Convergence

James S. Valliant's picture
Submitted by James S. Valliant on Thu, 2007-07-19 19:56

The Religious Right in America shares something very "fundamental" with contemporary Islamic fundamentalism. The latest symptom? Creationism.


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James S. Valliant's picture

out

A Second Dark Age?

James S. Valliant's picture

America has been heading for that for some time now.

Michael

Erik Christensen's picture

I agree that both James and Casey make good points (some which I have agreed with here at SOLO). Peikoff IS being dishonest insofar as he continues to use his DIM hypothesis as a vehicle to incorrectly ascribe certain problems to a theocratic menace that does not exist in the form and scope that he attributes to it(and I'm sure he's thought long and hard on it). That's the whole point, isn't it?-it's not a sufficient explanation. To someone who is dedicated to objectivity, reason, fact, and truth I find it dis-arming that he would even attempt to postulate that position with such zeal, down to the minutiae. If it is an 'honest' mistake, then at best Objectivism suffers from a false premise on this issue to begin with from its 'leading' authority.

Thanks Erik

Michael Moeller's picture

I want to make a couple notes, though, regarding your earlier comments. I, for one, don't think Peikoff is "dishonest". I think he sincerely believes what he is saying based on DIM and his assessment of the evidence. Whether this is sufficient is, of course, another question.

Also, the ARI camp is not uniform on this topic. There appears to be a big divide based on Peikoff's election statement. When the earlier debate happened here, many on Peikoff's side also did not agree with with the blanket Dem vote or the prospect of theocracy, so painting them all with a broad brush is unfair to them. James and Casey are also good guys and highly intelligent, which makes for good debate on these topics regardless of our differences.

Regards,
Michael

An Objectivist after my own heart and mind

Erik Christensen's picture

Michael, I love reading your posts, they're very well written and concise. I appreciate your devotion to facts and CONTEXT. Excellent rebuttals.

James

Michael Moeller's picture

You wrote: "It was the internal politics -- and, thus, ultimately, the internal philosophy -- of AMERICA that she regarded as the FAR MORE important element.

Yes, James, I think it is obvious that our own internal politics have a greater impact on our lives--that goes without saying. My point is that we are NOT dealing with the "Christians of yore", they have been integrated into the West. To the extent that they accept Western values, that is what "weakens" them. What makes you think that Americans as a whole are going to accept a fundamentalist Christian line?

If you think that they are becoming more fundamentalist, on what evidence do you base this? As I laid out to Casey, the polls indicate the opposite and policy in terms of social issues is way better than it has been historically.

James, I am unable to evaluate "threats" when you speak in broad generalizations. For instance, you wrote:

"And, the worst that WESTERN mystics and collectivists and altruists can do to us is FAR MORE THREATENING than a mere nuclear explosion.

AND

"No, Christian politics won't be exactly like the past, Michael -- but just listen to the Christianists, they will happily tell you their goals."

James, I want YOU to tell me what you think is going to happen. *What* do YOU think are "their goals"? In what ways do you think they are "converging"? What are/will Christians do that is "FAR MORE THREATENING" than nuclear bombs? Please, lay these out for me concretely. And if it is abortion, creationism, etc. then you might just be "concrete-bound" like the rest of us. As Diana wrote in her essay "WHy I Am Voting For Democrats":

"Based upon recent threads on Objectivist discussion boards, many Objectivists seem to think that the meaning of Christian government in America is limited to marginal issues like abortion, stem-cell research, evolution, euthanasia, and the like. That's completely false. Christianity is an all-embracing worldview: otherwordly, mystical, altruistic, and authoritarian. Its holy scriptures are explicitly and unequivocally opposed to all the values of this world: success, wealth, pleasure, science, justice, love, reason, pride, independence, and even long-range planning.In recent decades, ever-growing millions of American Christians, both Catholics and Protestants, have embraced an ever-truer faith. They are committed to living in obedience to God. They are rediscovering the actual meaning of the teachings of the New Testament. They are rejecting the common sense worldliness that has long tempered American Christianity; they are embracing the blind emotionalism of faith. Ominously, they are raising an even more radical generation of Christians, teaching them to be "sons of God" rather than "children of the world," just as Augustine demanded. This new Christianity is a whole new animal."

AND

"More particularly, most critics of Dr. Peikoff dismiss as insignificant (or even deny) the rise of a new form of Christianity among millions of Americans over the last three decades. They treat Christianity as relevant to little more than birth and death, i.e. to abortion and euthanasia, even though millions of Christians are determined to live by the actual teachings of the New Testament. They claim that America's sense of life makes theocracy impossible, as if the sense of life of a nation is independent of and impervious to massive changes in explicit philosophy. In essence, they do not recognize that Christianity is an all-encompassing philosophy with the power to drag America into a second Dark Ages if unchecked."

The "second Dark Ages", James? Christians in the Augustine mold? That's why in my last post to you I laid out the type of policies that would be implemented if we were to see a theocracy and a "second Dark Ages". Your response seem to indicate that that these types were not coming back (i.e. "No, Christian politics won't be exactly like the past, Michael "). So I take it you disagree with Diana's assessment here? What *exactly* do you envision?

Honestly, James, I never thought I would see the day when Objectivists urged voting for militant New Leftists en masse, especially with the reasoning that theocracy is coming to America.

Casey

Michael Moeller's picture

You wrote: "Creationism is not subject to the crucible of data. Confusing it with science would harm the institution of science itself beyond anything that any scientific theory could.".

And evironmentalists claiming a theory based exclusively on science without any religious underpinnings is less harmful to science? Casey, religious dogma is probably the most obvious form of "just believing". That's why I say it doesn't fly in the "modern age of science and technology". To a primitive mind where there is minimal scientific understanding and knowledge, those "blanks" are more easily filled in with a call to God.

However, where science DOES explain more and more, the explanation "because the Bible says so" looks more and more ridiculous. This mentality is operating off of pure assertion and acceptance.

To become increasingly convincing one must establish a theory in fact. This is where environmentalism has the advantage. When asked for justification of their theory, they can point to actual facts (eg. a degree rise in the last century, the "hockey stick" graph, etc.). That their theory completely ignores/evades other facts that destroy the theory doesn't change the fact that they offer a a cognitive point in reality as opposed to mere assertion. In that respect, it rises above simply "just believing", there exists at least some factual basis for their theory.

Casey, if you truly believe that people are so wedded to the most base form of dogma and impervious to science, then we should all pack our bags and go home. If that mentality will choose non-adherence to reality over everything else, then what chance would Objectivists have from a fact-based standpoint? None.

And then you implicitly deny this in terms of environmentalism. In that case, you allow that people will have a greater allegiance to reality (i.e. science over pseudo-science). You can't have it both ways. In other words, you seem to think there is a magic spell cast by religious dogma that is convincing because it calls to another realm. That's precisely why it doesn't convince, it is the furthest point from reality in the continuum of cognition. You cannot say: "People will choose a greater allegiance to facts when presented with pseudo-science"; then turn around and say: "but when it comes to nothing but assertion and complete dogma, they will choose that over an allegiance to reality".

I am not sure what the cite of that nuclear article was suppose to prove. That Al Gore appeared in an ad with companies with ties to nuclear power? Why not just go to the major players themselves and see what they say? I did a little more digging, and according to a blogger who listened to the entire NEI testimony, Al Gore did NOT mention nuclear power once. Here are some more statements from Al Gore. As one of the congressmen pointed out, when he was VP he denied "increased reliance on nuclear power". He worries about "safety" and the economics of building nuclear power? Coming from the same people who made it it so costly as a result of their earlier jihad against nuclear power replete with neverending maze of regulations? "Biofuels" ARE economically viable? He hides behind "safety" even though Europe has used it as a main source of power for a long time now?

Nuclear power has been a real thorn in the side of environmentalists. If anything, it illustrates just how dishonest and disingenuous they really are. Al Gore and the rest of them very well know that nuclear power CAN be an economic alternative energy source that would reduce emissions, which does not permit them to hide behind global warming. Instead, they say its not "economic" or "safe".

Check out how the three major Dem candidates answer the question here. How's that for ringing endorsements of nuclear power? Edwards bulldozes the idea altogether in favor of "biofuels". After all, those are economically viable, right? I am not even sure what Obama said, except that he doesn't oppose it altogether but we need a policy in the "national interest".

Hilary is a gem, she is "agnostic" and has some grand plan for the government to expropriate $50 billion to fund god knows what. Click on the recording on this page where she talks about her "Strategic Energy Fund". Lovely, isn't it? No mention of nuclear power, but there is a new ethanol plant!! My favorite part: she plans to fund it with the "windfall profits" of the oil companies where they "play or pay". That is, if they refuse to invest in her harebrained scheme for "alternative energies" she'll use the government to force them to pay. Boy am I excited. Vote'em all I say!!

