Down with stereotypes!

DQ here.

Greg posted the following comment recently:

Hi Don, I see you’re not quite in DQ overdrive but on the way. I wish I had the time to respond to your self-denial. But, as the good swampman pointed out, the issue isn’t the applicability of the label (I mean, it’s a no-brainer that you and Book amply satisfy the criteria), but rather, having worked so hard to get the label, what does it mean to you? I think Book’s already done a lot of the work that’s needed and is much clearer/more honest than you are, concerning the meaning and implications of the beliefs you two promote. I suggest, DQ, that you do yourself a favor and lay this matter upon your heart and see where it leads you. You’ve got a life journey ahead of you — and if it includes a brown shirt, have the integrity and guts to put it on.

In other words, he knows me better than I know myself, and since what I said didn’t fit his stereotype of me I must be dishonest (or maybe in “self-denial”).  The truth, of course, is he hasn’t a clue about me (or BW, or much of anything else based on his posts). 

I would have simply ignored such silliness if it hadn’t been for Trimegistus’s following comment to another post:

American Leftists have consciously chosen to embrace evil.

I don’t think it’s just Bush-hatred, or their fetishizing of anyone who claims to be “oppressed,” or even residual Marxism. I think those are all pretexts; post-hoc justifications.

Leftists are consumed with hatred. They hate religion (except the hate-drenched forms of Islam, which they embrace). They hate America. They hate modern civilization. They hate rational thought. They hate human beings as a species.

In any rational world, Leftists would be recognized as mentally ill, but because great numbers of them are superficially glib or talented at the kind of monkey-typing “creativity” prized in academia, they have too much influence in society for that. So they continue with their self-appointed crusade of destroying everything good and true, and celebrating murder, perversion, and madness.

Maybe it’s just wishful thinking, but I suspect “Leftists” no more fit Trimegistus’s stereotype of them than BW or I do Greg’s stereotype of us.  In any case, such stereotypes are singularly unhelpful.  If all we do is demonize each other, how are we ever going to reason with each other?  It we truly believe that those who oppose us are beyond redemption, we will either go on forever ar war or destroy each other completely.

I’m reminded of TR’s famous quote — “Speak softly but carry a big stick.”  Conservatives, at least, understand the need for the big stick.  But both sides seem to have lost the art of speaking softly. 

Which, in turn, reminds me of another famous saying (guess I’m into cliches today) — “A house divided against itself cannot stand.”  America is very much a house divided against itself.  If we continue to demonize and stereotype each other we will continue to be divided and we will surely fall.  Are we really left with nothing but counting the days until the fall?  Or can we learn to talk, and, more importantly, to listen to each other?  As always, I’d appreciate your thoughts.   

52 Responses

  1. DG – as a good attorney should, you truly get to the heart of the question, which is…where is all this leading? Islam conquered Byzantium in part because Byzantium was divided against itself. I would hate to think that history is about to replay this tragedy as deja-vu all over again.

    Personally, I think that the left-wing hatred will burn itself out as much of its is the aftershocks from virulent left-wing memes of the Boomer “60s” generation. Already to most of the younger generation that I deal with, they (we) seem as quaint old relics, or as my son put it…”soooo 20th Century”!

    The Left is a relic of the French Revolution that had its heyday at the height of the Cold War and has been in retreat ever since – even in Europe. They know it and this alone probably explains Left’s snarling dementia and primal-scream rhetoric. Utopia, alas, will not arrive in time to rescue the Left from its natural mortality. Part of it is demographics: aside from the fact that Lefties doesn’t reproduce very well (narcissists make bad parents), their arguments are tired, negative and worn with little appeal to the optimism of younger generations.

    I predict that, with occasional upheaval, the Left will simply fade away into historical obscurity. In contrast, if you stand back and look at events of the past 25 years, the legacy of the American Revolution forges onward.

    I predict that the Left will slowly burn itself out during our remaining lifetimes. The new, up-and-coming generation is far less idealistic and more reality-based that the 60’s revolutionaries and they will turn their attention to the very different and very real threats that confront us as a people, nation and civilization.

  2. Oh goodness, DQ (not DG)…my fingers apparently experienced some confusion…sorry about the misspelling.

  3. You’re right about the dangers of the terrible divisions we face, DQ. But I do think Trimegistus is factually correct about the Left — and certainly my earlier posts indicate the same thing, namely that the Left is driven by negatives. It picks its friends around the world, not by what they stand for, but by their opposition to the US and Israel. It picks its opposition to the War in Iraq by its deep seated need to destroy George Bush, and to Hell with destroying America in the backwash. It’s completely hostile to religion. That is, the former liberal embrace of pluralism, with which I strongly agree, has lapsed into a knee jerk hostility to any religion but Islam (because, I presume, Islam stands in the Left’s mind, not for a relationship with God, but for an anti-American, anti-Israeli stance).

    Given all this, it’s very hard to understand how this political, ideological group can be characterized as anything but hate-filled and directed towards all that is negative. So, I agree with Trimegistus.

