This book title is a paranoid myth

Or, in the language Joe Carter used in First Things, this book title is a disreputable, “meaningless neologism” that is “never used outside liberal blogs and websites.”

As I discussed in the previous few posts, my main history with the dominionists has been with the ultra-Calvinists of the “theonomist” or “reconstructionist”  branches of dominion theology. It’s only been in the past few years that I’ve learned more about the Pentecostal branch of C. Peter Wagner’s New Apostolic Reformation.

Before that, I knew of Wagner only through his work as a “church growth” guru. I was not a fan. I couldn’t get past his enthusiasm for what he calls the “homogenous unit principle” for church planting, church growth and evangelism in general.

And yes, that’s just what it sounds like. But it’s not about segregation for segregation’s sake — it’s all about making people more comfortable so they don’t have to worry about crossing racial, ethnic, linguistic or class barriers to come to Jesus.

I admit that I have a hard time summarizing the idea without a bit of snark seeping through, so here’s a good discussion of the idea from a sympathetic perspective. Here’s Tim Chester’s thoughtful discussion of how this idea is difficult to reconcile with the gospel of reconciliation.

A couple more items on the subject:

From Talk to Action: “Quotes on Dominionism from the Apostles and Prophets of the New Apostolic Reformation.” There’s quite a bit there to underscore the point I’ve been making here that, yes, this stuff exists. But I also want to highlight this from “Apostle” Lance Wallnau, describing the “Seven Mountains Mandate” of NAR’s brand of dominion theology:

Satan has a vast hierarchy and infrastructure of influence under his control. That whole system is designed to keep you from utilizing your own advantages as a believer in Jesus. Nevertheless, if you’re playing the game right, you can win every time. But you cannot afford to be less than 100% engaged. You don’t displace a Level 10 devil with a Level 9 strategy!”

What’s really incredible about that language is that spiritual warfare-obsessed Pentecostals like Landau would never allow their kids to play Dungeons & Dragons, and he likely has no idea what he sounds like.

Warren Throckmorton posts part 3 of his series, “What dominionists would do with gays (disobedient children, sabbath breakers, etc.),” in which he examines Stephen Che Halbrook’s 2011 book God Is Just: A Defense of the Old Testament Civil Laws.

Halbrook, who blogs at “Theonomy Resources,” is a dominionist with a master’s from Pat Robertson’s Regent University. And like his heroes — theonomists Rushdoony, North, DeMar, et. al. — Halbrook argues that homosexuality and sabbath-breaking should be capital crimes.

So if you’re gay, or not a Christian, he thinks you should be executed. For your own good as well as for the good of society.

But don’t get “paranoid,” Douglas Groothuis says, “The vast majority of those who have been influenced by certain aspects of Rushdoony’s writings emphatically reject his understanding of biblical law.”

Which makes me miss the late Graham Chapman:

First of all I’d like to apologize for the behavior of certain of my colleagues you may have seen earlier, but they are from broken homes, circus families and so on and they are in no way representative of the new modern improved British Navy. They are a small vociferous minority; and may I take this opportunity of emphasizing that there is no cannibalism in the British Navy. Absolutely none, and when I say none, I mean there is a certain amount, more than we are prepared to admit, but all new ratings are warned that if they wake up in the morning and find any toothmarks at all anywhere on their bodies, they’re to tell me immediately so that I can immediately take every measure to hush the whole thing up. …


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  • Sgt. Pepper’s Bleeding Heart

    Oh, snap!

  • Sgt. Pepper’s Bleeding Heart

    Oh, and re the Monty Python sketch–ouch. Also LOL.

  • Sgt. Pepper’s Bleeding Heart

    Since it’s cold and overcast outside and I’m procrastinating from something, I’ll keep posting to myself.

    Anyone who knows this stuff well: what do dominionists say about economic matters? If the state must enforce the first 5 books of the Bible, that’s not awesome for capitalism. Aside from the ban on charging interest, if conducting a business on the sabbath is a capital crime that’s going to quite the drag on one or two industries. Although a boon for executioners, I guess.

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

    The Dominionists will probably come up with creative exceptions to the rules to pander to their wealthy backers who would love a government that enforces all kinds of social-control mechanisms to keep those grubby poor people in line. X-C

  • Sgt. Pepper’s Bleeding Heart

    The Dominionists will probably come up with creative exceptions to the rules to pander to their wealthy backers who would love a government that enforces all kinds of social-control mechanisms to keep those grubby poor people in line.

    Undoubtably. I’m convinced that right wing Christianity is at its core right wing ideology with Christian flavouring, not the inverse. I’d like to see how those exceptions are explained, though.

  • Anonymous

    Undoubtably. I’m convinced that right wing Christianity is at its core right wing ideology with Christian flavouring, not the inverse. I’d like to see how those exceptions are explained, though.

    It is. Fundementalism was, essentially, created by Lyman Stewart, a California oil baron, as a way to convince his workers not to unionize. The entire point of Fundamentalism is to promote authoritarian capitalism.

  • Consumer Unit 5012

    It is. Fundementalism was, essentially, created by Lyman Stewart, a California oil baron, as a way to convince his workers not to unionize. The entire point of Fundamentalism is to promote authoritarian capitalism.

    I’ve never heard that one before.  Got any good articles I can read on this?

    (I’ll just plug Brad Hicks’ Christians in the Hand of an Angry God where he lays out how the pact between the Rightwingers and the Christians came about in this country.)

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

    The Dominionists will probably come up with creative exceptions to the rules to pander to their wealthy backers who would love a government that enforces all kinds of social-control mechanisms to keep those grubby poor people in line. X-C

  • Anonymous

    Anyone who knows this stuff well: what do dominionists say about
    economic matters? If the state must enforce the first 5 books of the
    Bible, that’s not awesome for capitalism. Aside from the ban on charging
    interest, if conducting a business on the sabbath is a capital crime
    that’s going to quite the drag on one or two industries. Although a boon
    for executioners, I guess. 

    Some dominionists, especially the Quiverfullers, don’t “believe in” debt at all.  They might very well just make lending illegal.  Of course these are the dominionists who went to college at a diploma mill or not at all, and don’t really understand that lending money is such a huge factor in our capitalism so the more powerful dominionists would probably refuse to go along with it.  A few of these have managed to strike it rich, allegedly without using any debt, but they still don’t realize that their own personal finances aren’t a model for larger, complex systems.  Sometimes I wonder if Jim Bob Duggar realizes that the interest in his bank account comes from other people’s debt and interest.

    I think the vast majority of dominionists who aren’t powerful politicians simply haven’t thought through the consequences of this stuff.  The ones that I know of also tend to be extremely superstitious so they would probably think that you can make all these drastic changes and things will turn out fine for businesses as long as they pray hard enough and follow all the right rituals.  They’d just claim that by closing a business on Sunday, that would make it earn more on the other 6 days because God would favor and bless them.

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

    Pretty much.  My dad and my grandparents, and sadly even my mom to a degree – all of whom are at heart decent people,* and not stupid either… but superstitious for sure.  Demons, principalities** and powers,  magic (and essentially magical prayer) – all of these exist on some level for them.  Made immensely worse by confirmation bias – if they pray hard and something good happens, that’s because they prayed hard.  If they pray hard and something bad happens/nothing happens, then God has a different plan in store (and thus the next good thing to happen will be credited.)

    It’s… frustrating because even taking religion out of the picture this same magical thinking pervades their thinking.  Homeopathy for instance – all of them also take that as if it were serious medicine that’s just being kept down by the traditional medical world.  (Maybe because it doesn’t work? Nooooo couldn’t be that.)

    Blergh.

    Err, point being – I agree, most rank and file Dominionists (and even many non-dominionist or even non-religious people) just… don’t think things through at all; there’s just this lack of willingness or ability or *something* to take the time to pull a problem apart, do the research if necessary or even simply look to an expert for guidance.

    Or if they DO attempt to do the latter… they seem to gravitate toward the hucksters.

    I mean crap, after this summer you’d think I could bring up Climate Change and not have anyone challenge it right?  But no.

    So damned frustrating.

    Having a bitter moment.

    *Yes even my dad, despite how I sometimes complain about him.  He’s matured in the last few years, and I mostly talk about him from my childhood so I sometimes worry I give a distorted picture.

    **It wasn’t until the last couple years I knew that principality had a real-world entirely secular use as a term.  (I admit I feel dense not having figured out the whole prince connection, given that I’m usually good about that kind of thing, but still)

  • Anonymous

    **It wasn’t until the last couple years I knew that principality had a
    real-world entirely secular use as a term.  (I admit I feel dense not
    having figured out the whole prince connection, given that I’m usually
    good about that kind of thing, but still)

    Don’t feel bad; it took me years to realize that Disqus is a play on “discuss”.  For a long time it just made me think of the discs that you throw during track & field.

    I was raised mainline Protestant I have never heard “principality” used in a religious way.  Is it a demon or something?

  • Anonymous

    I was raised mainline Protestant I have never heard “principality” used in a religious way.  Is it a demon or something?

    Order of angel.

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

    “Technically Aziraphale was a Principality, but people made jokes about that these days.” 

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

    “Technically Aziraphale was a Principality, but people made jokes about that these days.” Usually the first thing that pops into my mind now when I hear that term….

    I generally think of the Principality of Zeon, or maybe some small European country that lives on tourism and banking or something. Maybe beaches and a casino.

  • http://twitter.com/FearlessSon FearlessSon

    I generally think of the Principality of Zeon

    Damn, Winter beat me to it. 

    Sieg Zeon!

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

    Whenever I see Zeon I keep thinking of Ekos and Zeon.

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

    >_> Funnily enough… Gundam was where I first heard the term in a secular sense. <_< /random

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

    >_> Funnily enough… Gundam was where I first heard the term in a secular sense. <_< /random

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

    Basically, they never defined it explicitly, it’d always come up in phrases like:

    “We are at war with principalities and powers in this land” – In fact I don’t think ‘principalities and powers’ were almost always used together, though not absoltuely every time.