I'll give you this, Casey, more honest environmentalists endorse nuclear energy because it reduces emissions. Even in this case, its entirely through the lens of global warming that they advocate nuclear power. The major candidates, while not always denouncing it altogether, refuse to lay out any plans because of their concerns about "safety" and economic viability.

Regards,
Michael

Linz

James S. Valliant's picture

No, the Bush family did not invent our attitude towards the Saudi's.

They just perfected it.

In your "war for civilization" -- and since 9/11 -- this is treason.

In any event, how long can "progress" last without dealing with Iran and Syria?

Oh, come on James!

Lindsay Perigo's picture

W. scarcely started America's cosiness with the Saudis. Are you seriously calling him a traitor on account of it? This package is matched by a big increase in arms to Israel. And yes, it's pissing the Iranians off. The Bushies are well aware of the Saudi "blind eye." One would hope the arms come with a behind-the-scenes commitment to opening it. It's not ideal, but it's the same old "they may be bastards but at least they're our bastards" policy that US administrations have practised all our lives. Call them all treacherous if you will, but the real traitors in the current conflict are the Dem-scum who want to signal surrender and furnish a timetable for withdrawal, just at a time when even critics of the war in Iraq are acknowledging a turnaround thanks to the Surge. Excerpt:

Here is the most important thing Americans need to understand: We are finally getting somewhere in Iraq, at least in military terms. As two analysts who have harshly criticized the Bush administration’s miserable handling of Iraq, we were surprised by the gains we saw and the potential to produce not necessarily “victory” but a sustainable stability that both we and the Iraqis could live with. After the furnace-like heat, the first thing you notice when you land in Baghdad is the morale of our troops. In previous trips to Iraq we often found American troops angry and frustrated — many sensed they had the wrong strategy, were using the wrong tactics and were risking their lives in pursuit of an approach that could not work. Today, morale is high. The soldiers and marines told us they feel that they now have a superb commander in Gen. David Petraeus; they are confident in his strategy, they see real results, and they feel now they have the numbers needed to make a real difference.

Hillary/Gore/Obama for Pres? Saddamite Dem-scum across the board? Now that would be treacherous!

Linz

Eek.

JoeM's picture

"Mr. Bush is hatching a $20 billion arms deal with his good buddies, the Saudis."

Yeah, that's gonna help the cause. Eek.

************************************************

Spaceplayer Sight and Sound

Bush's Buddies

James S. Valliant's picture

Perhaps this isn't the place, but, Linz, I just have to observe that Mr. Bush is hatching a $20 billion arms deal with his good buddies, the Saudis. You know how well the supplying of arms to dubious regimes has gone for us in the past, and we all know how clean such transactions tend to be, right?

In the past, something like Iran's opposition by itself would have convinced us of the project's merit -- and it is tempting -- but this is a bad idea that can come back to bite the West in the tail -- don't you think?

Of course, the deal does face certain hurdles -- but only from the "Dem-Scum".

Now, who's the "traitor" in all of this?

Let me take one issue,

Casey's picture

And that is your belief that junk science employed to advance theories such as global warming is more dangerous than Intelligent Design masquerading as science.

I predict that within 5 years, Global Warming will be greatly revised and challenged by science itself. Already this is happening because Gore overplayed the hand by claiming that the science is settled. That does not wash in science. The science is never "done." As long as Global Warming theory relies on science, it will be subject to refutation by science. As long as it claims scientific evidence as its basis, it will rise or fall based on scientific evidence for and against.

The fundamentally more dangerous aspect of intelligent design being taught alongside evolution in science classrooms is that it does not even claim to have a basis in science. It attacks the science of evolution as though applying a scientific scrutiny -- but lurking in the background is the everpresent and scientifically baseless alternative explanation of an omnipotent, infinite, ageless, omniscient, unknowable god having created everything. There is no way to scientifically challenge this explanation and there is no scientific basis for this assertion offered. Yet it wants to wear a labcoat and stand next to evolution as though it is scientific.

Whatever you think about Global Warming theory, those who profess its validity do so by referring to evidence that is testable. No one who professes "intelligent design" will ever accept a scientific challenge to their belief -- because the assertion is not and can not be based on any scientific evidence. All it rests on is the incomplete (non-omniscient) status of science at any given time as proof that human beings can not know everything and therefore (fill in the blanks with God). To insist that this blatant mysticism be accorded the same status as science is far more dangerous than global warming theory ever could be.

In the last 100 years, global warming and cooling theories have sprung up every 20 years or so, and are always dispatched and replaced by new data -- because they are scientific theories. Creationism is not subject to the crucible of data. Confusing it with science would harm the institution of science itself beyond anything that any scientific theory could.

One more thing, on nuclear power. See this article: http://www.counterpunch.org/nu...

A quote:

"The NEI's Kyoto packet includes a long list of endorsements ranging from Tom Clancy and the Pope to Hazel O'Leary and green guru James Lovelock, inventor of the Gaia Hypothesis, who is quoted as saying, "Nuclear power has an important contribution to make." Also proudly displayed for the Kyoto conferees is a statement by Al Gore's good friend, Rep. Bob Clement, Democrat from Tennessee, who says, "With the implementation of the Clean Air Act and the administration's increased concern about global climate change and acid rain, renewed attention has been focused on nuclear energy's significant environmental benefits. Environmental awareness coupled with increased basic needs for electricity are becoming critical in certain regions of the country. Nuclear energy, along with a strong conservation program and energy efficiency programs, is a smart choice."

They are not alone on the left in advocating for nuclear power. Many of your arguments about the left are somewhat dated -- this is one of them.

Outstanding, Michael

Lindsay Perigo's picture

Unfortunately, what you're arguing against is the adapting of evidence to fit a predetermined conclusion—the overarching evil of Christianity all else above, and the imminence of a Christian theocracy (and the validity of the disgusting fatwa)—rather than the adapting of a conclusion to evidence. This—Hsiekovianism—is accompanied by appropriately buttock-clenched flouncing by Diana. It's a perversion of Objectivism, and must be resisted as a matter of urgency. And none too politely, either. I confidently predict that your wonderful posts will have absolutely no impact on your adversaries in this debate, since they make it a virtue never to budge on anything, regardless of the arguments—but will be seen by unbiased observers as the knock-out blows against Hsiekovian hysteria that they are.

Linz

Casey-Part 2

Michael Moeller's picture

Since you took on my policy examples, I want to address yours. Let's start with abortion. Casey, abortion was completely banned by the turn of the 20th century, and states did not begin overturning it until the late '60's. Did this usher in a Christian fundamentalist government? The polls of the country weigh slightly in favor of Roe v. Wade and they have been unchanged for the past 10 years. It seems some Objectivists have a fear of the new justices, even though Justice Roberts said in confirmation that Roe v. Wade is "established precedent". I think its highly unlikely this decision gets struck down anytime soon.

But the wider and more important point I want to make here is that such a ban has to be achieved through the political process, including upholding it in the courts (via legal philosophy, NOT interpretation of the Bible). As Scalia wrote: "You want a right to an abortion, create it the way most most rights are created in a democracy: Pass a law. If you don't want it, pass a law the other way."

You know who started this submission of individual rights to majority will? Justice Holmes in his dissent in Lochner whereby he denied freedom of contract in favor of "the right of a majority to have their opinions embodied in law." (Salzman writes a good primer/overview on substantive due process in his article "Property and Principle" in the The Objective Standard, which is hightly relevant to these issues. Plus the book by Bernard Siegan he reviews is good).

While the underlying legal philosophies are different (one concrete-bound, the other subjective), they advocate using the same means, i.e. majority will. The liberals have used it against economic rights, the conservatives against social issues--the liberals having MUCH GREATER SUCCESS. Holmes's dissent set the stage for the next century whereby minimum wage, price controls, maximum working hours, all kinds of regulations on interstate commerce, etc. became rampant. Most of which are still with us today. Consider that abortion is now legal, while the Court's liberals just pushed through Kelo, which hangs like the Sword of Damocles over every square inch of property in this country. And they are no longer relevant, you say?

The Christians have been some juggernaut against gay rights, too. Over the last approx. 30 years sodomy and anti-homosexual laws have been decriminalized in most of the states. This is the same time period in which you claim Reagan unleashed the "kooky Christian evangelicals". The Supreme Court put a nail in the coffin with Lawrence v. Texas in 2003 where they struck down a Texas sodomy law, thus overruling a 1986 precedent. Note in this case only 3 justices dissented, one of which (Justice Thomas) said the law was "silly". Now, if you were giving an argument for theocracy, would you include this case and some random cohabitation of unmarried couples case without this wider context? Diana did in "Why I'm Voting for the Democrats".