    The problem is that, as I stated at the outset of this comment, I agree with you too. I think the answer is to find a way to silence the fringe — which, unusually for an extreme group in America, has taken over the driver’s seat of the political car. As to that, I lack the creativity and imagination to figure out how to do that.

    Right now, Democratic politicians, who used to hew to the center as the way to amass the most votes and the most money have decided that both their fund raising and their vote getting abilities are maximized by toadying to the extreme base. The only way in which that will change is if the Democrats get trounced in the next elections and realize that theirs was a bad strategy.

    Unfortunately, with the electorate divided, the Democrats aren’t going to get trounced. They will therefore assume, not that they simply got 50% (or more) of the vote in a divided country that’s just tired of a 8 years of a Republican president, but that the extreme base was right all along. In other words, absent some brilliant strategy to knock the pegs out from under the base, I don’t see the shouting across the aisle dying away, I see it getting louder and uglier.

  4. DQ, I’d be tremendously happy to see genuine evidence that the American Left are not consumed by evil and hatred. Here’s some proofs which would falsify my statements:

    A Leftist denouncing the radical environmentalists (like the Voluntary Human Extinction Movement) as self-evidently deranged. Instead they’re given space at rallies to promote their gospel of genocide.

    A Leftist admitting that a continued American presence in Iraq is necessary to prevent terrorists from turning the country into an abbatoir and launching pad for new atrocities. Instead we hear nothing but simplistic demands for withdrawal.

    A Leftist acknowledging the importance of Christianity in our civilization’s moral assumptions. Instead they either try to equate Christianity with Islamic fundamentalism, or blast all religion as outmoded and evil. (How a genuine atheist can use the term “evil” at all is idiotic — I’m an atheist but I acknowledge that my moral code is ultimately derived from Christianity.)

    A Leftist acknowledging America’s unique role as the guarantor of freedom in the world. Instead all we hear are condemnations of our country as a sham democracy dominated by corporations, dedicated to mindless material consumption (even though it conflicts with their complaint about excessive Christianity, above).

    A Leftist who opposes the murder of Israelis as fervently and vocally as they deplore the deaths of Palestinians.

    One could go on. My point is that I don’t call them evil lightly. Working to bring about a new Holocaust of the Jews, or a total Holocaust of homo sapiens isn’t something about which reasonable people can disagree.

    I would love to believe that they are merely foolish and ignorant, but the facts don’t support it. The Left knows what they are doing. You have only to listen to them, converse with them, read their own Web sites to see how much hatred and contempt they have for modern civilization, America, Christians, Israel, and the human race. They proudly advertise their views. I’m not making this stuff up.

    The time for tolerance and good manners is long past. We’ve put up with their lies, their hate, and their idiotic sloganeering long enough. It’s time to recognize what the Left has become, and speak the truth about them.

  5. It has long been a basic belief of mine, and I’ve xpressed it here before; that that being a card-carrying member of the left wing is a form of illness. And it is a disease that requires that you proudly and loudly trumpet your views.

    It is a world-view that stands reality on its head – like Hillary complaining about the politics of personal destruction, which she invented. (And the main-stream media, totally overlooking that we all know it was her invention – commiserates with her about how unfair it all is!)

    But I’ve decided they have to be that way. In any world in which reality were allowed to intrude, right now, at this moment: both Clintons, and half the democrat senate membership would – for very good cause – be in cells somewhere. They certainly can’t admit that! Solution? Stand the world, and accompanying morality, on its ear.

  6. My originally comments pertained to two individuals: DQ and Book, but tellingly, subsequent comments by this blog’s right-wingers demonize an entire class, i.e. anyone who doesn’t believe as they do. I’ll let you work out why that difference matters.

  7. Oh, and really, DQ, it was right-wingers who perfected the politics of personal attack following the Gingrich revolution of the 90s. You can take the high-road and bemoan the “divide” in our country, if you want, but your earnestness would have more meaning if you acknowledged where the divide originates and then offered remedies for how right-wingers might heal the wound they’ve inflicted on this country’s heart.

    Or, simply be true to your beliefs, and put on your brown shirt (if you think it fits you), and lead us in a new direction.

  8. Greg:

    You are projecting. Everything you accuse “right-wingers” of doing was pioneered by the left. Especially demonizing anyone who doesn’t follow the party line.

    Your shirt may be made of hemp fiber, but it’s still brown.

  9. Actually, Trigem…to your point, I would propose that it began with the Left’s demonization of Nixon…the man who got us out of a war that Democrats began.

    Consider also how they slandered Reagan, Cabinet members (e.g., Ed Meese III, Casper Weinburger) and judicial appointments (e.g., Bork) during the Reagan administration.

  10. Actually, T, you’re wrong.

    My comments were grounded in the historic fact of how Gingrich — in particular — navigated to victory and how his divisive strategy has been implemented since then. Gingrich’s deleterious impact on our country’s politics and culture is distinct — and dare I say, REAL — with “reality” and “facts” being a construct that right-wingers have shown us is irrelevant to power (congratulations) but not to human decency and our corporate need to all get along.

