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Judge Orders Child to Receive Brainwashing in Mainstream Idiot-Religion

June 7, 2005 | 63 Comments

Indianapolis, Indiana, June 7, 2005
Special to The Raving Atheist

Dealing a blow to the farcically silly nature-based deities of Wicca, an Indiana judge has prohibited a divorced couple from exposing their son to “non-mainstream religious beliefs and rituals” and directed that the child be indoctrinated in the insanely cannibalistic, virgin-birth-and-crucifixion-myth-based rites of Catholicism.

“Christ’s blood splattered upon the cross as crude iron spikes splintered the bones of his hands,” wrote Marion Superior Court Chief Judge Cale J. Bradford in a 285-page decision. “The issue of the fecund, unsullied womb of the Mother of God rose from the dead so that all who believe in his self-sacrifice should live forever, or face eternal torment in the fires of Hell.”

The boy’s parents, Thomas E. Jones Jr. and his ex-wife Tammie U. Bristol, believe that the Earth is a living creature, that there is a male and female force to everything, and that life is a duality. They reject the existence of Satan, or any creature of infinite evil.

“If the Earth is a living creature, then there’s a Man in the Moon,” scoffed Judge Bradford. “And this rubbish about dualities and gender-based forces is vague and incoherent. Does not salvation come to all who behold the glorious slaughter of the Lamb of God? Beware the lurking Demon who festers in the souls of men!”

The parents’ Wiccan beliefs came to Bradford’s attention in a confidential report prepared by the Domestic Relations Counseling Bureau, which provides recommendations to the court on child custody and visitation rights. Jones’ son attends a local Catholic school.

“There is a discrepancy between Ms. Jones and Mr. Jones’ lifestyle and the belief system adhered to by the parochial school. . . . Ms. Jones and Mr. Jones display little insight into the confusion these divergent belief systems will have upon (the boy) as he ages,” the bureau said in its report.

The decision immediately sparked outrage among civil libertarians. “When they read the order to me, I said, ‘You’ve got to be kidding,’ ” said Alisa G. Cohen, an Indianapolis attorney representing Jones. “Didn’t the judge get the memo that it’s not up to him what constitutes a valid religion?” Cohen added that when it comes to matters of faith, children should be exposed to all sorts of crazy shit since we’re somehow suddenly incapable of making the rational, common-sense distinctions we make in every other context.

Another attorney, Robert F. Hodges, noted that intellectual mind-rape of children was the Constitutional prerogative of parents rather than the government. “Of course, a judge may decide which religion is the “proper” one for a child to be raised in when the parents disagree, but it’s outrageous to make the exact same sort of determination when the parties have reached a consensus on the type of psychological abuse to be administered,” Hodges said. “This nation’s most precious freedom is the freedom to stuff its childrens’ heads with superstitious dogma without governmental interference, with a limited exception for the teaching of evolution in the public schools.”

Comments

63 Responses to “Judge Orders Child to Receive Brainwashing in Mainstream Idiot-Religion”

  1. Brent Rasmussen
    June 7th, 2005 @ 1:47 pm
  2. AK
    June 7th, 2005 @ 2:23 pm

    LMAO! Another great write up!

    If I were the boys parents, I would introduce the boy to Satanism (not Laveyan Satanism, but that Christian Satanism), and when the judge gets all pissed off, I would declare “why your honor, I am merely teaching the child about Christianity as you demanded”.

    Then I would be likely found in contempt of court LOL but by that time I will have already won.

  3. Jahrta
    June 7th, 2005 @ 4:43 pm

    i’ll just issue the same blanket statement i always do in instances where a judge, or any other so-called “authority” figure abuses his or her powers by dragging their personal religious beliefs into the fray:

    This judge should be stripped of his position, drop-kicked into a vat of K.C. masterpiece extra rich ‘n spicy, then catapulted into a nice sunny enclosure with many ravenous rabid wolverines to pass the time. the only question left to answer is ‘how much do we charge for tickets?’

  4. boywonder
    June 7th, 2005 @ 7:18 pm

    Since I live in Indiana, I fell twice as bad about this nonsense. I’m embarrassed how our country looks to the rest of the world and how my own backyard looks to the few rational people left here. It is bad enough mainstream religions are full of shit, but for a catholic to criticize another religious idiot for not believing their idiocy is like the village idiot making fun of the town drunk. Just so people know, 65% of Hoosiers voted for Bush. That means 35% did not. There is still a glimmer of hope here. If we can get the other people off the couch to vote next time, perhaps that will change. Probably not.

  5. New_Syntax
    June 7th, 2005 @ 9:22 pm

    Is this for real?!

  6. PhalsePhrophet
    June 7th, 2005 @ 10:12 pm

    Indiana / Kansas; maybe it

  7. Tony Martin
    June 7th, 2005 @ 10:17 pm

    That makes me angry. What is this country coming to?

  8. cubic rooms
    June 7th, 2005 @ 10:48 pm

    “I think the judge should resign immediately. Not because he banned the practice of Wicca, but because he didn

  9. Mookie
    June 8th, 2005 @ 3:08 am

    I prefer Wiccans to xians any day, if they must be religious. I figger if they thought long and hard enough to pick one, then they realize that its all just a bunch of bullshit anyway. Why they actually believe in it still is beyond me. But you can convince yourself of anything, and that’s the whole point. If only people were taught HOW to think, and not WHAT to think.

  10. MBains
    June 8th, 2005 @ 8:05 am

    If only people were taught HOW to think, and not WHAT to think.

    Gawd forbid!!! LOL!

    You nailed it Mookie.

    (The Judge) directed that the child be indoctrinated in the insanely cannibalistic, virgin-birth-and-crucifixion-myth-based rites of Catholicism.

    Another awesome Laughin’ Out Louder RA!

  11. hermesten
    June 8th, 2005 @ 11:21 am

    Boywonder, if Indiana was typical, then 40% of eligible voters didn’t vote for anyone, and I think this is a far better reason to be optimistic than the 35% who voted, but not for Bush. In any case, if you’re looking at active Bush supporters among the population in Indiana, that means it’s probably more like 40% (and I think we can assume that some people held their noses and voted for Bush merely because they couldn’t stomach Kerry).

    Still, I think this illustrates the danger we face, because the fundies are supposedly about 40% of the population, and if they can get their base to the polls, they could put someone even worse than Bush in office. This is what we’re up against:

    “On May 10, the Sheriff of Hamilton County, Ohio

  12. jahrta
    June 8th, 2005 @ 11:43 am

    how about we form an atheist army, herm? that way we could always have a reliable method of defending ourselves from fundies who wish to kill us?

    how’s your aim these days?

    it’s about time this nation had a truly secular military force, as the one we currently have is a theocrat’s wetdream at the control of the most deranged ameri-pope president we’ve ever known.

  13. L33t1fy
    June 8th, 2005 @ 4:52 pm

    Another peeeerfect [sic] example of how religion is perverting mainstream society. Everything the catholics believe to be from god, of god or god himself is blown totally out of proportion. (Take the vagina/Virgin Mary stain for example) I thought that the good ol’ U. S. of A. was supposed to be all about freedom and a free country. Obviously, the words “first” and “amendment” do not belong in the same sentence, under the eyes of the church…wait, no, the same paragraph. Let them be Wiccans, you frickin bible-belt, conservative, gay-bashing, sexist, cannibalistic, far-left, hypocritical religious freak!

