January 7, 2004
Guess what everyone, I am still alive, for better or worse. No, I haven't been sick, nor on vacation. I've been to work everyday (except Christmas and Sundays). And though I've been insanely busy the last couple days, the truth is, I just haven't felt like writing anything.But I finally read something here in the NY Times that interested me. It's a commentary on how religion has basically polarized the US and will be a major factor in the 2004 presidential election. The Republicans will cry out that they have morals (I'm one of these guys), while the Democrats will say that we live in a secular country where God has no place in politics.I did find interesting, and true, the link between religion and wars. You'd think (well, at least I would) that mainstream religions would promote peace throughout their societies, but it seems clear that many, many wars have been fought over religious conflict. How ironic. And while I doubt there will be any real bullets flying come November 2, I'm sure there's gonna be a lot of sharp words tossed around. I personally feel God has a place in the governing of this nation. Some of you disagree with me, and that's ok. I certainly don't mean to imply the country should become a theocracy, but that certain morals are upheld while being secular. And no, I'm not contradicting myself. It's against the law to kill (which I don't think is disputed by anyone), but that's really a moral. We all follow morals, just different levels, and God-fearing people tend to have a higher baseline. The fact is, I believe this nation was founded with divine intervention and the more we keep God out of things, the more trouble the country is going to be in (some would say "liberated"). Somehow this turned into a rant, which wasn't my intention, but oh well.
Posted by charr at 10:10 AM
There are already sharp words being tossed around and we’re little less than a year away. It’s only going to get worse from here. As for bullets flying, I don't know. Dean looks like he could snap at any moment. Oh wait. He’s a democrat; he probably doesn’t own a gun. ;) See? Not even November and I'm already at it.I have to disagree slightly with one thing: I don't think that God-fearing people tend to be more moral than others. I think that God-fearing people tend to be better at pretending to be more moral than others. That's an important distinction. (I’m slightly uncomfortable with the term 'God-fearing,' so I'm switching to 'religious.') People are people whether they are religious or not. Just because someone isn't religious doesn't mean that they don't understand the difference between right and wrong. And it certainly doesn't mean that they are incapable of making decisions based on that understanding. Even politician-type people.I too think that this nation was founded through divine intervention, but I don't think that means we need to bring religion into every political discussion and decision. It may make political discussion more interesting, but always including religion into something as dark and as sordid as politics only cheapens and degrades religion. I’d rather they stay apart, with some exception.In addition to "liberated" we can also say "liberal."
What do you 2 mean by "divine intervention" helping create America? Just that the founders trusted in God, or something more? Is this an LDS belief?
Divine intervention in the creation of the US? It means that God had a hand in it. The idea of divine help in the creation of the US is a distinctly LDS belief. At least, I'm not aware of any other religion believing in it.
I agree that religious is probably better than God-fearing, and communicates what I was trying to say. However I don't totally agree that because someone isn't religious they're incapable of distinguishing right and wrong. The problem comes between levels of right and wrong. Some people (and the religious majority) say abortion is wrong. Many Democrats and liberals (who generally aren't very religious), don't see abortion as wrong. I would say the same goes for gay marriage, to an extent. These are generalizations, but I believe them to be accurate based purely on majority views. Also, I agree that religion shouldn't be brought into everything. That would eerily approach a theocracy. What I was trying to say is that much of social politics (like abortion, gay marriage, etc) are guided by morals (at some level), and morals (like abortion, gay marriage, etc) are often initially defined by one's religion.Ellen,
As Jan said, as stated in the Book of Mormon, and interpreted in certain parts of the Bible, men (and of course women) were divinely guided to America in the ancient days. We also believe that the founders of the constitution were divinely guided.
Here is a column by Ann Coulter about the Democrats' newfound religion. Funny.
Nice. She's probably right when she says we shouldn't get mixed up in all the "hocus-pocus" part of Christianity. ;)
I believe we've discussed this 'morality' thing before, Cameron. I agree with Jan; morality is not necessarily religious in nature, and non-religious people are just as capable of morality as religious people. Morals are community-accepted rules of right and wrong behavior, and we're all part of many communities. The only difference between religious people and non-religious people when it comes to morality is that religious people believe that their particular moral beliefs come from God. This doesn't make them any better at following them, though.The fact is that, although God defines our moral system, it is true and therefore defensible by arguments other than divine authority. Arguing divine authority with someone who doesn't believe in God, or has a different conception of Him, is not very effective. By keeping God out of political debate while arguing for His principles, you stand a much better chance of convincing non-religious or differently-religious people. And, for better or worse, there are a lot of those people around.Bringing people to God happens through spiritual conversion, not political debate. If you bring them into the community of Saints, then you can discuss the moral authorship of God. :)
I'm going to stay out of the religious/non-religious morals debate, but I would like to add that LDS people aren't the only ones who believe that the nation was founded through divine intervention. As much as revisionist history would like us to believe that the founders of the nation were not religious men, all you have to do to see that is walk through the monuments and memorials here in DC. My particular favorite is the Thomas Jefferson Memorial. Around the top of the room is inscribed, "I have sworn upon the altar of God eternal hostility against every form of tyranny over the mind of man."
Then, there are four inscriptions on the walls, quoting passages from the Declaration of Independence. I'd quote them all directly, but for some reason I can't find them anywhere on the Internet. Regardless, they all have something to do with inspiration from God, divine guidance, and the like. And this memorial was built in the late 1930's - people at that time understood and believed in the divine inspiration that led to the founding of this nation. It was only when the 60's rolled around that the liberals tried to misinterpret the whole separation of church and state issue, thus leading to the majority misunderstanding the intentions of the founding fathers. It was never meant to segregate the state from all religious morals, beliefs, or interpretation. Rather, it was to keep the state from interfering in the church, much in the way that England was operating at the time. It was never meant to keep religion out of politics, and that is painfully evident to anyone who has really studied true American history.
I certainly have brought this up before, and if I remember, there wasn't much agreement on things. That's why I said some wouldn't agree with me. However, I'm thinking that I'm not expressing very well what I want to say, because I agree with a lot of the comments that have been said.I'm not at all saying we should make political decisions become religious ones. What I am saying is that there are a lot of morals out there, at varying levels, that influence politics, like it or not. I'm not saying non-religious people don't have morals. I'm still steadfast in my belief that religious people tend to have what I would call higher morals. This is a bit of a tangent, because, as Levi mentioned, people who could care less about God don't see certain things as necessarily a moral issue. However, based on the fact that a moral issue basically means a right/wrong issue, I'd say these are still moral issues, but some don't consider them wrong. Such as abortion. From pure trends and statistics, Democrats are generally less religious and more accepting of abortion, gay marriage, and other issues that are very moral to many religious Republicans. And, since morals play a significant part politics, I'd prefer to have someone with similar morals that I do. The relationship to religion is that people with similar morals tend to be religious and Republicsn
I agree with Heather about the founding fathers. But is there another religion that *currently* believes the US was founded via divine intervention?