  11. And those “facts” would be what, exactly, G…..?

  12. I think Greg has answered DQ’s question. Dialogue is indeed impossible. But of course Greg isn’t interested in dialogue. He’s only interested in spewing his hate at us.

  13. Let’s talk about hate, shall we, T? [i]”My point is that I don’t call them evil lightly.”[/i] In referring to “them”, you meant those who are different from you. In contrast, my original comments – copied verbatim by DQ at the head of this blog entry – referred to the extreme right-wing positions written about on a daily basis at this blog by two individuals – DQ and Book. Can you comprehend the difference in perspective? I critiqued two people, whereas you stereotype (which is DQ’s descriptor) and judge an entire class. An. Entire. Class.

    T, in the spirit of DQ’s call for mutual understanding, kindly take personal responsibility for the insulting, callus judgments that you directed at every single American who doesn’t happen to be you.

  14. Perhpas you’ve all answered my question, but I don’t give up that easily. Greg, you stereotype a whole group of people as “fascists” then incorrectly place BW and me in that group. The fact that we are demonstrably not in that group and you are completely wrong does not deter you.

    You haven’t demonstrated that you have a clue about any subject you’ve discussed on this blog to date. Perhaps that’s because you don’t have a clue; perhaps it’s because you have never tried to engage in reasonable, non-insulting dialogue. Until you decide to give up the personal attacks and join in the discussion we’ll never know.

    It does no good at all to try and decide who started using personal attacks as political weapons (McCarthy tried it in the 50’s & ended up in disgrace; the liberals did an amazing hatchet job on Bork and Thomas (far worse than anything Gingrich did)) but what is the point of debating who is more to blame? The point is that both sides seem determined to demonize each other.

    It’s true that every conservative blog I visit is more respectful of liberals than liberals are of conservatives, especially on a personal level. And it’s true that, by and large (but with many exceptions) people on the left are more personally insulting and abusive than people on the right in society at large. There have been some excellent discussions by commentors to this blog as to why that is so.

    But even that doesn’t matter. The question is what, if anything, we do about it. And I can’t believe continuing to demonize each other is the correct answer to that question. Does anybody have any suggestions about how to break through this impasse of insults (beyond T’s suggestion that the other side start by agreeing with his view of the world, since I don’t think that’s very likely). Is it possible to start by assuming that and acting as if (even if we don’t believe it) we all have very different views but that none of us are evil? Is it even possible to talk to each other without insulting each other or questioning each other’s motives? Or do we just give up, insult each other and wait for the house divided against itself to fall?

  15. Greg, you seem to think I’ve spent the past forty years in a bottle or something, with absolutely no exposure to any statements made by American liberals.

    I base my judgement on what I’ve seen and heard. My judgement of that Entire. Class. is based on What. They. Say. Themselves.

    Like this:
    http://www.vhemt.org/index.htm

    and this:
    http://www.ratical.org/ratville/CAH/WC091201.html

    and this:

    and this:
    http://www.commondreams.org/views06/0530-20.htm

    and this:
    http://michellemalkin.com/2007/03/20/death-to-america/

    One could go on. Note that these are all Leftists expressing themselves, not right-wing strawmen.

    Or are you maintaining that quoting people’s own words is somehow callous and insulting?

  16. The entire class of useful idiots is, in fact, defined as people that can be manipulated by those with passion, hate, and mastery.

    Contrary to what DQ said, I think g understands one thing. Which is that while Book and DQ tolerates such as him around, there are those, like me, that won’t tolerate such.

    Tearing other people and institutions down, is only a means to an end for the narcissist. After all, what the narcissist truly wants is attention, or glory as the case may be. If he can get it by making you look bad, then he’ll do that. But if he can do so by making France and the UN look good, he would do that too. There is no preference, except for whatever he perceives as benefiting himself the most. He views it as superior to the form of ideological warfare waged against classes of people, whether classes that contain servants of entropy, marxist revolutionaries, or anybody else’s ideology. This includes the Marine Corps ethos as well and to a large extent the American Dream. A narcissist, sort of like a nihilist, and rather unlike a marxist, a social revolutionary, or a social democrat, cares little about grand movements and much about his own personal gains. Like a cynic, he often plays both sides against the other, much as an arms merchant does when selling weapons to both sides. For he does not really care which side wins, so long as he wins out. Such cynical malignant narcissists were even more useful for KGB operations inside the US than useful idiots. Since folks like John Kerry are marginally, if only, more cunning and intelligent than the idiots that actually in Marxism-Lenism and its variants.

    callus judgments that you directed at every single American who doesn’t happen to be you.

    The narcissist perhaps believes himself superior in that unlike the tools that he sees everyone else as, the narcissist is only selectively cruel. He selects people to be cruel against for specific personal interests, while ideologies or followers of nationalism are cruel in order to further a goal greater than themselves. The narcissist, of course, believes nothing, no idea nor person, is greater than the narcissist. So there is a certain logic, as well as irony, that occurs when g says that others are callous to many people. Others should take personal responsibility, for the narcissist is inherently above such things, given his uniqueness. He is better, you see, than the mindless fanatics he sees around him.

