Subsidiarity and Saddleback

My frustration was showing a couple of weeks ago in a post titled: “Responsibility is differentiated, mutual and complementary, not exclusive, binary and competitive.”

That post consisted almost entirely of the sentence “Responsibility is differentiated, mutual and complementary; responsibility is not exclusive, binary and competitive,” repeated 10 times with each repetition linking to a different longer and deeper discussion of subsidiarity, “sphere sovereignty” or some other framework explaining and exploring the nature of moral responsibility as unavoidably differentiated, mutual and complementary.

My frustration was compounded shortly thereafter by a parade of posters visiting here from Rick Warren’s Saddleback Church, most repeating some variation of their pastor’s belief that moral responsibility is exclusive and binary — an either/or, competitive framework rather than a multi-layered, mutual framework of supporting, cooperative and complementary roles.

The members of that congregation believe — rightly! — that “the church” is responsible to meet the needs of the needy, to empower the powerless and to care for the poor, the widow, the orphan and the least of these.

Unfortunately, due to an ethical and biblical confusion that seems pervasive in that congregation, they therefore conclude that this means that only “the church” bears any such responsibility, and that it is somehow improper or wrong for other actors and agencies, especially governments, to regard themselves as also responsible.

That’s reprehensible theology and, if they really believed a word of it, would reflect an appalling biblical ignorance or illiteracy.

But fortunately they don’t fully believe what they’re saying.

There’s plenty of evidence that they don’t really believe this. I’m sure, for example, that this congregation’s commendable outreach efforts in pursuit of what it claims to believe is its exclusive responsibility includes providing assistance to some families in which a grandmother is raising her grandchildren due to the absence, for whatever reason (death, addiction, incarceration), of their parents.

I’m certain that when the folks from Saddleback encounter such families, they do not seek to seize these children from their grandmothers, or to rebuke those grandmothers for providing such care. That would be consistent with what they claim to believe — that the church is exclusively responsible for those orphans and that this grandmother is thus unjustly usurping the proper responsibility of the church.

But for all their claims of disbelieving in Big Grandmother, they don’t usually act in the lunatic manner that their purported framework of exclusive, binary, competitive responsibility would require.

Despite their vocal denunciations of it, in other words, at some more instinctive level, they appreciate the inescapable nature of subsidiarity. In some unarticulated, only vaguely understood way, they  partially recognize the reality that moral responsibility is always, unavoidably, mutual, differentiated and complementary.

Part of what keeps them from understanding this more clearly, I think, is a murky ecclesiology that makes it difficult for them to explain to me or to themselves what they mean by “the church” when they claim that “the church” is solely and exclusively responsible to care for the poor. Do they mean “the church” as an institution? Or by “the church” do they mean those individuals who belong to that institution, acting individually?

I suspect that if we had been able to discuss that question at greater length than their drive-by declarations in my comment section had allowed, they would have been open to the idea that “the church” could mean both of those things.

That would have been a small but positive step toward getting past the dangerous mistake of viewing responsibility as exclusive. Once it is established and accepted that a Christian bears such responsibility both in their capacity as an individual and in their capacity as a member of the institutional church, then we have opened the door to a fuller, more human understanding of responsibility. Once the possibility of such a both/and is recognized we no longer need to be trapped by an inability to imagine or to understand anything other than either/or. That can open the door to finally understanding more clearly that moral responsibility is always mutual and complementary, and to understanding the foolish destructiveness of trying to think of it as a binary, exclusive, zero-sum competition.

This possibility of both/and is also something that they already know to be true. And because they know it to be true, at least dimly on some level, their actions are never wholly in accord with their professed belief in the inhuman nonsense of exclusive responsibility.

Every church member knows that no church member is only that or exclusively that. Every member of Saddleback Church is also many, many other things as well: a parent, a sibling, a cousin, a neighbor, a friend, a resident, a worker, a fan, a consumer, a user, a producer, a supporter, a contributor, a customer, a client, a traveler, a bystander, a passer-by, a stranger, a citizen.

