How the Moderate Masses Can Help Avoid the Breakup of the U.S.

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Mon, Feb 16 - 9:00 am EST | 3 years ago by
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    “You see things and you say, ‘Why?’ But I dream things that never were,
    and I say, ‘Why not?’”

    ~ The Serpent, George Bernard Shaw, Back to Methuselah

    Lines of Departure - Breakup of the US

    I find that quote – often misattributed to take-your-pick-of one of the Kennedys – to be particularly delicious, and on several levels. Not only is it something of a rallying cry for intellectuals and their running dogs, the intelligentsia,1 but, so far as I can tell, not a one of them has a clue about it. In the first place, it’s the Serpent speaking, which is to say, Satan, tempting Eve to take that bite. Secondly, that gets us not only kicked out of Paradise, but, in the hands of the modern intellectual, the quote and the attitude behind it gets us all the way to Hell. See, for example, Stalinist Russia, China’s Great Leap Forward and its Cultural Revolution, Cambodia’s Killing Fields, etc. Thirdly, it wouldn’t be so bad if they’d actually answer the question they ask. It is, after all, possible that there’s a very good reason why not. But, no, that would interfere with the fantasy, wouldn’t it? And that fantasy – well, this week’s fantasy – is all important, isn’t it?

    Okay, now stop reading this column for the few minutes it takes to read this: http://www.tomkratman.com/Ranthhour.html. Yes, that is why Kratman sneers at intellectuals and intellectualism, generally. Yes, I’ll still be here when you return.

    *****

    Back? Ah, good. Beer’s in the fridge; cigars are in the humidor. Help yourself.

    Two of the dozen or so best non-fiction books I’ve ever read are Civilization and Its Enemies, by Lee Harris, and The Righteous Mind, by Jonathan Haidt. I encourage anyone who gives a damn about our civilization and our country to read them. That said, though they are brilliant, wonderful, and all manner of superlatives, they have a couple of flaws.

    Professor Haidt’s book has, to my mind, two major values. One is in restating that reason and people have little to do with each other, that, reason is, in Hume’s phrase, “the slave of the passions.” The other is that it lays out a six-principle moral matrix, a way we approach the world in terms of right and wrong. He insists that liberals and conservatives – and, be it noted, in the course of his researches he seems to have changed from a strong version of the former into a respectably moderate version of the latter – are merely different. The Righteous Mind, in any case, attempts to describe us, Left and Right, merely as different.

    The problem with it is that Haidt’s own research does not show the Left as merely being different, but rather as defective, deficient, distorted, delirious, dumb, and depraved. The Left knows it, too; they know when they’re being insulted. Just go look over those one star reviews on Amazon. Why did he do that; why did he downplay it? I can’t read minds, but I suspect it arises from either the “catch more flies with honey than with vinegar” approach, or the “Jesus, I’m not going to have any friends left after this, since they’re all on the Left” factor, or both… hmmm… probably both.

    It was Haidt’s book that led me from the conviction that the core difference between Right and Left resides in the eternal question, “Nature, Nurture, or Neither,” to a considerably less certain sense that that is merely the penultimate articulable difference, and that there is something else underneath that. On the left, it seems to be a kind of childish faith in a sort of magic. On the right, I am too close to see what it might be.

    The brilliant Lee Harris’ Civilization and Its Enemies is shorter, less dense, more readable (not that Haidt is especially hard reading) – indeed, a joy to read, even as it depresses the crap out of the reader. Like Haidt, Harris seems to have spent his younger life somewhat liberal. He is gay. He remains gay, but has the nearly unique distinction of being a gay guy who says, in effect, “forget gay marriage; save heterosexual marriage or we’re all screwed… and not in a pleasant way.” His book brings to the discussion some very important insights. Its failing is in its own penultimate concluding advice, namely:

    “…intellectuals in America, Europe, and elsewhere must abandon the pursuit of abstract utopias and fantasy ideologies and return to the real world. They must undertake a critique of their own inherent distorted point of view, in order to comprehend the visceral and emotional dynamic at the foundation of all human cultures and their history.”

    It’s really such fantastic advice. Rather, it would be if it wasn’t tantamount to telling left-wing intellectuals and ideologues to give up their livelihoods, to give up their sense of identity and worth, to abandon their entire delusional set of values, in short to part ways with everything they care about… oh, and to stop asking, “Why not?” and then not answering the question. He may as well have told them to hang themselves; it would be no more painful for them. Indeed, it would be much less painful; since eventually brain and body die, and pain ends. In any case, it is simply not going to happen, hence is completely useless advice for them. Thus it is useless to us to waste effort or abuse innocent electrons in giving them that advice.

    *****

    I’d like to think – and, in fact, I do think – that the advice I have to proffer is potentially more useful than Mr. Harris’; useful, at least, in avoiding the breakup of the United States2 and the accompanying descent into utter barbarism. That advice? Who is it for? It’s not for the extraordinarily stupid, self-centered, utterly selfish, and close enough to sociopathic members of the intellectual class, nor for the even more mentally defective intelligentsia. It’s not for the extremists, hanging out on the fringes. Rather, it’s for the moderate masses of the more or less reasonable middle, in whose hands, if they will but take their fate into their own hands, rests our chance for a future. More importantly, in their hands rests the chance for my grandchildren to have a future. Oh, yes, and you might make a future for your grandchildren, too.

    1. Stop taking civilization and domestic peace for granted. Understand that they’re hard to achieve and by no means easy to keep. Remember that, without them, life is pure hell. That means, yes, you over here with me on the right of the middle, look left as far as you can distinguish among people. That last group you can see clearly? Yes, like you and me they have an interest in maintaining a civilized, united country, even if, like you – okay, and me, too – they have a hard time seeing it. That means, also, that yes, you over there on the left – you who can distinguish, say, me and people like me from Nazis – you, too, will lose a lot more than you’re prepared to if we fall apart. Reach out.
    2. Turn your backs on the extreme, even if you can distinguish among them easily and even if they’re telling you things you want to hear, things that are so emotionally satisfying to hear that they rank up there with sex. They do not – be they Left or Right – care a shit for you. In their eyes you’re a subhuman stage prop, nothing more, whose highest purpose is giving depth to the fantasies they weave in their minds.
    3. Remember that some things, on both sides, are non-negotiable. That means, liberals, that, yes, we’re really serious about “cold, dead fingers,” and no, there are no reasonable compromises on guns, if for no other reason than any compromise merely moves the bar to yet another demand for a still more restrictive “compromise.” That means, too, Righties, that no, abortion is not going away. Console yourself that, at least, abortion probably kept John – “I was for being against the troops before I was against being for them” – Kerry out of the White House.3 No, Righty, Massachusetts is not going to start executing murderers. No, Lefty, Texas is not going to stop.
    4. Compromise where you can; the price of not doing so is exorbitant.
    5. Always demand an answer to the question, “Why not?”

    Make sure to read Part 1, Part 2, Part 3 and Part 4 in this series about the breakup of the United States.

    __________

    1 Though many and perhaps most on the left would scoff at the notion of “right-wing” intellectuals, I assure the reader that the Left has no monopoly on idiocy. Yes, I meant that exactly as written.

    2 Again, we’re not talking secession and Gettysburg, here, but simple break down in all order and 1980s Beirut, writ very large, and by people more culturally competent in mass murder.

    3 How fortunate for me that that orange-faced, windsurfing buffoon and full-time gigolo isn’t covered by Article 88, UCMJ, no?

    Tom Kratman is a retired infantry lieutenant colonel, recovering attorney, and science fiction and military fiction writer. His latest novel, The Rods and the Axe, is available from Amazon.com for $9.99 for the Kindle version, or $25 for the hardback. A political refugee and defector from the People’s Republic of Massachusetts, he makes his home in Blacksburg, Virginia. He holds the non-exclusive military and foreign affairs portfolio for EveryJoe. Tom’s books can be ordered through baen.com.

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      • James

        Damn good article Kratman. I like the fact that you actually added advice…most never do.

        A couple things I find sad is that much of this advice is so obvious and that it amounts to being a “semi-civilized” human being with some moral fortitude.
        A reason to think logically about the end results of our current path and the examples of it from out past.
        And really the saddest is that we never ask why anymore.

        It has really become clear to me that very few people (usually those in positions of power) come up with some why not idea they really don’t expect anyone to question that idea or give examples of why its a bad one. Often they seem to know these problems exist they just don’t want to acknowledge them.

        And people really don’t like it when you poke holes in their logic.

        I used to think the left was the only one who happened to try and live in a fantasy world where they thought they could make man perfect or bring up some system where man and his interactions could be made perfect. But both exhibit this tendency.

        In many ways I think one of the reason we are in a place where we are with so much rage and hate is that the very existence of the right and left provides direct evidence that the fantasy they try and believe in just doesn’t and can’t exist.

        • Tom Kratman

          There’s certainly some of that, but note also that the entire burden of proof has shifted not just in the US but across western civilization. Anyone with an axe to grind and some cause du jour gets a presumption of being correct and anyone trying to maintain things is presumed wrong, and has to rebut legal, moral, factual and practical arguments pretty much like Canute and the sea.

        • James

          Basically its kind of like when you have a really powerful military that has stopped the vast majority of your wars from starting and won the ones that do pop up easily people ask why you need such a huge military if in fact no one wants to obviously attack you?

          So basically,

          Them: We don’t need such a big military its making us warmongers and making people dislike use because they feel threatened. We haven’t been attacked for ages! We spend so much money on war!

          You: Yes but no one has attacked us because the response would out way any advantage.

          Them: OK prove it

          You: Well….we haven’t had a big war in awhile now because of it and live in a time where fewer people die from war compared to even a few decades before.

          Them; Yea but it would be even less if we got rid of our military and just had a national guard or something.

          ……….

          basically a infinite circle of illogical arguments.

          So the question is how do we try and convince them that some of our stances are right.

          Also over all the person who screams the loudest and who controls the most emotions seem to always be in charge of the parties now. How do we get someone logical or at least reasonable in charge?

        • Tom Kratman

          That’s one aspect of it, but it’s really everywhere.

        • James

          Yea I understand that its just thats one of the easier to understand examples.

        • SineWaveII

          Other examples of this thinking include:
          “Why are we still putting so many people in prison when crime is so low?” and “Why do people think they need all those guns when violent crime has been declining for decades?”

        • Tom Kratman

          Well, that one presupposes rehabiliation of criminals, I think, which is another “why not” without the answer of, “Because it usually doesn’t work but the worst of them will fool you into thinking it has.”

        • http://madhatter.ca/ Wayne Borean

          OK. I’ll toss some gasoline onto the fire. Canada has also seen a huge drop in crime rates, but hasn’t jailed anywhere near the same number of people per capita. According to your argument we should have a higher crime rate, but we don’t.

          We also have more restrictive gun laws, which by your argument should also mean a higher crime rate.

          This indicates a major problem with your thesis in relations to the criminal justice system.

        • Tom Kratman

          We’re not Canadians and Canadians are not us. Different culture, in good part. Same with Brits and us. New York, so I’ve read, is more violent, per capita, than London, England, but it was in the 18th century, too. We’re just a more violent people than most, and we always have been, partly because of the kinds of people who settled here and partly because of our interactions, which is to say war-war-and then a little more war, with the locals.

          So the question isn’t about your lack of private arms matched against our plenty, wrt crime, but whether you would have less crime with more arms, or we would have more with less.

          We do note, however, a few interesting and irrefutable facts: 1) When seconds count the police are usually only minutes away. 2) There has never yet been a massacre at an NRA convention or gun show. 3) There have been a lot of massacres at gun free zones. 4) Criminals don’t obey the law anyway; they’re going to obey laws against guns? Generally? These are also independent of what was probably the greater factor in reduced crime for you and us, that the population simply aged, crime being mostly a youthful endeavor.

          Note I didn’t mention another one that often gets cited to, that crime is generally quite a bit higher in states and cities here that have restrictive gun control than it is in places with liberal gun laws. Why? Well, because there are other factors there, just as there are between Americans and Canadians, and cities have always been more crime ridden.

        • http://madhatter.ca/ Wayne Borean

          Actually, we have a higher number of firearms per capita in places like where I live, which is Northern Ontario, and the crime rate is about the same as in towns of similar size far to the south. Up here, hunting is a religion.

        • Tom Kratman

          The operative word there is probably “towns,” as opposed to say, “Toronto,” though even Toronto has, last I looked, lower crime than equivalent-sized cities in the US.

        • Another Canadian

          Wayne, weighing in as another Canadian who lives in the GTA and who has also lived and worked in the USA, the simple and irrefutable factoid with crime is that we in Canada have, in general, far fewer young black males both numerically and as a percentage of the overall population. Young black males are responsible for a hug % of criminal acts in the US – witness murder rates in Detroit, St Louis and Chicago for example. Ditto Toronto – take out young black males and Toronto gun crime fades away to something insignificant. Take out young black males crime and the US is pretty similar to Canada. We in the great white north have demographic factors to help us. Right now, any way.

        • Tom Kratman

          I’m not convinced it’s a black thing, qua black thing. Yeah, okay, I can’t completely rule out a genetic component, but I tend to discount it because there’s an intervening event, the event that managed to do to the black family what 300 years of slavery could not- ruin it over large swaths. It’s the thing that turned their schools into a crime against humanity. That event, that atrocity, that crime, is progressivism. Blacks were doing fairly well before that.

        • Another Canadian

          I’ll go with you on the destruction of the black family but there is also somewhat of a genetic component. Regardless of how you measure it, the average black IQ is considerably lower than the average IQ for whites. Hispanics fall in between, Asian IQ’s in general average higher than whites. That old bell curve thing again. Without getting into a load of detail which their isn’t room for here, lower IQ males are more pre-disposed to violence, whether they be white, black or green. We’re talking 70-90 IQ points here, where a large % of young black males and a small % of young male whites fall. The deliberate destruction of the black family by the “progressives” has no doubt accentuated what was already a genetically influenced predisposition towards violence. Anyhow, take out young black males and young male hispanics and the US and Canada are pretty much on a par crime wise. Ditto with education. Take out blacks and hispanics and US education results are among the best in the world, far surpassing the results from Finland so much lauded by the progessives. A lot of these numbers are in the demographics, which, again as with so much else. progressives selectively ignore.

        • Tom Kratman

          I’m skeptical of IQ as a measure of anything important, and, yes, I can say that from a position of considerable strength. Here’s the thing; even if IQ is valid, it hasn’t changed appreciably since the 30s and 40s. They were doing much better then; I think in every respect. What is the intervening event, that affected them without affecting IQ? The progressive assault.

        • Steven Schwartz

          IIRC, the Flynn effect has shown steadily rising IQ scores — which is just more evidence that it’s useless as an actual measurement.

          And when you say “they” — if you mean PoC in the U.S., I think you’ve got to be working very hard at ignoring facts to suggest that they were “doing much better” in the 30s and 40s than they are now; little things like full civil rights might well be considered an advantage, along with a drastic reduction in lynchings, wouldn’t you say?

        • Tom Kratman

          When lynchings are down but black on black murder rates are up, when school are theoretically integrated but whites have simply left, when those same schools become ineffective, which even underfunded black schools of the 30s and 40s were not, when the process of neighborhood integration in fact does nothing but convert more capable blacks to bedu, and less capable ones to the desert the bedu flee but always bring with them, When their families have been ruined, but they used to have a divorce and illegitimacy rate that compared well with, or was better than, that of whites, then NO, I can’t say the facts indicate anything important has gotten better overall.

          Ya know, a cure for cancer that causes instant and incurable cardiac arrest and brain death would not be worth much. Neither was it in that case. What might have been done with a little patience we’ll never know, of course.

        • Steven Schwartz

          “When lynchings are down but black on black murder rates are up,”

          I would need to see citations; there are many explanations both for the spiking crime rate post-WWII and its later decline, so this conclusion is not obvious.

          “when school are theoretically integrated but whites have simply left,”

          I submit that that is still an improvement, especially since not all whites have left, and the stigma of inferiority has been drastically reduced.

          ” when those same schools become ineffective, which even underfunded black schools of the 30s and 40s were not”

          Citation, please? Again, I think you underestimate drastically the state of the school system in the 30s and 40s?

          (Not to mention, I notice that you have not considered, say, universities in this: unless you are honestly trying to argue that, say, the University of Alabama has lost its white students, and become ineffective compared to the black colleges of the 1930s?)

          “when the process of neighborhood integration in fact does nothing but convert more capable blacks to bedu,”

          Wait, you mean that people got to leave the place they *had* to live and were able to move to places they weren’t allowed to live, and this is a bad thing?

          “and less capable ones to the desert the bedu flee but always bring with them”

          I’d love to hear the interpretation of this that does not mark down black culture in this country as a “desert”.

          “What might have been done with a little patience we’ll never know, of course.”

          You mean more “little patience” than was shown between the “desegregate with all deliberate speed” in 1954, and the “desegregate *now*” of 1969, for example?

          It’s easy to advocate for patience when it’s other people who have to do the waiting for the result that they *might* get.

        • Tom Kratman

          If you really try hard, and shut your eyes very tightly, I suppose you can claim that blacks can now, by and large, live in the places they want to. And, if you define a place as, say, that lovely address, 111 North Whitey Lane, you would even, in a very dark light, seem to be right.

          That, however, is not what happens, and is not the motivation for the move. The motivation is, typically, for more prosperous and by and large more capable blacks to move to a place with better schools, where property is maintained, where crime is low, and where the ferals they fear, who are, in their cases, almost invariably black, do not rule. In other words, it’s not an address they seek, but a kind of place, which place is usually the next white neighborhood over. (I wonder what blindness it is that causes you to fixate, in effect, on an address and neglect the far more important factor of the kind of life.)