    Learning the narrative of people like g, will allow you to control, to some degree, their lies. For lying is far harder when the audience already knows you for what you are.

  17. Or do we just give up, insult each other and wait for the house divided against itself to fall?

    A historical perspective is useful. The divide between Loyalists and American patriots in the Revolutionary War was solved in the end by shipping the loyalists to Canada and Britain. Thus was the disagreement solved, DQ, and without the house being divided or falling. Then there was the American Civil War, in which the Democrats were not exhiled or shipped off to Canada, and thus we had Republicans that were able to place country above politics in WWII but had Democrats that could not do the same thing in Vietnam or the Cold War or now. This is a result of historical ienvitability, which paradoxically, only occurs because of individual choice and the actions of a few leaders in the right time and place.

  18. Don, Please see my quote, which *you* posted at the head of this blog entry. I very specifically refer only to you and Bookworm as fascists (and in a previous post I provided some of the standards used in arriving at that conclusion). If you choose to throw your fellow-travelling right-wingers in with you, that’s your business but not mine.

    My point is simply that the application of objective standards shows that you and Book more than qualify.

    Nonetheless, it gladden me that the label upsets you. As I said in the post you’ve quoted, please look into your heart and do something with what you find there (a process that could be the “way out” you’re looking for – Good luck with it.)

  19. Oh, and kudos to T for showing all of us what personal integrity looks like:

    “My judgement of that Entire. Class. is based on What. They. Say. Themselves.”

    Attaboy, T. Be forthright, upfront and honest about the judgements you cast upon those differing from you. I admire you.

    Don, pay attention to T’s intellectual honesty and personal bravery. It could serve as a clarify example for you to meditate on.

  20. Nice invective, Greg. Now explain to me how basing my opinion of people on the things they themselves say is dishonest or cowardly. Everything I’ve said or quoted is simple fact.

    But of course you’re not interested in discourse. You just hate. Hate, hate, hate. The fact that there are people like me who disagree with you is intolerable, so you lash out with insults.

    I’m dropping this depressing flamewar because all it’s doing is gratifying your ego. You will doubtless congratulate yourself that you’ve “won,” and go in search of other people who disagree with you to bait and insult.

  21. I regret you’ve misconstrued my admiration for you, T.

  22. I think I’ve figured out how to distill Greg’s argument down to one sentence: “Nyah, nyah, nyah-nyah-nyah!” Completely with fingers waggling in the ears. If Greg and his peers insist on personal attacks without any underlying fact or argument, debate will always be stalemated.

    Incidentally, I know that I, as a blog writer, use invective shorthand (“loony left,” “moonbats”), etc., but each of my posts does lay out a thesis, with facts and analysis. That I like to color it up is separate from the analytical underpinnings. It’s these underpinnings that are often missing (often, heck, always missing) from Greg’s comments.

    To give credit where credit is due, there are other non-conservatives who comment here (I’m thinking mostly of T.S.) who do engage in factual discussions. There are also people, such as the ones who found my most recent Holocaust post, who just spill bile — bile that often sounds “academic,” but can invariably be traced to sources that have proven to be unreliable and fraudulent.

  23. Oddly enough, T, I think greg was trying to compliment you. Your flaming fits his stereotype so he appreciates you for your “honesty”. My milder approach contradicts his stereotype and (since his stereotype could not possibly be wrong) I must be dishonest or delusional.

    Greg, I understand you are hopelessly locked into your distorted view of BW and me (and of folks on the right generally). I’m not upset by the label; if I was as you accuse me of being, I would wear it with pride. Fortunately for me (and unfortunately for your distorted view of the world) I actually don’t fit the label. It would be silly to get upset about someone who has no idea what he’s talking about, but it is not pleasant to get accused of something I am not, even when the accuser hasn’t got a clue. Any time you’d like to drop the criticizing and moralizing I’ll be happy to discuss the merits of issues with you. I’m not holding my breath but someday you might surprise me. Hope springs eternal. Oops, another cliche.

    Bookworm, my own personal guess is that greg has lost every argument he’s ever had on the merits and flames because he thinks he might be able to hold him own in an Eighth Grade cut (insult) session. He can’t, as he constantly demonstrates, but he’s probably not as embarrassed as he is when he debates issues on the merits. But who really knows what makes adults act like 13 year olds?

  24. Many years ago I saw a very funny video clip on TV of a tantruming toddler. He threw himself on the floor, yelling and kicking. When the parent, who obviously was filming the tantrum began to slowly back out of the room, the child looked around, realized no one was paying attention to his outburst, stopped screaming and carrying on, got up, walked to where the parent now was and immediately threw himself on the floor and began his tantrum again. This was repeated 3 or 4 times.

    My mother always said about a tantrum that you can’t perform before an empty house. No attention, no benefit, no tantrum.

    Do we have to reward Greg’s tantrums by paying so much attention to them? The more you all engage, the more the nasty comments, etc, persist. Because when you reply you engage in a relationship of sorts with him, but it is on his terms and there is really no posibility of a true debate. This you all know already. So the question is, do you want to continue engaging him on his terms or disengage and we all will return to a higher discourse.

