There are many interesting dichotomies in our lives, such as yin & yang, but two of the most interesting to me are ones that pivot on the word religion. What makes them so interesting is how vociferously those that I disagree philosophically with will deny that they are dichotomies, or at best call them false dichotomies.
These dichotomies are politics & religion and science & religion. I believe that one cannot exist without the other and together they make a whole. Neither half occupies any ground covered by the other, and this is the very definition of a dichotomy.
Those that disagree believe these things are unrelated, so much so that science must replace religion and politics must not refer to religion. To them, religion is an anathema to either and prevents progress in both. They cannot be more wrong. Without considering religion, both will become profound instruments of evil, and history is strewn with obvious examples.
On this page I'll get into the politics & religion dichotomy. On the next page I'll will cover science & religion.
Words are nothing but tools to craft an idea for the purpose of communication. Some words make better tools than others, and probably the worst tools you could pull from the language toolbox are the words politics and religion. No two words have their meanings distorted by agendas, rather than for the purpose of communication than them. So before we get into the presumed conflict between them, we must first look at the definitions of each and propose new ones.
Well that's rather convenient, don't you think? Whenever you don't like something, you just redefine it.
One of my most important maxims that I live by is
There is no problem so simple to solve that a poor definition can't make it intractable. So if you find yourself facing an intractable problem, maybe you aught to consider that you have defined it poorly.
Let's begin with politics. Here is the definition straight from Dictionary.com.
Politics [pol-i-tiks] – noun
1. The science or art of political government.
That's a rather innocuous definition. It's almost self-defining, like
politics is politics. It's hardly something that you could hang your hat on as to why we have such conflict over this topic, and there is certainly nothing there to help us resolve our differences.
The biggest problem that I have with this definition is that it includes the word government. As long as politics is about what you want the government to do, liberals will always dominate this debate, because they are the only ones that believe the government can do anything. Getting into a debate about what the government should do when one side believes it should do nothing, gives the other side ammunition to say that the first side wants whatever evil is going on to continue.
As for religion:
Religion [ri-lig-uhn] – noun
1. A set of beliefs concerning the cause, nature, and purpose of the universe, esp. when considered as the creation of a superhuman agency or agencies, usually involving devotional and ritual observances, and often containing a moral code governing the conduct of human affairs.
This definition incenses me. It makes it seem like the purpose of religion is to explain our creation and establishing a theocracy. This is preposterous. Absolutely no one has chosen their religion based on the creation myths of it. To make that front and center on a definition of religion shows the bias of those defining it. As for
governing the conduct of human affairs, most of us Christians aren't looking for an instruction book. We're looking for a fundamental change in who we are, not what we do. There is no better example of those defining something for the purposes of dismissing it than there is with the word religion.
So what should the right definition of religion be? The best way to consider a better definition is to look into the reason why it was so poorly defined in the first place. Those that did so, did it for political reasons. They wanted a conflict between politics and religion in order to marginalize religion and strip political power away from religious people.
Your paranoid delusions can get quite tiring. There is no such thing going on.
Of course there is. Secularists have been marginalizing people of faith for decades. In the past it has been quite subtle with calls for
separation of church and state, but not anymore. The basis upon which the lawyers sought to overturn Proposition 8 in California was that those that voted for it did so for religious reasons, so that means the will of the people must be dismissed. With their victory in that case, it's now open season on anyone who claims to be religiously motivated.
Don't you believe in the separation of church and state?
It depends upon what you mean by that. Secularists use it as if it is in our constitution, but it's not.
The wall separating church and state only appears in a letter from Thomas Jefferson to a church to allay their fears about the federal government establishing a state religion. Keep in mind that several states had official state religions at the time the Establishment clause was put in the Constitution, and no one then believed these state churches were in conflict with it.
If you want to talk about the separation of church and state as a matter of principle, then of course I'm all for it. One need only look at Great Britain, which still has a state religion to see the folly of it. I think the evidence is quite clear that if you want a religious population, you wouldn't use government to force it. Our states that did have official state religions, abandon them, not because of anything in the Constitution, but because of how ineffectual they were.
I think I'll begin by redefining politics. Just remember that since I consider this as one half of a dichotomy, you can't fully define it without defining religion.
Politics [pol-i-tiks] – noun
1. the process of determining the norms and customs that the members of any society use to interact with one another
The important difference with this definition is that it does not include the word government, and removing this word simply reflects reality. The government does not determine the norms and customs of our society. It may influence them, but it doesn't determine them. If you have ever been traveling down the freeway at 70mph in a 65mph zone – just as everyone else is – then encountered someone going the speed limit, and cursed them for doing so, then you know what I mean. Just because it's legal, doesn't make it right.
Yet liberals will be hotly against such a redefinition. The idea of removing government from politics goes against everything they stand for. I think US House Representative Barney Frank best explains the paradox liberals operate under when he defended government by saying,
Government is the name we put on the things we choose to do together.
Really? I believe that government is the name we put on things that elites choose for other people. Anything we choose to do together does not need the government at all. The government is only needed for the things that others would choose not to do if they could.
Another example of this odd paradox of liberal thinking occurred when I heard a liberal politician (I can't recall his name) attempting to prove that true patriotism requires liberal thinking, and an important core of that view point was how he saw taxation. To him, taxation was simply the physical manifestation of teamwork, where we all prove we are in this together. He went on to say that the fact that conservatives perceive taxation as only confiscation was all he needed to see them as unpatriotic. He just wished that conservatives would admit that we are not in this together – that we are each in it for ourselves – and stop calling themselves patriots.