I find it absurd to hear you generalize Republicans as moral and Dems as lacking morals. You only cite two examples of morality, and to me, these are hardly moral issues with any relevance to society. Let me explain.Regarding abortion, I don't know ANYONE who thinks it's a good idea -- I think most people consider it a necessary evil in a world where women are victims of rape, date rape, incest, brutal, selfish husbands/boyfriends/uncles, etc. -- in other words, sex isn't always a choice for women, yet the "moral" right would have you believe that this always boils down to a poor decision on the part of an immoral woman (funny how men NEVER seem to enter the picture here). And funny too how more often than not it's a man that wants the abortion, is willing to pay for it, etc., to cover his mistakes or not take responsibility for his part of the mess. No, bottom line is, abortion is here to stay, like it or not, and I can guarantee you that NO REPUBLICAN, regardless of how "moral" or hard core, will ever outlaw the practice. Therefore it is a moot point to even mention it, because it's nothing more than a political football. But that aside, there seems to be a mindset fomenting among the "moral" right that this issue is really about punishing the evil women who are getting pregnant and wanting to have abortions as some form of escape from responsibility (I suspect that is the minority of cases). But who is getting punished, the woman, or the baby?In a republican world, NO NEW TAXES, tax cuts for the wealthy, cuts in social spending, etc. leave no room for the consequences of outlawing abortion. What happens for example to all the black, single teens seeking abortion? If you force them to carry the baby to term, who is going to pay her medical bills? Who is going to pay her rent? Her groceries and vitamins and doctor visits? Who's going to feed, clothe, and educate her baby when it's born? This aspect the white-bread republican dimwits never bother to consider. Those WASPS certainly have no intention of adopting black babies, especially if the mother was a crack-addict and the dad is in jail for homicide. How the hell can you call such self-rightous, holier-than-thou, selfish white republican people MORAL? That's a sick joke if you ask me.Regarding gays, like it or not, they exist. God apparently put them here along with heterosexuals. For what, to throw rocks at? To marginalize and make them feel horrible about themselves? How MORAL is that kind of sick, self-rightous thinking? Maybe instead they are here for the rest of us to learn tolerance and compassion. It's a tragic fact that suicide is rampant in the gay population. A great many gays HATE being different, wish it were otherwise, but feel helpless to be any other way. You act as if it's merely a choice; for many perhaps it is, but for some that has been proven FALSE -- they struggle with gay feelings from birth, Proclimation on the Family notwithstanding.Let's talk about environmental stewardship -- that's a moral issue that affects all of us, yet the republican party is CALLOUSLY INDIFFERENT to environmental issues -- they always bow out to corporate interests, the bottom $ line. That's not just sick and wrong, it's IMMORAL.Let's talk about guns. Trusting in the arm of flesh. President Kimball's pleas are long forgotten in the NRA capital of the West -- Utah is drowning in people who masturbate with their guns in bed at night ("from my cold dead hands!" they shriek, gnashing their teeth). They equate the 2nd Amendment with scripture. That's not just sick and wrong, that's also IMMORAL.Let's talk about corporate greed run amok. Anything that helps execs get fatter with their gluttonous greed on the backs of the average worker, commodotized and marginalized and laid off when times are tight so the executive fat cats don't have to cancel their Hawaiian vacations and cut their million dollar bonuses is not only sick and wrong, it's IMMORAL.I could go on... y'all are barking up the WRONG tree here. Get a clue.
Kris, I'm sorry you had to make this such a nasty, vindictive, and personal attack. It wasn't before. I think you completely misunderstood what Cameron was going for here. He wasn't saying that Democrats were at all immoral, he was just saying that we have - judging by the statistics - *different* moral values. We place higher priority on *different* things. He never once said that Democrats were evil or wrong or nasty or out to get us. All he said was we were different.
I also think you're misinformed on Republican issues. I'm neither Democrat or Republican, so please take this as someone from the middle of the road who likes neither party in its entirety.
I have only heard your views on abortion substantiated by one Republican in my entire life. And I know for a fact that person was off their rocker. Let's put abortion in perspective - in the majority of states in this country, a person can be charged for capital murder when they kill a pregnant woman who is more than 22 weeks into her pregnancy. And yet, the majority of Democrats are pushing for even late-term abortions. If, according to the justice system, it is murder to kill an unborn baby only 22 weeks along, why should it be any different electively? That is a double-standard.
I'm white. I also know that I might have problems having children. I promise, I would have no problems adopting an African American child, even if it came from a mother on crack, as you said. I have never once in my opinion of opposing blanket rights to abortion said that this is a punishment for the woman. No, and I never will. I have known several rape victims, be it an overpowering boyfriend, incest, or just a violent stranger. I would never wish that upon them or anyone, and I would never punish them for it. I am all for the right to abortion in such cases. However, I believe abortion as a whole should be conditional, as do the majority of Republicans. In the case of a violent sexual crime where pregnancy resulted, or in cases of abuse, or even when the mother's life is expressly in danger, I am all for an abortion. Because that is when I believe it to be necessary.
I once got into a debate on this with a very liberal democrat who believed that it was also okay to abort a baby if the doctors believed it would be handicapped. That is placing too much faith in an imperfect science. If that were legal, I would not be alive today. My Mother was told by her doctor that it was unlikely I'd be born alive, and if I was, I'd only last a few months. Supposedly, I was handicapped in all sorts of ways. I was supposedly severely mentally retarded. He pressured her to abort me to such a point that my Father had to have the hospital commander reassign my Mom to another doctor. And yet, I came out alive, and without a single handicap. The same situation happened to my brother Tim - not only was he not handicapped or mentally retarded, he is the exact opposite: he aced his SATs, ACTs, and MCATs. He's a certifiable genius. So, because of the fact that half of my family would never have been born, I am opposed to aborting babies who are supposedly "at risk." That is playing God without even a fraction of the knowledge of deity.
As far as I know, the majority of Republicans agree with me. Conditional abortions, when absolutely necessary, are not only alright but important. But to blanketly and completely allow all forms of abortion, no matter how late into the pregnancy, violates not only established laws, but places less responsibilty on the couple having sex. Apart from the cases where pregnancy was forced upon a woman, to just choose to have an abortion - in my opinion - is irresponsible. Furthermore, over half of the time a young teenager like the one you referenced has an abortion, they are not fully informed of what all an abortion entails. It cuts their fertility expectancy in half. It's painful and takes months to recover. Psychologically, it's one of the most damaging things a woman can do to herself, especially when the reason is not a grave one. I have spent over six years counseling and mentoring children and teenagers, several of whom have had to decide whether or not to have an abortion, be it from choosing to have sex, or being raped. It is never easy. Honestly, it is my opinion that in all applicable cases, adoption should always come before abortion. Abortion won't save you any embarrassment, there will still be outward signs of it. But just to save your face, you are murdering a child. An innocent child. You talk about punishment, and you asked, who is getting punished? When it is a matter of someone making the conscious decision to have sex, knowing full well the likelihood of becoming pregnant, and then deciding to kill their baby to save themselves the hassle: that is murder. That is callous, insensitive, cold, calculated murder. And there is no reason for it when so many people want to have children and cannot. They would adopt that African-American child, as would I.
I also agree with most Republicans regarding Gay Marriage. Gay Marriage isn't just about granting gays the right to acknowledging their union, and that's something not many Democrats will answer for. Republicans bring this up time and time again, and yet it is always thrown back in their face, simply labeled as Republicans being "insensitive." Do you have any idea the economic repercussions alone of forcing military and civlian employers to recognize a new wave of spouses? It would be disasterous. Granting gay people marriage also gives them unquestionable rights to adoption. Have you spent any time studying the psychological effects on a child raised in a same-sex household? It is undeniably damaging and this has been proven time and time again.
Furthermore, the "proof" you mentioned regarding whether or not people are born hetero or homo is easily questionable under psychological and scientific scrutiny. It is simply a massively propagated rumor that it has been proven at all. The studies that have produced this "proof" set out to do just that and did so under questionable circumstances. That's an improper approach to a scientific study and thus nullifies any of their findings or "proof." Personally, I think it is a choice, although sometimes an subconscious one concurrent to outside influences. For instance, did you know that somewhere in the range of 70%-80% of gay men in one open psychological study acknowledged that they had horrible relationships with overbearing mothers? Interesting, isn't it?