    As a mom, I say some basicrules are neccessary for comment makers. Most of us adhere to them already. Some may need a reminder. Here are some suggestions to start the list off. BW & DQ, you may want to add more as you see fit.

    1. No name-calling.
    2. Address the topic or issue directly.
    3. Do not engage in personal attacks.

    I enjoy reading the thoughtful and intelligent insights of BW, DQ, and so many of their readers, but I think we should extinguish the meaness that is appearing in your comment section more frequently by not giving it the attention that it craves. Then it will either have to improve or look for another place to have its tantrum.

  25. Hi Lulu,
    That temper tantrum video was posted right here on the Bookwormroom (July 19, 2006) under “silly stuff.” I just watched it again, and although I can’t make out the soundtrack for sure, I could swear I heard the Mom calling the kid Greg.

  26. Me thinks you protest too much my lady or something like that ! Yeah I know you are noboobies lady blah blah etc.

  27. No worries, Swampman, Lulu’s just a manipulative personality. Ignore her.

  28. No worries, Lulu, Greg’s just a manipulative personality. Ignore him.

  29. Do we have to reward Greg’s tantrums by paying so much attention to them?

    If Book doesn’t reply to g, then g might either suicide or go somewhere else and plague them. Could we justify it to ourselves by unleashing g upon helpless innocents that will be defenseless against his vampiricism and attention grabbing methods? At least here, his psychological problems are handled by adults, but there is a lot of damage that narcissists can do to people that don’t understand with who they are dealing with. Look at John Kerry, for example.

    I think g may like Trim but g must love me. After all, to be treated with special status by a narcissist, something different from the ever present glibness and soul sucking attention seeking, is a mark of high esteem. A narcissist never gets enough attention, you see. For he always needs more of it. He’ll take candy from a baby, if that’s the only way to gain attention. He’ll contradict himself, if that is how he views where the wind is blowing.

    Because when you reply you engage in a relationship of sorts with him, but it is on his terms and there is really no posibility of a true debate.

    That is why it is wise to make the subject about g’s vampiricism. So long it is about the truth and about himself, g cannot look away, although he could try. He seeks to talk about Don and Book because attacking is an efficient method of making sure that nobody sees the gaping vulnerabilities at home. Why else do you think Amanie hates Jews and Chavez says Americans are interfering with Venezuella?

    So the question is, do you want to continue engaging him on his terms or disengage and we all will return to a higher discourse.

    Much as I would say to Trim, g always comes back. As a vampire must always have blood each night, so must a malignant narcissist or one of the less malignant narcissists. He does so because Book allows him to come back and insult her, and g knows this and takes advantage of it a few times, leaving soon because inevitably he runs out of steam and must go back to the coffin to rest and regenerate upon the essences he has taken from others.

    As you can see with g’s comment about lulu, always being on the attack makes the defenders fight on g’s terms. The Western policy of ignoring evil, malignancy, iniquity, and dictators has been soul bred via centuries of noisome European politics and wars that had little to anything to do with the Good. Now it is changing, and I believe for the better. For such megalomaniacs deserve more than being ignored, they deserve to be punished and annihilated upon the altar of mass communication if not the cross of crucifixion. Only then will order, discipline, and law be imposed. Ignoring crime and disorder has never created a better society and it never will, at best it can maintain a society or slow down the gradual decline and decay already present but it cannot truly reverse it.

    Invigorated and audacious attacks cripples an enemy’s ability to both defend and to counter-attack against your own weaknesses. War cares not which party uses its methods first, it cares only about who uses such tools with the most proficiency.

  30. I do not know what the answer is.

    Of course, Book could simply ban certain posters. Greg, for example, who throws about terms such as Fascist without stating how the person he so labels fits the dictionary definition of Fascist, as opposed to the definition of Fascist as “someone with whom I disagree and I will therefore apply the Fascist label to this person.” I would suggest that unless Greg can cite chapter and verse regarding why Book is a Fascist, that he should be banned.

    Belief and non-belief in a Supreme Being can neither be proved nor disproved by reason. (I am another of those non-church-going evil Right Wingers.) For many people, politics have become the equivalent of religion, insofar that said beliefs do not respond to reason. A lot of the back-and-forth is an absolute waste of time, because one or both of the opposing parties are not amenable to reason. While one should try to remain civil, it is best to simply cut off the exchange. I will cite one example.

    In another blog I have engaged in several protracted exchanges with a US Chavista. I have cited facts, sources etc. After hammering his assertions into the ground with reason and data and data , the US Chavista’s responses are to misrepresent what I had been saying or to bring up another point- move the goalposts. It is a waste of time to “dialogue” with such.

    After many exchanges I called him a Pendejo Sin Frontera ( Idiot Without/Beyond Frontiers) , which is the term that anti-Chavista Venezuelans have coined for non-Venezuelan apologists for Chávez. If the shoe fits…..

    Several exchanges later, in response to the PSF label, he called me an “Idiot,” after I had stated I was no longer wasting my time with him. Perhaps I should not have labeled him a PSF, but anti-Chavista Venezuelans would have called him the same, and THEY are dealing with an opponent who is anything but civil.

