If ignorance is bliss, ’tis folly to be wise

I was speaking to a liberal friend who thinks that, with the market in free-fall, now is a good time to invest, because there are bargains out there.  I think that’s probably true.  I don’t believe we’ve hit bottom yet, but there are certainly bargains out there, and anyone who has faith in the long-term abilities of the American economy should snatch them up.  Long-term, of course, is a relative concept.  Because the two candidates have markedly different tax plans for the investing class, long term could mean a few months, or it could mean years or decades.

It was in that regard that I suggested to my liberal friend that, because there’s a 50% chance Obama will win, he should bone up on Obama’s tax proposals so that he can invest around the consequences.  This dialogue ensued:

Liberal Friend (“LF”):  Obama’s taxes aren’t going to change anything.

Me:  Well, you don’t have to believe me, but I think if you check out his proposed economic policies, you’ll see that he’s going to increase the capital gains tax.

LF:  No, he’s not.

Me:  I don’t know.  And you shouldn’t believe me [he never does anyway], but I also suspect that the tax increases on businesses making over $250,000 are going to affect the market.

LF:  No, they’re not.

Me:  Well, you should check it out.

LF:  I don’t need to.  That’s just not true.

Me:  [Going futile:]  Well, you should check it out.

LF:  No.  The Democrats aren’t stupid.  They’re not going to hurt the economy.

Me:  What about the proposal they’ve been considering to take away people’s 401(k) plans.

LF:  That’s not true.

Me:  It’s true that it hasn’t happened, but it’s also true that they’re making the proposals.  And anyway, these taxes and plans from the Democrats aren’t new.  They’re the same kind of taxes that were in place under Carter, and that they have been asking for since Bush got into office.

LF:  That’s not true.

And so goes the infinite loop of talking to someone who reads only the New York Times, and who claims that all other media sources (other than NPR and the New Yorker) are radical conspiracy theorist right-wing garbage.

I had an interesting, and similar, dialogue with this same friend regarding Sarah Palin:

LF:  I was going to vote for McCain, but he made it impossible for me when he selected Sarah Palin.

Me:  What’s wrong with Sarah Palin?

LF:  There you go, arguing again.

Me:  No, seriously, give me a list of things that are wrong with Sarah Palin.

LF:  Her position on abortion.

[I let this pass, because this is binary.  Either you agree with her or you don't, although I forgot to point out that she wouldn't actually affect abortion policy.]

Me:  What else?

LF:  She’s a creationist.

Me:  That’s a myth.  She’s said that she believes in the Biblical creation story, but agrees that evolution should be taught in schools.

LF:  No, she doesn’t.

Me:  I can show you the direct quotes.

LF:  She’s got no experience.

Me:  Neither does Obama.

LF:  That’s just the kind of stupid thing right wing fanatics say.

Me:  Tell me how Obama has more experience than she does.

LF:  I’ll tell you what’s wrong with her.  She’s a flake.  And I’m not talking about this anymore.

What’s fascinating when talking to liberals is the bitter, bitter aversion to facts. I was talking today to a European liberal friend who said that Europeans embraced socialism because they have a bigger social conscience.

I responded that she’d latched onto something very important there, which is the fact that, because Europe lacks the social and economic fluidity that has characterized America since the 17th Century, it’s poor remain poor in perpetuity (a situation only exacerbated by the influx of Muslim immigrants). In America, groups may start at the bottom but, after a generation or two, they invariably float up, precisely because we don’t have the social and economic stratification that has always characterized Europe. This thought absolutely shocked her.

She regrouped a minute later and then said that my premise is false because “look at African Americans.” I explained to her that African-Americans differed because, unlike all other groups in America, the American system essentially imposed on them (in a brutal and horrible way) a European style stratification that prevented any upward movement. I pointed out that, beginning in the 1940s (with the WWII economy) and continuing into the 1950s (with the Civil Rights movement), blacks started the same upward movement as other American groups. That is, once we removed the artificial ceiling we’d imposed on them, they too made social and economic strides. The strides were slow, because prejudice is slow to die, but they were real, and they created a rising black working and middle class composed of nuclear families.