I don’t think that our friends from Saddleback would really want to argue that they bear a responsibility to assist the poor and the weak exclusively in their capacity as members of the church. Yes, they may say that is what they believe — that such responsibility bears on them as church members but not as citizens (or parents, or workers, or customers, etc.). And they may say that it would be improper and wrong for them to attempt to assist the poor and the needy in any other capacity — and that it would somehow be especially evil to attempt to give any thought to the poor and the needy in their capacity as citizens.

But none of them lives like that.

No one could live like that because life itself is — inescapably and unavoidably — differentiated, mutual and complementary. Trying to compartmentalize one’s life to accord with their purported belief in exclusive, binary categories of responsibility would be impossible.

At the very least, I suspect, our friends from Saddleback would concede that when acting in all their other capacities apart from their role as “the church,” they ought not to be making things worse for the poor and the needy that their “the church” has a responsibility to help.

Let’s consider some examples of the sort of thing I mean:

Mr. Smith spends his Saturdays volunteering with a church program that assists poor families who have fallen prey to predatory lenders. Monday through Friday, however, Mr. Smith manages an inner-city check-cashing outlet that hooks those same poor families on roll-over pay-day loans with an APR of more than 2000 percent.

Mr. Jones meets in the evening with a church group that writes letters to lawmakers, advocating for stronger laws against sexual trafficking. When he’s not in church, Mr. Jones can be found managing the brothel in the back of a strip club, where young women from the developing world are kept as virtual slaves.

Mr. Johnson faithfully volunteers one day every week, week in and week out, with the church’s job bank program, helping people gain the financial independence that comes from earning a reliable and adequate paycheck. Mr. Johnson earns his own paycheck as a political pundit, advocating for budget austerity measures and massive reductions in the economy’s aggregate demand to ensure that unemployment remains far above its natural level for years to come.

Those are all extreme examples, and particularly loathsome and sinful examples at that. But the monstrously irresponsible and counterproductive behavior of Messrs. Smith, Jones and Johnson differs only in degree and not in kind from the exclusive notion of responsibility being promoted by our confused friends from Saddleback — and from many, many other places as well.

Note that the extreme compartmentalization of these three hypothetical hypocrites is not just permissible according to the purported belief of our friends. According to what they claim to believe, such extreme compartmentalization and hypocrisy is mandatory for members of “the church.”

For anyone who believes that “caring for the poor is the responsibility of the church and not the responsibility of citizens” such compartmentalization is as obligatory as it is monstrous.

And thus,  not being monsters, most of the people who claim to believe such inhuman nonsense do not behave consistently with their impossible, un-biblical, un-democratic claims. They don’t condemn grandmothers or responsible lenders for “usurping” the role of “the church.” They don’t condemn church members for failing to be pimps or predators in their lives outside of church.

In short, they’re not fully able to sustain the bewilderingly strange lie that responsibility is exclusive, binary and competitive. The world they live in won’t allow them to do so. They may decry subsidiarity as socialism, deeply confused about what both of those words mean, but they can never truly escape the inescapable network of mutuality.

Because that sentence that out of frustration I repeated 10 times — and have repeated here in whole or in part many more times — isn’t just a normative statement. It’s also a descriptive statement. It describes reality — and just because our friends claim to deny reality doesn’t mean they aren’t stuck living in it along with everybody else.

Responsibility is differentiated, mutual and complementary; responsibility is not exclusive, binary and competitive.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_GVT7C7S6IP2OC44PFUZGAJ4OBM JohnK

    In mind set, perhaps, although they were called ‘Progressives’. I don’t think that people like Susan B. Anthony would necessarily have been in the Tea Party nowadays though.

  • Lori

    Another problem the “let the church do it” crowd has is an inability to
    do simple arithmetic.  Take the money that churches can provide and
    divide it up among all the folks who need help with their medical bills;
    it doesn’t come near to balancing.

    If the government wasn’t taking people’s money at the point of a gun they would give way more to charity and the churches would have enough to take care of everyone who really needs help. The lazy, undeserving moochers who have been free-loading off the government would just have to get jobs, which would cut way down on the need and everything would balance just fine.

    I wish I was making that up, but I’ve heard more than one person make that exact argument. It’s part of their total disconnect from reality.

  • http://blog.trenchcoatsoft.com Ross

    Fred:  I don’t know if the modifier “virtual” is called for in your hypothetical Mr. Jones case. The victims of human trafficking are slaves in the meaningful senses of the term. In some cases, the chains holding them down are actual literal chains.