Now on to Creationism in schools. You mean besides the fact that ID is barely taught anywhere? You mean besides the Supreme Court knocking it down in 1987 and with the recent decision in Dover, PA? Compare that to the time of the Scopes Monkey Trial where it was creationism that was taught and evolution that got tossed from court.

On the basis of these issues, if you were to look back 100 years at the culture then, how would you compare it to today? Which is more secular? Which would you think is more in line with a fundamentalist Christian government? Even then, did it usher in a Christian fundamentalist government?

Casey-Part 1

Michael Moeller's picture

Thanks for the good wishes.

The problem that I have with your posts is that they are operating in a philosophical void. You cannot start will observations about fundamental Christianity and proceed to deduce and speculate about the rest--doesn't wash. You have to look at what is actually happening in politics. Among your assumptions is that evangelicals have or will have stong political will, that they will comprise a monolith in the Republican party, that they enforce a fundamentalist Christian line, and that Americans will swallow it whole. You have to establish these things in fact.

In answer to my claim that the pseudo-science of the Greens is more convincing than literal interpretation of the Bible, you wrote: "Emphatically NO! No, no, no, no NO!! There is a fundamental difference between awarding mystical Creationist mythology the same status as science! In the one case we are threatened with junk science and bad science that will be hoisted on its own pitard -- science! On the other hand we have the smug declaration that a god, and a very specific god, created everything and no science will ever be allowed to refute it. Can't you see which is more dangerous?"

I want to start here because I think this is the most revealing. So thousands of scientists from the most prestigious universities and institutions like NASA have no credibility, but a hellfire preacher with a bible in one hand and a crucifix in the other shrieking about "End Times" is eminently convincing? Americans will grasp the science refuting computer models, but will unthinkingly accept that animals were preserved in an ark?

Implicit in your reasoning is that Americans are complete imbeciles willing to swallow any ridiculous pabulum if given by religionists; yet, somehow they are still able to distinguish between science and pseudo-science and come out in favor of science. Casey, don't you see the epistemological problem with this? Also, consider how this compares to Rand's statement about religious Americans (Ayn Rand Answers, pg 63):

"In America, religion is relatively nonmystical. Religious teachers here are predominately good, healthy materialists. They follow common sense. They would not stand in our way. The majority of religious people in this country do not accept on faith the idea of jumping into a cannibal's pot and giving away their last shirt to backward people of the world...You would not find too much opposition to Objectivism among religious Americans...If you want to be a full Objectivist, you cannot reconcile that with religion; but that doesn't mean religious people cannot be individualists and fight for freedom. They can, and this country is the best proof of it." (I recommend reading the whole thing.)

If your assessment differs from hers, on what evidence do you base it? Meanwhile, consider these polls Stephen Speicher posted The Forum during the earlier debate. Notice, Casey, the first date is 1985, when you alleged that Reagan was "breathing life into the of "born again" Christians, gave it a new poltical leverage, and ushered in a renaissance of pre-Renaissance Christian cultural relevance." Do those numbers strike you like Americans are increasingly eager to embrace hellfire and brimstone?

As to the the DDT, I think you are missing my point. I wasn't stating that this is a new fad, I was simply pointing out that they mean what they say and they will act on it IF given the chance--to devastating effect. I wouldn't call these results "toothless".

"They won't get a chance. Not in a million years" with the latest fad (i.e. reducing the "carbon footprint")? Uh, they've already instituted a scheme in Europe. Take a good look at the future, my friend, when you vote them in wholesale. People have already began doing it voluntarily here. You think that these noble souls sacrificing for the planet are going to have any qualms about sacrificing everybody else to their cause (See Al Gore thread).

Who on the Left is arguing for nuclear power? Honestly, I want to know. I heard some Republican candidates, nothing from the Left. What I do hear from them daily is government subsidies and forced acceptance of "alternative energies" like windmills, solar panels, and shoveling corn into your gas tank. All supported by the government without a prayer in hell of supplying the energy necessary to run the modern American economy. Notice that the wave of the future in energy (i.e. fuel cells) is ALREADY being denounced by environmentalists 15 years ahead of time. Anti-technology, anti-mind, anti-life across the board.

They've been doing it for 40 years and now, shutting down nuclear power, preventing oil drilling, preventing any new oil refineries for 25 years, the EPA, The Clean Air Act, The Endangered Species Act, countless regulations on real estate, and on and on and on. Miraculously, they are suddenly going to stop because you think the fundamentalist Christianity is a'comin'? They are merely "slowing down the agenda here and there"?

You mean to tell me that they are indoctrinating elementary school children with An Inconvenient Truth and throwing worldwide concerts on "climate change" just for kicks? Environmental organizations with dollars running in the billions are merely going to sit on it? Its too bad the first few links on Mr. Bidinotto's site appear to be dead as they outlined just how influential and well-funded the environmental movement is in international politics. Honestly, Casey, I am surprised at your response, which seems to include a heavy dose of denial (eg. "Not in a million years"). I figured for a response in the Peikoff mold, such as these are "standard liberal evils" and only "digustingly bad" while the Republicans are "apocalyptic bad" (see his 2004 election statement).

You think nationalized healthcare is dead? Did you know that EVERY SINGLE Dem candidate has endorsed the "single payer" system? They got stopped last time (by the Repubs), but when you sweep them into power en masse you don't think they will make good on it this time? With extreme power-lusters like Hilary that is wishful thinking. But at least we got somewhere on foreign policy!!

You wrote: "They are running from every fight now, because of multi-culturalism that does allow them to defend any particular values."

But even if I accept this premise (which I don't), don't you see how pernicious this is? Not defending any particular values includes the value that is America. Running from every fight includes the fight with Islamofascists. And they are doing both writ large. Their multiculturalism has attacked ability, in every form and on every level, for as long as its been around. No problem giving safe harbor to organizations like C.A.I.R, though. In the fervor to vote blanket Dem, you guys seem to be completely ignoring the consequences--dangerous.

Regards,
Michael

Gird your loins...

Robert's picture

... grab an air sick bag and type the words Jim Peron (or just Peron) into the SOLOPassion (or Rebirth of Reason) search engine.

Robert if I had a sister you could marry...

mvardoulis's picture

...I'd gladly support it just to get you to become an 'official citizen' and help arrange an Objectivist revolution within the otherwise abysmal, just-above-useless Libertarian Party here in the states. Alas (and probably fortunately), I am an only child, but I'm certain you'll do just fine through the regular channels.

You're quite right about the whack jobs, social misfits and freaks of all stripes occupying the Libertarian Party. Such nutters have always been one of the LP's downfalls (the others being bilking the membership and the already mentioned bizarre ambivalence-to-outright hostility to Objectivism). You got me a little worried when you mentioned a US Lib 'entity' who came to NZ a while back - I don't remember being unceremoniously ejected but then again I drank quite a bit of quite a bit and I was only there for eight days... is that what happened?? It was a bit of a blur but I suspect you're describing another US Lib.

Starting from scratch in the US where the two-headed Statist Party dominates everything seems ever the more challenging than 'revolutionizing' the Libertarian Party, though both strategies present a huge challenge. We can talk about it as your citizenship becomes imminent.

But James...

mvardoulis's picture

...all this time I thought the Anti-Christ was Johnny Rotten! Does he know he's been replaced...?

I was applying for the position as well, but I'm glad you got it, I don't think I could handle the responsibility.

This might be 'inappropriate use of humor' .... Smiling

Micheal...

Robert's picture

And when and if I get US citizenship, endeavouring to forment an Objectivist revolution in the US Libz party is probably the thing I'd be keen to try.

But there are a lot of whack-jobs to turf out first. A certain entity who came to NZ a while back (and got unceremoniously ejected) would be one. The 'Lib' candidate who OD'd on colloidal silver and turned his skin blue (he was trying to fortify himself against the consequences of the millenium bug) would be another.

So I wonder if it wouldn't be easier to start from scratch... Something to look into after I've secured my future in the US.

Robert and James

mvardoulis's picture

I know it's been a hopeless mess that I haven't even supported myself on any level for at least 8 years, but I'd like to think the Libertarian Party in the United Police States has potential if given a proper Objectivist enema. I know that idea is heresy in many U(P)S Objectivist circles, but I enjoy the label 'heretic' about as much as 'infidel'....

