Rich Dominionists in an Age of Hypocrisy

My first up-close and personal encounter with the dominionists came back during the days I was working for Ron Sider, the Mennonite theologian and activist best known as author of the book Rich Christians in an Age of Hunger.

That book, first published in 1977, lays out the massive biblical case for economic justice and radical generosity. The core of the book is an argument for what Sider calls a “graduated tithe” — a way of committing to and structuring voluntary, individual sharing.

The religious right went ape-skata over that book, attacking it as some kind of statist, Stalinist manifesto. Just how a call for voluntary, individual generosity was supposed to entail Communism they were never able to explain, but just because their anger was incoherent didn’t restrain their indignation at Sider’s calls for the rich (that’s us) to share more with the poor (that’s the half of the world somehow getting by on less than $2 a day).

The reaction against Rich Christians was particularly vehement among the theonomist or reconstructionist writers and those who followed them. This was a small but prolific and vocal fringe group of radical southern Presbyterians who advocated Christian dominion and “Christocracy.” Specifically, theonomists argue that Mosaic law is the template for all civil law, in all times and cultures. As Greg Bahnsen decribed it in his book Theonomy in Christian Ethics, this means:

The civil precepts of the Old Testament (standing “judicial” laws) are a model of perfect social justice for all cultures, even in the punishment of criminals. Outside of those areas where God’s law prescribes their intervention and application of penal redress, civil rulers are not authorized to legislate or use coercion (e.g., the economic marketplace).

You may notice that Bahnsen, like all theonomists, is rather suspiciously selective in what he chooses to keep from Mosaic law and what he chooses to ignore utterly.

The reason the theonomists hated Sider and his book was that it included a lengthy discussion of the many ways the laws of the Hebrew scriptures established and enforced economic justice. Unlike the theonomists, Sider was not calling for a hamfistedly literal application of the laws of Moses, but he surveyed its vast teaching on wealth, property, possessions and economic justice as part of his marshaling of such general principles found throughout the Hebrew and Christian scriptures.

The starting point for this Mosaic law on economic justice was an equitable distribution of land — the primary form of wealth and the main means of production in the Israelites’ agricultural society. That equitable distribution was sacrosanct and unchanging — as illustrated by the many condemnations of those who would “add land to land” or who would commit the abomination of moving a boundary stone. It was also reinforced by much later stories, such as that of Naboth’s vineyard and a handful of variations on that story and motif.

Under Moses’ law, land could be sold and purchased, but not in perpetuity. In the year of Jubilee, every 50 years, all property would revert back to the families that originally owned it. The Jubilee year also brought with it the forgiveness of all debts and the emancipation of all slaves (this was mainly debt-slavery, not American-style chattel slavery with its legal and religious blessing of torture, rape and kidnapping). Debts were also to be forgiven in the Sabbath years, which came every seven years.

Moses’ law also required two separate streams of tithing — one for the tabernacle or temple and one for the poor. This was not voluntary, but a mandatory and explicit redistribution of wealth. (Moses was way more of a statist than Sider ever dreamed of being.) In addition, there were a host of laws governing gleaning, harvesting and picking crops that forbade landowners from maximizing their harvests. Some of the grain, fruits and vegetables were required to be left in the field or on the vine so that they could be picked by the needy.

And on top of all that, the books of Moses are also filled with repeated blanket injunctions commanding everyone to be “open-handed” and to give freely and generously to the poor, to widows, orphans and strangers.

By highlighting all of that, Sider inadvertently shone a spotlight on the glaring hypocrisy of the theonomist’s self-serving selectivity when it came to Mosaic law. He didn’t mention them and his long discussion of Mosaic law was not in any way intended to have anything to do with them, but it happened, as a side-effect, to expose them as a bunch of dishonest, self-entitled buffoons and they did not enjoy that exposure.

So the theonomists went after Sider and his book with unchecked viciousness and dishonesty, most notably in David Chilton’s memorably named, but otherwise execrable piece of hack-work, Productive Christians in an Age of Guilt Manipulators.

(N.B.: For those who would maintain that the theonomists have never had any significant influence, I would point out here that one of their long-term aims has been to replace the words “rich” or “wealthy” with the more virtuous-sounding word “productive.” Judge for yourself, in 2011, whether or not their desired influence has been influential on that score.)

This didn’t seem like that big of a problem for Sider. Chilton’s hatchet-job was unreadable and the theonomists were regarded as kooky theocrats on the far-right fringe of evangelicalism, so did it really matter what they said?

Well, as it turns out, it did. Working for Sider, I got to trace what R.J. Neuhaus described as the “disproportionate” influence of these nutters and to appreciate firsthand his point that this fringe group was helping to shape the thinking of many Christians who had never heard of them and who would never imagine referring to themselves as “theonomists” or “reconstructionists” or “dominionists.”

The theonomist’s arguments were picked up and repeated — verbatim — by the cluster of influential southern-gothic Presbyterians, by the well-funded pseudo-libertarian and anti-environmental corporate front groups like the Acton Institute and the “Stewardship” councils and the various “Leadership” institutes of The Family (another influential group that dishonestly disavows its influence and, sometimes, even its own existence). From there these arguments were picked up and popularized by a host of columnists, reviewers, radio hosts and pundits. Tracing such arguments back to a source isn’t always easy, but in this case it was due to the outlandishly bizarre and distinctively quirky nature of the theonomists’ fabrications.

The small fringe group remained a small fringe group. No one else was rushing to join them or to identify themselves as converts to theonomy or dominion theology. But that didn’t matter, because those others were embracing the ideology and agenda of the theonomists.

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  • Consumer Unit 5012

    First?

    Was Disqus not working right for anyone else earlier?

    Anyway, the article…

    [sarcasm]Wow.  Self-proclaimed Christians ignoring what their holy texts say in favor of something more economically convenient to them?  I AM SHOCKED.]/sarcasm]

  • http://redwoodr.tumblr.com Redwood Rhiadra

    Yeah, and it was definitely Disqus in general and not Patheos. (Comments weren’t loading over at TalkingPointsMemo either.

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    Yeah, Disqus took a dump earlier. Seems OK now though.

    [sarcasm]Wow.  Self-proclaimed Christians ignoring what their holy texts
    say in favor of something more economically convenient to them?  I AM
    SHOCKED.]/sarcasm]

    Word. Very much word, CU5012.

  • Consumer Unit 5012

    Edit to add:  Has anyone ever actually tried to get the Religious Right in this country to condemn credit cards on the basis of usury?

    I mean someone ‘serious’, not outside mockers like me.

  • Emcee, cubed

    Was Disqus not working right for anyone else earlier?

    Yes. I would either get no comments up at all, or in a weird, sort-of bullet-pointed format that was really confusing, and either way, could not post any comments of my own. Glad to know it was Disqus and not me.

  • http://twitter.com/FearlessSon FearlessSon

    Was Disqus not working right for anyone else earlier?

    Yeah, it was glitching.  It seems to have been resolved now though.  

  • http://twitter.com/FearlessSon FearlessSon

    Was Disqus not working right for anyone else earlier?

    Yeah, it was glitching.  It seems to have been resolved now though.  

  • https://thejawboneofanass.wordpress.com Eric

    I’m not really surprised by this.  The irony of having Christians claim that there are no dominionists or theonomists is that the influence of these groups in how the Old Testament is read is pretty noticeable.  Most documents I read that deal with the Mosaic Law respond to dominionist arguments at some point.

