Sanders Filibusters/Clinton Takes Over!

Democrat Senator Bernie Sanders, of Vermont, has been engaged in a filibuster on the Senate floor; he doesn’t like the Obama/GOP tax plan.

Good optics

I may not agree with him, but I applaud the man getting up and actually going through with a filibuster. After watching numerous drama-free, procedural “declared filibusters” through the latter part of Bush’s presidency–actions that really meant, “we’re just obstructing and going home”–Sanders is putting his money where his mouth is (or, rather, putting his mouth where the money is) and taking a stand.

I say good on him!

Those who are snarking about it, or bemusedly looking on, should beware: This is an extremely powerful optic. People who have no idea what Sanders is talking about will start cheering him for the sheer novelty of a filibuster. Those who have romantic memories of Jimmy Stewart reading the Constitution and Paul’s Epistle to the Corinthians on the Senate floor will confer that same romance upon Sanders’ efforts. The press, always ripe for “something new” and on board with Sanders’ politics, will talk up his courage to make such a “heroic” stand.

Don’t laugh at this. Americans love the cowboy, and a filibuster is a cowboyesque optic: one man standing against all comers, attempting to stem what he views as a ruinous tide. This move by Sanders, if he sticks with it, may capture imaginations nor usually engaged; it could have wide repercussions.

Everyone who loves politics should wear the phrase “do not get cocky” on their wrists, and teach it to their children. Politics turns on a dime. That’s why two years is such a very, very long time.

:::After 8.5 hours, Sanders yields. I guess Clinton’s message got through. Missed opportunity for Dems to galvanize nation:::

Bill Clinton appears to have taken over the presidency from a weary bored in over his head Barack Obama, who said, “bite me, this job is hard; you take over! I’m gonna go shoot hoops with Reggie!”

This is bad, bad optics!

Realllly bad optics!

This astonishing scene does draw attention away from the filibuster. And Clinton must know how bad it makes Obama look; Obama could not demonstrate that he’s not up to par any more clearly.

Best Tweet! And another good one

Satire is sometimes prophetic! ;-)

This is surreal and priceless;
Clinton at the podium, pointing his finger, saying “I’m out of politics, now,” while defending Obama, who is demonstrating just how out of his depths he is, or–perhaps more correctly–that he just doesn’t have that “first class temperament” of legend.

Video here

If SNL tried to play this scenario for laughs, people would say it was too out there! This is like a politco-junkie’s longest, strangest trip, ever!

Ace is just stunned, and links to a picture taken by Jake Tapper. Go see.

Remember this playlet from 2008?. I wonder what promise Don Clinton extracted from Obama for today’s assist?

On second thought, it may have been a brilliant move to bring Clinton in–for the sake of easing the minds of his base–but it was not brilliant to leave the room with Clinton at the podium.

Either way, it seems to me that without Rahm at the helm, Obama has no one directing him.

Instapundit: “Help me Bubba-wan; you’re my only hope!
Allahpundit: Clinton is Apparently President Again
Bookworm: Something Very Weird is Going On in DC
Chris Matthews: Goes Full Drool
Ed Driscoll: has the best round-up!
Kim Priestap: wonders if Clinton will be Obama’s COO?
Iowahawk (prescient, from 2008): Obama Names Bill Clinton President

Well, touching on that, here is what I wrote just about a year ago:

I suspect that what Obama wanted was to be the King, not the President. The King’s role is largely ceremonial. In time of national tragedy the King goes before the camera and says, “this is very sad.” If he can assign blame on a perceived enemy he does so, and then he steps aside and retires to his amusements while those actually in charge clean up the mess and determine how to prevent future messes. Everyone loves the King, defers to the King, rushes to do for the King, but the King -who tends to get bored and distracted by the dry business of actually governing- is responsible for very little, and most are just as glad of it.

Best Comment: In this thread: “and they said Bush ‘lacked gravitas’?”

More from Hot Air

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Jammie Wearing Fool
The Corner
Dave Weigel
Doug Powers at Michelle Malkin’s

Jonah Goldberg
Noisy Room

About Elizabeth Scalia
  • JDC

    I, too, am agape, though less because of any intrinsic ideological differences than simple astonishment at how many strawmen you managed to pack, intentionally or not, into that comment. I’ll take it from the top.

    Because you believe that the term “Social Justice” has been obfuscated, I must first direct you to the wikipedia entry on it, since that is actually a pretty apt summary. The use of the phrase can even be traced back to Thomist Jesuits.

    Because any formulation of social justice must contain some element of economic justice (i.e. how to best distribute the burdens and benefits of society), I will share my perspective on the matter so that you will actually be addressing the views of a person and not some imagined revolutionary vampire with a Karl Marx beard.

