstrating that we trust the government’s provision and promises more than the promises of God.” A fascinating take on it, though consistent with American Christian cultural conservatism.

    Of course, there is the question of what “demand” means — voting for politicians who will in turn vote for such things, perhaps?

    Can one also then say, with equal fairness, that whenever we demand salary or benefits from private employers, we are also demonstrating that we trust their provision and promises more than the promises of God?

    When I order a hamburger and plunk down my cash, am I showing that I do not trust the King of Kings to provide my daily bread, but instead have worshiped the Burger King?

    Whenever we demand security and protection from the government (whether from the police or the military), is it necessarily true that we are demonstrating merely our trust in the government’s protection more than God’s?

    These latter statements are as fair and accurate as was the one on which they are patterned. As a Christian — or, at least, as a Lutheran Christian — I know that, through whatever earthly entities my blessings may come, they all come from God. I don’t have to worry about potential accusations of idol worship from those who are merely expressing the beliefs of their political persuasion.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    “Whenever we demand guaranteed government entitlements, … we are demonstrating that we trust the government’s provision and promises more than the promises of God.” A fascinating take on it, though consistent with American Christian cultural conservatism.

    Of course, there is the question of what “demand” means — voting for politicians who will in turn vote for such things, perhaps?

    Can one also then say, with equal fairness, that whenever we demand salary or benefits from private employers, we are also demonstrating that we trust their provision and promises more than the promises of God?

    When I order a hamburger and plunk down my cash, am I showing that I do not trust the King of Kings to provide my daily bread, but instead have worshiped the Burger King?

    Whenever we demand security and protection from the government (whether from the police or the military), is it necessarily true that we are demonstrating merely our trust in the government’s protection more than God’s?

    These latter statements are as fair and accurate as was the one on which they are patterned. As a Christian — or, at least, as a Lutheran Christian — I know that, through whatever earthly entities my blessings may come, they all come from God. I don’t have to worry about potential accusations of idol worship from those who are merely expressing the beliefs of their political persuasion.

  • DonS

    tODD @ 176: “Demand” can mean a lot of things. It can mean voting against a politician because he/she dares to suggest that we budget based on available resources rather than on the basis of entitlement promises. It can mean protesting against a politician or agency that dares to suggest raising the Social Security retirement age or trimming benefits for Social Security or welfare programs because they are unaffordable and unsustainable. Etc.

    “Can one also then say, with equal fairness, that whenever we demand salary or benefits from private employers, we are also demonstrating that we trust their provision and promises more than the promises of God?” — No. Salary and benefits are earned based on past services. Private employers typically do not make promises of future salary or benefits — you work “at will”.

    “When I order a hamburger and plunk down my cash, am I showing that I do not trust the King of Kings to provide my daily bread, but instead have worshiped the Burger King?” — No. God provided the funds by which you are purchasing the hamburger. Burger King isn’t giving you anything.

    “Whenever we demand security and protection from the government (whether from the police or the military), is it necessarily true that we are demonstrating merely our trust in the government’s protection more than God’s?” — No. God provides civil authority for that very purpose.

    “These latter statements are as fair and accurate as was the one on which they are patterned” — No, they’re not. They are totally different, because none of them involve a demand that the government take on debt in order to promise you that it will always take care of you. Scripture speaks strongly against debt, yet we now have the mindset that it is more important for the government to guarantee, for all time, that all of our needs will be met than it is that we avoid indebting our future generations to pay for these lavish promises.

  • DonS

    tODD @ 176: “Demand” can mean a lot of things. It can mean voting against a politician because he/she dares to suggest that we budget based on available resources rather than on the basis of entitlement promises. It can mean protesting against a politician or agency that dares to suggest raising the Social Security retirement age or trimming benefits for Social Security or welfare programs because they are unaffordable and unsustainable. Etc.

    “Can one also then say, with equal fairness, that whenever we demand salary or benefits from private employers, we are also demonstrating that we trust their provision and promises more than the promises of God?” — No. Salary and benefits are earned based on past services. Private employers typically do not make promises of future salary or benefits — you work “at will”.

    “When I order a hamburger and plunk down my cash, am I showing that I do not trust the King of Kings to provide my daily bread, but instead have worshiped the Burger King?” — No. God provided the funds by which you are purchasing the hamburger. Burger King isn’t giving you anything.

    “Whenever we demand security and protection from the government (whether from the police or the military), is it necessarily true that we are demonstrating merely our trust in the government’s protection more than God’s?” — No. God provides civil authority for that very purpose.

    “These latter statements are as fair and accurate as was the one on which they are patterned” — No, they’re not. They are totally different, because none of them involve a demand that the government take on debt in order to promise you that it will always take care of you. Scripture speaks strongly against debt, yet we now have the mindset that it is more important for the government to guarantee, for all time, that all of our needs will be met than it is that we avoid indebting our future generations to pay for these lavish promises.

  • Peter Leavitt

    Todd I don’t have to worry about potential accusations of idol worship from those who are merely expressing the beliefs of their political persuasion.

    I agree that we may place earthly trust in our employers, hamburger joints, et al. However, the truth is that in our Secular Age many folk, place their fundamental faith in government to provide for their welfare. Don’s Biblical point is that people in all ages tend to worship idols. In our age people worship celebrities, clever politicians, including especially of late St. Obama, sports heroes, and entitlement nostrums.

    You might as an orthodox Lutheran have your priorities in order, though that hardly obviates Don’s point.

  • Peter Leavitt

    Todd I don’t have to worry about potential accusations of idol worship from those who are merely expressing the beliefs of their political persuasion.

    I agree that we may place earthly trust in our employers, hamburger joints, et al. However, the truth is that in our Secular Age many folk, place their fundamental faith in government to provide for their welfare. Don’s Biblical point is that people in all ages tend to worship idols. In our age people worship celebrities, clever politicians, including especially of late St. Obama, sports heroes, and entitlement nostrums.

    You might as an orthodox Lutheran have your priorities in order, though that hardly obviates Don’s point.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Don (@177), I was trying to get you to see the difference between your two statements (@175) that “we worship idols whenever we place anything or anyone else ahead of our worship of the one True God” and “whenever we demand guaranteed government entitlements, … we are demonstrating that we trust the government’s provision and promises more than the promises of God.” The former is necessarily true, while the latter is not.

    But I will state it more plainly: It is entirely possible to vote (i.e. “demand”) for the government to engage in more than what a Libertarian would allow, while at the same time trusting solely in God for one’s provisions in life. You may not think so personally, but this belief is only attributable to your American conservatism, not to any spiritual truth.

    After all, if a Christian believes that “the authorities that exist have been established by God,” he will also believe that anything that comes from that authority (i.e. government) also comes from God.

    What you have yet to explain is what is so special about “government entitlements” in your sentence se ahead of our worship of the one True God” and “whenever we demand guaranteed government entitlements, … we are demonstrating that we trust the government’s provision and promises more than the promises of God.” It follows logically that one could broaden that statement to “whenever we demand anything from anyone, we are demonstrating that we trust their provision and promises more than the promises of God.” And you reject this broadened statement. Naturally. So do I. As do I reject your narrower version. What you haven’t explained is why you think they’re completely different.

    “God provided the funds by which you are purchasing the hamburger. Burger King isn’t giving you anything.” Again, I agree. But then, I also agree that the government, by this line of thinking, isn’t giving me anything, either. God gave us the government. He gave us the abilities by which we earn money, and therefore pay taxes to the government. He gave us the leaders that apportion those taxes to do things. I would hope that you agree with those statements as I do. The only difference is that we happen to disagree on how the government should use those funds. But that is a political difference.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Don (@177), I was trying to get you to see the difference between your two statements (@175) that “we worship idols whenever we place anything or anyone else ahead of our worship of the one True God” and “whenever we demand guaranteed government entitlements, … we are demonstrating that we trust the government’s provision and promises more than the promises of God.” The former is necessarily true, while the latter is not.

    But I will state it more plainly: It is entirely possible to vote (i.e. “demand”) for the government to engage in more than what a Libertarian would allow, while at the same time trusting solely in God for one’s provisions in life. You may not think so personally, but this belief is only attributable to your American conservatism, not to any spiritual truth.

    After all, if a Christian believes that “the authorities that exist have been established by God,” he will also believe that anything that comes from that authority (i.e. government) also comes from God.

    What you have yet to explain is what is so special about “government entitlements” in your sentence se ahead of our worship of the one True God” and “whenever we demand guaranteed government entitlements, … we are demonstrating that we trust the government’s provision and promises more than the promises of God.” It follows logically that one could broaden that statement to “whenever we demand anything from anyone, we are demonstrating that we trust their provision and promises more than the promises of God.” And you reject this broadened statement. Naturally. So do I. As do I reject your narrower version. What you haven’t explained is why you think they’re completely different.

    “God provided the funds by which you are purchasing the hamburger. Burger King isn’t giving you anything.” Again, I agree. But then, I also agree that the government, by this line of thinking, isn’t giving me anything, either. God gave us the government. He gave us the abilities by which we earn money, and therefore pay taxes to the government. He gave us the leaders that apportion those taxes to do things. I would hope that you agree with those statements as I do. The only difference is that we happen to disagree on how the government should use those funds. But that is a political difference.

  • Peter Leavitt

    On the basic issue of this thread Timothy Dalrymple has an article Is the Tea Party a Christian Movement? in which he answers Jim Wallis’ view that the Tea Party is basically a selfish anti-government movement unworthy of Christians.

    Wakefield among many other interesting points writes:

    Finally, Tea Party supporters are not very extreme in their social views. Fifty-five percent believe the gun laws currently on the books are perfectly acceptable, 57% are in favor of granting marital or civil union status to gay couples, and 65% believe that abortions should remain available at least in some circumstances. Only 7% believe that blacks have a better chance of getting ahead in society today, compared to 16% who believe that whites are still advantaged. Moreover, as a recent Gallup poll showed, the demographics of Tea Party supporters are not much different from the demographics of American society at large. These are not extremists who took their jeeps from the militia ranch. These are ordinary Americans, mostly middle class, with justified concerns about the unaccountability and profligate spending of our government.

    This Tea Party movement is a genuine uprising of many ordinary American people, notwithstanding the left’s fevered attempt to paint it as some sort of far-right anti-governmen, racist outfit.

  • Peter Leavitt

    On the basic issue of this thread Timothy Dalrymple has an article Is the Tea Party a Christian Movement? in which he answers Jim Wallis’ view that the Tea Party is basically a selfish anti-government movement unworthy of Christians.

    Wakefield among many other interesting points writes:

    Finally, Tea Party supporters are not very extreme in their social views. Fifty-five percent believe the gun laws currently on the books are perfectly acceptable, 57% are in favor of granting marital or civil union status to gay couples, and 65% believe that abortions should remain available at least in some circumstances. Only 7% believe that blacks have a better chance of getting ahead in society today, compared to 16% who believe that whites are still advantaged. Moreover, as a recent Gallup poll showed, the demographics of Tea Party supporters are not much different from the demographics of American society at large. These are not extremists who took their jeeps from the militia ranch. These are ordinary Americans, mostly middle class, with justified concerns about the unaccountability and profligate spending of our government.

    This Tea Party movement is a genuine uprising of many ordinary American people, notwithstanding the left’s fevered attempt to paint it as some sort of far-right anti-governmen, racist outfit.

  • DonS

    tODD @ 179: While you have claimed in the past not to have politically liberal leanings, you do seem to have an easier time grasping liberal political concepts than those on the more conservative side of the spectrum.

    “It is entirely possible to vote (i.e. “demand”) for the government to engage in more than what a Libertarian would allow, while at the same time trusting solely in God for one’s provisions in life.” — I absolutely agree with this statement. The problem is that the converse is not at all what I was saying. Sadly, your misapprehension of these concepts reflects that of most Americans, which is part of the reason we are in such dire straits presently. Let me try again.