It figures you would agree. It takes a very twisted mind to believe that only when you cooperate with what you are required to do by force of law can you prove your patriotism. You liberals would have to completely shatter every concept of who you think you are to accept my definition of politics. One thing is for certain, and that is that I will never accept this guy's definition of patriotism.
My redefinition of religion is a bit trickier. Many people see themselves as having no religion just because they don't believe God exists. Yet if you buy into the old saying that goes
To choose not to choose is still a choice, then you aught to see that if you don't believe in God that is still your religion. So everyone does indeed have a religion, it’s just that some believe in a God, many gods, or no God at all.
Another thing to note is that words have different definitions based on the context they are being used, so what I present below is just the beginning of my definition of religion. With this in mind, my definition of religion in its relationship to politics is:
Religion [ri-lig-uhn] – noun
1. the values you use to define who you are
Notice that there is no mention of God in this definition. I see religion as what you do to determine who you are. Far too many people in our society see themselves as something that just happened. They don't put much thought into how they became what they became, so these people have a very weak religion. I find it ironic that most of the people who claim not to be religious do so because they don't want others to decide for themselves what they want to believe, yet they demonstrate no control over determining who they want to be either.
So my view of religion is that it is the religious people who make the conscience thought in controlling who they are, and the more religious a person is, the more thought they have put into it. Sure, many have decided to use the definitions provided by others, but the facts are they have at least made choices to become something, rather than just be a product of their environment.
Once we have God out of the definition of religion, and government out of the definition politics, its now possible to have meaningful discussions on these subjects. More importantly, religion can now be seen as an integral part of any discussion on politics, because our preference in politics comes from how we define ourselves.
Yet as much as our preference in politics comes from our religious values, there is an important distinction between them that must be understood. Understanding this distinction is critical in understanding religion and politics, and that is for a truly functional society, no member of it needs to agree with anyone else on religion, yet we all should agree on politics. This is the core of the dichotomy, and why they are related and cannot be defined without the other.
In other words, what you do, and who you are, are not the same, but are inseparable. A finer example of a dichotomy does not exist!
Furthermore, from my perspective on religion, no two people can agree on religion. The only way that two people could have the same religion is if they were both the same person. While it is possible for many people to share the same values, most of those values are not valued the same.
As an example, take a common Christian value that homosexuality is wrong, yet many would disagree. Even though most do value this, few would be the kind of person that stands on the side of a gay pride parade with a sign that screams "GOD HATES FAGS." That kind of person does not have the same religion as most Christians do.
Once you have accepted that we all can't have the same religion, it is a lot easier to see that we all can share the same politics. Politics are not about who we are, but how we agree to deal with each other. Far too many people use their politics to define who they are, or use their religion to tell people what to do, and both are serious mistakes. No one should ever compromise on his or her religion, but we all must compromise on our politics. Without compromise, there is no politics and only religion.
Key to this understanding is that no one decides on what their relationship is with other people. You can decide on your politics, but a relationship is based on the politics of all involved. So successful politics are judged by successful relationships.
Like I said earlier, many people will disagree completely with these definitions. If you are a liberal who believes that only the government can solve our problems, you will never accept a definition that allows a discussion of us working together without it. It’s very important for liberals to believe that anyone who wants to implement other means to solve our problems in the private sector be labeled as someone who really doesn't care to see them solved at all.
The same is true for atheists on religion – although, the percentage of those who would disagree is much smaller for them than liberals on politics. I have met several atheists who welcomed this definition, because it reflected how much thought they have put into what they believe. But still, a very vocal minority of atheists would certainly disagree.
Quite frankly, and to put bluntly, anyone that disagrees with these new definitions is someone that wishes to establish a theocracy.
Wait a minute. I was kinda' with you on the new definitions for religion and politics, but you've jumped off the deep end with that statement. Everyone knows that a theocracy is where government imposes God's will on people.
That may be what they do know, but that's not what they should know. What's wrong with a theocracy is not that government is imposing God's will. It's that government is imposing its will. To accept differently requires that you accept that government knows what God's will is. If you think carefully on this you will understand that your objection to any theocracy is that you don't believe that what they are imposing really is God's will, or you don't believe God exists at all.
This is why if you do accept my definitions of politics and religion, you must accept my definition of a theocracy.
Theocracy [thee-ok-ruh-see] – noun
1. a government where politics are abandoned, and the norms and customs of a society are imposed
When I look around this country, the only people I see imposing what they believe is right are the liberals and atheists – especially the atheists.
Take the issue of religious symbols on public property. These symbols are about religious expression, and have absolutely nothing to do with religious imposition. Putting a cross on a hill should be no more controversial than painting the local library green instead of red. If you don't like green on your libraries, and want them red, then run for city council and vote to have them changed. Many atheists can't handle this approach to dealing with things that bother them like a crèche in a public park, and quite frankly consider the debate beneath them. That’s why they seek to impose their view of the way things should be through the courts.
I hate to inform you, but using public money to promote religion is against our constitution. Why should my taxes be used to promote yours?
OK. Then why are liberals allowed to impose their religious beliefs of the welfare state on me? I don't know how you can call any form of socialism anything other than a religion considering it has been so thoroughly proven false in the last century. Only a religious fanatic could still cling to it.
To be perfectly honest, I don't want my tax money wasted on things like putting crosses on hills either, so if you wanted run for office on a platform of not spending money in such a manner, I'd probably vote for you. But if you ran on a platform of wanting to waste more money to pull down existing crosses, well then you would have just lost my vote.
The most obvious evidence of the truth of what I write is the reaction of atheists to religious expression in government. Of all of the things that government wastes its money on, only this makes them react in fierce opposition. It upsets them so much they waste millions of dollars filing lawsuits (and force millions of tax dollars to be spent defending against them) to have any trace of religious expression removed. If this isn't being done out of religious zealotry, what else can explain their actions? There is no way a cross on a hill threatens them.