          So they do move to that better kind of life, as the bedu move for greener pastures. And the whites, who have seen all this before, begin to flee. The whites do not trust their neighbors, nor should they, given the history of white herd-like behavior. They flee, those who can. Those who cannot stop maintaining their property because, after all, why bother when it’s all going to be worthless soon enough? Thus, as property values drop as whites flee and lesser quality blacks than the original immigrants move in, the original blacks look around and discover that 109 Whitey Lane has become a crack house and 113 Whitey Lane is abandoned, owned by a bank, with broken, boarded up windows. Across the street at 112 Whitey Lane is just an open lot – well, open except that it’s become a pile of refuse – that burned and that no one is interested in rebuilding on. And then the high quality black finds the neighborhood pimp talking to his 13 year old daughter and says to his wife, “We have got to get out of here.” And so, bedu-like again, they flee, this time to the address, 211 Honky Drive….

          So you think it’s better to not have patience and get nothing that way? Okay, that’s a pretty progressive way to look at things, if so. The problem, however, is that they cannot, simply cannot, quickly get what you or I or they might like for them. Try writing this 10000000 times on a blackboard: Demanding the Impossible and Getting the Disastrously Possible is not a Moral Act.

          When you’re done with that, I invite your attention to The Death of an American Jewish Community: A Tragedy of Good Intentions, by one Hillel Levine, to see how this works and then to swing by Matapan, Boston, Massachusetts, to see what the result is. I lived near there for several years and got to see it very close up, though our neighborhood was Catholic and argely Irish, hence prone to violence anyway, so not directly affected.

        • Steven Schwartz

          Let me give you a clue: The house I lived in throughout my high school years, my father could not have lived in by contract during his high school years. This is even before we get to the notion of enforcement by *law* — such as the sundown towns. So bear that perspective in mind going forward.

          “The motivation is, typically, for more prosperous and by and large more capable blacks to move to a place with better schools, where property is maintained, where crime is low, and where the ferals they fear, who are, in their cases, almost invariably black, do not rule. In other words, it’s not an address they seek, but a kind of place, which place is usually the next white neighborhood over. (I wonder what blindness it is that causes you to fixate, in effect, on an address and neglect the far more important factor of the kind of life.)”

          Well, part of it is a historical knowledge of what, exactly, that “Address” means, when it comes to things like better schools, etc.

          (I am pleased to see that, despite the fact that your description of “ferals” as a class persists (one which I notice you haven’t really defined) you at least acknowledge that whoever they are, they spread across multiple races)

          “So they do move to that better kind of life, as the bedu move for greener pastures. And the whites, who have seen all this before, begin to flee. The whites do not trust their neighbors, nor should they, given the history of white herd-like behavior.”

          White herd-like behavior — you mean, discrimination and bigotry? Oh, so, because white people have been bigots and scaredy-cats, it’s the fault of the PoC who move in? You lose me here completely.

          “They flee, those who can. Those who cannot stop maintaining their property because, after all, why bother when it’s all going to be worthless soon enough?”

          Once again, as with the abortion issue, it’s clear your sympathy is not with the people who’ve been oppressed or mistreated or restricted, but with those who *applied* that restriction and are now complaining that it’s been lifted.

          [deleted -- a description of a neighborhood post-white flight that could have come out of Stormfront]

          “And then the high quality black”

          I’m just going to leave this one here.

          “So you think it’s better to not have patience and get nothing that way?”

          Tell me, Mr. Kratman, how much patience would you have if you were told, tomorrow, that in a quarter of the country, you would be restricted from going to a significant majority of the eating places, gas stations, hotels, stores, etc — and mind you, that majority would include *all* of the top-end places, and a significant majority of the best. That you would only be allowed to live in certain neighborhoods. That there were entire towns where you could not be after sundown. Where it was perfectly legal to look at you when you walked in the door trying to get a job and be told “No”, just on the basis of your appearance?
          Well, you know, if you’re well-behaved, and don’t look the wrong way at the wrong woman, you might get a chance for your kids to live in the same kind of world — since, after all, joining the Army only meant you got the same stuff back at home from the people you’d risked your life for.

          That’s not nothing, Mr. Kratman. How long would you put up with it? How much “patience” would you show?

          “Demanding the Impossible and Getting the Disastrously Possible is not a Moral Act.”

          No one’s demanding perfection. Getting Rid Of The Obviously Wrong is a moral act.

          I lived in Baltimore, and got to see some of the results of white flight. I also don’t put the blame on that phenomenon on the people who are trying to do better for themselves and their families, but on the people who decided that “those people”, who weren’t the “high quality” ones (or who were, but no one stopped to ask), weren’t fit to live next to.

        • Tom Kratman

          No, Steven, if getting rid of the obviously wrong only brings about the inevitable worse, it is not a moral act. Patience doesn’t really change that, even if impatience is understandable. And I am far more sympathetic to blacks who wanted to escape than I am to impatient white progressives who were, so far as I can tell, impatient only for their next fix of social feelgood, and really didn’t care much about what happened to the blacks so long as they got their fix. That description might fit on the pages of Stormfront, but tell me, are you unaware that the description fits some places? Many places?

          You ought to look at what the result was, which result could have been predicted by anyone not blinded by his addiction to feelgood and not desperate for his next fix. In addition to that migration I mentioned, the moral and physical desertification of the inner city and the black community, note that the higher quality blacks, the former leaders who kept their communities together and functioning, which is to say the leading edge of the migration, also followed the money and abandoned the rest of the blacks. White society got some, and quite possibly much, benefit from that. The other result though, was that, bereft of that leadership, the rest of the community fell apart, which was another motivator for the migration and the wrecking that followed.

          Just out of curiosity, do you have any refutations of the claims herein, most or all if which seem to be derived from thoroughly footnoted writings by Thomas Sowell: http://www.americanthinker.com/articles/2014/03/the_decline_of_the_africanamerican_family.html

        • Steven Schwartz

          “about the inevitable worse”

          Of course, you’ve not demonstrated the “inevitable worse” in this case. You seem rather to be arguing from the presumption of progressive guilt — “If a progressive does it, it’ll give a bad result” — rather than any actual evidence.

          “And I am far more sympathetic to blacks who wanted to escape than I am to impatient white progressives who were, so far as I can tell, impatient only for their next fix of social feelgood, and really didn’t care much about what happened to the blacks so long as they got their fix.”

          You repeatedly fail to *demonstrate* any such sympathy — advising patience for their condition, even arguing whether or not it was “worse”.

          And I don’t care about your lack of sympathy to people who, as far as *I* can tell, don’t actually exist; if you’re going to start talking about “white progressives after a fix”, I might as well start talking about “white conservatives only after their next fix of politically incorrect titillation, getting off on daring to talk about “lower quality” people and “Ooh, I’m so *brave*, I lionized the SS in my writing.” — save that, again, I have evidence for people doing that, unlike you, who are engaged in projection. (If you have serious evidence, do bring it forth.)

          I notice also you sidestepped my asking you how much patience you would expect or find reasonable if you were placed in the shoes of those you’re asking to be “patient”.

          “That description might fit on the pages of Stormfront, but tell me, are you unaware that the description fits some places? Many places?”

          When you start talking about “lower-quality” people, especially when you only talk about them when you’re talking about PoC, then you’re not talking a language that belongs *outside* Stormfront, et. al. We return to the point raised earlier — that you refuse to consider class, and consider only race, when you’re making these arguments.

          “which result could have been predicted by anyone not blinded by his addiction to feelgood and not desperate for his next fix.”

          See above.

          ” note that the higher quality blacks, the former leaders who kept their communities together and functioning, which is to say the leading edge of the migration, also followed the money and abandoned the rest of the blacks.”

          Two notes: 1) Once again, somehow this is *not* also influenced by class? and 2) I love how somehow, no matter how you look at it, bigotry is never the fault of white people in your eyes. It’s the fault of the “lesser-quality” black people for not being as good as the white people whose neighborhoods they moved into, or it’s the fault of the “higher-quality” black people who were, I suppose, supposed to stay with their kind and lift them up.

          So much for your vaunted “individual responsibility”.

          I do not have time right now to do a detailed analysis of that article: I will point one thing out, however. There are plenty of cases of adversity bringing out good results — for example, the nutritional plans encoded in the rationing in Britain during WWII produced the healthiest generation of children the UK had ever seen. Of course, I suspect few in the UK would approve of continued rationing in order to produce that result, let alone continued war that required rationing.

          The combination of freedom and continued social disadvantage — indeed, continued down to this day — can produce negative effects. However, the way to deal with this is not to blame the freedom or the people *suffering* from that social disadvantage, but rather the system that keeps them there, to my lights. Otherwise, you’re blaming the victim.

        • http://madhatter.ca/ Wayne Borean

          Sorry I dropped out. My body is revolting on me, and I’m eating opiates like candy. Let me take it one point at a time.

          1) Black on black violence is the same level as white on white violence in Canada.

          2) Black incarceration rates are the same as white incarceration rates in Canada.

          What does this mean? Are American blacks a bunch of violent hoodlums, while Canadian blacks aren’t? Essentially, that is what a lot of Americans argue. They also argue that I’ve got to be wrong on the numbers

        • Tom Kratman

          Cites and numbers, because it sounds like spurious bullshit. For example, what would you think it means that, say, 93.5 percent of black murders are black on black, here, while 93.5 percent of white murders in Canada (and very close to that, here, I suspect) are white on white, when the rates are radically different?

        • http://madhatter.ca/ Wayne Borean

          I think it means that you’ve got ghetto issues. By that I mean that a large number of blacks are living in a black only communities where poverty is rampant.

          We have a similar problem with ‘Indian on Indian’ violence. One of our more infamous ghettos is ‘Moccasin Flats’. They made a TV show about it. If you get APTN, watch it. Fantastic show.

        • Tom Kratman

          Not exactly. More like large numbers of blacks are living in areas where the welfare state has managed to do in a few decades what 300 years of slavery could not, locally ruin the black family, where children grow up without strong father figures, where illegitimacy is normal, where liberal policies have robbed blacks of their own leadership, leaving them prey to demagogue and drug dealers, Al Sharpton and street thugs, pimps and Jesse Jackson, to the extent to those last two differ.

          And I still call spurious bullshit.

        • http://madhatter.ca/ Wayne Borean

          Horse manure. We have a far more ‘liberal’ support system than you do. Far more Liberal.

          And guess what? It hasn’t ruined the Black family, or the White family, or the Native Family. What’s ruined the Black family is tossing so many black men in jail on ludicrous criminal charges.

          Hey, the same thing was happening to Native families in Canada, until we changed the criminal justice system.

        • Tom Kratman

          Puh-fucking-leeze!

          Walk south to the border. Look north. That is you. Look south. That is us. You are not us. We are not you. Your history is not ours. Ours is not yours. Your black population is not ours. Our black population is not yours. Your claimed experience, even if true and valid for you, which I doubt, has nothing to say about us.

        • http://madhatter.ca/ Wayne Borean

          Again, horse manure.

          Yes, the USA and Canada have different cultures. They don’t have different Homo Sapiens.

          Your people reflect the culture they live in. Change the culture, and the people will change.

          There was a time when Roman Catholics couldn’t hold public office in Canada, and it wasn’t that long ago. Things changed, and we’ve had four Roman Catholic Prime Ministers.

          Change the basic culture in the USA, and the people will change.

        • Tom Kratman

          Let me cut this short. You know what you know. It doesn’t make a rat’s ass of difference if what you know is correct, because you know what you know. I wish you well living in the progressive fantasy inside your head.

          But for Jesus’ sake cut out the idiotic false analogies, would you? They make it very difficult for me to remain polite.

        • http://madhatter.ca/ Wayne Borean

          Why do you consider the analogies false?

        • http://madhatter.ca/ Wayne Borean

          I call bullshit on that. We have as many blacks per capita in Toronto, or even in the far north where I live, as many American cities, but a far lower rate of blacks being convicted of crimes.

          Now our prisons tend to have a lot more Indians in prison than the United States per capita.

          Problem is prejudice. You get cops who stop blacks, Indians, or whatever more often than whites, so of course they end up being convicted more often. You’ll see the same thing with Mexicans in some places in the United States. I’ve heard the argument that because so many Mexicans do get convicted they must be all criminals.

          You can skew the numbers any way you want by concentrating on any group. Including whites.

        • Tom Kratman

          Nah….prejudice on the part of the cops isn’t the problem, here, generally. It’s that we’re already so badly fractured that whites are not even human for many blacks, and vice versa, and that liberalism has stunted their moral sense where it hasn’t outright destroyed it.

          Try this, what is the crime rate for blacks on blacks? What is it for whites on whites? Where is the prejudice there?

        • Steven Schwartz

          “Nah….prejudice on the part of the cops isn’t the problem, here, generally.”

          Given that over and over again, we have vivid demonstrations of police prejudice when it comes to violence by the police, it seems odd to presume that it’s not a problem when it comes to arrest records and the like. It’s been established that police racial bias is strong for programs like “stop and frisk”, so why wouldn’t there be a large element of police bias, again, in arrest records?

        • Tom Kratman

          Steven, you’re doing what you do a lot, basically ignoring context and doing violence to facts. The context is that Wayne seems to be claiming that blacks do not commit more crime, per capita, but are only arrested and prosecuted more because doubleplusungood prejudice. For Wayne’s point and your rebuttal to have any bearing, it would have to be false that blacks commit more crime. Otherwise it is completely proper, and no sign of prejudice (which may be there but is not indicated by arrests), to arrest more blacks if, in fact, they do commit more crime. NB that incarceration rate and crime rate are not the same, and that there may be racist factors at work in incarceration. However, that wouldn’t change things like, say, slightly over half of all murders being committed by blacks, or more than nine tenths of those being black on black. Now you might make a claim of racism because we fail to execute those feral blacks in sufficient numbers, and there I would be inclined to agree. It is, after all, part of the progressive assault on blacks that we must leave them helpless from the ferals that progressivism created in the first place.

        • Steven Schwartz

          ” For Wayne’s point and your rebuttal to have any bearing, it would have to be false that blacks commit more crime.”

          Actually, no. It would have bearing if PoC were arrested far more heavily for similar crimes.

          If Group A commits 5 crimes per 100, group B commits 10 crimes per hundred, yet group B gets arrested 5x more often, that’s a sign of prejudice. Add to that a significant increase in sentencing (group A gets sentenced much more leniently), and what you get is a massive overstatement of any actual group differences.

          “NB that incarceration rate and crime rate are not the same, and that there may be racist factors at work in incarceration.”

          I’m glad we agree. Of course, it has been pointed out repeatedly that incarceration is a good indicator of *future* criminal activity, so a bias in incarceration rates will tend to skew behaviors as well.

          “However, that wouldn’t change things like, say, slightly over half of all murders being committed by blacks, or more than nine tenths of those being black on black.”

          Actually, as pointed out above, it would.

          (I also keep wondering why such a big deal is being made of “It was mostly black on black” when, indeed, that speaks mostly of where these things happen)

          “Now you might make a claim of racism because we fail to execute those feral blacks in sufficient numbers”

          The very fact that you describe these people as “feral” says something. I presume you find all white murderers “feral” as well?

          One of the reasons many death penalty laws were struck down in the 70s was because of the drastic racial biases in who was being executed.

          ” It is, after all, part of the progressive assault on blacks that we
          must leave them helpless from the ferals that progressivism created in the first place.”

          As opposed to the conservative war on them that leave them bleeding in the streets because they did not obey the forces of law and order to their satisfaction, and calls them “feral” because they get locked up at a higher rate than other races?

          You sometimes raise serious points, Mr. Kratman, but then often drop off the end by ascribing blanket motives to people who would have nothing to do with them. I can, as you see, do the same, with (I think, though I’m sure you’d disagree) more justification — since I have never heard a progressive talk about what you say, while I *have* heard conservatives argue more or less what I have just said, giving me the weight of evidence as to motive — but does it further the discussion in any way? If not, we can keep lobbing our rhetorical closings at each other, if you like.

        • Tom Kratman

          I suppose you can “prove” anything if you can make up your data.

          None of which refutes that B is still committing more crimes, Steven. For example, from 1980 to 2008, (http://www.bjs.gov/content/pub/pdf/htus8008.pdf) about 52.5% of murders are committed by blacks, but 93 or so percent are black on black murders.

          And I am not prescribing motives, Steven; perhaps that’s you projecting from some Marxist POV. LBJ had motives, I am sure, relating to buying black votes and expressed in the most racist terms. I am observing – and this is, once again, a logical failing you have of not being able to see outside your presumptively Marxist framework – what has happened. I can accept in most cases (LBJ excepted, of course) the highest motives (well,,,the highest motives perhaps adulterated by the desire to feel good about themselves), but that doesn’t change the result.

        • Steven Schwartz

          “None of which refutes that B is still committing more crimes, Steven.”

          Of course, what those statistics *don’t* tell us is whether, in fact, C (the poor) or D (the economically disadvantaged) or E (The discriminated against) are committing more crimes. It gives us one slice of the picture, which is rather the point.

          I am reminded of the point once made (I would have to check the statistics to see if this is still true) that in terms of murder *rate*, rural areas were more dangerous than urban ones — but urban ones gave the impression of being more dangerous because there were more murders in ranges we understood (i.e. comparing “Philadelphia” to “Everything in Pennsylvania not Philadelpha or Pittsburgh*)

          “And I am not prescribing motives, Steven;”

          When you describe something as “the progressive assault on blacks”, as opposed to, for example, “the side effects of progressive policies on blacks”, you are ascribing some level of motive to the progressive.

          ” I am observing – and this is, once again, a logical failing you have
          of not being able to see outside your presumptively Marxist framework –
          what has happened.”

