Archive for July 14th, 2007

How Tony Snow sees himself.

Jul 14, 2007 in Clueless Conservatives, Politics

From Froomkin:

“Q If you don’t know it’s eroding, could you characterize the degree of Republican support for the war on the Hill?

“MR. SNOW: No. Again, what I think is — if you talk about the war in absence of the war aims, it’s very — let me try to — maybe I’m being too cute here, so you can tell me I am. . . .

No, Tony, what you do isn’t “cute.” You’re paid to stand up there and lie constantly to the American people, and you do it with a smile on your face. It’s ugly, depraved, and disgusting.

-jb

An upfront godless priest.

Jul 14, 2007 in Religion, Uncategorized

Godless priests are, in my lexicon, those who find themselves to be intelligent and rational enough to see through organized religion, yet cannot stomach the thought of the masses running wild without, “It’s bad because (I) God says so,” taming them. It’s about public control for them, keeping the stupid and shameless reined in. Their public pronouncements about what is right and wrong, which they have very rational reasons for, feel weak and powerless to them unless they can underline them with God.

Michael Gerson writes an op-ed in today’s Washington Post which operates entirely from this premise. To him, whether or not God exists is secondary to what the people need to be told.

So the dilemma is this: How do we choose between good and bad instincts? Theism, for several millennia, has given one answer: We should cultivate the better angels of our nature because the God we love and respect requires it. While many of us fall tragically short, the ideal remains.

Atheism provides no answer to this dilemma. It cannot reply: “Obey your evolutionary instincts” because those instincts are conflicted. “Respect your brain chemistry” or “follow your mental wiring” don’t seem very compelling either. It would be perfectly rational for someone to respond: “To hell with my wiring and your socialization, I’m going to do whatever I please.”

Well, as long as whatever they please doesn’t involve treading on their neighbor, it is perfectly rational. Gerson, however, is intent on a cartoonish picture of atheism, ethics, and morality. If you remove “God sez so!” then suddenly people can’t figure out why rape is wrong? If we’re not magical creatures that just skip over into an eternal fantasy land after dying, then the universe, all its workings, and our one chance at life, are meaningless? No fractal expansion of eternal principles such as truth, beauty, harmony, etc. over the course of billions of years into a world where creatures such as ourselves can understand and embody such things, eh, Gerson? Even a strong sense of spiritual, energetic power in tune with the universe can’t guide a person towards a morality that makes sense?

Of course, not. The human as a beast to be controlled is the fundamental guiding principle of any godless priest. God is Truth, but the truth to him is, what to do with mankind? Ultimately, he is a far more base and bestial creature than most atheists.

One must then ask, who determines what it is that “God” says? Jerry Falwell? A religiously chosen monarch? A council of guys like Gerson? What happens when they prove to be wrong about slavery or homosexuality or what patch of damned land they think God promised them? How do you control the person inflamed to commit evil by “God,” who’ll hear nothing else?

Perhaps Gerson will one day achieve this epiphany: this desire for a harmonious society filled with people at the highest levels of personal evolution pervades us all. It exists with or without a belief in a God who kindly tells us what to do. And if you’ve sunken to using God as a blunt instrument to keep others in line, you’ve earned little right to place yourself or your beliefs above that of any atheist, or any other person whose sense of spirituality lacks a central disciplinarian. Such a view of morality is superficial and far flimsier than the answers of philosophers and ethicists.

-jb

Why the needless capitulation?

Jul 14, 2007 in Disappointing Dems, Politics

Cheney doesn’t think he’s in the executive branch, but the House gives him funding anyway. Why? What the hell are they afraid of? Pissing off the thronging masses who love Cheney? Cheney telling them to go fuck themselves? The terrorists winning?

The counterargument was truly amazing:

n a spirited debate, Rep. Ralph Regula (R-Ohio) warned Democrats to “remember you may have a vice president, too” and “be careful what you wish for,”

Oh, well, fuck me. There you go, Republicans, you win. Democrats apparently want to have their own fourth branch someday and want to protect this precedent. What else is the message, besides, once again, more chickenshit caving in to an outlaw administration?

At least the Republican message is clear: They still have their rubber stamps in hand for whatever, absolutely whatever, the Bush administration wants.

-jb