    The issue is, primarily, entitlements. I have explained this before, but you haven’t grasped how these are different than ordinary or traditional government spending. They go hand-in-hand with our debt culture, and our increasing tendency as those of western culture to transform wants and desires into needs. The difference is that entitlement programs require us to guarantee government benefits to people in future years, based on eligibility criteria that we define now. In other words, anyone who meets those criteria three, four, or twenty years later is guaranteed benefits (unless the law is changed, which it seldom is), regardless of the government’s ability to pay those benefits in those out years. These are horrible policies, used only by the government. Private businesses are prosecuted criminally for doing similar things. Businesses and other private organizations are required to pre-pay for promised future benefits (pensions, health benefits and the like) according to strict actuarial criteria, so that they are essentially funded by current year’s money. Governments (some local and state governments are exceptions to this) are not required to do so. Accordingly, they are later required to run up debts or print money to cover shortfalls later derived because of these shortsighted entitlement programs. Our kids will one day be forced to pay for our extravagance, to the detriment of their own generation and its poor. It is selfishness and shortsightedness beyond all measure and comprehension. And it is unbiblical, because of its reliance on the assumption of huge amounts of debt. Its ultimate derivation is the failure to trust God for provision, preferring to rely on government guarantees for a lifetime of some measure of comfort. That is what I meant when I said to Tom that “we are demonstrating that we trust the government’s provision and promises more than the promises of God”.

    Now, to help you understand what I did not say, I did not say that the libertarian concept of small, limited government is a biblical one. It may be a desirable and constitutional one, but there is nothing in the Bible teaching such things. It would be perfectly reasonable to have a welfare state where the people vote a level of taxation sufficient to pay for all promised benefits in the current year, and to re-define eligibility criteria for benefits programs each year according to available funds and needs. It would also be reasonable, and Christian, to pre-fund programs, such as Social Security, which require out-year promises, as private pension plans do. Not doing things this way, however, is CLEARLY unbiblical.

  • DonS

    tODD @ 179: While you have claimed in the past not to have politically liberal leanings, you do seem to have an easier time grasping liberal political concepts than those on the more conservative side of the spectrum.

    “It is entirely possible to vote (i.e. “demand”) for the government to engage in more than what a Libertarian would allow, while at the same time trusting solely in God for one’s provisions in life.” — I absolutely agree with this statement. The problem is that the converse is not at all what I was saying. Sadly, your misapprehension of these concepts reflects that of most Americans, which is part of the reason we are in such dire straits presently. Let me try again.

    The issue is, primarily, entitlements. I have explained this before, but you haven’t grasped how these are different than ordinary or traditional government spending. They go hand-in-hand with our debt culture, and our increasing tendency as those of western culture to transform wants and desires into needs. The difference is that entitlement programs require us to guarantee government benefits to people in future years, based on eligibility criteria that we define now. In other words, anyone who meets those criteria three, four, or twenty years later is guaranteed benefits (unless the law is changed, which it seldom is), regardless of the government’s ability to pay those benefits in those out years. These are horrible policies, used only by the government. Private businesses are prosecuted criminally for doing similar things. Businesses and other private organizations are required to pre-pay for promised future benefits (pensions, health benefits and the like) according to strict actuarial criteria, so that they are essentially funded by current year’s money. Governments (some local and state governments are exceptions to this) are not required to do so. Accordingly, they are later required to run up debts or print money to cover shortfalls later derived because of these shortsighted entitlement programs. Our kids will one day be forced to pay for our extravagance, to the detriment of their own generation and its poor. It is selfishness and shortsightedness beyond all measure and comprehension. And it is unbiblical, because of its reliance on the assumption of huge amounts of debt. Its ultimate derivation is the failure to trust God for provision, preferring to rely on government guarantees for a lifetime of some measure of comfort. That is what I meant when I said to Tom that “we are demonstrating that we trust the government’s provision and promises more than the promises of God”.

    Now, to help you understand what I did not say, I did not say that the libertarian concept of small, limited government is a biblical one. It may be a desirable and constitutional one, but there is nothing in the Bible teaching such things. It would be perfectly reasonable to have a welfare state where the people vote a level of taxation sufficient to pay for all promised benefits in the current year, and to re-define eligibility criteria for benefits programs each year according to available funds and needs. It would also be reasonable, and Christian, to pre-fund programs, such as Social Security, which require out-year promises, as private pension plans do. Not doing things this way, however, is CLEARLY unbiblical.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Don (@181), you said, “I have explained this before, but you haven’t grasped how these are different than ordinary or traditional government spending.” Your ability to know what I have and haven’t grasped is fascinating. I can only wonder at what other insights you have — do you know what I’m thinking of right … now?

    Look, Don, in spite what the liberal strawman in your head is telling you, I do understand your problem — the problem — with entitlement spending, at least as it is currently implemented. I even agree with you — at some level — about the debt problem our country is facing. That said, I don’t much feel like saying so when you’re pontificating on the matter and accusing me of just not getting it.

    Nearly all of your comment was a waste of your time, as I am not interested in debating entitlements at a secular, political level — at least, not on this thread.

    About the only thing you said that furthered the discussion was the curious statement that “it is unbiblical, because of its reliance on the assumption of huge amounts of debt.”

    You’re going to have to give me some help on this one. What passages from Scripture are you thinking of? And these passages make a distinction between “huge amounts of debt” and … not-huge amounts? And they apply to the government?

    As for the passage that started all this, “we are demonstrating that we trust the government’s provision and promises more than the promises of God,” I’m sorry, but you’re wrong. No doubt some people — many, even — trust in the government more than in God. But support for government entitlement spending — even as currently implemented — is not tantamount to a lack of faith. And I sincerely hope that you never try to convince a Christian brother that disagrees with you politically that he doesn’t really trust in God because of his stance on the matter.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Don (@181), you said, “I have explained this before, but you haven’t grasped how these are different than ordinary or traditional government spending.” Your ability to know what I have and haven’t grasped is fascinating. I can only wonder at what other insights you have — do you know what I’m thinking of right … now?

    Look, Don, in spite what the liberal strawman in your head is telling you, I do understand your problem — the problem — with entitlement spending, at least as it is currently implemented. I even agree with you — at some level — about the debt problem our country is facing. That said, I don’t much feel like saying so when you’re pontificating on the matter and accusing me of just not getting it.

    Nearly all of your comment was a waste of your time, as I am not interested in debating entitlements at a secular, political level — at least, not on this thread.

    About the only thing you said that furthered the discussion was the curious statement that “it is unbiblical, because of its reliance on the assumption of huge amounts of debt.”

    You’re going to have to give me some help on this one. What passages from Scripture are you thinking of? And these passages make a distinction between “huge amounts of debt” and … not-huge amounts? And they apply to the government?

    As for the passage that started all this, “we are demonstrating that we trust the government’s provision and promises more than the promises of God,” I’m sorry, but you’re wrong. No doubt some people — many, even — trust in the government more than in God. But support for government entitlement spending — even as currently implemented — is not tantamount to a lack of faith. And I sincerely hope that you never try to convince a Christian brother that disagrees with you politically that he doesn’t really trust in God because of his stance on the matter.

  • DonS

    tODD @ 182: “Your ability to know what I have and haven’t grasped is fascinating. I can only wonder at what other insights you have — do you know what I’m thinking of right … now?” — well, obviously, my conclusions are based on what you write. To the extent that your thinking diverges from your writing, for whatever reason, I guess I don’t know.

    I’m fine with not having the discussion with you. I was merely responding to your queries and trying to give you an insight into my thinking. My original comments were directed to Tom anyway.

  • DonS

    tODD @ 182: “Your ability to know what I have and haven’t grasped is fascinating. I can only wonder at what other insights you have — do you know what I’m thinking of right … now?” — well, obviously, my conclusions are based on what you write. To the extent that your thinking diverges from your writing, for whatever reason, I guess I don’t know.

    I’m fine with not having the discussion with you. I was merely responding to your queries and trying to give you an insight into my thinking. My original comments were directed to Tom anyway.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Don (@183), you said, “my conclusions are based on what you write.” Mm-hmm. My question is: what did I write that convinced you that I don’t grasp the problem? Please don’t pull a Peter and accuse me of something, only to back away from your assertion.

    “I’m fine with not having the discussion with you.” What? I asked you questions (@182). What makes you think I don’t want to have a discussion on the topic? You’ve made some pretty big claims to back away now, so don’t do it on my account.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Don (@183), you said, “my conclusions are based on what you write.” Mm-hmm. My question is: what did I write that convinced you that I don’t grasp the problem? Please don’t pull a Peter and accuse me of something, only to back away from your assertion.

    “I’m fine with not having the discussion with you.” What? I asked you questions (@182). What makes you think I don’t want to have a discussion on the topic? You’ve made some pretty big claims to back away now, so don’t do it on my account.

  • DonS

    tODD @ 184: Yes, what you wrote convinced me that you don’t (or didn’t) grasp the problem. The fact that you analogized paying for a hamburger at Burger King, or insisting that you be paid for your services to a private employer with demands for future entitlements, specifically.

    As for wanting to continue the discussion, you said this: “Nearly all of your comment was a waste of your time, as I am not interested in debating entitlements at a secular, political level — at least, not on this thread.”

    Well, I don’t want to have a discussion with you on your terms, where you pronounce what I have to say as largely a waste of time.

  • DonS

    tODD @ 184: Yes, what you wrote convinced me that you don’t (or didn’t) grasp the problem. The fact that you analogized paying for a hamburger at Burger King, or insisting that you be paid for your services to a private employer with demands for future entitlements, specifically.

    As for wanting to continue the discussion, you said this: “Nearly all of your comment was a waste of your time, as I am not interested in debating entitlements at a secular, political level — at least, not on this thread.”

    Well, I don’t want to have a discussion with you on your terms, where you pronounce what I have to say as largely a waste of time.

  • SAL

    These philosophical discussion are fine but pointless. We’ve got trillion dollar debts into perpetuity and a system in both parties that works for the benefits of the financial titans and not the citizens of America.

    George Soros through his various groups owns the Democrat Party, most of the Republicans don’t sit unless given permission by the robber barons on Wall Street.

    These discussions ignore the fact that elections are formalities. Both parties govern in a way that enables the fleecing of America for the benefit of the politically connected multinational financial corporations.

    We’ve got a largely bipartisan system where the only disagreement is over whether we let the crumbs fall to the unions and welfare recipients or we let the crumbs fall to small business owners.

    It takes a special sort of naivete to think the financiers who fund the politicians haven’t received their money’s worth. Personally I don’t see any point in voting. My vote doesn’t determine anything when all candidates are owned by the financial and banking elite.

  • SAL

    These philosophical discussion are fine but pointless. We’ve got trillion dollar debts into perpetuity and a system in both parties that works for the benefits of the financial titans and not the citizens of America.

    George Soros through his various groups owns the Democrat Party, most of the Republicans don’t sit unless given permission by the robber barons on Wall Street.

    These discussions ignore the fact that elections are formalities. Both parties govern in a way that enables the fleecing of America for the benefit of the politically connected multinational financial corporations.

    We’ve got a largely bipartisan system where the only disagreement is over whether we let the crumbs fall to the unions and welfare recipients or we let the crumbs fall to small business owners.

    It takes a special sort of naivete to think the financiers who fund the politicians haven’t received their money’s worth. Personally I don’t see any point in voting. My vote doesn’t determine anything when all candidates are owned by the financial and banking elite.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Don (@185), did you have a bad day? You’re misreading me left and right!

    I’ll try again. This all stems from your comment (@175) that “Whenever we demand guaranteed government entitlements, … we are demonstrating that we trust the government’s provision and promises more than the promises of God.” To me, this read the same as if you’d said, “whenever we get something from the government (or some other entity), we show our lack of faith.” A rather surprising (and unscriptural) conclusion, so I probed some more with my (not all serious) examples (@176). These examples were not intended to show my “grasp” of the problems of entitlement debt (on which point you weren’t so charitable, @181), but rather to probe the boundaries of your apparent statement that it’s wrong to get something from other entities.

    You, of course, rejected all of these examples. Hmm. Eventually, what I got from you (@181) was that what you considered “unbiblical” was the government taking on “huge amounts of debt.” I then asked you (@182) for Scriptural references to back that up. You have so far declined to do so.

    As for the “waste of time” comment (@182), I was referring to your spending quite a lot of time explaining entitlement debt to me — a purely political discussion that I considered rather off-topic. The only part of your explanation that answered my befuddlement regarding your accusations of a lack of faith was your saying that the government having huge amounts of debt” is “unbiblical”. I still want to know about that.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Don (@185), did you have a bad day? You’re misreading me left and right!

    I’ll try again. This all stems from your comment (@175) that “Whenever we demand guaranteed government entitlements, … we are demonstrating that we trust the government’s provision and promises more than the promises of God.” To me, this read the same as if you’d said, “whenever we get something from the government (or some other entity), we show our lack of faith.” A rather surprising (and unscriptural) conclusion, so I probed some more with my (not all serious) examples (@176). These examples were not intended to show my “grasp” of the problems of entitlement debt (on which point you weren’t so charitable, @181), but rather to probe the boundaries of your apparent statement that it’s wrong to get something from other entities.