          And I was doing the same in what I described, save that I also have evidence, as I said, for motive. Which one of us, then, is closer to the truth?

          (And as a side note: depending on how loosely or strictly you define “Marxist” I do or do not qualify.)

        • Tom Kratman

          None of which, C, D, or E, has the slightest bearing, Steven – no, not the slightest – on whether they do commit more crimes, or whether the police only arrest them more, but may provide some mitigation for the crimes they do commit. I do not understand, just do not, why and how you cannot see that, why and how you continuously mix up the indicia the way you do. The original point that you defended was Wayne’s claim that the crime rates were similar and only the police arrested blacks more. What in the name of Ishtar’s holy and fragrant cunt do C, D, and E have to do with that?

          I describe effects, Steven. The effect is that of an assault. Indeed, what progs have done to blacks is worse than most assaults, and not redeemed in the slightest by lack of intent, because they unbefuckingglaublish arrogance substituted nicely for intent.

        • Steven Schwartz

          “None of which, C, D, or E, has the slightest bearing, Steven – no, not the slightest – on whether they do commit more crimes,”

          If I didn’t know your background, I’d ask if you’d ever studied social science at all.

          If group 1 is disproportionately represented in group A, and group A is known to be more prone to crime, then it is *entirely* relelvant whether group 1 is more represented than group 2 — because otherwise you can easily draw the conclusion that group 1 is more prone to crime because of the factor that makes it a group — rather than the factors that *affect* it as a group.

          “I describe effects, Steven. The effect is that of an assault.”

          So you would have no problem talking about the conservative war on civil rights? Or the Republican war on the poor? Funny how it’s only people you disagree with that you describe in terms of their alleged poor results.

          Or the war crimes of the U.S. government in the past? (Are LBJ, Nixon, and GW Bush war criminals? The effects of their actions would certainly make them so, and their only mitigation would be some measure of lack of intent/competence.)

        • Tom Kratman

          I don’t think there’s been a conservative assault on civil rights any more than there’s any validity to the “war on women.” I think there’s been a conservative defense against civil rights legislation gone mad. I’ve explained to you already Steven that you are defending Wayne’s position with spurious nonsense. What more can be said?

          At this point, though my intention was to illustrate how to avoid the coming replay of Beirut on steroids, we’re just illustrating how unlikely it is we can avoid it. In effect, we’re insane to each other. Now, of course, it could be that wrt objective reality I am the one who is insane. I don’t think that’s the way to bet it.

        • Steven Schwartz

          “I don’t think there’s been a conservative assault on civil rights any
          more than there’s any validity to the “war on women.” I think there’s
          been a conservative defense against civil rights legislation gone mad.”

          And I don’t think that there’s been a “progressive assault” on the black community.

          It doesn’t do either of us any good to talk in those terms if we’re trying to figure out how to de-escalate a situation; using terms that make the other side into criminals, or turn everything into a war model, doesn’t help avoid the Beirutification you disclaim. It’s why I’ve been calling you on it when it comes up.

          One of the things I would do, were I appointed Czar for a Day, would be to decree an end to Wars on Abstract Nouns (Povery, Drugs, Terror) — because once you start looking at a problem as a war, it drastically limits your range of solutions, and canalizes your thinking.

          “we’re just illustrating how unlikely it is we can avoid it. In effect, we’re insane to each other”

          The way to solve this is not to push the gaps *wider* with divisive rhetoric and throwing-up-of-hands, however. If there are places we can agree on, let’s find them; if there are measurements we can agree on to measure what’s good, let’s find them. The way to avoid Beirutification is through discussion and compromise, to my view, not avoiding the discussion to prevent “trouble” while letting everyone stew in their own juices.

          ” Now, of course, it could be that wrt objective reality I am the one who is insane. I don’t think that’s the way to bet it.”

          And, as I’m sure you’re not surprised, I do think it is — except I don’t think you’re *insane*. I think you’re wrong, and I think your political views are getting in the way of realizing what’s really going on — but you’re only “insane” if you cling to the dogma when presented with contradicting facts; when you put, as a scientist would say, your hypothesis above your data, and ignore the latter to preserve the former.

        • Stephen St.Onge

          “We have as many blacks per capita in Toronto, or even in the far north where I live, as many American cities”

          Really? I just did a quick web search. Wikipedia says Toronto has a black population of 8.5%. http://blackdemographics.com/population/black-city-population/

          lists 67 U.S. cities, allegedly with the largest black populations, and only 11 of the 67% are listed as having black populations of less than 8.5%. Further, when I cross-check the eleven against Wikipedia, four or five are listed as having a greater than 8.5% black population, and eight or nine are listed as having a greater percentage of blacks in the population than BlackDemographics.com shows (probably different definitions and dates of survey). For the country as a whole, the U.S. is 12.2% black, vs. 2.9% black for Canada, according to Wikipedia.
          In Short, you seem to be making shit up.

        • http://madhatter.ca/ Wayne Borean

          Read what I wrote, I said: as many American cities.

          What I wrote is true. Yes, there are more blacks in the USA than in Canada. Yes, there are a lot of American cities with more blacks than Toronto.

          But many American cities have about as many blacks per capita as Toronto.

          Sheesh. I wish people would read what is written, and not what they think they saw.

        • Stephen St.Onge

          In the U.S., the best measured society on Earth for I.Q. scores, blacks have consistently scored a median I.Q. of about 85, compared to about 100 for whites. But the crime rates of both groups have fluctuated hugely over time, and relative to each other. And while some studies show IQ adjusted racial statistics to be highly similar, others don’t.
          Basic principle of thought: You can’t explain variable results by a constant cause. Whatever correlation there is between I.Q. scores and crime rates, the large variations of crime rates over time, compared to small variations of IQ over time suggest other factors are more important.

      • Duffy

        Keep this up, and you may end up with a non-fiction book out in time to have an influence on the next election. But funny you should mention Kerry, I never liked the guy, but I did not despise the man until his performance in Paris after the Major Terror attack. At that point in time, “Intellectualism” became anathema to me, and I cannot help but look at anyone who claims to be an “Intellectual” or whines about the anti-intellectualism of America as anything but a retard.

        • Tom Kratman

          I’m not holding my breath on that one.

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      • Stephen St.Onge

        Alas, my friend, I don’t think the advice works. The progressive intellectuals want to destroy what exists. And the destruction of what exists is more important to them than avoiding the consequences of that destruction. For that matter, I’m not sure they don’t actively desire the consequences.
        I see no reason to believe that they will stop till they have destroyed our civilization.

        • Tom Kratman

          You must have missed, Steve, that – unlike Harris – I expressly didn’t aim my advice at prog intellectuals.

        • svartalf

          No, you didn’t. You aimed it at the people in the middle. You’d not reach the intellectuals- they’re navel gazing and operating off of feelings instead of rational thoughts. When someone operates in that mode…facts follow feelings and if they feel the sky’s green, it is.

        • Tom Kratman

          We _all_ operate off of feelings, instincts, emotions, etc. The difference is that the lefts instincts are in gear with what they wish were true, while the right’s are more in tune with the world as it is, has been, and likely always will be.

        • Pugmak

          On that ‘sky is green’ angle, there’s some evidence of that, actually.

          Google around on “snow is black” and public education.

        • Stephen St.Onge

          No Tom, I didn’t miss that. I just don’t see any hope of persuading the average liberal voter to ignore the progressive intellectuals. It’s the ol’ salami tactic of just a few more regulations, just a bit more spending, some higher taxes.
          The explicit socialists have never gotten anywhere in persuading the country to vote for socialism. But the progressive intellectuals succeed endlessly, easily, and routinely in extending their control.

        • Tom Kratman

          There’s certainly no hope if no one tries.

        • Stephen St.Onge

          Quite true. But for the flip side, I remember around 1980, when the Equal Rights Amendment was within three ratifications of success. I pointed out that it was dead in the water, because there was no reasonable hope of any of the remaining states that hadn’t ratified it agreeing. I got a similar response: “That’s true if everyone gives up.” Well, everyone didn’t give up, but not a single new ratification passed.

          For me, the RE-election of Obama was key. A majority of the voters gave him four more years. Those people aren’t going to EVER vote for the kind of country we want to live in.

        • Tom Kratman

          Which doesn’t prove that it’s not worth trying. We’ve been seeing these pendulum swings, and seeing them get stronger, all our lives, Steve. Obama….I’m not sure how he got re-elected, really, but it may just have been a combo of the pendulum and war weariness.

        • Pugmak

          That’s why I’ve taken the habit of referring to that particular subgroup of people as destructionists.

        • svartalf

          I daresay, without speaking for Tom here, that what I got from this is that the people that’re asleep, but capable of thinking and the thinkers need to wise up and not follow ideologues and the like. We’ve got an opportunity to actually restart what really IS civilization and take the whole discussion away from that which I typically refer to as The Insane (Called so for just cause, because many of them *ARE* mentally ill…)

        • Stephen St.Onge

          My mileage varies. I don’t think we can get the kind of government and country we want within the present-day United States. I believe our only hope is the one my friend Tom started this series by rejecting: secession.

      • Jack Withrow

        Col, On the issue of compromise when you can (Recommendation #4), why? Since when has the left compromised? They use compromise in the same manner as the “Death of a Thousand Cuts.” Nothing has satisfied them. What little motivation to compromise I had, died, about 10 years ago when I saw what my country turned into while I was in the Rockpile. Unless the Left proves they are open to compromise and more importantly actually compromises on some very serious issues, I see no reason to compromise with them. So maybe I am one of the reasons why the US will explode into barbarism, but there comes a point when a person can no longer compromise with what that person sees as death to everything they hold dear.

        • Tom Kratman

          Compromise with WHOM, Jack. Bill Ayers and Catherine McKinnon and the loons of Social Justice? Probably not. But I think my advice there was mostly to them, that there are some core things – and frankly, as long as we have the first and second amendments we can avoid the worst – on which there will be no compromise fopr precisely the reasons you mention.

        • Jack Withrow

          I am at the point that I don’t believe any compromise will be honored by the Left, no matter what it is about. A compromise to them is just a waystation enroute to their ultimate goal. They have no intention to honor it. And what worries me is that center of the political spectrum does not understand that. They will believe the Left will demand nothing more after they compromise with them, and some time later (normally the near future) the Left will break that trust. You can’t compromise with someone you can’t trust and the Center with their go along to get along attitude does not understand that.
          I don’t want to see this Country go to hell in a handbasket. I really don’t. But my firm belief is we are where we are at due to compromise. We as a nation have compromised on far too many things and none of those compromises have been for the better IMO.

        • Tom Kratman

          Which “left,” though, Jack. The extremes? Of course not. But there are still some, perhaps many and perhaps even enough, who might, if they can be made to understand the costs of not doing so.

          Note: however, that I expressly said there are some things on which we will not compromise, left or right, and they’d best be ignored because the consequences of not ignoring them are worse.

        • Jack Withrow

          If and it is a big “IF”, the extremes on both sides could be left out of any compromise it might work. Only problem is how do you remove them from the equation legally?

        • Tom Kratman

          You don’t. And if you tried it probably wouldn’t work. It has to come from inside enough people, the conviction that what we have is worth something and a lot better than the reality behind the fantasies that would replace it.

        • Jack Withrow

          Okay, how do you dismantle the propaganda machine of the left to make the folks of the Center think objectively about this? You can’t convince people to really make the hard choices when they are fed a steady diet of everything is great. And when the Center has been convinced that Conservatives are some kind of thought criminals, how do you overcome that?
          I don’t see how the advantages of the Left can be overcome in time to save this country. They control the Media, the School System, most of the Legal System in this country, and most importantly the Executive Branch of the Federal Government.
          I know I am a morose bastard. I really wonder sometimes if this country is worth saving.

        • Tom Kratman

          I don’t think we can dismantle it. We can counter it. We can laugh at it. We can get some of the more moderates types to see how preposterous it is. We can do any of a zillion things, most of which will not occur to you and me but will occur to somebody.

        • Jack Withrow

          You have far more faith in people than I do. Don’t get me wrong, I would love for you to be proven right and I wrong, but I have been uniformly disappointed by the American Public for the last two decades. I have yet to see the majority stand up for anything in that time period. The vast majority hold nothing dear IMO and I can’t really see that changing any time soon.

        • Tom Kratman

          I don’t know that it’s faith in people, so much, Jack, as faith that if we don’t come out of this social and political death spiral, there will not be tears enough to mourn what we’ll lose.

        • Jack Withrow

          Do you honestly think there is still time left to stop this death spiral? What I mean by that is there some glimmer of hope to latch onto? I don’t see any, but as I stated earlier I am one morose SOB. I fully expect to see things just spiraling downward at a faster and faster rate. My one hope is I don’t live long enough to see the inevitable end.

        • Tom Kratman

          I think Obama has done more for conservatism than anyone since Ronaldus Magnus. I think we get one more swipe of the pendulum. So I think, yes, we might have the chance and, because of the cost if we have it and fail, we have GOT to try.

        • Jack Withrow

          Hope you are right.

        • Stephen St.Onge

          “It has to come from inside enough people, the conviction that what we have is worth something and a lot better than the reality behind the fantasies that would replace it.”

          There, I think, we get to the core. The typical liberal voter you wish to compromise with doesn’t believe that the politicians he votes for are destroying the basis for internal peace. They won’t endorse an ideologically consistent position, but they’ll vote to get rid of “what we have”, a piece at a time.

        • Tom Kratman

          There’s a pendulum-like motion to this stuff, Steve. I sense we may get one more chance to right matters, and if we miss it, ugh.

      • Ming the Merciless

        you over here with me on the right of the middle, look left as far as
        you can distinguish among people. That last group you can see clearly?
        Yes, like you and me they have an interest in maintaining a civilized,
        united country

        Not sure that we (the Right the non-loony Left) define “interest”, “maintain”, “civilized”, or “united” similarly enough that we can work together. For example,
        1. One of their core “interests” as far as I can tell is keeping the Right down, no matter what the cost. They’d rather lose order and civilization than let us have any say in how things are run.
        2. They are not willing to do what it takes to maintain civilization at the basic level – i.e., keep criminals off the streets.
        3. Their views on civilization are incompatible with ours. Taking guns away is only the beginning. We are living in their “civilization” — and I don’t like it, nor do I think it is sustainable.
        4. They are happy to dis-unite the country in order to fight us politically and generally rub our noses in the dirt. They’d rather import disorderly barbarian tribes than live in civilized peace with us.

        • Tom Kratman

          Whose interest, Ming? Yes, the extremes and especially the extreme left’s intellectuals have the interest. Joe and Mabel who just vote democrat and to whom this column is largely addressed? Not so much.

        • Ming the Merciless

          How would you describe the average Arlington/Fairfax County Democrat? Are they crazy extreme, or Joe and Mabel? Because as far as I can tell from the local discussion forums, they’d rather eat a steaming pile of dog poop than let Republicans have any political power or victories, or even simply leave the local Republicans alone.

          And if it’s the extremes/elites who won’t leave us alone, the “average” Democrats aren’t voting against their candidates who do that, and don’t even speak out against it.

        • Tom Kratman

          Until now, has anyone suggested they do so?

          Who knows where the average is? Who can say if Fairfax is anywhere near it? What would it prove if Fairfax were the average?

        • Ming the Merciless

          If you want to argue that lots of Joe and Mabels are out there, waiting for an appeal to reason and compromise, somehow you need to define who they are and where they are.

          And you need to filter out the problem that even the most loony extreme Leftist thinks he is a moderate centrist, not least because he doesn’t know anyone who thinks differently from him.

        • Tom Kratman

          If you’ve been following along, so far, I think you’ll recall that I’ve already mentioned that just about everyone thinks they’re centrist, moderate, and reasonable. In any case, no, I could never give a definition for that; they’ll define themselves by their actions.

        • Steven Schwartz

          “And you need to filter out the problem that even the most loony extreme Leftist thinks he is a moderate centrist”

          Trust us, we on the (relatively) far Left don’t think we’re moderate centrists. ;) We might wish the center were closer to us, but that’s not the same thing.

          “not least because he doesn’t know anyone who thinks differently from him.”

          This is a problem of the Right as well, especially given the Fox News phenomenon — where a significant group of people get their news from a single basic source, which has been repeatedly demonstrated to be highly inaccurate.

        • Ming the Merciless

          Eh, I could cite examples, but then we’d have to argue about whether the person in question was really “far Left” or not.

          Trust me, everyone on the Right knows what the Left thinks and says, because we can’t get away from it. As a result the Right is better at countering the real arguments of the Left. The Left mainly counters strawmen, i.e., a stupid caricature of the Right’s arguments.

        • Steven Schwartz

          “Trust me, everyone on the Right knows what the Left thinks and says, because we can’t get away from it.”

          Go up and look at “gaige”, and tell me he knows what the Left thinks.

          If Fox News is who’s telling you what the Left thinks, then you *don’t* know what the left thinks — you know what some people on the right want you to believe the left thinks.

          As seems typical in these discussions, I come in saying “This is a problem everyone suffers from” and get told “No, it’s just the Left, we on the Right are doing correctly.”

          We on the Left are quite familiar with strawmen from the Right, trust me. I wish I’d invested in a rhetorical straw factory many years ago.

          Let me ask: What is so hard about saying “Yeah, this is a problem we all have” when there’s ample evidence to support it? I mean, really — don’t you go to comment threads on contentious subject and sometimes shake your head at the lousy reasoning from your own side?

        • Ming the Merciless

          The Right does not get all its news from Fox News. Even those who watch Fox can’t avoid hearing the Left’s views from many other sources. Whether or not they truly understand what they hear and draw correct conclusions is another matter, but you can never guarantee that.

          I don’t think both sides suffer equally from the problem of not understanding the other side.