  14. hermesten
    June 8th, 2005 @ 5:23 pm

    To find out why God hates “God hates AT&T, MCI and Verizon,” go here:

    http://abcnews.go.com/WNT/print?id=827643

  15. boywonder
    June 8th, 2005 @ 6:36 pm

    To give you my point of view here in Indiana, let me describe the local paper’s take on this whole deal. They had an editorial cartoon that showed the word JESUS with a circle around it and a line through it. This was behind a judge’s bench. a man next to it holds a briefcase that reads ICLU. He is saying “We have to do this to respect the religious freedom of all hoosiers”. I find the narrow point of view here very frightening. If people swallow this garbage, they’ll swallow anything.
    Hermesten, we tried very hard to mobilize a base here before the elections. I felt we couldn’t do much more. I personally helped people register to vote. I drove some people to election centers. We called cabs for the few elderly liberals here. You can only do so much for people that are used to being led around by their dicks. It is ironic we have an abundance of faith in religious matters, but have completely lost faith in our electoral process.

  16. PhalsePhrophet
    June 8th, 2005 @ 9:52 pm

    He considers atheists to be “depraved” “deviates” and a force of “moral corruption.”

    That is exactly what attracted me to Atheism as a youngster. Imagine my disappointment when I discovered it just wasn

  17. Shirley Knott
    June 9th, 2005 @ 8:12 am

    Ah, PhalseProphet, this must explain why you are now Roman Catholic, yes?
    Or perhaps Mormon?
    The organized forces of depravity, deviation, and moral corruption are all around us. And in charge.

    Hugs,
    Shirley Knott

  18. Serth
    June 9th, 2005 @ 10:17 am

    Another attorney, Robert F. Hodges, noted that intellectual mind-rape of children was the Constitutional prerogative of parents rather than the government.

  19. GeneralZod
    June 9th, 2005 @ 11:52 am

    It was not mind rape. Did you see how that child’s mind was dressed??! That kid was ASKING for it!

  20. hermesten
    June 9th, 2005 @ 3:23 pm

    Boywonder: “…we have…..completely lost faith in our electoral process.”

    For good reason I think. So, we could have replaced Bush with Kerry, and what would have changed –3% less of an increase in defense spending and 3% more of an increase in social spending? “Democracy,” if it isn’t a fraud already, is becoming one here and in Europe.

    Look at the votes that take place in the EU and how well European governments represent the will of the people. The elites want to support the war in Iraq, they support the war in Iraq, and for the most part, it doesn’t matter what the people want. A country “no” votes an EU issue pushed by the elites, like Ireland, and they just hold another election until they get it right. France and the Netherlands vote no on the EU constitution (and I am FOR European unification, and to some extent, think it’s inevitable), the next countries in line just decide not to hold a vote so there won’t be another no. You can bet there will be another vote in France and the Netherlands. Will there be another vote in the countries that voted yes? Don’t hold your breath.

    The same shit goes on here. The ONLY reason this country isn’t already a fascist police state is because of past judicial activism. This country today is essentially free and decent to the extent that the courts have made it so –not that a lot of bad things aren’t also due to the courts. However, this protection is coming to an end. Federal judges are now something like 60% republican, or more, depending on the district, and the Thumpers won’t be satisifed until every judge whose legal concepts extend past the 19th century is off the bench. The way we’re headed now, in a few more years, the lights are going to start going out.

  21. simbol
    June 9th, 2005 @ 3:29 pm

    what we are discussing hear, beyond parochialism, is the right of the state for interfering in religious beliefs.

    Do we really believe that the state mustn’t have that right?

    Yes? then answer

    Don’t you think the state must interfere in preventing measles?

    Is not religion another disease?

    Don’t you think desirable the Arabs state to interfere in preventing the most vicious beliefs of islamism?.

    Don’t you think that there were something good when Russians were liberated from the bigotry of orthodox church?

    Given the opportunity, you atheists would enforce atheism as the State position on religious beliefs? (please be coherent)

    If you answer yes to the five questions, “no interference” is not a principle, but a strategy that, for us, must change according to conditions. And that the judge is right in realpolitik

    By doing so, we are recognizing that attacking the Judge and cry foul!! is merely good tactics. In fact First amendment was a pragmatist deal. No that the FF thought that was good for the state no to interfere given a right belief, but that there were some people with different views about what the “right” belief was. So, using first amendment is only tactics, an a good one.

    You , atheist must recognize that the Judge having ruled “the child wont be exposed to any religion until he reach 18 years” you would be jumping and delighted, and collecting money for a statue of him. none of you would have been remembering the first amendment.

    So, recognize you are hypocrites. But only in this web site. Doings so out of it, you would also be idiots.

  22. Viole
    June 9th, 2005 @ 4:29 pm

    The trouble with any suggestion that the state suppress religion, is that it’s a bad precedent. Sure, religion is a load of dung, but once you start suppressing undesirable ideas.

    Not only that, there’s a certain “the government is suppressing it so it must have some truth” crowd.

  23. GeneralZod
    June 9th, 2005 @ 4:49 pm

    I am not in favor of suppressing it, either. I am, however, 100% in favor of the gov’t ignoring religion and really pushing science education and letting such superstitions die already.

  24. simbol
    June 9th, 2005 @ 5:03 pm

    when a mother jump in jolly because her kid have committed suicide lined with bombs, and by doing so he has secured for him and for her high rank passports to heaven, killing on the way a lot of innocent people, to name these ideas “undesirable” is an understatement. More properly this should be called “vicious ideas”

  25. Viole
    June 9th, 2005 @ 6:12 pm

    Simbol, that’s a matter of definition. Sure, you can claim religion is worse than anything else, but as George knows, to alter truth you merely have to repeat what you want people to believe often enough. Perhaps once we’ve crushed religion, it will be Keynesians, or merely ‘liberals’ who are ‘vicious’ and need to be eradicated.

    Zod has got it pretty much right; the government should ignore religion out of existence. Unfortunately, the government is made up of ‘religious’ people, so that isn’t going to happen any time soon.

    Of course, remember what Orwell had to say about technology in 1984: scientific advances were only applied to the military, and spying on the people.

  26. boywonder
    June 9th, 2005 @ 7:32 pm

    Simbol, I’m not sure I understand exactly what you are trying to say in post #21. Most atheists realize the absurdity of allowing religion to grow unconstrained, but acknowledge the idea of the first ammendment. This article, by the way, is about a judge from a mainstream religion denying a “cult” religion. This is not the atheists crying foul. And right now atheists may be called hypocrites for attacking this judge, but other recourse do we have? In a matter of years, we will soon be called heretics. The constitution and the amendments are constantly being reinterpreted (sp) like they were the fucking bible. There may be loop-holes in them, but the basic message has remained until recently. It’s as silly as the religious calling the founding fathers religious men, but it is working. Hermesten is right. Once most judges become narrow-minded rebublican fuckheads, this experiment in democracy is over. That is why I would rather go out being called a hypocrite than just ignoring everything and kissing my ass goodbye.

  27. boywonder
    June 9th, 2005 @ 7:58 pm

    hermesten, I would not ordinarily argue with you about the few subtle differences between a republican and a democrat, but you said “…what would have changed?–3% less of a decrease in defense spending and 3% more of an increase in social spending?”. Kerry is not the second coming of christ, but he would have opened up rational discourse with the rest of the world. Would he have solved our real issues? No. But things would not have continued the way they are. Is the man a shill? Yes, but he’s no empty suit. At least he didn’t think he had a 51% “mandate” to rule the world.