  • https://thejawboneofanass.wordpress.com Eric

    I’m not really surprised by this.  The irony of having Christians claim that there are no dominionists or theonomists is that the influence of these groups in how the Old Testament is read is pretty noticeable.  Most documents I read that deal with the Mosaic Law respond to dominionist arguments at some point.

  • Anonymous

    David Chilton’s memorably named, but otherwise execrable piece of hack-work, Productive Christians in an Age of Guilt Manipulators.

    Which, impressively, is even less dignified than if he’d titled it Please No, Not My Stuff.

  • Consumer Unit 5012

    Which, impressively, is even less dignified than if he’d titled it Please No, Not My Stuff.

    I deeply regret that I can only “like” this once.  :D

  • Albanaeon

    I am surprised that people can here “We have a Bible based Constitution and we need to return to those principles” and not here Dominionism.  Aside from the pure fabrication, it literally says we need Biblical Law.  And it comes up regularly in any discussion with conservatives these days.  But of course, “Dominionism” was made up yesterday by Soros or something to advance the liberal/socialist/atheist/Islamic agenda, and that the language has been floating around for years is pure coincidence.

  • Tom S

    Yeah, people who insist that our legal system is based on “Judeo-Christian ethics” and that therefore it’s totally cool to slap the Ten Commandments down outside a courthouse may not think of themselves as ‘dominionists’, per se, but it’s essentially the same thought process. I’m not going to claim that the US is on the brink of becoming a theocracy, but if the question at hand is ‘do people who would like to see that happen have meaningful impact on the political discourse here’, the answer is unambiguously ‘yes’.

  • http://blog.trenchcoatsoft.com Ross

    I have not done a wide survey of Jews, but I know of at least one who finds it pretty damned offensive the way the dominionists keep slapping a “Judeo-” in front of “Christian” as a claim of inclusiveness, while advocating distinctly un-jewish policies and positions 

  • Tom S

    I’ve always assumed that “Judeo-Christian” just means either “I’m not an anti-Semite, but…” or “Abramic (but not including Islam because I don’t care for them.) It’s a ludicrous term and an excellent flag for an argument that’s not worth listening to.

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    I’ve seen “Judeo-Christian” used reflexively by people who haven’t really thought deeply about the etymology of the phrase or its implications. So it can be an indicator of people using lazy shorthand as opposed to active anti-Semitism.

  • Tom S

    I don’t know that I’ve met a lot of active anti-Semites in general- but I think the passive assumption that Jewish is, “you know, Christian but a little mixed up about things” is itself a form of anti-Semitism. 
     
    Though I suppose if I define anti-Jewishness as having a lack of respect and understanding about what Jewishness actually entails, the people in question are anti-Christian as well.

    (It’s also, admittedly, a term that has passed into common coin enough that it is sometimes used in a totally non-problematic context, and I can imagine it being used in a scholarly way that isn’t necessarily something I’d take issue with. I have never, ever seen that happen when it’s used in phrases like “this country was founded on Judeo-Christian morals”, though.)

  • http://twitter.com/FearlessSon FearlessSon

    I’ve always assumed that “Judeo-Christian” just means either “I’m not an anti-Semite, but…” or “Abramic (but not including Islam because I don’t care for them.) It’s a ludicrous term and an excellent flag for an argument that’s not worth listening to.

    I use “Abramic” all the time, but usually in a reference like “Both Xenogears and Assassin’s Creed draw heavily on Abramic mythology for narrative inspiration.”  

  • http://twitter.com/FearlessSon FearlessSon

    I’ve always assumed that “Judeo-Christian” just means either “I’m not an anti-Semite, but…” or “Abramic (but not including Islam because I don’t care for them.) It’s a ludicrous term and an excellent flag for an argument that’s not worth listening to.

    I use “Abramic” all the time, but usually in a reference like “Both Xenogears and Assassin’s Creed draw heavily on Abramic mythology for narrative inspiration.”  

  • Anonymous

    And now I’m imagining a Xenogears/Xenosaga/Assassin’s Creed mashup game.  Awesome.

  • Sgt. Pepper’s Bleeding Heart

    I’ve always assumed that “Judeo-Christian” just means either “I’m not an anti-Semite, but…” or “Abramic (but not including Islam because I don’t care for them.) It’s a ludicrous term and an excellent flag for an argument that’s not worth listening to

    If you say Judeo-Christian rather than just Christian, you’re talking about general cultural heritage, see, not a specific religion. Church and state might have to be separate, but not culture and state.

    That’s my interpretation, anyway. When I hear people say our laws should be based on Judeo-Christian principles, I want to ask whether circumcision shall be mandatory or optional.

  • Anonymous

    As I said once on the old site, my favorite quote about the term “Judeo-Christian” comes from Mike the Mad Biologist:

    Nativity scenes aren’t exactly, well, Judeo. I should know: I’m a Judeoist.

  • Anonymous

    And on top of all that, the books of Moses are also filled with repeated
    blanket injunctions commanding everyone to be “open-handed” and to give
    freely and generously to the poor, to widows, orphans and strangers.

    The ‘productive’ are absolutely “open-handed” — that’s how they slap around their fiscal serfs.  Further likening the ‘productive’ to would-be pimps is left as an exercise for the reader.  (Show your work.  For purposes of this exercise, assume a perfectly spherical Book of Leviticus.)

  • http://twitter.com/FearlessSon FearlessSon

    You know, these “productives” and “job creators” who keep all their wealth at the expense of the people who labor for them, while professing to be good and moral Christians, they remind me of something… 

    Ah yes, that old romantic time, when kindly property owners wore white suits and lived in mansions surrounded by fields of cotton, worked by dark skinned laborers who could take pride in the fact that they had a clear financial value.  

    It seems so pleasant in retrospect.  No wonder some people want to return to such a time.  

    [/sarcasm]

  • P J Evans

     And those kindly property owners in white suits also put all their wimmenfolk on pedestals so as to honor them.

  • http://willbikeforchange.wordpress.com/ storiteller

    I start getting sputteringly mad whenever I hear anyone on Fox News use the word “productive” in that sense.  My husband has to change the channel before I grab the remote at him and want to throw it at the TV.

  • ako

    For those who would maintain that the theonomists have never
    had any significant influence, I would point out here that one of their
    long-term aims has been to replace the words “rich” or “wealthy” with
    the more virtuous-sounding word “productive.”

    An effective trick.  It gets people thinking that anyone who has a lot is producing a lot, and lets the rich benefit from the common unexamined assumptions that accompany the word “productive” (specifically that they’re producing something of value to the population as a whole).

    “Guilt Manipulators” is less catchy, but can successfully distract people from those who are actually poor, needy, and suffering and instead get them to focus on their irritation with the people who keep pointing out poverty, need, and suffering.  That way, instead of having to make up “They deserve it” or “They’re lying about being in pain and in need” lies, one can simply ignore people who are hungry and hurting and focus on how annoying it is to be lectured about things.

  • http://twitter.com/FearlessSon FearlessSon

    An effective trick.  It gets people thinking that anyone who has a lot is producing a lot, and lets the rich benefit from the common unexamined assumptions that accompany the word “productive” (specifically that they’re producing something of value to the population as a whole).