    Arthur Okun, in his book Equality and Efficiency, outlined a number of formulations of economic justice, which I will here analyze from the perspective of equality of opportunity. The one currently in vogue (the basic capitalist premise) is that payment should be rendered according to one’s contributions to society, as well as the contributions of the productive property that one owns. The problem with this maxim is that it stratifies society and limits social mobility. Further, it gives rise to problems such as what I’ve seen referred to as “The Rockefeller Grandson” issue – i.e., should the grandson of a wealthy entrepreneur who never need work a day in his life be privileged with a greater remunerative reward than a man who’s worked hard his entire life, but happened to have been born into poverty? So, in light of this, another option presents itself: payment according to personal contributions to society (nix the bit about productive property). A more equitable solution, and the basic constituent of a socialist system. However, it too has a shortcoming – namely, that not everyone even has the opportunity to contribute the same thing to society. Not everyone will have the brains to revolutionize space travel; not everyone will have the build (or, hell, the sex) to play pro football. Remember, the goal here is a society in which the opportunity exists for all people to prosper based on their actions, rather than who they happen to be.

    Thus, the next maxim, and the one I happen to prefer: payment according to effort invested or sacrifices made to society. This will still yield some who are paid more than others, but I really feel the need to clarify, here – “equal distribution” does not mean what you seem to think it does. I’m pretty damn left-wing and even I don’t know anyone who advocates perfectly equal distribution of all resources across all people, unconditionally. If you work harder, you deserve more stuff, simple enough.

    Next point: if “more equal” distribution of wealth is Marxism, then by your measure half of the world, if not more, is Marxist. (If only!) Thing is, words have meanings, and that doesn’t mean “whatever I say it means.” If literally anything to the left of you is Marxist, then the word has lost all meaning. This is part of how we are able to see people, with a straight face, insist that Obama is a Marxist Communist Fascist, completely unaware not only of the fact that, no, he’s a Social Liberal at best, but also that Fascism (palingenetic ultranationalistic populism) arose in the first place specifically to oppose communism.

    If all redistribution of wealth constitutes Marxism, then I’d like to see you take on the Marxist Waltons or the entire Marxist edifice of Wall Street. Why? Because surplus value (i.e. profit) represents redistribution of wealth upwards; employees generate X wealth, are paid X-Y, and that remaining Y of wealth concentrates at the top (leaving aside capital costs for simplicity’s sake). Usury presents similar issues, and even the church scholars of the middle ages recognized it as the sin it is.

    Any redistribution of wealth in the other direction might more aptly be termed “re-redistribution,” or perhaps “un-redistribution.”

    Anyway, while Marxism does tend to achieve its transformation coercively, it is by no means the only configuration of socialism. Consider this: if every corporation in a nation rechartered itself into a democratic cooperative, citizens of that nation would be living in a socialist nation – really! Why? Because the capitalist mode of production will have been replaced by democratic workplace and a collective ownership/profit sharing arrangement. That’s all it takes. All of this stuff about totalitarianism? That’s unnecessary; socialism is an ECONOMIC system, agnostic to the existence of a strong or weak (or virtually nonexistent, in the case of Libertarian Socialism) state. Those are political matters, not necessarily related to the means of production.

    I never said being wealthy is intrinsically more evil or more righteous than being poor. Nor did I say that those who don’t work should live as prosperously as those who do (unless they are for whatever reason unable to do so). I also never said the successful should be penalized – rather, the needy should be helped, by way of better opportunity. Your case seems to be something like “socialists want to make withering plants bloom by digging up the healthy ones”; mine is more “…make withering plants bloom by actually, y’know, watering them.

    Finally, “when no one is rich, everyone is poor” is one hell of a claim. Can you demonstrate it either logically, empirically, or otherwise? You state it as though it’s a self-evident categorical truth, when I would venture to say it has no merit beyond its status as an artifact of a worldview shaped in the feudal and early capitalistic (i.e. pre-industrial) period. Here, have some recent history: you know that whole “middle class” phenomenon? The one that’s disappearing now, but owed its tenuous existence to labor reformers? Did you notice how it expanded during periods of rising wages and high-margin progressive taxation? Did you notice how it represented a more equitable distribution of remuneration, and they were living pretty darn well? Did you notice that the very wealthy were still living better than a typical sultan, even under those unthinkable constraints? Well, there you go: “socialist poverty” writ large.