    I think the idea* was demons though, and that a principality was essentially a demonic stronghold of some kind; but again, none of that was ever spelled out, I’m having to dig back through and inferring a lot >..< that's possible too.

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

    Pretty much.  My dad and my grandparents, and sadly even my mom to a degree – all of whom are at heart decent people,* and not stupid either… but superstitious for sure.  Demons, principalities** and powers,  magic (and essentially magical prayer) – all of these exist on some level for them.  Made immensely worse by confirmation bias – if they pray hard and something good happens, that’s because they prayed hard.  If they pray hard and something bad happens/nothing happens, then God has a different plan in store (and thus the next good thing to happen will be credited.)

    It’s… frustrating because even taking religion out of the picture this same magical thinking pervades their thinking.  Homeopathy for instance – all of them also take that as if it were serious medicine that’s just being kept down by the traditional medical world.  (Maybe because it doesn’t work? Nooooo couldn’t be that.)

    Blergh.

    Err, point being – I agree, most rank and file Dominionists (and even many non-dominionist or even non-religious people) just… don’t think things through at all; there’s just this lack of willingness or ability or *something* to take the time to pull a problem apart, do the research if necessary or even simply look to an expert for guidance.

    Or if they DO attempt to do the latter… they seem to gravitate toward the hucksters.

    I mean crap, after this summer you’d think I could bring up Climate Change and not have anyone challenge it right?  But no.

    So damned frustrating.

    Having a bitter moment.

    *Yes even my dad, despite how I sometimes complain about him.  He’s matured in the last few years, and I mostly talk about him from my childhood so I sometimes worry I give a distorted picture.

    **It wasn’t until the last couple years I knew that principality had a real-world entirely secular use as a term.  (I admit I feel dense not having figured out the whole prince connection, given that I’m usually good about that kind of thing, but still)

  • Anonymous

    Anyone who knows this stuff well: what do dominionists say about
    economic matters? If the state must enforce the first 5 books of the
    Bible, that’s not awesome for capitalism. Aside from the ban on charging
    interest, if conducting a business on the sabbath is a capital crime
    that’s going to quite the drag on one or two industries. Although a boon
    for executioners, I guess. 

    Some dominionists, especially the Quiverfullers, don’t “believe in” debt at all.  They might very well just make lending illegal.  Of course these are the dominionists who went to college at a diploma mill or not at all, and don’t really understand that lending money is such a huge factor in our capitalism so the more powerful dominionists would probably refuse to go along with it.  A few of these have managed to strike it rich, allegedly without using any debt, but they still don’t realize that their own personal finances aren’t a model for larger, complex systems.  Sometimes I wonder if Jim Bob Duggar realizes that the interest in his bank account comes from other people’s debt and interest.

    I think the vast majority of dominionists who aren’t powerful politicians simply haven’t thought through the consequences of this stuff.  The ones that I know of also tend to be extremely superstitious so they would probably think that you can make all these drastic changes and things will turn out fine for businesses as long as they pray hard enough and follow all the right rituals.  They’d just claim that by closing a business on Sunday, that would make it earn more on the other 6 days because God would favor and bless them.

  • Sgt. Pepper’s Bleeding Heart

    Since it’s cold and overcast outside and I’m procrastinating from something, I’ll keep posting to myself.

    Anyone who knows this stuff well: what do dominionists say about economic matters? If the state must enforce the first 5 books of the Bible, that’s not awesome for capitalism. Aside from the ban on charging interest, if conducting a business on the sabbath is a capital crime that’s going to quite the drag on one or two industries. Although a boon for executioners, I guess.

  • Anonymous

    I’m glad that the British Navy is taking steps to curb the unfortunate widespread practice of cannibalism among its ranks. The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step and all that.

  • Anonymous

    Except in the RN, where it starts with a single sail (after all, they’ve probably eaten the foot so stepping is hard).

  • Anonymous

    I’m glad that the British Navy is taking steps to curb the unfortunate widespread practice of cannibalism among its ranks. The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step and all that.

  • http://profiles.google.com/anoncollie Anon Collie

    Why is it, more and more, do I feel like the Christian Right…and particularly the dominionists, are nothing more than the legalistic “den of thieves” that made up the Sanhedrin during Jesus’ day?
    Those men used strict interpretations of the law to keep the poor under their rule, socially damning anyone who disagreed with them as a “sinner,” and if I recall correctly, took a cut from the temple sellers and money changers who were overcharging the poor left and right for the basic practice of ancient Judaism? (If I’m right about that Jesus struck a big blow to their profits by chasing said merchants out of the temple.)

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=702271617 Andy Sherwin

    You know what I hate? Mainline Christians slagging on Mormons like my parents and siblings and letting shit like this just seep to the top of the septic tank unopposed.

    I’ll never understand the theological priorities of modern Christianity any more than I will understand Ulysses.

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

    OK, I have a question and hopefully someone here can answer it for me. Do these folks want all countries in the world to be Christian (bible based government, etc), or just the U.S? And if it is the whole world, how is this any different than their oh-so-feared One World Religion? 

     

  • Rikalous

    OK, I have a question and hopefully someone here can answer it for me.
    Do these folks want all countries in the world to be Christian (bible
    based government, etc), or just the U.S? And if it is the whole world,
    how is this any different than their oh-so-feared One World Religion?

    Countries that aren’t the US? I’m not sure I follow…

    It’s different from the One World Religion because it’s the right religion! Here, I’ll let Bryan Fischer explain a bit:

    Nearly half of Muslims in the US say that they think of themselves
    first as Muslims rather than Americans. Now that’s a problem. It’s not a
    problem when a Christian says that. For the Christian to say “I am a
    Christian first and an American second,” that’s what we all ought to
    say. Our ultimate allegiance is not to country, not to the
    Constitution, it’s to God and the the Scripture. If you have to make a
    choice between the two, we must obey God rather than man.
    But when a Christan says “I’m a Christian first and an American
    second,” the fact that he is a Christian first, he’s got devotion and
    allegiance to Jesus Christ means he’s going to be a better American.
    He’s going to be an asset to his country, he’s going to love his
    country, he’s going to become more fervent in his patriotism. His love
    for his country and for its traditions are going to deepen because those
    traditions are rooted in the soil of the Judeo-Christian tradition.
    Now if you have a Muslim, on the other hand, that says that – “I am a
    Muslim first and an American second” – look out! Because that
    indicates his ultimate devotion is to the Quran, it’s to Allah, it’s to
    Muhammad. It’s not to Jesus Christ, it’s not to the Judeo-Christian
    tradition, it is not to American values and American tradition and
    American history and American heroes – it is to Allah and Allah tells
    him to slay the idolaters wherever you find them.
    So the more devout a Muslim gets, the more of a threat he becomes to America’s nation security.

    Yup. Shit like this makes me understand claims that conservative whackaloons are “deep cover liberals.” I want to think they’re trolling, to. Given the “Judeo-Christian tradition” spiel, I’m curious about what he thinks of someone who’s a Jew first.

  • Rikalous

    Breaking up the wall o’ quoted text a mite:

    Nearly half of Muslims in the US say that they think of themselves first
    as Muslims rather than Americans. Now that’s a problem. It’s not a
    problem when a Christian says that. For the Christian to say “I am a
    Christian first and an American second,” that’s what we all ought to
    say. Our ultimate allegiance is not to country, not to the
    Constitution, it’s to God and the the Scripture. If you have to make a
    choice between the two, we must obey God rather than man.

    But when a Christan says “I’m a Christian first and an American second,”
    the fact that he is a Christian first, he’s got devotion and allegiance
    to Jesus Christ means he’s going to be a better American. He’s going to
    be an asset to his country, he’s going to love his country, he’s going
    to become more fervent in his patriotism. His love for his country and
    for its traditions are going to deepen because those traditions are
    rooted in the soil of the Judeo-Christian tradition.

    Now if you have a Muslim, on the other hand, that says that – “I am a
    Muslim first and an American second” – look out! Because that indicates
    his ultimate devotion is to the Quran, it’s to Allah, it’s to Muhammad.
    It’s not to Jesus Christ, it’s not to the Judeo-Christian tradition,
    it is not to American values and American tradition and American history
    and American heroes – it is to Allah and Allah tells him to slay the
    idolaters wherever you find them.

    So the more devout a Muslim gets, the more of a threat he becomes to America’s nation security.

    Heh. Firefox’s spellcheck knows about Cthulhu, but not “Judeo-Christian.”

  • Anonymous

    Firefox accepts fantasy but not complete gibberish

  • Sgt. Pepper’s Bleeding Heart

    @155f26d41c73b81b184e05dc8c643425:disqus 

    So, not only is capitalism an innate Christian virtue (which Paul accidently left off his list of fruits of the sprit), patriotism is, too?

  • Rikalous

    So, not only is capitalism an innate Christian virtue (which Paul
    accidently left off his list of fruits of the sprit), patriotism is,
    too?

    It is when you’re in a Christian Nation(TM). As for those heathen lands, well, what’s there to be patriotic about, whether you’re Christian or willfully rebellious?

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

    Countries that aren’t the US? I’m not sure I follow…

    Sorry I most likely worded that poorly (I was in a hurry to watch Elvira and had a brain fart). I meant other governments besides ours.

    Nearly half of Muslims in the US say that they think of themselves first as Muslims rather than Americans. Now that’s a problem. It’s not a
    problem when a Christian says that.

    I…but that doesn’t even make sense! They’re both doing the same thing! I…just..gah!

    Firefox’s spellcheck knows about Cthulhu, but not “Judeo-Christian.”

    This, however, made me laugh.

  • Sgt. Pepper’s Bleeding Heart

    Kiba, I’m pretty sure Rikalous was mocking the insularity of American conservatives, who appear not to recognise the existence of a world outside the US–certainly not a happy, free, non-evil world.

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

    Well, I wasn’t sure if I was clear in the original statement and thought it would be best to try and clarify it a bit just in case. 

    And I still don’t see why they would be so eager for a One World Christian religion. I mean if their great bugaboo Anti-Christ is really the threat they think he is then why wouldn’t he just take over an already established OWR instead of making a new one? After all they would have already done all the hard work for him. 