    You, of course, rejected all of these examples. Hmm. Eventually, what I got from you (@181) was that what you considered “unbiblical” was the government taking on “huge amounts of debt.” I then asked you (@182) for Scriptural references to back that up. You have so far declined to do so.

    As for the “waste of time” comment (@182), I was referring to your spending quite a lot of time explaining entitlement debt to me — a purely political discussion that I considered rather off-topic. The only part of your explanation that answered my befuddlement regarding your accusations of a lack of faith was your saying that the government having huge amounts of debt” is “unbiblical”. I still want to know about that.

  • kerner

    Wow. This thread just keeps on keeping on.

    I haven’t really participated yet, because you all have me thinking with your interesting comments. But now I have some questions.

    1. Is it really racist to claim that someone else’s culture is superior to your own? I understand that making such a claim presupposes that various cultures are superior, and inferior, to each other. But is that racism?

    2. Is worldly accomplishment, or numerous individual examples of it, the factor that makes one culture “superior” to others? Peter cites numerous examples of worldly achievements by Jewish individuals (eg. all those Nobel prizes). Try to remember that this same culture gave us the American film industry and 1950′s-1980′s Las Vegas. (see Tom Cruise’s role in “Tropic Thunder” for a charicature of one aspect of this). I think this is particularly questionable from a Christian perspective. Is Golda Meir “superior” to, say, Mother Theresa, or more to the point the many more selfless people like MT who work and pray in obscurity? Do we as Christians be live that stuff about “the last shall be first and the first shall be last”, or don’t we?

    3. Hasn’t the “move to Switzerland” idea been tried by Francis Schaefer? And weren’t the results mixed at best? Didn’t Mel Gibson’s dad try the same thing with Australia, with similiarly mixed results?

    I haven’t necessarily reached firm conclusions on these questions, but I’d be interested in your answers.

  • kerner

    Wow. This thread just keeps on keeping on.

    I haven’t really participated yet, because you all have me thinking with your interesting comments. But now I have some questions.

    1. Is it really racist to claim that someone else’s culture is superior to your own? I understand that making such a claim presupposes that various cultures are superior, and inferior, to each other. But is that racism?

    2. Is worldly accomplishment, or numerous individual examples of it, the factor that makes one culture “superior” to others? Peter cites numerous examples of worldly achievements by Jewish individuals (eg. all those Nobel prizes). Try to remember that this same culture gave us the American film industry and 1950′s-1980′s Las Vegas. (see Tom Cruise’s role in “Tropic Thunder” for a charicature of one aspect of this). I think this is particularly questionable from a Christian perspective. Is Golda Meir “superior” to, say, Mother Theresa, or more to the point the many more selfless people like MT who work and pray in obscurity? Do we as Christians be live that stuff about “the last shall be first and the first shall be last”, or don’t we?

    3. Hasn’t the “move to Switzerland” idea been tried by Francis Schaefer? And weren’t the results mixed at best? Didn’t Mel Gibson’s dad try the same thing with Australia, with similiarly mixed results?

    I haven’t necessarily reached firm conclusions on these questions, but I’d be interested in your answers.

  • kerner

    oops. that should be, do we “believe” that stuff, and “caricature”.

  • kerner

    oops. that should be, do we “believe” that stuff, and “caricature”.

  • Peter Leavitt

    kerner, the truth is that overall individuals and cultures vary in their superiority, though people of an egalitarian bent have difficulty with this. Charles Murray’s book Human Accomplishment: The Pursuit of Excellence in the Arts and Sciences, 800 BC to 1950 in my view deals brilliantly with this subject.

    A good introduction to Murray’s view of the Jews is found in a 2007 Commentary article, Jewish Genius. Ironically, Murray, as he points out in the article, is a Scots/Irish gentile who grew up in Iowa. I regard him as one of the brighter minds of our time.

  • Peter Leavitt

    kerner, the truth is that overall individuals and cultures vary in their superiority, though people of an egalitarian bent have difficulty with this. Charles Murray’s book Human Accomplishment: The Pursuit of Excellence in the Arts and Sciences, 800 BC to 1950 in my view deals brilliantly with this subject.

    A good introduction to Murray’s view of the Jews is found in a 2007 Commentary article, Jewish Genius. Ironically, Murray, as he points out in the article, is a Scots/Irish gentile who grew up in Iowa. I regard him as one of the brighter minds of our time.

  • DonS

    tODD @ 187: Rather than me misreading you, it kind of all started with you misreading me. And I’m still not sure you get what is different about entitlements than other kinds of government spending. The reason why I don’t is this: “This all stems from your comment (@175) that “Whenever we demand guaranteed government entitlements, … we are demonstrating that we trust the government’s provision and promises more than the promises of God.” To me, this read the same as if you’d said, “whenever we get something from the government (or some other entity), we show our lack of faith.” A rather surprising (and unscriptural) conclusion, so I probed some more with my (not all serious) examples (@176). These examples were not intended to show my “grasp” of the problems of entitlement debt (on which point you weren’t so charitable, @181), but rather to probe the boundaries of your apparent statement that it’s wrong to get something from other entities.”

    If you really understood what is different about entitlements you could not possibly have misread my statement so totally. It is one thing for people to try to grab their share (or more) of current year spending. That’s democracy — sometimes ugly and unseemly, but still democracy. We on the right rail about high taxes and how they rob the economy of productivity. We try to remind people that government money is not free — it is money you are picking from someone else’s pocket. But, ultimately, it is not a biblical issue. It is, as you Lutherans say, a kingdom of the left issue.

    Entitlements are a different beast. Because when you set up an entitlement program, you are, essentially, taking money from future people. You are budgeting their money for yourself and your current desires. It is presumptious and selfish — we are saying that our needs are more important than their needs, and we want to make sure that our needs are addressed in the future, no matter how much their needs have to be sacrificed to make that happen. Creating unfunded future liabilities is bad enough, but when you compound that by not even coming close to paying for your current year expenses, leaving a debt overhang that you have no hope of ever paying off to future generations, that is pure evil. Do you realize that we currently spend over $300 billion per year on interest on the current public national debt? That is despite record low interest rates. That number will zoom in future years as interest rates and the debt level skyrocket. That is money robbed from future generations so that we can ensure that everyone in our generation gets a free annual dental check-up.

    So it is a dual evil we are perpetrating on our future generations. We are committing their tax money for them, according to our own priorities and to ensure that our own needs are met in future years (this is where I get the idea that we are now willing to trust God for our provision). And we are also leaving them with untold trillions in national debt and unfunded liabilities. How are they supposed to pay for their own health care and needs of their poor? Do we care about that at all?

    I don’t think I need to lay out for you the scriptural case against debt. It is not an absolute prohibition, but as good stewards of the things God gives us we are not to pay usury and we are not to undertake obligations which we cannot reasonably manage and fulfill. We are to allow for the fact that we don’t know what tomorrow brings, so we should not assume that we will always have the same ability to repay our obligations that we have today. You ask whether these principles apply to government. I ask you, why shouldn’t they? Why should Christians be promoting actions on the part of government, in its spheres of activity, which they do not believe are biblical in their own lives? This is not a partisan issue — many Republicans are just as guilty as Democrats in being unwilling to confront the terrific problems we are creating for ourselves with this great sin we as a country are committing. High spending coupled with low taxes is the compromise we have chosen in order to accommodate the desires of both parties, and it is an abominable choice.

    My explanation of entitlement debt, and its ramifications, is not a “waste of time”, as you put it. We need to confront this issue, and now, regardless of our political persuasions.

  • DonS

    tODD @ 187: Rather than me misreading you, it kind of all started with you misreading me. And I’m still not sure you get what is different about entitlements than other kinds of government spending. The reason why I don’t is this: “This all stems from your comment (@175) that “Whenever we demand guaranteed government entitlements, … we are demonstrating that we trust the government’s provision and promises more than the promises of God.” To me, this read the same as if you’d said, “whenever we get something from the government (or some other entity), we show our lack of faith.” A rather surprising (and unscriptural) conclusion, so I probed some more with my (not all serious) examples (@176). These examples were not intended to show my “grasp” of the problems of entitlement debt (on which point you weren’t so charitable, @181), but rather to probe the boundaries of your apparent statement that it’s wrong to get something from other entities.”

    If you really understood what is different about entitlements you could not possibly have misread my statement so totally. It is one thing for people to try to grab their share (or more) of current year spending. That’s democracy — sometimes ugly and unseemly, but still democracy. We on the right rail about high taxes and how they rob the economy of productivity. We try to remind people that government money is not free — it is money you are picking from someone else’s pocket. But, ultimately, it is not a biblical issue. It is, as you Lutherans say, a kingdom of the left issue.

    Entitlements are a different beast. Because when you set up an entitlement program, you are, essentially, taking money from future people. You are budgeting their money for yourself and your current desires. It is presumptious and selfish — we are saying that our needs are more important than their needs, and we want to make sure that our needs are addressed in the future, no matter how much their needs have to be sacrificed to make that happen. Creating unfunded future liabilities is bad enough, but when you compound that by not even coming close to paying for your current year expenses, leaving a debt overhang that you have no hope of ever paying off to future generations, that is pure evil. Do you realize that we currently spend over $300 billion per year on interest on the current public national debt? That is despite record low interest rates. That number will zoom in future years as interest rates and the debt level skyrocket. That is money robbed from future generations so that we can ensure that everyone in our generation gets a free annual dental check-up.

    So it is a dual evil we are perpetrating on our future generations. We are committing their tax money for them, according to our own priorities and to ensure that our own needs are met in future years (this is where I get the idea that we are now willing to trust God for our provision). And we are also leaving them with untold trillions in national debt and unfunded liabilities. How are they supposed to pay for their own health care and needs of their poor? Do we care about that at all?

    I don’t think I need to lay out for you the scriptural case against debt. It is not an absolute prohibition, but as good stewards of the things God gives us we are not to pay usury and we are not to undertake obligations which we cannot reasonably manage and fulfill. We are to allow for the fact that we don’t know what tomorrow brings, so we should not assume that we will always have the same ability to repay our obligations that we have today. You ask whether these principles apply to government. I ask you, why shouldn’t they? Why should Christians be promoting actions on the part of government, in its spheres of activity, which they do not believe are biblical in their own lives? This is not a partisan issue — many Republicans are just as guilty as Democrats in being unwilling to confront the terrific problems we are creating for ourselves with this great sin we as a country are committing. High spending coupled with low taxes is the compromise we have chosen in order to accommodate the desires of both parties, and it is an abominable choice.

    My explanation of entitlement debt, and its ramifications, is not a “waste of time”, as you put it. We need to confront this issue, and now, regardless of our political persuasions.

  • DonS

    Two corrections to my post @ 191. “(this is where I get the idea that we are now willing to trust God for our provision)” should, of course, read “(this is where I get the idea that we are NOT willing to trust God for our provision)”. Also, when I say “High spending coupled with low taxes is the compromise we have chosen in order to accommodate the desires of both parties”, I am, of course, speaking relatively. Our tax burden overall (federal, state and local) runs as high as 35-40% of the entire economy, and total government spending is substantially higher than that. But, if we are going to choose to spend tax money like drunken sailors, then we need to match that burden with an equivalently ridiculous tax burden.

  • DonS

    Two corrections to my post @ 191. “(this is where I get the idea that we are now willing to trust God for our provision)” should, of course, read “(this is where I get the idea that we are NOT willing to trust God for our provision)”. Also, when I say “High spending coupled with low taxes is the compromise we have chosen in order to accommodate the desires of both parties”, I am, of course, speaking relatively. Our tax burden overall (federal, state and local) runs as high as 35-40% of the entire economy, and total government spending is substantially higher than that. But, if we are going to choose to spend tax money like drunken sailors, then we need to match that burden with an equivalently ridiculous tax burden.

  • Peter Leavitt

    Don, the money that the drunken sailors spend with taxes comes ultimately from the private economy. Countries like Greece that are now paying royally for over-spending will be grievously lacking in private investment funds needed to expand and establish productive businesses that create jobs.