  28. hermesten
    June 10th, 2005 @ 9:34 am

    Simbol: “Do we really believe that the state mustn’t have that right?”

    I do, as long as were talking about adults and not children. For example, I think the state should interfere when a parent withholds medical treatment for a child because of wacky religious beliefs.

    “Given the opportunity, you atheists would enforce atheism as the State position on religious beliefs? ”

    Enforce, no. Encourage, yes. Though from a practical standpoint, the best way to do in religion may well be to give it official state sanction. There is much less of it in Europe where there are state religions, than there is here. Hitchens has written some interesting thoughts on this subject.

    “You , atheist must recognize that the Judge having ruled “the child wont be exposed to any religion until he reach 18 years” you would be jumping and delighted, and collecting money for a statue of him. none of you would have been remembering the first amendment.”

    Not true for me. If the state has the power to proscribe religious belief, it has the power to proscribe other belief –whether or not it has a basis in fact. A state that will tell you that you can’t teach your child religion will also tell you that you can’t tell your child that homosexuality is natural, or that the Iranians aren’t as bad as the government says they are. Even if such a decision wasn’t contrary to law, I’d be very much against it, as we, and everyone else, would lose far more as individuals, and as a society, than we could ever hope to gain.

  29. hermesten
    June 10th, 2005 @ 9:58 am

    Boywonder, my comments were hyperbolic, and I do think the country would have been better off, in some marginal way, with Kerry president. He would have been better even for republicans, since they would no longer have to defend their tribe by supporting every idiotic scheme and self-destructive policy of a republican administration. And probably our descent into fascism would have been extended a little longer. But look at all the shit the democrats support, right along with the republicans (or don’t oppose): the drug war –the most destructive attack on the Bill of Rights until we got: the “Patriot Act”; unconstitutional unilateral war making power for the president; extra-legal assassination; the war on Iraq; extra-legal renditions; “free speech” zones; corporate privledge; the IMF; sanctions against Cuba; national ID; and torture (with some, like the not exactly republican Dershowitz even making a public plea for it) –as far as maintaining a “free” society goes, their support for the drug war, the Patriot Act, and presidential war making power, will overtime, undo any good from anything else they do, as it will have us all living in a police state.

  30. boywonder
    June 10th, 2005 @ 3:42 pm

    hermesten, sorry, it’s hard to pick up hyperbole and sarcasm sometimes in writing. Good points though. I do find it entertaining, in a sadistic way, watching republicans squirm now that they got their damn “Four more years”. What upsets me (not more than knowing the damage caused by chimpy) is that when things start falling apart, Bushco will be long gone out of office. The poor shmuck president at that time will be blamed for all of this. Ofcourse he would have been anyway, since republicans don’t take credit for any of their bullshit. Remember, Bush inherited a recession!

  31. PTET
    June 11th, 2005 @ 9:37 am

    Great write up!

    I was amazed by the stat that people in the US would be less likely to vote for an openly homosexual candidate than they would for an openly atheist candidate in Presidential Elections. Jumpin’ Jehosephat…

  32. simbol
    June 13th, 2005 @ 12:32 am

    Viole, boywonder, Hermesten

    I tried only to make a coherence test. Excuse words like hypocrite and idiots. These were used only for spurring answers. You are ladies and gentlemen who deserves a more respectful treatment.
    And I’m afraid I put not very clear the problem, e.g. I wrote: “Don’t you think the state must interfere in preventing measles?” I had to write INTERVENE, not INTERFERE. The sense is the opposite. But the answer shows that more or less it was understood, but Boywonder is right when he said he was not sure what he understood.
    The rationale goes this way: If you as atheist think religion is a social disease, and if this disease is, as Viole says, only “undesirable ideas”, maybe is better not risking government intervention lest it ends telling you what shoes to buy. But when undesirable ideas are promoted with undesirable guns as WMD and practices like terrorism, and you are not only atheist but probable victim of those weapons and practices, I don’t find very coherent as atheists and probable victims to sustain the “no interference principle” on criminal religious ideas. Thinking that this will open the door for an Orwellian world, is naive. This door had always been open. With the same constitution, you’ve had the civil war, Mccarthyism and booze Prohibition and now the Christian coalition. All cases promoting ideas for a government in the Orwellian side. Slavery in the south was a Orwellian world for blacks. And don’t think the 1st Amendment is an insurmountable barrier. This doesn’t mean that 1st Amendment is not a valuable gun in the small arsenal of free thinkers, but is very limited. Sorry to say that Boywonder. Hermesten, in a failed effort of internal consistency, propose ENCOURAGE instead of ENFORCE atheism. When in government you encourage you are INTERFERING. When government put money for teacing abstinence programs and not for condons it is encouraging a system of beliefs. Based on the law of symmetry, Hermesten shouldn’t criticize the government.(The Law of symmetry have been invented by me, based in scientific research and published in a paper named ” What is good for the gander is good for the goose”). There is not ever a “impartial government” in matter of religious beliefs. Impartiality is not more than the result of a equilibrium of forces rarely achieved if ever.
    This was an excercise to test if a principle like “no intervention in religiosus matters” for the government can stand facing a scenario of extreme circunstances. It seems to me that as with many principles, this is not an absolute one. And for the minorities is not more than a correct strategy. The ideal scenario for a belief is a monolithic theocracy, the second best is not to be sweeped. And Atheism for all pratical purposes can be constructed as a belief- with its God (reason), its liturgy (Scientific method) its theology (knowledge),its celebre theologians(Russell, Voltaire), its Saints (Galileo, et al), and some altar boys and would-be priests like Herm, boywonder and Viole working for the Bishop monsignor RA. (not me because I’m very old). And there is not lack of heresy. There are some texts in sam harris’s book where I have looked the hand of satan.

    Finally a comment: Herm wrote “Even if such a decision wasn’t contrary to law, I’d be very much against it, as we, and everyone else, would lose far more as individuals, and as a society, than we could ever hope to gain”

    Reading this came to my memory two readings:

    1.- Sam Harris telling something like this “When fighting whit inscrupulous people, if you maintain your scruples, you are giving them an additional gun” (not the exact words but the sense is clear )

    2.- A French Marshall in the Napoleonic war on Spain ” These devils do not fight as gentlemen”, referring to the Spanish guerrillas and its tactics and cruelty. Frenchies never could win that war. BTW, guerrillas are very old, but the word was invented in Spain in that occasion.

    Please don’t interpret this as preaching unscrupulousness. High moral ground should be maintained, problem is how, when in front of people who think that war is not a matter for gentlemen. In that case arise the old conflict between means and ends. What happen when high moral ground in fight undermines ends standing in high moral ground? But this is a different problem. Stop.

  33. Frank
    June 13th, 2005 @ 10:30 am

    boywonder — just a thought … do you see the inconsistency in your post #30? You assert that the poor schmuck who follows Bush as president will be blamed for all the harm Bush is doing now because the harm really won’t be fully noticeable until Bushco is long gone. Then you seem to ridicule the notion that Bush inherited a recession that can be blamed on the Clinton administration and seemingly imply that Bush’s mistakes in his first, oh 10 days or so, were immediately responsible for the recession we were beginning to feel even before he took office.

    Do you see the inconsistency?