I then explained to her (as I’ve told you) that the death knell for this social and economic ascent was the Great Society, which told blacks to stop working, because the government would pay for them. Being rational actors, blacks gave up bad, low-paying, often demeaning jobs for free money. And being rational actors, they gave up nuclear families and parental responsibility for even more free money. And so began the terrible slide of the African-American community, a slide arrested only when Clinton, under duress from a real Republican Congress, ended “welfare as we know it.”

My European friend listened to all of this and then said, as if I hadn’t spoken at all — “But the blacks would never have succeeded if the government hadn’t given them handouts.” You’ll notice that she didn’t challenge my factual assertions. She just ignored them entirely. They didn’t exist in her mental universe.

The world of the liberal is one made up of blind faith. Anything that might impinge on those shibboleths cannot be allowed to exist within the liberal’s mental universe. There is no “If A, then B, and if B, then C.” Liberals don’t even pretend by creating false syllogisms, such as “If A, then false B, if false B, then false C.” Instead, they just go to “False C” and stick there. It’s very frustrating.

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  • Ymarsakar

    If there is nothing greater than man upon which to construct an ethical architecture, then all morality and ethics becomes subjective, a structure imposed upon the weak by the strong. In this way, the Post-modernist view becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. They insist morality is a construct (indeed that all reality is a construct, which implies the former) and then proceed to impose their own notions of morality on those who have less power. Such strictly human moralities have been, and retain the capacity to be, monstrous:

    Just a Little Genocide

    I asked, “well what is going to happen to those people we can’t reeducate, that are diehard capitalists?” and the reply was that they’d have to be eliminated.

    And when I pursued this further, they estimated they would have to eliminate 25 million people in these reeducation centers.

    And when I say “eliminate,” I mean “kill.”

    Twenty-five million people.

    I want you to imagine sitting in a room with 25 people, most of which have graduate degrees, from Columbia and other well-known educational centers, and hear them figuring out the logistics for the elimination of 25 million people.

    And they were dead serious.

    This was the testimony of FBI informant Larry Grathwohl in the 1982 documentary No Place to Hide.

    The 25 people plotting the extermination of the 25 million Americans who would bitterly cling to the American way of life?

    The Weather Underground, led by Bill Ayers and Bernadine Dohrn.

    For the true believer, who does not recognize his own fallibility and has no G-d against whom to compare himself, his ideology takes on G-d-like powers.

    His “true” ideology will usher in a Utopia that heretofore could only be established via the workings of the Deity. Once G-d has been killed off, nothing stands in the way of man taking G-d’s prerogatives for himself. In service to the cause of a Utopian ideal, what is the fate of a mere 25 million to count? Those who put themselves in front of historical imperatives and attempt to hold back a perfect world have only themselves to blame for whatever befalls them. Note the structure of the argument; it is your fault you have to be killed; you are in the way of the perfect future. Thus, the counter-revolutionary can be eliminated just as easily as we would willingly eliminate the Anopheles mosquito that transmits Malaria. (Although with the advent of radical environmentalism, perhaps the mosquito would fare better than the capitalist?)

    LInk

    Since your reality and epistemology are different from mine, Oz, naturally you would see my threats as your allies and I would see your threats as my allies: not automatically but certainly with more than a 50% correlation.

    You don’t think I know where you are coming from. Yet the same is true of yourself for you don’t even know where you are coming from. You deny a need to have entertainment by watching and observing the suffering of others while doing nothing to help them. You excuse this by saying you have an aversion to watching violence. This excuse is meaningless for the psychology that draws people to car crashes and violence is not necessarily one that likes it.

  • Ozzie

    Why is it then dangerous to believe all the Bible, as opposed to believing only the part about God transcending time and space in the person of Jesus?- Brian

    It is not dangerous for everyday Americans to believe that the Bible is literally true.

    If people want to believe that dinosuars and people walked the earth together, when it was formed a mere 6000 years ago, they can have at it. We should make certain that our leaders aren’t that ignorant though, no?

    That aside, it is extremely dangerous to believe that we go to war on God’s command or to combine politics with prophecy, particularly where the Book of Revealtion and End Times prophecies are concerned.

    “And since your prespective about fundamentalists appears to be formed by movies like Jesus Camp. . ” Brian

    Jesus Camp is just a blip in the bigger picture. Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson were my introduction to the Religious Right, but I thought they were merely “fringe” figures who provide comic relief by suggesting that Tinky Winky was gay.