    You’re right to point out that present low-interest rates will inevitably move upward to the point that the cost of our debt will drastically increase. Raising taxes beyond reasonable levels is a way to the shoot the economy in the foot. Veronique de Rugy in an article Athens on the Potomac writes:

    …However, it doesn’t mean that things won’t change. Investors judge default risks on a curve. They will assess one government against others (for instance, the United States vs. France, Germany, China, and Norway). When the markets do lose confidence in a government’s fiscal rectitude relative to others, a crisis can arise quite quickly, forcing countries into painful political decisions. And this could very well happen to the United States.

    A recent International Monetary Fund study’s main finding is that the United States might not look better than most other governments forever, and that the hill the United States has to climb to fiscal stability is much steeper than most other countries.

  • Peter Leavitt

    Don, the money that the drunken sailors spend with taxes comes ultimately from the private economy. Countries like Greece that are now paying royally for over-spending will be grievously lacking in private investment funds needed to expand and establish productive businesses that create jobs.

    You’re right to point out that present low-interest rates will inevitably move upward to the point that the cost of our debt will drastically increase. Raising taxes beyond reasonable levels is a way to the shoot the economy in the foot. Veronique de Rugy in an article Athens on the Potomac writes:

    …However, it doesn’t mean that things won’t change. Investors judge default risks on a curve. They will assess one government against others (for instance, the United States vs. France, Germany, China, and Norway). When the markets do lose confidence in a government’s fiscal rectitude relative to others, a crisis can arise quite quickly, forcing countries into painful political decisions. And this could very well happen to the United States.

    A recent International Monetary Fund study’s main finding is that the United States might not look better than most other governments forever, and that the hill the United States has to climb to fiscal stability is much steeper than most other countries.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Don (@191), I will say it again. You are making a spiritual pronouncement on people’s faith (or, rather, the lack of it), and backing it up with secular political arguments. That is the fundamental problem here. You even explicitly decline to provide a Scriptural basis for your argument! You are calling into question the faith of real people based on nothing more than adherence to budgetary concerns. Now, it is my sincere hope that you don’t know anyone, or at least any Christians, who are in favor of entitlements, because if they heard you saying what you’re saying to me, it could honestly damage their faith. But I do know such people, and that is why I’m opposing your statement so strongly. I will not shake someone’s faith to make a mere political point.

    The new insight that you’ve provided into your mindset (in addition to the claim that “huge amounts of debt” for the government are “unbiblical”, which you refuse to justify, but more on that later) is that what makes entitlements wrong is “taking money from future people”. And, again, let me be clear, I am not discussing — or even disagreeing — with you the secular, political wisdom of such spending.

    But look at your reasons for why entitlements are “evil”: “You are budgeting their money for yourself and your current desires. It is presumptious and selfish — we are saying that our needs are more important than their needs, and we want to make sure that our needs are addressed in the future, no matter how much their needs have to be sacrificed to make that happen.” Now compare that with what you say about “current year spending”, which, you say, “is not a biblical issue”: “it is money you are picking from someone else’s pocket”. What is the difference? The only one I can see is the “future” aspect. Either way, we’re taking money (via taxation) from some people to be used on other people, saying that the needs met by tax funding are more important than the needs that would otherwise be met with that money. And if you do it within a year’s budget, you have Don’s blessing. If you incur debt (although only if it’s “huge” enough, whatever that means), then Don will decry it as “unbiblical” and an indication of your lack of faith!

    “I don’t think I need to lay out for you the scriptural case against debt.” But you do, Don! You’re making spiritual accusations! You’re saying that “huge amounts of debt” are “unbiblical”. I don’t know of such a passage. Can you tell me? Are you content to condemn the faith of those who favor entitlements without even showing them in the Bible where God also condemns them?

    “It is not an absolute prohibition.” Then why, why, why are you calling people’s faith into question over it?

    “You ask whether these principles apply to government. I ask you, why shouldn’t they?” Are you kidding me? Don, over and over on this blog, you make the case that the commands in the Bible (e.g. to care for your neighbor or the poor) do not apply to government, but to individuals alone. And now, now, you would have me believe that whatever passages you may have in mind (but won’t tell me) that prohibit debt (“huge” or whatever), also apply to government?

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Don (@191), I will say it again. You are making a spiritual pronouncement on people’s faith (or, rather, the lack of it), and backing it up with secular political arguments. That is the fundamental problem here. You even explicitly decline to provide a Scriptural basis for your argument! You are calling into question the faith of real people based on nothing more than adherence to budgetary concerns. Now, it is my sincere hope that you don’t know anyone, or at least any Christians, who are in favor of entitlements, because if they heard you saying what you’re saying to me, it could honestly damage their faith. But I do know such people, and that is why I’m opposing your statement so strongly. I will not shake someone’s faith to make a mere political point.

    The new insight that you’ve provided into your mindset (in addition to the claim that “huge amounts of debt” for the government are “unbiblical”, which you refuse to justify, but more on that later) is that what makes entitlements wrong is “taking money from future people”. And, again, let me be clear, I am not discussing — or even disagreeing — with you the secular, political wisdom of such spending.

    But look at your reasons for why entitlements are “evil”: “You are budgeting their money for yourself and your current desires. It is presumptious and selfish — we are saying that our needs are more important than their needs, and we want to make sure that our needs are addressed in the future, no matter how much their needs have to be sacrificed to make that happen.” Now compare that with what you say about “current year spending”, which, you say, “is not a biblical issue”: “it is money you are picking from someone else’s pocket”. What is the difference? The only one I can see is the “future” aspect. Either way, we’re taking money (via taxation) from some people to be used on other people, saying that the needs met by tax funding are more important than the needs that would otherwise be met with that money. And if you do it within a year’s budget, you have Don’s blessing. If you incur debt (although only if it’s “huge” enough, whatever that means), then Don will decry it as “unbiblical” and an indication of your lack of faith!

    “I don’t think I need to lay out for you the scriptural case against debt.” But you do, Don! You’re making spiritual accusations! You’re saying that “huge amounts of debt” are “unbiblical”. I don’t know of such a passage. Can you tell me? Are you content to condemn the faith of those who favor entitlements without even showing them in the Bible where God also condemns them?

    “It is not an absolute prohibition.” Then why, why, why are you calling people’s faith into question over it?

    “You ask whether these principles apply to government. I ask you, why shouldn’t they?” Are you kidding me? Don, over and over on this blog, you make the case that the commands in the Bible (e.g. to care for your neighbor or the poor) do not apply to government, but to individuals alone. And now, now, you would have me believe that whatever passages you may have in mind (but won’t tell me) that prohibit debt (“huge” or whatever), also apply to government?

  • DonS

    Peter @ 193: Believe me, I am not advocating for higher taxes. I well understand the damage high taxes do to an economy. However, we must reduce spending to match revenues, and we must understand how wrong it is for us to presumptuously allocate future years’ revenues to fixed entitlement obligations. The courts have created a legal right for occupants of our country to receive their entitlements, which ties the hands of those in future years to alleviate their obligations, foisted on them by us without representation, by changing the laws. It is an evil travesty. It is worsened by the fact that we don’t even have the courage or ethics to pay for our own current year spending, foisting that debt on future generations as well.

  • DonS

    Peter @ 193: Believe me, I am not advocating for higher taxes. I well understand the damage high taxes do to an economy. However, we must reduce spending to match revenues, and we must understand how wrong it is for us to presumptuously allocate future years’ revenues to fixed entitlement obligations. The courts have created a legal right for occupants of our country to receive their entitlements, which ties the hands of those in future years to alleviate their obligations, foisted on them by us without representation, by changing the laws. It is an evil travesty. It is worsened by the fact that we don’t even have the courage or ethics to pay for our own current year spending, foisting that debt on future generations as well.

  • Peter Leavitt

    Among the best biblical wisdom on debt includes:

    Prov 22:7 (NASB)
    The rich rules over the poor, and the borrower {becomes} the lender’s slave.

    Romans 13:8(NIV)
    Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another, for he who loves his fellowman has fulfilled the law.

    Deut 8:18 (NIV)
    But remember the LORD your God, for it is he who gives you the ability to produce wealth, and so confirms his covenant, which he swore to your forefathers, as it is today.

    The Deuteronomic understanding of the true creation of wealth is as true now as when it was written. There is absolutely nothing in the Bible that suggests that government produces wealth.

    The Romans advice is a bit over the top, though the wisest families incur debt only for their house.

    The trouble with “entitlements” is contained in the very name.

  • Peter Leavitt

    Among the best biblical wisdom on debt includes:

    Prov 22:7 (NASB)
    The rich rules over the poor, and the borrower {becomes} the lender’s slave.

    Romans 13:8(NIV)
    Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another, for he who loves his fellowman has fulfilled the law.

    Deut 8:18 (NIV)
    But remember the LORD your God, for it is he who gives you the ability to produce wealth, and so confirms his covenant, which he swore to your forefathers, as it is today.

    The Deuteronomic understanding of the true creation of wealth is as true now as when it was written. There is absolutely nothing in the Bible that suggests that government produces wealth.

    The Romans advice is a bit over the top, though the wisest families incur debt only for their house.

    The trouble with “entitlements” is contained in the very name.

  • DonS

    tODD @ 194: I AM making a spiritual pronouncement, but my arguments are not merely secular and political. Failing to meet your own obligations, and thus bankrupting future generations and burdening them with untold trillions in unfunded liabilities is hardly “a mere political point”.

    I don’t want to turn this into an exegetical discussion about particular passages of scripture, because the point I am making is a larger and uncontroversial one. Scripture, as a whole, teaches that we as Christians are not to undertake obligations that we are not prepared to meet. It also teaches that we are not to undertake debt lightly. So, bottom line, Christians should be prudent in managing the resources God has given them, as good stewards, living within their means and fulfilling their word to others. This is not to say that things don’t occasionally go awry, due to unplanned eventualities, illness, etc., so that a default sometimes occurs, but Christians should not enter a contractual relationship (debt or otherwise) without fully intending and planning to meet their obligations. I doubt that you disagree with any of the foregoing, but please tell me where you do, if you do.

    Now, please tell me why these principles should not apply in the way we approach our support of the policies of our government. I already know that you do not support our government’s current abortion policies, believing abortion to be the murder of innocent human life. We agree on that. Why should not we also abhor the unbiblical, reckless and unbiblical assumption of habitually accruing debt, by our government, in order to fund programs where there is no reasonable plan in place for managing and repaying that debt? That is poor stewardship, and it is no less sinful for a government to engage in poor stewardship than for an individual to do so. Israel sinned, not only individually, but as a nation. How can it not be sin for a Christian to explicitly support a particular sinful policy? And if you don’t think it’s sin, merely because it is government, kindly explain why government is immune from scriptural principles.

    Yes, I have argued that it is wrong to transfer our personal obligations as Christians to love our neighbor to government, by advocating more government programs. But that position is consistent, not inconsistent, with what I am saying in this thread. We do not love our neighbor by saddling them with debt. And our neighbor includes future generations, in my view. God is calling us to be good stewards of the resources He gives us, including to engage in personal and corporate efforts, as the Body of Christ, to minister to our neighbors. The government is not the Body of Christ, and we should not be advocating that it play a role in meeting our biblical obligations. He also calls us to trust Him for our provision. We don’t need to saddle our kids and grandkids with our selfish and ill considered expenditures because of our lack of faith in His provision, and our resultant desire to have the government guarantee that it will care for our future needs.

  • DonS

    tODD @ 194: I AM making a spiritual pronouncement, but my arguments are not merely secular and political. Failing to meet your own obligations, and thus bankrupting future generations and burdening them with untold trillions in unfunded liabilities is hardly “a mere political point”.

    I don’t want to turn this into an exegetical discussion about particular passages of scripture, because the point I am making is a larger and uncontroversial one. Scripture, as a whole, teaches that we as Christians are not to undertake obligations that we are not prepared to meet. It also teaches that we are not to undertake debt lightly. So, bottom line, Christians should be prudent in managing the resources God has given them, as good stewards, living within their means and fulfilling their word to others. This is not to say that things don’t occasionally go awry, due to unplanned eventualities, illness, etc., so that a default sometimes occurs, but Christians should not enter a contractual relationship (debt or otherwise) without fully intending and planning to meet their obligations. I doubt that you disagree with any of the foregoing, but please tell me where you do, if you do.