    I’m putting to much thought into this, aren’t I?

  • Matri

    I mean if their great bugaboo Anti-Christ is really the threat they
    think he is then why wouldn’t he just take over an already established
    OWR instead of making a new one?

    Because, as Ellenjay so beautifully put it, the Anti-Christ (whose job it is to sway the faithful away from God) will only focus its energy on those who are… already astray.

    Let me repeat that: They believe the Anti-Christ, whose sole purpose is to tempt the faithful and lead them away from God, would only make a less-than-half-assed attempt to tempt the faithful and lead them away from God.

    “Psst, hey. Wanna ditch God and hang out with me?”
    “No.”
    “Aww, phooey.”

    … Yeah, it works if you don’t spend more than half a neuron thinking on it.

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

    “Psst, hey. Wanna ditch God and hang out with me?”
    “No.”
    “Aww, phooey.”

    And this is where I start over thinking it again, because I can see something like this playing out:
    “Psst, hey. Wanna stick it to those libruls (homosexuls, Mooslums, lazy poor folk, etc.) and hang out with me?”
    “What? Really?! Awesome!”
    “Excellent.” (Mr. Burns voice)

  • Anonymous

    more than them, surely

  • Anonymous

    There are no other countries, only the USA and Israel.

  • Anonymous

    You don’t displace a Level 10 devil with a Level 9 strategy!

    So is that a lv.10 devil going by the Shin Megami Tensei system?  In which case it’s not really too strong, that’s like Slime-level strength.  You don’t need a strategy, you can just smash it with a shovel.  On the other hand, if that’s a lv.10 devil by D. Gray-man logic, then shit, you’d need to fuse like a zillion lv.3 devils to create something that high.  It’d probably destroy the world.  Might even be powerful enough to rank as an S-Class devil per Yu Yu Hakusho, or a 10,000,000 Power devil chojin like in Kinnikuman.  But if worse comes to worse I guess we could just have Devilman fight it off. Now there’s some spiritual warfare I can get behind.

  • Rikalous

    So is that a lv.10 devil going by the Shin Megami Tensei system? 
    In which case it’s not really too strong, that’s like Slime-level
    strength.  You don’t need a strategy, you can just smash it with a
    shovel.  On the other hand, if that’s a lv.10 devil by D. Gray-man
    logic, then shit, you’d need to fuse like a zillion lv.3 devils to
    create something that high.  It’d probably destroy the world.  Might
    even be powerful enough to rank as an S-Class devil per Yu Yu Hakusho, or a 10,000,000 Power devil chojin like in Kinnikuman
    But if worse comes to worse I guess we could just have Devilman fight
    it off. Now there’s some spiritual warfare I can get behind.

    Confusing the issue is this talk about “Level 9 strategy.” Who or what has a level system for strategy?

    Now, a level 9 party should be able to take a level 10 devil in any system I’m aware of. Video games usually have levels going up to 99 or higher, so it’s not a major increment. Even D&D, where there’s only twenty levels before you need to break out epic level sources, it’s certainly doable. It’ll be a tough fight, but far from a TPK as long as you’re smart and packing good or silver weapons.

  • Matri

    Now, a level 9 party should be able to take a level 10
    devil in any system I’m aware of. Video games usually have levels going
    up to 99 or higher, so it’s not a major increment.

    Hell, any character that can’t solo a single monster a mere one level above them should be scrapped and started over.

  • http://twitter.com/FearlessSon FearlessSon

    So is that a lv.10 devil going by the Shin Megami Tensei system? In which case it’s not really too strong, that’s like Slime-level strength. You don’t need a strategy, you can just smash it with a shovel.

    Even then it could give you something of a challenge to an unprepared character.  In the SMT press turn system, preparedness is all.  If you can keep hitting it with elemental attacks to which it is weak, and ensure you are not vulnerable to the kind of elemental attacks that it makes, you can juggle that thing for the entire fight.  On the other hand, if you are vulnerable to its attack types and have nothing to which it is vulnerable, it will chew you up for breakfast.

  • http://twitter.com/FearlessSon FearlessSon

    So is that a lv.10 devil going by the Shin Megami Tensei system? In which case it’s not really too strong, that’s like Slime-level strength. You don’t need a strategy, you can just smash it with a shovel.

    Even then it could give you something of a challenge to an unprepared character.  In the SMT press turn system, preparedness is all.  If you can keep hitting it with elemental attacks to which it is weak, and ensure you are not vulnerable to the kind of elemental attacks that it makes, you can juggle that thing for the entire fight.  On the other hand, if you are vulnerable to its attack types and have nothing to which it is vulnerable, it will chew you up for breakfast.

  • Anonymous

    But anyway, on topic: anyone know what “kingdom action” is supposed to mean, as mentioned in the title of Dominion! up there?  Dare I even ask?

    Actually, that sounds like some kind of action figure gimmick: “New Kingdom Action Turbo-Jesus, with kung-fu grip!”

  • Anonymous

    I am sorry to you that those people are comparing faith with a childeren’s card game

    (yu-gi-oh abridged reference)

  • Rikalous

    I am sorry to you that those people are comparing faith with a childeren’s card game

    You realize there is almost certainly a Christianized trading card game out there. Have to have a substitute for the Satanic baby-eating version, after all.

  • Anonymous

     christ-gi-oh?

  • Consumer Unit 5012

    You realize there is almost certainly a Christianized trading card game out there. Have to have a substitute for the Satanic baby-eating version, after all.

    Redemption

  • Green Eggs and Ham

    I used to dislike The Handmaid’s Tale as a misread of fundamentalism.  Now I think Atwood was prescient.

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

    Of course you don’t displace a level 10 devil with a level 9 strategy… that’s wasteful, a level 5 spell is more than enough for something that level most of the time.  At least going by 3.5e rules.

  • Anonymous

    Satan has a vast hierarchy and infrastructure of influence under his control. That whole system is designed to keep you from utilizing your own advantages as a believer in Jesus. Nevertheless, if you’re playing the game right, you can win every time. But you cannot afford to be less than 100% engaged. You don’t displace a Level 10 devil with a Level 9 strategy!”

    there are so many things wrong with this explanation that Fred could do a left behind post about it.

  • Val Dobson

    Completely off-topic, but is anybody else getting these ghastly MeetChristians.com ads in the sidebar?  The model in the picture looks like a hooker or a soft-porn star who’s had one too many Botox treatments and has caterpillars glued to her eyelids.  The ad’s been up on this site for at least a week and the picture is so revolting that it’s genuinely putting me off coming here.

  • Matri

    The ad’s been up on this site for at least a week and the picture is so
    revolting that it’s genuinely putting me off coming here.

    Blame AdSense.

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

    If you use Firefox, install something like AdBlock and add the server name to the list if AdBlock doesn’t block it by default.

  • ako

    So if you’re gay, or not a Christian, he thinks you should be executed. For your own good as well as for the good of society.

    Wait, aren’t we supposed to pretend that the only religious fundamentalists who want to kill me are Islamic fundamentalists?  Or does this fall under No True Scotsman rules where the Christians who want me dead don’t count as real Christians, but the Muslims who want me dead not only count as real Muslims, but are more real than all of the Muslims I have actually met, who somehow don’t count?

  • Anonymous

     Or does this fall under No True Scotsman rules where the Christians who want me dead don’t count as real Christians, but the Muslims who want me dead not only count as real Muslims, but are more real than all of the Muslims I have actually met, who somehow don’t count?

    As we all learned from the shooting in Norway, this is very true. See also Hitler and Timothy McVeigh.

  • Lunch Meat

    They don’t want to kill you because you’re not a Christian, they want to execute you because you don’t follow Christian rules, and not following rules makes society unstable. It’s not because they hate you or anything, no, they love you, and the best way of expressing that love is by coercing you to follow all the rules through threat of death. But those evil Muslims are just hateful people who want us to follow evil un-American rules.

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

    yes

  • http://mordicai.livejournal.com Mordicai

    “Homogenous unit principle?”  Oh man now that gave me the shivers.

  • Anonymous

    Lunch Meat:

    They don’t want to kill you because you’re not a Christian, they want to execute you because you don’t follow Christian rules, and not following rules makes society unstable. It’s not because they hate you or anything, no, they love you, and the best way of expressing that love is by coercing you to follow all the rules through threat of death.

    Apparently someone forgot to tell these people that 1984 isn’t an instruction manual for forming a government or a society. 

  • Anonymous

    It isnt? But I just finished getting room 101 ready!

  • http://twitter.com/FearlessSon FearlessSon

    So if you’re gay, or not a Christian, he thinks you should be executed. For your own good as well as for the good of society.

    I assume that they are going to need some kind of litmus test to determine this.  How Christian is Christian enough?  What elements determine whether someone is Christian or not?  Is it purely a matter of self-identification, or is it determined by complience with a particular set of rules?  And if it is determined by a particular set of rules, from which sects will those rules be derived? 

    I imagine that those proposing such things will end up deadlocked in debates about it.  To the point that any movement that actually tries to get it done will end up tearing itself appart.  This is why I am not so worried about a full-fledged dominionist take over of the government.  Oh sure, I am worried about what those influenced by them might vote for, there are plenty of lesser ideas they have to which I disagree, but to institute a Christian totalitarian state here?  Very unlikely to actually succeed.  The movement is too fractured for that to happen. 

  • Anonymous

    In totalitarian regimes, after a broad coalition sweeps the regime to power one or two factions end becoming more prominent and purging the rest. I don’t think Dominionists will actually conquer the United States any time soon, but if they did they would probably end up doing that too. The Russian Revolution wasn’t just made up of Bolshevik Communists and the Weimar Republic wasn’t brought down by just the Nazis. The Dominionists might theoretically take power with a broad coalition of religious fundamentalists and wind up excluding most of them from power because they have silly ideas about usury.

    I agree with you about the influence of the lesser ideas. In fact, it’s one of the areas where it’s easier to successful. An outright ban on abortion is a non-starter in this country still, but it’s much easier to come up with elaborate and cost-prohibitive regulations on abortion providers that — while still permitting abortion in theory — end up driving clinics and physicians away from offering the procedure in practice. In many areas of the US, abortion is more or less inaccessible — it’s not illegal but good luck finding anyone to perform it without having to drive several states.