SOLO likewise has potential as a global and national pressure group to put pro-liberty policies on the table. I'd like to see SOLO US make enough noise to eventually be able to do exactly that.

Robert

James S. Valliant's picture

You write: "And as I've said before, as long as your policies make it into the houses of government -- you don't necessarily have to."

Profound wisdom, my brother -- and the hope we have until a party of reason is viable.

To be fair...

Robert's picture

... I don't know. NZers appear to be more concrete bound then Americans. They need a physical demonstration of how bad Statism can be before they will come around. My feeling is that there is room in the America for a political party that stands on a principle.

I think that Bush got by Kerry because Kerry was a flip flopper. Bush on the other hand gave the impression that he meant what he said and was prepared to do the unpopular thing if he thought it was right. Otherwise there isn't a hell of a lot to choose between the Reps and Dems. So a party that does stand for freedom and mean it may do better than you might anticipate. Especially as the policies of the Republicans and Democrats converge.

And as I've said before, as long as your policies make it into the houses of government -- you don't necessarily have to.

But here's the thing, and there's no getting by it. You're never going to know what's possible until you try. At least you won't need a shower after pulling the lever at the next election!

Robert...

James S. Valliant's picture

Yes, he meant "liberal" in the good sense. And, of course, you're absolutely right. But it is just as true that, in order to fight the Jihadists, you need "lovers of liberty" - not Republicans!

But what do you realistically expect that even an ideal political party could do in this atmosphere?

James...

Robert's picture

It was indeed visionary. But one thing, I think that Ingersoll refers to Liberals in the original sense of the word - men who believe in liberty as opposed to todays Democrats.

Thus I think that Ingersoll has a point that is pertinent to your argument about the coming Theocracy. That is, if you wish the evangelicals to be opposed, then you need lovers of Liberty sitting opposite them in the houses of government - not Democrats!

Yet another reason to start an Objectivist political party...

Richard

James S. Valliant's picture

Islam, at this level, is irrelevant. Yes, I was talking about Christianity.

The fragility of our civilization is not the result of any external threat -- but its own intellectual foundations.

In another sense, though,

Richard Wiig's picture

In another sense, though, religions in the West are, in a word, ~ converging ~ in their politics. This is still more disturbing.

Christianity and Islam will never converge. Islam stole from Christianity, so of course there are similarities, but they will never converge. The differences are just too great and tehy will remain enemies. Unless you are refering to different Christian sects converging?

And why am I against

Richard Wiig's picture

And why am I against Christianity?

I never said that you shouldn't be against Christianity. I'm against it myself. I simply called for some perspective. In a general sense, Christianity and Islam are both altruist/mystical based, but in a more specific sense there are vast differences. Those distinctions shouldn't be ignored and blurred. Even Ayn Rand expressed a modicum of respect for Christianity. I doubt that she would express the same for Islam.

No, Linz...

James S. Valliant's picture

I am the anti-Christ.

Robert

James S. Valliant's picture

Great stuff.

"It probably will not be long until the churches will divide as sharply upon political, as upon theological questions; and when that day comes, if there are not liberals enough to hold the balance of power, this Government will be destroyed. The liberty of man is not safe in the hands of any church. Wherever the Bible and sword are in partnership, man is a slave."

Now, THAT was a visionary.

In another sense, though, religions in the West are, in a word, ~ converging ~ in their politics. This is still more disturbing.

Biased Loathing Towards Christianity...

Robert's picture

Balls... I'll let Robert Ingersoll do my talking here:

"There was a time in Europe when the Catholic Church had power, and I want it distinctly understood with this jury, that while I am opposed to Catholicism I am not opposed to Catholics -- while I am opposed to Presbyterianism I am not opposed to Presbyterians. I do not fight people -- I fight ideas, I fight principles, and I never go into personalities. As I said, I do not hate Presbyterians, but Presbyterianism -- that is, I am opposed to their doctrine. I do not hate a man that has the rheumatism -- I hate the rheumatism when it has a man. So I attack certain principles because I think they are wrong, but I always want it understood that I have nothing against persons -- nothing against victims." Robert Green Ingersoll.

And why am I against Christianity?

To paraphrase Ingersoll "[I] am satisfied that there can be very little liberty on Earth while men worship a tyrant in heaven."

Why would I believe this?

(1)"Christianity has such a contemptible opinion of human nature that it does not believe a man can tell the truth unless frightened by a belief in God. No lower opinion of the human race has ever been expressed." Robert Green Ingersoll

(2) "We have heard talk enough. We have listened to all the drowsy, idealess, vapid sermons that we wish to hear. We have read your Bible and the works of your best minds. We have heard your prayers, your solemn groans and your reverential amens. All these amount to less than nothing. We want one fact. We beg at the doors of your churches for just one little fact. We pass our hats along your pews and under your pulpits and implore you for just one fact. We know all about your mouldy wonders and your stale miracles. We want a this year's fact. We ask only one. Give us one fact for charity. Your miracles are too ancient. The witnesses have been dead for nearly two thousand years." Robert Geen Ingersoll - The Gods

(3) "The doctrine that future happiness depends upon belief is monstrous. It is the infamy of infamies. The notion that faith in Christ is to be rewarded by an eternity of bliss, while a dependence upon reason, observation and experience merits everlasting pain, is too absurd for refutation, and can be relieved only by that unhappy mixture of insanity and ignorance, called "faith." What man, who ever thinks, can believe that blood can appease God? And yet, our entire system of religion is based upon that belief. The Jews pacified Jehovah with the blood of animals, and according to the Christian system, the blood of Jesus softened the heart of God a little, and rendered possible the salvation of a fortunate few. It is hard to conceive how the human [or rather the objectivist - R] mind can give assent to such terrible ideas, or how any sane man can read the Bible and still believe  in the doctrine of inspiration." Robert Green Ingersoll - The Gods (Emphasis mine & specifically directed at R Wiig)

(4) "The doctrine of eternal punishment is in perfect harmony with the savagery of the men who made the orthodox creeds. It is in harmony with torture, with flaying alive, and with burnings. The men who burned their fellow-men for a moment, believed that God would burn his enemies forever." Robert Green Ingersoll: Crumbling Creeds

(5) "Churches are becoming political organizations....
It probably will not be long until the churches will divide as sharply upon political, as upon theological questions; and when that day comes, if there are not liberals enough to hold the balance of power, this Government will be destroyed. The liberty of man is not safe in the hands of any church. Wherever the Bible and sword are in partnership, man is a slave.
" Robert Green Ingersoll - Mistakes of Moses.

And if anyone reading this realises that the same can be said of Islam, my reply is that that is my point!

Michael

James S. Valliant's picture

Ayn Rand always believed that the Commies would collapse the minute the West stood up -- they weren't "ten feet tall." It was the internal politics -- and, thus, ultimately, the internal philosophy -- of AMERICA that she regarded as the FAR MORE important element. The internal politics of the West HAS turned out to be of FAR, FAR greater importance than the International Communist movement itself. (They had lots of nukes.)

If this was true of the Commies, it's obviously much more true for what we face now. The threat from Jihadists would ALREADY BE OVER -- if the West had its own act together.

And, the worst that WESTERN mystics and collectivists and altruists can do to us is FAR MORE THREATENING than a mere nuclear explosion. (The West ain't goin' Muslim anytime soon.)

I brought up the Crusades only because there are some here who think Christianity inherently superior in some way to Islam. Do YOU?

No, Christian politics won't be exactly like the past, Michael -- but just listen to the Christianists, they will happily tell you their goals.

It is not "treason" to Objectivism, or a "perversion" of it, that Linz is guilty of -- but failing to understand its theory of history in the first instance.

Nutters

Lindsay Perigo's picture

I understand what's happened now. Christianity has become the anti-Christ, and we must drop everything and do anything to stave off the Apocalypse (Christian theocracy "frighteningly soon").

Barking mad.

Hsiekovianism, Perversion of Objectivism.

Linz

Yikers

Michael Moeller's picture

James,

What's the "worst" they could do? You mean to tell me that if the very real possibility of Muslim terrorists exploding a nuclear bomb in the middle Manhattan occured, you would respond: "You ain't seen nothing yet, wait till the Evangelicals get ahold of this government?" I gotta tell ya, you've got me a little speechless right now.

What is all this talk about the Crusades, the Inquisition, and the "Christians of yore"? What *exactly* does your vision of America's future entail? Inquistors on the Supreme Court? The Bible replacing the Constitution? A foreign policy similar to the Crusades? Stoning to death for adultery? Christian clerics running the government? Women dressed head-to-toe in religious garb? Please, can you lay this out in full, explicit, concrete terms because I am trying to guage where you are coming from at this point--I am extremely curious right now.