        • Steven Schwartz

          ” Even those who watch Fox can’t avoid hearing the Left’s views from many other sources.”

          And the same is true from the other side, believe you me; there is no escaping the views of the other side, no matter where you go — well, insofar as there are two “sides”.

          “Whether or not they truly understand what they hear and draw correct
          conclusions is another matter, but you can never guarantee that.”

          Exactly! Which is why there is so much straw being tossed around.

          “I don’t think both sides suffer equally from the problem of not understanding the other side.”

          This is a matter of opinion, on which we disagree, but realistically, there’s no way to prove it one way or another. In fact, it may not be “equal”, but, say, a 60-40% split is, in terms of how it has to be dealt with, the same as a 50-50%. The groups on both sides are large enough.

        • Neil

          I think the “Joe and Mabel” demographic has shrunk significantly in the last fifteen years or so. Either they switched to voting Republican, or they got a good job with the municipal government filling potholes and they vote their self-interest. Their kids mostly went to college and learned that nobody is a Republican (and watch Jon Steward every week who says the same thing), so the right is not worth thinking about when voting.

          Interestingly, the one place where the left-of-center has something in common with the right-of-center is on gun control. Everybody likes guns now.

      • Ben-David

        The problem Tom is that it is doomed to failure. People have decided to self segregate themselves and there is little likelihood of undoing that and as long as it continues to shape our culture and politics, we will continue on the path set before us. The only thing that could delay that future long enough for that dynamic to change would be prosperity and external peace for a given period of time and we unlikely to see either in the foreseeable future.

        • Tom Kratman

          That’s because, among other reasons, that we’ve forgotten the legitmate use of the left right spectrum, in favor of self-satisfied intellectualisms, don’t recognize the illusions, hence can’t see – more importantly _feel_ – the greater commonality.

          And external peace would make it worse, not better. An existential war would help far more than a peace.

        • ben-david

          That does not seem to be working at this time Tom. I will also point out that the conceptualization of a domestic truce, binding of wounds and forgiveness takes two parties and at least one of the parties in question is intent of fighting for all of the marbles. strategically they have been winning for over 100 years and are almost at the end game and the only reason that everything they have fought for may be overturned is because their currently leader has even less tactical or strategic skill than a certain corporal.

        • Tom Kratman

          One extreme of one party, Ben, is not the whole of that party. It’s a controlling extreme, at the moment, yes. You may have missed it, but this is aimed at getting the majority of that party, which is not that extreme, to break away from the extreme. If you don’t think it will work, don’t play.

        • BCS

          Existential war to bring unity…where have I heard that one before?

        • Tom Kratman

          From Great Stalin, perhaps.

        • BCS

          Wrong again. It was Irving Kristol and Leo Strauss, the founders of neo-conservatism.

        • Tom Kratman

          Meh. Look, fuck face; it doesn’t matter who says it if it’s true.

      • Pugmak

        As one of them type people from #2 on the right…

        In my case, it’s not a joyful fantasy that motivates my rants. It’s abject, gut wrenching fear at the pattern I see unfolding.

        So, I ask myself. What would serve best to motivate people of my village to safeguard themselves, their kith and kin and their livestock?

        Someone occasionally mentioning that some care should be taken in case the wolves come around for a visit, or the howling of a wolf in the distance?

        I don’t claim to do it well, but I’m too old and used up to do anything else and damn it! Gotta do something.

        • Tom Kratman

          You’re not, in your own person, that far right, Pug. It just feels that way because you’re getting a lot of pressure of one kind or another from the left.

      • Mark Andrew Edwards

        Good prescriptions, sir. I agree with all of them.

        On the other paw, if my outstretched hand is constantly slapped away, eventually I’ll stop extending it. There is a part of me and folks like me who are pretty close to saying ‘fuck it, the only way they’re going to learn is if they fail’. And a whole lot of people are going to suffer if they do and we do.

        I am encouraged by those fighting back, with words so far. The struggle over ideas isn’t over until words stop working.

        Honestly, America was the best experiment in human history. I hope to see it continue.

        • Tom Kratman

          Look to who you are extending it to. With some there is no point. WIth others there is. And with still others you can – if you try – make them see a point they otherwise would not.

      • Joe Hughes

        This series has been interesting Colonel.

        I consider myself left of center and the ones that worry me to the right are those that would try to turn the United States into a theocracy. The ones on the left of me worry me by trying to turn the United States thought control state. Neither one allows for true Freedom of Speech.

        • Tom Kratman

          Joe, I think it was the last column where I mentioned the illusion of guilt by association. There are very, very, as in vanishingly few Christian theocrats in the US or in the western world. There are some numbers of non-Christian theocrats, but Christianity is a fair counterweight to them. There are, however, on college campuses from Augusta, ME to San DIego and and from Madison to Austin so many folks on the left just sure that restricting free speech is just evah so lovely and right and proper that you couldn’t count them.

          But more importantly, I, sitting at the right edge of the middle (i’m less right wing than people think), and you, sitting about on the left, have a common interest, to keep civilization and to not let the nuts have the keys to the asylum, that outweighs or should outweigh every other consideration. If we – the expansive we – don’t see that and act on it then Beirut is our future.

        • Joe Hughes

          Colonel, I thought about your words last night and I think I understand. I’m letting my bias concerning living under any type of theocracy influence my thoughts about others. You are unfortunately correct about those on some college campuses that would restrict free speech. That is a slippery slope which once started leads to banning of ideas or words that aren’t popular with the majority. Talk about living in a vacuum.

          At one time I would say that I was just right of center also. When I first started voting I voted Republican. And then as the party became more socially conservative, I went to Democratic, and then to Independent. Currently I’m not fond of either major parties candidates.

          As for the nuts having the keys to the asylum I think that there are those on both extremes that have power and have a vision of the US that neither of us would like. Pushed too hard I can see both sides against the middle and as you said Beirut would be our future.

        • Tom Kratman

          Worth avoiding, too, no?

        • BCS

          “Vanishingly few Christian theocrats”?
          Then why do they control the Tea Party?

        • Tom Kratman

          Got some stats or other evidence to prove that? How are you defining control? How are you defining theocrat? How are you seeing tea party? If anything, they tend to be strict constitutinalists, which is to say, more dedicated to the separation of church and state than even Jefferson was.

        • BCS

          http://publicreligion.org/2013/10/the-relationship-between-libertarians-the-tea-party-and-the-christian-right/

          http://www.pewforum.org/2011/02/23/tea-party-and-religion/

          Simple. The majority of Tea Party members are MORE socially conservative than average Republicans.
          Theocrat = Desires greater (if not total) overlap of religious and civic law.
          Tea Party = A movement based around self-identification started by Republican party members as an effort to stymie the Obama administration, esp. re: ObamaCare. Said movement has gained greater traction by hitting established Republican candidates in primaries from the right.

          TL;DR – Ted Cruz, Sarah Palin, Michelle Bachmann, all Tea Party, all theocrats.

        • Tom Kratman

          Okay, I think we have a semantic issue here that can only be resolved with a _defintion_ of theocrat that your examples will fit, not by giving examples without definition. Further, the logical leaps you’re making just seem insupportable, so support them some, would you?

        • BCS

          I just defined “Theocrat” in my last post, along with “Tea Party”. What’s untrue with either definition?

          …Um. What?
          “The analysis shows that most people who agree with the religious right also support the Tea Party”
          “Tea Party supporters are much more likely than the public overall to
          cite “religious beliefs” as the biggest influence on their views of
          same-sex marriage and abortion”

        • Tom Kratman

          That’s not really a very useful definiton, if that’s what you want to rank your doubleplusungoods on. If you’re really thinking that, because there’s a commandment that says Thou shalt not murder, then anyone in favor of criminalizing the act of murder is a theocrat, then go in peace. Neither I nor my column were addressed to you, except in the sense of, why bother? If you’re trivial minded enough to get the vapors over a Christmas creche outside city hall, and defense of said creche constitutes the doubleplusungood thoughtcrime of being a theocrat, again, go in peace, neither my column nor I have much to say to you. If you’re thinking theocrat is someone who takes bibilical law literally, one notes that Sarah Palin hasn’t called for her daugther to be stoned. not have Ted Cruz or Michelle Backman made up for that failing.

          Frankly, based on your genuinely – however counterfactually – bizarre and dangerous delusions about what is and is not a theocracy, I have to suspect that you’re a loon and precisely the soort of loon upon whom reasonable liberals ought to turn their backs.

        • BCS

          So advocating for stoning unfaithful wives ISN’T a “doubleplusungood”?
          I only “get the vapors” at a creche when it’s my tax dollars supporting it or putting it up.

          Theocrat doesn’t necessarily overlap with religious literalism/fundamentalism, nor did I require that Theocrats have to not be hypocrites.

          3 posts and he’s going onto personal attacks! I win!

        • Tom Kratman

          Theocrat, in your universe, doesn’t seem to correspond to much of anything. Neither, apparently, does the idea of “win.”

        • BCS

          How does my definition of theocrat not correspond to anything? Cruz/Palin/etc fit the definition ideologically to a T. The fact that they’re not wearing hijabs or turbans just means that you’re blind to it since you agree with them on the important things (like a fondness for personal attacks on people who are against poisoning fetuses with mercury and other toxins).

        • Tom Kratman

          If you can’t see where you’re being an idiot, I can’t help you. I don’t think anyone can help you. I don’t really think you’re worth the effort to help. Now run along, little troll-chickie; adults are speaking.

        • James

          No not really BCS the popcorn I popped when I saw this argument start at the top is done. You have failed terribly.

          “Theocracy is a form of government in which clergy have official recognition as the civil ruler[citation needed] and official policy is either governed by officials regarded as divinely guided, or is pursuant to the doctrine of a particular religion or religious group.”

          Basically if the nation was ruled by the religious leaders of the nation mainly the clergy or controlled by them.

          I used to go to church in a very conservative area. More churches than 90% of the US.

          I can remember maybe 2 times having a political sermon and those were mostly about how abortion was wrong.

          No one ever said we should force anything on anyone and considering my mother and more than a few others had a kid out of wedlock and no one really cared….

          You need to talk to more people from real theocracies and generally need to read a bit more.

          This was entertaining.

        • BCS

          You forget that, in most forms of evangelical Christianity, “clergy” is generally whoever wants to be clergy, thus explaining why Senator Ted Cruz has been “anointed to be a King”
          http://disinfo.com/2013/10/ted-cruzs-father-preaches-son-anointed-king-will-bring-end-time-transfer-wealth/

        • Tom Kratman

          And in a more Carl Sandburgian, Chicagoesque vein:

          Horse’s ass wannabe,
          Nazi-in-drag, hypocrite.
          Liar extraordinaire, integrity-challenged.
          Foaming, furious, apopleptic, impotent.
          They tell me that you have penis envy of actual men and I believe them
          For I have seen your amusing efforts at pretending to be one and laughed and invited you to do some more.

        • Steven Schwartz

          Because, I suspect, Mr. Kratman uses a very narrow definition of “Christian theocrat” and a very expansive definition of those who would restrict “free speech” in his comments above. I don’t recall if it’s actually one of the illusions he referred to earlier, but I would not be surprised: minimizing the extremists close to you while overstating the ones against you. To him, the Dominionists are a butt of jokes and not a force worth noticing, just as the Left tells jokes about Trotskyist factionalism and rolls our eyes at their newspapers.

        • Stephen St.Onge

          Same question. Name the people who “control the Tea Party”, and cite their explicit calls to replace the Constitution.

        • Tom Kratman

          I’m trying to imagine anyone or any cohesive group controlling the TEA Party at all. It’s not, after all, a party.

        • https://plus.google.com/+JoelCSalomon J. C. Salomon

          Christian theocrats run the TEA Party? And here I was believing all the editorials claiming it’s all made up of libertarian fascists.
          /sarc

        • Joe Hughes

          Yes.

        • Stephen St.Onge

          Just who, EXACTLY, wants to turn the U.S. into a theocracy. Name names, please, and cite explicit calls for overturning the Constitution and replacing it with their divine revelation.

        • Steven Schwartz

          This is a difference of definition, clearly. For example, I would put someone who believes that religious freedom is only for Christians, and who believes that the Bible and Constitution are on the same level of legal importance, in the category of “theocrat” — and then I give you, just as an example, the Chief Justice of Alabama.

        • Tom Kratman

          Against my better judgment temporarily lifting your plonked status:

          And there we run into a fairly recent problem (for us; it’s been a problem other places for a long time): Islam, which, while certainly a religion, is also much, much more than that, and which, by it’s own rules, cannot ultimately be separated from the state. Now they, if proper Muslims, really are theocrats and pretty much the modern definition of theocrats in a way that Sarah Palin certainly is not.

          You will have a hard time finding too many Christians who believe religious freedom is only for Christians, since few Christians really have much of a problem, if any at all, with Buddhism, Sikhism, Cao Dai, Bahai, LDS (if they define Mormonism as other than Christian, which some seem to), Asatru, Wicca, Hinduism, or their confreres, the Hari Khrishna dancers on the Common, etc. And, speaking of Asatru, Wicca and various other neopaganisms, they do not appear to really be religions, but are more modern philosophies, usually but not always hedonistic, to which have been tacked various made up or threadbare half remembered rags and scraps of defunct religions. Still, even they’re entitled to the benefit of the doubt.

        • Steven Schwartz

          I admit I’m at a bit of a loss, since most religious bigots don’t answer poll questions with “Yes, I’m a religious bigot” — so the social science data is a bit lacking. :)

          (And please note: I am not accusing *you* of being one; I am saying that it is hard to track down concrete numbers, as opposed to anecdotes; there are plenty of those, but I have alwauys held that the plural of “anecdote” is not “data”.)

          I hope you are correct in your view, but I have seen plenty of people going ballistic over non-Christian prayers in public places, or non-Christian religious beliefs being presented, to be particularly sanguine about it, not even counting the massive history of intra-Christian religious bigotry and strife.

          Also, as a side note, Christian Dominionism and its many offshoots also quite clearly believe that Christianity cannot be separated from the state; and, indeed, the entire principle of “my religious beliefs trump secular law” (e.g. non-discrimination laws, etc.) put church above state, and *that* is a view held by a not inconsiderable portion of the population.

          (Heck; I do not remember (being a tad young) but certainly do remember reading about Catholics having to prove that they weren’t going to put Pope above America while running for office.)

        • Tom Kratman

          Again, the questions are what religion and what beliefs. Islam remains a problem for us, because a) we are, in effect, at war with at least one set of interpretations of it, and b) it’s not just a religion. I’ve never run into a Christian Dominionist, or, indeed, any non-Islamic theocrat. That’s not data, either, but it does at leat suggest they’re not very common.

        • BCS
        • Tom Kratman

          Not even going to bother.

        • BCS

          Lazy conservative is too lazy to play semantic games anymore? So sad.

        • Tom Kratman

          No, you’re just not worth it.

        • BCS

          And you’re in denial of objective reality. I guess that makes us even.
          Do I get brownie points for out-arguing a published author?

        • Tom Kratman

          No, not at all, objective reality is that you’re a troll, and none too bright.

        • Stephen St.Onge

          “Christian Dominionism” is indeed theocratic. It’s also a small minority movement that the Christians I’ve talked to reject wholeheartedly.

          And of course, when you get into “non-discrimination laws, etc.”, we all know where you’re going: people must perform acts that violate their religious beliefs, but oh, that isn’t a prohibition of the free exercise of religion.

          You rather remind me here of the defenders of “Southern Rights” pre-1860: ‘We don’t want to interfere with the North. If Northerners don’t want to own slaves, they don’t have to. We just insist that you respect our property rights in slaves, and allow us to settle in all territories with them, and take our property into any state.’

        • Steven Schwartz

          “”Christian Dominionism” is indeed theocratic. It’s also a small
          minority movement that the Christians I’ve talked to reject
          wholeheartedly.”

          I’m glad you’re surrounded by reasonable Christians.

          “people must perform acts that violate their religious beliefs, but oh, that isn’t a prohibition of the free exercise of religion.”

          To quote from Jefferson and the Supreme Court: “”that it is time enough for the rightful purposes of civil government for its officers to interfere when principles break out into overt acts against peace and good order.”

          In these two sentences is found the true distinction between what properly belongs to the church and what to the State.”

          The original quote Jefferson, the latter Chief Justice Waite, writing for a unanimous Court in United States vs. Reynolds.

          Similiarly, again quoting Jefferson: “”Believing with you that religion is a matter which lies solely between man and his God; that he owes account to none other for his faith or his worship; that the legislative powers of the government reach actions only, and not opinions”

          What you are claiming for “violation of religious beliefs” puts religious law above governmental law — because anyone can claim that an act, or an act around a specific group of people, “violates their religious beliefs.”

          If you are putting your religious purity at risk by baking a cake, or filling a prescription, or helping a patient, then choose a different field of work that will not do so. We would not accept an Orthodox Jew applying to work in a non-kosher slaughterhouse, and then claiming after they had done so that they could not do the work there, but requiring them to was “religious discrimination”.

          Similarly; if you do not believe in filling birth control prescriptions, *don’t become a pharmacist*. Problem solved; the rest of the world does not need to bend in order to let you do whatever you see fit *and* according to your particular conscience.

          “You rather remind me here of the defenders of “Southern Rights” pre-1860: ‘We don’t want to interfere with the North. If Northerners don’t want to own slaves, they don’t have to. We just insist that you respect our property rights in slaves, and allow us to settle in all territories with them, and take our property into any state.’”

          Funny; I was just reading an articl pointing out that the South took up the banner of “State’s Rights” quite late — that they were a great supporter of Federal power over the states when it came to the treatment of escaped slaves.

          Of course, you’re comparing two people wanting to live their lives together and be recognized by the state to slave-owning, which is at best a stretch and at worst a most odious comparison.