  • http://blog.trenchcoatsoft.com Ross

    Fred:  I don’t know if the modifier “virtual” is called for in your hypothetical Mr. Jones case. The victims of human trafficking are slaves in the meaningful senses of the term. In some cases, the chains holding them down are actual literal chains.

  • P J Evans

     Where I was at the time, all the county lines went to dry areas – you had to go well past them to get to any place where you could legally buy alcohol. They’re allowing some sales now, so the bootleggers probably have a lot less business. (Prohibition there was pretty much a joke anyway: you could join a ‘private club’, for a very nominal membership fee, and buy alcohol to where you were drunk or broke. There were a lot of ‘clubs’ – they all looked like bars to me.)

  • Anonymous

    wait…Seriously? There’s actually people in America who think FDR didn’t help with the Great Depression? While even the fucking mainstream media is bringing up the need for a Works Progress Administration or Civilian Conservation Corps? Tell me you’re exaggerating. Lie to me, if necessary.

  • Anonymous

    Yeah, there are, sorry. I think they might’ve all read the same book – “The Forgotten Man” by Amity Shlaes. Or heard the talking points from it, anyway.

  • Consumer Unit 5012

    I keep trying to figure out exactly where and how the anti-government thing started, not to mention what weird route it took to get to the point it’s at now.

    The Civil War?

  • Consumer Unit 5012

    It’s come to the point where I’m seriously contemplating the existence of a Bizarro History where FDR fiddled while America burned, Gerald Ford and George H.W. Bush were big liberal softies, Reagan was the best thing since sliced bread, and Bill and Hillary Clinton were mob bosses. If this Bizarro History exists, conservative historians are doing a great job of recording it.

    http://www.conservapedia.com/Main_Page/

    You can get even with thank me later.  :D

  • http://gocart-mozart.blogspot.com/ gocart mozart

    “Have these people no sense of history?”
    If by history you mean stuff that actually happened, then NO.

  • Anonymous

    See also this hilarious animation funded by Mike Huckabee. Personally, I find it fitting that the one kid is wearing a Blood Angels helmet -”hyper-religious fascists with an intense bloodlust” is a pretty good descriptor of many in the tea party.

  • Consumer Unit 5012

    And if he forwards one more of those lying mass emails to me I’m going to totally lose my shit.

    In my experience, the easiest way to get off those mailings FOREVER is to “reply to all” with a systematic breakdown of all the ways they’re bullshit.   (Warning:  may cause hurt feelings in people who deserve it.)

  • Anonymous

    And likewise I doubt they discourage eligible members from receiving such governmental assistance as food stamps, social security, the eic and child tax credit on their returns, unemployment benefit, etc ad nauseum

  • FangsFirst

    It’s the disconnect, I swear. And the sad part is it’s…just that. There’s no cognitive dissonance. They don’t see a need to think further¹ because the explanation fits. We are “running out of money”² and they feel they are still paying a lot (see all studies and observations on what happens when someone gets a raise or paycut–living up to means) and thus it has to be where the money is going *out,* and they don’t see any change in what they are receiving and we have always had police and fire departments and highways and so on and so forth, so it must be something else–more people deciding to just be lazy and take money from the government! Surely that could be increasing!

    Alternatively: we need the above, but it *must* be possible to get a job and earn enough to live on, because everyone they know does, and when so-and-so lost his job, the church helped him out and eventually he got back on his feet, and they’ve never known anyone who STAYED on entitlements, but surely someone does, and they can’t possibly DESERVE it, because there’s NO WAY anyone could need it that long, therefore this should be a sacrifice, but one that can be overcome.

    The whole thing is fascinating in a morbid way. It often seems like they simply do not get any farther than the negative aspects of something, which is why I am often uncomfortable with lumping it all into racism too quickly. “Vouchers! That will fix education!” then I saw an article about a place doing it: $6000 a year. A nice discount if you have the money to *almost* pay for it, but pointless if you don’t have the money to afford private schooling EVER. And I don’t think that thought factors in. I think it’s, “But if we all just got MONEY from the government [hahaha] for us to CHOOSE a school, we could all choose the one we wanted and ta da happily ever after!” Which doesn’t take into account the fact that you would have to give everyone with children around $10k a year or more per child, depending on where they lived, and there would still be the insistence that this should somehow not come from everyone’s taxes and blah blah because the overall need for society as a whole to fund the next generation (even if you hate kids and never want to have them, as you will still need to have new people to provide services for you, even normal non-”What about when you are old and infirm?” factors).