James, you mean to tell me that because they ARE SAVAGE they are weak? Huh? You mean to tell me that Muslims who already take their fundamentalism seriously and are consistent aren't much of a threat and Americans will respond properly to it? But Christians, IF they become more fundamentalist, consistent, and savage will pose a huge threat and Americans will put up no resistances? That makes no sense.

Casey--I am still busy, but I haven't forgetten about you.

Regards,
Michael

Linz

James S. Valliant's picture

It is precisely because the Islamic world is so savage that it poses a lower risk than the ideologies of the West. Casey's points on this are unanswerable -- what's the "worst" that they can do to us?

If it will help you get this, I will oncede that the GREENS are a bigger threat than the Jihadists...

Key words

Lindsay Perigo's picture

In these doctrines, how different are today's Muslims from the Christians of yore?

They're not. But the key words are "of yore." You're now on record, James, as saying contemporary Christianity is a "way bigger threat" than Islam. That's the part that has me scratching my head asking, "What the fuck is going on here?"

Linz

What do others think?

Richard Wiig's picture

First, the Crusades occured as a late-arriving rear-guard action in defense of Christendom. Not an external assault and conquest.

I think this is an enormous difference that ought not be buried by a biased loathing towards Christianity. You put it so much better than me, Orson. Lucky you didn't say something like "the Christians snapped"  which might've sent Robert into another lather.

James - but what do others think?

Orson's picture

Yes.

However consider the context and different maganitude

First, the Crusades occured as a late-arriving rear-guard action in defense of Christendom. Not an external assault and conquest.

Second, the number of lives lost to the Inquisition from Crusades through the Counter-Reformation is very small by 20th century standards. The numbers I've come across, for what must remain only very inexact accounting, range from five thousand to less than a thousand.

By contrast, the Reformation itself resulted in hundreds of thousands of deaths, and millions if you include the wars of Religion it precipitated.

The difference is the pursuit of good conscience in Christianity versus the infliction of certain death and an uncertain afterlife in Islam. YOU may see a small difference in this. I do not. What do others think?

Orson

James S. Valliant's picture

Yeah, let's consider this.

Didn't Christians during the Crusades believe that they were helping their souls in the Afterlife through Crusade? Wasn't the Pope "soliciting" the bloodshed of non-believers -- just as Imams do today?

Didn't Inquisitors believe that they were helping the souls of heretics, as they tortured and burned them?

In these doctrines, how different are today's Muslims from the Christians of yore?

Unless I am mistaken...

mvardoulis's picture

All Mr. Valliant is attempting to do is study modern Christianity for its weaknesses, and I for one appreciate the far-reaching implications toward weakening *all* superstitions that his kind of intellectual reconnaissance will offer.

The data will be valuable, regardless of whether you see Christianity and Islam equal or greater threats to society, etc.

Or, again, did I miss something of what James is putting together here? Wouldn't be the first time...
Smiling

Christianity BAD-Islam WORSE!

Orson's picture

Let me give you one key doctrinal difference, which shows that Islam is inherently more violent than Christianity.

Consider Martyrdom.
For the follower of Christ, one acts like Christ did. One offers one’s flesh up for Crucifixion as Christ did. Every year in the US, we see the delights of frenzied Christians in the Philippines who do this at Christmas-time, blood and nails and weighed down by cross-carrying and all!

But Muslim Martyrdom is quite different. In this, one emulates Mohammad – or one version of this general – by sacrificing one's life by killing Infidels. THIS is their version of a noble death!

Now, who wants to argue that these doctrines have the same ethical import? Certainly, their political and social consequences are very different. The Christian one at least draws proper boundaries around the ethical agent. And Historically, this becomes the root of individualism as well as the prizing of conscience. By contrast, the Muslim version believes in violating others! They champion conformity instead of individualism.

This is why psychoanalytic tradition calls the guilt culture of Christianity more ethically advanced than the shame culture of Islam. The self may punish the self, but at least others may be freed from submission - which is the meaning of "Islam."

In fact, the Islamist glories in his ant-like submission to the Will of Allah in actively sacrificing the lives of others. And this is what makes such primitivism worse and more dangerous than Christianity in a world where WMD becomes cheaper, smaller, and more available.

And one more thing... ;)

Casey's picture

I'm very worried about the Democratic party. They have become so reactionary to Republicans, either slavishly copying or slavishly opposing the Agenda set by Republicans, that they don't seem to have any agenda or goal or vision of their own. Their mutterings consist of mostly an overcooked three-day-old stew of bland appeals to yet more spending (not feasible on any grand scale anymore as the government is already so ridiculously huge and there is no clamouring for more spending by any grassroots movement, especially since Bush has increased education, healthcare, environmental spending practically across the board and faster than Clinton. It's not a lightning rod issue. At least Clinton signed welfare reform. Can't imagine a Republican doing that while proving what a compassionate Christian conservative he is. The left has no real ideas -- they should take on the war on drugs and free millions of people imprisoned for victimless crimes, who are largely minorities -- but they are no where to be seen on that. They should defend the secular state, including gay and women's rights in the face of Islamic and Christian opposition as they did fifty years ago -- nope, they just don't have it in 'em anymore.

If the Dems peter out into a completely untenable political party in America and Republicans become utterly dominant, what then? I can tell you right now that most Christians are not teaching at Pepperdine. Most Christians would agree to banning abortion, pornography, stem cell research, cloning. Most of them would agree to instituting prayer in school, abstinence-only sex education, support more public funding of Christian institutions, and getting serious about the war on drugs and immigration. And where the Supreme Court got in their way, they would press for more Justices to sit on the bench and give them their way. They already have the edge in the Supreme Court.

The fact that the left still mostly controls academia and the media only reveals how moribund its message has become as a cultural force. Even with that huge advantage, the Republican party is dominating American politics. And Christianity is a big, big reason. I really fear that the pathetic performance of the latest Democratic Congress could be the last asterix in the Democrats column for some time to come. And then all of the initiatives I listed above (and worse) would spring out fast enough to make the head spin. And unlike the left's mission, the Right's would be an explicitly anti-reason, anti-science one, not merely irrational or pseudo-scientific. We would pine for the days of Democratic pseudo-science and irrationality -- at least you could argue it to a standstill. The distinction for the future of American culture there is enormous.

OK, you wrote:"This is the

Casey's picture

OK, you wrote:

"This is the Jesse Jackson School of Epistemology--i.e. to observe a cause and intepret everything in terms of it. In Jesse's case, it is racism, in your case it is Christianity." Huh? Don't follow you there.

You wrote:

"You also completely trivialize the *actual* efficacy of the Left and their doctrine that makes it possible--basically only allowing them efficacy to the extent that they accept Christianity." I wrote that the left is not setting the agenda and by default allowing Christianity and Islam to be the real players on the world stage. They are running from every fight now, because of multi-culturalism that does allow them to defend any particular values. The valuers win in this equation and set the terms of the debate. The left has become an intellectual Switzerland.

You wrote:

"Let's put this under the microscope. What about the environmentalists crippling of the energy industries in this country, most significantly nuclear power?" Last I checked, the latest calls for nuclear energy are coming from the left.

"What crippling industries with taxation and regulations so that they can have the government explore "alternative technologies"?" If I saw Republicans objecting to regulations or shrinking instead of greatly expanding the government, I'd say you have a point. I don't.

"What about the war on genetically modified food?" Since environmental extremism is not an actual religion, such notions are subject in the long run to being completely overturned by science, such as in the example of....

"What about the ban on DDT that has been responsible for the deaths of 50 million people?" A ban which the U.N. and other leftwing institutions is finally lifting around the world. National Geographic Magazine admitted that the ban killed 20 million children. You'll never get that kind of rational capitulation from Christians concerning Creationism if you lined every skeleton of every human being up in chronological order in front of their eyes.

"You mean to tell me that they do not intend to implement their crazy schemes to reduce the "carbon footprint" with such things as Kyoto IF "given the chance"?" They won't get half a chance. Not in a million years. These ideas are as outdated as the DDT ban. They cannot withstand the information age and the free exchange of reason and science since they are science-based and not religion-based to begin with.

"These will not (even though they do and currently prevent) "steel and concrete from being rebuilt"? Casey, in the modern age of advanced science and technology, isn't the psuedo-science they use to support such things as global warming eminently more attractive than justifications based on the literal interpretation of the bible?" Emphatically NO! No, no, no, no NO!! There is a fundamental difference between awarding mystical Creationist mythology the same status as science! In the one case we are threatened with junk science and bad science that will be hoisted on its own pitard -- science! On the other hand we have the smug declaration that a god, and a very specific god, created everything and no science will ever be allowed to refute it. Can't you see which is more dangerous?