Atheism is a religion, and of all of the religions in this country it deserves the most contempt, specifically because those that adhere to it deny it is a religion so that they can impose their beliefs through their high priests, who are like minded judges. Muslims at least have the decency to proclaim they want a theocracy, but not atheists.
I think you need to take a deep breath, and calm down from your wild accusations. Atheists are not establishing a theocracy, and are in fact protecting us from them. As I said previously, you can't have freedom of religion without freedom from religion.
That statement makes as much sense as believing that to have freedom to think you must be free from thought. As every great atheist society of the 20th Century demonstrates, when you drive religion out, only evil takes its place. What I would like to know is why do you believe that an atheist society can work now when they have all been unmitigated disasters in the past?
That's not true. Look at nonreligious societies such as those found in the Scandinavian countries. They are not 'great evils.'
They are also not going to exist much longer. Their way of life is unsustainable - even asuming there was no threat of being over-run by Islam. Atheism is not life affirming, it is life ending. But I digress, I'll have much more to say on this subject later.
Oh no you don't. I'm not finished. No great achievement of mankind started off as a success. Atheism can work. Name me an ethical statement made or an action performed by a believer that could not have been made or performed by a non-believer?
Ahhhh... the infamous challenge of Christopher Hitchens. Here's a shocker for you. I'm going to concede it. There is no ethical decision that an atheist can't make that a person of faith could. So what? That challenge is as utterly empty of any meaning as 'freedom of religion requires freedom from religion' is, and it proves that atheists will never learn from their mistakes.
Actually, that concession shouldn't have been a shocker, because I had previously stated that atheists are capable of being moral and decent human beings. Although I can understand your confusion. It's the same kind of confusion people experience when I'll go to great lengths explaining what is wrong with gay marriage, then in the end, state that I hope there will be government sanctioned gay marriage. In both cases, it's the circumstances that matter.
For instance, can you imagine a community of homosexuals, who by their own admission do not see any special value in heterosexual relationships, raising heterosexual children that will be able to function properly with the opposite sex? I can't. But in a society that does value what a man and a woman can bring to a relationship, I believe that gay couples can properly raise heterosexual children that would be assets to our society.
The same is true for atheists. In a society that values and respects religion – specifically God – atheists can be moral and decent people, because that society would have established proper and functional right and wrong values. It's when atheists get off by themselves that terrible things become inevitable. They can seek to be free from religion all they want, and I'll be willing to consider them as good. But once they seek to force others to be free from it, that's when I'll condemn them as evil... and cowards.
This is no different than pacifists. Pacifists can only exist in societies that are willing to protect them, and just as they foolishing harm the society that protects by undermining what it takes to keep us all free, most athesits undermine what it takes for us to be a morally just society.
I'm having a real hard time following you. If you believe we are capable of doing good, why all the fear in us? Religious people are just as capable of doing evil.
Didn't you get the memo from your fellow adherents? All proper atheists don't believe that good and evil exists, because it's all subjective.
Well... Isn't it?
Not at all. What's good is always good and what's evil is always evil. From the beginning of time they have never changed, and they will be the same at the end. No exceptions, exemptions or even the slightest shade of gray between them.
DA: (Stares in shocked silence)
From your stunned expression I can take it that you didn't pay much attention to the first page of my web book where I reviewed the difference between good and evil with right and wrong. Yet your confusion can be forgiven because there are aspects of them that I didn't want to present until now.
To begin with, right and wrong are highly subjective. Almost any action could be the right thing to do or the wrong thing to do based on the circumstances. On the other hand, good and evil are very objective. Dropping a nuclear weapon on a major metropolis will always be an evil act, but it may be the right thing to do.
Another key distinction between them is that every child is born with an ability to know good or evil, yet to know what is right or wrong, the child must learn it.
The way I see things, right and wrong are the shadows of good and evil. They are not the same, but they are connected. Good and evil maybe absolutes, but what we have learned about what is right or wrong distorts our perception of good and evil. No child is born believing that strapping explosives to his chest then shredding himself plus as many infidels as he can take with him is a good thing. It's what he has learned from those around him that has lead him to believe it's good.
The point here, as I tried to make on the first page, is that you can't disconnect them, nor see them as the same. Pacifists see that always doing good is the right thing to do. Conversely, many who advocate going to war see it as sometimes a good thing to do. Yet they are both wrong. Going to war maybe the right thing to do, but it will never be a good thing to do. Determining when it's the right thing to do requires what you have learned about the society you belong to and the society you are in conflict with, but it also requires your sense of good and evil to avoid only accomplishing evil, and so eventually bringing about good.
And an atheist can't make the right decision. Why is that?
Of course they can. In a moral and religious society, the right decision is easy to make. But take a look at slavery. At the beginning of the 18th century – when every single nation on the planet participated in it – the prevailing opinion was that society couldn't function properly without slaves. From this standard, the right thing to do would be to support slavery. But it was the religious people who said that it must end. They believed that it doesn't matter how much sense slavery may make, it must end, and so find another way to do the things we thought required slaves.
What's right or wrong must be guided by good and evil, and the real horror of atheism is that it will not recognize this. It's adherents will stand here today and proclaim that of course slavery is wrong and any atheist could see it, but they will refuse to recognize what it took by religious people to make it obvious that it was wrong.