    I am not changing any “socialist buzz words.” I would be interested to know, though, what are they and to what do you think I’m changing them? Is this because I adumbrated the distinction between Social Democrats, Social Liberals, et al, and still indicated that they were all still capitalistic? Because everything I said there was dictionary-accurate. If anything, you’re the one who seems to be painting anyone to the left of Reagan with a broad, red brush. Again, words have meanings, and those meanings are not the popular right-wing newspeak you’re promulgating. (Fun fact: did you know Orwell was a Democratic Socialist? That’s right, just like our mutual pal, Bernie Sanders.)

    Finally, while I don’t have much to say on the topic of Marx & Jesus and/or Liberation Theology, I’ll say this: if you’re dedicating your efforts to repudiating those topics, you’re going to have to muster a bit more rigor than demonstrated here. I swear I mean no offense – I’m sure you’re a swell person and I bet we’d have more in common than not were we to meet – but I must confess, at times it doesn’t even seem as though you even understand that against which you’re arguing.

  • Rhinestone Suderman

    JDC, leaving aside all the theoretical arguments—have you actually taken a look at the real history of Marxism, and socialism, in the modern world? Look at the countries who’ve adopted those systems; are they models of prosperity? Human happiness and achievement? Freedom?

    Look at the reality.

    And, talking about redistribution of wealth—who is supposed to decide who gets what, who has too much and who has too little? The church? A committee of Bureaucrats, i.e., “The Peoples’ Board of the Peoples’ Economic and Social Justice Committee?” A bunch of student “idealists”, with no experience of the real world? Politicians, yearning for re-election? A firey “Liberation Theologist”, with a gun in his hand, and a burning resentment against society?

    As for Marx and Jesus. . .one of the first things a Marxist, Socialist government does when it comes to power, is start rooting out religion. You must serve one or the other; you can’t serve both.

  • archangel

    Wow… that’s a lot of blither-blather attempting to blur a rather simple point. Since we have essentially demonstrated that you are a Marxist of one degree or another, I will simplify the point and just allow you to make another logic-pretzel, ignoring Marx’s take on faith.

    1) Jesus and Marx don’t mix because the former uses humanity’s free will to call it too Himself while the latter is the overt attempt to constrain free will, or destroy it entirely. Marx is a better fit with Islam on that front, as has been repeatedly demonstrated through history. Look up the N.A.Z.I. wing of Islam within the SS for starters and then go into post-WWII Middle East.

    2) The basic theological tenet and the flawed premise within your own strawmen is that wealth is intrinsically evil because the poor simply do not have it. You leap to that conclusion because you begin from the false premise that if one person is wealthy, they “clearly” gained their wealth at the expense of a poor person. That beginning premise is a falacy, therefore your entire blathering “logical” argument falls.

    3) You conveniently ignore and acknowledge that you had little to say about the basic point that Jesus and Marx don’t mix, but that IS the whole point. You’re commenting in a blog whose focus is faith. Your apparent purpose obviously is to somehow demonstrate that the Christian view of wealth and wealth distribution is not good enough and that Marxism is the answer. The problem is that confiscation of wealth advocated by Marx… and by extension apparently yourself; is essentially THEFT. Take a look at the 10 Commandments sometime. As an apparent Marxist, you COVET what you do not have OR you COVET what others have for whatever reason. Therefore, YOU advocate the THEFT of said wealth. It doesn’t matter if the purpose is “noble” or not. That position creates a state of mortal sin. That is why Marxism is intrinsically evil.

    BTW- yes more than 50% of the world is Marxist to one degree or another. Do I need to bring out a map? Russia, China, most of Europe, South America. That’s a pretty wide swath.

    4) The sins of proto-Marxists/Socialists and actual Marxists/Socialists upon the world are too many to list here so let’s just list a few…

    a) The proto-Marxist/Socialist group of egalitarians known as the Jacobins. 1000′s beheaded or simply left to rot on prison ships; mostly CATHOLIC clerics and laic.

    b) Spanish Popular Front during the Spanish Civil War. 100′s if not 1000′s of Catholics executed in the streets for their faith and for the work done for the poor.

    c) The German National Socialist Party; do I need to list the Polish Catholic population not to mention the Jewish population?

    d) Russia, Cuba and China under overt Marxist tyranny destroyed their own economies and attacked Christianity at every step. Cuba is the only one that hasn’t altered their system toward a more freer market based system of one degree or another, thus allowing more freedom for their people. Unfortunately, both China and Russia seem to regressing and falling into a more fascistic socialism which doesn’t bode well for the world.

    If the more zealous Democrats in this country thought they could get away with it here, they’d follow suit. Instead they just provided the conditions for a fair amount of White Martyrdom (as opposed to Red like in the Spanish Civil War).