    The best part is that they can still use abortion as a fundraising opportunity, since it’s still technically legal.

  • http://twitter.com/FearlessSon FearlessSon

    The real threat isn’t America turning into an official theocracy with priests as legislators and a high cleric instead of a President; the real threat is American laws being suffused with the policies of religious fundamentalists to the point where you might as well be a theocracy.

    Agreed.  My point was to caution about making this sound too alarmist.  The “There is a conspiricy of fanatics moving in the shadows to take over our government!” line of thought sounds too much like something the wingnuts go in for, driving themselves to the crazy extremes that produce the kind of idiocy we rightly abhor.  The problem is, such crazy minds are prone to take a small caution and twist it into the percpetion of the first step down a path to a horrific extreme, and since that is the kind of world that exists in their mind, they assume all others share a tendancy to harbor an extreme agenda. 

    Mostly, I just want to hedge against talking points saying “See?  Leftists are just as crazy!”

  • Anonymous

    I think the aspect to focus on is that these people and ideas are out there and getting some traction. Certainly does not mean any kind of coup will happen in the near term – but then there is a critial missing element still. One that has a high probability of occuring: financial chaos. Not the terrible events of 2008 … far beyond that. We’ll look back and fondly remember the crash of 08. Once you get that kind of exteme instability, then a lot of people move further to extremes. Once moderates could swell tea party (or the similar of the day) ranks and then all bets are off.

    An incredibly slender chance in the short to medium term, but out a little further, the chances escalate rapidly. If it happens, it likely won’t be with a bang, but a whimper. It’ll happen by inches and degrees, slowly.

    The old frog in boiling water syndrome.

    Strangely, I’m not depressed at the thought of the decades ahead … a lot of pain will happen, to a lot of people but I have this, perhaps naive, belief that we’ll learn as a species.

    And if we don’t – it won’t really matter :)

  • http://twitter.com/FearlessSon FearlessSon

    I think the aspect to focus on is that these people and ideas are out there and getting some traction. Certainly does not mean any kind of coup will happen in the near term – but then there is a critial missing element still. One that has a high probability of occuring: financial chaos. Not the terrible events of 2008 … far beyond that. We’ll look back and fondly remember the crash of 08. Once you get that kind of exteme instability, then a lot of people move further to extremes. Once moderates could swell tea party (or the similar of the day) ranks and then all bets are off.

    I think it still could not happen for the same reason that Obama cannot turn America into a socialist/facist/communist/athiest/muslim nation.  Not because Obama is of a mind to try and do such things (which he is not) but because if he were to try then he would have a literal civil war on his hands.  Do the dominionists think that somehow, if they were to force a fundamentalist Christian state on the American people, the results would be any different?  We have plenty of non-Christian people, and moderate and secular Christians as well, who would take up arms against such a thing, and those dominionists are too few to actually hold out. 

    The second amendment is not simply in place to allow gun enthuasists something to drool over.  It is there as a measure of deturance to ensure those who hold the reigns of goverment consider very carefully what they intend to force on their own people.  Likewise with the tradition of the citizen-soldier.  Any attempted coup by out military is likely to result in a counter-coup by other parts of the military. 

  • Lori

    The second amendment is not simply in place to allow gun enthuasists
    something to drool over.  It is there as a measure of deturance to
    ensure those who hold the reigns of goverment consider very carefully
    what they intend to force on their own people.  Likewise with the
    tradition of the citizen-soldier.  Any attempted coup by out military is
    likely to result in a counter-coup by other parts of the military.

    Contrary to NRA propaganda, there are Liberals who own guns. The numbers don’t tilt Left though and the prospect of an armed citizenry isn’t much of a deterrent to people who are convinced that most of the guns, and the will to kill, are in the hands of their people.

    Don’t lean too heavily on the citizen soldier either. We haven’t actually had that in large numbers since we did away with the draft almost 2 generations ago. We still have the National Guard, but that’s not really the same thing.

    That’s not to say that I think the military is going to carry out a coup. I know that’s the dearest fantasy of a certain segment of Right Wingers, but I think it’s a non-starter. That’s as it should be, so that’s good. The thing is, they’re not likely to stage a coup against any duly-elected government, even if they are trying to set up Giliad. I’m not sure under what, if any, circumstances would result in any kind of broad revolt. Maybe some of the posters who have been in the military have some idea.

    In terms of taking comfort in our military structure or tradition I think the best we could hope for is that they’d have trouble getting enough US soldiers to fire on US citizens. Of course, that pretty cold comfort since resent history seems to indicate that you can get someone to treat his fellow Americans as a live fire exercise if you muster him out of his branch of the service and put him on the payroll of a private military contractor. That’s clearly self-selecting, but available evidence suggests that if they make the paycheck big enough they can get more than enough people to make the switch.

  • http://twitter.com/FearlessSon FearlessSon

    Contrary to NRA propaganda, there are Liberals who own guns. The numbers don’t tilt Left though and the prospect of an armed citizenry isn’t much of a deterrent to people who are convinced that most of the guns, and the will to kill, are in the hands of their people.

    I suspect that the NRA makes such propoganda just because it means that every time a Democrat enters the White House, there is a windfall for gun and ammo manufacturers.  This in turn tends to expand the NRA’s membership and fervor, bringing more money in.  They are like the right-wing “family” organization heads, reaping more money from people’s fears of the opposition. 

    Don’t lean too heavily on the citizen soldier either. We haven’t actually had that in large numbers since we did away with the draft almost 2 generations ago. We still have the National Guard, but that’s not really the same thing.

    That is actually one of the reasons why I support some kind of limited but active (as opposed to token like we have now) drafting.  I think it is important to have a certain amount of the military populated with people who are not invested in the military.  People who would not have joined normally, and are eager to get out once their tour is finished.  If only because I feel a healthy military needs people who are unafraid to be whistleblowers, and unafraid to call “What the hell?” on their superiors. 

    I think that a lot of what happened during the War On Terror could have been mitigated if we had such. 

  • Tonio

    Good points. The idea of bringing back a limited draft has some merit. The military we have now seems like a branch of the GOP, and in the case of the Air Force, a branch of the religious right as well.

    Having said that, when I was in my 20s I dreaded the idea of a draft, because I’ve always found all-male environments to be emotionally and physically abusive. In high school many of the other male students were convinced that I was gay.

  • Lori

     The idea of bringing back a limited draft has some merit. 

    Never happen. There are good points to be made in favor of it, but unless there’s a national emergency the requires a much larger military it’ll never pass. Americans are totally out of the habit of thinking about the draft as viable and the military isn’t thrilled by the prospect of going back to getting a bunch of crap recruits who are there because they’re forced to be. 

    The military we have now seems like a branch of the GOP, and in the case of the Air Force, a branch of the religious right as well.  

    A draft wouldn’t actually help this much, if at all. You’d get more of a mixed bag in the lowest ranks, but higher ranks would still lean at least as heavily Christianist as they do now, maybe more. Since it’s the higher ranks that make the difference in terms of tone and policy I don’t think greater diversity in short-timers at the bottom is going to benefit much. 

  • Tonio

    the military isn’t thrilled by the prospect of going back to getting a
    bunch of crap recruits who are there because they’re forced to be.

    At least one former recruiter argues that a draft would actually raise the overall quality of recruits because it would have more than enough people after weeding out the crap recruits. I don’t have the link handy, but the argument was that the military has had to lower its standards in order to have enough people, and too often these are people with almost no other opportunities.

    In any case, I don’t think it’s healthy for representative democracy to have a military that’s culturally and ideologically homogenous. I suspect that it’s just such a homogeneity that’s contributed to military dictatorships elsewhere.

  • Lori

     At least one former recruiter argues that a draft would actually raise the overall quality of recruits because it would have more than enough people after weeding out the crap recruits. I don’t have the link handy, but the argument was that the military has had to lower its standards in order to have enough people, and too often these are people with almost no other opportunities.  

    There are definitely some members of the military, past & present, who favor a return to the draft. They’re in the minority though. If it didn’t happen after 9/11 it’s not going to happen now. I don’t see any realistic way that we’re bringing back the draft unless the Chinese decide to invade (not going to happen) or the Russians decide to pick a fight (also not going to happen). 

    In any case, I don’t think it’s healthy for representative democracy to have a military that’s culturally and ideologically homogenous. I suspect that it’s just such a homogeneity that’s contributed to military dictatorships elsewhere. 

    I agree, I just don’t think that’s going to make any difference. Barring a huge change in the geopoltical climate the draft is not coming back. The only way the ideological make-up of the military is going to change is if Liberals start signing up in much greater numbers or Right Wingers stop. 

  • http://twitter.com/FearlessSon FearlessSon

    In any case, I don’t think it’s healthy for representative democracy to have a military that’s culturally and ideologically homogenous. I suspect that it’s just such a homogeneity that’s contributed to military dictatorships elsewhere.

    That is indeed a concern of mine, particularly when there have been organizations with interests in seeing more of the military’s spiritual demographic shift toward particular brands of religion.  That seems like a recipe for disaster waiting to happen, especially since I cannot see Dominionists successfully taking over the government (as opposed to simply occupying positions within its existing constraints) without the support of the military.  

    Part of me wanted to join the military for precisely the reason of diversity.  The problem is, as bellicose as I sometimes want to be, I think that I would be a poor fit for it.  Not because I am unafraid to be an odd-man-out in such an institution, but because I would be likely to try and “enforce” certain standards of behavior on those I am in contact with.  It would only be a matter of time before an immediate superior makes a sexist remark that I feel is best resolved by an application of fist-to-jaw, and I would get drummed out in pretty quick order after that.  

    As for the all-male environment, I am not too worried about that.  I too got teased, people assumed I was gay in middle school because I did not display the same overt lude behavior that was expected of boy’s my age (I felt that excessive displays of such behavior were a sign that one is insecure and seeking peer reinforcement to bolster a lack of esteem.)  However, I discovered that employing a selective degree of physical force when demanding that such hostile behavior stop tended to be very effective in communicating that, no, I was not playing their little game, especially when contrasted with my usual composed state.  