Even when atheists get it right, they still get it wrong. A good example of this is Ayn Rand's Atlas Shrugged. Nothing ever written demonstrates what I've been writing about in this web book better than it does. It came out in 1957, but from that point on, our society slid deeply into everything it warned us against. It made no difference in any real sense in preventing that slide. Not until a man of deep faith, Ronald Reagan, came along that the tide began to turn. There is a very good reason for this, but it requires faith to understand.
Aren't reason and faith opposites? If you have a good reason for something, you don't need faith.
Wrong again. Faith and reason are not in conflict at all. In fact, faith is a good reason to believe in many things. I won't finish explaining this until the next page where I'll explain the dichotomy of science & religion, but for now, faith is what we perceive about the world around us, not with our eyes, but with our soul.
And this gets into the most important distinction between good & evil versus right & wrong. Right & wrong are what we must learn from our society, so it requires our senses to perceive them. Good & evil is what we are born understanding, so it requires our soul to perceive those. Atheist reject that we have a soul, so they rightly must reject the existence of good & evil. This means there exists for them only right & wrong. For them, decisions either work or they don't; they are either productive or unproductive; they either achieve what they are after or they fail.
Continuing with Ayn Rand, her essay on selfishness was absolutely brilliant. It laid out in the most thorough manner why you can trust the profit motive over the good intentions of any government bureaucrat, but guess what? It's not going to sell. Only people who are already inclined to agree with her are going to see the wisdom of looking out for our self interest is in the best interest of everyone, and it takes an understanding of our fellow man that goes beyond what our senses can tell us to know this.
Of course we all do have souls, and we all do sense good and evil. Sticking with Ayn Rand, no one can read Fountainhead and not see that she can perceive the divine spirit of man, even though she fails to recognize the source of that divinity. An atheist can deny all they want that good and evil don't exist, but all they are doing is distorting their perception of it. My personal distinction between good or bad religions is based on whether the religion helps the believer see good and evil clearly, or whether it just muddies the water enough that suicide bombings appear to be good, or a nativity scene in a public park is considered evil.
When President Reagan stared down the Soviet Union, he did so against the prevailing wisdom. The 'right' course of action at the time was called Détente, and with it, we were expected to learn to live with the Soviets. As a man of faith, Ronald Reagan knew there was no living with this evil empire. He could see clearly the difference between good and evil and was able to communicate to the American people that we needed to confront the Soviets, not appease them.
Ayn Rand may have wrote vociferously against the 'evils' of communism, but if she or any like minded person were president instead of Reagan, the Soviet Union would still be alive and kicking today. Atheists like to claim that they make their decisions based on reason, but they are not. Their five senses should have taught them the atheism doesn't work, but they have patently rejected any evidence that proves this to be true. Yet failure is assured by reason being abandoned, because they dismiss what their soul (God) tells them.
Worse, they not only refuse to learn from their mistakes, they seek to destroy the very essence of what makes America great. This greatness was brought about by people of faith, and people of faith will be needed to keep it that way. Yet for atheists, faith must be driven from government, even though it is that faith that protects them to believe in the foolish things they do.
What are you talking about? Atheists are mercilessly persecuted and ridiculed by people of faith. They most certainly don't protect us.
Persecution? What persecution? I see no persecution. Now ridicule, I do see plenty of that. The way you guys shriek like little Nancy-Boys at the mention of God in government is deserving of much ridicule and embarrassment. It's a real knee-slapper how you can react like some great harm has befallen you just because
Under God is in the Pledge of Allegiance, or
In God We Trust is on our money. So don't plan on that ridicule to end any time soon. I certainly don't expect any courage from your ilk any time soon either.
You can ridicule us all you want, but we will not standby and allow you to establish a theocracy in this nation. Laws must be based on reason, and not on what's written in religious text.
What are you talking about? There are no laws based on religious texts. Are you trying to tell me that because it says 'Thou shall not kill' in the Bible, murder should not be illegal?
Don't be ridiculous! I'm talking about abortion.
Show me in the Bible where it says that abortion is wrong and must be outlawed.
I don't know. I don't read your book.
Of course not. If there is one thing you can count on from any liberal is that he won't know what the hell he is talking about!
Allow me to clue you in. There isn't anything. People of faith are not against abortion because they have been told to be against it. They are against it because they know in their soul that to treat life so dismissively damages us in profound ways. Since you atheists dismiss your soul, you are incapable of seeing that damage, and so of course arrive at the conclusion that we conservatives must be against it because the Bible says so.
This goes to the point that I was trying to make on my Pro-Life Marriage page about the lawyers who got Proposition 8 overturned. Their point was that the people who voted in favor of Proposition 8 did so based on their religion, and as such, it must be overturned due to something that does not exist in the Constitution, which is the separation of church and state (honestly, it's not in there – read it for yourself).
Let's be perfectly clear. No where in the Bible does it say that abortion is wrong, and no where in it does it say gay marriage is wrong either. There is also no where in the Constitution that establishes a separation of church and state, yet we are the ones being accused of imposing a theocracy. The truth is it is your actions to shut us up, and deny us the right to determine our destiny that puts you much closer to the mullahs of Iran than we are.
I'm the one that wants to state my case and let the people decide what is best for us. You are the ones that make stuff up about nonexistent rights in order to deny real rights for those with a differing opinion. It is you and your fellow liberal elites that are the real theocrats here, not us.
What do you mean 'Let the people decide?' Don't you know what Pro-Choice means? What you want is to deny women the right to choose what is right for their bodies.
So? You want to deny everyones right to decide what to do with their bodies with Universal Health Care. Once it is instituted, the people will take what their betters have decided is practical to provide, and get no choice in the matter except to die. So don't you dare lecture me about what pro-choice means. If there is anything liberalism stands for it's that elites should decide what is in 'our' best interest, not the people.