    I think the worst part is all of it comes down to imaginary groups of people “The Government” as an amorphous force that has no connection to the people they know personally who work for it, “The Education System” as having no relation to the people who educated some kids they know even if not their own, “The Scientists” as this fringe group who only look at X issue that bugs them, not as a collective field that interrelates constantly…all Dunbar’s number stuff I guess.

    ¹And I try very heard to make sure that saying those things does not make me hypocritical, which is why I try to balance my comments about corporations, especially having worked in a variety of the retail ones. And try not to suggest that it is an “evil conspiracy” to force X, Y, or Z on those of us on the “front lines.” It’s numbers up there and between the inability to feasibly examine each market and draw a proper curve to create proper payroll and the fact that it’s seen from a distance as a minor cut across the board–as well as the fact that decreased income leads to cuts somewhere, though arguably, I admit, not necessarily the right places–well, it just seems to add up to a shitty system, and blaming it on “our corporate overlords” and suggesting malevolent or thoughtless plots just seems unrealistic. I tend to think it adds up more from demand for caps on visible inflation wherever possible and the competition this creates, followed by the ability for some products and services to be offered via various loopholes (eg, many websites can sell you something cheaper, what with decreased overhead and no sales tax, driving B&M locations to try to at least resemble this, or to ignore it, either cutting profit or cutting sales). Blah blah blah. I think about this a lot as I get very annoyed at listening to customers accuse retail businesses of attempting to gouge them with generally unchanged MSRPs (where of course the MS stands for Manufacturer Suggested, but the accusation is leveled where it is visible: the store in question) and then the implication from employees that it is all just pure evil and taking as much advantage as possible, and then at least a little accusation (I just don’t get to hear it) leveled at the ‘front lines’ for poor performance–based on averaged metrics that cannot but fail to keep all the relevant factors in place (varying clientele by market, varying local economies, varying hours of shopping, personal strengths and weaknesses of each employee, etc). The internet’s unseen eeeeeeevil influence on retail is a personal bane, and the drive behind it is not evil internet overlords or the people whose jobs depend on the internet, but the need for everything to be cheaper and cheaper–necessity for some, luxury desire for others.

    ²Do not worry, Andrew G., I’ve read about MMT, and so far as my otherwise uneducated mind goes, I am with you ;)

  • Anonymous

    I’m already liking this featured “essay” which is actually a list of…something. Politicians with careers. I think.

  • http://outshine-the-sun.blogspot.com/ Andrew G.

    Rather amazingly, Conservapedia’s article on the New Deal, at least as it appears now, while showing the expected biases, does not plug the “FDR worsened the Depression” position; it even presents the fact that a majority of economists disagree with that statement.

    The crazy is reserved for the articles ‘Great Depression’ and ‘Franklin D. Roosevelt’ which make the contradicting claim that FDR’s policies did make it worse.

  • Albanaeon

    Here’s what I don’t get.  You hear “Government is the problem,” then read “We the people” and not realize they are saying YOU ARE THE PROBLEM.  I personally wouldn’t find that to be all that inspiring of a message to rally around.

  • http://indiscriminatedust.blogspot.com Philboyd Studge

    I think the idea is they don’t believe that government-as-it-exists is actually made up of regular working people or that it acts in the interests of said regular working people.

  • Anonymous

    I think the idea is they don’t believe that government-as-it-exists is
    actually made up of regular working people or that it acts in the
    interests of said regular working people.

    If they were ever regular working people, which mostly they weren’t since mostly they’re lawyers, they stopped being so the moment they started getting paid whatever absurdly high number congresscritters are paid. And they’re certainly not acting in the interests of regular working people. We know this because [insert rant].

    The trick is gonna be getting congresscritters paid the median income of their districts.

  • Sgt. Pepper’s Bleeding Heart

    Not to mention that Christians, often with the backing of the church in its institutional form, were many of the people pushing for government programs to promote social welfare in the first place.