    Then, I read an article in the Christian Science Monitor about mixing Politics and Prophecy, and all that changed.

    http://www.csmonitor.com/2004/0707/p15s01-lire.html

    From then on, I started researching the Religious Right and learned about Tim Lahaye and James Dobson and Chritian Nationalists and a host of interconnected groups and started paying attention to the agenda and the legislation that was introduced (and, in one case, actually passed in the House).

    There is only one Socialist in the Congress and yet, people are scared to death that we’ll become a Socialist country. Meanwhile, over half of Congress is backed by the Religious Right.

    Let me put it this way: Bernie Sanders frightens me far less than the agents of intolerance that make up the Religious Right, who Sarah Palin was chosen to appeal to
    .

  • Ozzie

    have you ever entertained the notion that these people may not believe what you ascribe to them, – Brian

    I’ve researched peopel like Tim Lahaye and he has an agenda, Brian.

    This is what Billy Graham told 700 Club Viewers in 1985:

    “I’m for evangelicals running for public office and winning if possible and getting control of the Congress, getting control of the bureaucracy, getting control of the executive branch of government. . ”

    And just yesterday, the Anchorage Daily News addressed problems raised by Sarah Palin’s relationship with Rev. Thomas Muthee and the controversial extremist agenda he has endorsed:

    Palin blessing echoed extreme strategy

    ALAN BORAAS
    COMMENT

    Published: October 25th, 2008 12:19 AM
    Last Modified: October 25th, 2008 03:15 AM

    Most who watched the YouTube clip of Rev. Thomas Muthee’s “laying on of hands” ritual protecting Gov. Sarah Palin from witches at least raised an eyebrow. Witchcraft is considered hocus pocus by many Americans but has a distinct cultural context in Kenya and other parts of Central Africa where Muthee is from.

    In pre-colonial central Africa witches were a metaphor of instability, so to be accused of witchcraft meant the individual was somehow threatening to the social order. African witchcraft took on a similar meaning after missionaries arrived. In rural areas today social progressives are sometimes labeled witches and their accusers are often fundamentalists who hold to traditional tribal practices and reject progressive gender roles and acceptance of modernity. Witchcraft is taken quite seriously; in May of this year 11 people were burned as witches in rural Kenya. One of those killed was a teacher who represented the influence of modernity to villages.

    Just why a church in Wasilla, Alaska, would adopt the language of witchcraft to express their belief in a battle of good versus evil is not clear. But even more revealing was Rev. Muthee’s summary of the principles of what has come to be called Christian Nationalism, which preceded his “laying on of hands” ritual.

    Extreme Christian Nationalists not only believe that the United States was founded as a Christian nation but that its institutions should be run entirely by fundamentalist or evangelical Christians. They believe they have a mandate to purge our institutions of “humanists” who believe that humans are in control of their own destiny, progressive Christians and non-Christians. They believe there are seven areas of society that must be controlled, the so-called Seven Mountains Strategy: church, family, education, government and law, media, arts and entertainment and business.

    Muthee echoed this Christian Nationalist strategy in his Palin blessing sermon, where he stated, “When we talk about transformation of a society, a community, it’s where we see God’s Kingdom infiltrate … seven areas in our society.” Muthee went on to describe his version of the Seven Mountains Strategy and when he got to politics he was praying for Gov. Palin
    About 40 percent of the U.S. population describe themselves as fundamentalist or evangelical but not all subscribe to Christian Nationalism. Michelle Goldberg estimates about 10 percent to 15 percent of the U.S. adult population are Christian Nationalists. They are overwhelmingly white and Republican and make up a significant part of the “base” of the party. A number of notable spokesmen of the conservative religious right are associated with Christian Nationalist beliefs, among them Franklin Graham (but not his father Billy), Pat Robertson and Douglas Coe.