    I don’t know what the answer is. Try to avoid insulting labels such as PSF, moonbat, fascist, et al. When they are used, try to pin down the insulter on definitions. Also realize that with certain posters, it is a waste of time to “dialogue,” and do not respond.

    It is not that our country has not been divided before. Look at the Civil War, look at the Civil Rights movement, look at the Vietnam War. In one sense, the divisions are less today. Look at all the agnostics/atheists lining up with the Evangelicals with regard to the response to 9/11. This “coalition” politics is more a thing of the past then th present. Because of gerrymandering of congressional districts, congressmen do not have to answer as much to constituents of a different political belief. I think one problem is that many have the feeling that the US is invulnerable, and then project domestic political disagreements upon the international scene. Since we are invulnerable/all-powerful, there is no harm in doing so.

    Again, I do not know.

  31. Greg, You are obviously unwilling to engage in discussion on the merits, without insults and name-calling. You’re not enough of a challenge to make engaging you in a battle of insults challenging, or even interesting. So, from this point on, I think I’m going to take the other commentors’ advice and just ignore you. If you ever do want to come back and discuss the issues, without insults and name-calling, I’ll be happy to discuss just about anything you like. Until then you are, frankly, not worth the effort.

    Gringo, good post. I I hadn’t thought about the effect of gerrymandering on political dialogue, but you are exactly right. Of course, we bloggers have no such excuse.

    I must admit I’ve been surprised at the lack of suggestions here. BW has some of the smartest and most reasonable readers/comments you’ll find anyplace. If they’ve got so few ideas on how to engage in a productive dialogue, reuniting the United States (never mind the world) seems a pretty hopeless task.

  32. Well, I’m a sorta kinda right-wing guy, who happens to share a name with yonder above moonbat.

    DQ, the problem as I see it is pretty simple. Until you can comprehend (on an intellectual level) the other person’s POV, you cannot hold a dialogue. At best, you can have a debate, but not a dialogue.

    This is why Christians (e.g.) and atheists (e.g.) often do not see eye to eye. I cannot comprehend the atheistic POV, not even intellectually, because when I see the world’s complexities and how everything works together, I literally cannot see how atheists can deny God. No doubt an atheist sees the exact same world and wonders how a Christian can have such a simplistic belief in Jesus as Messiah, God and King.

    Similarly, yonder leftist moonbat literally cannot see a conservative POV, or world picture. Maybe some conservatives can see the world through a moonbat’s eyes, and that is why on balance, conservative sites are more polite and higher in tone. Maybe not by much, but some.

    IMHO, anyways.

    So how do we engage in productive dialogue? Well, it helps if both sides agree on something, anything resembling a base platform (axioms). For example, perhaps the base platform would be “Government works best when limited in size, scope and power”, and then the issue becomes the exact tipping point where the limit should be set. Libertarians would set the bar fairly low, maybe national defence and contract enforcement; conservatives might throw in some moral and ethics issues, liberals throw in welfare.

    But in many cases, I suspect this kind of base platform does not exist. One of the Left’s talking points is the Chimperor BushHitler McHalliburton is the Devil incarnate, and a stupid one at that. I suspect even the most angry conservative would say that Bush has done one or two things worthy of praise in his lifetime.

    It is important to lay the foundations for the debate. For example, Muslims intend to conquer the world for Islam; peacefully if possible, by depopulation otherwise. Just about everybody else would resist that as a starting point. Hence, no dialogue can be possible unless one or the other axiom can be altered.

    My thoughts, for what it’s worth.

  33. RW, Book does like the axiomatic way to view things.

    As for POV, the function I derived from Sun Tzu is that to know yourself, you must know your enemies as well. The corollary and vice a versa applies as well, for you must your enemies to know yourself. To a certain extent, this is not simple rhetoric for what are the Palestinians and the Islamic JIhad without their Western enemies to define the “struggle” of failed Arab states and cultures? What is the United States without the Revolutionary War, the Civil War, and 9/11. Perhaps not nobody but certainly less than what you might have been.

    Thus we who we are is defined by who our enemies are just as much as our enemies are defined by who we are.

  34. Having re-read these comments, I’m amused and saddened by the self-serving vitriol that the right-wingers who post here serve up. Still, one comment stands out above all the others in the coarseness of its thought. If I had my own blog, you can be sure I’d flag the following comment as indicative of the right-wing contraction from western ideals of civilization and embrace of tribalism. From Bookworm:

    “the Left is driven by negatives. It picks its friends around the world, not by what they stand for, but by their opposition to the US and Israel. It picks its opposition to the War in Iraq by its deep seated need to destroy George Bush, and to Hell with destroying America in the backwash. It’s completely hostile to religion. That is, the former liberal embrace of pluralism, with which I strongly agree, has lapsed into a knee jerk hostility to any religion but Islam (because, I presume, Islam stands in the Left’s mind, not for a relationship with God, but for an anti-American, anti-Israeli stance). ”

    You’d need a Ph.D. to unpack the distortions in those sentences. But let’s start with religion. The so-called Evangelicals are Christians, as are the Methodists and a whole bunch of other denominations and groups. All of em. Some Christian groups promote a nationalistic theocracy, and some do not. For Bookworm to acknowledge the former but the latter is quite unfortunate, although it aligns with the merging of nationalism and religion that she favors and which is a characteristic of fascism.