"What about when multiculturalists seek to negotiate with people like Kim Jong Il and seek to open up "dialogues" with Islamofascism regimes? What about the silencing of Danish cartoonists so that they don't "offend" Muslims? What about multiculturatists in London, Paris, SPain, etc. blaming the West when Muslims committ terrorist acts and riot on their own soil? What about people like Clinton who do nothing about multiple acts of terrorism? These actions are attributable not to multiculturalism and moral relativism, but a newfound embrace of Christianity on the Left?" See above. The left is afraid to attack anything and everything. They are, as a force of history, over. Also, since the left does not retreat to the science-safe bunker of religion, it is exposed to too much information in this day and age to withstand arguing its positions on the basis of science and reason. The right does not have the burden of even recognizing scientific truth as a challenge. Creationism sets about refuting evolution -- not proving Creationism. And look at which force is dominating American politics? Remember that since Reagan, only Clinton squeaked into the White House in a three-way race. He got less than half the vote on both occasions. The Congress, the Supreme Court, state governorships even in New York and California, are all Republican despite a mainstream media that is dominantly left. The tide is with the Republicans, and Christianity is a big engine inside that party. The left is just me-tooing and trying to look Republican to get elected. They're certainly not countering the Christian juggernaut -- not while Hillary goes to church with all the rest of the Democratic candidates! The Dems are not setting the agenda, they are only slowing it down here and there.

As for healthcare, the country rejected Hillary Care. Resoundingly. The left learned its lesson on that and will not run on socializing medicine. I guarantee it.

As for foreign policy I am genuinely torn. I think a Democrat would have responded in probably the same way Bush did, but with the wind of Academia, the media and Hollywood at his back. I think the fact that in the face of leftwing opposition, a Christian Republican could never frame the war meaningfully and appropriately, which has been a grave and dangerous misfortune. It is at least equally dangerous if the ideas behind a war are botched as when the actual planning and execution of the war is botched. Do I trust the Dems more? Only on the religion front. And I think that one is centrally important.

As for the last bit, I didn't assume that you were discounting the danger of Christianity. One can walk and chew gum at the same time. Eye

Good luck on the exam.

Casey

Michael

James S. Valliant's picture

The question is not merely whether the Left is "dead," whether it has one or two decaying "teeth" left in its head, but whether it poses the same kind of ~ long-term ~ threat that the Religious Right does.

That IS the question.

And I am no longer impressed by the foreign policy "differences" between the two parties anymore.

Casey

Michael Moeller's picture

This is the Jesse Jackson School of Epistemology--i.e. to observe a cause and intepret everything in terms of it. In Jesse's case, it is racism, in your case it is Christianity.

You also completely trivialize the *actual* efficacy of the Left and their doctrine that makes it possible--basically only allowing them efficacy to the extent that they accept Christianity.

Let's put this under the microscope. What about the environmentalists crippling of the energy industries in this country, most significantly nuclear power? What crippling industries with taxation and regulations so that they can have the government explore "alternative technologies"? What about the war on genetically modified food? What about the ban on DDT that has been responsible for the deaths of 50 million people? You mean to tell me that they do not intend to implement their crazy schemes to reduce the "carbon footprint" with such things as Kyoto IF "given the chance"? These will not (even though they do and currently prevent) "steel and concrete from being rebuilt"? Casey, in the modern age of advanced science and technology, isn't the psuedo-science they use to support such things as global warming eminently more attractive than justifications based on the literal interpretation of the bible?

What about when multiculturalists seek to negotiate with people like Kim Jong Il and seek to open up "dialogues" with Islamofascism regimes? What about the silencing of Danish cartoonists so that they don't "offend" Muslims? What about multiculturatists in London, Paris, SPain, etc. blaming the West when Muslims committ terrorist acts and riot on their own soil? What about people like Clinton who do nothing about multiple acts of terrorism? These actions are attributable not to multiculturalism and moral relativism, but a newfound embrace of Christianity on the Left?

You mean to tell me that they don't meant it when they say they will nationalize healthcare? That this is somehow attibutable to Christianity, even though they have been instituting step-by-step controls for 50 years under socialist dogma?

I could go on but the question remains: is this what you regard as "toothless"?

Nor do you observe the militancy and consistenty with which they *actually* implement their beliefs. What was the justification for the Bosnian war and Somalia? People like Howard Dean at the time declared that the US military should be sent anywhere in the world for a "humanitarian crisis" at the drop of a hat. Yet, Clinton did NOTHING about the multiple terrorists attacks, nor could he even muster the courage to kill bin Laden because he did not have a "legal finding" (WTF?). If you actually read some of the justifications given by, say Cheney and Rumsfeld, they have infused self-defense into their justification for the war. They are actually fighting America's enemies as opposed to being "peacekeepers" in lands where there is no self-interest. And yes, the Bush administration's execution of the war has been crippled with altruism, has not been agressive enough, they could be fighting more crucial enemies in their territory, etc. My point is this: when you view what wars have been engaged in, who they have attacked, and the justifications for the war: which of these is more consistently altruistic?

And to preempt a criticism that I don't recognize Christianity as a threat--I do and it goes without saying that they should be opposed at every turn. But to deny the efficacy of the Left and to extrapolate a current trend within Christianity into a "frightening soon" theocracy is cosmic cognitive leap.

I have an exam this week that I am studying for, so my responses may take awhile. Be patient with me. I will also address James's long-term threat argument.

Regards,
Michael

Richard

James S. Valliant's picture

It is only since the advent of the USA that Christianity has come to "accept" the separation of Church and State, that is, to the degree that it has accepted it.

This "acceptance," such as it is, has been the product of America's distinct history of odd-ball Christians coming to here seeking freedom from the established state religions of Europe. It has been seen as a way to PROTECT sectarian denominations of the faith. But, as these increasingly converge in an ecumenical way, Christians of various faiths have recently begun to make common-cause in politics. (Another ominous development.)

No, St. Paul got the whole Church-State union started with Christians by repeatedly declaring the agents of the state to be agents of God.

Linz

Richard Wiig's picture

Religions are all the same, essentially. The conscientious rejection of reason

I understand the above, it's just that when we get to here:

in favour of wishful thinking and idiotic flights of fantasy.

The "wishful thinking and idiotic flights of fantasy" come in some kind of doctrinal structure that shapes the follower, and creates distinctions between religions.

And their behaviours are all the same when they're politically dominant.

No they're not. They're behaviours aren't all the same. Their behaviours will be in line with the religious doctrines they've integrated, and different doctrines produce different people.

Coercive and cruel. Failure to admit that is your mistake, Richard.

I don't fail to admit that. I recognise that thoroughly, but by the same token, I acknowledge the differences between religions and try not to blur the distinctions. Why has Christianity been far more accepting of separation of Church and State than Islam for instance? Mightn't it be something to do with "Render unto Caesar that which is Caesar's"? Surely the doctrinal flavour of the religion will either indispose or predispose its followers to certain progressive ideas. Christianity is obviously more disposed to change than Islam is. I believe that's because of the ideas contained within the religions themselves.

Failure to admit that Christianity is not now and is not about to be in that position is James' and Leonard's mistake. Christians by and large have been secularised. But Leonard and James see theocratic Christians under, in and on the bed, while Muslims are about to blow up the whole house. Go figure!

I can see where James is coming from, but I think he is overly pessimistic. I agree with you on that.

Casey

jtgagnon's picture

"The most that Islamic terrorists can do to the west is physical damage -- America will not be replaced by an Islamic state. The worst that Christianity can do to America is far, far worse. It can destroy the soul and the mind of America, which can't be rebuilt with steel and concrete once it's gone."

Thanks for posting this, Casey. You sum it up perfectly, in my opinion. There's no doubt that Islam is a physical threat. But that's just the point. It is merely a physical threat. Physical threats can be eliminated with the proper will and strategy. The threat Christianity poses within America is far more dangerous, for it seeks to undermine the very institutions and ideas that have for so long made America the "land of the free."

Since the Englightenment...

Casey's picture

Man has managed to wrestle the lion of Christianity to the point of getting a boot on its throat via strict and revolutionary political institutions that barred it from action in the public square. Given half the chance, or even a bubble of distance from such restrictions, it immediately reverts to Jim Jones, David Koresh, Salem Witch Hunt excesses.