    Now, please tell me why these principles should not apply in the way we approach our support of the policies of our government. I already know that you do not support our government’s current abortion policies, believing abortion to be the murder of innocent human life. We agree on that. Why should not we also abhor the unbiblical, reckless and unbiblical assumption of habitually accruing debt, by our government, in order to fund programs where there is no reasonable plan in place for managing and repaying that debt? That is poor stewardship, and it is no less sinful for a government to engage in poor stewardship than for an individual to do so. Israel sinned, not only individually, but as a nation. How can it not be sin for a Christian to explicitly support a particular sinful policy? And if you don’t think it’s sin, merely because it is government, kindly explain why government is immune from scriptural principles.

    Yes, I have argued that it is wrong to transfer our personal obligations as Christians to love our neighbor to government, by advocating more government programs. But that position is consistent, not inconsistent, with what I am saying in this thread. We do not love our neighbor by saddling them with debt. And our neighbor includes future generations, in my view. God is calling us to be good stewards of the resources He gives us, including to engage in personal and corporate efforts, as the Body of Christ, to minister to our neighbors. The government is not the Body of Christ, and we should not be advocating that it play a role in meeting our biblical obligations. He also calls us to trust Him for our provision. We don’t need to saddle our kids and grandkids with our selfish and ill considered expenditures because of our lack of faith in His provision, and our resultant desire to have the government guarantee that it will care for our future needs.

  • kerner

    Peter:

    You may be missing my point. I am questioning your standard of what makes a culture, or an individual, superior. Your standard for a culture seems to be that it includes a statistically higher proportion of ambitious and capable individuals who achieve worldly success. I am asking why you think is the appropriate standard of “superiority”, especially from a Christian perspective.

    First, ambition and ability can accomplish just as much mischief as it does benefit. One can point to Albert Einstein, and all we have gained from his discoveries. Another can point to Bugsy Siegel, quite literally the father of mob dominated Las Vegas, and all the sin, suffering and corruption that was gererated by his dream.

    I can think of many more examples of Jews who have used their effort and energy to this country’s, and perhaps the world’s, detriment, but I hesitate to do so. I don’t want to be misunderstood as I am not saying that Jews are worse people than the rest of us. I am simply saying that worldly ambition, even if coupled with better than average ability, does not a “superior” culture make.

    But even without the previous point, is not the question for Christians, “What does it profit a man (in this case, Jews, although as we know the Lord was talking about everybody) if he gain the whole world, but loses his soul?”? All that drive to achieve may be a negative, not a positive. Again, I am NOT saying this makes Jews inferior. I simply question whether it makes them superior.

  • kerner

    Peter:

    You may be missing my point. I am questioning your standard of what makes a culture, or an individual, superior. Your standard for a culture seems to be that it includes a statistically higher proportion of ambitious and capable individuals who achieve worldly success. I am asking why you think is the appropriate standard of “superiority”, especially from a Christian perspective.

    First, ambition and ability can accomplish just as much mischief as it does benefit. One can point to Albert Einstein, and all we have gained from his discoveries. Another can point to Bugsy Siegel, quite literally the father of mob dominated Las Vegas, and all the sin, suffering and corruption that was gererated by his dream.

    I can think of many more examples of Jews who have used their effort and energy to this country’s, and perhaps the world’s, detriment, but I hesitate to do so. I don’t want to be misunderstood as I am not saying that Jews are worse people than the rest of us. I am simply saying that worldly ambition, even if coupled with better than average ability, does not a “superior” culture make.

    But even without the previous point, is not the question for Christians, “What does it profit a man (in this case, Jews, although as we know the Lord was talking about everybody) if he gain the whole world, but loses his soul?”? All that drive to achieve may be a negative, not a positive. Again, I am NOT saying this makes Jews inferior. I simply question whether it makes them superior.

  • Peter Leavitt

    kerner, Jews being fallen humans like the rest of us have contributed their share of bad people including most recently Bernie Madoff, though on balance their contribution to civilization is enormous., including that of the old and New Testaments. Charles Murray in his article, Jewish Genius attempts to explain the reason for their success. After several problem riddled attempts, he ends as follows:

    At this point, I take sanctuary in my remaining hypothesis, uniquely parsimonious and happily irrefutable. The Jews are God’s chosen people.

  • Peter Leavitt

    kerner, Jews being fallen humans like the rest of us have contributed their share of bad people including most recently Bernie Madoff, though on balance their contribution to civilization is enormous., including that of the old and New Testaments. Charles Murray in his article, Jewish Genius attempts to explain the reason for their success. After several problem riddled attempts, he ends as follows:

    At this point, I take sanctuary in my remaining hypothesis, uniquely parsimonious and happily irrefutable. The Jews are God’s chosen people.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Peter (@199), to attribute the Old and New Testaments to the Jews is to egregiously mistake Scripture’s Provenance.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Peter (@199), to attribute the Old and New Testaments to the Jews is to egregiously mistake Scripture’s Provenance.

  • Peter Leavitt

    So Todd, is it not true that Scripture’s Provenance by God was revealed through His chosen people, the Jews. Christ was a Jew, as was Moses.

  • Peter Leavitt

    So Todd, is it not true that Scripture’s Provenance by God was revealed through His chosen people, the Jews. Christ was a Jew, as was Moses.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Peter (@201), I would no more credit the Jews for their “contribution to civilization” through the Old and New Testaments than I would the typesetter’s contribution to civilization for printing the works of Shakespeare. The contribution’s credit is God’s alone, delivered through the Jews — though, it should be noted, not exclusively (Luke leaps to mind).

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Peter (@201), I would no more credit the Jews for their “contribution to civilization” through the Old and New Testaments than I would the typesetter’s contribution to civilization for printing the works of Shakespeare. The contribution’s credit is God’s alone, delivered through the Jews — though, it should be noted, not exclusively (Luke leaps to mind).

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Kerner (@188), if you’re still here among all these comments, I’ll now try to answer the question of yours that was, perhaps, directed my way: “Is it really racist to claim that someone else’s culture is superior to your own?”

    My answer is, simply, no — but only because that wasn’t my claim in the first place (at least as such; perhaps for that reason, you weren’t expecting me to answer it, but I feel you were).

    Of course, floating around here somewhere is the semantic debate I don’t want to have regarding when prejudice is “racist” and when it is merely directed against some other classification.

    That aside, I don’t have a problem with people saying a given culture is “superior” (or whatever superlative), because cultures are, at their hearts, ideas. And people can reject or adopt ideas at will — they frequently don’t, which is how we arrive at cultures in the first place, but the point is that the superiority being discussed is not inherent to any particular person.

    Perhaps the best example of this is our own country. We have a culture (I won’t attempt to describe it), but we welcome all people, to some degree, to participate in our culture. Can a black man be a part of America’s culture? Of course. A Jewish woman? Yes. And so on, because the culture is a collection of ideas.

    Peter’s argument, however, was (as I understand it) in the superiority of a people — that Jews are superior no matter what culture they take part in and are affected by (Israel, Europe, America).

    It is that point at which Peter’s comments rise to the level of “racism”, for what is the difference between saying, on the one hand, that the Jewish people are “superior” to the Arab people and, on the other hand, that white people are superior to black people?

    One could, of course, also attempt to defend the latter comparison using statistics and metrics, but even if one were to do so, one could not reasonably argue that it wasn’t racist, all the same. Or else nothing is racist.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Kerner (@188), if you’re still here among all these comments, I’ll now try to answer the question of yours that was, perhaps, directed my way: “Is it really racist to claim that someone else’s culture is superior to your own?”

    My answer is, simply, no — but only because that wasn’t my claim in the first place (at least as such; perhaps for that reason, you weren’t expecting me to answer it, but I feel you were).

    Of course, floating around here somewhere is the semantic debate I don’t want to have regarding when prejudice is “racist” and when it is merely directed against some other classification.

    That aside, I don’t have a problem with people saying a given culture is “superior” (or whatever superlative), because cultures are, at their hearts, ideas. And people can reject or adopt ideas at will — they frequently don’t, which is how we arrive at cultures in the first place, but the point is that the superiority being discussed is not inherent to any particular person.

    Perhaps the best example of this is our own country. We have a culture (I won’t attempt to describe it), but we welcome all people, to some degree, to participate in our culture. Can a black man be a part of America’s culture? Of course. A Jewish woman? Yes. And so on, because the culture is a collection of ideas.

    Peter’s argument, however, was (as I understand it) in the superiority of a people — that Jews are superior no matter what culture they take part in and are affected by (Israel, Europe, America).

    It is that point at which Peter’s comments rise to the level of “racism”, for what is the difference between saying, on the one hand, that the Jewish people are “superior” to the Arab people and, on the other hand, that white people are superior to black people?

    One could, of course, also attempt to defend the latter comparison using statistics and metrics, but even if one were to do so, one could not reasonably argue that it wasn’t racist, all the same. Or else nothing is racist.

  • kerner

    Dr. Murray’s article, bright guy though he may be, ends with a false conclusion. Contrary to his final statement, his conclusion that “[t]he Jews are God’s chosen people” is utterly refutable, as St. Paul does in Galatians 3:26-29:

    “You are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.”

    The Church is God’s chosen people.

    Also, tODD’s point about the Scripture not being the product of the superior Jewish intellect is absolutely correct. The Scriptures were revealed to their (Jewish) authors by the Holy Spirit. The authors didn’t just think the Scriptures up because they were smarter than everybody else.

    St. Paul addresses this in Galatians as well:

    “Consider Abraham: ‘He believed God and it was credited to him as righteousness.’Understand, then, that those who believe are children of Abraham. The Scripture forsaw that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, and announced the gospel in advance to Abraham: ‘All nations will be blessed through you.’ So those who have faith are blessed along with Abraham, the man of faith.”
    Gal. 3:6-9

    Which is to say that God did not reveal himself to Abraham because he was smarter than everyone else. God revealed Himself to Abraham, and Abraham’s successors, through faith.

    Intellectual ability is utterly irrelevant to being one of God’s chosen people.

    (credit where it is due: in the LCMS lectionary, Galatians has been the Epistle lesson for the last few weeks, and my pastors have made a sermon series from this. So attaboy LCMS & Revs. Kelm and Lehenbauer)

  • kerner

    Dr. Murray’s article, bright guy though he may be, ends with a false conclusion. Contrary to his final statement, his conclusion that “[t]he Jews are God’s chosen people” is utterly refutable, as St. Paul does in Galatians 3:26-29:

    “You are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.”

    The Church is God’s chosen people.

    Also, tODD’s point about the Scripture not being the product of the superior Jewish intellect is absolutely correct. The Scriptures were revealed to their (Jewish) authors by the Holy Spirit. The authors didn’t just think the Scriptures up because they were smarter than everybody else.

    St. Paul addresses this in Galatians as well:

    “Consider Abraham: ‘He believed God and it was credited to him as righteousness.’Understand, then, that those who believe are children of Abraham. The Scripture forsaw that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, and announced the gospel in advance to Abraham: ‘All nations will be blessed through you.’ So those who have faith are blessed along with Abraham, the man of faith.”
    Gal. 3:6-9

    Which is to say that God did not reveal himself to Abraham because he was smarter than everyone else. God revealed Himself to Abraham, and Abraham’s successors, through faith.

    Intellectual ability is utterly irrelevant to being one of God’s chosen people.

    (credit where it is due: in the LCMS lectionary, Galatians has been the Epistle lesson for the last few weeks, and my pastors have made a sermon series from this. So attaboy LCMS & Revs. Kelm and Lehenbauer)

  • Peter Leavitt

    Actually ,Todd, Shakespeare represents the genius of the English people, which, though inferior to that of the Jewish people, is still considerable. Your ignorance of the reality of the Jewish and English, among other peoples is palpable.

    Your use of the vicious term, “racist” is absurd, though quite in keeping with the romantic piety of contemporary liberal egalitarianism. The genius of the English people BTW is contained in the Colonial period and Revolutionary War that fought for English freedom and underlies the Constitution.

  • Peter Leavitt

    Actually ,Todd, Shakespeare represents the genius of the English people, which, though inferior to that of the Jewish people, is still considerable. Your ignorance of the reality of the Jewish and English, among other peoples is palpable.

    Your use of the vicious term, “racist” is absurd, though quite in keeping with the romantic piety of contemporary liberal egalitarianism. The genius of the English people BTW is contained in the Colonial period and Revolutionary War that fought for English freedom and underlies the Constitution.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Peter (@205), let’s try this: define “racism” for me — if you cite or quote someone else’s definition, make it one that you agree with. Give examples. Thanks. Because it appears to me that you’re engaging in it, but you just don’t like the word.