    Christian Nationalism is a form of American exceptionalism — the idea that Americans are unique because of our heritage. Christian exceptionalism dates back to Puritan leader John Winthrop. Normally exceptionalism is recognized as the unique founding of the United States built on immigrant pluralism and based on Enlightenment ideals. But Winthrop promoted a different type of exceptionalism. In his “shining city on the hill” sermon Winthrop rejected the equality of religious pluralism and affirmed instead that the United States is a Christian nation built on Christian, not Enlightenment, principles and was to be ruled by Christians.
    Winthrop’s Puritans also used witchcraft as a means of social control. Many of the Salem “witches” were women breaking from the established gender roles, starting farms of their own and otherwise acting independently. Those 17th century agents of modernity were burned at the stake for their actions, similar to what is happening in Kenya today.

    It is therefore remarkably interesting that Gov. Palin used the term exceptionalism in her debate with Sen. Biden and quoted Winthrop’s “shining city on the hill” metaphor as the model for America in the world. (She actually referenced the source as Ronald Reagan, who used the phrase in his last speech as president. Reagan correctly cited Winthrop.)

    Nothing she did as governor suggests Sarah Palin would conduct witch hunts or give voice to seditious Christian Nationalists were she to reach the Oval Office. On the other hand, quoting the father of Christian Nationalism and directly participating in a religious rite protecting her from witchcraft that espoused the Seven Mountains Strategy is a reason to ask questions. The real problem is that no national candidate has been so shielded from the press and scripted (and, it turns out, clothed) as Sarah Palin so it’s hard to know what she believes.

    http://www.adn.com/opinion/story/567096.html

  • Ozzie

    The same cannot be said for your party or your set of ideological travelers, Oz.- Ymar

    Given that I’m a registered Independent, I’m guessing that you think I travel with Independent minded people? I never quite follow you, Ymar.

    I’m sure you believe wonderful things about the GOP and George Bush, but I dont share your views.

    (Does that mean it’s time for you to suggest, once again, that I like car crashes and human suffering?)

  • BrianE

    For Christian Zionists, the modern state of Israel is the fulfillment of God’s covenant with Abraham and the center of His action from now to the Second Coming of Christ and final battle of Armageddon, when the Antichrist will be defeated. But before this can occur, they say, biblical prophecy foretells the return of Jews from other countries; Israel’s possession of all the land between the Euphrates and Nile rivers; and the rebuilding of the Jewish temple where a Muslim site, Dome of the Rock, now stands.

    These beliefs lead to positions that critics say are uncompromising and ignore the fact that most Israelis want peace. “Pressuring the US government away from peace negotiations and toward an annexationist policy, that has a direct negative impact on the potential for change in the Middle East,” says Gershom Gorenberg, a senior editor at The Jerusalem Report newsmagazine.

    A confluence of events in the 1970s and ’80s set the stage for the current activism. After the 1967 war, Roman Catholics and mainline Protestants joined the international consensus that Israel should give up the occupied territories for peace; a growing Evangelical community became more politically active; and for the first time the Likud Party came to power in Israel with an aim to hold on to “Judea and Samaria” (the biblical terms for the West Bank).

    Well, according to Ozzie, there you have it.
    Christians prevented Israel from giving back the West Bank, which would have brought peace to the land. Wow, I didn’t know I had that kind of power!

    Of course, this is only true if you are living in some alternate universe where the PLO, Hamas and Hezbollah haven’t called for the extermination of Israel. Funny how reality gets in the way of fantasy.

  • Ozzie

    Well, according to Ozzie, there you have it- Brian

    Well, no, Brian, this isnt “it’. That article piqued my interest, and prompted me to study the Religous Right and their clout, even further.

    And this artilce on Tim Lahaye http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/story/5939999/reverend_doomsday/
    prompted me to pay attention to Christian Right legislation and read books like “American Theocracy” and listen to interviews with former members of the Christian Right, etc.

    I find concerns over Socialism and Marxism laughable, while you obviously find my concerns over the Religious Right silly.

  • suek

    Re: Catholic interpretation of the Bible…

    “The Vatican II Council taught that “the books of Scripture must be acknowledged as teaching solidly, faithfully, and without error the truth that God wanted put into the sacred writings, for the sake of our salvation.” The blanket coverage of the inerrancy of Scripture has been removed. It is now limited to only those things pertaining to our salvation. Baronius, an ancient scholar said that the Bible does not tell us how the heavens go, but rather how to go to heaven.”