  34. Viole
    June 13th, 2005 @ 11:39 am

    Religion is not all that great a threat, Simbol. People with guns, who believe that anyone who opposes them must be eliminated, on the other hand, are highly dangerous. If you wish to compare this to a disease, then by all means people like that should be eliminated, but this is a rather poor comparison.

    Ideas cannot be singled out in the same manner, and ten thousand years of history has proved that not even torture and death will make some people change their religious beliefs. As has been pointed out before, Stalinist Russia tried very hard to eliminate religion, and merely succeeded in suppressing the outward display of it. Of course, this made it difficult for them to organize, but it also made it difficult for anyone to get any privacy. Which is why we should not make such a mistake here.

    Incidentally, it’s wrong to say we got the prohibition with the same constitution we have now. In fact, the Eighteenth Amendment to the US Constitution is the prohibition of alcohol, which was reversed by the Twenty First Amendment. So you see, stupidity can get a two-thirds majority, while intelligence often cannot.

  35. simbol
    June 13th, 2005 @ 1:07 pm

    Viole
    Conceded. I forgot 18th an 20th. But, if you observe attentively, this demonstrate that constitution it is not the protection some people think because can be changed on matters so fool as booze, which surely is older than organized religion.

    “ten thousand years of history has proved that not even torture and death will make some people change their religious beliefs.”

    It has proved the contrary. People do changes their religious beliefs, otherwise Zeus, Jupiter et al would be very popular and Mexicans would be killing thousands of people in their guerras floridas, some beliefs even disappear. Well, some exceptions apply, I must recognize that I’m a faithful of Bacchus.

    “People with guns, who believe that anyone who opposes them must be eliminated, on the other hand, are highly dangerous”

    We get to the point. Is not true that in most countries guns are prohibited, exactly because in some hands are very dangerous?

    Finally, observe that government informs about the potential dangers, regulates, doesn’t subsidize, and taxes heavily alcohol and tobacco, but it doesn’t prohibit you to drink or smoke. On the other hand it is not to ask very much that, as happen in some free and civilized countries, political or religious ideas which preach violence and hate be proscribed. You can have your god, as long as him doesn’t goes to the street shooting an AK-47. You get it?

    On the long run, patience, education and science.

  36. hermesten
    June 13th, 2005 @ 5:01 pm

    Simbol: “….constitution it is not the protection some people think because can be changed on matters so fool as booze…”

    Though Prohibition was stupid, it was a lot more honest than the drug war, which teaches us that you don’t have to amend the consitution, just ignore it. The consitution itself is no protection at all. As I said in some other remarks, activist judges, issuing rulings in the framework of a legal system that still, more or less, honors and enforces court decicsions, are our only protection –and that protection is pretty meager. For example, the absurd Supreme Court decision about medicinal marijuana: The constitution only gives the feds power to regulate interstate commerce –the states are the ones with the legal power to write and enforce drugs laws. When a state makes it legal for it’s own citizens to use marijuana for medicinal purposes there is no issue of interstate commerce. The courts have also invented all sorts of other rationales, where no power is given to the feds by the consitution: for example, to justify what are clearly illegal searches and seizures. The constitution also prohibits involuntary servitude, but this has never prevented the government from drafting young men –nor has the equal protection clause yet led to the imposition of any similar burden on young women. The consitution doesn’t give the president power to declare war, or authorize the congress to delegate such power, but they did it anyway.

    I recognize that, as a practical matter, the government is already violating the principles of “liberty,” as well as violating the law, and in ways that hurt atheists and favor religionists (the law always becomes a tool for those in power to use to dispense privledges and favors, and suppress groups or individuals who may challenge them). In the long run though, I don’t think I will gain anything by getting the State to fuck over someone else for my benefit, and I would prefer to reduce the power of the State over individuals rather than fight for my own share of the tyranny. I don’t accept the generalization that having scruples is self-destructive. You might have to jettison a scruple here and there, on a case by case basis, limited to a specific situation and need, but if you have to become like your enemy to win, what’s the point of fighting in the first place –merely survival? Life isn’t everything. Sometimes the price of victory isn’t worth the cost.

    I agree with Viole. In a free society people should be able to say and believe whatever they want: we draw the line at transgressive behavior.

  37. boywonder
    June 13th, 2005 @ 11:35 pm

    Frank, In response to your post (33), I said “…when things start falling apart, Bushco will be long gone out of office.” I assume we will not see many of the worst effects from his presidency for quite a while. I agree this effect applies to all presidents. We are still feeling some of the effects from Reagan, Bush, and Clinton. Overall, I suppose it is very difficult to pinpoint the blame on any one president for anything. I was trying to say that I feel Republicans in general are good at not taking blame for their actions. This can be said of any politicians, but republicans excel at it.

  38. Michael's Blog
    June 14th, 2005 @ 7:08 am

    A Prime Example …

    Of the loving, caring protection provided by the morally superior Christian Conservatives in positions…

  39. Michael's Blog
    June 14th, 2005 @ 7:08 am

    A Prime Example …

    Of the loving, caring protection provided by the morally superior Christian Conservatives in positions…

  40. Michael's Blog
    June 14th, 2005 @ 7:08 am

    A Prime Example …

    Of the loving, caring protection provided by the morally superior Christian Conservatives in positions…

  41. Michael's Blog
    June 14th, 2005 @ 7:08 am

    A Prime Example …

    Of the loving, caring protection provided by the morally superior Christian Conservatives in positions…

  42. Frank
    June 14th, 2005 @ 10:29 am

    boywonder — Okay. I’d only disagree with the notion that Republicans excel at it more than Democrats. It seems to me there’s not a politician in a hundred who is willing to own up to a mistake of any kind (except when they are pushed into a corner where the only thing that seems “politically expedient” to them is to “take responsibility” for their actions — geez).

  43. Ed
    June 16th, 2005 @ 2:53 pm

    “Jones’ son attends a local Catholic school.”

    What’s up with that?

  44. simbol
    June 16th, 2005 @ 3:00 pm

    Hi Herm

    We watched WAKING LIFE. Wonderful movie. Wife said drawings remembered her Edvard Munch.Thanks.

    You wrote in your post #36

    “You might have to jettison a scruple here and there, on a case by case basis, limited to a specific situation and need”

    I got confused,

    Casuistic ad-hoc morals?

    I got confused, can you give an example how it operates? In what case you shed a principle and to what extent?

    more clearly, in what case you would use a little massacre, a medium size massacre or a big one. Does the presence of the media influence the size?

  45. hermesten
    June 16th, 2005 @ 6:46 pm

    Also by the director who did The Waking Life is “Before Sunset,” sort of a talky “romance” –romance in the sense that it involves the connection between a man and a woman. They walk around Paris talking and I think it’s far more philosophical than romantic.

    Maybe I can give a longer answer tomorrow, but for the moment I’ll give a quick example. The “scruples” I was talking about “shedding” are closer to “lying” than to “killing.” For example, lying to the “government” may be necessary to protect your family, your life, or your wallet. If my son was having a drug problem (very hypothetical, as he doesn’t even touch alcohol –not even beer) and the police presented me with a “joint,” and asked me if it belonged to my son, I’d lie, and say no, even if I knew for certain it belonged to him.

    Of course, this is all a risk trade-off. I don’t like paying taxes, but I don’t cheat or lie about them because it would be stupid to risk going to jail to save a little money. However, I’m not about to let the government ruin the life of a loved one, even if it means I may have to go to jail.