    So… here’s the point in simple terms. God cares more about how we as individuals handle eachother based on what HE has provided for each of us. He stated specifically that the poor would always be with us. That by itself dooms the marxist/socialist “utopia” right from the start. The beatitude refers to being “Poor… in spirit”. And just as he fed the multitudes, we are called to help feed the multitudes by WILLINGLY giving what we can. Material wealth IS a burden and exacts a great cost upon those who have it. More is demanded from them but it is up to THEM. It is their soul that is at stake. Less is expected from the poor, but the cost of being poor puts them at risk of being covetous. As I said, a poor person can be more selfish (out of necessity perhaps) than a rich person (they have more and at least could give from excess). The widow in the temple is a good lesson as is the parable of the day workers. Both demonstrate Jesus/God’s view of wealth and fairness… Social Justice, if you will. The widow gave her 2 mites after the rich gave their bags. Jesus says she gave MORE that they did since she gave from her need. They gave from the excess. He never said the rich weren’t doing good or that they stole the wealth. It was simple fact that the disparity existed. The point was the degree to which they gave. And finally the day laborers hired by vineyard owner. He hires the men though out the day, and gave the latest hires who did only a few hours work the same amount as the one’s who worked all day. (What kind of Social Justice is that?!!! How unfair!) That’s what the early hires said. The response… the vineyard owner chastised the early hires for grumbling because it was HIS WEALTH to do what he wished. The theological implications are there to be sure BUT so is the view that God has toward wealth. You, our dear little “fellow traveler” are on the wrong side. Agape

  • archangel

    BTW- You never said that wealth is intrinsically evil and unfair, yet it is the premise upon which ALL socialist/Marxist logic starts and it is from which your arguments begin, IMO. It is strongly implied.

  • dry valleys

    Sweden has been an essentially social democratic country for decades, yet it hasn’t become a dictatorship, or desperately poor, or anything remotely like that. Perhaps its biggest problem is digesting its immigrant population, which I wouldn’t have admitted in the first place (I don’t think that is a particularly a “left”/”right” issue).

    Even the parties which are on the right of their system would outrage American conservatives., Yet the reason for this is that their social democratic system is well liked, because people thrive under it. You can find more than enough private firms of any size that happily make money. As JDC reminds us, the social democratic system accepts a market economy, without any intrinsic need for undemocratic politics.

    I cannot speak for unhappy countries in South America, Asia etc. But the sort of thing Bernie Sanders supports, while opposed to neoliberalism, does not lead to an unpleasant state of affairs, as it already exists in Sweden, Germany etc.

    Besides which, this is only a footling discussion as Obama accepts neoliberalism, he did so even before November.

    The argument that American conservatives would use is that European countries may well be prosperous, but you don’t want their culture because you are more individualist.

  • archangel

    No, they just kill people when they get too be a drain on the public purse because of age and/or severity of illness through their “magnificent” socialized healthcare system. Where do you think the “death panels” come into play?

  • JDC

    Rhinestone: Who decides how wealth is distributed now? Do you think only the market can decide? Then how do you feel about Yugoslavia, which operated under the Lange-Lerner model for much of the cold war – that is, “market socialism.” It managed some of the most impressive economic growth of any country in the world, during that period. It’s been argued that market socialism ties up a lot of the loose “ceteris paribus” ends, such that an economy will run more like it is theorized to under neoclassical modeling.

    Archangel: Haha, yes. “Blur a simple point.” That’s a good way to avoid having to actually address the majority of what I said. Nonetheless, I will continue to grant you the courtesy you have denied me:

    1) By your references to Free Will I am not sure where you’re going, specifically. Is it purely the capacity for coercion in the form of social change at the institutional level? Because I’ve got to tell you, that mindset is a bit of a slippery slope. It can very easily lead to a fatalistic view (perhaps a bit ironic in the context of free will): we can never reform society for the better, so let’s stop worrying and focus on finding Christ in our lives. By this perspective, the civil rights movement shouldn’t have bothered, yes? They’re forcing society to accept equality through State (read: intrinsically coercive) action. Women shouldn’t have bothered pursuing suffrage, but rather should have spent more time praying, since nothing in this life matters at all. Obviously, you may not espouse these views, but you see what I am saying, yes? Equality in the workplace is really just another battle along those lines, whether you are more fond of Marx, Kropotkin, Albert & Hahnel, or any other advocate with a particular formulation of how this can be achieved.

    In the interests of further exploring the perspective of where liberty of the will falls into my philosophy, I’ll give you a summary: Isaiah Berlin’s Two Concepts of Liberty distinguishes between Positive and Negative liberty. The former: action with content, having a role in deciding governance, or “freedom to” in the analysis of Erich Fromm. Negative liberty: a lack of barriers or coercion, Hobbesian liberty, or “freedom from” (Fromm again). I believe that a greater degree of positive liberty is needed, and that negative liberty should flow organically from that. In other words, economic democracy. I am particularly fond of the implication therein: that capitalism represents a sort of economic monarchism – or at least oligarchism.