    “Guilt Manipulators” is less catchy, but can successfully distract people from those who are actually poor, needy, and suffering and instead get them to focus on their irritation with the people who keep pointing out poverty, need, and suffering.  That way, instead of having to make up “They deserve it” or “They’re lying about being in pain and in need” lies, one can simply ignore people who are hungry and hurting and focus on how annoying it is to be lectured about things.

    I hate to be the one to Orwell a thread, but damn that newspeak.

  • Anonymous

    I can’t help but feel despair at how much the “job creator” meme has caught on and not just with the right. The rich are not creating jobs, they’re destroying them, and then creating them in other countries for miserable wages. They do not invest back in the economy and they’re whining again for another tax break. And yet they still expect roads and hospitals and non cholera infected water. Fuck them. A street fair is going on this weekend and it’s taking every ounce of will for me not to wing water balloons at the local Tea Party booth. 

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    Jessica_R:

    It really is depressing how much the self-serving arguments of selfish rich people have caught on among vast swathes of people who, due to their own economic insecurity, legitimately want to make better lives for themselves but end up fantasizing that they will be one of the “job givers” one day, rather than trying to collectively make the so-called “job givers” live up to their promises.

  • Anonymous

    That’s what gets me. I can understand the super wealthy being fuck you I’ve got mine. But the older folks at the tea party booth don’t look like they’d be too happy to part with their medicare or social security. There’s a pernicious selfish streak in the American psyche and it’s going to be our undoing if we don’t overcome it. And I guess that what depresses me most about so much of Christianity in this country. Instead of standing up, fists in the air, for those in need they’re preaching the prosperity gospel and saying that fifty percent of people in this country don’t pay taxes from the pulpits of their multi-million dollar chapels. 

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    GET THE GOVERNMENT OUT OF MY SOCIAL SECURITY.

    Seriously, it’s like they think SocSec is like air: just magically all around us with no thought as to how it came to be that we benefit from it.

    “They want the federal government controlling Social Security like it’s some kind of federal program.” George W. Bush

    The fact that a moron like Bush could even say this and believe it is a sign that the Republican know-nothingism about the way basic government functions operate has been all too successful.

  • http://twitter.com/FearlessSon FearlessSon

    You know, the Teacoats remind me of an episode of The Simpsons where Homer ends up becoming the union boss of the workers at the nuclear power plant.  Burns has been slowly stripping away the union’s entitlements, and getting away with it because his employees are all idiots.  They almost end up trading their dental plan away for a big keg of beer at the next union meeting.  

  • Anonymous

    That’s the horrifying thing.  I keep mentioning that I want to find out what that little old lady thinks of Paul’s Medicare voucher bill.  He’s a tea party favorite, and early in the tea party movement, there she was with her ‘KEEP YOUR GOVERNMENT HANDS OUT OF MY MEDICARE’ sign.  I want to find out if anyone told her Medicare was a government program, and what she thinks about her very own party-favorite trying to turn her Medicare into a voucher system.

    We live in a country of sensationalist, entertainment-oriented “news” “journalism.”  I can’t believe nobody’s tried to track her down and find out what she thinks of the people she so strongly supported trying to pull the rug out from under her.

  • Anonymous

    That’s the horrifying thing.  I keep mentioning that I want to find out what that little old lady thinks of Paul’s Medicare voucher bill.  He’s a tea party favorite, and early in the tea party movement, there she was with her ‘KEEP YOUR GOVERNMENT HANDS OUT OF MY MEDICARE’ sign.  I want to find out if anyone told her Medicare was a government program, and what she thinks about her very own party-favorite trying to turn her Medicare into a voucher system.

    We live in a country of sensationalist, entertainment-oriented “news” “journalism.”  I can’t believe nobody’s tried to track her down and find out what she thinks of the people she so strongly supported trying to pull the rug out from under her.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_NYIMSCWWLA5XTAYXL3FXNCJZ7I Kiba

    but end up fantasizing that they will be one of the “job givers” one day

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YnQwTS-K6jI

    At the end you’ll see a lady making a decision based entirely on the assumption that she will be among the top 0.1%.

    The video is from PBS News Hour.

  • http://willbikeforchange.wordpress.com/ storiteller

    Who do the Tea Party people think shut down the road for the day for them to do the street fair?  Do they think local government work does itself?  You should convince them that they should boycott it because it’s using tax dollars.

  • P J Evans

    The LA Times ran an editorial about the constant demands for smaller government, and the San Bruno pipeline explosion. Sure enough, there were people showing up to say that we need less government and fewer regulations … on an opinion piece about an explosion caused by a business not following regulations, and regulators who were lax in doing their jobs.

    So, yeah, they’re all about government and regulations that will benefit them directly. Benefiting other people, or indirect benefits to them, not so much.

  • Porlock Junior

    @2b8e9565b320bc8df44b6b6a5c477dc9:disqus 
    I’m afraid the egregious SF Chronicle has you one-upped!

    This morning the leftmost column of page 1 was that story, about demands for smaller government to make us more business-friendly; and the rest of the front page covered the Feds’ interest in a condo in Cupertino that burned up yesterday from a bunch of gas leaks. (Little leaks, not something that usually makes a Federal case, but at an awkward time, don’cha know)

    We give the news, you decide!

    PS: Wanna guess how long it took PG&E to turn the gas supply off? Depending on how you count it, and this is the nicer way: an hour and a half.

     

  • P J Evans

    An hour an a half to shut off gas to burning condos?
    Dear Ghu, they really are incompetent in their field.

  • P J Evans

    And I see that the leaks in Cupertino were caused by failure of a particular type of plastic pipe. (I’d wondered why we stopped using that particular kind, but if it’s turning brittle as it ages, that’s a good reason. Brittle means it’s more likely to break in an earthquake….)

  • Anonymous

    Given that Tea Partiers regularly hold their protests in city parks, while under police protection, I think they’re deeply confused.  (Or denser than a box of rocks.  The fact that I have Tea Party coworkers…at a public library, leans toward the box of rocks theory.)

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    depizan: I’ve never understood how government employees can be so actively anti-public-services like that. Do they fantasize that they’re the only productive miracle-worker employee there and they’d magically escape the next politically-motivated downsizing?

  • Anonymous

    I don’t get it either.  One of them is a security guard who is pretty damn straightforward about his screw everybody else philosophy of life.  He truly believes – or claims he does – that he takes care of his family with no help from anyone, therefore he shouldn’t have to help anyone else.  (He’s such a massive asshat that I’ve never bothered to refute that stupidity. He’s also never said it directly to me, I’ve just overheard him talking.)  The other is the only person I’ve ever met who likes working at Walmart, and I don’t mean in the “thank god I have a job sense.”  (It’s her other part time job.  We keep hoping they’ll hire her full time so she’ll go away.)  She’s also sexist and racist (though she’s stopped saying things at work).

    Basically, neither of them are the kind of people I can ask to elaborate on their willingness to take time off work to protest the fact that they have jobs.

  • Anonymous

    “One of them is a security guard who is pretty damn straightforward about
    his screw everybody else philosophy of life.  He truly believes – or
    claims he does – that he takes care of his family with no help from
    anyone, therefore he shouldn’t have to help anyone else.”

    Heh.