          One could just as easily say “You don’t need to be a Christian, but you need to respect our particular views on the world, and allow us to ignore the laws when it does not suit our conscience, and refuse to serve whomever we feel unfit” — and it would fit the bill just as well, if not *better* — especially given tht it is the religious in this argument who are arguing for special exemption from laws that other people have to follow.

        • Stephen St.Onge

          Your reply is more or less as I expected. Having decided that “homosexual marriage” is a good thing, you have no problem forcing those who disagree to violate their religious principles. Someone who disagrees with the way others live must not only let those others live that way, they must actively aid them. And if the Supreme Court decides laws making sodomy a crime are constitutional one day, but unconstitutional a few years later (though there were no amendments to the Constitution in that time dealing with the subject), well, those who disagree can just find new careers. Steven Schwartz has spoken!

          Of course, if a law commanded you to do something you morally objected to, you’d obey without a quiver, right?

          It’s obvious we have nothing to say to each other on this subject.

          Concerning Judge Moore, I looked at your link, and at no place does any of the quoted material say anything like what you claim. In fact, it doesn’t touch the issue of what is protected by the First Amendment at all.

          Goodbye.

        • Steven Schwartz

          “you have no problem forcing those who disagree to violate their religious principles.”

          If their religious “principles” are so broad as to overwhelm large amounts of the law by which we, as a civilized society, operate, then they have a choice — withdraw from it, as other religious groups have done, or find an accomodation.

          “Someone who disagrees with the way others live must not only let those others live that way, they must actively aid them.”

          By this standard, I presume you do realize that someone could refuse to do business with, say, Jews? Or Catholics?

          “Of course, if a law commanded you to do something you morally objected to, you’d obey without a quiver, right?”

          There’s this thing called “civil disobedience” — perhaps you’ve heard of it?

          People went to *jail*, lost their jobs, etc., in an attempt to persuade people of the rightness of their cause. If a law touched my objections that much, I’d do the same.

          What I would *not* do is demand the right to *ignore* the law because of my particular moral feelings.

          “Concerning Judge Moore, I looked at your link, and at no place does any
          of the quoted material say anything like what you claim. In fact, it
          doesn’t touch the issue of what is protected by the First Amendment at
          all.”

          Then I recommend you consider looking at the phrases and quotes in the context of the article. You could even listen to the primary source provided by the video, if you cared to — since, from your other questions, I see you want to insist on a great deal of documentation.

          If you are done, fare well.

        • Stephen St.Onge

          The only problem we ever had with those groups you mention, within the last fifty years, was their annoying us in airports. Now, airport security annoys us so comprehensively, we don’t care about them.

          All this worry about “theocracy”, combined with the reluctance to be specific, makes me suspect that the worriers don’t have a case, and know it.

          Still, even if my suspicion is correct, they aren’t as bad as a couple of racists I’m arguing with on Facebook, who insist that the end of slavery in 1861-5 had nothing to do with the Civil War, and that their tender concern for the “rights” of white people to own black slaves doesn’t make them racists, no sirree. Now that’s idiocy of an order I’d never encountered before.

        • Tom Kratman

          You may recall the bugaboo of 12 or so years ago, “Unitary president,” a horrid thing, to be sure, but one that seemed not to have recurred when, oh, say, Obama had both house and senate. Course, that was different.

          I suppose it would be fair to say, too, that there’s a correlation approaching unity between those – quite possibly far right as well as far left – who latch onto these idiot memes in lieu of actually thinking and those for whom there is zero point in reaching out a hand.

        • Stephen St.Onge

          The problem of the “Unitary Presidency” is new to me. Considering that I never came across references to it when the president was FDR, HST, JFK, LBJ, the Georgia Giant (“that grinning, glad handing sack of shit”–Stephen King), or Bill the Flasher, I really suspect it’s a problem only when the GOP controls the White House and Congress.

          I share your suspicion about people not thinking. Over on Amazon, I came across a reprint of I. F. Stone’s book THE HIDDEN HISTORY OF THE KOREAN WAR, and pointed out that it was written by a Soviet espionage agent. When challenged to provide evidence, I did. The reaction was ‘There all liars, and it all smears,’ typical of a certain type when their idols are shown to be hollow.

          And in this thread, Mr. Schwartz takes an article on Judge Moore, which quotes a few lines that I reproduce, with bracketed comments:

          “Everybody, to include the United States Supreme Court, has been deceived as to one little word in the first amendment called ‘religion,’” he said. “They can’t define it.” [Possibly true, so what.]

          “They don’t want to do that, because that acknowledges the creator God,” he said. “Buddha didn’t create us. Muhammad didn’t create us. It’s the God of the Holy Scriptures.” [An expression of the Judge's religious beliefs, which are constitutionally protected.]

          According to Moore, the government and the Supreme Court should define religion as James Madison and George Mason did – “The duties we owe to the Creator and the manner of discharging it.” [An expression of political opinion, constitutionally protected, mixed with a historical claim that is true as far as I know.]

          “They didn’t bring a Koran on the pilgrim ship, Mayflower,” he said. “Let’s get real. Let’s learn our history. Let’s stop playing games.” [A historical claim that is true, combined with more protected political speech.]

          Put those together, and they constitute a grand call for … ? Better history instruction in public schools? There’s nothing in there that would have any bearing on how to rule in a First Amendment case that I can see.

        • Steven Schwartz

          Mr. St. Onge, are you really being this willfully blind? If you argue that religion is “duties owed the Creator”, and you then assert that religions of *your* particular set of scriptures are the only ones that fit the bill, you are arguing for a definition of “freedom of religion” that only applies to what you believe.
          “Better history instruction in public schools?”

          I’d support that — but I suspect our definitions of “better” would be radically different.

          ” There’s nothing in there that would have any bearing on how to rule in a First Amendment case that I can see.”

          When you explicitly declare your definition of “religion” as excluding many things that other people would call religions, thant calls your 1st Amendment judgment into severe question.

          If a judge were to say, in public, “I feel that “arms” as defined in the second amendment only applies to weapons available at the time of the Constitution’s founding.” would you feel that judge had no unusual opinions in a 2nd Amendment case?

          What if said judge had already been removed from the bench once for ordering the seizure of all non-black-powder weapons in his jurisdiction?

          There’s your connection.

        • Stephen St.Onge

          Mr. Schwartz, there isn’t enough content in the reference YOU gave me to come to any conclusions whatsoever about how the Judge would rule.
          A Christian Judge talking to some Christian ministers says some Christian things, fairly vapid and empty, and you panic over nothing. If the Judge had said, explicitly, “Freedom of religion does not apply to Buddhists, Muslims, Wiccans, Native American Traditionalists, or any other non-Christian, non-Jewish so-called religion,” then yes, there’d be something to worry about. As it is, I’m not concerned.

        • Steven Schwartz

          “A Christian Judge talking to some Christian ministers says some
          Christian things, fairly vapid and empty, and you panic over nothing.”

          A Christian judge who was previously removed from his position because of explicit First Amendment violations, remember.

          “d you panic over nothing. If the Judge had said, explicitly, “Freedom of religion does not apply to Buddhists, Muslims, Wiccans, Native American Traditionalists, or any other non-Christian, non-Jewish so-called religion,” then yes, there’d be something to worry about. As it is, I’m not concerned.”

          So you take people entirely at their word, and do not ascribe to them any motives they have not explicitly stated. I presume, then, that you accept the President’s assertions at the same face value, and trust him equally implicitly? And anyone else you might disagree with?

          Again — Roy Moore has already lost his position over First Amendment violations. He has cited the Bible to support his position in a recent legal dispute. When someone who’s already done something like that says “These things aren’t a religion”, it behooves one, if one is not a hopeless näif, to listen and note it.

        • Stephen St.Onge

          And you throw around generalities, asking me to panic over — WHAT? I can only conclude that the reason you don’t cite anything concrete is that there is nothing concrete.

        • Steven Schwartz

          a) I’m not asking you to panic. I’m asking you to note it and be concerned about it, if you care about this country’s future and the Constitution.

          b) As I said, if you need someone to come out and say “I want to abolish freedom of religion!” before you’ll believe they want to do that, you are expecting people to be massively politically stupid.

          As I said – do you trust the President equally implicitly?

        • Stephen St.Onge

          And you still aren’t giving me anything specific. Apparently, whatever Judge Moore did is something you’re ashamed to hold up as evidence that he’ll one day seek to abolish freedom of religion.

        • Steven Schwartz

          He’s on record as saying he doesn’t believe non-”Judeo-Christian”* religions are religions. He has previously defied Federal court orders regarding church-and-state separation issues, to the point of losing his position. He’s cited biblical principles in support of defying Federal court orders.

          If you need more than that to establish the man as a threat to freedom of religions other than his own, I don’t know what it would take.

          I notice you continue to dodge my question in return; Do you apply the same standards to everyone else?

        • Stephen St.Onge

          You keep accusing him, but you won’t give me checkable citations or specifics. One standard I definitely apply to everyone else besides you: when told to panic over something, I demand evidence.

          Amusingly, a half-hour or so ago, I was being told to panic about the Muslim threat on another thread. The alleged threat was based on an eight-year-old news story that contradicted the panic-monger.

          C’mon, Mr. Schwartz, you can do it. Man up, and find specific, detailed cites of the grave threat to my liberty that is Judge Moore.

        • Steven Schwartz

          “when told to panic over something, I demand evidence.”

          I never told you to panic.

          However, since you seem incapable of lifting even the slightest finger to do your own research:

          You have the link, before in this thread, regarding his speech, which contains the statements (in video IIRC,, as primary source) regarding what is or isn’t a religion.

          As to his removal from office around a church-state separation violation, I point you here:

          wikipedia.org/wiki/Roy_Moore#Removal_from_office

          In his letter to the Governor of Alabama, written on official Court stationary, writing as Chief Justice, he said:

          “The Laws of this state have always recognized the Biblical admonition stated by our Lord:”

          then going on to cite a Bible verse, in an effort to explain why the Governor should ignore a Federal court ruling.

          Now, what makes this even more dangerous is that this man has been re-elected by the Alabama population; a man who places his allegiance to and judgement upon the Bible above that of the Constitution he has allegedly sworn to uphold.

          That’s a threat, and it’s a sign of a greater threat. It’s not the biggest threat around, I’m sure, but it’s one that should be dealt with, and one we should be aware of.

          It’s certainly larger than any of the “they’re coming to take all our guns away” or “Agenda 21 will destroy our sovereignty” or the like that you hear.

        • Stephen St.Onge

          So, we make progress. I have managed to get a half-way specific allegation out of you that Judge Moore defiled official state of Alabama stationary saying “The Laws of this state have always recognized the Biblical admonition stated by our Lord:” but what the biblical admonition is, you won’t say, what the Bible verse he allegedly quoted is you won’t say (BTW, I suspect quoting the Bible is protected Free Speech under the First Amendment), and whether the laws of the state of Alabama had always recognized whatever you won’t say. And of course, no source that I could check containing this letter in your post. So far, I yawn.

          And then there’s the Wikipedia article, which says that he wanted the Ten Commandments displayed on Court property. What a horror.

          As for his allegiance to the Constitution, you haven’t introduced any evidence at all. People go to Court and argue every day over what the Constitution does and doesn’t require, without the losers being regarded as traitors, theocrats, or would-be dictators. And the Courts (brace yourself for a shock) sometimes change their minds on what is and isn’t Constitutional. And sometimes, some judges make rulings that are overruled by other judges. On the authority of the Supremes, laws prohibiting sodomy were perfectly constitutional, until one day they were unconstitutional, on the authority of different Supremes. Somehow I missed the Constitutional amendment that changed the situation between the two rulings.

          A few minutes before I came here, another panic-monger told me that President Empty Suit is plotting a massive effort to overthrow the Constitution. In other words, he’s allegedly thinking of resisting a federal Court order. If the story is true, I won’t panic over that either. It’s kind of a stretch to go from ‘President Obama’s idea of what the Constitution allows him to do as President differs from that of a federal judge’ to ‘President Obama wants to abolish the Constitution.’ Somehow I don’t think I’ll see you panic over this hooraw. Here’s some links: http://www.voanews.com/content/town-hall-participants-hear-obama-defend-immigration-plan/2659713.html

          http://www.wnd.com/2015/02/obamas-amnesty-moves-ahead-despite-judges-order/

          http://www.voanews.com/content/town-hall-participants-hear-obama-defend-immigration-plan/2659713.html

          http://www.nytimes.com/2015/02/18/us/obama-immigration-policy-halted-by-federal-judge-in-texas.html?_r=0

          And no, I won’t do my own research on threats as non-specific as yours. I read the story you linked to, saw the quotes, and didn’t see anything about the Judge saying anything along the lines of ‘Constitutionally, only Christianity and Judaism are religions, and thus protected by the First Amendment.’ If he said something I should be alarmed over, YOU can quote him, and specify where in the video he said it, and why it’s alarming.

        • Steven Schwartz

          http://www.splcenter.org/sites/default/files/ex-a_moore_letter_to_bentley_jan._27_2015.pdf is the letter.

          And you are no longer worth my time — your unwillingness to lift even a finger to find out any thing other than what you are spoonfed makes it a waste.

          For example, you summarize: “And then there’s the Wikipedia article, which says that he wanted the
          Ten Commandments displayed on Court property. What a horror.”

          And that he was sanctioned by several courts wtihin his state for so doing, and ended up losing his job over his resistance to obeying a court order. This is not just “Oh, he wanted one, what a horror!”.

          Anyone else reading this can judge according to their wits; I’m done with trying to pesuade someone who clearly will not be persuaded unless a person comes out and says “I’m a threat to the constitution!” that they are any such thing.

        • Stephen St.Onge

          Well, you’ve given us a person, now show where he calls for the abolition of freedom of religion, or believes that the Bible is part of the Supreme Law of the United States.

        • Steven Schwartz

          http://www.al.com/opinion/index.ssf/2014/05/roy_moores_twisted_hisotry_isl.html — when called on it, he tried to walk it back; you be the judge as to whether he was speaking truthfully when he thought he was among his own people and when he was challenged by a newspaper.

          (To be precise; he doesn’t call for the abolition of the freedom of religion — just a very limited sense of who it applies *to*.)

          And when you quote the Bible as an argument against a Federal Judge’s ruling, you’re making it pretty clear where you think it ranks.

          And bear in mind that this is a man who won *re-election* in his state after being removed from the bench over church-state conflicts; clearly, there are people who agree with his positions.

      • svartalf

        The
        central tenet of “Intellectualism” is not even reasoned or really from
        the intellect. The intellect is the source of reasoned thoughts.

        intellect

        noun

        1.
        the power or faculty of the mind by which one knows or understands, as
        distinguished from that by which one feels and that by which one wills;
        the understanding; the faculty of thinking and acquiring knowledge.

        2. capacity for thinking and acquiring knowledge, especially of a high or complex order; mental capacity.

        3. a particular mind or intelligence, especially of a high order.

        4. a person possessing a great capacity for thought and knowledge.

        5. minds collectively, as of a number of persons or the persons themselves.

        So,
        why is it that “intellectuals” are not very bright all that often?
        Because of a confusion of the term “intellect” with “intellectual”.

        Intellectualism

        noun

        1. devotion to intellectual pursuits.

        2. the exercise of the intellect.

        3. excessive emphasis on abstract or intellectual matters, especially with a lack of proper consideration for emotions.

        4. Philosophy.
        the
        doctrine that knowledge is wholly or chiefly derived from pure reason.
        the belief that reason is the final principle of reality.

        Oh,
        my…what a disconnect *that* is. It’s not even close to the same
        notions. I contend that if you carefully read the above on
        “intellectualism” you’re looking at something that trends to the
        abstract and not even remotely connected to reality. It’s something
        driven, almost purely, by feelings than reason is. There’s where the
        problem begins. No, you shouldn’t be like “Spock” and strive to have no
        feelings- but you should never at any time in your life, let your
        feelings be the driving force. It’s down that path that asinine things
        come forth. It’s down that path that you have travesties like Stalin’s
        Russia and Hitler’s Germany come forth.

        We
        have time. Just as Tom says. But how much longer will people like Tom
        be standing there, trying to get you to think for yourselves?

      • svartalf

        What’s interesting, Colonel, is that I’ve held the very things you talk to from the first moments of what we all call “adulthood”. It’s what is the basis of “civilization” to begin with. Without it, you don’t have it- it falls flat on it’s face.

      • James

        You know I wonder if the cosmo’s ever realized that they were drawing tighter and tighter circles around themselves and other circles around those they disagree’d with.

        • Tom Kratman

          Nope. That would go against the fantasy.

        • Stephen St.Onge

          It isn’t the “cosmos”, the trans-national progressives, that matter. It’s the ordinary politicians who promise money, licensing, or other benefit to a special interest. They just keep expanding the government, endlessly, and will do so till it swallows everything, or the system collapses.

      • http://madhatter.ca/ Wayne Borean

        Where to start…

        Why is the continued existence of the United States important? The simple answer is that the continued existence of the United States is not imortant. It is emotionally important to some people though.

        The United States, like all nations, is an artificial construct. Some artificial constructs last longer than others. Take England as an example, it has existed as a nation since about 600 AD. Some don’t last as long. Yugoslavia is a good example of a short lived construct.

        The United States is made up of several groups of states with common interests. A division allowing those blocks of common interest states could be beneficial. We don’t know how it would play out, it also might be terribly destructive.

        Second, neither Right, Left, or Religious Moralist is a natural way of thinking. We didn’t evolve that way. Humans evolved as communal creatures. We automatically make communities. The basis for those communities is shared interests and resources, weighed against independent actions. We are not able to operated in a totally ‘Communistic’ (I.e. Totalitarian) or totally ‘Independent’ manners, instead we do best in a mixed system.