  • http://indiscriminatedust.blogspot.com Philboyd Studge

    Especially since ‘getting congresscritters paid’ involves going through Congress.

  • http://mistformsquirrel.deviantart.com/ JJohnson

    Absolutely.  Critical thinking skills too.

  • Tonio

    And part of their problem is their definition of “regular working people,” which conveniently excludes not wealthy CEOs but non-whites, intellectuals and entertainers.

  • http://indiscriminatedust.blogspot.com Philboyd Studge

    Yup.  Although it’s probably worth noting that applies to many Republicans, not all conservatives.

  • http://mistformsquirrel.deviantart.com/ JJohnson

    Hehe, indeed… though it CAN result in return fire as well; but meh, that’s when you break out the spam filter.

  • http://mistformsquirrel.deviantart.com/ JJohnson

    Okay, they don’t exist… (That’s a lie.)

    The John Birch Society has long hated Roosevelt, as have the wealthy (especially financial sector) elites, and as the country has become more polarized and the right has become easier to lie to with impunity, a lot of folks have gotten history turned upside down for them.

    But to get a similar idea of their unwillingness to accept history as it happened, try talking about Iran-Contra to a Republican, or mentioning that Reagan raised taxes several times after his initial massive tax cuts proved disastrous.  I won’t even go into the bizarre view that Reagan was somehow the only reason the Soviet Union collapsed.

    So yeah – there are people who think FDR did nothing helpful; or that his projects were actively harmful; just as there are people who think Reagan was all sunshine and lollipops and that he never compromised with a liberal, never had to admit a mistake and never, ever screwed up royally.

    It makes my migraines act up just thinking about it.

  • Anonymous

    I agree with everything you say, but it still boggles my mind that the election was even close enough that the irregularities made a difference.  Ditto for 2004.

    I don’t believe 9/11 was an inside job, but I would like to know why Bush and Cheney actively resisted any investigation of it until it was forced on them years afterwards.  This in a country that spent millions and an enormous amount of commendable effort recovering a single plane (TWA 800) from the ocean floor and reconstructing it in order to find out what caused its accident.

  • http://mistformsquirrel.deviantart.com/ JJohnson

    Why does this exist? SWEET EMPEROR WHY!?

    =][= By the authority of the God-Emperor of Mankind I banish this heresy! =][=

  • Tonio

    I would like to know why Bush and Cheney actively resisted any investigation of it until it was forced on them years afterwards

    Perhaps there was a massive amount of incompetency and bungling of the warnings that the Administration received and they wanted to avoid the massive public fallout. What looks suspicious to me is that Bush pushed for invading Iraq within days of 9/11.

  • Tonio

    Maybe the “let the church do it” crowd is motivated not just by simple bigotry, but also by a belief that giving charity to someone is endorsing the person. They might believe that religious organizations are, or should be, entitled to deny charity to anyone they please. For example, they might see teen mothers as simply needing lectures on keeping their legs closed.

  • Anonymous

    Every time I hear this, I think back to all the public schools I substituted in only a year ago, and all the “First Priority” and “See You At The Pole” flyers on the walls, and laugh.  Coerced prayer, IMO, isn’t really prayer at all.  Or as Claudius says in Hamlet, “Words without thoughts never to heaven go.”

  • Tonio

    To expand on my point, Münchner Kindl in the other thread provided a link to the Cracked piece 10 Things Christians and Atheists Can Agree On. The author claims that Christians are offended by the idea that mass murderers and kindly grandmas would face the same fate at the ends of their lives, and compares this to how non-Christians are offended by eternal damnation. I’ve already said that these two ideas aren’t even Bistians, their real objection would seem to be to any lack of inherent justice in the universe. That may be their root objection to government involvement in charity or most other endeavors. They could see government as usurping the role of their god in terms of interfering with inherent justice. Legalization of same-sex marriage, to use one instance, may amount in their view to government rewarding or endorsing homosexuality, or at least not judging it as wrong.

  • Anonymous

    wait…Seriously? There’s actually people in America who think FDR didn’t help with the Great Depression? While even the fucking mainstream media is bringing up the need for a Works Progress Administration or Civilian Conservation Corps? Tell me you’re exaggerating. Lie to me, if necessary.