To be frank, this whole debate about choice is pointless. The only reason to have a government is to limit the choices of the citizens. Only an anarchist can credibly claim to be pro-choice. The real choice before us is whether we the citizens decide (limited only by what is actually in the Constitution), or have judges and other elites decide for us. The answer is quite obvious, which is why you have to make stuff up about what's in our Constitution to advance your cause.
Before moving on, I want to clarify my position on abortion. I am pro-life; not anti-abortion. I must admit that there are times when I think of the innocent lives that are snuffed out in the abortion mills of Planned Parenthood for what amounts to purely selfish reasons that a real anger takes over me. During these dark times, I want every doctor that performs an abortion put on trial for murder and have to explain to a jury of his peers why it was medically necessary to kill a child to save a mother's life – at least that better be the reason why the abortion took place.
Eventually, though, I'll allow my faith to take over, and reject the anger. As I'll explain on the Enlightenment page, anger is what you fill your heart with when you don't have the courage to do the right thing. It's then that I will see that it's not selfishness that motivates women to kill their children, it's ignorance. They see the child within them as life limiting, rather than what it should be, which is life enriching.
A good example of this ignorance was in a speech that then candidate Barak Obama gave where he was supporting the right of under-age girls to get abortions without their parents consent. His exact words were
I've got two daughters, 9 years old and 6 years old. I am going to teach them first of all about values and morals. But if they make a mistake, I don't want them punished with a baby. I don't want them punished with an STD at the age of 16.
The idea of a baby as punishment is horrifying, and outlawing abortions will not stop ignorant men like our President from wielding destruction on our society because of the attitudes they have. Anyone who doesn't see all children as life enriching will damage all of us if they obtain political power. One thing is for sure, it's a good thing for Malia and Sasha that they caught their parents in the right mood when they were conceived.
This is the real problem with outlawing abortions. It impacts the wrong people. Men are the only ones to blame for abortions. No woman wakes up one morning and says to herself,
Gee. I need a man to impregnate me so that I can go have an abortion. Call me a sexist (Yes. Really. Call me a sexist), but men and women are different and share different responsibilities, particularly when it comes to children. Every child that has been aborted for reasons other than the mother's life being in jeopardy, has been the direct result of a man's carelessness or malice. Even when the father wants the child to be born, but the mother doesn't, the father has chosen his mate carelessly. He certainly didn't pick a pro-life woman, and that will always be a bad choice.
Regardless of who is responsible, a pro-life position has to be one that not only maximizes the number of children that are saved, but also insures that all children are born to parents that see them as the blessing they deserve. To accomplish this requires that you be for something, and not just against something else.
Far too many people who call themselves pro-life don't really see it that way, and believe that the only thing that is important is to demonstrate how much they disapprove of abortion. They are the ones that stand at abortion providers with signs that show dismembered fetuses, thus requiring parents that are pro-life to shield the eyes of their children, rather than allowing them to show solidarity with their cause. These anti-abortionists may occasionally point to the odd woman they have changed the mind of, but disregard the many more whose hearts they have hardened against them.
I don't even consider these anti-abortionists as conservative. It is the hallmark of liberalism to care only about intentions rather than results. They make the job of the vast majority of real pro-life people so much harder. I weep at the thought of all of those children whose lives were subsequently lost after the murder of Dr George Tiller. The piece of human filth who thought he was saving the lives of the unborn by killing an abortion provider, really only hardened the hearts of many who could have been pursuaded to the pro-life cause. The reality is his only motivation was revenge; the fate of the unborn be damned – literally. There was nothing about his actions that could be defined as pro-life.
Don't you get attacked by these people because they don't beleieve you can be a Christian without wanting to outlaw abortions?
I do, and I welcome it. My conscience is quite clear on this. I will never back down on the belief that all abortions are caused by men, and there just isn't anyway for a law to address this. To get behind outlawing abortion, which can only impact women, it means ceding the point that men are responsible. While I believe that much can be done by government to help the pro-life cause, the only true solution is religious, but I'll get more into that on the next page.
What's interesting is that my position is attacked by the radicals on both sides of this issue. When I discuss this position with femenists, they get quite indignent about it. They don't like the idea of men being responsible for the lives of women
I guess this is why I just can't follow you. You keep harping on us liberals and atheists as theocrats, yet fail to recognize those on your side of the political spectrum who are obviously trying to establish a theocracy.
Oh I recognize it well enough. In fact, I see it as worse than you think. To understand what I mean I need to expand the definition of a theocracy as follows.
Theocracy [thee-ok-ruh-see] – noun
1. a government where politics are abandoned, and the norms and customs of a society are imposed
2. when a government bases its laws and policies on what is good or evil rather than what is right or wrong
Ah-ha! We atheists want all laws based on what's right or wrong, so we are in fact not theocrats.
I'm willing to admit that there some atheists that are not theocrats. The very few that don't go all quivering in the knees over the idea of the Ten Commandments being posted in a court room are the ones I'm thinking of, but there are very few of them indeed.
The reason I have two different definitions is because they serve two different purposes. The first is to accuse liberals and atheists as theocrats, but the second is to show the folly of my side in engaging in this. These two definitions are needed because establishing a theocracy is the only way to accomplish what liberals and atheists want, but a theocracy works against what conservatives should want, which is everyone to be a freeman.
What makes the second definition so detrimental to conservative causes is that it comes from a misunderstanding of the nature of human affairs. At the top is good and evil. If you do believe they exist, then you must see that God, and not man determines what they are. From there is right and wrong, and it is mankind that determines what they are. Only when right and wrong are firmly established can laws of the government be considered.