        We also don’t do well in a Religiously Moralistic system, because no two people can ever agree on religion, just as we don’t do well with no religion (most of our communities use shared values to bind themselves together). Again, a mixed system works best.

        Third, the various extremes spend more time fighting each other, than in anything productive. Take the Religious Moralists and their fight against abortion – they would have far better success supporting those women who would like to carry to term but have financial issues, than in trying for a ban.

        If the extremes could be productive, then it might be possible to find common interests.

        • Tom Kratman

          The continued existence of the United States is important for three reasons, Wayne. i am surprised I have to point this out, but 1) we can have more security from outside as one country – more people, greater wealth, smaller perimeter – than we can as half a dozen independent ones, 2) United we won’t fight each other, independently we will (edit: or at least that’s the way to bet it), and 3) we are too mixed up to split without becoming Beirut. I should not have to restate that last, since I began this series with it, so go back a few weeks and read from the beginning before you comment anymore on things already explained that you have missed.

        • http://madhatter.ca/ Wayne Borean

          The European experience indicates you are wrong. While there have been conflicts (Yugoslavia) there have also been amicable separations (Czech Republic and Slovakia).

          Insecurity assumes that the new mini-states won’t cooperate. If there is cooperation, that problem is moot.

          Too mixed? If you follow the current gerrymandered election districts it would give that impression. If you follow populations instead, that becomes less of an issue. And of course there would be migration – there always is during a split.

          Would there be problems? Damned right there would be. Humans are involved. Would they be crippling? I don’t think so. They’d be painful, but birth always involves pain.

          And yes, I did read what you wrote. I think you’ve got it wrong, but we’ll just have to wait and see.

        • Tom Kratman

          And, once again, we’re not them or, to the extent we are, we’re more like the Yugos than the late Czechoslovaks. The European experience is that if you occupy Germany with with hundreds of thousands of US and Soviet troops, and play them off against each other, while deporting minority populations en masse, then maybe you can avert war for a while. I don’t quite see how that makes me wrong. Insecurity assumes that the bulk of human history isn’t a fluke, and that flukes are not the bulk of human history.

          I don’t think you really have a feel for how much we have already grown to hate each other and how much more we can learn to.

          Like…ummm…oh, I know, the Jews and the Arabs and India and Pakistan, and as everyone knows, they split amicably and never fought. But we won’t split quite that way. We’ll fight from the beginning.

      • gaige

        I’m certainly not capable of feeling those greater commonalities that I supposedly have with the millions of people in this country who think that murdering their offspring for the sake of convenience is a sacrament in their godless church.

        They are not my countrymen.

        And if the United States continues to murder a million of our unborn every year, on the high end, then I struggle to see why we deserve to survive as a peaceful, united nation. It’s not enough to just live. You have to be worthy of survival. And we have been storing up wrath against ourselves for a while now. Sooner or later, the time will come to settle accounts.

        • Tom Kratman

          Oh, I think it’s more than that, probably closer to a million and a half. How many kids die in a breakdown?

        • gaige

          Sorry, what are you asking for, Colonel? A breakdown of child mortality in the United States by cause, or something like that?

        • Tom Kratman

          No, I’m pointing out that, while we’ve done away with 50 million babies via Roe v. Wade, we’ll also lost about that many or perhaps more if we fall apart as a society, and that that _also_ won’t get rid of abortion.

        • gaige

          I see your point, but it’s based on several assumptions that I don’t think are necessarily true. Call me an optimist.

          I certainly don’t intend to be the first to pull any triggers myself. But if and when this conflagration does come, I won’t think it the horrific tragedy some will, and I think it will likely be justice.

        • Tom Kratman

          Sadly, optimism, at least above the personal level, is not in my job description.

          I commend to you Bryan Ward-Perkins book on the fall of the Roman Empire for some idea of just how bad it can be, just how much can be lost, and just how long it can take to recover.

        • BCS

          It’s funny that most “pro-life” people tend to also be pro-pollution.

        • Tom Kratman

          And pro-death penalty. The difference is actually in a word that’s left out, and in a concept that a lot of people have trouble with. The word is innocent and the concept is that there are non-innocent, wicked, and dangerous people that are inimical to innocent life, and that innocent life is safer without.

          By the way, have you signed the petition against the worst of greenhouse gasses yet, dihydrous oxide? ;)

        • BCS

          Sorry. If you’re in favor of loosing pollution controls, and many pollutants cause birth defects, then you’re firmly NOT “pro-life” or even pro-fetus.

        • Tom Kratman

          Right. As I said earlier, and have maintained throughout, you’re apparently in the class of people I am not really addressing.

        • James

          Oh dear god….he….

          /Facepalm

        • Tom Kratman

          Well, someone _had_ to show up, didn’t he, to demonstrate that, no, I don’t think you can reach everyone? Who better than a one trick pony of a green fanatic?

        • BCS

          So certain pollutants don’t cause birth defects?

        • James

          dihydrous oxide

          Look that up.

        • BCS

          Dude, water doesn’t cause birth defects. But a lot of industrial and mining runoff definitely does. So unless a “pro-lifer” agitates for pollution controls as much as they spend following Doctors’ kids to school, they’re dishonest.

        • Tom Kratman

          Once again, you seem to be a one trick pony and greenie. Good luck to you, but your comments have nothing to do with the column, and you, personally, appear to be in the class of people I have no hope of anyone reasonable reaching.

        • BCS

          I’m just looking for consistency on the American right – and finding precious little.

        • https://plus.google.com/+JoelCSalomon J. C. Salomon

          The consistency you’re looking for is chewy; and you’re complaining they’re too tough for you.

        • Tom Kratman

          Nah, you’re just looking to be a pain in the ass and an asshole. You’ve done that. No more point to it; everyone here will, I am sure, agree that you’ve met your goal.

        • BCS

          Doesn’t hurt that I’ve also exposed the nonsensical and hateful core of your ideology either.

        • Tom Kratman

          You have zero idea what my ideology is, troll-chickie. Here’s a clue: I am not a true believer; I am a true _dis_believer.

        • BCS

          Um, you do have quite a few posts stating your ideology, and can obviously read.

        • Another Canadian

          Ummm. BCS. I don’t think you got it. Read back thru those last few posts again. Slowly. Then think hard. OK.

        • Jim Nielsen

          I thought hydrogen hydroxide was the top greenhouse gas contributor? ; P

        • gaige

          I am not pro-life. I am anti-abortion. I am against infanticide. Some people are fer it, but me, I’m agin’t it.

          I fully believe that convicted murderers and rapists; along with jihadists anywhere and at any time, need to die horribly though.

        • Steven Schwartz

          “I also feel that way about Marxists of every flavor, as well.”

          So, can I kill you in self-defense? (Actually, I’m not a Marxist, but I suspect that to pople on your side of the spectrum, I’m close enough.)

          I presume, BTW, you are also then pro-birth-control, since birth control education and distribution has been shown to be a very effective way to bring abortion rates down?

          “along with jihadists anywhere and at any time”

          So people like Eric Rudolph, and other self-described “holy warriors” deserve the same fate? Again, just checking.

        • BCS
        • Steven Schwartz

          “millions of people in this country who think that murdering their
          offspring for the sake of convenience is a sacrament in their godless
          church.”

          That’s odd; I’ve worked clinic defense and with abortion rights groups, and I’ve never met a single one of these alleged millions of people who think of abortion as a “sacrament in their godless church”.

          I’ve met many who want to make abortion safe, legal, and *rare*, through better education and better use of contraception.

          I’ve met many who believe that abortion is a tragic choice, but one that is sometimes required.

          And, of course, I’ve met a few who would vehemently deny ever going to a clinic, because *they* weren’t like those *other* people who got abortions for convenience; indeed, I’ve escorted people I’d seen protesting before.

          As long as you keep painting “millions” of people with a false, broad brush, you’re helping to *cause* the kind of trouble that both I and Mr. Kratman would much rather *not* see.

        • gaige

          As someone who has worked in the unborn rights movement, on the opposite side of the field from you as it were, I’m thinking that you’re the one who is whitewashing with a false, broad brush.

          One million dead babies a year is not safe, legal, and rare. 50 million murdered since Roe v. Wade is not safe, legal, and rare. It’s mass murder on a scale the Nazis would have envied. It is Mao-esque in its brutality and senselessness.

          We’re going to pay for that some day, unless we turn back very shortly. Hell, we’ll probably pay for it anyway even if we turn back tomorrow, because of the demographics issues we’ve created for ourselves with the mass murder of our own children.

          We’ll be the sort of nation that *deserves* the kind of trouble that both you and the Colonel want to avoid. Me? I want to avoid it only if we actually deserve to survive as a peaceful, united nation. On our present course, on a variety of issues, we currently do not.

          Because, frankly Mr. Schwartz, if you think the life of an unborn child is forfeit, then why is your own life of any greater value?

        • Steven Schwartz

          “Because, frankly Mr. Schwartz, if you think the life of an unborn child
          is forfeit, then why is your own life of any greater value?”

          This is at the heart of the issue, right here — and it’s probably an unbridgeable gap, but it’s one we’ll have to live with if this is to be a civil society.

          The answer is that I consider “fetus” to be a different category as “unborn child”.

          Now, we can discuss *where* the line is, but do I consider a small mass of cells to have equal rights to a human being? No.
          Somewhere between conception and birth there’s a point where I would legislate against abortion save to save the life of the mother. But as long as you persist in painting all abortion as murder, you’re not going to be a part of that discussion, and what you think about whether or not this country “deserves” to survive is beside the point.

          Taking the absolutist position that you’re doing, and ascribing a non-existent absolutist position to your opponents, is precisely the sort of driving the country apart, as I’ve said, that Mr. Kratman wants to avoid.

        • Tom Kratman

          There is perhaps a principled position that is post conception, but it won’t get you much. I cannot, personally, and despite being Catholic, really say that life begins at conception. Oh, I’ll play along, half-heartedly, but it seems to me, as a realistic matter, that life cannot be said to begin until implantation. Thus, I don’t really have any more problem with RU-486, if used to prevent implantation, than I do with a condom,

          Again, though, that doesn’t get you very far.

        • gaige

          That’s actually my own position. I think that life very likely begins at conception, but granting legal personhood at that point just isn’t workable. I mean, if legal personhood begins at conception, then a logical outgrowth of that would be a wrongful death investigation for every miscarriage, no?

          I think legal personhood beginning at implantation, however, is entirely ethical and works very well as a legal framework. It preserves the legality of emergency contraceptives, while preserving the lives of a vast number of unborn. I’d call that a huge win, frankly, for my side on the issue. Not quite, but very much near, ultimate victory.

        • Tom Kratman

          Possibly there or, possibly and worse still, for every time a couple has sex, since most fertilized eggs (like 75-80%, IIRC) don’t implant, so “clearly Mrs. Jones, you were screwing with sheer reckless negligence, knowing that that egg would probably not implant.”

        • Steven Schwartz

          “I think legal personhood beginning at implantation, however, is entirely ethical and works very well as a legal framework.”

          FYI: most miscarriages happen *well* after implantation; indeed, a person could have implantation not occur and not notice at *all*. So, if you are concerned about wrongful death investigations, having a “life begins at implantation” doesn’t fix the problem.

        • Ciarog

          Brain activity.

          One usually defines the cessation of brain activity as “death”, therefore it would make sense to define the beginning of brain activity as “life”.

        • Ciarog

          At least, that would be the medical precedent. The legal one runs both ways.

          Kill a pregnant woman’s fetus and you go to prison for murder… unless she wants an abortion. On the other hand, our justice system often gives out surprisingly-lenient
          sentences to bad mothers for turning their kids into ghetto lobster. Babydaddy does this and of course he’ll go to prison. So we already know where America stands on the questions of abortion and infanticide: depends on what the chick wants.

        • Tom Kratman

          Which is really logically indefensible.

        • Tom Kratman

          It’s a theory, anyway, and not indefensible. However, it won’t really solve the religious objection for those who hang their hat on that.

        • Steven Schwartz

          ” However, it won’t really solve the religious objection for those who hang their hat on that.”

          They’re allowed to do as their religion requires of them; but they do not get to impose (or, more precisely, should not get to impose) their religious views on other people’s bodies.

          But I believe we’ve had that argument, so I’ll drop it there.

        • Tom Kratman

          Well…if they’re that serious about it, their religion may well tell them that violence against the wicked is better than acquiescing in evil. Think here of the moral imperative of stopping the death camps, 1942-1945. Was there anything beyond the pale in that case? Some people feel exactly the same way about abortion mills.

          Personally, if I had my druthers I’d say the Court should have left it to the states to decide, both on legal and practical grounds. Too late now, of course.

        • Steven Schwartz

          (Sorry I didn’t get back to you sooner)

          “Well…if they’re that serious about it, their religion may well tell
          them that violence against the wicked is better than acquiescing in
          evil.”

          In which case they are in the same category as the jihadis that get railed against, etc.

          ” Think here of the moral imperative of stopping the death camps,
          1942-1945. Was there anything beyond the pale in that case? Some
          people feel exactly the same way about abortion mills.”

          I think that people might well have argued that, to pick an example, nuking Germany until it glowed and annihilating their population would have been “beyond the pale”. Just as an example.

          If people’s religious feelings lead them to the idea that other people have to die for their own religious beliefs, then we’re back in the position we’ve been in before in discussions: who kills who first, and we’re back to the breakdown you described.

          ” something on which little or no compromise is possible, because every
          compromise merely moves the start line for the next series of demands,
          but it would be nice if we could come up with something.”

          Gun control sees *way* more compromises than the abortion issue; there are actually middle grounds.

          However, in both cases, what we see are a side with an absolutist position: “No gun control! No abortion” and a side that is prepared to grant exceptions, in all but the rarest of cases — I have not actually met, in my time among the left, a single person who believes in either a) completely unrestricted abortion or b) complete elimination of weapons from the population — but who are painted as being “just as extreme” even though they are *starting* from a position of compromise.

          It is a religious position that life “begins at conception”. When religious positions are allowed to take precedence over other people’s civil rights, it is inappropriate in the extreme to blame the people whose rights are being restricted (or, in the case of people like George Tiller, violated to the nth degree) for being responsible for the breakdown of civil society — that blame lies solely on the zealots.

        • Tom Kratman

          You will note a serious dearth of instances of me claiming all that much difference, looking at it from, say, a Buddhist or Sikh perspective. One can try to draw a distinction based on cause, but that’s always morally problematic, since even the worst political mass murderers seems to have believed in their cause. One defensible difference, though, is that said jihadis are not obviously trying to save life, but to defend a culture and religion for their own sakes; while, say, Hoess or Himmler weren’t trying to defend life at all, and while someone, say, offing abortionists can console himself that he or she is trying to defend human life.

          Nuking the Huns after the event, out of spite and vindictiveness? Maybe. Nuking them to stop the camps? Probably no problem had we known the full ramifications of those full trains coming in and empty trains leaving. Actually, back then, nuking them just because they were the enemy would probably have raised no eyebrows.

          We are indeed then back to the breakdown.

          Perhaps I didn’t present it clearly enough; it’s not that there is no room for compromise on both, it’s that any compromise merely moves the bar for the next round of compromises, and neither side can be presumed to be negotiating in good faith because of that. And, sure, there are a few people (sidebar: Yes, Bateman, you hypocritical moron, I am looking at you) who might allow, say, flintlocks, as there are devout Catholics who would maybe allow abortion to save the mother’s life. It’s not as if we haven’t seen across the western world a whole lot of compromising to the point of civilian disarmament. And, no, owning a firearm you can’t keep at home or bear with you is still effective disarmament. That’s why I say let these two things go for now.

          If you go to my site and nose around you can find a version of a column I did for Experience Magazine (journal of the senior division of the ABA) maybe 18 or so years ago. It’s called “Dear God, the [People] have guns.” In it there’s a sort of thought experiment revolving around the militia clause of the second amendment. I commend it to you and I commend thinking about how your anti-gun pals would take it, in the main, if every adult could volunteer to be in their state militia, to undertake a short course in firearms, and then buy, with the state as co-owner, anything he bloody well liked, machine guns, mortars, tanks…F15s…and carry or drive or fly them wherever he liked. I issued that challenge way back, and nobody has yet taken me up on it – despite a fairly prominent publication I take it as an illustration of fundamental dishonesty of anyone who clings to the well regulated militia clause as a constitutional limit for “keep and bear arms.” (It’s a legally idiotic position to take, anyway, because it order to uphold that alleged limit one has to redefine “people” as “those in the militia.” Yes, Bateman, you constitutional illiterate, i am still looking at you.)

          That doesn’t really work, you know, because you are not defining people as they would, and they might say you’re defining “less than people” as Nazis defined Jews and Gypsies. If a fetus is “people” then, in the course of an abortion, their civil rights are being violated to about the nth degree.

        • Steven Schwartz

          “Nuking the Huns after the event, out of spite and vindictiveness?
          Maybe. Nuking them to stop the camps? Probably no problem had we known
          the full ramifications of those full trains coming in and empty trains
          leaving. Actually, back then, nuking them just because they were the
          enemy would probably have raised no eyebrows.”

          Given that there were considerable objections raised *inside* the military towards the use of indiscriminate strategic bombing, going so far as to use it genocidally would likely have raised even greater objections.

          I read the article cited; to appropriately respond would take far more space and time than would likely work in the comments thread of this article. ;) I will restrict myself to saying that we have (as I’m sure comes as no surprise) very different notions regarding the “right” to revolt — as opposed to the capacity — and the role of the militia in the early American period and its relationship to government, which rather undercuts the entire point.

          We also have rather different definitions of “well-regulated”, especially in this day and age.