    Unfortunately, school administrators tend to find a limited degree of overt force more of a problem than an unlimited amount of more subtle force.  Which is really a shame, since bullies much more often employ the later than the former, as it allows them to continue their behavior for longer with less trouble on their part.

  • Tonio

    However, I discovered that employing a selective degree of physical
    force when demanding that such hostile behavior stop tended to be very
    effective in communicating that, no, I was not playing their little
    game, especially when contrasted with my usual composed state.

    That never worked for me. A couple of times I lashed out in anger. But when my family moved, it took a few weeks for the students at the new school to treat me as badly as the ones in my old school. My mother told me I had brought it on myself. I interpreted that to mean that either I was doing something wrong or that something was wrong with me.

  • http://twitter.com/FearlessSon FearlessSon

    That never worked for me. A couple of times I lashed out in anger. But when my family moved, it took a few weeks for the students at the new school to treat me as badly as the ones in my old school. My mother told me I had brought it on myself. I interpreted that to mean that either I was doing something wrong or that something was wrong with me.

    Their goal is to torment you, to make you suffer, just so that they can demonstrate to their peers that they have the power to do so.  If you lash out in obvious anger, it just proves that they are getting to you.  On the other hand, completely ignoring them will only cause them to escalate the torment, probing the limits of what you will tolerate.  

    My policy is to tolerate what they do… but only up to a point.  While I will not escalate to match them, when their escalation crosses a certain subjective threshold I will respond swiftly with the intent of being decisive.  Often this takes the form of pretending to ignore their torments until I am close enough to the ringleader to grab them by the collar, throw them against the wall, and tell them in no uncertain terms that they will stop.  

    It works so well because they are not expecting that.  They expect someone whom they can cow, or alternatively exchange barbs with in a slow process of escalation.  When a “doormat” suddenly sweeps itself out from under the stomper and leaves them flat on their ass, it takes them by surprise and leaves them briefly dumbfounded.  They tend to back off a bit after that, as they are never quite sure what will set you off in the future.  

  • Tonio

    Their goal is to torment you, to make you suffer, just so that they can
    demonstrate to their peers that they have the power to do so.

    That doesn’t make sense. They were treating me as though I had wronged them somehow, or as though they had a grudge against me. What you suggest is that I was nameless and faceless to them like an enemy soldier. That’s not right.

    By “lash out” I mean in violence. I threw punches usually when I was laughed at. Or when I got to the bus stop and three boys threw snowballs at me in unison. And there were times I felt like throwing punches, like when a trio of girls called out to me in the hallway, “Shake that ass, baby!” Unlike you, I had no deliberate strategy in mind. I was barely socializing at all with classmates before this, and by high school I was spending almost every night in my room.

  • Tonio

    By “not right,” I mean not just that their behavior was unjust, but also that their behavior violates the basic truth that people treat you well or badly based on what they think of you.

  • Anonymous

    Good points. The idea of bringing back a limited draft has some merit.
    The military we have now seems like a branch of the GOP, and in the case
    of the Air Force, a branch of the religious right as well.

    Having
    said that, when I was in my 20s I dreaded the idea of a draft, because
    I’ve always found all-male environments to be emotionally and physically
    abusive. In high school many of the other male students were convinced
    that I was gay.

    So have draftees be neither an all-male nor an all-straight group. Problem solved.

  • Lori

     So have draftees be neither an all-male nor an all-straight group. Problem solved.  

    Assuming that they could have a draft again at all it really couldn’t be all-male, all-straight. Equality is equality. Women and gays & lesbians fought to be able to serve and if the draft made a come back they’d be in it too. (Which is yet another reason it won’t happen unless the Red Horde is storming the beaches. IOW, never.)

  • http://twitter.com/FearlessSon FearlessSon

    Assuming that they could have a draft again at all it really couldn’t be all-male, all-straight. Equality is equality. Women and gays & lesbians fought to be able to serve and if the draft made a come back they’d be in it too. (Which is yet another reason it won’t happen unless the Red Horde is storming the beaches. IOW, never.)

    I suspect that the religious right has a two-fold issue in this regard.  First of all, they love the military, those brave boys in uniform who bring the gospel of Freedom to the heathen foreign masses.   But they also consider gay people and women to be a threat to their idea of male primacy.  When you start putting women and gay men in the military, or worse, in front-line or commanding positions in the military, the religious right starts getting frightened.  

    Which as far as I am concerned is just further justification for women and gays in the military.  :)

  • Anonymous

    Contrary to NRA propaganda, there are Liberals who own guns.

    Hello! I own three handguns. Two of them are in piffling calibers and are largely useless for anything outside of target shooting (which is what I use them for) or shooting small animals (which I have absolutely no inclination to do). The idea that I would use my third, six shot revolver to defend my liberty against an army as well-equipped as the USA’s is comically naive.

    Anyone who paid attention to Iraq and Afghanistan will readily see that, whenever insurgents grab their AKs and try to shoot at the US, they get mowed down or flattened by artillery or bombed by drones. So they largely stopped doing that, and instead switched to making IEDs. While I generally support an individual right to own firearms, the notion that they’re going to allow us to defend ourselves against tyranny is over a century out of date. Tyranny has tanks.

  • Lori

     The idea that I would use my third, six shot revolver to defend my liberty against an army as well-equipped as the USA’s is comically naive. 

    Absolutely, but that’s not really the point I was trying to make (apparently rather badly). Even if the whole concept wasn’t at least a century past practical, a government would feel no need to fear a well-armed citizenry if they assumed that the well-armed citizens supported them. 

    The Right assumes (mostly correctly) that Right-leaning citizens are the ones with the guns. Therefore concerns about an armed citizen uprising wouldn’t enter into the calculations of a far Right government. 

    In the (I hope to FSM) unlikely event that push comes to shove, the issue of Americans forming an effective insurgency/rebellion would, as you say, be largely a separate issue from gun ownership. 

  • Anonymous

    Absolutely, but that’s not really the point I was trying to make (apparently rather badly).

    Whoops, sorry if it came off like I was disagreeing with you (no intention to). I was just identifying myself as a liberal who owns guns, which clearly are not mutually exclusive things. :P It was just a good way to segue into challenging the point that the second amendment would at all allow us to fight off our own military.

  • Lori

     Whoops, sorry if it came off like I was disagreeing with you (no intention to).  

    No problem. It really didn’t seem to me that you were disagreeing with me so much as it seemed that I had been unclear. Many times things make more sense in my head than they do in my posts. 

  • Lori

    The second amendment is not simply in place to allow gun enthuasists
    something to drool over.  It is there as a measure of deturance to
    ensure those who hold the reigns of goverment consider very carefully
    what they intend to force on their own people.  Likewise with the
    tradition of the citizen-soldier.  Any attempted coup by out military is
    likely to result in a counter-coup by other parts of the military.

    Contrary to NRA propaganda, there are Liberals who own guns. The numbers don’t tilt Left though and the prospect of an armed citizenry isn’t much of a deterrent to people who are convinced that most of the guns, and the will to kill, are in the hands of their people.

    Don’t lean too heavily on the citizen soldier either. We haven’t actually had that in large numbers since we did away with the draft almost 2 generations ago. We still have the National Guard, but that’s not really the same thing.

    That’s not to say that I think the military is going to carry out a coup. I know that’s the dearest fantasy of a certain segment of Right Wingers, but I think it’s a non-starter. That’s as it should be, so that’s good. The thing is, they’re not likely to stage a coup against any duly-elected government, even if they are trying to set up Giliad. I’m not sure under what, if any, circumstances would result in any kind of broad revolt. Maybe some of the posters who have been in the military have some idea.

    In terms of taking comfort in our military structure or tradition I think the best we could hope for is that they’d have trouble getting enough US soldiers to fire on US citizens. Of course, that pretty cold comfort since resent history seems to indicate that you can get someone to treat his fellow Americans as a live fire exercise if you muster him out of his branch of the service and put him on the payroll of a private military contractor. That’s clearly self-selecting, but available evidence suggests that if they make the paycheck big enough they can get more than enough people to make the switch.

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

    @twitter-15487831:disqus:

    The second amendment is not simply in place to allow gun enthuasists
    something to drool over.  It is there as a measure of deturance to
    ensure those who hold the reigns of goverment consider very carefully
    what they intend to force on their own people.  Likewise with the
    tradition of the citizen-soldier.  Any attempted coup by out military is
    likely to result in a counter-coup by other parts of the military.

    The main problem is that for all the second-amendment rebels-in-their-own-mind fantasizers is that not all of them understand command and control or could possibly fight against their nation’s military. When the force multiplier is so much greater in the US Military’s hands the only hope would be for a fracturing of the armed forces themselves.

  • http://www.facebook.com/LoneWolf343 Derek Laughlin

    “The main problem is that for all the second-amendment
    rebels-in-their-own-mind fantasizers is that not all of them understand
    command and control or could possibly fight against their nation’s
    military.”

    Consider it a check in the other direction.

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

    Absolutely.

    Even if you manage to get your hands on something rather crazy, like say a 50 caliber machine gun… you’re still toast if you’re fighting the military.  There is quite literally nothing a citizen’s militia can accomplish on it’s own against a modern, disciplined military* without becoming terrorists.  And even if one is willing to become a terrorist, as I’ve noted before, that’s incredibly counterproductive (not even considering the immorality of it), because in order to have the slightest chance as a partisan you need the people on your side… blowing them up does not achieve that.

    Now against a foreign enemy, you *can* hold out, inflict damage, and pray they’re public opinion plummets so they have to pull out (us in Vietnam, the Soviets in Afghanistan) – but that’s not going to work in a domestic civil war, and it’s far more likely that you’ll lose the public opinion battle first for causing problems to begin with.