  35. @ Greg
    Some Christian groups promote a nationalistic theocracy , and some do not.

    Chapter and verse, please.

    1) Define “nationalistic theocracy. ” > Provide sources.
    2) Inform us who is promoting “nationalistic theocracy.” > Provide sources.
    3) How does “nationalistic theocracy” > relate to the
    ” render unto Caesar…” phrase from the New Testament? Provide sources.
    4) How does “nationalistic theocracy?” relate to the First Amendment? Provide sources.
    5)What documentation can you produce regarding the attitude towards the First Amendment of those who advocate “nationalistic theocracy?”?Provide sources.
    6) Since you have accused Book of being Fascist, define Fascist, and inform us how Book fits the definition of Fascist. Provide sources.

  36. My goodness, SIX whole questions! The synonomy of nationalism with religion — as, for example, articulated by Bookworm — is a commonly acknowledged characteristic of fascist regimes, which even the most cursory reading shows. That Evangelical Christians in the US, such as FOTF, promote such a blurring of the bounds between federal and ecclesiastical authority is what brought our current crop of Republicans into office (in part). What matters to me, Mr Questionaire is that Bookworm discounts — scrorns — the religious experience of Christians who practice outside of the Evangelical camp. I’m not one who believes that only Evangelicals follow an authentic Christianity, are you?

  37. Six questions and NO DOCUMENTATION WHATSOEVER to support your assertions. Why should we be surprised?

  38. Greg, you appear to be trying to engage on the merits and, as promised, I’m happy to discuss matters with you as long as you remain civil. Let me review and correct me if I’ve gotten something wrong. BW (who is a secular Jew by the way), takes the left to task for supporting radical Islam while opposing all other religions. In something of a nonsequitur, you begin a discussion of evangelical Christians, claiming that some of them would like to establish a “nationalistic theocracy.”

    First, this is meaningless unless we define the terms. What is a “nationalistic theocracy” in your mind? Next, how many people are you talking about? My guess is that the numberof people who want anything that could fairly be called a “nationalistic theocracy” is extremely small. Third, how do the supports of such a thing plan on implementing such a regime? Do they plan on doing so through the ballot box or through force of arms? Fourth, what possible difference does it make to anything we are discussing?

    Certainly, supporters of a nationalistic theocrary in America, who work to obtain such a thing through the ballot box, have little in common with Islamic extremists who fly planes into buildings, raise their children to be suicide bombers, plot to wipe a country off the map, teach their children that non-believers are less than human, etc., etc.

    No one here in the Bookwormroom is supporting a nationalistic theocracy, but most here, including BW and I, do oppose all that radical Islam stands for. You copyed in a comment from BW which condemned radical Islam and the American left’s support of radical Islam. In response, you ignored radical Islam and the American left and chose to talk about Evangelical Christians and something called “nationalistic theocracy.” I’d be happy to hear your views on radical Islam, the American left or Evangelicals but I’d be especially interested in what tied them together in your mind.

    Let’s see if we can get a discussion going in which we treat each other and each other’s ideas with respect. What do you say?

  39. One other question, Greg. You refer to “The synonomy of nationalism with religion — as, for example, articulated by Bookworm.” The only synonymy of nationalism with religion I’ve ever seen BW discuss is that the Islamists advocate — and she OPPOSES that. Why do you make it sound like you think she supports such a thing?

  40. Having said I was dropping this, I will, Emerson-like, contradict myself and drop back in again because I just can’t overlook Greg’s mass of inaccurate assertions:

    He said: “My goodness, SIX whole questions! The synonomy of nationalism with religion — as, for example, articulated by Bookworm — is a commonly acknowledged characteristic of fascist regimes, which even the most cursory reading shows. That Evangelical Christians in the US, such as FOTF, promote such a blurring of the bounds between federal and ecclesiastical authority is what brought our current crop of Republicans into office (in part). What matters to me, Mr Questionaire is that Bookworm discounts — scrorns — the religious experience of Christians who practice outside of the Evangelical camp. I’m not one who believes that only Evangelicals follow an authentic Christianity, are you?”

    As far as I can tell, nothing he has said there is true. Synonymy of nationalism with religion as a characteristic of fascist regimes? Since when? The archetypical fascist regime — Hitler’s Germany — was notoriously hostile to religion as a rival ideology. Perhaps a _more_ than cursory reading would reveal that, Greg.

    That Evangelical Christians want a theocracy is asserted without any evidence, and that as the reason Republicans got elected is similarly asserted without proof.

    And where has Bookworm ever asserted that Evangelical Christians are the only authentic religion?

    Greg’s attempts to stuff us into his personal straw bogeyman of SCARY CHRISTIANS! are getting increasingly detached from reality.