          “That doesn’t really work, you know, because you are not defining people
          as they would, and they might say you’re defining “less than people” as
          Nazis defined Jews and Gypsies. If a fetus is “people” then, in the
          course of an abortion, their civil rights are being violated to about
          the nth degree.”

          I admit that I find it much easier on my conscience to describe a group of cells that might, if all goes right, develop into a person as “less than people” than people already existing in the world, communicating, etc.

          As I pointed out above — defining “the unborn” as people carries with it even less logical weight than defining everyone now living as “corpses” — since the certainty that we will all arrive in *that* state is 100%.

          (And to be clear: this does not mean that I think people *should* be defined that way, as I hope is obvious — I am pointing out that there is a rhetorical trick going on here.)
          And yet we have laws about that; and, as you and I have discussed earlier, once people start taking the authority to dispense death to those they find worthy of it into their own hands, we are returned to *exactly* the sort of thing you say you don’t want.

        • Tom Kratman

          I’ve seen that alleged military objection. Interesting, is it not, how utterly ineffective said objection was in light of Hamburg, Darmstadt, Dresden, the Tokyo Fire Raid, I frankly smell after the event justifications and excuses from people largely or entirely silent during the war.

          I’m sure you do find it easier. And “untermensch” perhaps had a similar conscience salving-effective on the guys with the Zyklon B or engaged in filling the ditches with bodies. Personally, I’m often a little leery of anything that smells of conscience-salving, since a truly clean conscience should need to be salved.

          A corpse will never become anything but a corpse or dust, though, while said group of cells, sometimes nearly indistinguishable from a baby, has its group of brain cells is sucked out of its group of skull cells…at least once to applause.

          Oh, indeed I don’t want it. I point it out to illustrate how frigging dangerous it is for some to have x attitudes, and others not to understand how deeply held those attitudes are.

        • Steven Schwartz

          “. Interesting, is it not, how utterly ineffective said objection was in
          light of Hamburg, Darmstadt, Dresden, the Tokyo Fire Raid, I frankly
          smell after the event justifications and excuses from people largely or
          entirely silent during the war.”

          That’s your call; the point is the objections *were* there, and the knowlege that something was going on was also there — yt the U.S. government did not put concentration-camp railroad lines on its lists of targets, for example. So I suspect that your image of nuclear devastation as being “no problem” is rather overstated.

          “I’m sure you do find it easier. And “untermensch” perhaps had a similar conscience salving-effective on the guys with the Zyklon B or engaged in filling the ditches with bodies.”

          Coming from the person who’s said he believes people whose politics he disagrees with are open targets, your attempts to paint me as the Nazi are rather risible.

          If *you* can’t tell the difference between a clump of cells — and remember, you were discussing live beginning at conception, so that’s what we’re talking about here — and a living, breathing person in front of you with memories, hopes, dreams, etc., that is not my problem. Or, more precisely, it’s a problem, but the problem doesn’t rest within me.

          “A corpse will never become anything but a corpse or dust, though, while said group of cells, sometimes nearly indistinguishable from a baby, has its group of brain cells is sucked out of its group of skull cells…at least once to applause.”

          Or fails to implant. Or suffers a miscarriage along the way. Or any one of a number of things. My point is that using the “unborn child” or “fetus as person” rhetoric is saying “Things are not just what they are, but what they *might* become, and therefore we should treat them not as what they are, but what they might become.”

          By that standard, since we all will become corpses, it makes sense to treat people that way. Or since some people *might*, statistically speaking, become criminals, it’s all right to treat them *now* that way.

          It’s a rhetorical trick, and that you have convinced yourself of its truth does not make it any more logical, reasonable, or binding upon other people.

          “I point it out to illustrate how frigging dangerous it is for some to have x attitudes, and others not to understand how deeply held those attitudes are.”

          And so what do you propose? That those who don’t hold attitude X should bow down to it, because otherwise, welp, there’ll be trouble from those people? That seems to be the sole message you’re sending here, since you don’t (as far as I can tell) view people who are militantly anti-abortion as kooks who can be dismissed so the reasonable people (or the people in the middle) can work something out, the way you try to dismiss people on the left.

        • Tom Kratman

          Really? Where? Where at the time? I mean, sure, I can recall reading of a British cabinet member slapping down a proposal for air strikes on the Ruhr in 1939, but after about September, 1940 all such objections seemed to have disappeared. I’ve seen similar claims for objections to nuking Japan, but no one has ever presented me with the morally based objections, in writing, from that time, from anyone who actually mattered. Hence, I call revisionist bullshit.

          It’s not that people with different politics are open targets, actually, Steven, merely for having those poltiics. It’s that two particular classes of politics – extreme right and extreme left – are so dangerous that, once they start approaching real power, it becomes an act of self defense to do anything required to keep them out of power or to throw them from power if you’re slow about keeping them out. I can’t think of any real exceptions to that rule, or, at least, any that outweigh the Nazis, Maoists, Khmer Rouge, and Marxist-Leninists/Stalinists. As for the latter, you can claim they’re different (though Lenin’s hands aren’t as clean as all that), and I might even concede it. However, what is hard to deny with a straight face is that no Marxist-Leninism means no Stalinism.

          Steven, you might die tomorrow, too, but that’s not a license to shoot you now. Random chance is not really any kind of argument at all.

          You’re still not getting what I’m getting at and perhaps that’s my fault. I don’t think it is but perhaps. The short version is, and I don’t know how many times so far I’ve said it here, there is no reasonable compromise in this, so, as with gun control, better to just ignore it for now because the failure to ignore it is likely to prove catastrophic. And, besides, if nothing else it probably kept John Kerry out of the White House.

        • Steven Schwartz

          “It’s that two particular classes of politics – extreme right and extreme left – are so dangerous that, once they start approaching real power, it becomes an act of self defense to do anything required to keep them out of power or to throw them from power if you’re slow about keeping them out.”

          Here’s the thing, and I think it’s at the core of some of what we’re going around and around about: what constitutes “extreme”.

          For example, I think it not unreasonable to find someone who does not disavow the extralegal killing of citizens in order to support their own particular religious worldview “extreme”. And that describes a not-insignificant portion (fortunately, not all) of the anti-choice movement in this country. I hope you do the same, and agree with me that attitudes like gaige’s are extreme.

          “Steven, you might die tomorrow, too, but that’s not a license to shoot you now. Random chance is not really any kind of argument at all.”

          It’s not a license to shoot me now. Let me try explaining this one more time, using a (hopefully) neutral example.

          If I were jobhunting, and had an offer letter saying “I start March 1st at Company X”, I would, as of right now, *not* be an employee of Company X, and would have no legal right to be treated as an employee of Company X.

          Calling me an “unhired employee of Company X” or the like would only serve to confuse the issue.

          *That* is the argument that I am making; that the language around fetal personhood is often using that large presumption as an influential (or deceptive) tactic.

          Does that make sense?

          “there is no reasonable compromise in this, so, as with gun control, better to just ignore it for now because the failure to ignore it is likely to prove catastrophic.”

          This seems most worrisome: “Ignore the problem, because right now we can’t fix it” looks like choosing, at best, a slow descent to catastrophe over the chance of solving it.

          50 years ago, we were faced with constitutional crisis over the issue of school segregation — a crisis that had been brewing already for many years after _Brown_. The society did not collapse over the way it was solved, and that solution was, I hope you’d agree, a better one than leaving it unsolved.

          ” And, besides, if nothing else it probably kept John Kerry out of the White House.”

          Given the actual result, I hardly find this preferable, but we are allowed to differ on that idea.

        • Tom Kratman

          Nah, it doesn’t really work, in part because timing matters. The baby that would have been fully born tomorrow that instead is partially born today only to have its brain sucked out and emulsified…well…that’s homicide; I can’t see any other way to look at it. It may or may not be justifiable homicide, but homicide it remains. So what about the baby 24 hours before that…a week before…a week and a day…a month less a day…

          We didn’t get a solution. We got the appearance of a sincere attempt that appears to have made most things worse, in or out of school. Brown was one of those cases where justice cried out for the result, where the bulk of people were on board with it (as they are not for Roe v Wade), where the mass of people tried to make it work…and where it failed anyway, despite all that.

          The horse may learn to sing, Steven. Moreover, since nothing on Earth is permanent, but since good and bad must also be measured by duration, there is value in buying time for its own sake, or for people to live their lives in peace with.

        • Steven Schwartz

          ” The baby that would have been fully born tomorrow that instead is
          partially born today only to have its brain sucked out and
          emulsified…well…that’s homicide;”

          And there is a reason that the Supreme Court has ruled that states can (and I would support them so doing) legislate against third-trimester abortions.

          Your attempt to turn it into the unexpected hanging paradox fails to take into account the fact that there are changes along the way — a fetus at 30 days is *not* the same as one at 270 days, though simplistic “and the day before?” reasoning might say so. There is a reason the Court looked at viability.

          “We didn’t get a solution. We got the appearance of a sincere attempt
          that appears to have made most things worse, in or out of school.”

          Again — if you think it’s *worse* for PoC now than it was in the 1950s, you are either deluding yourself or ignorant of what life was really like.

          “where the bulk of people were on board with it”

          The bulk of people in some parts of the country — in other parts, the vast bulk were *opposed* to it, in numbers that drastically outweigh the anti-abortion percentage of the population at any time since Roe v. Wade.)

          “where the mass of people tried to make it work…and where it failed anyway, despite all that.”

          Again, if you consider school desegregation a failure, I hesitate to imagin what you would call success. No, it hasn’t equalized for generatiosn of segregation — it has, however, improved things.

          ” there is value in buying time for its own sake, or for people to live their lives in peace with.”

          Of course, the question is at whose cost are you buying time? Given the way you seem to be viewing the history of African Americans through rose-colored glasses, you appear to be quite willing to let others pay the price for your peace.

        • Tom Kratman

          I’m not convinced the objections even _were_ there. I’ve asked for contemporary objections before, from sundry folks, and haven’t seen one yet from someone who mattered. Now, could you find a Sikh in the British Indian Army who, after the event, might – all English Patient Sapper Officer-like – credibly claim he’d have objected to Hiroshima if asked? Yeah. maybe. So what; he wasn’t asked and didn’t really matter much to the decision.

          There’s a difference, Steven, between painting someone as a Nazi and demonstrating a moral quandry, logical inconsistency, or limited historic parallel. You’ve shown this failing before; try to see the distinctions, would you? On the other hand, if you feel like a Nazi for reasoning like a Nazi, or would feel that way if someone pointed out the parallel to you, perhaps your conscience is trying to tell you something.

          Again, not relevant. We are – and I am sure I made it clear that it was my position – not talking about life beginning at conception but at implantation. The fetus may suffer a miscarriage, you may be hit by a car. If the mere random chance is morally dispositive, why can’t your brain be sucked out of your skull and emulsified? No, I don’t think yours can be, but it’s not because of random and unpredictable chances.

          Speaking of “rhetorical tricks,” “Physician, heal thyself.”

        • Steven Schwartz

          “There’s a difference, Steven, between painting someone as a Nazi and
          demonstrating a moral quandry, logical inconsistency, or limited
          historic parallel.”

          Then, by that same “limited historical parallel”, I’m sure that feeling they were operating in self-defense made the Nazis feel better about their exterminations. So, now that we’ve all agreed that we can stretch metaphors to paint each other with that brush, now what?

          ” If the mere random chance is morally dispositive, why can’t your brain be sucked out of your skull and emulsified?”

          You’re the one arguing that “what someone may become” is morally significant above and beyond “what is” — not me. I am merely, to borrow your terms, pointing out that extending your logic beyond your specific case produces consequences you won’t like.

          I freely admit that referring to people as pre-corpses would be a rhetorical trick — just as talking about pre-born people is a rhetorical trick.

        • Tom Kratman

          Is it a rhetorical trick after birth but before the umbilical is cut? Is it a rhetorical trick when the head had emerged? Is it a rhetorical trick when labor starts?

          There are all kinds of conclusions I don’t like, Steven, that I still cannot avoid. I might, for example, prefer at an emotional level to fight that civil war, but reject it at the intellectual level because the cost is too great and the result too unlikely to be anything I want. To the extent you agree with me on the undesirability of said civil war, or Beirut on Steroids, I rather suspect you feel the same way.

          Won’t it be a great day when all God’s chilluns, black, white, brown, yellow, red, and rainbow, can get together in peace, love, and harmony and burn at the stake the self-styled elites who have brought us to this? (That, too, is rhetorical, so don’t bother.)

        • Steven Schwartz

          “Is it a rhetorical trick after birth but before the umbilical is cut? Is
          it a rhetorical trick when the head had emerged? Is it a rhetorical
          trick when labor starts?”

          No, because they’re not “pre-born” after birth. No, because they’re in the process of being born. Debatable.

          It’s a trick because it’s equating two things that aren’t equivalent. Arguing honestly would be arguing for fetail rights, or embryonic rights, or blastocyst rights; arguing for the rights of pre-born children is like arguing for the rights of pre-corpses, as I said.

          “There are all kinds of conclusions I don’t like, Steven, that I still cannot avoid.”

          Yes, but I think you’re mixing sections here (partially, perhaps, due to your apparent aversion to quoting.) The conclusions I felt you were refusing to acknowledge is that treating people on the basis of what they might be would produce terrible results, if it is applied anywhere beyond the specific case you want to use it in.

          “To the extent you agree with me on the undesirability of said civil war,
          or Beirut on Steroids, I rather suspect you feel the same way.”

          I agree with you on this; we simply disagree on the costs we’re willing to assume, and who has to pay them, to avoid it.

        • Steven Schwartz

          “therefore it would make sense to define the beginning of brain activity as “life”.

          It’s one way of looking at it.

          It leads to the question of permanent vegetative states — where there is lower-level brain function, but no higher functions, and that moves the limit back; but at least this is an argument one can have without producing a simple irreconcilable difference.

        • gaige

          We murder a million unborn children every year, Mr. Schwartz. It has already ceased to be a civil society. The madness and slaughter leaving the abortion clinics and entering the streets seems only natural, at this point.

          Is all abortion murder? Of course not. Are 90% of the abortions performed in this country acts of murder? At the very least.

          Abortion being genuinely “safe, legal, and rare” would see the annual rate fall to 50,000 or so, the cases where it really is a choice between losing the baby and saving the mother or losing both to a medical tragedy.

          But that’s not the state of abortion in this country, now is it?

        • Tom Kratman

          I suspect the “legal” and “rare” are inherently mutually exclusive, since a) legal abortion presumes the legitimacy of pre and extra marital sex, b) hence encourages it, as a practical matter, hence c) more girls and women get upgenockt, etc. Safe would seem to be achievable, but ISTR that we have more (many more) women die as a result of legal abortions than ever we did from illegal ones.

          I’d like to know what the numbers are for having live children that live to adulthood for women who have had abortions or who never did, by class. I suspect – but do not know – that among the very low, unemployed, and perhaps unemployable there’s no real difference, but that among the economically and politically important class of women, those who have had them probably have fewer children that live to adulthood, on average, than those who never have. It may, thus, be a case of memetically or genetically breeding itself to extinction.

        • Steven Schwartz

          “a) legal abortion presumes the legitimacy of pre and extra marital sex,
          b) hence encourages it, as a practical matter, hence c) more girls and
          women get upgenockt, etc.”

          Actually, evidence indicates that the b to c connection is not, in fact, a valid one, especially as currently applied; teen pregnancy rates (not teen *birth* rates, mind you) correlate, IIRC, *inversely* with abortion availability in states across the U.S. (i.e., the more restricted, the higher the teen pregnancy rate.)

          Now, part of that is because places with stronger restrictions on abortion also tend to have more abstinence-only education, for example, which has repeatedly been shown to be ineffective — in fact, the only thing *more* ineffective than abstinence-only sex ed is no sex ed at all.

        • Tom Kratman

          That sounds suspiciously cherry picked, while also leaving out alternative explanations that might prove inconvenient. like a) ethnicity, an b) propensity to marry young. Interestingly, this – http://www.guttmacher.org/pubs/USTPtrends10.pdf – does not seem quite to support it. It’s also neglecting that,while the Supreme Court can force a state to leave abortion clinics open, it cannot force a state to fund any particular version of sex education, some versions of which will tend to drive more abortions, generally. What happens if they’re allowed to close abortion clinics as states with abstenence only sex ed would certainly do?

        • BCS

          Why does Catholic ideas of when life begins get precedence over, say, Jewish law?

        • Tom Kratman

          Who gives a Flying Philadelphia Fuck? It’s nothing to do with this column.

        • BCS

          You’re the one advocating imposition of a religious viewpoint on a non-believing population; not me.

        • Tom Kratman

          Look, troll-chickie; I’m glad you showed up to demonstrate that, despite our best wishes and efforts, there are people we cannot reason and with whom discussion is pointless. Now, your highest and best use achieved, fuck off.

        • BCS

          Yes, you’ve proven yourself to be that person quite well. If you’re so sensitive about having giant holes poked in your arguments, maybe you need a better SAFE SPACE.

        • Tom Kratman

          Well, since you will neither take the effort to understand, presuming you can understand, nor the hints, and with apologies to Tennessee Ernie Ford, I may as well have a little fun:

          O BCS, you are a loser.
          Away, you trollin’ dipshit.
          O BCS, you are a failure.
          Away, you’re locked away,
          Behind the barred windows.

          You’ve not had pussy, since pussy had you.
          Away, you trollin’ dipshit.
          No girl could stand to be seen with you.
          Away, you’re locked away
          With the other losers.

          As people went to work this morning
          Away, you trollin’ dipshit.
          In their minds they laughed and sang about you.
          Away, you’re locked away. (or “About po’ Terrie A”
          Behind the barred windows.