When laws are based on what is right or wrong, good outcomes are possible. When they are based directly from good and evil, then only evil will come of it. Just because something is evil, does not mean it should be outlawed, and just because something is good, does not mean it should be mandated.
Liberals are not immune from this. They believe that doing good deeds produces good outcomes, but they are wrong on two counts. First of all, government can't do good. Government is force, and force is always evil. This means that in order for it to do good, like helping the poor, it first must do evil by stealing from the rich. Second, even when liberals do it without stealing from the rich, such as giving a bum the change in their pockets, they still accomplish evil with their good deeds, because all they are doing is validating the bum, which encourages him to continue to live on the streets.
Of course the most obvious example for conservatives is abortion. Seeking to outlaw it just because it is evil does more harm than good. Many children could have been saved if only more thoughtful actions had been pursued. If it means anything to be a conservative it's that our actions must be effective, and not done just to make us feel good.
I'm not saying that we should never consider outlawing abortions. If circumstances changed where women are getting pregnant for the purpose of having an abortion, such as what would happen if embryonic stem cell research ever begins to bear fruit, then laws will be needed to prevent the creation of people to sacrifice for the sake of others.
What I am saying is that we should always keep in mind that we need to change peoples minds, and that requires that we focus on what is right and wrong, which is something that we the citizens determine, not the government. All too often people will get it into their heads that if we just elect the right politicians, or pass the right laws, everything will be fine, when in fact, this thinking only takes us away from the actions that could accomplish what we want.
The 2010 mid-term elections offers many examples of what I am talking about, with the most obvious being Christine O'Donnell. Here was this open senate seat in Delaware, formally held by the now vice-president Joe Biden. His son had thought to run for that seat, but he didn't think he had a chance with Republican Mike Castle running for it. So the Democrats ran a sacrificial lamb for the seat, never figuring that someone so beatable as Christine O'Donnell would get the nomination.
So how did we end up with a Democrat in that office who could wind up being the most left leaning Senator in Congress? Conservative theocrats, of course. To them, Mike Castle just wasn't conservative enough to the Republicans in the state, and rather than vetting a proper alternative, they chose a woman with serious personal issues and a big credibility gap. Her electability was never really considered by them. All that mattered was that she said the things they wanted to hear. Everyone who voted for her nomination was focused on good and evil, not right or wrong. They wanted to make a statement, and were not concerned with accomplishing anything.
So, are your fellow conservatives aware that you are a RINO?
Me? A RINO? The only people I classify as Republicans In Name Only are the ones that won't support the party when the nominee doesn't meet their arbitrarily-defined ideological-purity tests. It's a simple fact that a Republican that could win in Texas won't win in Delaware. As Ronald Reagan put it, someone that votes 80% the way I want is my friend, not my enemy.
Does that mean that you expect people to sacrifice their principles for political expediency?
Of course not. But your principles are your religion, not your politics. No one should sacrifice on their religion, but everyone must sacrifice on their politics. Any desire to be uncompromising on your politics is a desire to establish a theocracy.
On previous pages I expressed a desire for things like stripping people who are on welfare of their right to vote, and believing that the War on Drugs is wrong and must end, and I also passionately want us to protect the life of the unborn, yet any politician running on a platform to bring them about now, will not likely get my vote. All laws must match the population that they are for in order to be effective. Expecting the people to match the laws will always be a disaster.
What really burns me about the opportunity lost in Delaware was when I heard one of these Partisan Purists commenting that losing the seat was no big deal, because even if they had won it, the Senate would be controlled by the Democrats anyway. These conservative theocrats just don't get it. The Republicans could have easily taken the senate if it wasn't for the purists demonstrating as clearly as they could that anyone who doesn't agree with them completely is not welcome in their party. What happened in Delware was played throughout the country where it impacted more races.
They need to understand that there are no victories in politics – none whatsoever. All relationships, thus all politics, are about direction, because there are no steady states. You are either moving in the right direction, or your moving in the wrong one. Success in politics comes from making progress, not from electing the right person or passing the right law. The obvious redefinition of our own Constitution by the liberals should shine a powerful light on the dubious nature of these victories. Liberals have perfected into a fine art rendering any conservative victory moot, with the most glaring example being California's Prop 13.
Even in the ultimate political endeavor, marriage, if you think you have achieved a victory when you get your spouse to marry you, then you are a fool. A marriage is only successful as long as the spouses keep in mind that they must continue to work at their relationship long after the wedding is over.
More to the point, Democrats have a built in advantage over Republicans in winning political contests, because it's easier for them make a case that they care for people, because they want to take care of them. Our message that you can take care of yourself better than the government can, just comes across as
You're on your own, when we make it clear that only the ideologically pure are one of us.
It is so much easier to change someone's mind once they are one of 'us,' than it is by keeping them as one of 'them.'
Besides, the real problem here is not the way the so-called RINO's vote, but the way we do, and before I can clarify this, I must spend some time heaping disrespect on the biggest blight on the Republican party, the Libertarians.
While many Republicans are afflicted with the disease of caring more about making statements than they are with accomplishing anything, they don't hold a candle to the Libertarians, or as a political commentator I listen to calls them, the Losertarians. He calls them that because that's all they do. They lose; and along with them, any chance of advancing what they claim to want. The only victories they assure are in getting Democrats elected.
I should know. I used to be one. Back when Republican Governor Pete Wilson signed the mandatory motorcycle helmet law, I finally had enough of a party that appeared to be indistinguishable from the Democrats, so I joined the Libertarian Party. At the time, I had to sign this statement not to advocate initiating force for political means. Seemed reasonable enough, so I signed it. Little did I know how that would play out later.