    This of course wasn’t the case before major mechanization – even as late as WWI there are scenarios in which partisans could fight on relatively equal footing with a modernized military (provided intelligent use of resources of course) – but once you start getting tanks and aircraft heavily into the picture…

    So the only hope in such a scenario is for the military itself to split (or defect entirely to the side of the partisans – in which case it’s over before it started really).

    So yeah, basically the old idea of an armed citizenry as in any way being able to effectively overthrow a potentially tyrannical government has long gone the way of the dodo.  The only way that would change would be if there was a revival of militias (in the original sense) which were allowed to own and operate similar equipment to the military at large… which is incredibly expensive to do, and even then it’d be an uphill slog since you’d probably have outdated equipment and substantially less of it, and poorer training.  (Not saying it’s impossible, but it’d be very, very tough.)

    Or put another way (as addressed to a would-be rebel):

    It’s nice that you have that M203 grenade launcher on your AR-15.  The other side has 120mm cannons on tanks, extreme range guided munitions, predator drones, and fun stuff like the A-10 – which will ruin your day in a hurry if you don’t have air superiority.  (Hint:  You don’t.)

    *See Iraq for a good example.  Sure we (rightly) are upset about our own casualties, and (rightly) are upset about the innocent people in the way** – but what is often forgotten is that the insurgents themselves die in *droves*.  Being a partisan, for any cause, means bleeding.  Lots of bleeding.  Vietnam is another good example – Viet Cong casualties were truly outrageous in comparison to our own.  The other option – to wear uniforms and fight like an actual military, is not going to work unless you have the equipment and training to back it up;  so in a scenario in which one is required to rebel against a real military force, the expectation of death has to be absolute, and the cause must be worthy in the partisan’s head of dying for.   Not merely in the same way as “my country is worth dying for”, which every combatant must consider – but in an absolutely certain “I will die for this cause; there’s no ‘if’ – there’s only a ‘when’.”

    **Which I will add would not stop being a problem in such a scenario either.  If you’re the insurgent in this situation then just by existing you put innocent people in harm’s way.  The question at that becomes at what point is your cause so truly just that one can shoot the dog on that scale?  That’s not a question that’s readily answerable either, because the justness of a given cause is sometimes not even understood until after things have been settled.

  • http://twitter.com/FearlessSon FearlessSon

    Even if you manage to get your hands on something rather crazy, like say a 50 caliber machine gun… you’re still toast if you’re fighting the military. There is quite literally nothing a citizen’s militia can accomplish on it’s own against a modern, disciplined military* without becoming terrorists. And even if one is willing to become a terrorist, as I’ve noted before, that’s incredibly counterproductive (not even considering the immorality of it), because in order to have the slightest chance as a partisan you need the people on your side… blowing them up does not achieve that.

    I am less concerned that armed rebellion will result in governmental overthrow.  We would have a very poor government indeed were that to happen.  However, armed rebellion will prevent a coup government from consolidating its power.  As long as the rebellion persists, the government’s legitimacy on the world stage is in question.  And that is where the real battle lies.  The counter-insurgency can do things like blow up highway segments at night, sink ships docked in major ports, wreck the airstips at airports, etc.  Anything to wreck revenue generation and troop movements.  Meanwhile, we have a lobby to the U.N. demanding that other countries refuse to recognize the coup government, and encourage them to lend us forces to liberate conquered areas.  Stress how much other countries are invested in the United States, how much they stand to lose if the Bible-based economic policies of these idiots are put into place, and how unstable the world will be with them in power.  You thought that the unilateral action on the part of the Bush administration was bad?  Wait until these guys decide to start invading other countries and forcibly convert their people to Christianity. 

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

    First I should clarify – my point there was largely in regard to the idea of armed citizen’s insurrections at large, for any reason.  The scenario you’re specifically proposing I feel gives the rebels much more leverage because:

    A)  It’s a counter-coup – I could be wrong, but I sincerely doubt most people (including most in the military) would be OK with a coup in the first place.  This puts the shoe firmly on the other foot.

    B)  A coup government is going to have a harder time being recognized than one that’s legitimately elected.

    I was more or less addressing the idea of a legitimately elected Dominionist style government, where the whole Gilead style set up has at least the veneer of democracy on it.

    In that case getting other countries to refuse to recognize the new government (even if it’s breaking our laws and international laws left and right) is going to be hard to do.  Especially *because* of how much those countries have invested in the US; as well as the rather large obstacle that the US military presents should it remain on the side of the new (and again: elected) government.

    While I have great respect for our overseas allies military capability, there’s a huge difference between say… providing air support to rebels in a small country with a maniacal dictator… and doing so against a very powerful first world military that is arguably the most powerful on the planet.

    They probably could win mind you – but the amount of blood and treasure required would be immense.

    I think what the decision would basically boil down to would be:

    Is it safer to fight these clowns conventionally now, or wait until someone gets trigger happy with the nuclear weapons?  Not a decision any government would want to make.

    So under your scenario, I could see it working out; albeit the end result would be very, very ugly.  (Given that the end result of not acting would possibly be worse… I think you do pretty much have to rebel at that point too.)

    (I probably should have been clearer what scenario my post was using as a basis.)

  • http://twitter.com/FearlessSon FearlessSon

    I was more or less addressing the idea of a legitimately elected Dominionist style government, where the whole Gilead style set up has at least the veneer of democracy on it.

    See, I do not think that a Dominionist style government could get legally elected in this country.  Our own constitution forbids it.  Attempting to do so would be fundamentally illegal under the highest written authority in the country.  Yes, the constitution can be amended in such a way as to overwrite earlier legal prohibitions on this kind of thing to make it legal, but that requires such an enormous consensus to achieve, that I cannot see a fringe group like the Dominionists actually convincing enough people to go in for it.  Sure, they can achieve regional victories, or occasionally take the White House, but they can never get enough clout across the entire country to institute the kind of fundamental Bible-based laws that they seek.  To achieve that would require a usurpation of power unprecedented in this country.  

    Hence, the only scenario in which I consider Dominionists to be remotely credible dominators of the government is if, say, they manage to get a candidate into the White House who declares emergency measures, suspends the constitution, dissolves the legislature by force, and declares that only Real True Christians are now allowed to vote.  And at that point they have crossed the line of the law and become an illegitimate coup.  

  • Madhabmatics

    You don’t need to overturn the constitution, you just need five Scalias.

  • Tonio

    Did anyone notice that Heinlein’s Nehemiah Scudder is first elected in 2012? Rick Perry seems to be on his way to becoming such a theocratic ruler.

  • P J Evans

    Yes. It’s been in my mind for some years. (I could really, really, do without that kind of future.)

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

    @twitter-15487831:disqus:

    The second amendment is not simply in place to allow gun enthuasists
    something to drool over.  It is there as a measure of deturance to
    ensure those who hold the reigns of goverment consider very carefully
    what they intend to force on their own people.  Likewise with the
    tradition of the citizen-soldier.  Any attempted coup by out military is
    likely to result in a counter-coup by other parts of the military.

    The main problem is that for all the second-amendment rebels-in-their-own-mind fantasizers is that not all of them understand command and control or could possibly fight against their nation’s military. When the force multiplier is so much greater in the US Military’s hands the only hope would be for a fracturing of the armed forces themselves.

  • Consumer Unit 5012

     Oh sure, I am worried about what those influenced by them might vote for, there are plenty of lesser ideas they have to which I disagree, but to institute a Christian totalitarian state here?  Very unlikely to actually succeed.  The movement is too fractured for that to happen.

    I hope you’re right.  What worries me is the fact that as long as they have Those People to focus their rage upon, they can stick together a very long time and get a lot done.  Look at the Republican party – a coalition of beady-eyed religious nuts, bigots, wannabe Caesars, and greedheads, but it’ll keep hanging together as long as they can keep on hating Liberals _more_.

  • Lori

    How Christian is Christian enough?  What elements determine whether
    someone is Christian or not?  Is it purely a matter of
    self-identification, or is it determined by complience with a particular
    set of rules?  And if it is determined by a particular set of rules,
    from which sects will those rules be derived? 

    I imagine that
    those proposing such things will end up deadlocked in debates about it. 
    To the point that any movement that actually tries to get it done will
    end up tearing itself appart.  This is why I am not so worried about a
    full-fledged dominionist take over of the government.

    You may want to reconsider your non-worry. Remember the old saying, politics makes strange bedfellows. The drive for power can paper over a lot of internal conflict, especially in the relatively short term. Just look at the current GOP. People have been predicting for years now that the party’s internal contradictions would split it from within, possibly ending its run as a viable party. I was one of those people for quite a few years. Never let it be said that I can’t admit when I’m wrong because, yeah, not so much.

    What has happened instead is that the party as pushed farther and farther Right and deeper and deeper into Dominionist territory and the other wings of the party won’t jump off the train. They want power, the set up is still getting them power and since don’t want to admit that they’ve lost effective control of their whackadoos they can’t admit that the real power may well be shifting. It’s entirely possible that if they aren’t opposed more effectively from the Left the trend will continue until Dominionists are in a position to truly drive national policy.

    Once in power it’s virtually inevitable that there would be internal strife and purges, but that isn’t going to help the rest of us. After all, the question of who is X enough has driven a lot of ugly wars and not being any kind of X at all never offers protection. Even while they’re conducting purges against each other they’ll come together to attack the rest of us. Saying, “This is not my fight. I think all ya’ll are crazy” tends to be, let’s just say, a career limiting move.

  • http://twitter.com/FearlessSon FearlessSon

    So if you’re gay, or not a Christian, he thinks you should be executed. For your own good as well as for the good of society.

    I assume that they are going to need some kind of litmus test to determine this.  How Christian is Christian enough?  What elements determine whether someone is Christian or not?  Is it purely a matter of self-identification, or is it determined by complience with a particular set of rules?  And if it is determined by a particular set of rules, from which sects will those rules be derived? 

    I imagine that those proposing such things will end up deadlocked in debates about it.  To the point that any movement that actually tries to get it done will end up tearing itself appart.  This is why I am not so worried about a full-fledged dominionist take over of the government.  Oh sure, I am worried about what those influenced by them might vote for, there are plenty of lesser ideas they have to which I disagree, but to institute a Christian totalitarian state here?  Very unlikely to actually succeed.  The movement is too fractured for that to happen. 