    From:
    http://www.aboutcatholics.com/faith_beliefs/what_is_bible/

    >>I find concerns over Socialism and Marxism laughable, >>

    Marxism was responsible for around 100 million deaths in the USSR. That doesn’t bother you just a trifle?

    >>while you obviously find my concerns over the Religious Right silly.>>

    That’s a fact. What do you think they’ll do that will be harmful?

  • Ozzie

    Marxism was responsible for around 100 million deaths in the USSR. That doesn’t bother you just a trifle- suek

    I’m not concerned that Obama is a Marxist/Socialist, who will to turn America into a Socialist country. We only have one Socialist in Congress, while the Relgious Right is well-represented.

    “What do you think they’ll do that will be harmful?” suek

    Fulfill their stated goal of tearing down the wall between Church and State and turning America into an official Christian Nation.

  • Ymarsakar

    I’m not concerned that Obama is a Marxist/Socialist, who will to turn America into a Socialist country. We only have one Socialist in Congress, while the Relgious Right is well-represented.

    The truth is not represented by simple labels and categories, Oz. We only have “one Socialist” in Congress or do we have as many socialists as Democrats and they just call themselves Democrats rather than Socialists?

  • Ymarsakar

    Fulfill their stated goal of tearing down the wall between Church and State and turning America into an official Christian Nation.

    First you have to re-instate the wall between Obama and State.

  • Ozzie

    We only have “one Socialist” in Congress or do we have as many socialists as Democrats and they just call themselves Democrats rather than Socialists?- Ymar

    Last I looked, most Democrats had been bought and paid for by many of the same corporate interests as the Republicans.

  • Ozzie

    What do you think they’ll do that will be harmful?” suek

    Here’s a great article from Foreign Policy In Focus:

    America’s Armageddonites
    Jon Basil Utley | October 10, 2007

    Editor: John Feffer

    Utopian fantasies have long transfixed the human race. Yet today a much rarer fantasy has become popular in the United States. Millions of Americans, the richest people in history, have a death wish. They are the new “Armageddonites,” fundamentalist evangelicals who have moved from forecasting Armageddon to actually trying to bring it about.

    Most journalists find it difficult to take seriously that tens of millions of Americans, filled with fantasies of revenge and empowerment, long to leave a world they despise. These Armageddonites believe that they alone will get a quick, free pass when they are “raptured” to paradise, no good deeds necessary, not even a day of judgment. Ironically, they share this utopian fantasy with a group that they often castigate, namely fundamentalist Muslims who believe that dying in battle also means direct access to Heaven. For the Armageddonites, however, there are no waiting virgins, but they do agree with Muslims that there will be “no booze, no bars,” in the words of a popular Gaither Singers song.

    These end-timers have great influence over the U.S. government’s foreign policy. They are thick with the Republican leadership. At a recent conference in Washington, congressional leader Roy Blunt, for example, has said that their work is “part of God’s plan.” At the same meeting, where speakers promoted attacking Iran, former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay glorified “end times.” Indeed the Bush administration often consults with them on Mideast policies. The organizer of the conference, Rev. John Hagee, is often welcomed at the White House, although his ratings are among the lowest on integrity and transparency by Ministry Watch, which rates religious broadcasters. He raises millions of dollars from his campaign supporting Israeli settlements on the West Bank, including much for himself. Erstwhile presidential candidate Gary Bauer is on his Board of Directors. Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson also both expressed strong end-times beliefs.

    American fundamentalists strongly supported the decision to invade Iraq in 2003. They consistently support Israel’s hard-line policies. And they are beating the drums for war against Iran. Thanks to these end-timers, American foreign policy has turned much of the world against us, including most Muslims, nearly a quarter of the human race.

    The Beginning of End Times

    The evangelical movement originally was not so “end times” focused. Rather, it was concerned with the “moral” decline inside America. The Armageddon theory started with the writings of a Scottish preacher, John Nelson Darby (1800-1882). His ideas then spread to America with publication in 1917 of the Scofield Reference Bible, foretelling that the return of the Jews to Palestine would bring about the end times. The best-selling book of the 1970s, The Late, Great Planet Earth, further spread this message. The movement did not make a conscious effort to affect foreign policy until Jerry Falwell went to Jerusalem and the Left Behind books became best sellers.