          No, child, I don’t need a safe space. Perhaps, though, you do.

        • Steven Schwartz

          As I said, an unbridgeable gap. Because I do not consider a fetus an “unborn child” subject to “murder”; you do.

          I notice, BTW, that you also do not include rape exceptions in your list of reasons why abortion might be permissible; thank you, as I am arguing in another thread with someone who said they’d never seen that position being argued.

          Also: I presume you support IUDs, and various other forms of contraception, along with comprehensive sex education, both of which have been shown to significantly impact abortion rates?

          If not, then we have to start asking whether your means and your goals are in alignment.

        • Tom Kratman

          There’s also a principled reason to allow a rape exception, but it is not one that generally supports abortion on demand, in any trimester.

          There was, back in the early 70s, IIRC, a remarkably silly pro-abortion essay from a remarkably stupid female judge, in which she noted that it would be wrong to, say, require a woman to lie down on a bed and be a life support system for the world’s most gifted pianist,if said pianist needed that to continue to live. Said stupid woman also addressed the concept of spontaneously occuring pregnancy from sperm free floating in air. What said essayist-judge-moron missed there, was a) that, no, sperm doesn’t float freely in the air, it ordinarily takes an act of will to get it where it will cause pregnancy, and b) what if the reason the pianist needs the life support was due to some act of malice or negligence on the part of the woman who has to be the life support system? Is it so wrong, or so unfair, to make her make good the harm she’s caused? One doubts.

          Thus, we could say that the pregnant victim of rape, having no responsibility for her condition, cannot be held accountable for it or be made to do anything to continue it. Conversely, though, if she _has_ responsibility for it – and leaving the idiotesses of the PIV=rape notion out of this – we could conceivably require that she do what is required that resulting from her act of ommission or commission.

          Ah, but what about contraceptive failure? Everyone knows or should know that contraception can fail, so if you engage in sex you are taking a risk which you could be held accountable for.

          It’s a theory, anyway, and an approach.

        • gaige

          Rape is a horrific crime. No need to compound it with murdering the innocent product of said crime. Not the kid’s fault he or she is a product of rape.

          I’m in favor of contraception and sex education, yes. I’m in favor of anything that diminishes the likelihood an innocent child will be killed in the womb.

        • Steven Schwartz

          “No need to compound it with murdering the innocent product of said crime.”

          a) Insert boilerplate protest around “murder”, and the fact that the “kid” doesn’t exist yet. That remains our core point of division.

          b) Actually, yes; because by not doing so, you are sentencing the *victim* to a life-altering change, entirely at your will. Th system is saying “Hey, we could help you recover, make sure you don’t have to live with a constant reminder of your rape which will put your health and future prospects at risk, but we *choose* not to; we choose instead to view the small bundle of cells inside you as more important than you are.”

          You’re saying, in effect, that the byproduct of the crime is more important than the victim of it.

          “I’m in favor of contraception and sex education, yes.”

          Good; I am glad you are consistent; this is a point we can agree on.

        • gaige

          a) What is it if not a human being? Is “unborn child” not a category of person? Absent something terrible, whether unintentional medical tragedy or murder most foul, will that “little clump of cells” implanted in a woman’s uterus not grow to become a fully formed human being in body and mind?

          b) You are supposedly preserving the victim in some way, by creating another one. Out of a person even more innocent and helpless than the original victim. Where in the fuck is the moral legitimacy or consistency in that?

          You’re Goddamned right I’m putting the “byproduct” ahead of the victim. Because the “byproduct” is a PERSON. A PERSON. With their own struggles and triumphs, their own dark vigils of the soul and inexpressible joys, their own thoughts and opinions, their own contributions to the world no matter how humble, and their own intrinsic value as children made in the image of the Most High God.

          I’m speaking from personal experience here, by the way. My cousin Lakota was raped when she was 15. A child resulted. Others pressured her to abort, but we begged her to keep it and put the little one up for adoption. His name is Elijah. He is now four years old. His eyes are hazel, like his mother, and his smile breaks hearts.

          But to you and those like you, that means nothing. He’s a bloody corpse to be disposed of in a bio-hazard bag, not a person to be cherished.

          And that is why you’re not my countryman. You are every bit as foreign to me as Beria or Himmler or any other foreign Leftist mass-murderer.

          Absent some massive change of heart in a large portion of this country’s population, the Grand Divorce that has been a long time coming cannot arrive soon enough for my tastes. Sharing the same polity with you alleged people is rapidly becoming intolerable.

        • Steven Schwartz

          “a) What is it if not a human being? Is “unborn child” not a category of person?”

          Nompe. You’re defining “person” by the possibility of becoming a person — which is, in fact, less supportable than defining people as “corpses” — because we will *all* end up there sooner or later.

          You can try and draw a line between “fetus” and “person” — and we can, as I’ve said before, *discuss* that line — but automatically including every blastocyte in the definition of “person” is extending it too far.

          “Absent something terrible, whether unintentional medical tragedy or
          murder most foul, will that “little clump of cells” implanted in a
          woman’s uterus not grow to become a fully formed human being in body and
          mind?”

          As I said before, the mere *probability* of becoming a person doesn’t make you one.

          “b) You are supposedly preserving the victim in some way, by creating another one.”

          So, let me ask you: would you feel it right, justified, and appropriate if, through no fault of your own, you ran a significant risk of damage to your health, and the choice of either knowingly abandoning someone to a difficult life (since no one in their right minds would call the U.S. foster system particularly good) or making massive changes to your own life, while being constantly reminded of same, just because someone else felt you should?

          That’s what you’re doing, at the *kindest* description.

          “You’re Goddamned right I’m putting the “byproduct” ahead of the victim. Because the “byproduct” is a PERSON. A PERSON.”

          As I said way back at the beginning of this — that’s the definitional battle that we won’t agree on. Until at the screaming earliest viability, I don’t agree with you there.

          “and their own intrinsic value as children made in the image of the Most High God.”

          Your religious views and mine differ on this subject — and I see no reason why I should be obliged to respect yours and enforce those beliefs on other people who disagree with them at *their* cost, not yours.

          “He’s a bloody corpse to be disposed of in a bio-hazard bag, not a person to be cherished.”

          Nonsense. He was born — he’s a person. I’m very glad that it worked out for them both, but that’s not always the way it goes. She was able to choose what to do; you are intent on denying others that same choice.

          “You are every bit as foreign to me as Beria or Himmler or any other foreign Leftist mass-murderer.”

          Given that one of them’s not a Leftist save by the most deranged stretch of the imagination…

          “And that is why you’re not my countryman.”

          By law, and by geography, I am. You’ll have to cope with that, and as I said before, your views and beliefs — yours, not mine, because I can live in a place where people believe abortion is wrong, while you apparently cannot (or will not long) abide the other — are the ones leading to the breakup Mr. Kratman has been writing this to avoid.

          “the Grand Divorce that has been a long time coming cannot arrive soon enough for my tastes.”

          I’m glad to see you admit that, at least.

          Fortunately, there have been people who thought that before, and when push came to shove, they failed to destroy the country.

        • gaige

          “because I can live in a place where people believe abortion is wrong, while you apparently cannot (or will not long) abide the other ”

          Incorrect. I don’t care what you believe. I care that your beliefs are policy in this country. That is intolerable. You’re hunky-dory with baby murder? Fine. That sin is all your own. It is internal.

          But the fact that the country I am part of sanctions, by law, the murder of its own children? That is something I cannot abide.

          Hence why I think it is time for a divorce, and why we likely deserve all the pain and terror that will bring.

        • Steven Schwartz

          ” You’re hunky-dory with baby murder?”

          Nompe. I’m not. That’s akin to me saying “You’re just fine with ruining people’s lives because a condom broke or they got raped?”

          As I said before, I want abortion to be rare. I know that it can — key word *can* — have negative effects upon the women who have them, and I know it’s not a decision to be made lightly. But I do believe it’s *their* decision, not mine, and certainly not mine because a religious figure told me that “life begins at conception.”

          “But the fact that the country I am part of sanctions, by law, the murder of its own children? That is something I cannot abide.”

          Then you are free to fight that law by legal means, or to remove yourself from the country. Fighting it by felonious means is, in effect, removing yourself from the country — stating its laws, and its citizens, are not your own.

          “Hence why I think it is time for a divorce, and why we likely deserve all the pain and terror that will bring.”

          Go away, then. If you want to leave, then leave. But don’t try and blame the people you want to inflict suffering and terror on for “making you do it” or any one of a number of lines abusers use to justify their abuse. If you want to go away, do so; but do not try and make others bear the weight of your decision, practical or moral.

        • gaige

          You would have made an excellent Nazi apologist, Mr. Schwartz.

          And, God willing, that is the last thing I will ever have to say to you in this life. I will pray fervently that you and those like you turn from your wicked insanity, before it destroys us all.

        • Steven Schwartz

          “You would have made an excellent Nazi apologist, Mr. Schwartz.”

          The irony here is quite impressive.

          ” I will pray fervently that you and those like you turn from your wicked insanity, before it destroys us all.”

          The hope is mutual.

        • Steve Carr

          Is it uniquely human? Yes.
          Is it alive? Yes.
          End of debate. Everything else is merely arguing about quality of life.

        • Steven Schwartz

          “Is it uniquely human? Yes.”

          So identical twins are not people?

          (For that matter, what is it that makes a “human” — is it simply the DNA, in which case stem cells are human — or is it some level of human form, in which case we do need to argue about when something goes from being “a clump of cells that might become a human” to “a person”.

          “Is it alive? Yes.”

          And so we presume that one person can be forced, against their will and best interests, to keep someone else alive? That is the argument you’re making here.

          “End of debate.”

          Apparently not.

          “Everything else is merely arguing about quality of life.”

          Which, apparently, does not matter to you. Fortunately, other people do care about the quality of people’s lives, as well as their quantity.

        • Steve Carr

          Despite your verbosity, you aren’t very good at this are you?

          “So identical twins are not people?”

          Are you really so ignorant as to believe that identical twins are actually the same individual? If it bothers you so much, simply ask if it is human. The point remains: regardless of what you call it, it is living and it is human. Moreover, it is distinguishable from, say, a piece of skin, in that it will continue to have independent life of increasing complexity–it is merely dependent for a short time on another for sustenance.

          “And so we presume that one person can be forced, against their will and
          best interests, to keep someone else alive? That is the argument you’re
          making here.”

          Nope. Now, you are either truly retarded–in which case I can only pity you– or you are being deliberately dishonest–which does appear to be the case. The argument being made is that you are not allowed to wrongfully take the life of another human. Certainly not for your convenience. Your attempt to move the goalposts reveals the utter lack of an argument on your part beyond “I want/Iprefer”. Which isn’t actually an argument; it’s just the emotional grunting of a spoiled adolescent.

          “Fortunately, other people do care about the quality of people’s lives, as well as their quantity.”

          Observable false in your case. You merely extend your preference for one group into the realm of murdering another group. Then you compound your disgusting, creepy behavior by claiming it is compassionate. At least Molech’s worshipers could claim that their god demanded such sacrifices…you would commit them on a far wider scale for mere convenience. Rather telling when one comes off worse in comparison to people who tossed living children into fires.

        • Steven Schwartz

          “Are you really so ignorant as to believe that identical twins are actually the same individual?”

          No. But you brought up “Is it uniquely human”. When you have two people growing out of one egg, at an early stage, no, it’s not “uniquely human” at that point, since it’s genetically identical, and has not had the chance to differentiate.

          You’re the one trying to draw absolutes, and I’m pointing out edge cases.

          “The argument being made is that you are not allowed to wrongfully take the life of another human.”

          And you’re presuming “wrongfully” and “another human”. This is all a matter of wordplay on your part, now.

          What gives one human the right to claim that another must support it, no matter the cost in health to the other person? Where does that right end, since you clearly believe that it does?

          “Observable false in your case.”

          Your saying so does not make it so. By establishing a ban on abortion (which is what your absolutist position entails) you’re reducing the quality (and possibly the quantity) of life for some mothers, for some potential children, etc., legislating purely in favor of their quantity.

          “you would commit them on a far wider scale for mere convenience.”

          The woman who does not feel capable, for reasons of health, or mental health, or economic situation, or the circumstances of the conception (rape, incest, abusive partner, etc.), who has an abortion is not doing so out of “mere convienence”, and saying so is demonstrating your own lack of compassion. One might as well say that your religious beliefs are “merely to make you feel good”, so they can be ignored for any good reason that isn’t just your feelings — a position I doubt you would endorse.

          “Rather telling when one comes off worse in comparison to people who tossed living children into fires.”

          Only if you choose to ignore the reasons people actually *have* abortions, and instead argue from your strawperson. After all, if I argued that you held your position just because you hated women and wanted to punish them for sex, you’d be coming off worse than most, and that would be “rather telling”, but you would disagree with it — at least, I hope you would.

          If not, it is rather telling indeed.

        • Stephen St.Onge

          Mr. Schwartz, you SAY you legislate against abortion after some point, but somehow, you never actually support such positions. It reminds me of the pro-gun control people who say lately that “No one wants to take away your guns,” but somehow never hear of a gun restriction they oppose.

          If you really believe what you say, then why don’t you try to organize some limits on legal abortion? You’d get lots of support.

        • Steven Schwartz

          ” but somehow, you never actually support such positions.”

          That’s because, for exaple, I think the state limitations where I am now (no third-trimester abortions, requiring medical training at a certain level, etc.) are reasonable ones.

          If someone proposed an “abortion-on-demand-up-until-birth” law, or removed the reasonable medical training requirements, I’d oppose it.

          To pick another example: I’d oppose rules outlawing ownership of firearms, especially hunting weapons.

          In both cases, however, the place where the battle is actually being waged is so far away from my actual position that there’s little “organizing” for me to do.

        • Stephen St.Onge

          And what state is it you are in, and where I can find the law that forbids third-trimester abortions, and where I can I find some case histories of the courts stopping a third-trimester abortion in your state?

        • Steven Schwartz

          http://kff.org/womens-health-policy/state-indicator/later-term-abortions/

          I’m in California.

          As for the case histories, go research them yourself, if you care that much.

          My point remains: the battleground is so far away from my actual position that any energies I have for this particular fight go towards places where the laws are ridiculously tight, not “perhaps a little bit loose”.

        • BCS
        • https://plus.google.com/+JoelCSalomon J. C. Salomon

          TL;DL: Hypocrites exist.

          To those of us who have read the words of the prophets, this comes as exactly no surprise.

        • BCS

          Looks like the entire movement is built on hypocrisy.

        • Tom Kratman

          And a little haiku, for ambience:

          BCS-troll claims
          Wonderful self qualities
          Yet hides his ID

          ****

          Vile BCS-troll
          Who spews forth diarrhea
          A pile of maggots.

          ****

          Poor BCS-troll
          Weeps tears inconsolable.
          His secrets are out.

        • BCS

          There once was a fellow named Kratman.
          Who thought he was smarter than Batman.

          But with faced with some facts
          He dropped his old acts
          And fell to insults faster than that, man.

      • Tom Kratman

        And sometimes serendipity just works. I cannot think of a better illustration of optical illusions – oh, and that there are morons on the right, too – than this: http://www.amazon.com/review/R14XP5M3EYESRY/ref=cm_cr_pr_cmt?ie=UTF8&ASIN=B00IKT7HQI#wasThisHelpful

      • Steve Carr

        ” I, sitting at the right edge of the middle (i’m less right wing than people think)”

        Nah, I’ve always known you were wishy-washy. But you’ve done well considering your Yankee roots. Humour aside, I think the breakup is inevitable, but the form it takes is not. Right now, I see the most likely path as one of the states’ starting to simply ignore D.C. in many matters from immigration to drug policy (the trend of pot legalization is especially worth watching in this regard). The lefties actually started this with their “sanctuary cities” that decided to assist illegals in breaking immigration laws. Little or nothing was done about it. Indeed, the ability of the feds to do anything about the states ignoring federal diktats will continue to decrease as the economic situation worsens. The result of such a policy of benevolently ignoring D.C. would be semi-autonomous states rather closer to the sovereign states envisioned in our Constitution than the federal lackeys which we have, unfortunately, grown accustomed to. But I’m an optimist.

        • Tom Kratman

          The best i can say is it’s not impossible, but I really don’t believe it for all the reasons given in this series.

      • doktorjeep

        Things that needed to be said, have been said.

      • hypnosifl

        While there’s a prevalent strain of leftism that’s primarily concerned with putting people into boxes like “victim” and “victimizers” and trying to change the world through moral scolding, that’s not the entire left, even if it may seem that way since this type of moralizing is particularly prominent on the internet. People here might be interested in this article which attempts a breakdown of leftist positions along two axes, one of which is based on the degree they see problems like racism as individual moral issues as opposed to structural ones.

      • Peter Eng

        A well-written article, with only one flaw:

        “The problem with it is that Haidt’s own research does not show the Left as merely being different, but rather as defective, deficient, distorted, delirious, dumb, and depraved.”

        “On the left, it seems to be a kind of childish faith in a sort of magic.”

        Haidt’s flaw is also your own.

      • MrJones

        “the Left as merely being different, but rather as defective, deficient, distorted, delirious, dumb, and depraved”

        It makes sense if you look at from an evolutionary pov.

        If a population has survived then the logical default is to copy the older generation and simply repeat what they did – conservative.

        If everyone evolves to be conservative then if/when the environment changes you’re screwed.

        Solution: have a minority percentage of people who are naturally contrary – ppl who always believe the opposite of whatever the conservatives think – liberals.

        As long as the environment is unchanged they’re ignored but if/when it does change they provide the alternatives.

        Result: neat evolutionary fail-safe.

        Until TV is invented and the naturally contrary take over TV.

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