    This argument is the worse thing to come out of the US middle class ever. It has swept much of the world and is flawed at the most fundamental level.

    NOBODY who is a part of a civilisation ‘takes care of themselves or their family’ completely by themselves. What nonsense.

    Unless you’re making all your own tools, living in a remote part of the planet, alone – but for your family if you have one – and gathering all your own food, making all your own clothes and so on, you are not functioning alone.

    It is this point that making conservatives do not get. That civilisations form to leverage specialisation and cooperation to benefit all.

    Those engaging with such a society enter into a social compact. They agree to abide by the general law etc, and in return have a stable society.

    Those who make more money than most – the millionaries and billionainares, the traders and brokers … these people benefit from that compact more than most. They would not make a fraction of their wealth within a mostly stable society to operate in.

    Stability is good for capitlism.

    Which itself is the best argument for proportional taxation. Yes, success often requires skill and application and hard work …. but none of that would be as fruitful without the social compact. If you benefit from that compact more, then you owe more toward maintaining the compact.

    That maintenaince has several possible approaches: one, you can undertake to redistribute wealth, to educate, medically treat and basically ameliorate the harsher edges of a winner-takes-all system, or, two, you can increase spending on your security apparatus and just ‘enforce’ the compact.

    Should take too many guesses to know which method is cheaper and more likely to succeed.

    The myth of the individual actor in modern society is dangerous. Yes, we are resposible for out own actions … but does not mean our own actions are the only factors, evern the major factors, responsible for any success we obtain.

  • Anonymous

    Unless you’re making all your own tools, living in a remote part of the
    planet, alone – but for your family if you have one – and gathering all
    your own food, making all your own clothes and so on, you are not
    functioning alone.

    Security Wingnut lives in a city, ‘nuf said.  I can only suppose he thinks the road fairy brings the roads and the utilities fairy brings his utilities, etc.  There are a lot of fairies in Tea Party World.

    I imagine he, like most teabaggers, is okay with things that he bought from businesses, like his clothes, truck, and house.  Never mind that those businesses are supported by evil, evil civilization.  Hell, a wingnut who used to work there – hilariously, her husband is in the military – once said of a utilities rate increase (our utility company is local government owned) that “at least with businesses, you know the money’s going to the CEO’s new pool.”  I believe my response was something on the order of “Bzuh?  How is that a good thing?”

    No, I didn’t get an explanation.

    The myth of the individual actor in modern society is dangerous.

    It’s more the myth of the rugged individualist (otherwise known as We All Wanna Be John Wayne), I think.  Our society has an unholy love for a made up version of our expansion period (the Wild West, the reality of which is pretty divorced from the Hollywood version) and too many people want to live out that fantasy.  Without any of the inconveniences, of course, which is why Security Wingnut lives in a city and works for a living, rather than buying a chunk of land in the middle of no where and actually playing settler.  (Which would work far less well now than back then, since settlers actually helped one another, the damn commies.)

  • Lori

    It’s more the myth of the rugged individualist (otherwise known as We
    All Wanna Be John Wayne), I think.  Our society has an unholy love for a
    made up version of our expansion period (the Wild West, the reality of
    which is pretty divorced from the Hollywood version) and too many people
    want to live out that fantasy.

    John Wayne wanted to be John Wayne, but wasn’t even close. And unlike Carey Grant* he never developed any perspective on or comfort with the contradictions between his constructed persona and his reality. His fans never have either.

    I saw the remake of True Grit with my sister & BIL. They’re both of the age and Right Wing inclination to be major Wayne fans. I won’t go into detail in case it still counts as spoilers, but there are several differences between the 2 versions of the film. The remake holds much more closely to the book. That makes it really clear how the story was changed to make the original film a John Wayne Movie. Changes that in fact undermined the point made by the book. (Hint: Rooster Cogburn is not the character with true grit.)

    Both my sister and BIL are smart people and neither of them picked up on the Wayne-ification of the original film. It just seemed natural to them. 

    It dawned on me a few years ago that I had been wrong for a long time. It’s not simply that a large swath of the Right is willing to accept fiction over reality or is unable to correctly distinguish between the two. It’s the they actively prefer the faux. It’s much neater and tidier and does a vastly better job adhering to their notions. 

    Honestly, that’s about 90% of the explanation for St Ronnie.

  • Anonymous

    Now I’m rather curious about the different versions of True Grit.  (Not curious enough to see/read them, but curious.)

    I’d sympathize with the Right’s desire to have reality be more like fiction if it weren’t for the fact that their fiction is almost always far worse than reality.  The only vaguely appealing part of their fiction is the idea that a person can be a self sufficient hero.  … Actually that’s only vaguely appealing until one realizes that their heroes are almost always utter jackasses.  So, yeah, worse than reality.

    Is it just that they have different values or do they not, in fact, understand what their fiction would actually be like?

  • Matri

    Is it just that they have different values or do they not, in fact, understand what their fiction would actually be like?

    The answer to that can be found in their catchphrase: Jesus.

    The answer to every question, the source of every occurrence, the cause of every event, the origin of every story…

    Basically, we’re Pavlov’s dog.

  • P J Evans

    depizan, they don’t have a clue what that dream reality would be like.Their idea of history is what they see on TV and in the movies; the reality would leave them curled up in a ball in a corner, somewhere.

  • P J Evans

    depizan, they don’t have a clue what that dream reality would be like.Their idea of history is what they see on TV and in the movies; the reality would leave them curled up in a ball in a corner, somewhere.

  • Lori

     Now I’m rather curious about the different versions of True Grit.  (Not curious enough to see/read them, but curious.)

    Short version—the story is about a 14 year old girl named Maddie who hires an aging US Marshal to find the man who murdered her father and bring him to justice. She chooses Rooster Cogburn (Wayne in the 1st film, Jeff Bridges in the remake) for the job because someone tells her that he has “true grit” and will succeed no matter the odds. In the original film that’s the case. In both the book and the remake it’s clear that while Cogburn in good and determined at his job, Maddie is the one with true grit. The major difference is in who ultimately kills the bad guy and how/when the films end. 

     
    Is it just that they have different values or do they not, in fact, understand what their fiction would actually be like?

     A combination. Obviously they don’t think the heroes of their stories are jackasses. Also, the moral of the story is ultimately more important than the quality of the characters and their idea of a good moral and yours are clearly different. Add in a nice douse of “people just don’t think things through” (which is true of pretty much everyone) and you get a situation where they think their fiction wold make a very fine reality and you think it would be hell on earth. 

  • http://twitter.com/FearlessSon FearlessSon

    I’d sympathize with the Right’s desire to have reality be more like fiction if it weren’t for the fact that their fiction is almost always far worse than reality.  The only vaguely appealing part of their fiction is the idea that a person can be a self sufficient hero.  … Actually that’s only vaguely appealing until one realizes that their heroes are almost always utter jackasses.  So, yeah, worse than reality.

    See, when I want reality to be more like my fiction, I tend to think of things like Star Trek.  As a structure of society, the Federation of Planets is much more appealing to me.  

  • Anonymous

    A large part of the American Myth is also rooted in the 1950’s.  The country was high on its game, it was at its zenith, we were the big dogs in the yard.  Standards of living were high, taxes were low, there was stable social values.  Men were real men, stable veterans of the Second World War, come home to raise kids a la “Leave it to Beaver” and “Father Knows Best.”  Women kept their homes neat and tidy and clean and raised the children while the breadwinner was off making a comfortable, government-free living.