I have several close friends who are gay or lesbian. I don't want to exclude them, but for the sake of the children for one thing, I would never want to grant them full rights to marriage and everything that entails. Everything I've heard gays requesting for gay marriage can be answered adequately by establishing some kind of civil commitment ceremony. Which, interestingly enough, they already have the rights to do. I might respect their requests more if they'd openly explain everything they want when they say they're for "gay marriage." Look at the big picture, acknowledge it, and stop spreading rumors: that's what I want from someone before I will respect their opinion. It has to be well-founded.
Let's not talk about guns because everything you said was just a hateful insult, and not a real debateable issue. If you want to talk about gun safety, don't forget that fact that none of the gun accidents in the home reported have been in the homes of educated NRA members. If you want to attack the NRA, get your facts straight first and don't blame them for the stupidity and lack of responsibility of others. And by all means, there's no reason to bring in your own perversions of sex into this debate; it has no reference in this discussion whatsoever.
We weren't barking, but I think you were. I don't think Cameron said a single insulting thing, and that was certainly never my intention. But it seems that's what yours was. I'm sorry you had to get so angry about it and thus force your harsh language and expression on us.
Hehe, sorry, didn't realize that got *so* long!
Kris, Heather knows what she's talking about. The fact is, I was basing my writing not just on personal observation, but on the editorial in the NY Times, which is written by someone who is most likely a Democrat. Even he admits that the right tends to be more religious, and it only takes a few minutes in politics to see that the left tends to be in favor of liberal abortion rights, gay marriage, and other agenda which happen to be against the teachings of the Bible. Now, I'm not saying everyone should judge everything by Christian law, because not everyone is Christian. However, those ideals are often used as a moral metric by much of the world, since they are shared amongst Judaism and Islam. Also, you contradict yourself in speaking about abortion. You defend abortion in the case of emergencies, rape, etc. Pretty much every law I know of that regards abortion, allows for these extreme conditions. You say cases where someone is just trying to take care of their irresponsibility are a minority, as if they are in the wrong. But you then proceed to defend those people, specifically African American teenagers (I could also say that it is prevalent among other races) who managed to get pregnant. That is largely due to irresponsibility and lack of self-control, yet you defend abortion. I agree with Heather that the first option should be adoption.As for guns, I have no idea whatsoever what is going through your mind.
Well, I can see where Kris is coming from, but I think Heather's got a much more balanced view of things. If you want the truth, look between the extremes. I do think Cameron implied a moral superiority in the phrasing of his blog entry, though, and that's just asking for someone to take offense.After reading the article more carefully, I don't see much relation between it and Cameron's musings. The article does indeed talk about the polarizing nature of religion, but does more to criticize the morals of religious Republicans than praise them. Not that the Democrats are exempt from criticism; they get blasted for pretending to be religious just to win votes. The article has little to do with morality and much to do with religion being trivialized and played as another card in the political game. This is why I dislike such open combination of religion and politics.God certainly does have a place in government. In a democratic republic such as ours, that place should be in the hearts of the people, not in the speeches of politicians. God should truly be the author of our morals, and not just a bargaining chip. Religion should not be the issue; true religion isn't a name or a profession, it's the way you act.
For anyone else who would like to generalize that abortions are due to forced sex, I'll defer to a Planned Parenthood study from 1990 (which I referenced in a college paper long before I was surfing the net so I don't know where it's at online) that stated 96% of abortions were requested for "convenience". Rape/Incest were less than 2%. Sadly, I have a few friends who've had abortions. Without exception, they were all a form of birth control for them. You see, they didn't use contraception. So no, abortion is not considered evil in many eyes. It's convenient. In the case of one of my former co-workers, it was convenient not once, not twice, but THREE times. Also, for anyone who would like to defend any behavior with the proclaimation of being born that way, then you better be prepared to accept any and all behavior that anyone feels compelled to do. The bottom line is that some people are really into instant gratifications and God/Mother Nature/Supreme Being/Alien leader help us all if anyone else dares to point out that there are future repercussions to certain behaviors and actions today.
First off, I apologize for coming across to any of you as "nasty, vindictive, and personal". Passionate yes, frustrated and fed up with a generalized smug republican mindset, yes. But vindictive? How so, and against whom? If it's personal, all I can say to that is, if the shoe fits...I am pleased to hear that Heather has taken a middle of the road approach in her views and attitudes, especially regarding her willingness to adopt black children. But I think she is grossly naive to believe that even a significant number of white americans would ever consider such a thing, much less a majority. I wish I were wrong.Don't get me wrong -- I HATE abortion. The thought of late term abortion is barbaric to me. I believe, perhaps in pure ignorance, that such a thing is rarely practiced anymore -- the much touted "partial birth abortion" procedure represents a miniscule number of cases (another football really). One has to wonder about the emotional and moral stability of a woman who would choose to do such a thing to a fully developed fetus (is the baby safe being born into such a barbaric family?). My point was rather that the religious right, which seems to be gaining power in the republican ranks, has been pushing to outlaw ALL abortions, with only a few grudging execptions if any. Who will be the judge to decide which are "valid" and which aren't?As to homosexuality (I'm personally straighter than straight by the way), I'm just pointing out that the more I know about the subject, the more convinced I am that, for many (not all), their feelings are not a simple matter of choice. Sorry Heather, you need to get YOUR facts straight -- this is NOT merely some "massively propogated rumor" as you so conveniently call it. And they aren't ALL simply victims of abuse or pornographic indulgence (though I understand that many, perhaps most, women enter lesbian relationships as a way to flee abusive, traumatic relationships with the men in their lives). I have a cousin who was married to an abusive man for a time. Her father was also abusive. She's been in a monogamous relationship with another woman now for 30+ years. She now enjoys intimacy and trust and harmony with another human. I can't bring myself to condemn her for wanting/needing that. I suspect God will also take these things into account come judgement day (I'm sure glad it's not up to me or any of you to judge her).Consider human sexuality in general for a moment. Among heterosexuals alone, you have a vast spectrum of sexual needs and behavior -- from those who are "oversexed", and cannot seem to ever be satisified, to those of us with "average" libidos, to those that are totally abivalent to the idea of a sexual encounter, with everything inbetween. The same seems to be true for those who only have attraction for the same gender, with some men in particual that go through thousands of sexual partners a year, to others who pretty much happily live a life of celibacy, finding greater friendship/companionship among their own gender. And you also have everything else inbetween those extremes, not to mention bisexuality, etc. Such a vast spectrum produces enormous variety, one that makes it impossible to lump everyone into one category or another. If you choose to belive that everyone is born straight and then gets corrupted along the way somehow (I'm sure that's true for SOME people), you are free to do so, but by so doing will be ignoring the overwhelming evidence to the contrary. This isn't just some left-wing liberal agenda (such an easy label to pull out of thin air and assign to everything we find distasteful and contrary to our world view!) -- this is the conclusion drawn by a great deal of mainstream scientific inquiry in virtually every scientific discipline. Nothing is perfect