    My own father does not believe it, despite being an otherwise intelligent person.  He honestly believes that the only thing that pulled us out of the mire of unemployment and misery was World War II.  The only thing.

    He also believes that global warming cannot possibly be caused or exacerbated by human beings (it’s a “natural cycle,” you see), that gay marriage shouldn’t be allowed because anal sex is icky (in Dad’s world, only gay people have anal sex, and they do it all the time), and that raising taxes for corporations and multimillionaires will demolish his six-figure income and require him to sell the house and furniture and buy some tiny little cottage somewhere and cheap fiberboard furnishings.

    It takes a massive amount of denial (“LIBERAL MEDIA BIAS!!!”) to believe all those things, but somehow, he manages.  And that’s just politics–don’t get me started on his religious views!

  • Tonio

    Uh, that should be “I’ve already said that these two ideas aren’t even comparable in terms of offensiveness. But if the author of the article is correct about these particular Christians, their real
    objection would seem to be to any lack of inherent justice in the
    universe.”

  • Tonio

    Uh, that should be “I’ve already said that these two ideas aren’t even comparable in terms of offensiveness. But if the author of the article is correct about these particular Christians, their real
    objection would seem to be to any lack of inherent justice in the
    universe.”

  • Anonymous

    I agree with everything you say, but it still boggles my mind that the
    election was even close enough that the irregularities made a
    difference.  Ditto for 2004.

    I voted for Bush in 2004, but that’s because I didn’t pay close attention to politics or womens’ rights until 2005.  (I was also a “good Catholic,” or at least trying to be, which meant marching lockstep with whatever I was told the Vatican said.)  I basically opened the Reader’s Digest, read the party platforms, and weighted them by my views of their relative importance. (I almost voted for Kerry because he would end the Iraq War, but Bush’s pro-”life” stance tilted me back in the other direction.  On other issues I was split about 50-50.  In hindsight, I really, REALLY wish I’d weighed the War as more important than the abortion issue.)

  • Anonymous

    I agree with everything you say, but it still boggles my mind that the
    election was even close enough that the irregularities made a
    difference.  Ditto for 2004.

    I voted for Bush in 2004, but that’s because I didn’t pay close attention to politics or womens’ rights until 2005.  (I was also a “good Catholic,” or at least trying to be, which meant marching lockstep with whatever I was told the Vatican said.)  I basically opened the Reader’s Digest, read the party platforms, and weighted them by my views of their relative importance. (I almost voted for Kerry because he would end the Iraq War, but Bush’s pro-”life” stance tilted me back in the other direction.  On other issues I was split about 50-50.  In hindsight, I really, REALLY wish I’d weighed the War as more important than the abortion issue.)

  • Tonio

    Is your father a “grump”? Among the people I know who favor those positions, they all seem to share a certain outlook on life. They generally don’t like other people very much, viewing themselves as trapped in a world of fools and idiots. It seems to be a combination of resentment and cynicism.

  • Anonymous

    Is your father a “grump”? Among the people I know who favor those
    positions, they all seem to share a certain outlook on life. They
    generally don’t like other people very much, viewing themselves as
    trapped in a world of fools and idiots. It seems to be a combination of
    resentment and cynicism.

    Well, my mother does call him “Becker,” after the doctor from the 90′s sitcom…

    The really odd thing is, he’s one of those “bootstraps” types who literally built himself up from nothing.  I’ve tried time and time again to show him that the path of upward mobility he chose is no longer available and failed every time.  As far as Dad’s concerned, poor people can rise to upper-middle-class prosperity within 2 decades, success = money, and anyone who believes otherwise is either self-deluded or just plain stupid.

    There’s a reason I avoid having conversations of any sort with my father.  It all leads back to religion and politics, and it takes a lot of self-control to avoid blowing up in his face (I get that unfortunate tendency from him, near as I can tell).

  • http://mistformsquirrel.deviantart.com/ JJohnson

    Sadly that won’t work.  The honest politicians (if there is such a thing) who are not independently wealthy (and there are some who aren’t) will suffer for it; while those who are independently wealthy already or are less-than-honest simply won’t care, because their salary isn’t where their real money is coming from to begin with.