  46. hermesten
    June 16th, 2005 @ 6:49 pm

    Simbol, it occurs to me that I missed one key point of distinction in my example of “shedding scruples” –“initiation.” I subscribe to the libertarian notion of never “initiating” force against another person, but this doesn’t mean I can’t respond in like fashion once “force” (where I mean this in the broadest sense) is initiated against me.

  47. xocho
    June 17th, 2005 @ 10:13 pm

    Hasn’t this judge (Cale J. Bradford) demonstrated his unworthyness to be a judge sufficiently to warrant his dismissal?

    In addition, if he has a law degree, he has demonstrated he is unworthy of it, because, apparently. he missed (or has forgotten) a critical aspect of the law of this land. His degree should be recinded by the school that issued it. (I am well aware this is unlikely — unfortunately.)

    No matter.

    By his action judge Bradford has confirmed he is unworthy of respect in any situation, including court rooms.

  48. simbol
    June 19th, 2005 @ 12:45 am

    herm

    in the fisrst case “joint”: you are behaving according with the rule “ends justify the means”. I don’t citicize because in your place I would do the same. But in that case I will recognize that my behavior is a little Machiavellian, and what this demonstrates is that truth is a functional concept that is not independent of its consequences. e.g. governments usually don’t tell the truth when by so doing can trigger an economical cathatrophe (the bankruptcy of a bank with a cascade effect)

    The case of taxes is funny because you wrote:
    “I don’t like paying taxes, but I don’t cheat or lie about them because it would be stupid to risk going to jail to save a little money.”

    This is simply morals based on cost-benefit analysis. What if you can save 10 or 100 million bucks and risk analysis tells you is a good bet? Would you cheat then?

    On initiation:Very weak rule of conduct. It doesn’t stand a superficial analysis. There are many cases in history where a preemtive hit had precluded very much suffering at a very low cost. Even at a personal level is not a sensible conduct in many cases because the counterpart is not playing wit your rules. Knowing your principle I will attack you in the most convenient opportunity for me. What if the Frenchmen had attacked Hitler when him occupied the Rhineland?. I think this rule can apply when a set of circumstances are given. (You are stronger or on par, you have the moral ground, this strategy minimizes casulties and you can win even if you hit after being attacked)

    Changin tracks:

    I have been reading a book on the Big Bang (Simon Singh) and there I read some things about Catholic church. I can list these and some other well know:
    1) They accept that bible cannot be taken ad literam but requires to be interpreted. (one of the big bang proposers was Lemaitre, a catholic priest)
    2)Pius XII strongly supported Big Bang Theory. So strongly that this support tainted the Theory among the scientific community.
    3)they accept darwinism.
    4)JPII visited the house of Copernicus and “rehabilitated” Galileo. By doing so the accepted the bible can be wongly interpreted by catholic church in maters pertaining to science.
    5) JPII in 1992, clearly delimited to spheres: natural and spiritual. The former belong to science and the latter to church.

    For me, this amount to a very inteligent policy in the sense that onwards catholic church are no exposed to very unconfortable contradictions with science since his sacred book, bible, canot be taken literally and they accept science as the interpreter of nature. This for me is tantamount to shedding the bible as a historical and scientific explanation of the church and the universe.

    Being catholic church a centralized and authoritarian organization, it easy for it to have a single and undisputed position in these matters. On the other hand this shows a church which is not against te findings of science. Other thing are the consequences of science findings or application, because these can have moral implications, but this is a different domain.

    If you take the four most important organized religions of the world, jewish, catholics, protestants and islamic, you find that catholics are positioned in a better foot in the relation between church and science. Jewish, even the reformist had not renounced to literallism of the torah. Muslims are in the worst position in this field because they not only are literalist but they sustain that quran was writen by god. Protestans, as far as I know are an archipelago in this matter and has the disadvantage of no being centralized for administering dogma and many of them continue to believe the world is 4000 years old.

    This lead me to believe that maybe catholic church will capture those educated who, for whatsoever the cause, don’t want to renounce afterlife, and in this fashion will become the religion of the elite.

    Zaratustra has spoken.

    Your comments please.

  49. simbol
    June 19th, 2005 @ 1:17 am

    herm

    I forgot to add a point: Catholics seems to be the only religion that has some like an Academy of Sciences, the Pontifical Academy of Sciences, which seems to has been very instrumental in these times for the changing course of Vatican about science.

  50. Blap
    June 19th, 2005 @ 3:48 am

    Gang,

    I’m new to this site and to these postings, so forgive (and cure) whatever ignorance I may reveal with this post. I have a few thoughts after reading these comments.

    1. Kerry vs. Bush – I didn’t like either of them, but I disliked Bush more, because the Rightpublicans scare me to death. What I don’t understand is this: In today’s presidential politics, image counts for more than a candidate’s stand on issues. Why did the Democrats put forward someone as bland as Kerry? They must have known that next to Bush, he would look like that boring Social Studies teacher everyone hated. Weren’t there Dem candidates who were comparable to Kerry on the issues, but also looked good on camera? If I may posit an answer to my own question, I suspect it’s because at the top levels of power, there truly is NO difference between Repubs and Dems: I suspect they are two heads of the same beast. Which brings me to my second topic…

    2. Atheists, Free Thinkers, Libertarians, etc. – Why can’t we all get ORGANIZED?! At the most basic level, we all share one political belief – Get the government off our backs! You can rephrase that to fit your particular axe-to-grind. For atheists (like myself), it would be phrased as “get the government out of religion and vice versa.” For Free Thinkers (like myself), it would be “get the government out of the classroom.” For Libertarians (like myself), it would be “get the government out of damned near everything.” But when are we going to DO something about it? Can’t we lay aside the small-percentage differences in our individual philosophies long enough to break the Rep’s and Dem’s cooperative stranglehold? These are not two horses pulling the country in opposite directions: they are a team of horses pulling in the same general direction (toward a cliff). Sometimes they steer a little left, sometimes a little right, but eventually we’re going to reach that cliff, and then it’s “Goodnight everybody.”

    What we need to do is stop those horses, before we’re all done for. After that we can determine the best way to go. But first let’s stop the mad dash to oblivion! Is there nobody who can unite us toward that goal? There are many well-known people who share beliefs similar enough to ours who would make excellent national candidates (remember the “image” issue from paragraph 1). This site from the Libertarian party lists quite a few: http://www.theadvocates.org/celebrities.html

    My personal favorite would be Penn Jillette (of Penn & Teller), but I also like John “Give Me a Break” Stossel and P.J. O’Rourke. Granted, Jillette and O’Rourke may not be as photogenic as Stossel, but their already-celebrity status should make up for that. Frankly, I’d love to see a presidential ticket with any of these, in any order.

    I welcome your thoughts. Please don’t flame me too bad. -Blap-

  51. John Sabotta
    June 19th, 2005 @ 3:54 pm

    Yes, this sounds like a pretty obnoxious violation of personal freedom, all right.

    Too bad you are in no position to complain about using state power to force belief or disbelief in anything. Allow me to quote Mr. R. Atheist, from his own site: (Emphasis mine)

    “Anti-religious sentiment is hardly

  52. hermesten
    June 20th, 2005 @ 11:30 am

    JS: “You don’t disagree about the basic principle – that the state should be able to compel belief by force. …..Really, you are all beneath contempt – the judge, the “freethinkers” on this board, the idiot who just suggested that this is somehow compatible with libertarianism – all of you.”

    Firstly, if we are all beneath contempt, why are you here expressing it? I guess that puts beneath those who are beneath contempt.