in this life. None of you would argue that babies are born physically deformed sometimes. Why would you then not be willing to accept the same thought regarding sexuality, or behavior, or mental capacity, etc? I have a friend whose husband is an EMT. He once assisted in emergency surgery on a "man", only to open him up and find a uterus and set of ovaries inside! It turns out that there is a surprisingly large number of babies born every year whose physical sexuality is ambiguous -- neither the parents nor the doctors can tell what gender they are supposed to be. There are some interesting psycological studies that have been done on the trauma suffered by such individuals when the well-meaning doctors decided for them (and altered them physically according to that choice). Why would a God who assigns gender to each of His children in the pre-existance pull such a nasty trick on some of them? I confess I don't have the answer to that one. Same goes for my lesbian friend that told me she has been attracted to women for as long as she can remember. Same goes for the young returned missionary who sought help from my brother, a bishop in a BYU singles Ward. He came to him and said "Bishop, I need help. I've been a faithful member all my life. I've served an honorable mission. I love the Lord. I've faithfully lived and served. I've kept the commandments. But I cannot feel any attraction for women. And I cannot bring myself to not feel attracted to other men. I hate feeling this way. What can I do?". We have a choice. We can wave them all off as damnable liars, and pretend our world view is untouchably correct, and that they hide some dirty little secret they aren't willing to share. Or we can attempt to consider the world from their perspective, and find in ourselves some measure of sympathy and compassion... Renee, I'm not talking about instant gratification here. I'm talking about something so fundamentally part of our humanity that it's difficult to simply dismiss it with a wave of a self-rightous hand. It's easy for those who live in a healthy, stable marriage, who are able to have sexual fulfillment whenever they please, to pass judgement on those unfortunate enough to not fall into God's plan of happiness. "You get to spend the rest of your life in celibacy, or you are forever damned to hell!" -- that's it. That's your choice. How would ANY of you like to be told such a thing? How many of you would (honestly now!) be able to bear such a burden? I'm just glad I don't...All that said, I am the first to agree that "marriage" (which I never brought into the discussion by the way, Heather just assumed it) which implies all rights to adopt, is not what I'm after either. Adoption isn't about gay rights, it's about CHILDREN'S rights, and I strongly feel that children have the right to a father AND a mother. But back to my cousin. Why shouldn't her lifelong partner be able to recieve the same tax and inheritance and social security benefits as if that partner were a male? Current laws do not allow such benefits, and I find that wrong. There need to be concessions. Heather claims proof that children growing up in same-sex households are "undeniably damaged". Are you sure, or is that just part of your belief system and therefor an assumed fact? Let me ask you this... Is a child better off being raised in a home where there is love and nurture and support, money to attend good schools and other such opportunities, or to grow up languishing in some orphanage without any parents, or to grow up on the street, or to a single parent in dire poverty, etc.? While in an ideal world, where children have both a mom and a dad, perhaps such adoptions ARE a better alternative to nothing. I confess I don't know -- do you? But I'm at least willing to entertain the possibility.Apologies also for obviously offending some of you with my masturbation metaphor; I honestly cannot find a better way to explain the morbid, sick fasciantion/love affair so many people have with guns, and how delirious they become when anyone dare suggest we implement any kind of rational gun control. We require every citizen who operates a motorized vehicle to pass a competency driving test and obtain a license. Yet any yahoo with a few hundred bucks in his pocket can walk into a gun show or Van Wagonens in Provo and walk out with a deadly firearm in his pocket. That's just pure insanity to me. This nation is drowning in gun violence, and the NRA's six-gun wild west mentality approach to "keeping us safe with ubiquitous guns" is equally outrageous.The 2nd Amendment was written for another day and another time and other circumstances. We no longer live on the wild frontier. We no longer have hostile Indians, Brits and French attacking the colonies. We now have the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard, National Guard, border patrol, local police, sheriff, SWAT, FBI, CIA, ATF, NSA, "Homeland Security", etc. etc. (as if that weren't enough) to keep us from harm. How many prophets can you name that have told the members of the church to arm themselves and keep a supply of ammo in their year's supply? Zero is the answer in case any of you were wondering. The tiresome mantra of the NRA, "Guns are our RIGHT!!!" is not only outdated, it's downright dangerous and immoral. Acutally, the 2nd amendment never even mentions the word gun. It simply says the right to bear arms. What does that mean? Hunting rifle, or bazooka? Automatic assault rifle, or saturday night special? Abrams tank, or flame thrower, or missile launcher? What was intended by the founding fathers, before we built this vast arsenal of WMD's? I certianly can't imagine, in my wildest dreams, that they pictured the mindset of today's NRA. Ask president Hinckley if he packs a gun at home for safety. Poor Mr. Brady, who took a bullet in the head for Pres. Reagan, has become a voice of reason, but a figure of ridicule among the NRA. How moral is that Heather? How moral is our wonderful republican VP Dick Cheney, who, along with the NRA, strongly opposed the ban of high-tech plastic handguns, undetectable at airport security checks, for God-knows whatever reason, other than it smacked of those two, four-letter NRA words "gun control"? The NRA is out of control Heather, and I have done my homework. They are the source of more lying propoganda and skewed "facts" and statistics than any group I know (as Mark Twain so aptly put it, "There are lies, damn lies, and then there are statistics"). Go the video store sometime and rent "Bowling for Columbine". It's good food for thought on the subject.And gosh, I haven't even begun on the most significant topic of all -- that of our warmongering, murderous, lying evil president Bush! That's a whole other topic. Any of you think this man is moral? His immorality makes President Clinton look like an Eagle Scout for crying out loud (how does murder to get gain rank with sexual impurity?) Did any of you watch 60-minutes Sunday night? Anyway, I'll save my keystrokes on that vast topic for another time...I certainly don't agree with the extreme left any more than I agree with the extreme right. I'm actually not even a registered democrat (I call myself an independent), but my point in spouting off in the first place was simply to vent my frustration with the prevalent mindset that Republicans are more moral than Dems -- or as one of you pointed out, allegedly focused on "more important" morals than Dems -- and the mindless practice of voting along straight party lines (especially in Utah) is not only acceptable, but desireable. I simply have not found that to be the case (just ask Pres. Faust).
Kris, your input is welcome as long as the tone is professional. Your previous post did come across a little vindictive (saying things like "get a clue" don't help).At any rate everything is quite debatable. Just as you try to use some defense in the LDS church, I too can try that by saying that the LDS church is against abortion except in extreme conditions (as are the majority of Republicans I think). Also, the LDS church believes in the Bible which condemns homosexuality, irregardless of modern justifications. I won't deny that some people may face a difficult struggle with same-sex attraction, but actively engaging in gay/lesbian activities is clearly against the LDS Church's doctrine, and all scripture that I'm familiar with. Everyone has problems to fight, but succumbing to those problems saying that's just the way you are is wrong in my opinion. Also, I'm curious; would you prefer that Saddam go on with hundreds of thousands of rapes, tortures and murders, rather than have a thousand or two war-related casualtiess to establish a stable democracy? Would you call the Founding Fathers of the US murderers for going to war with Britain in order to gain independence?And I'm not sure where you got "more important" morals from. I was just saying that moral, which is generally defined as right vs. wrong, is often defined in the world by Judeo-Christian-Muslim literature, and Republicans tend to be more active in those faiths than Democrats.