  • http://brandiweed.livejournal.com/ Brandi

    You realize there is almost certainly a Christianized trading card game out there. Have to have a substitute for the Satanic baby-eating version, after all.

    Redemption. There’s a review of it here.

  • Anonymous

    This is so horrifying, “Oh we’re only mildly suggesting you be stoned to death, stop whining!” And JohnKnl makes an excellent point, they might not change the name of the country to Republic of Gilead but it might behave as it in all but name regardless. 

  • http://plantsarethestrangestpeople.blogspot.com/ mr_subjunctive

    Principalities are ruled over by potentates, right?

  • Lunch Meat

    “Principalities” is from Ephesians 6:12: “For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.” It means some kind of spiritual power, but I think most people who use it don’t really know what it means; it’s one of those words that one uses to try to sound more biblical.

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

    Oh yeah, they did bring that up a few times.  … I’ve been out of the church almost as long as I was in it at this point, I’m getting fuzzy lol (probably for the best.)

  • Bificommander

    So this religious right simultaniously argues that America must ‘return’ to its proper Judeo-Christian values, and then state that being loyal to Judeo-Christian values is okay, cause that means you’re loyal to America. Circular reasoning much? Your guy might as well come out and say that someone being a Christian first is good because it means he’ll turn America into what he wants it to become.

  • Beatrix

    How many copies sold?

  • Beatrix

    How many copies sold?

  • Beatrix

    This publishing company – Dar-us-Salam – operates out of not only Saudi but Houston, London England and Mississauga Ontario:  http://www.dar-us-salam.com/

    From the page at the link:  Book title: Unity & the Abandonment of parties.  Blurb, on main page:  “…what is even more dangerous is when disbelievers bring their filth of western societies to Muslims in order to deceive them and insert ideas that are normally unacceptable in Muslim societies.”

    Book title:  A Treatise Hijab.  Blurb, on main page:  “No one denies that the modesty which is commanded by Islamic Law and by convention includes the decency and decorousness demanded of a woman, and the kind of behavior that will ensure that she is kept far away from situations of temptation and suspicion. Further more, there is no doubt that the greatest act of modesty that she can perform is to wear the hijab, which covers her face. It is the best thing with which she can adorn herself, because it protects her and keeps her far removed from temptation.”

    Two minutes of googling, that took to find.  These gems are from their main page.  Image what riches lie within!

    Oh, I hear you cry, but no Islamist candidate is potentially running for President.  Great.  Give me one shred of evidence that Bachmann, Perry, Palin or whoever else you’re worried about has any plausible ties to “Dominionist” theocracy.  Nothing?  How about this:  Show that more copies of this nothing book by Peter C. Wagner have ever been sold than of either of the two titles above.  Show me that this nonentity’s publisher, “Chosen Books”, is more significant than “Dar-us-Salam Publications”.  I’d say the onus is on you.

    Why don’t you go looking for books written by enthusiatic snake-handlers?  I’m sure they’re out there.

  • P J Evans

    The lies are supposed to be worth reading? Surely you know better.
    But I forget, you’re a troll, and you always lie.

  • P J Evans

    The lies are supposed to be worth reading? Surely you know better.
    But I forget, you’re a troll, and you always lie.

  • Beatrix

    This publishing company – Dar-us-Salam – operates out of not only Saudi but Houston, London England and Mississauga Ontario:  http://www.dar-us-salam.com/

    From the page at the link:  Book title: Unity & the Abandonment of parties.  Blurb, on main page:  “…what is even more dangerous is when disbelievers bring their filth of western societies to Muslims in order to deceive them and insert ideas that are normally unacceptable in Muslim societies.”

    Book title:  A Treatise Hijab.  Blurb, on main page:  “No one denies that the modesty which is commanded by Islamic Law and by convention includes the decency and decorousness demanded of a woman, and the kind of behavior that will ensure that she is kept far away from situations of temptation and suspicion. Further more, there is no doubt that the greatest act of modesty that she can perform is to wear the hijab, which covers her face. It is the best thing with which she can adorn herself, because it protects her and keeps her far removed from temptation.”

    Two minutes of googling, that took to find.  These gems are from their main page.  Image what riches lie within!

    Oh, I hear you cry, but no Islamist candidate is potentially running for President.  Great.  Give me one shred of evidence that Bachmann, Perry, Palin or whoever else you’re worried about has any plausible ties to “Dominionist” theocracy.  Nothing?  How about this:  Show that more copies of this nothing book by Peter C. Wagner have ever been sold than of either of the two titles above.  Show me that this nonentity’s publisher, “Chosen Books”, is more significant than “Dar-us-Salam Publications”.  I’d say the onus is on you.

    Why don’t you go looking for books written by enthusiatic snake-handlers?  I’m sure they’re out there.

  • Anonymous

    http://www.chosenbooks.com

    is a division of

    http://www.bakerpublishinggroup.com

    I don’t know, the fact that their books are found in most, if not all, bookstores and libraries across the country might say something.

  • Beatrix

    Only one of Baker’s subdivisions – not “Chosen” –  merits a link or even a “red link” – a potential link – on Wikipedia.  They are of no significance.  Wagner’s Wiki entry is vestigial.  I think those of you who are deeply concerned about these pernicious people and ideas should head over to Wiki and alert the general public of the seditious perfidy going on here.  If I were you I’d mention Bachmann a lot, and Perry, and Palin.

  • Lori

    Remember folks, no good comes from interacting with the troll. 

  • Consumer Unit 5012

    A peaceful solution would be vastly preferrable.  At least partially because I get the impression that there’s a scarily large number of self-proclaimed “conservatives” out there who will be able to die happy if they get to murder a few hippies on the way out.  

    This is perhaps somewhat relevant:  
    Goodbye to All That: Reflections of a GOP Operative Who Left the Cult
    Even he thinks God’s Only Party has gone collectively nuts.

  • JLT

    Very interesting article about Dominionsm in the US:
    Exposing religious fundamentalism in the US. The US media has been downplaying a radical Christian theology that is increasingly influential in the Republican party.
    http://english.aljazeera.net/indepth/opinion/2011/09/2011948160923228.html

  • Marshall Pease

    Constantine as the Original Dominionist? Yoder vs. Leithart:. “Warfare is when you Sacrifice your enemies”….

    Diocletian’s force constituted a ‘sacred retinue,’ and Constantine would have thought of his army in the same way. Armies won by divine intervention, and the victory of an army was the victory of the army’s god” (74). In other words, there is no such thing as secular warfare or a secular army, in part because “the sacrifice of barbarians and rebels maintained Roman honor” (236). The sacrifice necessary to maintain the empire is not merely the religiopolitical sacrifice offered to a god or the emperor; it is the religiopolitical sacrifice of the enemy and the outsider offered up in the name of honor, peace, liberty, and justice. Therefore, to argue that sacrifice ceases with Constantine is to demonstrate a truncated view of what counts as sacrifice. …

    Furthermore, to think of killing as sacrifice is conceptually useful, especially when we remember Augustine’s point that the earthly city operates by sacrificing to false gods. Yoder also saw clearly the human propensity to offer up other persons as sacrifices to various causes, ideas, forces, and nations. The result, according to Yoder, is that “general labels like ‘freedom’ or ‘justice,’ ‘socialism’ or ‘capitalism,’ ‘order’ or ‘humanism’ become positive or negative values in their own right, causes to combat for or to destroy. The modern word for this is ‘ideology.’ The biblical word that fits best is probably ‘idol.’”[10]

  • http://twitter.com/FearlessSon FearlessSon

    That doesn’t make sense. They were treating me as though I had wronged them somehow, or as though they had a grudge against me. What you suggest is that I was nameless and faceless to them like an enemy soldier. That’s not right.

    The thing is, humans still possess some vestigial instinct toward a “dominance ladder” type social structure, with an alpha on top, a beta below that, and so on.  Which means inevitably, they will seek somebody to be on the bottom.  They will collectively, almost unconsciously, find a person whom they can try to degrade, as it demonstrates that they are higher up the ladder than the person on the bottom.  Often, people care less about their exact position, so long as they know that they are above someone else.  Even if they do not think you have particularly wronged them on some kind of personal level, they will act like you did if that means they get to have someone below them.  

    It is not just adolescent bickering either.  We see what effect that has had on politics too, where people can me motivated to resent a social class barely below their own, just so they feel like they are not at the bottom of the barrel.  The “at least we’re better off than those people,” mentality.  As you pointed out, it is not right, and it is not just, but regardless it still is, and unfortunately we have to deal with it one way or another.  

  • Tonio

    It’s difficult for me to read your post without feeling vulnerable, like I’ve just ended up in Escape from New York and I’m the only one without a weapon. Even from my earliest days in school, I seemed to assume that if someone was being mean to me, I should just leave the person alone and he or she would leave me alone, and I remember the regular feelings of frustration when it wouldn’t work that way.

  • http://twitter.com/FearlessSon FearlessSon

    It’s difficult for me to read your post without feeling vulnerable, like I’ve just ended up in Escape from New York and I’m the only one without a weapon. Even from my earliest days in school, I seemed to assume that if someone was being mean to me, I should just leave the person alone and he or she would leave me alone, and I remember the regular feelings of frustration when it wouldn’t work that way.

    I can identify, but sometimes it seems like the only way to be safe is to move through the danger to make it to the other side, like a ship turning into the wind until it passes.  The way I saw it, I was vulnerable anyway, so I might as well face the slings and arrows head-on.  For example, in high school people called me a nerd (in a derogatory, non reclaimed term kind of way) in an attempt to belittle me.  I eventually decided to meet their attack, by dressing the part, wearing a button-up shirt, necktie, and pocket protector when I went to school.  And the teasing about being a nerd… stopped.  They teased me about being a nerd because they thought it was a vulnerability of mine, something that they could attack to put me on the defensive.  When I started wearing that on my sleeve, advertising to the world, “Yes, I am a nerd and I know it!” then that ceased to be something that they saw as a vulnerability.  Obviously I did not see it as a vulnerability if I was so willing to wear it openly, and it was no longer a vector for their attacks.  