    You sound like an idiot. Besides myself, both Viole and GeneralZod completely rejected the notion that the State should be able to “compel belief by force.”

    Furthermore, the quote you cited from RA says nothing about State “compulsion” of belief. He uses the terms “disfavor” and “discourage,” things the State does now in many many areas both inside and outside the arena of religion.

    There is certainly no evidence for claiming that people are thrown in jail for medical quackery –not on a systematic basis anyway– as quacks abound, as another thread on the board illustrates, and normally aren’t even at risk of losing their medical license. And people who impersonate doctors are committing fraud, not quackery.

    As to “stock fraud,” well, yes, people are put in jail for stock fraud –theoretically. However, with the exception of a few high profile political prosecutions like Martha Stewart, stock fraud seems to be a thriving occupation. The notion that stock fraud puts people in jail, as the rule rather than the exception, is something of a joke.

    Your very emotional and literal interpretation of what RA said is no more legitimate than my interpretation of satiric license.

  53. hermesten
    June 20th, 2005 @ 12:27 pm

    Simbol, granted, I haven’t responsed extensively to your questions, but I think you are making unwarranted extrapolations from my remarks. Am an talking about general principles, and gave specific examples merely to illustrate them.

    I disagree that my “joint” example is a case of the ends justifying the means. In the first place, I do not accept the notion that the State has the right to tell anyone they can’t do something that doesn’t harm anyone else, even if it’s bad for them (I do accept that the State has this power). I also don’t accept the notion that the State has the right to kick in my front door and kill me and my family. If they do kick in my door and I shoot back and kill agents of the State, this is not a case of the ends justifying the means. In Texas, an individual even has the right under State law to kill a law enforcement officer in self-defense (I don’t want to get into the specifics, as this will add too much to an already long post –but my point is only that a right to self-defense against agents of the State is accepted in law) . We may argue about when excercising a right of the individual vis a vis the State justifies the use of force, but I find it hard to believe that you think there are no moral rights possessed by individuals that justify the use of force in response to transgression.

    On the subject of “cost-benefit principles”: yes, the example I gave was an example of cost-benefit. All action in defense of individual rights is a product of cost-benefit analysis. However, you misuderstood my example as saying something like, as a “principle,” I analyze the cost and decide whether to do something on the basis of how costly or profitable it is, and this is not what I intended. Actually, what I’m saying is that I decide, on the basis of principle, whether or not an act of the State is morally legitimate. If it isn’t, then I must decide whether or not it makes sense to oppose this act. Income taxes were originally prohibited by the constitution so the founders obviously had something against them. There are many arguments to be made about taxation in general, and income taxes specifically, which I do not intend to make here.

    Finally, on the subject of “initiation” and “preemption”: here I think you are extrapolating from a very limited conception of what I was suggesting. On a blog like this, one can’t recapitulate a philosophical dissertation on the meaning of “initiation,” or libertarian philosophy in general. However, this philosophy does not proscribe preemption. Partly this has to do with how one defines “force.” To point a gun at me is to use “force” even if you don’t pull the trigger. There are some very logical precepts under what one may call “just war theory” that clearly describe when preemption is legitimate –and our attack on Iraq, btw, did not meet this criteria. Certainly, under the law, the case for preemption would be a very very difficult case to make for an individual (the State of course exempts itself from legal or moral justification).

    What if the French had attacked the Germans in the Rhineland? They would have had their clocks cleaned that much earlier. All of these “preempting Hitler” hypotheticals ignore the political and military realities of the time. The French weren’t even unified after their country had been attacked and occupied by Germany. On what political basis could they have attacked Germany preemptively? It may have led to the destabilization of the existing government, a pro-Nazi replacement, and an invitation for German assistance in “stabilization.” This would have complicated the situation for the allies instead of improving it. A lot of this stuff about Chamberlain and appeasement is nothing more than attempt to justify or rationalize aggressison by linking it to a widely accepted moral cause.

  54. John Sabotta
    June 20th, 2005 @ 12:42 pm

    Ah, the ravers are finally aroused to defend their master! Mr. Hermesten puts down his glowstick and delivers a ringing repudiation of my slanderous and “emotional” remarks. Well, kinda.

    I am so naive and emotional for assuming that treating religion like “medical quackery and stock fraud” means to make it illegal. How reassuring to religious believers that they’d only have to put up with “a few high profile political prosecutions” How tolerant of you! You only want to use the power of the state to club people you dislike once in a while. (As for your idiot notion that nobody is ever prosecuted for quackery – ever wonder why all those Laetrile clinics were in Mexico? – the less said the better.)

    Get this straight, asshole. You have no right to dictate other people’s religious beliefs (or lack of them) with the armed power of the state (and all laws are ultimately enforced at gunpoint) just like that asshole judge has no right to dictate that kid’s religious education. Your whining defence that Mr. R. Atheist just meant to violate other people’s rights “just a little” makes no difference. Here’s a clue, you passive-aggressive little jerkoff; the state also has no right to “disfavor” or “discourage” either religion or atheism. Why is it that nobody in this country can ever manage to keep their nose out of other people’s business? Someone once put this down to a kind of Calvinism shared by atheists and believers alike; anything good must be made absolutelycompulsory and everything bad must be made absolutely forbidden. You and your loved/hated “fundamentalist” enemies (you must secretly love them, because what would you be without them? And vice versa, of course) really think exactly alike no matter how much you all posture and pretend otherwise.

    Anyway, if R. Atheist really didn’t literally mean that people should be proscecuted for religious belief as they are now for “stock fraud”, well, why doesn’t he say so himself? I’ll take his word for it. All he has to do is say that he was just indulging in “satiric licence”. Let’s wait and see if he backs you up on this, Mr. Hermesten!

    I won’t hold my breath waiting, though.

    (Those who actually believe in freedom are still invited to http://www.no-treason.com)

  55. simbol
    June 20th, 2005 @ 3:55 pm

    herm
    You are totally wrong about Rhineland. I found a very resumed (two sentences), description for leading you in doing your research:

    “In violation of the Locarno Pact and the Treaty of Versailles, Nazi Germany reoccupied the Rhineland on March 7, 1936. The occupation was done with very little military support and could easily have been stopped had it not been for the appeasement mentality of post-war Europe.” Wikipedia

    Had it been rejected, Hitler could have been ousted by the military or a least debilitated by the political blunder, because the military were strongly against this incursion, given the weak state, relatively, of the German Army which felt no prepared, at that moment, for a war with England-France (remember it was 1936). In fact Hitler sent only a battalion with orders of retreating quickly if the french acted. This was a trick of Hitler for testing the resolve of France and England. The success allowed Hitler a political victory, very cheap, clean the resistance in the German Military and, given the “appeasement” stance of France and England, deciding and taken Austria and checkoslovakia without firing a bullet. French and Englishmen didn’t wanted “initiate” a war but they had it in 1939 and in worst circumstances that in 1936. Churchill was crying loud and isolated.

    “On what political basis could they have attacked Germany preemptively?”

    the Reoccupation of Rhineland in violation of the Locarno Pact and the Treaty of Versailles.

  56. simbol
    June 20th, 2005 @ 6:00 pm

    Sabotta

    “Why is it that nobody in this country can ever manage to keep their nose out of other people’s business?”

    By the same reason you come to this blog.