    Also while their salaries are definitely well above average, a Representative ‘only’ makes 174k a year – which while significant*, isn’t really absurd.  It’s basically half-again as much as a middle-of-the-road lawyer makes; which well… and well, as you note that’s what a lot of them were/are – so the salary itself is not a big increase in income.

    So as attractive as something like that sounds… I don’t think it would actually have the desired impact.

    *I certainly don’t think it’s a remotely poor salary that’s for sure.

  • Tonio

    I know at half a dozen people like that, including a couple of owners of small businesses. Too often I shake my head at the anger they seem to carry around with them every day. Forget about chips on their shoulders, they have canisters of Pringles the height of the Washington Monument on there. I keep wanting to ask, “What has happened in your life to make you like this?”

  • Lori

    In my experience, the easiest way to get off those mailings FOREVER is to “reply to all” with a systematic breakdown of all the ways they’re bullshit.   (Warning:  may cause hurt feelings in people who deserve it.)  

    I’ve done that. It got me off my brother’s mass email list (at the expense of further straining our already strained relationship), but it doesn’t work on my dad. I no longer get all of them, but every now and then he just can’t resist passing on an especially “good” one that he’s just sure I need to see. The most recent was another rehash of George Soros, the shadowy figure who controls Obama. 

    I was thisclose to sending back some home truths about the people who control the Tea Party. The Kochs and Don Blankenship as why the hell scarier and more evil than Soros could ever dream of being. I just didn’t have the energy to get into it when I know it won’t make a damn bit of difference. Dad is as impervious to evidence as the rest of the Teas and trying to talk to him is like banging you head against a wall, only less fun. 

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_GVT7C7S6IP2OC44PFUZGAJ4OBM JohnK

    Come on. There are people who think that the Holocaust never happened — is this really that surprising?

  • Lori

     But to get a similar idea of their unwillingness to accept history as it happened, try talking about Iran-Contra to a Republican, or mentioning that Reagan raised taxes several times after his initial massive tax cuts proved disastrous.  I won’t even go into the bizarre view that Reagan was somehow the only reason the Soviet Union collapsed. 

    The other day on a thread over at TNC’s blog I saw the best description of the relationship between the current Conservative movement and Reagan—they’re writing Reagan fanfic and have retconed most of his presidency. 

  • Anonymous

    It exists because the animator tried to think outside the box.  Specifically the METAL BAWKSES!

    Seriously, though. =) Either the animator is a Spehs Mahreen fan, or they thought the idea of vampiric religious zealots who hulksmash everything in their path would be subversively appropriate. =)

  • Anonymous

    Because, scarily enough, they would consider Reagan to be too far to the left with his ‘workfare’ program and raising taxes.  So they have to re-write his life.

    If for no other reason, these people have to be stopped so that they cannot rewrite history.

  • Anonymous
  • http://twitter.com/FearlessSon FearlessSon

    We have arrived, and it is now that we preform our charge.  In fealty to the God-Emperor, our Undying Lord, I declare Exterminatus upon the Internet site of YouTube.  I hereby sign the death-warrent of an entire site, and consign a million videos to oblivion.  May Imperial justice account in all balance.  

    The Emperor Protects.”

    “It is human nature to seek culpability in a time of tragedy.  It is a sign of strength to cry out against fate, rather than bow one’s head and succumb.  In the end, many will fault the hand on the sword that felled YouTube, the Ordo Progressiveous, but the Inquisition merely preforms the duties of its office.  To further fear them, redundant.  To hate them, heretical.  Those more sensible will place responsibility with those who forced the hand of the Inquisition.  With some fortune, they may foster this hatred into purpose, and further rule their own fate by coming to the Emperor’s service.  Yet ultimately… it was I who set these events into motion, with a single blow from my killfile, Site-Splitter.”

  • http://twitter.com/FearlessSon FearlessSon
  • Consumer Unit 5012

    I agree with everything you say, but it still boggles my mind that the election was even close enough that the irregularities made a difference.  Ditto for 2004.

    In 2000, both sides were trying (in Bush’s case, pretending) to be More Moderate Than Thou, so the actual liberals stayed home in droves.

    In 2004, I am fairly certain that Bush and Kerry met at the Skull and Bones Clubhouse and flipped a coin – Bush won.


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