    … At least, that’s what some folks THINK was going on.

    If religion is the opiate of the masses, nostalgia is the heroin of the middle class.  The yearning for the Golden Age has mired large portions of the Social Right in a made-up version of the past, because these are people who cannot deal with a changing world and reality.  They are tied to a past that is mostly Hollywood fiction and believe that if they can just bring back the social and political values of the time, then everything will be hunky-dory!

  • Anonymous

    Much of that only works if you’re too young to remember the 1950s. For example, the ‘government-free living’ — part of the reason for the post-war prosperity for the “real men, stable veterans of WW2” is the GI Bill a…. government program…. which vaulted many into the middle class through open access to college education. (I believe, for just WW2 veterans alone, 2 million graduate college and just over 5 million pursued vocational training using their benefits). The GI Bill also provide cheap home loans to veterans too, causing rates of home ownership to jump 20 percentage points.

    As you say, a lot of the perception of the 1950s is Hollywood glamor designed by or for people who were either very young at the time or weren’t born yet. They’re right about the prosperity (although certainly racial minorities and many regions were left out in the cold) but much (most?) of that prosperity came from efforts by Big Government to help people directly. These programs were successful not by funnelling money into the bank accounts of corporate CEOs but by giving or loaning money to people (veterans, in this case) and having the free market allocate these resources in a way that not only helps the direct recipients of the money but businesses and communities as well.

    It’s profoundly ironic that there are people who can look at our country under the policies / influence of Roosevelt (that Roosevelt — Mr. Big Government himself, the New Deal guy!!!) and Truman and still believe that government spending always hurts businesses and that the 1950s were prosperous because the government was small. How do you miss the entire previous 10 years?

  • Anonymous

    Exactly.  The people who were adults during the 50’s and raising families then are, well, dead or amongst the most elderly of the nation.  The ones who were born in or after that time are the ones complaining the loudest about how everything will be better if we just revert to that time.  (Likening this to infantile regression is left as an exercise for the reader.  Assume a perfectly spherical diaper.) (This was probably a cheap shot.) (Sue me.)

    Most of the libertarians who denigrate the New Deal say that it prevented a full recovery from the depression.  Most of them go on to say with absolute sincerity that it was a good thing the Second World War happened to boost our economy, likewise failing to realize the actors within the wartime economy that did aid in the recovery.

  • P J Evans

    The ones who were born in or after that time are the ones complaining
    the loudest about how everything will be better if we just revert to
    that time.

    They’re trying to go back to the way they think they remember it being when they were young. That it was never that way at all doesn’t seem to enter what minds they have. Nostalgia for your own childhood is one thing; trying to force everyone else to live in your dream of what the world was like in your childhood is insanity.

  • Matri

    They’re trying to go back to the way they think they remember it being
    when they were young. That it was never that way at all doesn’t seem to
    enter what minds they have. Nostalgia for your own childhood is one
    thing; trying to force everyone else to live in your dream of what the
    world was like in your childhood is insanity.

    *looks at Fallout* Okay, that just gave me the heebie-jeebies.

  • Tonio

    Is all that muddled economic thinking merely a rationalization for the loss of male privilege?

    Fundamentalism springs eternal for the GOP

    as passions ebb and tide within the social conservative movement, one
    commitment remains constant: “male headship,” God the father, and even,
    as an increasing number of homeschoolers are coming to call it –
    favorably – The Patriarchy. The movement’s increasingly religious
    economic conservatism is cast in gender terms, as a quest for the
    restoration of masculine dignity, a revival of breadwinning in an era of
    genuinely humiliating economic conditions. What do social conservatives
    want in 2012? Same thing they’ve always wanted. “One man, one woman,”
    and a passel of kids. A family, narrowly defined, daddy in charge, with
    maybe some gentle wisecracks about how the wife is really in control.

  • Consumer Unit 5012

    A large part of the American Myth is also rooted in the 1950’s.  The country was high on its game, it was at its zenith, we were the big dogs in the yard.  Standards of living were high, taxes were low, there was stable social values.  Men were real men, stable veterans of the Second World War, come home to raise kids a la “Leave it to Beaver” and “Father Knows Best.”  Women kept their homes neat and tidy and clean and raised the children while the breadwinner was off making a comfortable, government-free living.

    91% top income tax rate!

    (Well, you did say it was the Myth.  Yeah, they’re definitely ignoring the inconvenient parts.)

    And, of course, the gays were in the closet, the negroes were in the back of the bus, and the Godless Communist Hordes were poised to wipe out civilization.  :-P

  • Anonymous

    Yup; this ‘golden age’ was not what they are imagining it was.  Not that they care about the (lack of) civil rights of the era.

  • Lori

     If religion is the opiate of the masses, nostalgia is the heroin of the middle class.  The yearning for the Golden Age has mired large portions of the Social Right in a made-up version of the past, because these are people who cannot deal with a changing world and reality.  They are tied to a past that is mostly Hollywood fiction and believe that if they can just bring back the social and political values of the time, then everything will be hunky-dory!  

     

    In fairness, for the bulk of the people who make up the current far Right Wing the nostalgia isn’t entirely false. JohnKnl is right that the anti-government part is just ridiculous However, for middle class white Christian men things were in most respects never better in America than in the 1950s and will probably never be that good again. 

    The problem is that you can’t turn back the clock and their efforts to do so are actually making things worse for them now and in the future.

  • Consumer Unit 5012

    In fairness, for the bulk of the people who make up the current far Right Wing the nostalgia isn’t entirely false. 

    If my math is right, most of the Baby Boomers would’ve been 5-20 years old between 1950 and 1959.  

    What’s the old saying about the Golden Age of Science Fiction being “12”?

  • Lori

     If my math is right, most of the Baby Boomers would’ve been 5-20 years old between 1950 and 1959.   

     

    Sure, but the Teas aren’t strictly Boomers, plenty of them are older than that. 

    The other thing is that when it comes to the economy it’s not totally out there for someone to say “I know how things were for my dad and they were better for him than they’ve been for me”. For society as a whole that switch didn’t happen until recently. They say the current generation is the first one in however ridiculously long that won’t do better than their parents. However, if you’re a middle class white Christian man who is the son of a middle class white Christian man the switch really did happen 2 generations ago. 

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    I can absolutely vouch for this. When my dad was my age he was already making the equivalent of about $60k a year in today’s dollars. I’m pulling $20k on a grad student stipend, and that’s not about to lift any time soon unless a thesis drops by magic on my lap and I can convince my supervisor I did it all overnight.

  • Anonymous

    There’s a book about that: The Way We Never Were.  Well, at least as far as the family values part of ’50s worship goes.

  • Anonymous

    There’s a book about that: The Way We Never Were.  Well, at least as far as the family values part of ’50s worship goes.

  • P J Evans

    My mother said to me once that, while the 50s were a great time to raise kids, she didn’t want to live in them again.

  • Lori

     My mother said to me once that, while the 50s were a great time to raise kids, she didn’t want to live in them again.  

    Given that your mom is not a man, that makes sense. The 50s were fabulous for one group and only that one group. Straight white middle class Christian men hit the jackpot and everyone else just had to suck it up. 