    Heh, I remember when I started going to college.  I told my therapist that, despite my increased workload, I felt a lot less stressed than I did when I was in high school.  She told me that was because I was no longer going into battle every day.

  • Tonio

    For me, college was more stressful socially, because living in a dorm meant I had no real sanctuary. The other guys in the dorm would do things that they insisted were jokes. Once I woke up to find one of them wearing my glasses, and the group freaked out when I grabbed him by the lapels in anger. Another time I was pennied in my room, and when I freed myself I slammed the door hard and shouted an obscenity, and a minute later someone poured a trash can full of water into my room. My first roommate was astounded that I wouldn’t socialize, and he was convinced that he was going to wake up with me standing over him with a knife. I didn’t have the words to tell him that I had the same feeling of vulnerability. Even in my first job, I reacted badly whenever someone made a joke at my expense, because that brought back all those feelings. The old saying “you only tease the people you like” has never been true in my case.

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

    Tonio:

    Ugh, word on the high school fratboy attitude in university rez dorms.

    The bulk of students may be at uni because they want to learn, but for some reason the lack of supervision of 18 and 19 year olds and grouping them into communcal settings really seems to make them scale monumental heights of asinine behavior.

  • Tonio

    You seem to be arguing that they were simply being jerks. My whole point is that either I was doing something wrong or else something was wrong with me, otherwise I wouldn’t have been targeted like that.

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

    Honestly, I’m not sure it even requires that anything you do be wrong or that anything be wrong with you.

    For some reason males in the age 15 – 25 range seem to be prone to acting like sharks when it comes to being in situations where they receive high group reinforcement and little chance of permanent consequences for their behavior.

    If they smell any kind of target, they’ll zoom towards it like sharks to blood in the water. Cold comfort, unfortunately.

    It wasn’t as bad with me but I got to be the butt of some occasional low-grade LOL PRANKED @ U type behavior.

  • Tonio

    If they smell any kind of target, they’ll zoom towards it like sharks to blood in the water. Cold comfort, unfortunately.

    No comfort at all, because it still comes down to the problem being me. From what you say, there was something about me that made them see me as a target. If I had known then what I could have changed about myself, I could have avoided years of emotional pain.

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

    It’s unlikely you could. The sheerest of random factors can make someone a target and not others; statistically, though it tends to be a person perceived as thin-skinned and easily riled up, and who can be “outsidered” more easily.

    The problem, ultimately, is not you. The problem is a peculiar social structure that needs to be ridden herd on more strictly than it has been in the last while.

  • Mark Z.

    The sheerest of random factors can make someone a target and not others; statistically, though it tends to be a person perceived as thin-skinned and easily riled up, and who can be “outsidered” more easily.

    That, and being a target is sticky. A common reason for being twitchy and easily riled up is that you’ve been bullied before and just being around unfamiliar people triggers a defensive response–which leads to more bullying, because certain assholes think the defensive response is funny. The end result of that kind of behavior is this:

    “He screamed out, ‘Allah! Allah! Allah!’ and my first reaction was that he was crying out to his god,” Specialist Jones said to investigators. “Everybody heard him cry out and thought it was funny.” … It became a kind of running joke, and people kept showing up to give this detainee a common peroneal strike just to hear him scream out ‘Allah,’ ” he said. “It went on over a 24-hour period, and I would think that it was over 100 strikes.”

  • Tonio

    The
    problem, ultimately, is not you. The problem is a peculiar social
    structure that needs to be ridden herd on more strictly than it has been
    in the last while.

    Acknowledging the role of that peculiar social structure doesn’t change the fact that ultimately the problem was me. I could have avoided the emotional pain if I could have changed the way that others perceived me, making myself harder to be “outsidered.” Not in the sense of assigning blame to me or to anyone else, but to simply protect my ego from being shredded daily as it was for many years.

  • Anonymous

    The problem was never you. You might find it hard to believe that but it never is the targets’ problem.

    It was bullying, plain and simple, and all the aphorisms about bullies seeking ‘the weak or deficient’ out to target are rubbish hun. As are the common myths that ‘if you stand up and fight back you earn respect’ – usually. In the cases where that is not so, where fighting back does see them back off, you still lose, because you play the game as ‘expected’ – even if that doesn’t fit you.

    I was very bright at school – probably like many here, heh – and I had confidence and all that. People liked me, not because I exhibited any alpha-like behaviour, just … I don’t know why, maybe because I was confident without the arrogance and I knew how to listen.

    But that all changed. I was transferred to another stream, over with all the other fast-tracked clever kiddies. Intelligence is no guarantee of ‘better behaviour’ it seems. Two boys began a prolonged campaign of taunting – unrelenting.

    In some ways I was emotionally ahead of most of my peers, so I ignored it – treating them as ‘children.’ In some ways I was emotionally well behind my peers – I was effeminate and showed little interest in girls, not because I wasn’t interested, more because I was working through confusion over my gender. I couldn’t look at an interesting girl without, simultaneously, being interested IN them and interested in BEING them.

    What I couldn’t appreciate at that age, was how social exclusion deeply affects a person. Those two and few others played their childish games, but everyone else stepped back and watched.

    Was I diffferent? Yes … and that’s all it takes. But hey, difference is not intrinsically bad. It is not ‘wrong’ or something broken within you. The deficiency is in those who find that difference a problem. Always remember that.

    I started getting ‘sick’ and not going to school. I’d hit a limit and it was too much to push past at the time. My grades went from straight A’s to a scatter of marks, including a few F’s. My parents took me to a psychologist to figure out what was wrong – he concluded ‘nothing’ – infact he determined that I was an intuitive savant with an extremely high IQ (not that I think IQ is a useful measure past a certain point). Eventually school authorities determined the environement had to be at issue somehow (they never figured out why) and I moved to another school. Grades went up, I was even the senior Englush Dux, and everthing settled.

    But the effects of the years at the first school left deep marks. I went into a deeper denial; stopped questioning and ‘played the part’ the world expected of me. I went through uni, did a breif stint in the army (and hey, did I feel like a fish out of water there) and got into a long-term relationship – 11 years, including an engagement, before it collapsed, before the weight of ‘my authentic self’ became too much.

    I regret that, in that it hurt someone I loved very much. I shattered her and I can’t fix that. She fell on her feet in time and into a wonderful relationship, last I heard, so that’s good.

    So I came out and started being ‘me’ – and the strangest thing is, all the old confidence came back. Then I was gang-raped by 4 old friends who didn’t take kindly to the life I had chosen to live.

    Took a while to get over that, quite a few years – but hey, at the end I was, and am, so much stronger. I’d discovered a key, as it were: the only opinion of YOU that really matters, is yours. That isn’t to say we are not affected by the good and bad opinions of others, only that … in the end, how we treat those opinions and how we see ourselves matters much more. Nor is that an appeal to narcissism – just an apeal to being US.

    Which, for a post that is much longer than I intented, brings us to the point. Be authentic. Whatever that is, whoever you are at your core … be that completlely, entirely and never apologise for it. Especially, never question it’s worth. Don’t go looking for “what is/was wrong with me” … accept it and occupy it.

    Because the truth is, everyone is different. Most people just occupy themselves with delusions of sameness, a pretense that they are like these people and not like those people. This is usually enacted over very superficial matters.

    I get glances and smirks and looks often in public … but when these things happen I feel great – because I know the place that those ‘exclusionary actions’ come from. Knowing that, they can’t affect me. I usually smile, with my eyes and mouth, just a very gentle ‘I know, I don’t care’ – with a hint of laughter. When someone is looking at you with exclusion in their mind and you smile, sincerely, right back – it disarms them.

    In the end, know that you are, like everyone else ever born, unique and different beyond measure. We all are. Isn’t that wonderful!

    :)

    PS: it might sound somewhat daft, but it works: everyone morning, brushing teeth, whatever, stare right at that inverted self and say “I’m different. So what? Everyone else is.” and smile at your other self – it works.

    *apologies to all for the uber-wall-o-text

  • Tonio

    But hey, difference is not intrinsically bad. It is not ‘wrong’ or
    something broken within you. The deficiency is in those who find that
    difference a problem. Always remember that.

    I understand that. My point has nothing to do with what I thought of myself. Instead, it’s that being mocked or teased or bullied was a source of emotional pain, in terms of feeling afraid or unwelcome and not necessarily unworthy. My goal was to prevent people from treating me in ways that caused me to feel those things.

    Even today, if I see a group of college-age people laughing, it evokes old emotional memories of being mocked, and for a half-second I wonder if I did something that they thought was funny. It’s similar to how I’m still afraid of the deep ends of swimming pools because when I was a kid, I almost drowned in a pool from not knowing how deep it was. A good analogy is how, if one is writing on a notepad, it will leave an indentation on the sheet underneath.

  • http://twitter.com/FearlessSon FearlessSon

    For some reason males in the age 15 – 25 range seem to be prone to acting like sharks when it comes to being in situations where they receive high group reinforcement and little chance of permanent consequences for their behavior.

    If they smell any kind of target, they’ll zoom towards it like sharks to blood in the water. Cold comfort, unfortunately.

    While I lived in a fairly middle class neighborhood in Seattle, I went to high school in a much more affluent town a few miles across the lake.  This required that I take a long bus commute every day, and after classes were over for the day I had a half hour wait at the bus stop just outside the exit to the school parking lot.  Many of the students from this more affluent area would leave the campus driving their new parent-bought sport utility vehicles out, and a few of them who left in big carpools would occasionally yell at me as they passed by, usually shouting comments slanderous of my heterosexuality.  

    I eventually got into the practice of writing down their license plate numbers, then reporting those numbers to the school police officer.  He would then give a call to their parents, explaining that their child could be charged for felonious harassement.  

    It gave me a sadistic pleasure to think of those kids getting a figurative whipping from their family.

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

    Should have reported the cars stolen just for variety’s sake. ;)

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

    Should have reported the cars stolen just for variety’s sake. ;)


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