  41. g means that nationalism and religion are the same things. Thus patriotism or love of America is the same thing as believing in a god or God. Making you no different from say, the Islamic Jihad’s love of Allah.

    Narcissists do believe in nations or rather nationalism, or even god. They believe, however, only so long as that belief benefits them. So if God doesn’t perform miracles for the narcissist, it is then time for the narcissist to believe in something else of more benefit. Often you have leaders, like cult leaders, who figured out how to use god to benefit themselves personally. That’s one way to make profitable the belief in god or something else spiritual or mystical. Concernng nationalism: the belief in nationalism follows the same rules. So it is easy to see why g believes that the combination of nationalism and religion in Nazism is such a useful thing. He would be a part of such movements or would have tried to become a leader of such, if only such systems were not proven to be fragile and ultimately defeated by American power.

    I’m not one who believes that only Evangelicals follow an authentic Christianity, are you?

    There are many belief systems that can benefit you, g. Certainly it is not true that there is only one authentic system that could be of benefit to g.

    Don makes too many eroneous assumptions in my view. One, that g has any interest in building people up. Two, that g is intellectually honest about anything except in the small realm of his own delusional personal beliefs. And three, which is that nobody here at Bookworm Room supports a nationalistic theocracy. For in g’s eyes, Book already supports that which g has claimed to be true. And the proof for g’s claims is that Book already supports that which g has claimed. Call it circular logic if you wish, it is simply the honesty of g. Almost sounds like a mathematical law.

  42. You’re trying to use logic complete with some basix axioms, Trime. Since I don’t believe you can use logic with folks like g and get anywhere, I do believe you are using the wrong tools to work on the problem. You would need to assume everything as true that g also assumes as true, thus defining a basic set of axioms from which logic can be used. This cross transferal option doesn’t work right.

    Greg’s attempts to stuff us into his personal straw bogeyman of SCARY CHRISTIANS! are getting increasingly detached from reality.

    Come on Trim, you know better than that. Since when has g ever been attached to reality?

  43. “g means that nationalism and religion are the same things. Thus patriotism or love of America is the same thing as believing in a god or God. Making you no different from say, the Islamic Jihad’s love of Allah.

    Narcissists do believe in nations or rather nationalism, or even god. They believe, however, only so long as that belief benefits them. So if God doesn’t perform miracles for the narcissist, it is then time for the narcissist to believe in something else of more benefit. Often you have leaders, like cult leaders, who figured out how to use god to benefit themselves personally. That’s one way to make profitable the belief in god or something else spiritual or mystical. Concernng nationalism: the belief in nationalism follows the same rules. So it is easy to see why g believes that the combination of nationalism and religion in Nazism is such a useful thing. He would be a part of such movements or would have tried to become a leader of such, if only such systems were not proven to be fragile and ultimately defeated by American power.”

    Why is patriotism the same as religion? Loving your mother, father, girlfriend, wife, or for that matter your dog isn’t. Why is loving your country unique? It is true that patriotism can become idolatry but so can anything else.

  44. It is the same in that they are both beliefs and that they are also both things you believe in that are greater than yourself.

  45. IT is true that love of country is directly related to love of family for the country protects your family when you cannot, but g is refering to how all ideologies except g’s self-righteous view of the world, is dysfunctional.

    g sees Republicans as using religion to justify rules and laws and policy, backed up by military esque nationalism bent on world hegemony.

  46. Work for a day, and look what happens. I come back and have comments waiting for me from DQ and my buddy, T. I won’t belabor this (and there’s hardly any point, since this thread is scheduled for archiving), but DQ noted: “Why do you make it sound like you think she supports such a thing?”

    Answer: I only read what she writes. Book’s words, which I quoted earlier, clearly link her support for Bush with her support for religion. The two are intertwined in her mind, along with her notions concerning bugaboo liberals who, by her thought, hate both Bush and religion.

    Being a longtime reader of Book’s writing, I recall that she has posted several blog articles describing her scorn for those who attribute theocratic malevolence to Christian Evangelicals. Although, she has not — to my knowledge — ever evaluated/acknowledged the theocratic policies and theocratic theology of Evangelicals. Nor has she considered the divergence from our American constitutional governance that Evangelicals advocate.

    At first blush, one might merely conclude that Book’s views are unfortunate and unthinking. Except that we know Book prides herself on her thoughtful points-of-view. So, her admixture of nationalism and support of *American* theocrats is hardly by chance.

  47. Greg still refuses to answer the six questions I gave him regarding his claim about “nationalistic theocracy.”

    Sources? What are sources? That is something a mean old bag of a teacher requires of a 9th grader’s research paper!

  48. g still lives in his anti-Book fantasy land, I see.

  49. Notice how g frames things so that theocratic ideology is intrinsically bound up with Evangelicals, to which Book’s lack of admittance of such on this basic axiom of life, explicitly declares g right and Book wrong.

  50. Respond to the nitwit if you want but you’re wasting your time.

  51. Gringo, being new here, you should know that Z-Ray is my most avid reader, who memorizes whole passages (or, at least, choice phrases) that I post.

  52. Not anymore.

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