    So, yeah, I am all about free will in the respect that I think you are using it. If you’re rather implying an ABSOLUTE free will, unchained from causality, then that’ll be a subject for another debate.

    2) This… this is a work of beauty here. Let me just quote it:

    “The basic theological tenet and the flawed premise within your own strawmen is that wealth is intrinsically evil because the poor simply do not have it.”

    So, after I point out your strawman arguments, you claim that the strawmen were mine all along – a trans-personal meta-strawman, I guess – WHILE you take an argument I never made and make it as though I did. This is like… Olympic-level strawmanning. Seriously, kudos. I don’t even mean that sarcastically; I am legitimately impressed by this display of rhetoric.

    You then follow up by telling me about a false premise I never used and a conclusion I never expressed. Let me cut through this gordian knot of misunderstanding: you’re wrong. Your reading of my words seems to hinge on a belief that wealth cannot exist outside of an exploitative arrangement – a claim that, you guessed it, I never made. The simple existence of wealth does not imply exploitation. Rather, one must determine the source of it to identify that. You know, actually provide some analysis, rather than jumping to conclusions. This is actually one of the reasons Marx himself was so dead-set against utopian socialists; they had no grounding in analysis of the present or of history.

    To simplify this for you, let’s take wealthy people out of the consideration. Poof. Gone. Okay, so what is my point? Whether or not anyone is getting rich off of it, surplus labor extraction is immoral. Please attack THAT point before you go any further, because THAT would actually lead to productive debate, and not a neverending cycle of accusations and clarifications.

    3) What is the “christian view” of wealth and wealth distribution? There’s a lot of room for interpretation, there. Just as you can cite the prodigal son, I can cite the eye of the needle. You bring up Job, I bring up the Acts of the Apostles. Further, if one acknowledges the core of my point: economic exploitation, though legal, constitutes theft, then the particular sort of redistribution I favor is more akin to redress than theft. And before you bring covetousness into this, do remember that my aim is justice. Why is murder forbidden? Is it because we envy those people who do it, but acknowledge that we can’t all do it, so we take it out on said people? Or is it to protect the interest of the murdered? Hint: it’s the latter. If the economic arrangement leads to disproportionate wealth for some by simple dint of being on the right side of the Carnegie family compound, while others strive endlessly and end up dying of an easily treatable condition due to lack of funding, then there is a matter of justice to consider, and my aim is to protect the interest of the latter.

    Funny that you would go so far to defend the status quo (which itself has changed often since the formation of the Church) as to deny acts of noble purpose. Consider this, though: I consider profit extraction to be theft from the workers (the people who actually generated it); you consider redistribution theft from the capitalist. Can it exist both ways? It’s shaping up so any movement of capital at all could constitute theft. But then, Proudhon already beat us to that punch with his declaration that “all property is theft.”

    The bible contains quite a few cases for financial restitution. Is that theft? Because it is, literally, what I am advocating.

    Starting 4) a little early: “Russia, China, most of Europe, South America. That’s a pretty wide swath.”

    Russia: See the fall of the USSR. Russia has been a market economy for decades, now.
    China: See Deng’s transition from communism to State Capitalism. The central party still calls itself communist, but in terms of policy they’re nothing at all like it.
    Europe: I think you’re confusing social democracy for socialism again. The UK is capitalist. France is capitalist. Germany is capitalist. Hell, SWEDEN is capitalist. Sorry, you’re going to have to flesh this out better than “eh, most of ‘em.” *waves hand vaguely*

    Also, please don’t reference the Nazi party as socialist. Yes, it was in their name. Hitler was harnessing a very volatile strain of fascism by using the rhetoric of economic synthesis and then subsequently revealed his true purpose once he assumed power. One of his first acts was to abolish trade unions, and some of the first people in the concentration camps were communists. That should be a tipoff.

    Ultimately, atrocities can and have been committed in the name of virtually every cause – even one as positive as Christianity. This is a symptom of a tendency towards radical authoritarianism in human association, and not a sign of any underlying weakness in the movement itself.