    I hear a lot of Conservatives talk as if Civil Rights and the feminist movement and Stonewall and the hippies all just came out of the irrational discontent of people who just refused to see how great everything was. That’s completely divorced from reality, but good luck getting the Leave It To Beaver crowd to see that. 

  • P J Evans

     Lori, you would have liked my mother, I think. She spent the war working as a lab tech in an oil field (after working for a while as a newspaper poorfwriter), and wasn’t the nice, submissive female the conservatives think is ideal.
    (She also wondered what she’d done to have two daughters who get lost in hardware stores. That’s easy to answer: both sides of the family have engineers and craftsmen. ‘Hand over the tools, and no one will get hurt.’)

  • Lori

     Lori, you would have liked my mother, I think. She spent the war working as a lab tech in an oil field (after working for a while as a newspaper poorfwriter), and wasn’t the nice, submissive female the conservatives think is ideal.  

    She sounds like a really interesting woman. I would have loved to hear her stories about those jobs. I imagine the days before feminism weren’t easy for someone who wasn’t inclined to be the conservative’s idea of a 50s housewife. 

  • Sgt. Pepper’s Bleeding Heart

    Given that Tea Partiers regularly hold their protests in city parks, while under police protection, I think they’re deeply confused.  (Or denser than a box of rocks.  The fact that I have Tea Party coworkers…at a public library, leans toward the box of rocks theory.)

    I vote for silent option 3: self-serving. I know a great many people who will protest about redistrbution of income or left-wing economics when couched in those general terms, but are very happy (nay, demand) to receive thousands of dollars per year in family support payments courtesy of their fellow taxpayer.Unfortunately, I don’t think there’s anything particularly unusual about supporting polcies that directly benefit you, opposing policies that (you believe) don’t directly benefit you, wrapping it all up in some simplified overarching philosophy and putting your fingers in your ears whenever someone points out the inconsistencies between your stated philosophy and your behaviour. Maybe the cognitive dissonance is making them angry.

  • http://willbikeforchange.wordpress.com/ storiteller

    Who do the Tea Party people think shut down the road for the day for them to do the street fair?  Do they think local government work does itself?  You should convince them that they should boycott it because it’s using tax dollars.

  • Anonymous

    rather than trying to collectively make the so-called “job givers” live up to their promises.

    This part right here.  The insidious part of the meme is that the “job creators” label is descriptive, but not proscriptive.  We’re supposed to accept that the large corporations and the super-wealthy are the only ones who can create jobs — but then try to argue that this “job creator” class has any sort of responsibility to create jobs, and watch the resistance you get.  Not only must we not kill the golden goose, we must also not be so presumptuous as to demand eggs.

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    Vermic:

    Not only must we not kill the golden goose, we must also not be so presumptuous as to demand eggs

    Tell me about it. This pretty much sums up the parasitical-rentier attitude such people have:

    “Why would you pour a foundation, buy machines, hire employees, if you can make as much money buying bonds?”
    Frank Stronach, Former CEO
    Magna International

    In Canada,

    Average return on equity, Canadian business,
    1990-98: 5.7 percent
    Average return on long-run Canadian bonds,
    1990-98: 8.2 percent

    I don’t know how much has changed in the last decade, but probably not much.

    PS. To proscribe is to prohibit. proscriptive probably isn’t the word you want. ;) (“prescriptive”, however…)

  • Consumer Unit 5012

    Tell me about it. This pretty much sums up the parasitical-rentier attitude such people have:

    “Why would you pour a foundation, buy machines, hire employees, if you can make as much money buying bonds?”Frank Stronach, Former CEOMagna International

    In one sentence, he explains why our civilization is doomed.  Actually MAKING STUFF isn’t as valued a skill as being good at shuffling numbers.

  • P J Evans

     Clearly that golden goose is actually a golden gander, which will never provide eggs.

  • Anonymous

    these people remind me of the dufflepuds from the voyage of the dawn treader.

  • The Lodger

    Teacoats? Is the adjective form of that word teachotic?

  • http://twitter.com/FearlessSon FearlessSon

    Teacoats? Is the adjective form of that word teachotic?

    No, it is a portmanteau of the words “Tea” and “Turncoat”.  I started using that when they were threatening to shut down the government and cause it to default on its debts.  It felt like actually blocking the government from fulfilling its mandate bordered on treasonous.  

  • Rikalous

    Teacoats? Is the adjective form of that word teachotic?

    And whatever happened to calling them Teabaggers?

  • http://twitter.com/FearlessSon FearlessSon

    And whatever happened to calling them Teabaggers?

    Why should we dirty the name of a perfectly good sex act by associating it with the Tea Party?  

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    Oh, hell, I don’t mind calling them Teabaggers. :P

  • Rikalous

    Why should we dirty the name of a perfectly good sex act by associating it with the Tea Party?

    Because it will annoy them. It’s the same idea as the one behind the definition of santorum. Say, aren’t all sex acts dirty by definition? If not, must a great many people not use the phrase “talk dirty” incorrectly?

  • http://blog.trenchcoatsoft.com Ross

    Is teabagging (as a named action; not the actual physical act it describes ) really a sex act per se?  I’d only ever heard of it as a form of abuse — a popular kind of fratboy hazing thing or form of sexual assault (The first time I heard it defined, the definition assumed that the recipient was not conscious at the time).

  • Lori

    I’ve heard the term tea bagging used to describe the physical act done voluntarily, so I’d say that yes, it’s a sex act not just a term of abuse.  

  • Anonymous

    Why should we dirty the name of a perfectly good sex act by associating it with the Tea Party?

    I’ve never seen teabagging as a sex act, and only as a dominance display using a sexual organ.  I’ve never known a man to put his testicles on someone’s face for the sexual pleasure of either person (although I’m sure this does happen somewhere).  I’ve only heard of it used on people who are passed out from being drunk, or as a way to “celebrate” beating someone in a video game.

  • Lori

     And whatever happened to calling them Teabaggers?  

    It was deemed offensive. 

    Now when I’m trying to be kind I just refer to them as Teas. When I’m not trying to be kind I have a real fondness for Teahadist. 

  • Consumer Unit 5012

    I’m fond of calling them Teapublicans.

  • Consumer Unit 5012

    I’m fond of calling them Teapublicans.

  • Consumer Unit 5012

    And whatever happened to calling them Teabaggers?

    For once, they weren’t able to redefine a term to their advantage, so they’re pretending calling them that a hate crime. 

  • Sgt. Pepper’s Bleeding Heart

    For once, they weren’t able to redefine a term to their advantage, so they’re pretending calling them that a hate crime.

    Policing the language is political correctness gone MMMAAAAADDDD!

  • Anonymous

    Politcal Correctness in language was originally a response to deconstructions of language – and an attempt to realise those deconstructions.

    What the Madhatter’s are doing is misuing political correctness. They are reconstructing language toward extending privilege.

    Not the same thing at all. :)

  • Sgt. Pepper’s Bleeding Heart

    Yeah, I was taking the piss out of them.

  • Anonymous

    *lol*

    Oh … s’a`right then … >.> …. nothing to see here :)

  • Anonymous

    Continuing on the rich/job-creator note, read this if you want to be angry: http://www.americanthinker.com/2011/09/registering_the_poor_to_vote_is_un-american.html

    If the “rich” equals “productive,” then clearly, as this writer shows, “poor” equals “unproductive.” This has little reflection in my personal experiences in corporate America, but then, hey, I’m in a union so clearly I’m a communist. Lazy, too, despite having not had a day off for the last three weeks.