I would wager that, given the population of China and India, the Abrahamic faiths are not the leading definers of right vs. wrong. And in the west, Greek philosophy is at least as strong, if not more so, than Abrahamic religion in the realm of moral/political thought. Certainly the 10 commandments have been very influential, but you must admit that they are rather basic. We've discarded far more of the rules that stem from pre-Christian religion than we've kept, and ancient Christianity didn't exactly add a lot of new ones. The basic principles are still there, but it's not hard to deduce and/or justify those philisophically in any number of moral systems that may or may not include religion.I'm surprised at the polarization that Bush causes in people. Few people, at least among the vocal ones one the internet, seem to think he's a mediocre President. People either love him or hate him and think he's the most evil, despicable person ever. I'm not particularly impressed by him and some of his decisions, but I seriously doubt real malicious intent on his part. Of course, the people who love Bush also thought Clinton was the most evil, despicable person ever. I don't get that either.I do tend to view the NRAs views as a bit extreme, but sometimes it takes an extreme organization to counterbalance the other extreme. You don't have to agree with an organization 100% to recognize the value it has in society. Opposition of extreme groups leads to moderate compromises, which is frustrating to extremists on both sides but is likely far better for everyone than either of the extreme points of view. I think it would be nice if organizations had a more moderate view on guns, but that's just not how special interest groups work.
I need to defend the second amendment. There are three reasons why gun ownership should be considered:1) freedom from foreign invasion
2) freedom from government tyranny
3) freedom to protect oneself, one’s family, and one’s property from the actions of others.All three of these considerations were specifically addressed by the authors of the Constitution. All three of these factors take into account basic human nature. The second amendment was not "written for another day and another time and other circumstances." It was written to protect each citizen of this country from the basic human nature of others, which has not changed even in the many years since the framing of the Constitution. When that basic human nature changes, we can talk about how much the second amendment is needed. I don’t see it happening any time soon.The history of the US has shown that the Founding Fathers were absolutely right to include the second amendment in the Constitution. They knew tyranny firsthand and saw to it that we would have the means to stop the same indignity. World history has shown exactly how much the second amendment is needed. As a result of the foresight of the Founding Fathers, we’ve had no Hitlers, no Stalins, no Pol Pots invading our country or infesting our government. Why haven’t we? It’s human nature to want to dominate. It’s human nature to be greedy. It’s human nature to conquer. It’s human nature to want to be Top Dog. It’s human nature to covet. Why hasn’t this country been at the mercy of such a tyrant? Because our citizenry is armed. Our citizenry was protected by the framers of the Constitution when they included the second amendment.People complain about the NRA bitterly; I’ve never understood why. Yes, their views are extreme, but what would be their reaction to a tyrannical government? Let’s say a modern-day Stalin did manage to gain power in the US and began taking away our rights and freedoms. Let’s say a modern-day Hitler began sending Jews to concentration camps. Who would be the ones to depose him? Who would have the resources to overthrow such a tyrant? The gun nuts with the NRA cards. Alexander Hamilton said it best: "If the representatives of the people betray their constituents, there is no recourse left but in the exertion of the original right of self-defense which is paramount to all forms of positive government." And US representatives have betrayed their constituents before and that betrayal was ended with gunfire: We should not forget that the tyranny of slavery was ended with guns.As Levi said, the extreme views of the NRA nicely balance the extreme views of the people who want to abolish gun ownership completely. These people would have us completely defenseless. They would have us depend on the benevolence of human nature and on the resources of the government’s protective agencies (of which there are many). But what has government ever done right? Our government excels at war and nothing else. We are very good at winning wars. But what else has the government ever done right? American children consistently score low on international lists. Our government can’t be trusted to teach children properly; why should they be trusted to protect those same children? What parent would trust the safety of their child to a government that can’t even manage to teach that same child to read? Every parent I know would eagerly put themselves in harm’s way to protect their child; it is the most basic instinct. It is human nature to want to protect your own. Why trust your child’s life to a stranger? The police aren’t capable of protecting everyone at all times; why shouldn’t parents who want to actively protect their children have the ability and the means of doing it themselves?The Supreme Court has repeatedly found that the State cannot be at fault for not protecting its citizens. In other words, if the police manage to protect you, it’s good for you; you’ve won the lottery. If not, then they’re sorry, but it’s not the State’s fault. How long does it take for the police to respond to 911? Thirty minutes? An hour? Too long. Long enough that if you or your family were in serious trouble it would be too late for them to do anything but carry you all out in body bags.And they might search for evidence a little more thoroughly if your murder happened to make the evening news. Does this mean that I would chase a thief down the street with my gun in hand after catching him in my home? Of course not. If he escapes leaving my property by way of body bag, I hope that the police will be able to follow the blood trail off my property. I kid. Seriously, I want to be able to protect myself and my property from all the threatening gremlins. If such a thing should happen and should I be threatened, I want to be able to stop it. Let me make this clear: I don’t advocate vigilante justice at all. So once that gremlin shows some sign of leaving my property, he belongs to the police, whenever they happen to get there.Does this mean that I think everyone should own a gun? Absolutely not. If a person isn’t comfortable with gun ownership they shouldn’t buy one. But this doesn’t mean that people who are squeamish about guns should try to restrict the rights of others who do want to take their personal security in their own hands.Does this mean that I think anyone should be able to own a gun? Absolutely not. Felons and violent offenders should not be allowed permits and licenses. After a background check, I don’t see why any law-abiding citizen should not be allowed a gun for protection and/or recreation. What about the thousands that are killed by guns each year? In 2000, 10,806 people were murdered with a gun according to the National Vital Statistics Report (September 16, 2002) by the CDC. http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/nvsr/nvsr50/nvsr50_15.pdf Contrast that with the number of people killed each year by alcohol (and alcohol related accidents): 19,358. Seems like a lot. I found some other statistics in that report that put this into perspective:Leading causes of death:Heart Disease: 710,760
Chronic lower respiratory diseases: 122,009
Influenza and pneumonia: 65,313
Alzheimer's Disease: 49,558
Kidney diseases: 37,251
Liver disease: 26,552
Hypertension/renal disease: 18,073
Homicide (all causes): 16,765
All other combined: 391,904Total deaths by gunshot: 28,663.Circumstances of gunshot deaths:1. Suicide: 16,596 (53%)
2. Homicide: 10,806 (38%)
3. Accident: 774 (2.7%)
4. Police: 258 (0.9%)
5. Unknown: 229 (0.8%) Let's mix religion into this. Just because a prophet hasn’t said, “Keep ammo in your year’s supply” doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t do it. No prophet has ever said, “Always wear galoshes when it rains” either, and yet I’m sure that there are plenty of Mormons who think it reasonable to do so. The prophet isn’t there to spoon-feed us everything. Some things are better left up to our own decision-making abilities."Bowling for Columbine" has been shown to include falsehoods. Some of his supporters say that he stretches the truth a bit to make a good point. If that’s the way he wants to make a point, fine. But in all honesty, it bothers me when a person deliberately misleads to make a point.http://www.hardylaw.net/Truth_About_Bowling.html
http://www.rachellucas.com/archives/000785.htmlA couple of the above links are very much right wing. Spinsanity, however, is not.Kris, after all the time I’ve spent on this, I reviewed your comment again. When I reached the “warmongering, murderous, lying evil president Bush” statement, I almost deleted this whole thing. Because, honestly, I have a hard time taking anyone seriously who spouts such extreme nonsense. You wrote that you don’t agree with the extreme right or the extreme left; I must say that I find this hard to believe since your comments would indicate a very strong, extreme leftist position. But then, extreme leftists often claim to be centrist when attacking centrist views.I find it funny that you accuse the NRA (rightly so in some cases) of skewing data and then, in the same paragraph, recommend “Bowling for Columbine.” Michael Moore is just as extreme as the NRA and is just as guilty of skewing data to suit his purposes. The difference is that Moore won an Oscar for his bit of propaganda and the NRA has not.You said that the mantra concerning gun ownership is “dangerous and immoral.” I have a hard time understanding why gun ownership is immoral. Perhaps you meant that members of the NRA are immoral. If so, I don’t understand that either. Just because a person makes the decision to own a gun or belong to an organization doesn’t make that person wicked, sinful, criminal or unjust. As to guns being dangerous, they can be. But a gun is just a thing, a tool. It is only as bad or as dangerous as the person wielding it. I would agree that people are immoral because they are capable of making the decision to be wicked, sinful, criminal, or unjust. This is why background checks should be a necessary step in gun ownership.