    Also, I’d like to hear more about how Marxist nations “destroyed” their own economies. Stalin waffled a bit on the five year plans, but they still represent the most rapid period of industrialization in history. The average life expectancy of a Chinese citizen more than doubled from 1949-1976, during which time literacy went from 15% to 80-90% and economic growth averaged about 10% per year, even during the cultural revolution. Obviously, Mao and Stalin were also murderous dictators, but I maintain that it is possible to isolate the positive from the negative. The Nazi medical experiments of Mengele, Strughold, et al, were grotesque and immoral, but we still take aspirin and draw much of our understanding of the human body under extreme low pressure from their experimentations. J. Marion Sims, the father of gynecology, did much of his work by experimenting on slaves – a horrific reality, but not one that enticed us to discard the edifice of gynecology. If we found out tomorrow that Isaac Newton was a child molester, would we say, “welp, so much for physics”?

    A crucial point in the midst of your final paragraph: “And just as he fed the multitudes, we are called to help feed the multitudes by WILLINGLY giving what we can.” What if most of the population is willing to assert a social order which does this? Is that valid? For some reason, the impression I keep getting is that charity is fine, but once it becomes institutionalized it is somehow less valuable – that we have no calling to make our society just, “because God.” How about this: if your society consists of two people, is one giving to the other charity or society? What if it’s twelve people? When does “sharing” become some easily-dismissable, impersonal State act? 100 people? 1000? 10000? 100000? Charity treats the symptom, but if you have the capacity to treat the root of the problem, then we must do so.

    You say that we must right ourselves with God, but your implication seems to be that such is where our responsibilities end. Please correct me if I’m incorrect; don’t want to put words in your mouth, but it’s hard to read a denial of the necessity of social reform as anything better than “the poor and exploited need to deal with it.” Paul of Tarsus was wary of that sort of purely internal dialogue. While the purely exultant element of the Christian revelation, that of universality and divine immanence, was key, he warned against and combated the tendency to lose what he saw as the proper balance between religious aspirations of the individual and that of the larger christian community, as such a balance was the true gospel. He acknowledged that such a state could lead to spiritual elitism, and even to a denial of a future collective resurrection because personal resurrection was already deemed present.

    “He never said the rich weren’t doing good or that they stole the wealth.” Nor did I. That would be a categorical blanket-statement about a class of people. That also doesn’t mean that they don’t. It needs to be regarded structurally.

    Finally, the real problem with the vineyard owner is that he didn’t make explicit the terms of employment. I am kidding, of course, but all jokes aside, no, one cannot extrapolate a socioeconomic message from that parable. Jesus explicitly begins it by indicating that THIS is how the kingdom of heaven operates. Thus, the entire reason that the parable is memorable is because it is so distinct from anything that we would consider materially just that it forces us to think about this matter in a different light. It is EXPLICITLY not what you’re trying to make it, sorry. It’s about the mind and the soul, not the body. You’re just as wrong as the people who try to use that passage to argue in favor of a living income reform. I am pretty dedicated to justice, but I also recognize the limits of the discussion, and wouldn’t try to shoehorn the case into an ill-fitting passage.

    So, yes, God cares about our actions at an individual level. However, the sum of our individual actions is a social order, and once we abstract it to a sufficient degree and alienate ourselves from it, it begins to mask the injustices within our actions at an individual level. Read up on the Tragedy of the Commons, for example. God never said not to analyze society – indeed, I would say that the recognition of the failures of civilization is roughly as important as an examination of individual conscience.

    (Also, I’m not sure, are you saying “agape” as in “my mouth is hanging agape at the things you’re saying,” or are you referring to the Greek word for love that Christian doctrine counterposes with eros? My assumption is that it is a play-on of both. Did I get it?)

  • JDC

    Archangel: “Where do you think the “death panels” come into play?”

    Nowhere, actually; that’s a rhetorical contrivance from a right wing that has altogether given up on honesty.

  • Rhinestone Suderman

    Actually, Europe, whether it’s got a neo-liberal, liberal-liberal, national socialist (????) or just out-and-out socialist/Marxist state is having a lot of problems, not the least of which involve absorbing immigrant populations, large numbers of whom remain on the dole, and out of work, while trying to appease those who are still working, by keeping up their generous retirement plans, cradle-to-grave healthcare, 4-week vacations, benefits, etc., as the pool of people actually working shrinks, and demands rise.

    (Just to reiterate—I get suspicious when people start throwing around esoteric terms such as “Neoliberal”, “National socialist”, etc.; in fact, I think any term involving the prefix “neo” should be banned. But that’s just me.)

    There’s the sad spectacle of Greece, as well as the current student riots in the U.K. over raising tuition for students.

    Such prosperity as Europe has doesn’t seem solid, or lasting. For one thing, they aren’t reproducing, and will soon be overwhelmed by their Moslem populations, which, for better or worse, will create a new, very un-European culture.

    It should hardly be surprising that America wants to create its own society; after all, it’s populated by people who fled Europe (and other countries) to find freedom here. No reason we should want to do things exactly as Europe does, especially since it doesn’t seem to be working out for the latter.