    Conservative Christian writer Gary North estimates the number of Armageddonites at about 20 million. Many of them have an ecstatic belief in the cleansing power of apocalyptic violence. They are among the more than 30% of Americans who believe that the world is soon coming to an end. Armageddonites may be a minority of the evangelicals, but they have vocal leaders and control 2,000 mostly fundamentalist religious radio stations.

    Although little focused on in America, Armageddonites attract the attention of Muslims abroad. In 2004, for instance, I attended Qatar’s Fifth Conference on Democracy with Muslim leaders from all over the Arabian Gulf. There, the uncle of Jordan’s king devoted his whole speech to warning of the Armageddonites’ power over American foreign policy.

    Armageddonite Foreign Policy

    The beliefs of the Armageddon Lobby, also known as Dispensationalists, come from the Book of Revelations, which Martin Luther relegated it to an appendix when he translated the Bible because its image of Christ was so contrary to the rest of the Bible. The Armageddonites worship a vengeful, killer-torturer Christ. They also frequently quote a biblical passage that God favors those who favor the Jews. But they only praise Jews who make war, not those who are peacemakers. For example, they vigorously opposed Israel’s murdered premier Yitzhak Rabin, who promoted the Oslo Peace Accords.

    Based on this Biblical interpretation, the Armageddonites vehemently argue that America must protect Israel and encourage its settlements on the West Bank in order to help God fulfill His plans. The return of Jews to Palestine is central to the prophetic vision of the Armageddonites, who see it as a critical step toward the final battle, Armageddon, and the victory of the righteous over Satan’s minions. There are a couple internal inconsistencies with this prophecy, such as the presence of Christians already living in the Holy Land and the role of Jews in the final dispensation. In the first case, Jerry Falwell, Pat Robertson, and other Religious Right leaders tried to pretend that Christians already in the Holy Land simply didn’t exist. As for Jews, they needed to become “born again” Christians to avoid God’s wrath (or, according to some Armageddonites, a separate Jewish covenant with God will gain them a separate Paradise).

    Everyone else — Buddhists, Muslims (of course), Hindus, atheists, and so on – are then slated to die in the Tribulation that comes with Armageddon. As described in the bestselling Left Behind series, this time of human misery ends with Christ then ruling a paradise on earth for a thousand years.

    Armageddonites know little about the outside world, which they think of as threatening and awash with Satanic temptations. They are big supporters of Bush’s “go it alone” foreign policies. For example, they love John Bolton. They were prime supporters for attacking Iraq. And, with very few exceptions, they were noticeably quiet about, if not supportive, of torturing prisoners of war (only with a new leadership did the National Association of Evangelicals finally condemn torture in May, 2007). Their support of the Senator Joseph Lieberman (I-CT) and former New York mayor Rudy Giuliani shows that they consider aggressively prosecuting Mideast war (to help speed up the apocalypse) more important than the domestic programs of these socially liberal politicians.

    On other foreign policy issues, they are violently against the pending Law of the Seas Treaty, indeed any treaty which possibly circumscribes U.S. power to go it alone. They want illegal immigrants expelled and oppose more immigration. They fear China’s growth. They despise Europeans for not being more warlike. The UN figures prominently in their fears, and the Left Behind books present its Secretary General as the Antichrist. Domestically, they strongly support the USA PATRIOT Act and all of President Bush’s actions, legal or illegal.

    Armageddonites and Fascism

    Author and former New York Times reporter Christopher Hedges argues that worldview and reasoning of the Armageddonites tend toward fascism. In his book American Fascists, Hedges focuses on their obedience to leadership, their feelings of humiliation and victimhood, alienation, their support for authoritarian government, and their disinterestedness in constitutional limits on government power. Theirs was originally a defensive movement against the liberal democratic society, particularly abortion, school desegregation, and now globalization, which they saw as undermining their communities and families, their values, and livelihood. Their fundamentalism is very fulfilling and, Hedges writes, “they are terrified of losing this new, mystical world of signs, wonders and moral certitude, of returning to the old world of despair.”

    Hedges, a graduate of Harvard Divinity School, also shows that fundamentalists are quite selective. They don’t take the Bible literally when it comes to justifying slavery or that children who curse a parent are to be executed. The movement is also very masculine, giving poor men a path to re-establish their authority in what they perceive as an overly feminized culture. Images of Jesus often show Him with thick muscles, clutching a sword. Christian men are portrayed as powerful warriors.