I initially liked the like-minded people that I had political conversations with, but it didn't take long before things didn't seem right. When I tried to have meaningful conversations about accomplishing something practical, my opinions were thrown to the side with comments about how long it would take before we achieved victory. When I mentioned that I was planning on voting for a Republican for no other reason than I wanted to make sure the Democrat he was up against didn't get elected, I was chastised as if I spoke heresy (there wasn't a label like LINO back then).
I was told things like
Elections aren't popularity contests, and
I would rather vote for what I want and not get it, than vote for what I don't want and get it. Yet I knew that elections were indeed popularity contests, and as for that second statement, it may help who ever speaks it to sleep at night, but it won't accomplish anything either.
The final straw came when I expressed support for George H. W. Bush when he launched the country into the first Gulf War. I was then rebuked for going back on the agreement that I had signed when I joined, and was told in no uncertain terms to shut up. There was now no doubt in my mind that I had joined a cult, not a political party. Heresy is a charge leveled by priests, and I wanted no part of this religion.
The Libertarian Party is a classic example of what happens when a party enforces purity standards. It becomes irrelevant – if it wasn't already to begin with. Currently only 41% of the country describes themselves as conservative, and if they are the only ones voting Republican, it will never win anything ever again. Political parties must not be like churches, where people must believe certain things in order to belong. For a party to grow, it must attract people who don't fit precisely within it.
Ron Paul is a good example of what you must do when you have a cause you want to advance. He had previously ran as a Libertarian candidate for president, but got no traction what so ever. In the election of '08 he ran in the Republican primary and got tremendous support. His political beliefs had gotten the best airing possible, and best of all, by staying within the primary, he didn't siphon off votes that would have only benefit a Democrat, who is far more dangerous to what he wants than any Republican ever would be.
What really amazes me is that Libertarians believe they stand a better chance of convincing the entire country that their ideals are right, but they don't believe they can convince the Republicans. If you look at the history of both parties, you will see that they have been all over the place as far as what they have stood for. On many occasions inspiring people have come in and altered the course of them. It seems obvious that the proper course of action for people who want to accomplish something is that they first belong to an established party in order to change it than it is to start a new one.
Yet when you talk to the Libertarians, they seem to expect the Republican party to change to what they want before they will consider voting for them. How stupid is it to believe you can change a party from any other place than within it. Actually, it's not stupid. It's religious zealotry.
Any husband in a successful marriage will tell you that just because he is right, doesn't mean he gets to win the argument. Furthermore, this husband will also know that there is no winning of anything until they both win. Marriage is not a competition, which is identified by there being winners and losers. In marriage, there are either two winners or two losers. There is nothing in between.
Earlier, I'm sure many people were incredulous when I said that marriage was a form of politics, yet I was quite serious about this. It's imperative that anyone engaged in any form of politics keep this in mind if they want to be successful. Sure, elections are competitions, but politics is not. Until we all win, we all lose. Elections cannot be the end all beat all destination of politics, nor can we stand our ground that we are right and they are wrong if we are ever going to win.
I say this to point out to all of the people who keep calling President Obama a socialist. I think I should have made it clear by now that I consider all liberal elites to be socialists, so of course I would agree with anyone making that accusastion. So what? No matter how right that statement is, it is wrong to pursue it in politics.
The reason it doesn't work is because you are asking people who currently like Oboma personally to think evil of him by accusing him of something that he doesn't publicly proclaim of himself. He doesn't say he is, and in politics, that is all that matters. As the saying goes, perception is reality, which means in politics it doesn't matter whether you are right. If you are not dealing with what they think is right, you will always be wrong.
Instead, nail him for what he does proclaim. He is a big government guy who wants to expand government, which only diminishes the individual. He can be beat by what he states, and there is nothing wrong by holding him accountable for it. It also doesn't require people to think he is evil in order to turn against him politically.
The only thing I use against him that he doesn't proclaim is that he in an amateur. If there was ever a 'not ready for prime time player' it's him. Yet there is nothing evil about it. He has tried his best, but his best won't do. This doesn't require people to accept that they voted for someone evil, which is always a losing proposition for our side.
As I stated before, politics are about establishing relationships, and the only successful ones are the ones where everyone wins. Trying to convince others they must lose for you to win, whether it is in marriage or what we want the government to do, is a loser. Showing them how they will win is what makes winners of us all.
I knew the 2010 mid-term elections were going to provide plenty of fodder for this page, and I wasn't disappointed. One of the best was how Nancy Polosi tried to blame what happened as a 'messaging problem.' In her arrogance, she believed that what caused her to lose the Speaker of the House position was that the Democratic party didn't communicate properly to the great unwashed all of the wonderful things her leadership provided us. What got me really thinking was a comment posted to the on-line article reporting what she said. The commentor said that there is indeed a messaging problem, and it's that Nancy refuses to get our message.
That's absolutely right, but even more so. In a theocracy, it is the responsibility of the priestly class to inform the masses of what it is they should believe in. Our Founding Fathers intended something very different. They expected the citizens to tell its government what to do, and if the government isn't doing what is expected of it, then we are the ones that have failed to communicate properly. Only slaves would be expecting their masters to explain things for them.
Another of the many differences between conservatives and liberals is that we conservatives do not want professional politicians. We don't want to elect someone who believes his primary job it is to get re-elected. Liberalism cannot function without people like that. Liberalism needs experienced politicians to guide the ship of state.
So it is us conservatives that seems to have a messaging problem; not with liberal politicians (who will always be tone deaf to our concerns), but with our own politicians. We say we don't want them to serve in perpetuity, yet we keep voting for them anyway. Many of us have called for term limits, but this is completely the wrong mind set. It only feeds the belief that if we just pass the right laws then everything will be fine.