    As for Shakespeare, you missed the point of the comparison. That said, Shakespeare represents merely his own genius. The “genius of the English people”, whatever that means, is obviously quite less than his, or else he wouldn’t be so notable. As for my ignorance, well, you can hardly blame me — I’m just an American, not a Jew! :)

    And you’d think that it would be painfully obvious how absurd it is to argue that “the genius of the English people … is contained in the … Revolutionary War that fought for English freedom.” Actually, it fought for American freedom. From the English. But I wouldn’t expect you to know that; they don’t talk about it much in Massachusetts. Anyhow, why is it, exactly, that the Revolutionary War doesn’t demonstrate the clear intellectual inferiority of the English, given that the English themselves were opposed to freedom (if you want to frame it that way) and then went and lost a war about it?

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Peter (@205), let’s try this: define “racism” for me — if you cite or quote someone else’s definition, make it one that you agree with. Give examples. Thanks. Because it appears to me that you’re engaging in it, but you just don’t like the word.

    As for Shakespeare, you missed the point of the comparison. That said, Shakespeare represents merely his own genius. The “genius of the English people”, whatever that means, is obviously quite less than his, or else he wouldn’t be so notable. As for my ignorance, well, you can hardly blame me — I’m just an American, not a Jew! :)

    And you’d think that it would be painfully obvious how absurd it is to argue that “the genius of the English people … is contained in the … Revolutionary War that fought for English freedom.” Actually, it fought for American freedom. From the English. But I wouldn’t expect you to know that; they don’t talk about it much in Massachusetts. Anyhow, why is it, exactly, that the Revolutionary War doesn’t demonstrate the clear intellectual inferiority of the English, given that the English themselves were opposed to freedom (if you want to frame it that way) and then went and lost a war about it?

  • Peter Leavitt

    Todd, the Oxford dictionary defines racism as the belief that all members of each race posses characteristics or abilities specific to that race so as to distinguish it as inferior or superior to another race or races.

    When Murray and others speak of the genius of the Jewish people, they quite understand that this doesn’t apply to all of the Jewish people. Though, for example, the Arab people are far less distinguished than the Jewish people, there are plenty of ordinary or worse Jews as well as distinguished Arabs. Try to get this through your relativistic and egalitarian multi-cultural skull.

    The many English descended colonists who fought the Revolutionary War made it clear that they were fighting for the sort of English freedoms signified by the Magna Carta that George III and Parliament had traduced. The Declaration of Independence staded the following:

    For abolishing the free System of English Laws in a neighbouring Province, establishing therein an Arbitrary government, and enlarging its Boundaries so as to render it at once an example and fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule into these Colonies…

  • Peter Leavitt

    Todd, the Oxford dictionary defines racism as the belief that all members of each race posses characteristics or abilities specific to that race so as to distinguish it as inferior or superior to another race or races.

    When Murray and others speak of the genius of the Jewish people, they quite understand that this doesn’t apply to all of the Jewish people. Though, for example, the Arab people are far less distinguished than the Jewish people, there are plenty of ordinary or worse Jews as well as distinguished Arabs. Try to get this through your relativistic and egalitarian multi-cultural skull.

    The many English descended colonists who fought the Revolutionary War made it clear that they were fighting for the sort of English freedoms signified by the Magna Carta that George III and Parliament had traduced. The Declaration of Independence staded the following:

    For abolishing the free System of English Laws in a neighbouring Province, establishing therein an Arbitrary government, and enlarging its Boundaries so as to render it at once an example and fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule into these Colonies…

  • Peter Leavitt

    kerner, Murray would quite agree with Paul that we are all one in Jesus Christ and before the law; however that doesn’t erase the irrefutable truth that the Jews were the chosen people of God, nor does it obviate the objective record of Jewish genius. It was no accident that Moses and Christ were Jews.

  • Peter Leavitt

    kerner, Murray would quite agree with Paul that we are all one in Jesus Christ and before the law; however that doesn’t erase the irrefutable truth that the Jews were the chosen people of God, nor does it obviate the objective record of Jewish genius. It was no accident that Moses and Christ were Jews.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Don (@197), I don’t know what else to say. I am astounded at the lack of concern you’re showing for the people whose faith you so wantonly denigrate. Your words tell me that you are far more concerned about the national debt than you are their faith.

    After all, you won’t even defend your spiritual prognosis of these folks with Scripture! Time and time again I’ve asked you to defend your claims, but you refuse: “I don’t want to turn this into an exegetical discussion about particular passages of scripture,” even bafflingly attempting to label your position an “uncontroversial one.” Seldom has such an uncontroversial position generated such controversy.

    What else can I conclude but that you have no scriptural leg to stand on? Combine that with your decrying the faith of those who disagree with you on entitlements, and I have no choice but to tell you that you are in error.

    You asked me to tell you “why these principles should not apply in the way we approach our support of the policies of our government,” and I will answer you with your own words: “it is wrong to transfer our personal obligations as Christians … to government.” That is your argument.

    We can talk all day about the wisdom (that is to say, the lack thereof) in incurring huge entitlement debts. But to decry someone’s faith for their position on a political matter, when the Bible itself speaks only to individuals, would you call that Christian love? I can’t.

    And please note that your original statement condemned not merely the “huge amounts of debt”, but rather “whenever we demand guaranteed government entitlements” — just the demand and the entitlements alone are wrong, you say!

    Your arguments here would rob those — here and elsewhere — who are on Medicare or Social Security of the security that they would otherwise have from their faith. To do that under the guise of caring for people vis-a-vis future debt is simply incompatible with Christian love. People on Medicare and Social Security can and do trust God to provide for them. But you don’t seem to believe that. If so, you need to repent of this attitude.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Don (@197), I don’t know what else to say. I am astounded at the lack of concern you’re showing for the people whose faith you so wantonly denigrate. Your words tell me that you are far more concerned about the national debt than you are their faith.

    After all, you won’t even defend your spiritual prognosis of these folks with Scripture! Time and time again I’ve asked you to defend your claims, but you refuse: “I don’t want to turn this into an exegetical discussion about particular passages of scripture,” even bafflingly attempting to label your position an “uncontroversial one.” Seldom has such an uncontroversial position generated such controversy.

    What else can I conclude but that you have no scriptural leg to stand on? Combine that with your decrying the faith of those who disagree with you on entitlements, and I have no choice but to tell you that you are in error.

    You asked me to tell you “why these principles should not apply in the way we approach our support of the policies of our government,” and I will answer you with your own words: “it is wrong to transfer our personal obligations as Christians … to government.” That is your argument.

    We can talk all day about the wisdom (that is to say, the lack thereof) in incurring huge entitlement debts. But to decry someone’s faith for their position on a political matter, when the Bible itself speaks only to individuals, would you call that Christian love? I can’t.

    And please note that your original statement condemned not merely the “huge amounts of debt”, but rather “whenever we demand guaranteed government entitlements” — just the demand and the entitlements alone are wrong, you say!

    Your arguments here would rob those — here and elsewhere — who are on Medicare or Social Security of the security that they would otherwise have from their faith. To do that under the guise of caring for people vis-a-vis future debt is simply incompatible with Christian love. People on Medicare and Social Security can and do trust God to provide for them. But you don’t seem to believe that. If so, you need to repent of this attitude.

  • DonS

    tODD @ 209: “I don’t know what else to say” — by my rough count, your post adds up to 362 words after you didn’t “know what else to say”. Guess you found your tongue after all.

    From your post @ 182: “That said, I don’t much feel like saying so when you’re pontificating on the matter and accusing me of just not getting it.” — Guess, also, that you are the only one who has the right to pontificate on this blog.

    Your words tell me that you have no idea what I’m talking about, and, further, that you don’t care. Your mischaracterizations of my position are wanton and without regard for the explanations I have provided. Accordingly, your comments are an utter waste of both your time and mine.

  • DonS

    tODD @ 209: “I don’t know what else to say” — by my rough count, your post adds up to 362 words after you didn’t “know what else to say”. Guess you found your tongue after all.

    From your post @ 182: “That said, I don’t much feel like saying so when you’re pontificating on the matter and accusing me of just not getting it.” — Guess, also, that you are the only one who has the right to pontificate on this blog.

    Your words tell me that you have no idea what I’m talking about, and, further, that you don’t care. Your mischaracterizations of my position are wanton and without regard for the explanations I have provided. Accordingly, your comments are an utter waste of both your time and mine.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Peter (@207), thanks for the OED definition of “racism”. I’m glad to hear that you don’t believe all Jews are “superior” to all Arabs. Unfortunately, your status as a racist is still unclear, as even the OED gives in its definition for racist: “a person whose words or actions display racial prejudice or discrimination. Also in extended use: a person who is prejudiced against people of other nationalities.” Moreover, if we move to the American standard dictionary (even though, yes, it will necessarily lack the genius of the Brit’s dictionary), Merriam-Webster, we see that the definition for “racism” once again seems to fit: “a belief that race is the primary determinant of human traits and capacities and that racial differences produce an inherent superiority of a particular race.”

    As for the supposed genius of the English people, you have yet to explain why they get credit for the Revolutionary War, given that it was, and I repeat myself, fought against the English. The genius that was fighting for freedom was fighting against the same genius, which had (you argue) abandoned it. You completely fail to factor in the actual state of things in, you know, England. In short, this seems to be the sort of cherry-picking that racists use to justify why one people is so much better than another.

    As for my “relativistic and egalitarian multi-cultural skull”, again, the percentage of my genome that can be traced to the English — and therefore to guaranteed genius — is not all that large, and I have no Jewish genes that I know of to bolster that percentage. I’m probably at least a majority German, but I don’t know if that makes me smarter (due to the genius of, say, Hindemith, Kant, Luther, and Gutenberg) or dumber (oh, I don’t know, Hitler?). You’ll have to tell me which of these people factor in to the Germans’ overall superiority or not. For that matter, would you mind telling me which is the superior people: Germans or Jews. I’m curious.

    That said, while I do cherish it when you get your knickers so twisted in a fit of pique that you spew forth random perjorative statements, I must remind you that their accuracy could use some fine tuning.

    For instance, here you accuse me of being relativistic, egalitarian, and multi-cultural. At other times, you’ve attempted to convince me I’m a “nihilist”[1] and a “statist”[2]. Can you at least work out some kind of consistent framework for my inferiority?

    [1] geneveith.com/marriage-equality-instead-of-gay-or-same-sex-marriage/_2208/
    [2] geneveith.com/which-is-better-secularism-or-false-religion/_2575/

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Peter (@207), thanks for the OED definition of “racism”. I’m glad to hear that you don’t believe all Jews are “superior” to all Arabs. Unfortunately, your status as a racist is still unclear, as even the OED gives in its definition for racist: “a person whose words or actions display racial prejudice or discrimination. Also in extended use: a person who is prejudiced against people of other nationalities.” Moreover, if we move to the American standard dictionary (even though, yes, it will necessarily lack the genius of the Brit’s dictionary), Merriam-Webster, we see that the definition for “racism” once again seems to fit: “a belief that race is the primary determinant of human traits and capacities and that racial differences produce an inherent superiority of a particular race.”

    As for the supposed genius of the English people, you have yet to explain why they get credit for the Revolutionary War, given that it was, and I repeat myself, fought against the English. The genius that was fighting for freedom was fighting against the same genius, which had (you argue) abandoned it. You completely fail to factor in the actual state of things in, you know, England. In short, this seems to be the sort of cherry-picking that racists use to justify why one people is so much better than another.

    As for my “relativistic and egalitarian multi-cultural skull”, again, the percentage of my genome that can be traced to the English — and therefore to guaranteed genius — is not all that large, and I have no Jewish genes that I know of to bolster that percentage. I’m probably at least a majority German, but I don’t know if that makes me smarter (due to the genius of, say, Hindemith, Kant, Luther, and Gutenberg) or dumber (oh, I don’t know, Hitler?). You’ll have to tell me which of these people factor in to the Germans’ overall superiority or not. For that matter, would you mind telling me which is the superior people: Germans or Jews. I’m curious.

    That said, while I do cherish it when you get your knickers so twisted in a fit of pique that you spew forth random perjorative statements, I must remind you that their accuracy could use some fine tuning.

    For instance, here you accuse me of being relativistic, egalitarian, and multi-cultural. At other times, you’ve attempted to convince me I’m a “nihilist”[1] and a “statist”[2]. Can you at least work out some kind of consistent framework for my inferiority?