Thank you Jan. Just as there are careless car owners (drunk drivers, etc), there are careless gun owners. They should not be allowed to have guns if they cannot maintain them properly. But just as you wouldn't ban everyone from owning a car because of a few bad apples, you can't call on everyone to give up their constitutionally protected arms because of an even smaller percentage of bad owners.
I find it interesting to look at the statistics Jan gave on Drunk driving versus shooting fatalities. With drunk driving fatalities exceeding homocides. Its almost amazing how no one charges to the call of banning liquor or making the penalties for DIU harsher. Some people still get 6 months to a year for what many would consider attempted murder. This of course is because drinking is socially acceptable.
Its funny how there is a general acceptance of the liberals or democrats to accept people for who they are. All people equal, the extreme left wingers believing that there should be little to no government intervention. But one place many of them still agree on is that guns are bad.
I find it very hard sometimes to form opinions on the actions of the Presidents, namely because the media loves taint everything with their own views. CNN, for example, is a very liberal organization and loves to skew its news with its opinions. This really disturbs me. With the media the way it is, it is hard to know what is fact, and what is fiction. (Kind of reminds me a little of 1984)
All I know is that I do not trust the government or anyone else enough to give up any of my constitutional rights. I see these rights as a citizen's guard against nasty, powerhungry people.
What if all our guns were taken? All this would accomplish would be to stop good, law abiding people from owning them, while the wrong sort of people would continue to get them off the black market. Power would quickly fall into the hands of those that definately should not have it.
As far as homosexuality goes, everyone on this earth struggles with personal trials and weaknesses. I know people who have suffered with far worse problems than same sex attraction. The sad thing is, that homosexuality is fast becoming a trend.
In all this talk about gun ownership, I find it interesting that no one's mentioned hunting for the sake of survival or even for the environment. Do the leftists ever stop to consider all of the families they'd be starving all across the country who rely on hunting in order to feet their families? I've known lots of families who hunt to survive because they can't afford store-bought food. As for the effects on the environment, a good friend of mine from North Carolina comes from a whole family of responsible gun owners. He's 18 years old and just bought his first rifle. He doesn't hunt because he's too timid-hearted, but the rest of his family hunts. They don't need the meat to survive, but they're always very careful in what they do hunt. Also, they never hunt for game - they don't waste a thing off whatever animal they hunt. Furthermore, in North Carolina right now, the deer population is overrun by does. They're getting into fights, killing each other, scaring off bucks, eating too much from the fields, destroying forests. So the hunters are alerted of this problem by the scientists and environmentalists, and then they adjust their hunting accordingly. It all works out just right. Also, I find it hard to respect the whole anti-gun agenda from leftists who also happen to eat meat. Vegetarians, I respect that, they take absolutely no part in it. But when an Anti-NRA leftist bites into a rich juicy steak, how can they say that hunting for food is so bad?Jan - Wow, thanks for all those statistics! That was amazing!
Wow. Now I'm a leftie wacko. Guess I deserved that. Ouch.A couple more thoughts (I can tell I'm getting nowhere fast), though I suspect these will also end up in the bit bucket...Jan, do you keep a gun strapped to your thigh like Wyatt Earp? When that prominent figure of NRA propoganda, the evil black linebacker sex maniac crashes through the front door to rape you, are you quick on the draw to defend home and family? Or will he politely sit on your front step while you run to the bedroom and open the gun safe first? Or will you empty both barrels of that shotgun under your pillow into the neighbor's kid looking to play a harmless prank on your son, thinking you were away on vacation. How will you explain his scrambled eggs for brains on your bedroom door to his mom?When in any of my diatribe did I say anything about outlawing guns, or preventing hunters from filling the freezer with venison? I simply said that the 2nd amendment is irrelevant in the modern world. Your 5 year old is far more likely to blow your 2 year old's brains out with your precious 2nd amendment right than you defending her from that rapist pedophile from the inner city lurking in the shadows of your suburban home.My neighbor was riding his horse in the foothills not far from my place a couple of years ago. The riding path took him past an old quarry where kids go to shoot. They soon found it good sport to shoot at him and his horse, spooking the horse and nearly getting him killed. He's a cowboy with a hunting rifle at home. Know what he told me when he got back? "Them kids would all be dead if I'd had that rifle with me -- I woulda shot back and not missed." Perhaps you think that's funny. Another day I called the police, because I was near that same quarry and heard automatic (read illegal) gunfire going on. There's no mistaking the sound of a machine gun. Keep in mind there are homes less than a quarter mile from this place. Guess what they told me? "We have more important things to do". Maybe I should be grateful -- someday these same boys with their tommy guns will save me from Stalin's great-grandson.Yep, those commies are just swarming on the borders, ready to overthrow our government. Perhaps the "boys from the hills", a conspiracy group of men I used to work with a few years back, who were shopping online for a 50-caliber one day at work, will save this nation from a corrupt, wicked government. Then again, maybe they'll find themselves turned into cheese fries in another Waco compound someplace by an FBI flamethrower. Yep, by golly, I'd rather my family was turned into toast that live under the horrible tyranny of socialism (I'm sure my Swedish friend would heartily agree).You talk about background checks, but that's just the kind of thing the NRA isn't interested in at all. It kills the whole fun of spreading paranoia. "First thing them NAZI's will do is get that damn list and start roundin up all the gun owners!". No kidding, I wish I had a nickle for all the times NRA advocates have thrown that in my face. REQUIRED Background checks and safety courses and licenses are EXACTLY what I was getting at, yet all these things are anathema to the NRA.I have a neighbor, a very nice lady by the way, who told me a few months ago, that the solution to airline security was to have ALL the passengers armed! I'm not even kidding you! (Did any of you see the James Bond movie "Goldfinger"?).As for "Bowling", I dare any of you naysayers to actually go watch it and then tell me I wasted your time. I honestly have no idea what kinds of truths Mr. Moore may have stretched (though I promise to read your right-wing spin links Jan when I'm done here). The whole point of the film is to ask some tough, searching questions, to get people to think. One of the questions is, what is the explanation for why America is such a violent society? Don't any of you think that question deserves some thought? And you don't even have to believe a word Mr. Moore says to draw some interesting conclusions all on your own. Go ahead, I dare ya!