And if we couldn't mix our messages anymore, many states have an initiative process where the citizens can vote directly on legislation to enact laws bypassing their legislators. Now why on Earth do we elect politicians, and then do their work for them? It's too absurd to contemplate. We actually vote for politicians we can't trust to vote the right way.
The problem with all of this is that our current political process is driven by the candidates and not by us. Lately, President Obama has been using this 'car driven into a ditch' metaphor to explain why the Democrats should keep control of Government. He likes to say that he has finally gotten the economy turned in the right direction, but now the Republicans are asking for the keys back. What's really funny is that he always replies with
No, you can't have them back as if he as any say in the matter.
In a way, I agree with the President. I don't want him to hand the keys to the Republicans. I want him to hand them to us. As the British Prime Minister, David Cameron, put it recently,
I don't see the British people as passengers, I see them as drivers. I couldn't agree more with that sentiment. I don't want the Democrats or the Republicans in control. I want us.
I want a bottom-up, free-market government, and not a top-down theocracy. There is no middle ground here because politics is about direction, not a steady state. We are either getting more free or getting more enslaved.
To begin with, the initiative process has to go. This is what I call the 'fools gold' of politics. It gives the impression that we citizens are in control, but we are not. It only allows politicians off the hook, and specifically states that we will not hold them accountable. One need only look at the most famous initiative of all, Proposition 13 in California, to know the folly of it. It certainly didn't stop the slide of California off the cliff of economic ruin by an out of control government, but what else can be expected of a legislative body that isn't held responsible.
I cannot state this more forcefully. Our politicians have too much power to believe we can ignore them. Any initiative that they don't like they can render moot, like Proposition 13, or they can have their minions in the courts throw out through contrived constitutional conflicts, like Proposition 8.
What we need are legislatures that are truly our servants and not our masters. The recent success of the Tea Party shows the way that I am talking about. There were a lot of hits and only a few misses. Going back to Delaware and Christine O'Donnell's loss, I don't blame her at all. She looked around and didn't like the choices offered her, so she decided to step up and present herself as a choice for the Republican nomination for the Senate.
As I explained earlier, the real people at fault for losing that state are the Republicans who nominated her. I heard many Tea Partiers complain that the party establishment was to blame, because all they were offering was Mike Castle as their selection for who they should vote for. Nonsense. For a bottom-up government, those at the bottom have to be responsible. If they didn't like Mike, they should have found someone else who was electable, or done the responsible thing and nominated him.
Still, there is a certain amount of blame to be thrown at the Republican establishment who tut-tutted about the primary voters who did not select the person they were endorsing. We indeed have a messaging problem, and those in the establishment are not getting it. They could have offered real choices for the voters, but instead decided to reward a career politician with a dodgy voting record. We keep saying no to career politicians, but they keep endorsing them.
Rather than retreat, the Tea Party should move forward and demand of our party a process that develops Citizen Politicians so that there are a ready supply of qualified candidates that we can vote for. These people should not be considered our leaders, but our servants who will not make it their primary business to get themselves re-elected.
Quite frankly, this entire concept of rewarding our politicians by re-electing them, or punishing them by voting them out must be rejected completely. All members of congress, both federal and state, should serve a term in true sacrifice, then go back to the private sector where they should have made things better. Anyone whose actions state that it is better to be in the public sector than it is to be in the private, cannot claim that he or she has our best interest at heart.
Only the best and brightest politicians should be considered our leaders, and they should reserve themselves for executive offices, such as state governors or the presidency. These are the only offices where experience matters and making a career of it tolerable. Just look at our current president to know why executive experience is so necessary.
You're giving me a headache trying to figure out your real message. Are you or are you not stating that we should not mix politics and religion, and isn't that what we atheists have wanted all along?
Again, who you are (your religion) and what you do (your politics) are not the same but is inseperable. I started off this page condemning those that thought they should be seperated and finished with those that thought they were the same. If this is confusing to you, so be it. Life will always be confusing to those that seek the answers they want, rather than seek the answers they should.
Yet of the two sins – believing they are the same or sepearble – I hold special condemnation for those that consider them seperable. I can't recall where I read it, but I remember reading a comment about how atheism is a religion that is trying to replace something with nothing. I would add that that statement alone makes atheism the greatest non sequitor known to man.
The finest example of this is Great Britain, which I remind you again has an actual state religion. What matters is that it's citizens are the least religious of probably any western country, yet they are the ones most likely to submit to the theocracy of Islam. In that country they have already surrendered in many areas to be controlled by Sharia law, and regularly have very prominent British Muslims call for the complete take over by Sharia.
But not in this country. While there are a few Muslims who have quietly let slip their desire to see Sharia replace our constitution, they aren't very public about it. What holds them at bay is not any hostility towards religion in our government, but the overwhelming religious nature of our citizens. We have something to restrain their something, while Great Britain only has nothing.
Even without the threat of Islam, our religious heritage is essential to our very survival, and it requires leadership to foster it. While I could vote for an atheist to congress, I would never vote for one to an executive office.
(Note: There is only one acknowledge atheist in our congress, but almost two-hundred in Great Britain's parliament. Our two countries are very different indeed.)
Politics and religion are a dichotomy, which means one defines the other. There are many such examples of this. How can one know what good is without evil? How can something be high without something else being low? How can there be something special unless there is also the ordinary? Good and evil really exists, and politics needs religion to identify which is which.
Religion gives politics its direction, without it, it's going to crash. Politics gives religion a vehical to affect change, without it, you may as well be a monk in a monistary.