The left as an ascendant force is finished -- multi-culturalism has rendered it utterly toothless. It's response to 9/11 has been on the order of "Well, bikinis are as exploitative of women as burkas" and "we're terrorists, too." There are no values worth fighting for on the left, only the fight against values, which is otherwise known as surrender. That is why the left is not a force asserting itself culturally anymore. They have surrendered the field.

The force that IS ascendant in the west, if given half the chance, is Christianity. The Christian/Republican response to 9/11 has been a) to defend Islam as a religion of peace b) to blame western decadence for Islamic rage c) to demand we not touch or offend Islamic institutions d) to only attack the effect ("terrorism") and not the cause (religion) e) to call for a return to Christian values (our religion is just as righteous as yours is!) in the form of teaching Creationism in schools, making abortion an absolute litmus test for all political candidates and appointments, lashing out at homosexuality, drugs, pornography etc. and to embrace environmentalism from a Christian perspective as a further assault on science (stem cell research) and industry and f) to decry the political institutions such as the Constitution for limiting religion in western life.

To all of this the left has basically resorted to "me, too!" because the left is no longer a serious oppositional force. Witness Hillary and the rest all signing up for their Christian credentials.

The left used to be counted on to challenge religion, stand up for the rights of women, and for progressive values -- that all ended with multiculturalism. The left is no longer a force at all for anything. They are simply not the source of the ominous trends in the west. They are weaker and slower proponents of the ascendant force -- which is Christianity.

Ronald Reagan enacted pro-abortion legislation when he was governor of California. When he made the deal with the devil and forged an alliance with the Moral Majority he breathed life into what was a kooky fringe movement of "born again" Christians, gave it a new poltical leverage, and ushered in a renaissance of pre-Renaissance Christian cultural relevance. Rand was right about how terrible that would turn out to be. Today, no Republican Presidential candidate who enacted such legislation could ever win the nomination. And even Democrats are copping to Christianity.

Now, instead of just sucking Bush's dick at every possible turn, Linz, you might back off your self-righteous Republican boosterism long enough to take a breath, look at the big picture, and realize that there are honest reasons to be deeply disturbed and frightened of where the Republicans are taking America, and the west by proxy. At least Gore is still attempting to use science as a reference for global warming theory -- Bush would like to see Creationism accorded the same status as science. Which one do you think is more threatening to the values of the Enlightenment?

The most that Islamic terrorists can do to the west is physical damage -- America will not be replaced by an Islamic state. The worst that Christianity can do to America is far, far worse. It can destroy the soul and the mind of America, which can't be rebuilt with steel and concrete once it's gone.

Linz

James S. Valliant's picture

Whatever its relative strength at present, do you deny that there is a rising neo-mysticism and fundamentalism -- and political involvement -- within (especially, American) Christianity?

Richard

Lindsay Perigo's picture

Religions are all the same, essentially. The conscientious rejection of reason in favour of wishful thinking and idiotic flights of fantasy. And their behaviours are all the same when they're politically dominant. Coercive and cruel. Failure to admit that is your mistake, Richard. Failure to admit that Christianity is not now and is not about to be in that position is James' and Leonard's mistake. Christians by and large have been secularised. But Leonard and James see theocratic Christians under, in and on the bed, while Muslims are about to blow up the whole house. Go figure!

Linz

What you're saying here

Richard Wiig's picture

The followers of those different religions act differently not because of their religion, but because of the social and political environment the grew up in.

Is that all religions are the same. What bollocks. Along with similarities, there are clear and major differences between them, differences that lead to different behaviours.

The fact is that Christianity hasn't changed one whit

Richard Wiig's picture

The fact is that Christianity hasn't changed one whit

Right. There was no Jesus, no Reformation, no whit of change. Christians are still in the stone age, stoning people to death. You are letting your emotions carry you away.

Christians aren't...

Robert's picture

Well you probably don't want to hear about priests molesting choir boys then either.

Ugh!

I can't believe what I'm reading on a goddamned Objectivist website! The Christian religion is morally superior to Islamic religion.

Correct me if I'm wrong but aren't they both religions? Can you not find justifications for the most disgusting events in Human history in their respective holy texts. And is it not true that both religions provide for a horrible, painful fate for anyone who decides to question the evidence-free assertion that this Universe is ruled by an all-powerful deity and you are his plaything? Is this not a dangerous?

And yet 'objectivists' are splitting hairs by saying that the religion that Christians follow is better than the one Muslims follow.

History shows them that the devotees of both religions are level pegging in terms of their Holy blood-thirst but that analysis is cast aside in the rush to declare that it is possible that religions can be harmless -- and Christianity be that religion's name.

And people wonder why I'm loosing it... Anyone fucking well remember what happened to Gallileo?

The fact is that Christianity hasn't changed one whit.

Christians have. They've been allowed to evolve since the churches were separated from the state. No longer are they forced, by fear of the rack, to obey the dictates of a small number of religious oracles. In the west, reading the Bible and interpreting it in your own terms is no longer rewarded with a visit by the Inquisitors.

But Christianity the religion had F-all to do with that change. Churches have not given up and stopped trying to woe the faithful back into their arms. And there are still plenty of bad seeds in those churches (e.g. child molesters), should one rise to power at the head of a re-invigorated Christian religion, there is STILL nothing in the Bible that would emphatically, and without contradiction, prohibit a new round of Church-inspired blood-letting.

Religion sucks because it is rooted in unreality and foolish ideas. Bad philosophy is bad philosophy no matter what you dress it up in. And from THAT stand-point there is no difference between Islam, Christianity, Judaism or any other religion.

The followers of those different religions act differently not because of their religion, but because of the social and political environment the grew up in. Grow up in a theocracy and you'll likely become a bomb-throwing religious nutter. Grow up in a Republic like the USA and that's less likely to happen.

You are side stepping

Richard Wiig's picture

Oh I see! Christians are capable of using free will to decide which bits of the bible they can follow but Muslims are incapable of the same intellectual act... Right, gotcha.

I haven't said anything like that, have I? Why the sarcasm?

And all those rumours of spending the after life burning in the pits of hell doesn't count as an imperitive for Christians to toe the Biblical line... Interesting

I asked where the Bible exhorts its followers to violently subjugate non-christians, not for any imperative for them to toe the biblical line. Of course they are meant to toe the biblical line. But where is the biblical line commanding them to subjugate unbelievers? Again, you haven't produced it.

And no, I don't want to hear

Erik Christensen's picture

And no, I don't want to hear about the fucking IRA.

Mr. Valliant, you are

Erik Christensen's picture

Mr. Valliant, you are in err by declaring that Christianity is a far greater threat to the future than Islam. That's insane! The USA is by far largely Christian in religious demographics, compared to other religions, and yet it is still the strongest, freest, and most CIVILIZED nation on the planet. Just pick any nation you want in the middle east and it's complete totalitarian islamo-fascism(even in Dubai). Just by comparing those two side by side, that fact that you even made that assertion, is illogical. Islam is a religion of violence and total submission. Christianity does not restrict freedom or liberty like Islam does, not even close. I have to agree with Richard on this one (I also not being a Christian) that there should not be context dropping here. The fact is ;Christians aren't flying into buildings, circumsizing women, chopping off peoples heads, suicide bombing innocents, and demanding people convert or die.

No imperative...

Robert's picture

Oh I see! Christians are capable of using free will to decide which bits of the bible they can follow but Muslims are incapable of the same intellectual act... Right, gotcha.

And all those rumours of spending the after life burning in the pits of hell doesn't count as an imperitive for Christians to toe the Biblical line... Interesting.

I haven't ignored the violence in the Bible

Richard Wiig's picture

Arse. You are full of shit. As full of shit, and for the same reason, as those who ignore the violence in the Koran and call Islam the "religion of peace."

I've simply said there's no imperative calling Christians to violently subjugate unbelievers. I asked you produce it. You haven't. You've ranted. Why do YOU have to be such an arse?

Not bees...

Robert's picture

Locusts... whole swarms of them. Another terrorism-free blessing from that loving christian God who sets the example for all God-fearing christian folk...

Yeah, well

Richard Wiig's picture

I can see you've got a few bees in your bonnet.

"The New Testament is all about turning the other cheek."

Robert's picture

Yes that's right.

That's the exact reason why every army in every European war since Christ has invoked his name and that of his 'father' just prior to marching into battle... That's the reason Whermarcht belt buckles carried the motto: Gott Mit Uns (God is with us). The Whermarcht arseholes wearing those buckles while they cut a swath through the villages on the Russian Steppes were all Old testament readers were they?

So you look upon the Bible as being divided into the Old and New covenants huh? You ignore the fact that the New covenant was supposedly made with the same short tempered divine and decisively destructive deity described in the Old covenant... What? Did he attend an anger management course that fateful Easter when his son was crucified? Perhaps god was born again...