    [1] geneveith.com/marriage-equality-instead-of-gay-or-same-sex-marriage/_2208/
    [2] geneveith.com/which-is-better-secularism-or-false-religion/_2575/

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Don (@210), your reply isn’t much of an answer to anything I’ve said. Let’s try these questions:

    1) Can a Christian on Medicare and/or Social Security have faith in God’s promises?
    2) Does his being on Medicare and/or Social Security necessarily weaken his faith?
    3) Can a Christian vote for politicians who favor entitlements (whether as currently implemented or otherwise) and have faith in God’s promises?
    4) Does his voting for those politicians necessarily weaken his faith?

    Make sure that your answers square with the statement you are still defending, which is that “Whenever we demand guaranteed government entitlements, … we are demonstrating that we trust the government’s provision and promises more than the promises of God.”

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Don (@210), your reply isn’t much of an answer to anything I’ve said. Let’s try these questions:

    1) Can a Christian on Medicare and/or Social Security have faith in God’s promises?
    2) Does his being on Medicare and/or Social Security necessarily weaken his faith?
    3) Can a Christian vote for politicians who favor entitlements (whether as currently implemented or otherwise) and have faith in God’s promises?
    4) Does his voting for those politicians necessarily weaken his faith?

    Make sure that your answers square with the statement you are still defending, which is that “Whenever we demand guaranteed government entitlements, … we are demonstrating that we trust the government’s provision and promises more than the promises of God.”

  • DonS

    tODD @ 212:

    Well, your post @ 209 wasn’t much of anything to respond to. It was a bloviating diatribe.

    Answers to your questions:
    1) Yes
    2) No
    3) Yes
    4) No

    Of course, I presume that you already knew the answers to those questions, because I have amply explained above the very specific circumstance of one who SUPPORTS a sinful policy.

    Now some questions for you, given this statement you made @ 209:
    “But to decry someone’s faith for their position on a political matter, when the Bible itself speaks only to individuals, would you call that Christian love? I can’t.”

    1) Was it perfectly all right for Christians to support the governmental policy permitting slavery in the American south prior to the Civil War as long as they didn’t personally hold slaves?

    2) Was it perfectly all right for Christians in South Africa to support the governmental policy of Apartheid as long as they didn’t personally mistreat Blacks?

    3) Was it perfectly all right for Christians in Germany to support the governmental policy of extermination of the Jews as long as they didn’t personally release the gas pellets?

    4) Is it perfectly all right for Christians in America today to support a governmental policy of unrestricted abortion rights as long as they don’t personally abort babies or have an abortion procedure done?

  • DonS

    tODD @ 212:

    Well, your post @ 209 wasn’t much of anything to respond to. It was a bloviating diatribe.

    Answers to your questions:
    1) Yes
    2) No
    3) Yes
    4) No

    Of course, I presume that you already knew the answers to those questions, because I have amply explained above the very specific circumstance of one who SUPPORTS a sinful policy.

    Now some questions for you, given this statement you made @ 209:
    “But to decry someone’s faith for their position on a political matter, when the Bible itself speaks only to individuals, would you call that Christian love? I can’t.”

    1) Was it perfectly all right for Christians to support the governmental policy permitting slavery in the American south prior to the Civil War as long as they didn’t personally hold slaves?

    2) Was it perfectly all right for Christians in South Africa to support the governmental policy of Apartheid as long as they didn’t personally mistreat Blacks?

    3) Was it perfectly all right for Christians in Germany to support the governmental policy of extermination of the Jews as long as they didn’t personally release the gas pellets?

    4) Is it perfectly all right for Christians in America today to support a governmental policy of unrestricted abortion rights as long as they don’t personally abort babies or have an abortion procedure done?

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Don (@213), you presumed wrong. I wasn’t really sure how you would answer my questions (@212). And while I agree with the answers you gave for those questions, I find such answers to be at odds with your statement that “Whenever we demand guaranteed government entitlements, … we are demonstrating that we trust the government’s provision and promises more than the promises of God.” Now, you clearly feel that you have explained this all to me completely, but can you at least point me to a comment above where you’ve explained how someone can be on entitlements or vote for politicians who favor them, and it doesn’t affect their faith, and yet, somehow, if they “demand” entitlements (and you earlier related “demanding” to voting), it does affect their faith or reflect a damaged faith? I really don’t see the distinction. Pretend I’m stupid, if it helps.

    Anyhow, you then ask me some questions of your own. Unfortunately, there are some terms common to all the questions that I feel are ill-defined. For instance, what do you mean by “perfectly all right”? Do you mean “in keeping with God’s will”? “Not sinful”? Something else? And what does “support” mean in regards to the policies you asked me about: vote for? donate money to? remain silent about? fail to oppose?

    Regardless, I’ll give the questions a go, anyhow, though I’m afraid I can’t give short answers.

    1) This question appears to presume that slavery is inherently wrong. I can’t say the Bible agrees. Now, as an American, when I think of slavery, I tend to think of the rather wretched form of it that existed in our country prior to the Civil War, and there was certainly much to condemn about what was happening to the slaves. But was every slaveowner, for example, necessarily sinful by the fact of owning slaves? I don’t think anyone can say yes to that from the Bible. As such, this one seems to be a yes, potentially even if they did hold slaves.

    2) I am unfortunately ignorant about most of what happened under Apartheid beyond perhaps a very simplistic framework in which “Apartheid bad, Mandela good.” I don’t think things were really that black and white (pun not intended), obviously, so I’m reluctant to answer this question, as it would involve passing judgment on people in situations I know little about. There is no value in that for anyone.

    3) On the surface, the policy mentioned in this question would seem to be a clear violation of what Scripture actually does expect of government (compared to your as-yet-unsourced government debt proscriptions), from Romans 13: “Rulers hold no terror for those who do right, but for those who do wrong.” That said, it really does matter here what we mean by “support”. Were all of the Germans given full details about this policy? Did the Nazi government justify its actions to its citizens using a pretext, perhaps? I don’t know the answers to such questions. But consider a similar question: was it right for Americans to support their government’s policy of torturing suspected terrorists? While I think torture is wrong, period, I’d be hard-pressed, nonetheless, to condemn the faith of those Christians who supported our government’s waterboarding and otherwise torturing. After all, many of them supported the torture not out of a disrespect for life, but because they believed (or were told) that such a policy would actually save lives. I believe they were wrong, either way, but I would endeavor (and have endeavored here) to convince them that the torture was wrong, not that their faith was worth less than the faith of those who opposed torture. Any German Christian who supported the extermination of the Jews because of his hatred for the same was clearly motivated by sin. To say more, I’d need to have more information.

    4) Again, it would be helpful here to know what you mean by “all right” — the overarching context in which these questions are being asked is your previous condemnation of somebody’s lack of faith (though I have yet to figure out who it was you condemned, as it wasn’t pro-entitlement voters or people on Medicaid). “Support” could also use some defining. Are you asking what I would say about the faith of a person who didn’t vote for politicians that favored abortion restrictions? Does that count as “support”? Clearly to some, it does. But let’s assume a more active kind of support. I think some Christians who support unrestricted abortion rights do so out of ignorance, whether of what the Bible says about the unborn, or because they have been misled (by those referencing modern science) to believe that the unborn are not alive. I would hesitate to judge the faith of those people, preferring to refer them to what the Bible says on the matter (I wish you’d take this tactic with me, but you refuse to). Others might oppose restrictions on ultra-libertarian grounds. It’s not unheard of. At some point, this boils down to: what that is sinful should be made illegal? Nobody seems to think the answer to that question is “nothing” and few seem to think the answer is “everything”. And I don’t see the Bible speaking on the matter. Again, I will consider a different but similar situation: is it sinful for American Christians to support a government policy of unrestricted killing in certain parts of the world? Many Christians do, in fact, support every war we’ve had of late, and will not or do not believe that the United States does anything wrong in those wars, including killing civilians — occasionally based on apparently thin evidence, and launched from a drone, even. But even if I think that killing civilians in that way is wrong, and that such war-supporting Americans are mistaken, I’m not sure I could judge their faith for it.

    It’s late and I’m not sure I believe all my answers, since I haven’t thought them through, but there they are, bloviating diatribes and all.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Don (@213), you presumed wrong. I wasn’t really sure how you would answer my questions (@212). And while I agree with the answers you gave for those questions, I find such answers to be at odds with your statement that “Whenever we demand guaranteed government entitlements, … we are demonstrating that we trust the government’s provision and promises more than the promises of God.” Now, you clearly feel that you have explained this all to me completely, but can you at least point me to a comment above where you’ve explained how someone can be on entitlements or vote for politicians who favor them, and it doesn’t affect their faith, and yet, somehow, if they “demand” entitlements (and you earlier related “demanding” to voting), it does affect their faith or reflect a damaged faith? I really don’t see the distinction. Pretend I’m stupid, if it helps.

    Anyhow, you then ask me some questions of your own. Unfortunately, there are some terms common to all the questions that I feel are ill-defined. For instance, what do you mean by “perfectly all right”? Do you mean “in keeping with God’s will”? “Not sinful”? Something else? And what does “support” mean in regards to the policies you asked me about: vote for? donate money to? remain silent about? fail to oppose?

    Regardless, I’ll give the questions a go, anyhow, though I’m afraid I can’t give short answers.

    1) This question appears to presume that slavery is inherently wrong. I can’t say the Bible agrees. Now, as an American, when I think of slavery, I tend to think of the rather wretched form of it that existed in our country prior to the Civil War, and there was certainly much to condemn about what was happening to the slaves. But was every slaveowner, for example, necessarily sinful by the fact of owning slaves? I don’t think anyone can say yes to that from the Bible. As such, this one seems to be a yes, potentially even if they did hold slaves.

    2) I am unfortunately ignorant about most of what happened under Apartheid beyond perhaps a very simplistic framework in which “Apartheid bad, Mandela good.” I don’t think things were really that black and white (pun not intended), obviously, so I’m reluctant to answer this question, as it would involve passing judgment on people in situations I know little about. There is no value in that for anyone.

    3) On the surface, the policy mentioned in this question would seem to be a clear violation of what Scripture actually does expect of government (compared to your as-yet-unsourced government debt proscriptions), from Romans 13: “Rulers hold no terror for those who do right, but for those who do wrong.” That said, it really does matter here what we mean by “support”. Were all of the Germans given full details about this policy? Did the Nazi government justify its actions to its citizens using a pretext, perhaps? I don’t know the answers to such questions. But consider a similar question: was it right for Americans to support their government’s policy of torturing suspected terrorists? While I think torture is wrong, period, I’d be hard-pressed, nonetheless, to condemn the faith of those Christians who supported our government’s waterboarding and otherwise torturing. After all, many of them supported the torture not out of a disrespect for life, but because they believed (or were told) that such a policy would actually save lives. I believe they were wrong, either way, but I would endeavor (and have endeavored here) to convince them that the torture was wrong, not that their faith was worth less than the faith of those who opposed torture. Any German Christian who supported the extermination of the Jews because of his hatred for the same was clearly motivated by sin. To say more, I’d need to have more information.

    4) Again, it would be helpful here to know what you mean by “all right” — the overarching context in which these questions are being asked is your previous condemnation of somebody’s lack of faith (though I have yet to figure out who it was you condemned, as it wasn’t pro-entitlement voters or people on Medicaid). “Support” could also use some defining. Are you asking what I would say about the faith of a person who didn’t vote for politicians that favored abortion restrictions? Does that count as “support”? Clearly to some, it does. But let’s assume a more active kind of support. I think some Christians who support unrestricted abortion rights do so out of ignorance, whether of what the Bible says about the unborn, or because they have been misled (by those referencing modern science) to believe that the unborn are not alive. I would hesitate to judge the faith of those people, preferring to refer them to what the Bible says on the matter (I wish you’d take this tactic with me, but you refuse to). Others might oppose restrictions on ultra-libertarian grounds. It’s not unheard of. At some point, this boils down to: what that is sinful should be made illegal? Nobody seems to think the answer to that question is “nothing” and few seem to think the answer is “everything”. And I don’t see the Bible speaking on the matter. Again, I will consider a different but similar situation: is it sinful for American Christians to support a government policy of unrestricted killing in certain parts of the world? Many Christians do, in fact, support every war we’ve had of late, and will not or do not believe that the United States does anything wrong in those wars, including killing civilians — occasionally based on apparently thin evidence, and launched from a drone, even. But even if I think that killing civilians in that way is wrong, and that such war-supporting Americans are mistaken, I’m not sure I could judge their faith for it.