    The overwhelming power and warmongering of the Armageddonites has inspired some resistance from other fundamentalists, but they are a minority. Theologian Richard Fenn writes, “Silent complicity (by mainline churches) with apocalyptic rhetoric soon becomes collusion with plans for religiously inspired genocide.” Their death-wishing “religion” is actually anti-Christian and should be challenged openly by traditional Christians.

    The next election will likely loosen their grip on the White House. However, their growing ties to the military industrial complex will remain. Exposure of their war wanting as a major threat to America and the world may well become as destructive for them as was the famous Scopes trial in the 1920s. But that will only happen if Americans become as concerned as foreign observers about the influence of the Armageddonites.

    http://www.fpif.org/fpiftxt/4630

    Jon Basil Utley is associate publisher of The American Conservative. He was a foreign correspondent in South America for the Journal of Commerce and Knight Ridder newspapers and former associate editor of The Times of the Americas. He was for 17 years a contract commentator on third world issues for Voice of America. He is a writer and advisor for Antiwar.com, a chairman of ConservativesForPeace.com, and a contributor to Foreign Policy In Focus. For more articles in the Religion and Foreign Policy strategic focus, visit http://www.fpif.org/fpifinfo/4590.

  • suek

    Ok…I think he’s nuts, too.

  • BrianE

    “Here’s a great article from Foreign Policy In Focus:”-Ozzie

    It seems that Foreign Policy in Focus is run by the Istitute for Policy Studies.

    Here’s who IPS is”:
    * Institute for Policy Studies (IPS): Throughout its history, this think tank has committed itself to the task of advancing leftist causes. It worked with agents of the Castro regime and championed environmentalist and anti-war positions in the 1960s and 1970s; it declared against the Reagan administration’s efforts to roll back communism in the 1980s; it joined the vanguard of what IPS hails as the “anti-corporate globalization movement” in the 1990s; and, most recently, it has furnished policy research assailing the U.S.-led war in Iraq.

    Here’s who contributes to IPS:
    While battling the murderous scourge of Islamic terrorism in the Middle East, the United States simultaneously faces a most formidable foe within its own borders. Determined, well organized, and immensely wealthy, this enemy pours untold sums of money into the coffers of organizations dedicated to ensuring America’s defeat in that war. Yet few Americans are even remotely familiar with this foe, whose benign sounding name — Peace and Security Funders Group (PSFG) — gives no hint of the potential national catastrophe that its policies encourage.

    Established in 1999, PSFG is an unincorporated association of more than 50 private and public foundations that give a portion of their $27 billion in combined assets to leftist organizations that undermine the war on terror in several interrelated ways: (a) by characterizing the United States as an evil, militaristic, oppressive nation that exploits vulverable populations all over the globe; (b) by accusing the U.S. of having provoked, through its unjust policies and actions, the terror attacks against it, and consequently casting those attacks as self-defensive measures taken in response to American transgressions; (c) by depicting America’s military and legislative actions against terror as unjustified, extreme, and immoral; (d) by steadfastly defending the civil rights and liberties of terrorists whose ultimate aim is to facilitate the annihilation of not only the United States, but all of Western civilization; and (e) by striving to eradicate America’s national borders and institute a system of mass, unregulated migration into and out of the United States — thereby rendering all distinctions between legal and illegal immigrants anachronistic, and making it much easier for aspiring terrorists to enter our country.

    Also Open Society Istitute of George Soros fame.

    Ozzie, you couldn’t find more left wing propaganda if you tried– then again mayber you are trying.

  • Ozzie

    Ozzie, you couldn’t find more left wing propaganda if you tried– then again mayber you are trying.- Brian

    About the author of the piece I posted:

    Jon Basil Utley is associate publisher of The American Conservative

  • BrianE

    Actually, he wrote one article for The American Conservative in 2005.

    Here’s who he claims to be:
    Jon Basil Utley is Chairman of Americans Against World Empire. http://www.iraqwar.org

    Mr. Utley is the Robert A. Taft Fellow at the Ludwig von Mises Institute. He is a graduate of Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service, studied languages in Europe, and lived 15 years in South America. He was in business and then served as a foreign correspondent for Knight/Ridder newspapers. He has served on the Board of Directors or Advisory Boards of many organizations including Accuracy in Media, Council for Inter-American Security, and the Conservative Caucus.