    As you know, when one feel that is grasping the “true belief”, sense of duty and brotherhood compel us to spread the “true” even risking government intervention and even against the will of those in the wrong path.

    Unaware of that, you put your nose in this blog for telling us the “sacred true”, that is: government intervention is “bad”, tolerance and freedom is “good” and those that doesn’t accept this are infidels and sinners (you put it “assholes”, but those manners are not allowed among serious believers)

    In fact you have a lot of people in this blog that thinks exactly like you about government intervention. And that’s why I don’t understand you rough manners. Maybe you didn’t read the thread. Make your homework.

    I’m, maybe, the exception. I’m very skeptical about not intervention as a GENERAL rule and besides I believe that Quetzalcoatl is the true God and it is my duty to use government for the people to know and follow my God. Departing from a parochial view, and from a world perspective, one find that countries in Europe are very worried about Turkey entering European Union because this will open the door to muslim massive immigration. And why are they worried?: Islamism and its very different views about society, morals, government, laws. If it is Quetzalcoatl who were coming they wouldn’t be so worried. Can you imagine a USA with 50% of islamist and 50 Islamic senators? Yes? then think: Do this 50 senators wouldn’t put their noses in your libertarian ideas?. The answers is a strongly yes because according to their faith this is their duty. And what are you going to do? To call the other 50 senator for help?. Well, according to your view maybe not. But then again you will soon will be preaching towards the Mecca five times a day. And five wives. And a good store for selling Burkhas. Not problem with Quetzalcoatl, you only has to go once a year to Acapulco which has nice beachs.

    Having two oceans separating you from waves of islamists, allow you Americans to feel safe and to think on a neutral government in matters of religion. What if Mexico and Canada were Islamic? . East Europe is not so safe. Free countries like England, Holland and France are now putting government noses in the mosques because in the mosques some guys sometimes cook very unsavory dishes spiced with TNT. Those governments have not problem with Quetzalcoatl.

    SABBOTA: Is your duty to put your nose in these mater because they are serious, but previously you have to find the true faith. After that you must watch for the soul of RA and the rest of Americans. I Think there is hope RA will find the true faith, (not yours Sabbota because you are wrong). I will pray for the soul of both. Since miracles exist I expect some day in an enlightened morning you both will be united in working for saving the eternal souls of so many wrong atheist and libertarians and giving them to the true God: not Christ but Quetzalcoatl, !! the True and One!! And you both will know what happiness really is when you be sacrificed in the highest place of the great pyramid of Tenochtitlan.

  57. simbol
    June 20th, 2005 @ 6:57 pm

    Sabotta, I forgot:

    Really there are some slight contradiction between RA and some of his followers. But what is the point? All beliefs have their points of contention and these are tolerated as long as they don’t become heresy. In fact, libertarias have a lot of theological problems. See

    “A libertarian is a person who believes that no one has the right, under any circumstances, to initiate force against another human being, or to advocate or delegate its initiation”

    I can tell you there are some heretics who do not accept the “under any circumstance” part of the sentence (I allude the Quetzalcoatl-libetarians faction).

    Besides, you conveniently forgot that RA has not been granted “Infallibility”, although he has tried hard to pass it. I wil never vote to pass it unless Quetzalcoatl orders me to do so.

  58. hermesten
    June 21st, 2005 @ 10:38 am

    Sabotta, I went to your website, and I’m underwhelmed. It did tell me a lot about you though. Apparently you’re a graduate of the Ann Coulter school of ideologues. But then it’s a lot easier to yell and call people “funny” names than it is to actually construct an argument. It also explains why you posted here: you crave attention. Now, if you could just impress the six people who read your blog as much as you impress yourself.

    Sabotta: “I am so naive and emotional for assuming that treating religion like “medical quackery and stock fraud” means to make it illegal. ”

    I didn’t say you were naive, but I’ll accept your self-identification. And no, the reason I said you’re emotional is because of your overwrought prose, your invective, and your disproportinate and baseless accusations. You can’t hear what anyone else is saying because you never stop yelling. Your tone and your language are the tone and language of emotion, not reason.

    Sabotta: “Ah, the ravers are finally aroused to defend their master! ”

    If you didn’t love listening to yourself so much maybe you might take in a little of what’s going on around you. I wasn’t “defending” anyone, I was attacking you.

    Sabotta: “Mr. Hermesten puts down his glowstick and delivers a ringing repudiation of my slanderous and “emotional” remarks. Well, kinda.”

    Keep trying. You’re never going to be the next Ann Coulter if this is the best rock in your slingshot.

    Sabotta: “Anyway, if R. Atheist really didn’t literally mean that people should be proscecuted for religious belief as they are now for “stock fraud”, well, why doesn’t he say so himself?”

    He doesn’t have to. He assumes people who post here are smart enough to figure it out for themselves. If his comments were intended satirically (if, get it? I never said his comments were satirical, because I don’t know for sure. I merely said they could be interpreted that way.), what would be the point of spelling it out for the dolts who don’t get it? I realize you’re the product of a culture of lowest common denominator but you’ll still just have to adjust to the fact that most satire doesn’t end with the tagline, “just kidding,” and you have to figure it out for yourself. I know. I know, it’s sooooooo hard to figure this shit out when it’s not in black and white.

    I’ll take his word for it. All he has to do is say that he was just indulging in “satiric licence”. Let’s wait and see if he backs you up on this, Mr. Hermesten!”

    You don’t have to call me Mister, you can just call me Sir. Since you’re obviously clueless, I’ll spell it out for you: I don’t give a shit whether what he said was satirical or not, I wasn’t defending his comments, and I don’t need to be “backed up.” In fact, I’d rather he just left you hanging on the subject of what he intended by his remarks, since it obviously bothers you so much.

    I come here for the contact with other atheists –and to get away from the Bible Thumpers. Even “communists” — oh God oh God– post here. And even though my leanings are libertarian, I’d rather live among thoughtful, rational, and reasonable communits like Viole than a bunch of emotional loud-mouthed ass-clown ideologues like you –who, somewhat amusingly, seem to fancy yourself as some sort of “libertarian.”

    Sabotta: “I won’t hold my breath waiting, though.”

    Damn.

    But please don’t think you offended me with any of your puerile remarks. I enjoy watching a clueless motherfucker like you making a fool of himself.

  59. hermesten
    June 21st, 2005 @ 10:50 am

    Simbol, you’re wasting your time trying to reason with Sabotta-Clown, he can only hear his own voice. He’s here begging for attention, hence the advertisment for his “blog.” Take a look at it and decide for yourself –it’s low calorie, absolutely content free.

    I may be wrong about the Rhineland, but since it’s all hypothetical, we’ll never know. Maybe Hitler would have been assisinated. On the other hand, he survived numerous attempts to kill him. A French attack, if successful, may have only provoked the German people, and the German Army, to recover their lost pride. Frankly, even with great opposition to Hitler in the military, I can’t see the German army going back to Germany with it’s tail between it’s legs. But when I questioned the basis for a French attack, I wasn’t talking about the “legal” or “moral” basis, I was talking about internal political support in France. There were many fascist supporters in the French aristocracy, and I don’t think the French people were particularly anxious to put Germany in it’s place. When the war started I think there were even French officers being trained in Germany. The army may have refused orders to attack the Germans, and then where would they be?

  60. Blap
    June 21st, 2005 @ 1:32 pm

    Boy, am I ever glad I asked not to be flamed to badly! Mr. Sabotta only lightly raked me over his coals. I’m merely an “idiot” for, apparently, using the word “libertarian” without hawking his blog.