Oops, almost forgot. My Bush comment. Murder to get gain. Well, see, there's this "vast sea of oil" in the middle east called Iraq. A country we had bottled up. A country we had completely surrounded. A country sucessfully harassed and disarmed by persistent and competent UN weapons inspectors. A country that couldn't sneeze without a thousand cruise missles being armed in an instant and pointed down its throat. A country who, if they tried ANYTHING, would be instantly turned into a smoldering pile of rubble in a heartbeat by the unsurpassed might of the U.S. of A. A country suffering under over a decade of stifling embargoes that killed an estimated millon Iraqis, half of which were children. A country that could no more do damage to America than a one-armed red-headed stepchild with a slingshot and a bag of marbles. Yet that whole administration, without a shred of hard evidence, INSISTED night after night to the American public that Iraq was an IMMINENT threat. That they POSESSED nuclear capability. That we couldn't wait one more minute. That they SURELY HAD biological and chemical weapons (well, we knew about the ones Ronald Reagan gave them once upon a time, I'll grant them that). And worst of all, that they were in bed with Al Qaeda (VP Dick continues to spin that tale even now). (Notice that we didn't invade Saudi Arabia, home of the guys that actually WERE responsible for 9/11? But they are Bush's oil buddies. Never mind). They made sure that most of the gullible sheep in this country KNEW that those twin towers falling were a direct result of this looming Iraqi threat. They didn't have to directly say it. Lies are better delivered with a dash of truth, especially in the hysteria of post 9/11. Rummy even told us exactly where we would find those WMD's on national TV.Why would Bush, the god-fearing icon of conservative holiness, do such a despicable thing? "He obviously knows something we don't" I heard over and over against my fruitless pleas. Doesn't it bother any of you that in fact he didn't?But he IS from Texas. He does own an oil company (or two or three), with lots of powerful friends in big oil. He has a VP that once sat on the board of the very company that got the lion's share of DoD contracts, without even bidding for them, imagine that! And Bush no doubt got buckets of campaign money from Defense Contractors, who make billions of dollars whenever a war is waged. The number one priority of our invading troops (yep, we invaded a soverign nation without just cause, in spite of what a rotten guy Saddam is) was to secure those precious oil fields. The very same lucrative tap that we are not about to share with anyone else ("we don't need no stinking UN troops to help us govern this place!"). And he was willing to sacrifice the lives of nearly 500 of our finest young men to secure it (with the numbers continuing to grow). Did I mention that somewhere between 9 and 10 thousand of our troops have also been seriously wounded (maimed, scarred, traumatized, disabled for life)? And I haven't even mentioned the 13,000+ Iraqi citizens that "gratefully" gave up the ghost for the capture of Saddam, a man WE put into power, a man WE armed and trained and gave weapons to. Cameron cites the thousands of rapes and murders that Saddam committed as justification in spite of no WMD's. That's disputable. Did he gas his own people? Or was it from Iran? The CIA issued a report saying they weren't sure. But let's assume he did. If 80,000 angry democrats rose up and tried to militantly overthrow the despised Bush government, and the resulting "mass grave" containing their bodies was unearthed years later, would you all hold him likewise accountable? And yet ironically it was Bush Sr. who lied to the now Iraqi dead over a decade ago, encouraging them to rise up against Saddam, then stepping back and failing to follow up on his promise of U.S. support when the slaughter began. Whose hands ARE their blood on, anyway?Like I told Heather earlier (did you get my post Heather?), we did get rid of Saddam. It's like going to the dentist to have an aching tooth removed, and having him hit you in the mouth with a hammer, knocking out several other teeth in the process. Then he tells you, "be grateful. I got that rotten tooth out of your head -- quit complaining, you'll thank me for this later".And what have we created in his wake? A power vaccum in a country that WAS, under Saddam, one of the few secular governments in the Middle East. A vaccum that many Iraqi people are determined NOT to be filled with our own appointed capitalist-friendly puppet government, but would like nothing better than to fill it with some fundamentalist Shiite theocracy (we know how pleasant those are). I fear we have simple created a clone of the no-win Israeli-Palistine conflict. Don't be surprised when our troops start to become victims of human shrapnel in the form of 22 year old, desperate mothers.[By the way, Levi is a breath of fresh air. Thanks Levi.]If our reasons for waging war there were so noble, why haven't we been intervening in the brutal genocidal tribal wars in Africa as well? Well, one wonders, doesn't one, especially if there's no oil to be had...Money IS the root of all evil. So when it appears to me that Bush values the almighty dollar over human life, I dare call him evil, treasonous, and verily a damnable liar. (Yes Cameron, my bible does say that money is the root of all evil. It also says we should stone adulterers and homosexuals, that we should not eat pork products, and that women should keep their mouths shut in church)."Save your breath Tina" I can hear my mom say. I'm sure this sounds like left-wing lunacy. I'll quit now.
Kris, you certainly have a gift for hyperbole. I don't think you're going to make much influence here with that line of rhetoric, but hey, it's fun to read a heated argument every once in a while. Thanks for the compliment, though. I try to be reasonable.I think that liberals tend to overstate the importance of oil and Bush's personal ties to it in the unspoken reasons for the war. I don't think it's irrelevant, but I don't think it's the main reason either. The whole Halliburton thing has been blown out of proportion as well, in my opinion. My take on this is that Iraq is of strategic importance in plans to exert greater influence over the Middle Eastern region and remake the political climate there in our favor. The oil is important because we can use it to pay for some of the wartime/reconstruction costs. I don't believe Bush is trying to become personally rich off of it; it's just strategically important to have a means to pay for the extremely expensive war effort. I don't remember the details of Halliburton, but their involvement was explained satisfactorily to me in some article that I've mostly forgotten. I think Cameron even blogged it, but it's too late for me to go searching now. There was probably some cronyism involved, as there always is when dealing with that kind of money, but I don't think it was as blatant as liberals make it out to be.Anyway, since our nation's past is littered with embarrasing failures to remake less powerful countries in our favor, typicallly by less than savory means, I'm inclined to think that this latest move was a really bad idea and that the whole WMD and humanitarian aspects are the typical smokescreen to keep us from getting too worked up about it. As we're now committed to it, I hope that we hold Bush and whoever follows him to the task of rebuilding Iraq and Afghanistan to the extent we're able, and I'm glad when we make a bit of progress in that direction. I'm not all that optimisitic about a happy ending, though.Kris, I think you have some sensible views on guns hidden inside your anti-NRA rant, but I'm not quite sure. Your arguments are filled with straw men and anecdotes, which aren't really convincing as much as they are inflammatory. You can find amusing or scary anecdotes to support or shoot down just about anything you want, so as far as reasoning goes, they're not very helpful. I mean, I know several people with concealed carry permits who have successfully avoided violent conflict by brandishing their weapons. Does this mean guns always solve potential conflicts? Not at all. In any case, I think most of us here agree that the NRA has some extreme viewpoints that aren't quite in touch with reality. Alas, as I said earlier, that's the nature of lobbying groups. Opposing extremists create a moderate compromise, though, so I don't think there's anything to get terribly worked up about.Oh, one more thing... the CDC's website has a cool feature that lets you search reported cause of death by age range. Accidental child death by firearm is waaaaay down there on the list. It's tragic, but not nearly as common as anti-gun people make it out to be. This is where anecdotes get thrown into the arguments for emotional appeal, and that's really no way to make policy.