  • ako

    It
    is profoundly antisocial and un-American to empower the nonproductive
    segments of the population to destroy the country — which is precisely
    why Barack Obama zealously supports registering welfare recipients to
    vote.
    He just said that registering American citizens to vote is profoundly un-American?  What the fuck is wrong with some people?

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    Reminds me of something I saw on C-SPAN about 20 years ago now where some gasbag Republican full of his righteous indignation was trashing some Democrat for “voting to increase welfare so you can get re-elected and re-elected!”

    No sense of common decency in a generation. X-(

  • http://blog.trenchcoatsoft.com Ross

    Reminds me of something I saw on C-SPAN about 20 years ago now where some gasbag Republican full of his righteous indignation was trashing some Democrat for “voting to increase welfare so you can get re-elected and re-elected!”

    Yes. A shameless attempt to get re-elected by keeping his constituents from starving to death.  See how noble and self-sacrificing the republicans are, advocating policies that will ultimately kill the people who vote for them?

    (But seriously, back during the census, Michele Bachman was advising her constituents to *not respond to the census*, in order to stick it to Big Government Liberals Who Are Overreaching Their Constitutional Authority By Having A Census (Article 1 Section 2? What’s that?). If she’d been more successful, she’d have lost her own job.)

  • Rikalous

    He just said that registering American citizens to vote is profoundly un-American?  What the fuck is wrong with some people?

    Clearly, we need to get back to what the founders wanted: suffrage reserved for white, propertied males.

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    Rikalous:

    The danger is that society seems to be freezing out along those lines where even if not de jure it will de facto get to the point where only rich white guys have any meaningful voice in politics.

  • http://twitter.com/Rhysdux Rhysdux

    Clearly, we need to get back to what the founders wanted: suffrage reserved for white, propertied males.

    Oh, he said THAT, too.

  • P J Evans

     The ‘logic’, as I understand it, is that the voting poor will always support the politicians who promise them money or jobs.
    That this is also what non-poor voters do seems to be escaping them.

  • Lori

     The ‘logic’, as I understand it, is that the voting poor will always support the politicians who promise them money or jobs.  

    Which is clearly illegitimate. Totally unlike the voting rich always supporting the politicians who promise to reduce their taxes and get rid of the regulations that limit their ability to exploit people and destroy the environment. 

    Remember, when the rich do it it’s a rational business decision. When the poor do it, they’re shirking personal responsibility. 

  • The Lodger

    I thought it was a reference to people with teachosis.

  • Anonymous

    Someone needs to remind me what Moses said about what side of the road do we drive on.

    Well, as God says nothing, the government has no right to tell people what to do, or at least no right to punish people who fail to follow their rules. Everyone drive wherever they want!

    The idea that ‘Outside of those areas where God’s law prescribes their intervention and
    application of penal redress, civil rulers are not authorized to
    legislate or use coercion (e.g., the economic marketplace).’ is just so inherently stupid it’s not even worth commenting on.

    Heck, it would have been stupid _even in old Israel_. Where’s the Law saying you aren’t allowed to burn someone’s house down? Oh, look, there’s not one.

    I love the fact that so many ‘literal reading of the Bible’ Christians don’t appear to know that the Law, which they claim is all important, was the equivalent of the ‘Constitution’, and there were plenty of lower-case-L laws under it, and plenty of interpretations of the Law, for _thousands_ of years.

    Heck, if you actually read the thing, it actually _assumes_ plenty of laws already exist. The Law is almost always a _clarification_ of Jewish customs and rules, showing up when a prophet (presumably backed by God) had an issue with those rules and customs, or had an issue with people forgetting them.

    For example, like I said above, property crime is mostly glossed over…no one ever appears to have had an issue about that that God (Or whoever) had to fix. So no one ever had to write a Law about the punishment for arson, they had laws about that, but no Law.

  • Anonymous

    Someone needs to remind me what Moses said about what side of the road do we drive on.

    Well, as God says nothing, the government has no right to tell people what to do, or at least no right to punish people who fail to follow their rules. Everyone drive wherever they want!

    The idea that ‘Outside of those areas where God’s law prescribes their intervention and
    application of penal redress, civil rulers are not authorized to
    legislate or use coercion (e.g., the economic marketplace).’ is just so inherently stupid it’s not even worth commenting on.

    Heck, it would have been stupid _even in old Israel_. Where’s the Law saying you aren’t allowed to burn someone’s house down? Oh, look, there’s not one.

    I love the fact that so many ‘literal reading of the Bible’ Christians don’t appear to know that the Law, which they claim is all important, was the equivalent of the ‘Constitution’, and there were plenty of lower-case-L laws under it, and plenty of interpretations of the Law, for _thousands_ of years.

    Heck, if you actually read the thing, it actually _assumes_ plenty of laws already exist. The Law is almost always a _clarification_ of Jewish customs and rules, showing up when a prophet (presumably backed by God) had an issue with those rules and customs, or had an issue with people forgetting them.

    For example, like I said above, property crime is mostly glossed over…no one ever appears to have had an issue about that that God (Or whoever) had to fix. So no one ever had to write a Law about the punishment for arson, they had laws about that, but no Law.

  • Tom S

    There’s nothing wrong with ‘Abramic’, as that actually means a thing. The issue with Judeo-Christian (well, one of the issues) is that it conveniently elides the Abramic religion that the speaker wants to ignore, in a way that is inherently disingenuous. 

  • http://blog.trenchcoatsoft.com Ross

    One should, of course, exercise care when using the word “Abrahamic” to not apply it when you really _do_ mean Judeo-christian. Or even Judeo-christian-islamic. There are a handful of other abrahamic faiths that are neither Judaism, Christianity, or Islam, and it’s not nice to unperson their practitioners.

    (In my experience, “Judeo-christian” means “Christian (or even specifically Evangelical), but I want to preemtpively dodge claims that my argument is not religiously inclusive”)

  • http://blog.trenchcoatsoft.com Ross

    One should, of course, exercise care when using the word “Abrahamic” to not apply it when you really _do_ mean Judeo-christian. Or even Judeo-christian-islamic. There are a handful of other abrahamic faiths that are neither Judaism, Christianity, or Islam, and it’s not nice to unperson their practitioners.

    (In my experience, “Judeo-christian” means “Christian (or even specifically Evangelical), but I want to preemtpively dodge claims that my argument is not religiously inclusive”)

  • Tom S

    There’s nothing wrong with ‘Abramic’, as that actually means a thing. The issue with Judeo-Christian (well, one of the issues) is that it conveniently elides the Abramic religion that the speaker wants to ignore, in a way that is inherently disingenuous. 

  • Anonymous

    So the theonomists went after Sider and his book with unchecked
    viciousness and dishonesty, most notably in David Chilton’s memorably
    named, but otherwise execrable piece of hack-work, Productive Christians in an Age of Guilt Manipulators.

    Oh man.  The butthurt in that title alone is absolutely delicious.

  • Anonymous

    So the theonomists went after Sider and his book with unchecked
    viciousness and dishonesty, most notably in David Chilton’s memorably
    named, but otherwise execrable piece of hack-work, Productive Christians in an Age of Guilt Manipulators.