    Mr. Sabotta, please go back and read your own post (#47), then go back to mine (#46), and explain to us how anything I said justifies anything you said about me. (I’ve just done this, and I don’t see it…but then, I _am_ an idiot!) On second thought, Mr. S., don’t bother. Just read on, please.

    I’m really not interested in sowing dissent. I’d like to see us build some unity. The back-and-forth wars going on here are exactly what I mean when I talk about the “small-percentage” differences between us. As long as we keep squabbling over “the shoe” vs. “the gourd” (see Monty Python’s “Life of Brian”), we’re never going to be an effective political force. We need to be a force capable of wresting some degree of political influence away from the Democrats and Republicans. If we don’t, our rights will continue to be eroded. The Democrats will do it by a) taxing us into Socialism and b) passing laws intended to protect us “for our own good.” The Republicans will do it by a) passing laws intended to make us obey _their_ religious beliefs, and b) appointing judges like the one that started this discussion in the first place.

    To Mr. Sabotta, and everyone else, I’d like to go on record as saying that I’m no more in favor of government-mandated atheism than I would be in favor of government-mandated Christianity, Taoism, Paganism, or even, (Shiva help us) Quetzalcoatl-ism. I simply believe that the government should limit itself to a strict interpretation of the Constitution. Is that at odds with Libertarianism?

    And finally, to my fellow atheists on this site, let me say this: Don’t be too quick to persecute the religious. Resist their efforts to proselytize you, yes. Fight their attempts to have their views passed into law, certainly. Stand firm in your atheist beliefs against all pressures, absolutely. But allow them the freedom of their beliefs, as long as they don’t try to force them upon you. This has always been the hallmark of my atheism: I don’t have to convert anyone to my beliefs. If I’m right and they’re wrong, so what? I just try to keep them out of my life, and let them go on believing whatever they want. In fact, for many people, their religion gives them a reason to behave morally. So “let the baby have his bottle.” But continue to fight against government-mandated religion. That’s what I think the point of this entire thread is.

  61. hermesten
    June 21st, 2005 @ 3:27 pm

    “I’m really not interested in sowing dissent. I’d like to see us build some unity.”

    This is an aspect of my primary reference point for calling Sabotta an idiot, an opinion only reinforced by looking at his silly blog. This guy is an ideologue advocating an ideology of one, and he is uttery incapble of nuance. You’re either with him or against him. You either think like he does or you’re a “Stalinist.”

    He’s also a one-man band that only knows one song. Bible Beater Bob Enyart can hardly utter two sentences in a row without the word “homosexual –for Sabotta the word is “communism.” Fuck, look at this guy’s web site: he’s still talking about Bill Clinton for Christ’s sake.

    His self-styled dogmatic libertarianism and anti-hereitical rage against those with “incorrect” political views is a dead-end for anyone even slightly interested in change. Libertarians are a small minority. Libertarian philosophy is more misunderstood than Darwin’s theory of natural selection. Libertarians are not going to change anything by themselves. For any progress to occur they must form alliances, and now that the fascists are in ascendancy on the right, our natural partners are on the left. You can’t make an alliance with people you hold in contempt, and this leaves the people like Sabotta with himself and the five or six dimitted acolytes who read his puerile rants.

    This is pure stupidity, in both the philosophical and the practical sense.

  62. simbol
    June 21st, 2005 @ 5:57 pm

    Blap

    If you sow dissent and it flourish it’s because the soil is favorable. So, don’t worry. For my part I like dissent, otherwise the world would be very boring.
    It seems to be you think that atheism can be a rallying point beyond matters of religion. I’m very sorry to tell you that maybe that is an illusion. It seems to be that you don’t like socialism. Well, let me tell you there are a lot of atheist who adores socialism: the Marxists. There are a lot of people who likes authoritarianism, and they are atheist, let me name 3: Kim-jon-Il, Fidel Castro, Hu-Jintao (president of China). On the other extreme of the political spectrum you find anarchists and libertarians who are atheist. So atheist are present a each point of the lines of economic and political thinking. Even in the scientific field you find believers and atheists. Would you be surprised if I tell you that John Paul II was antiauthoritarian and leaned towards the left in economics, while christian Pinochet was authoritharian and leaned towards the right in economics?.Even in morals atheist can coincide in abortion, divorce, terminally ill euthanasia and stem cells, but I’m not sure they coincide in some points like homosexuality, death penalty and guns. You know, atheists also can be conservatives in some controversial issues.
    .

  63. Blap
    June 25th, 2005 @ 1:30 pm

    Simbol,

    I can see how my remarks could be interpreted as a wish to use atheism as a rallying point. I know this isn’t realistic. What I do think could be a rallying point is the notion of less government. Yes I am anti-Socialist, because Socialism is, by definition or by execution, big-government. I was a Reagan Republican in 1980, but as I’ve matured politically I’ve come to the conclusion that “that government is best which governs least.” Hardly an original thought, but nonetheless true.

    One of the big problems with Socialism is the same problem that plagues the current incarnations of the two predominant political parties: WHO DECIDES? In each party, or in each system, there is a set of priorities for which the government, controlled by whichever party is in power, allocates its resources. The problem is, we (as a nation) don’t all agree on those priorities. I suppose that’s why there are different parties in the first place–fair enough. But the two parties that share power in the U.S. are growing closer together with every election. There is no major party that is a credible advocate for less government.

    The constitution lays out these reasons for the existence of U.S. government: 1. Form a more perfect union. (I don’t think there’s a serious danger of disunion these days, but if any of you wish to break away, let me know.) 2. Establish justice. (We’re losing ground on this one. When’s the last time we saw justice done? More often, the rich or influential are acquitted, and the poor and middle-class take their chances.) 3. Ensure domestic tranquility. (If that means that we’re all to follow like sheep, we’ve got it! However, I don’t think that’s what it’s supposed to mean. I think domestic tranquility means we all “live and let live,” but how close are we to that?) 4. Provide for the common defense. (We’ve got tons of defense, but how much of it is truly defensive? More frequently, the armed forces exist to further the hegemonic desires of whichever party is in the White House. Of course, those party distinctions are blurring [see previous paragraph]). 5. Promote the general welfare. (Here’s where we start spending the real money! Who decides what is in the interest of the “general welfare?”) and 6. Secure the blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our posterity. (The Indiana judge who started this thread should be sufficient example that we’re losing those blessings.)

    These six reasons for the existence of the government could serve as planks in a party platform. I believe there are plenty of people in the U.S. who would support such a party, but at the moment, those people are scattered among a half-dozen or more minor political parties. If we could find a way to unite those forces, we could build a party that would help get the American government back to something we could all live with. If we don’t unite, the Reps and Dems are going to combine to turn this country into one that will be indistinguishable from the societies you mentioned (North Korea, Cuba, China).

    I’m a pessimist at heart. I believe that the natural inclination of any one person is to be free (that is, to be left alone). But the pessimist in me believes that the natural inclination of any large group of people (government) is toward totalitarianism. I think the men who wrote the Constitution recognized this, and tried to craft a document that would thwart this tendency. However, that document has been marginalized, ignored, or scoffed at more and more by the two major political parties, to the point that one could, if one were honest, list the ways in which nearly every protection in the Bill of Rights has been subverted (see anti-drug and anti-terrorism laws). But that’s a topic for another post. Thanks for bearing with me this long.

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