  • Rhinestone Suderman

    JDC, I gave up on you when you started defending Mengele’s experiments, and Stalin’s Russia.

    Repentence is open to everyone; God will replace the stone in your breast with an actual human heart, but you must pray to Him. I will pray as well. Prayer is what you sorely need.

    Christ and Marxism do not mix, and you cannot serve two masters. Agape!

  • Rhinestone Suderman

    I am using the term “Agape” purely in the term of love and charity. Love and charity are what you need now, for you are beset by evil, and I am sorry for it.

    Seriously. Pray!

  • archangel

    JDC- actually, no… its not a contrivance. Sweden’s healthcare system is the model upon which all other socialized healthcare systems follow. Within that model, committees exist with the sole purpose to determine who gets what treatment… regardless of family input. If the state determines that nanna’s 5 more years isn’t worth it to the state, they deny treatment. These are facts. It is socialisms gift to humanity. To this day I still crack up when Sweden’s (maybe it was Finland’s) doctors went on strike in the 90′s. The death rate actually dropped.

    I echo Rhinestone. I didn’t bother correcting the use of the term agape. His use was my use. In that vein, I pray that you study scripture without class bias and through the eyes of faith. Faith in a God that knows no class. The state is not GOD, though Marx simply wishes it were thus. Any thought system that denies free is simply an evil incarnation.

  • archangel

    BTW- Your strawmen fell apart on their own because you began from a false premise. You fancy yourself as logical so you should realize that if one begins with false premise, then the entire argument is false… regardless how verbose the argument is. Simplicity is a wonderful thing. Which explains why human logic with all its maneuvers and convolutions is no match for the simplicity of God.


  • JDC

    I’m getting the impression that nobody is actually reading what I’m typing, so I’ll keep this one super-short to avoid you all reading things I didn’t say into my words:

    1) Hoooly hell. I never defended Mengele. Read what I wrote. No, wait, here, let me make it even simpler: I was saying that just because he was a monster doesn’t mean nothing even a little positive came from his life. We all agree Hitler was despicable, yet many of us drive Volkswagons. Do you understand? Is anything about that confusing? If we are to say that Socialism has no value whatsoever because of Monster X or Y, we may as well say aspirin has no value whatsoever for the same reason.

    I also forgive you for saying that I am heartless despite not even knowing me, and basing your judgment on an extremely egregious misreading of me. I promise I will never make such a character judgment about you in such a frivolous manner.

    2) Neoliberal is not an esoteric term to me, but I do admit that my background in economics may be the reason for that. To clarify: it is the culture of privatization and deregulation that has taken hold of the orthodoxy as of the early 80s. It is, incidentally, also why tuition rates are going up – not just in Greece. Check out what California’s been putting its state schools through, recently.

    3) Can you back up your statement about Sweden’s death panels? Do you have any sources you can point me towards? I’d love to read about it, but I haven’t been able to find any record of it.

    4) What strawmen? What was my false premise? What logical fallacy have you accused me of? Do I even get to know what charges are being brought to bear against my logic, or has my fate been determined as Herr K. in Kafka’s Trial?

    I have actually demonstrated where and why your statements were strawmen. Pointing back at me and saying “yeah, well STRAWMAN right back at you” is not an exercise in logic. It’s barely even rhetoric. It’s childish, and now is the time to put away childish things.

    The trajectory of this discussion has been such that so far the only way you’ve been able to contest anything I’ve said has been to (either deliberately or not) misinterpret and misrepresent me. If you can’t actually bring a real argument of your own to bear that isn’t “neener-neener you’re a sinner who should pray for forgiveness” then I’ll politely take my leave, for this discussion will indeed have already ended, but not by my hand.

  • Rhinestone Suderman

    “Just because he was a monster, doesn’t mean nothing a little positive came out of his life.”

    Re-read these words. Think about them. You are defending him, and you are defending Socialism, responsible for countless deaths in the 20th Century.

    Listen; a “little positive” does not make up for great evil. I would happily give up Volkswagens, if it meant there would be no Hitler; I would give up asprin, in exchange that the horror of Nazi medical experiments never occurred.

    You need to pray, and you need to study scripture, without class bias.

  • Rhinestone Suderman

    Nothing can excuse the millions murdered, and lives blighted, under Stalin and Mao. Whatever they achieved wasn’t worth the cost in blood and agony.

    Marx and Jesus are opposed to each other.


  • JDC

    “A little good does not make up for a great evil” is a fine sentiment. However, evil also does not invalidate good. Sorry to break it to you, but every time you use aspirin you are validating this point. Bargaining (“I would give up [blank] if [blank] etc”) does not strengthen your case. It can’t be undone and we must simply move forward understanding that even a broken clock is right twice a day.