    Here’s another article by Utley called An Alternative to the Unending War from October 2001 on a Libertarian website. An example from the article. The war he’s referring to is a general war against muslim extremists:

    Can It Be Won?

    All of this will inevitably spawn a rethinking of American foreign policy (see my article, “America is Not Rome”). For the U.S., this war is unwinnable, because our policymakers refuse to address its causes, and fear that doing so would make us look like we are caving in to terrorism. Until we do, for every terrorist killed, ten more will take his place, just as is true regarding Israel’s much tougher policies on the West Bank.

    It is indeed ironic and threatening that Bin Laden’s objective of making America the enemy of the whole Muslim world is solidly reinforced by naive (or worse) American conservatives demanding attacks on more Arab nations. Fox News, the op-eds of the Wall Street Journal and Washington Times, National Review, the American Enterprise Institute, and Heritage Foundation are filled with demands for policies that will cause the killing of more Muslims, which they euphemistically call “changing the governments.”

    This is exactly what Bin Laden planned (see Robert Fisk of the Independent). Bin Laden’s writings argue first for the overthrow of pro-American regimes in the Arab world. He foresees that American attacks on other Arab nations would generate sufficient hatred to bring this about, and that Americans overseas would become targets. Already, the U.S. Navy has severely curtailed shore leave in many nations. Student plans to study in Europe are being trimmed. Our enemies are not going to fight us on our terms, with F-16’s and cruise missiles. Instead, they may hit our soft underbelly: unarmed Americans abroad. They’ll use the weapons they have.

    None of the above supports the thesis that we are faced with a “clash of civilizations” or that Muslims love dying in order to get a quick trip to Paradise. This rot comes from those who made the catastrophe we now face: the neo-conservative foreign policy establishment that ran Republican foreign policy. Their interest is in obfuscating the consequences of the interventionist foreign policies they were able to force upon Washington.

    As for Bin Laden’s stated political demands on the U.S., they reflect nothing but the political priorities of the Muslim world. Bin Laden has been very clear (as the now-famous British study of his motives has shown): American troops out of Arab lands, an end to the blockade of Iraq, and an end to the occupation of Palestinian lands on the West Bank and Gaza. He certainly uses Muslim fundamentalism as his weapon, but nonreligious Arabs have the same views (witness the hijackers who drank liquor and visited girly bars).

    I think he as a bias against fundamentalist Christians. He also doesn’t think much of neo-conservatives.

  • Ozzie

    Actually, he wrote one article for The American Conservative in 2005- Brian

    Once again, Brian, from the piece I posted, which was written in 2007:

    http://www.fpif.org/fpiftxt/4630

    Jon Basil Utley is associate publisher of The American Conservative. He was a foreign correspondent in South America for the Journal of Commerce and Knight Ridder newspapers and former associate editor of The Times of the Americas. He was for 17 years a contract commentator on third world issues for Voice of America. He is a writer and advisor for Antiwar.com, a chairman of ConservativesForPeace.com, and a contributor to Foreign Policy In Focus.

  • Mike Devx

    Ozzie #72:
    >> Yes, Dick Cheney wanted a return to the imperial presidency and got it.
    The idea of checks and balances is already quaint.
    I just hope you’re as OK with this arrangement under a President Obama as you are under President Bush. >>

    Ozzie, I have to ask:
    What did you mean when you said “The idea of checks and balances is already quaint”? In particular I’m struck by your choice of the word, “quaint”. What do you mean?

    Is the very idea of checks and balances quaint because of what Cheney/Bush have done over eight years? Or is it quaint because our modern society makes it irrelevant? Some other reason?

    Thx. I’m interested because I see the idea of checks and balances as the only hope of saving us from the foibles of human nature itself. That much of the misery we see happening around us is because of the absence of checks and balances.

  • Ozzie

    What did you mean when you said “The idea of checks and balances is already quaint”? In particular I’m struck by your choice of the word, “quaint”. What do you mean? Mike

    I was being sarcastic, as in the Geneva Conventions are “Quaint.” Remember that?