    Oh man.  The butthurt in that title alone is absolutely delicious.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_NYIMSCWWLA5XTAYXL3FXNCJZ7I Kiba

    It was deemed offensive.

    But, but didn’t they name themselves that?

  • Lori

    I don’t know if they actually names themselves Teabaggers. If they did it was before they were informed that tea bagging is not only a thing, it’s a S.E.X. thing, which of course makes it nasty. 

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_NYIMSCWWLA5XTAYXL3FXNCJZ7I Kiba

    Yeah, it seems to be (after a little hunting around) that they coined the term themselves and then had it pointed out to them afterward what it meant. 

  • Anonymous

    For about one or two weeks they embraced the term ‘Teabaggers.’  And then when a large proportion of everyone else stopped giggling someone told them what that meant.  Now they get irritated when that’s brought up and Fox News anchors go into apoplexy when it’s suggested that the members of the movement called themselves that.

    I’m disinclined to use the term ‘teabagger’ because it distracts from the very real harm this movement is doing now that it’s been fully suborned by the wealthy and powerful in this society.

  • http://twitter.com/FearlessSon FearlessSon

    From what I can tell, a few of the people who started the initial protest actually were aware what tea-bagging was, holding up signs that said things like “Tea bag the government before they tea bag you!”  But the movement attracted a lot of people who also did not know what it meant, and they are the ones who took offense, assuming that it was a slur directed at them by their enemies.  

    The whole culture of offendedness in action, I suppose.  Set yourself up to be hurt, then blame people for hurting you.  

  • Lori

     I’m disinclined to use the term ‘teabagger’ because it distracts from the very real harm this movement is doing now that it’s been fully suborned by the wealthy and powerful in this society. 

    This is why I switched to Teahadists. 

  • Lori

     I’m disinclined to use the term ‘teabagger’ because it distracts from the very real harm this movement is doing now that it’s been fully suborned by the wealthy and powerful in this society. 

    This is why I switched to Teahadists. 

  • Matri

    I’d like to think of it as a portmanteau of “tea party” and “carpetbagger“. It’s fittingly appropriate, don’t you think?

    Also, they latch on very tightly to the tax aspect of the Boston Tea Party, but willfully ignore the other aspects that made it what it is.

  • Anonymous

    Also, they latch on very tightly to the tax aspect of the Boston Tea
    Party, but willfully ignore the other aspects that made it what it is. 

    Do you mean committing theft and blaming it on a disadvantaged group?  No, I think they have that down pretty well.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_NYIMSCWWLA5XTAYXL3FXNCJZ7I Kiba

    It seems some of them want to go back to the landed white people only get to vote model with a nice literacy test thrown in (and poll taxes). A comment from American Thinker:

     I’ve yet to hear a reasoned, factually based argument against property (or at least taxpaying) rights to vote.  Simple, you don’t work and pay taxes, you have no right to vote.  As far as I can reason, this is the ONLY way for a representative republic to withstand the depredations of the poor citizen.

    This was one of many comments in response to an article titled “Registering the Poor to Vote is Un-American.”

  • Porlock Junior

    “Judeo-Christian” has been used increasingly often in recent years, and mainly by the Dominionists and the like. It has been noted that this naturally offends Jews, who don’t like to be subsumed in something that sees them as Christians who don’t quite get it (but that’s ok, the poor dears have a tough life and hate the Arabs as much as we do!). And it has been softened recently by some decent people, or less indecent. But its origins are still —

    still much different from what you’d guess from its adoption by these upstarts who are pretending to be Christians. I’ve been uncomfortable about this for some time, as I remember when it was less common and less nasty than it is now, when it was rather reminiscent of Brotherhood Week and such goody-goody stuff that Tom Lehrer and Stan Freberg and all have satirized so well. And what comes along this week but an examination of its well-meaning origins at Religion Dispatches:
    http://www.religiondispatches.org/books/atheologies/5001/judeo-christian_america%3A_the_fall_of_the_%E2%80%98christian_nation%E2%80%99/

    It comes from a time before anti-semitism needed to pay virtue the tribute of “I’m not anti-semitic but”. (And I am sooo glad to read a blogger who understands Rochefoucauld.) I don’t want to go all geezerish :) but there people alive today who remember those times. The perils of nostalgia: get sentimental about the progress that was being made in some earlier time, and you’fe being sentimental about a time when that progress was badly needed.

    Anyway, I think the RD piece is well worth reading.

  • Sgt. Pepper’s Bleeding Heart

    Productive Christians in an Age of Guilt Manipulators

    Funny how guilt is the natural byproduct of sin in a healthy conscience when it’s something you’re made to feel guilty about, but a terrible thing to try to stir up in me.

  • Consumer Unit 5012
  • Anonymous

    CU5012, I’m being reluctantly forced to the conclusion that The Onion really is America’s Finest News Source.

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    Lori: I’ve heard Reagan started mixing up his movies with reality at some point in his Presidency, and people mostly went along with it because OMG GREAT COMMUNICATOR. <_<

  • P J Evans

    OMG GREAT COMMUNICATOR

    Not so much that, as that he made people feel comfortable in their own views. They forgot he was an actor first. (They also forgot he was one who told all talked to Joe McCarthy’s committee in the 50s, and that his family values were, um, flexible.)

  • Lori

     I’ve heard Reagan started mixing up his movies with reality at some point in his Presidency, and people mostly went along with it because OMG GREAT COMMUNICATOR.  

    Reagan’s “memories” of his own life were always heavily larded with fiction. When things were bad he simply chose for them not to be. It was part coping mechanism and part personal myth-making. When the Alzheimer’s started to kick in he seemed to lose whatever ability he had once had to distinguish inconvenient reality from convenient lie. Among other things, that resulted in him telling Israeli officials that the reason he was so pro-Israel was that while serving with the Signal Corps in WWII he helped to film at Buchenwald shortly after liberation. He spoke about that experience in great detail.

    That never happened. Reagan never served a day in Europe. He spent the whole war in Hollywood making movies. (He and John Wayne were kindred spirits in that regard.) It was reported almost immediately and yet never became a scandal and never tarnished his reputation on the Right. Because Reagan, that’s why. Also, I don’t think anyone wanted to deal with the crisis that would have resulted from admitting that the Leader of the Free World was non compos mentis. 

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    Taxes were low for the middle class and the poor. That’s the thing they keep forgetting.  X-C

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    It is as I like to say. We need the economy of the 1950s with the society of today grafted onto it. Nothing’s stopping us except the sheer political will to make it happen. Families shouldn’t need to be stretched ragged having a mother and a father both racing around trying to raise kids and hold down jobs which virtually demand unpaid overtime because that’s the new normal.

  • Consumer Unit 5012

    Families shouldn’t need to be stretched ragged having a mother and a father both racing around trying to raise kids and hold down jobs which virtually demand unpaid overtime because that’s the new normal.

    No kidding.  One of many reasons I can’t take the “FAAAAMILY VAAAALUES!” crowd seriously is that they never address the _reason_ both parents have to work.  (Free hint, guys:  It’s ISN’T because of an Evil Feminist Conspiracy.)

  • http://dumas1.livejournal.com/ Winter

    John Oliver sums this up perfectly:

    Even Better Than the Real Thing


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