    “Socialism” (remember, an economic system and completely detached from the authoritarian connotation you’re trying to apply to it) was not directly responsible for “countless deaths.” People who have claimed to stand for it and used that argument to bolster totalitarian regimes, sure. People use anything others will rally behind as a justification for that sort of thing. Sometimes it’s for glory. Sometimes it’s equality. Sometimes it’s the pursuit of wealth. Sometimes it’s God. I imagine you’re able to acknowledge that atrocities committed in God’s name don’t diminish God, but rather missed the point. It’s really not a huge step to realize that that thinking can be applied elsewhere. These things are worth considering, before throwing out the baby with the bathwater.

    And even then, the simple fact remains that “some people killed other people” is not a valid reason for why workplace equality cannot exist.

    Also, what, exactly does “without class bias” mean?

    Finally, please don’t tell me what I ‘need’ to be doing. I don’t do that to you, and I’m the one you’re accusing of advocating totalitarianism.

  • Rhinestone Suderman

    Again, you are making excuses for dictators, JDC. You are using the “Hitler made the trains run on time!” excuse.

    Other countries industrialized, and made progress in medicine without torture, secret police and wholesale murder.

    We cannot undo what happened in the past, but we can make sure it does not happen again in the future, by falling for the same old lies.

    The means shape the ends. You do not get good from evil.

    Socialism IS authoritarian, by its very nature. You cannot serve Jesus and Marx; Christianity is not about using other people to further the ends of the state, even supposedly noble ends.

    Reading the Bible without class bias means that, when you read it, you open yourself up completely to the word of God. You put away all envy and hatred of those you consider to be of the “wrong” class, and all bias in favor of those you consider to be the “oppressed.” You take the 10 Commandments to heart, realizing they apply to all, not just Socialist designated bad guys, and good guys; you will ask yourself if the Kingdom of Heaven can really be achieved by political means, and, even if humans are happy to forget mass murder, God will be quite so forviging at judgment.

    Archangel has given you some good pointers in his previous posts. You should go back and read them.

    You need to pray, and you need to read the Bible, without trying to force Marxist interpretations on it.

  • Rhinestone Suderman

    The broken clock argument will not fly. If your clock is broken, you replace it with one that tells the right time, all the time. If your political system is so broken that it’s killing millions of its own citizens, ruining your economy and miring people in poverty, you get a new one, that doesn’t do that.

    You do not commit evil acts hoping something good will eventually come out of them.

    Archangel’s comments #49 and #53 are very good; re-read them. Read the Bible, and pray.


  • Rhinestone Suderman

    Workplace equality can be achieved without “Some people killing other people.”
    If someone tells you murder is the only way to achieve equality, would you follow him, or would you denounce him?

    The compounds that go into making asprin were discovered by a French chemist in 1899, and Bayer—a capitalist business enterprise—began distributing it in the United States. It was used during the 1918 Influenza epidemic. Will you stop taking asprin because it was popularized by an evil coporation? Haven’t corporations actually done more good in the world, than either Nazis, or Marxists? (No, they’re not perfect, but isn’t their overall track record better?)

    Read the Bible, Pray.


  • JDC

    Rhinestone, I am at a loss. Not because your arguments are unimpeachable, or even particularly good – or, in quite a few cases, borderline incomprehensible (you really don’t understand the meaning of the “broken clock” idiom?) – but because I can’t seem to figure out who the person you are debating could be, or if he or she ever existed.

    Now, I am sure I appreciate you taking the time and effort to share all of those words with me. Thing is, there is a three-pronged process at work in discussion, particularly when text is involved: Read -> Comprehend -> Respond. In your case it seems more akin to Read [the first word of every line] -> Go Into Paroxysms of Ill-advised Evangelical Antagonism -> Respond.

    I sincerely hope you find the person who said the things against which you’re arguing, so you can get some closure for all of that misplaced ire. However, if your aim is to shoehorn me into their position, then I’m afraid you’re in for a long and pointless series of disappointments, and I’ll have none of that comedy of errors; consider this my last reply until you can parse what I’ve actually said.

  • Rhinestone Suderman

    JDC, I think we both made ourselves pretty clear on where we stand.

    Because you are a Socialist, you are willing to forgive great evil, if you think a future Utopia will emerge from it. Even when socialist societies collpase, you want to find some good in them that made it all worthwhile. I comprehend this.

    You need to read the Bible, without trying to force it into a Marxist box. You should also go back and re-read Archangel’s posts.


  • Doc

    Today, Instapundit posted a great discussion on Communism and those who minimize the evil which always accompanies it.

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