    It’s late and I’m not sure I believe all my answers, since I haven’t thought them through, but there they are, bloviating diatribes and all.

  • DonS

    tODD @ 214:

    OK, maybe we’re making some progress. The reason why my answers to your questions are consistent with my prior statements is because my objection is to people who SUPPORT an unbiblical governmental policy by DEMANDING that it continue. From my comment @ 177: “tODD @ 176: “Demand” can mean a lot of things. It can mean voting against a politician because he/she dares to suggest that we budget based on available resources rather than on the basis of entitlement promises. It can mean protesting against a politician or agency that dares to suggest raising the Social Security retirement age or trimming benefits for Social Security or welfare programs because they are unaffordable and unsustainable. Etc.”
    So, I’m not saying that you are supporting a policy by participating in a particular entitlement program. Financially, because of the tremendous investment the government requires us to make in social security and medicare, we have no choice but to sign up for whatever benefits we can get back later in life. Similarly with other entitlement programs — they’re there, we’re foreclosed from other options because we have to pay higher taxes to pay for them, limiting our discretionary income, and so we really have no reasonable choice but to participate in them. Similarly, when I vote, I often have no choice but to vote for a candidate who has different policy positions than I do. I have voted for pro-abortion candidates because the alternative would be worse. Not everyone agrees with me on this — my wife considers it sinful to vote for any pro-abortion candidate no matter what. That is her conviction — I respect it. But I don’t agree with it.

    What I meant by supporting a program, or demanding it or that it continue, if you prefer, is a more activist approach, as I outlined @ 177. For example, specifically voting against a candidate because they want to get rid of the entitlement program at issue, or modify it to make it more fiscally responsible. Voting for a proposition that installs or strengthens an entitlement program. Protesting against the changing or elimination of such a program, or in favor of establishing a new one or increasing an existing one. And again, what I am talking about is fiscally irresponsible entitlement programs, which require the commitment of funds not in the present budget or in future years, without a means to pay for them. You may agree or disagree, but this should be more than enough explanation for you to see the distinctions I am making and to understand my point.

    As for your answers to my questions, further discussions of each of those issues could easily consume four very active threads. I have no desire to get into that discussion now, on the eve of a holiday weekend. However, your answers lead me to believe that you can conceive of circumstances where a governmental policy can be sinful, and where it would be sinful for a Christian to support such a policy. Obviously, you don’t want to judge such people and I don’t either. Each circumstance, by each Christian, needs to be a matter between that Christian and God. I never intended, by my comments, to judge or condemn any particular Christian, but merely to point out that it is wrong, in my view, to promote any policy by our government which is inherently sinful. I, personally, consider the undertaking of obligations that you do not have a reasonable plan to meet to be a sin. You may not. If we ever are to enter into a contract with one another, I will remember that you don’t see any biblical problem with taking on overwhelming debt or assuming other obligations which you have no visible means to meet.

    And, to tie things together back to the original reason this all came up, I believe the unreasonable demand that the government assume entitlement obligations it cannot afford, for Christians, regardless of the debt accrued or the pressure it places on our children, is rooted in a lack of faith in almighty God and His promise to supply all our needs. Such people are substituting a faith in government for a faith in God.

  • DonS

    tODD @ 214:

    OK, maybe we’re making some progress. The reason why my answers to your questions are consistent with my prior statements is because my objection is to people who SUPPORT an unbiblical governmental policy by DEMANDING that it continue. From my comment @ 177: “tODD @ 176: “Demand” can mean a lot of things. It can mean voting against a politician because he/she dares to suggest that we budget based on available resources rather than on the basis of entitlement promises. It can mean protesting against a politician or agency that dares to suggest raising the Social Security retirement age or trimming benefits for Social Security or welfare programs because they are unaffordable and unsustainable. Etc.”
    So, I’m not saying that you are supporting a policy by participating in a particular entitlement program. Financially, because of the tremendous investment the government requires us to make in social security and medicare, we have no choice but to sign up for whatever benefits we can get back later in life. Similarly with other entitlement programs — they’re there, we’re foreclosed from other options because we have to pay higher taxes to pay for them, limiting our discretionary income, and so we really have no reasonable choice but to participate in them. Similarly, when I vote, I often have no choice but to vote for a candidate who has different policy positions than I do. I have voted for pro-abortion candidates because the alternative would be worse. Not everyone agrees with me on this — my wife considers it sinful to vote for any pro-abortion candidate no matter what. That is her conviction — I respect it. But I don’t agree with it.

    What I meant by supporting a program, or demanding it or that it continue, if you prefer, is a more activist approach, as I outlined @ 177. For example, specifically voting against a candidate because they want to get rid of the entitlement program at issue, or modify it to make it more fiscally responsible. Voting for a proposition that installs or strengthens an entitlement program. Protesting against the changing or elimination of such a program, or in favor of establishing a new one or increasing an existing one. And again, what I am talking about is fiscally irresponsible entitlement programs, which require the commitment of funds not in the present budget or in future years, without a means to pay for them. You may agree or disagree, but this should be more than enough explanation for you to see the distinctions I am making and to understand my point.

    As for your answers to my questions, further discussions of each of those issues could easily consume four very active threads. I have no desire to get into that discussion now, on the eve of a holiday weekend. However, your answers lead me to believe that you can conceive of circumstances where a governmental policy can be sinful, and where it would be sinful for a Christian to support such a policy. Obviously, you don’t want to judge such people and I don’t either. Each circumstance, by each Christian, needs to be a matter between that Christian and God. I never intended, by my comments, to judge or condemn any particular Christian, but merely to point out that it is wrong, in my view, to promote any policy by our government which is inherently sinful. I, personally, consider the undertaking of obligations that you do not have a reasonable plan to meet to be a sin. You may not. If we ever are to enter into a contract with one another, I will remember that you don’t see any biblical problem with taking on overwhelming debt or assuming other obligations which you have no visible means to meet.

    And, to tie things together back to the original reason this all came up, I believe the unreasonable demand that the government assume entitlement obligations it cannot afford, for Christians, regardless of the debt accrued or the pressure it places on our children, is rooted in a lack of faith in almighty God and His promise to supply all our needs. Such people are substituting a faith in government for a faith in God.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Don (@215), yes, I think we have made progress, perhaps even in spite of the sinful attitudes we may have shown here and there (for which, for my part, I ask your forgiveness).

    And while I understand where you’re coming from better, there still remains one key issue here, and it is the one you have so far declined to address.

    You say, your “objection is to people who SUPPORT an unbiblical governmental policy by DEMANDING that it continue.” Which begs the question: how is it “unbiblical”? And you can’t legitimately answer that question without referring to, well, the Bible.

    “What I am talking about is fiscally irresponsible entitlement programs, which require the commitment of funds not in the present budget or in future years, [but?] without a means to pay for them.” Er, earlier (@191) you said that it was wrong even to take the funds from future years (you said “future people”), yes? Have you changed your stance on that?

    “I, personally, consider the undertaking of obligations that you do not have a reasonable plan to meet to be a sin.” Of course, that statement hinges on the word “reasonable”, doesn’t it? It’s my understanding that, since the dawn of entitlements, most administrations have had plans to meet the obligations, and have at least paid off some of them. And, after all, our creditors believe that we will eventually pay them back. So I’m not sure what you label as a “sin” here so clearly applies to what our government is doing.

    “If we ever are to enter into a contract with one another, I will remember that you don’t see any biblical problem with taking on overwhelming debt or assuming other obligations which you have no visible means to meet.” Ha ha ha. You’re doing it again, Don. You’re taking my attitude on government policy and applying it to the personal. You condemn that when it is done to you. Would you like me to give an example? Try this on for size: “Oh, Don doesn’t care for the poor because he is opposed to Medicaid.” Do you like it? Seem fair?

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Don (@215), yes, I think we have made progress, perhaps even in spite of the sinful attitudes we may have shown here and there (for which, for my part, I ask your forgiveness).

    And while I understand where you’re coming from better, there still remains one key issue here, and it is the one you have so far declined to address.

    You say, your “objection is to people who SUPPORT an unbiblical governmental policy by DEMANDING that it continue.” Which begs the question: how is it “unbiblical”? And you can’t legitimately answer that question without referring to, well, the Bible.

    “What I am talking about is fiscally irresponsible entitlement programs, which require the commitment of funds not in the present budget or in future years, [but?] without a means to pay for them.” Er, earlier (@191) you said that it was wrong even to take the funds from future years (you said “future people”), yes? Have you changed your stance on that?

    “I, personally, consider the undertaking of obligations that you do not have a reasonable plan to meet to be a sin.” Of course, that statement hinges on the word “reasonable”, doesn’t it? It’s my understanding that, since the dawn of entitlements, most administrations have had plans to meet the obligations, and have at least paid off some of them. And, after all, our creditors believe that we will eventually pay them back. So I’m not sure what you label as a “sin” here so clearly applies to what our government is doing.

    “If we ever are to enter into a contract with one another, I will remember that you don’t see any biblical problem with taking on overwhelming debt or assuming other obligations which you have no visible means to meet.” Ha ha ha. You’re doing it again, Don. You’re taking my attitude on government policy and applying it to the personal. You condemn that when it is done to you. Would you like me to give an example? Try this on for size: “Oh, Don doesn’t care for the poor because he is opposed to Medicaid.” Do you like it? Seem fair?

  • Peter Leavitt

    Todd, the simple truth is that cultures and civilizations vary in measurable terms. Read Murray’s Human Accomplishment on this. Racists again are those who apply superiority or inferiority to all members of ethnic o national groups. I’m well aware of distinguished Arabs and Germans, etc. Your use of the term <racist betrays a certain looseness and mean spiritedness.

    Again, the american leaders of the Revolution made it clear that they were fighting for the basic English liberties that had been traduced by George III and Parliament. William Shepherd, a British writer, puts the matter as follows:

    Constitutional tradition as it developed in Britain and spread later to America and much of the Commonwealth was indeed a slow and occasionally violent process. It is a thousand-year-old story, which may be said to begin in the year 1215 when the Great Charter sought to limit the powers of an absolute monarch. Yet despite the persistence of reformers and the progress made at the birth of the United States, the development of true constitutional security from autocratic rule is by no means complete today.

  • Peter Leavitt

    Todd, the simple truth is that cultures and civilizations vary in measurable terms. Read Murray’s Human Accomplishment on this. Racists again are those who apply superiority or inferiority to all members of ethnic o national groups. I’m well aware of distinguished Arabs and Germans, etc. Your use of the term <racist betrays a certain looseness and mean spiritedness.

    Again, the american leaders of the Revolution made it clear that they were fighting for the basic English liberties that had been traduced by George III and Parliament. William Shepherd, a British writer, puts the matter as follows:

    Constitutional tradition as it developed in Britain and spread later to America and much of the Commonwealth was indeed a slow and occasionally violent process. It is a thousand-year-old story, which may be said to begin in the year 1215 when the Great Charter sought to limit the powers of an absolute monarch. Yet despite the persistence of reformers and the progress made at the birth of the United States, the development of true constitutional security from autocratic rule is by no means complete today.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Peter (@217), I’m not going to be lectured on “a certain looseness and mean spiritedness” by a man who tells lies about me (on this very thread) and throws whatever pejorative labels at me he dreams up, no matter how ridiculous (“nihilist”? “statist”? “relativist”? — hey, I’m not the one telling his fellow Protestants we can’t know the truth of the Bible, so let’s all forget our differences!)

    You believe in the superiority of a group of people — not merely a culture, but a people, no matter where they happen to be living. And if you were arguing for the superiority of white people, we’d all see how racist it was. But because you’re arguing for the superiority of a group that has frequently been oppressed throughout history, it somehow comes off as egalitarian or something. Ha.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Peter (@217), I’m not going to be lectured on “a certain looseness and mean spiritedness” by a man who tells lies about me (on this very thread) and throws whatever pejorative labels at me he dreams up, no matter how ridiculous (“nihilist”? “statist”? “relativist”? — hey, I’m not the one telling his fellow Protestants we can’t know the truth of the Bible, so let’s all forget our differences!)

    You believe in the superiority of a group of people — not merely a culture, but a people, no matter where they happen to be living. And if you were arguing for the superiority of white people, we’d all see how racist it was. But because you’re arguing for the superiority of a group that has frequently been oppressed throughout history, it somehow comes off as egalitarian or something. Ha.

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