And you spout this bullshit despite the fact that the bible was voted into being by a committee assembled by the Roman Emperor Constantine the Great in the 4th century. His aim wasn't to turn the other cheek, it was to unite the vestiges of the Roman Empire so that he could have it once again rule the planet. Prior to that no 'Christian' leader could decide what was holy or not. Hells bells, they still can't!

So those Catholics and Prodestants who've been stabbing, drilling, bombing, and shooting their way into a new state of grace all just snapped did they? It was an aberation according to you, had they been following select bits of the bible, there'd be more turned cheeks then at the Sydney Mardi Gras.

So according to you, there is nothing at all in the bible -- a book they all claim has influenced their lives more than any other -- that caused them to rationalise away what they were doing? For instance, none of them were able to make the connection between the God of the Old Covenant and the Father of Jesus, ruler of the universe, maker of man, final arbiter of good and evil...

Arse. You are full of shit. As full of shit, and for the same reason, as those who ignore the violence in the Koran and call Islam the "religion of peace."

The 'nuetralization' of Christianity

mvardoulis's picture

Would be a worthwhile thing for someone of Mr. Valliant's talent to look into. The Islamofascists are becoming easier to identify and the 'silence of the moderates' is speaking for itself. I'm intrigued with the idea of 'invading' Christianity with reason, and the possibility of subjugating the superstition and irrationalism *from within Christianity* is a goal worth pursuing. The implications extend to all 'rival superstitions' as well.

I'm not certain I buy into Christianity or Christian Theocracy being a *greater* threat than Islamofascism, but pursuing a study of the 'malleability' of Christianity has merit as an offensive strategy which can be used against all superstitions.

Linz

Richard Wiig's picture

You undercut your case against Islamofascism if you trivialise the evil of Christianity. Christianity brought terrorism to the world for a millennium.

I don't disagree with you that Christianity contains evil, or that it has been absolutely brutal in the past, or that bad things could arise from it again, and still do arise. I don't want to mitigate any of that, but I won't see it demonised beyond its due and misrepresented either. It doesn't compare to the evil of Islam, and many of the things that are held up to make it appear so are taken out of context, such as the Old Testament being misused to equate Christianity with Islam. BTW, I am not, nor ever have been, a Christian. I've never believed in God, so I'm not trying to protect something I feel a personal affinity with. It's just that justice matters. The Sword quote, for instance, ought to be taken for what it is, not treated as something it is not. If Jesus was a bloodthirsty militant with a sword, then my name is Ena Sharples.

Rubbish!

Richard Wiig's picture

The reason we don't have Crusaders strapping bombs to their chests in the name of God & the Pope is that previous generations got fed up with constant rounds of blood-letting,

First of all, the Crusades were a response to 300 years of Muslim aggression that the Christians tolerated before finally losing it and snapping, not the acting out of some Christian imperative to subjugate non-Christians. Where is this imperative Robert? Second, all those Old testament quotes are contextual to the times, pre-Jesus. The Old Testament was about laying the round for the New Testament, which supercedes the old testament. The New Testament is all about turning the other cheek. Why the fuck people can't be simply honest about that, I dont' know. There are some bad things in Christianity, that lead to some bad manifestation in life, for sure, but it's not a fucking terrorist religion like Islam is.

Tim

James S. Valliant's picture

"Linz is right. James, your ongoing focus on Christianity is bizarre in the face of the clear and present danger the world is facing from Islamofascism. While you are grasping for 'symptoms' of obscure links between the two superstitions the world is going to hell in a handcart. When are you going to wake up?"

Christianity is a FAR GREATER threat to the future than Islam.

If the West ever wakes up, Islamic thugs will be easier to take out than the Reds or the Nazis were -- these are savages.

The fate of the world depends upon what happens in the West -- and this means that the fate of ~ Western ~ religious belief will shape the future in much bigger ways, in the long run.

When will you "wake up" to this?

"there's no Christian doctrine to bring terrorism to the world"

Robert's picture

terrorism: noun : the systematic use of terror especially as a means of coercion (Merriam-Webster's Online Dictionary)

So there is no doctrine in Christianity or the bible that sanctions the use of terror to coerce people in submitting to the power of god? Well let's have a look and see if we can confirm that:

Leviticus 24:10 - Game

Numbers 14:6-9 - Set

Numbers 15:33 - Match

Numbers 25:1 - Series

And I haven't even gotten to Deuteronomy (the fifth book of the old testament) yet.

There we learn that you can stone rebellious children to death. And there's even a guide as to when you must stone your entire family to death. But no, no these passages in the bible don't exhort followers to enforce their views on other by terror. Stoning is a gentle means of persuasion... A bit like the rack that the Inquisitors used...

Then there's that bit about Transexuals being an abomination to god -- in the same way that those 24,000 randy Isrealites in Numbers 25:1 were an abomination to god... And false prophets! Gasp! It's your duty to put them to death!

The reason we don't have Crusaders strapping bombs to their chests in the name of God & the Pope is that previous generations got fed up with constant rounds of blood-letting, the witch-hunts and other shit and did their best to separate the church from the state.

Not only that they also endeavoured to allow people to speak out against the church without fear of being labelled a Heretic and being burnt at the stake in much the same way that S. Rushdie has been condemned to death for offending Islam.

Obscure

Tim S's picture

Linz is right. James, your ongoing focus on Christianity is bizarre in the face of the clear and present danger the world is facing from Islamofascism. While you are grasping for "symptoms" of obscure links between the two superstitions the world is going to hell in a handcart.

When are you going to wake up?

Richard

Lindsay Perigo's picture

Sure, they were barbaric times, but there's no Christian doctrine to bring terrorism to the world.

You undercut your case against Islamofascism if you trivialise the evil of Christianity. Christianity brought terrorism to the world for a millennium. Lack of perspective to deny it, of the kind the Hsiekovians display when they obsess about the evils of Christianity and (absurdly) the imminence of a Christian theocracy when western civilisation is about to go under (within the next decade, I'd say) because of Hsiekovian-endorsed cut-and-run appeasement of said Islamofascism—which is, unlike Christianity, a clear and present danger right now.

Christianity is bullshit. And evil. No harm in reiterating it every now and again, even if the main threat currently comes from a rival superstition. Only not at the expense of recognising the latter. Perspective. The thing the context-dropping Hsiekovians lack.

Linz

Not in my view, no.

Richard Wiig's picture

Could what Jesus did at the Temple be considered "terrorism," in your view?

Not really. It was a violation, but it certainly wasn't terrorism.

Or, when Jesus said that he came not to bring peace, but "the sword," do you think he might have been suggesting that some rough tactics might become necessary?

He didn't mean it literally, he was speaking metaphorically, the sword being "truth" that would set father against son, etc.

And, with the early Christians, they sure were comin'.

Sure, they were barbaric times, but there's no Christian doctrine to bring terrorism to the world.

Richard

James S. Valliant's picture

Could what Jesus did at the Temple be considered "terrorism," in your view? Or, when Jesus said that he came not to bring peace, but "the sword," do you think he might have been suggesting that some rough tactics might become necessary? And, with the early Christians, they sure were comin'.

Hayden

Richard Wiig's picture

Islam is last off the mark, as they were with fundamentalism and terrorism

Given that Islam was founded after Christianity, it's hardly surprising that Christian fundamentalism came first, but what's with the terrorism? I know they were barbaric way back when, but I didn't know that Christianity prescribed terrorism?

Not in a million years

Richard Wiig's picture

... Or become allies?

Yep

Casey's picture

To sum him up Christopher Hitchens was probably the most accurate eulogizer. He said, "If you gave Falwell an enema he could be buried in a matchbox."

I don't think so

Hayden Wood's picture

Monotheistic religions don't tend to ally themselves unless it is against something, like gays.

Creationist arguments of whatever stripe are used as arguments for a particular religion, they won't be able to help themselves leavng the conclusion of *which* religion unanswered.

And Falwell...

Ross Elliot's picture

...got Larry Flynt for his sins. Fair deal.

Allies

Casey's picture

Remember Falwell said we deserved 9-11 as God's punishment for our sins.

Hayden

James S. Valliant's picture

... Or become allies?

As usual

Hayden Wood's picture

Islam is last off the mark, as they were with fundamentalism and terrorism, but they do tend to get into things with gusto so it will be interesting to see how this develops.  It would be the funniest thing in the world to see a Christian and Muslim creationist fight it out.

Islamic Creationism...

Casey's picture

They're putting on lab coats and joining the Christians in their pseudo-scientific defense of Creationism. Yay!

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