Kris, thank you for very smoothly proving my point for me about Moore’s supporters and their lack of care towards whether or not Bowling for Columbine displays the truth while trying to prove a point. You may not care that the film is made up of lies, half-truths, stretches, and tall tales because it gets “people to think,” but I prefer to base my thought on the truth, especially when it involves such a sensitive and important topic. I would agree that violence is a problem in our society. Moore’s film does nothing to help that problem because of his lack of concern towards the truth. The problem with making a point with half-truths is that you’re not going to get anyone to take your point seriously when they find your data to be misleading. To some, that merely proves the other side’s point.And you can’t win arguments or make sound points with “what if” anecdotes and scenarios that are extremely unlikely. I would say the same for your stories of your extreme gun-toting neighbors and co-workers. How does one strange incident prove your point? It doesn’t. It merely shows that you have weirdo neighbors who are extreme. (Perhaps you should move if you are so uncomfortable with them.) The wacko behavior of a few people shouldn’t influence whether or not the sane, reasonable people (who make up the majority of this country) have their right to bear arms removed. If you read my comment above, you’ll notice that I said that the NRA was extreme. I don’t think that they have all the answers. But neither do I think that Moore’s camp has them either. Somewhere in the middle of these two extremes, there is a reasonable compromise. As for the UN, there is some argument about whether or not Iraq was disarmed, even within the Bush administration. You mentioned that Iraq suffered because of the embargos. I would argue that Iraq suffered because of Saddam Hussein. How many mass graves have we uncovered? How many people did he murder because they weren’t part of his ethnic/religious group? Some estimates put that number around 200,000. Some put it at 500,000. You said that 13,000+ Iraqis lost their lives during the war. How does that compare to the 200,000-500,000 that Saddam killed? How many more would he have killed had he remained in power?You asked if we would hold Bush accountable for the mass graves of 18,000 angry democrats. I don’t think that Bush would put them in mass graves for one thing. For another, why would they militantly try to overthrow the government? Are you comparing Saddam to Bush? It’s a ridiculous example and hardly worthy of refuting, as are most of your outrageous exaggerations.But then, I have a hard time taking anyone seriously who screams that Iraq was for oil and nothing else. Seriously, the “war for oil” nonsense is a tired old saw that can be disproved with a little logic. Your argument is essentially that:
1) The US uses oil
2) Iraq has lots of oil
3) Bush and Cheney are former oilmenFrom these three facts, you draw the conclusion that Bush and Co. went to war for the sole purpose of obtaining Iraq’s oil. Thanks goodness Iraq could not boast a large quantity of good baseball players. We would have gone to war for baseball! The “war for oil” argument makes as much sense as the “war for baseball” reasoning:
1) The US likes baseball
2) Iraq has lots of good baseball players (we’ll pretend they do)
3) Bush is former baseball team ownerRidiculous? Of course. But “war for baseball” makes as much sense as “war for oil.” I mean, why go to war for baseball? What couldn’t be accomplished through negotiation without the mess and expense of war?We should ask the same questions about the “war for oil.” Why go to war for oil? What purpose would it serve? What couldn’t be accomplished through negotiation without the mess and expense of war?I guess all those questions boil down to a single question: What are we accomplishing with a war for oil that we wouldn’t achieve more easily (and more cheaply) via peaceful means?Nothing.We can’t be at war to get Saddam to sell us oil because he was selling it to us before the war. There was no indication that he planned on not selling it to us. For all that we are the Great Satan, Saddam like taking our money in exchange for oil.We can’t be at war to get him to sell more to us because he would have done so had we but asked. Saddam was desperate for money. He was trying to buy more weapons; he would have loved to sell more to us. I imagine that he thought it was great fun to take our money in order to buy weapons he planned on using on us. At least, if I were a ruthless mad man, I would think it fun to use my enemy’s money to buy weapons with which to fight them.We can’t be at war for cheaper oil because Saddam would have made the oil cheaper for us had we convinced the UN to remove the sanctions. The UN was eager to do so. Other countries wanted cheaper oil, too. And how stupid is it to make war over cheaper oil when Bush and CO predicted that the war would raise oil prices? (They were right. It did.)We can’t be at war to steal oil contracts from France and Russia because we could have easily negotiated for them. Saddam wanted sanctions removed. Had we bargained with him for removal of the sanctions, he would have given the contracts to us instead of the French and Russians. Saddam said this long before the war. Why go to war over those contracts when we could have just lifted the sanctions? Saddam would have happily given them to us. We can’t be at war to control the country with the 2nd largest supply of oil because that would entail making Iraq a US colony with a puppet ruler. We have no history of doing this elsewhere; why would we go to the expense of this when all we had to do was lift the sanctions? Why would we go to all this trouble and expense when they already sold us all the oil we wanted in the first place? It’s senseless.I’d like to make clear that I think that oil was considered in the war plans, but I also think that they weren’t the sole reason we went into Iraq. Leaving 1/3 of the world’s oil supply in the hands of a mad man was, I’m sure, a variable when Bush and Co. considered the entire war equation in the first place.“War for oil” is crazy. It’s a bumper sticker slogan for people who don’t like Bush and are trying to derail his solution for our little problem with terrorism. It’s for people who have lost touch with reality and succumbed to perilous delusions.Sorry Cameron, I didn’t think this comment would end up as lengthy as it did. At any rate, I’m done; there’s only so much troll bait I can swallow before I tire of it.
Levi, you reminded me that I really need to get a searchable entry thingy on my page.Kris, I wrote something on the whole "war for oil" thing here. I think with some grade school math, this argument is easily dismissed, though I don't deny what Levi said about perhaps a little cronyism (though Halliburton is one of the largest and most credible oil/gas contractors in the world). Also, let me give you a little advice: when trying to get across a point, don't use "what if" scenarios and don't include rediculous extremes such as defending Saddam and comparing him and Bush (though you actually made it sound like Bush was worse). You lose credibility.
OK. One more thing. I think we need to review Godwin's Law.http://info.astrian.net/jargon/terms/g/Godwin_s_Law.html
Jan, LOL. That's awesome. I'm in agreeance. I'm done.
I think you all are a bunch of Nazi's.
Every taken the LSAT? I was studying for it for some time, and I think you would do quite well on it...
Sorry, I just had to add that this is now not only the longest post, but the one with the most comments. Cool!The previous one had all the advice you ladies gave me on dating.
Carlene, you obviously loose the debate. Though I think Kris might have lost it first.And thanks. I have to confess, I thought about going to law school when I first got my BS CET. But no, I've never taken the LSAT. And I have no wish to go back to college. I used to have a political blog (1998-2003) and I'm very accustomed to this type of debate, though I do have a tendancy to get overly verbose when I feel something strongly. Actually, the war on baseball argument was one I'd used on that blog. Cameron, I think this page is approaching book length. Very cool.
I don't care if y'all agree with me, please just don't misunderstand me. Guess I need to use some delineators in my posts. It was, admittedly, a lame attempt at humor. And I suppose I've listened to more actual NRA ranting than Jan has, because the "big black rapist" story is one of their favorites (I've heard it many times. Hmmm, maybe I DO just live near a lot of wackos...).I only offer Oil/Defense Contracts/Political favors as one way to explain the seemingly inexplicable. "Fighting Terrorism" is about the most ludicrous argument ANYONE could use to justify this war in Iraq, and yet that's the ONLY reason I've heard any of you offer up. I'm just looking for answers. Do any of you have something better than that lame "terrorist" excuse?Oops, here I go again with the hyperbole. Sorry. Suppose one of your neighbors's kids, who happens to be black, goes and beats up your kid. Do you then roam around town looking to punish every other black kid you find as a way of dealing retribution? Why is it then that we are "bombed" by a bunch of Saudi men, and we go looking for Iraqis to punish? How is it that Saddam is STILL being blamed by VP Dick as the indirect culprit for 9/11, when every grade school kid knows that Osama's militant fundamentalist muslim cadre HATED Saddam's secular regime? (Just where are the millions we spend on the intelligence community going, anyway?). Bush promised a complete investigation into 9/11, then promptly sealed all the documents and we haven't heard a peep out of him (the Commander-in-thief asleep at the wheel when it happened) since.And grade school/high school/college math aside, billions of dollars in the pockets of a few elite are never something to sneeze at, even if they aren't sufficient to explain the WHOLE reason this administration dragged the entire nation to war.I just want some rational explanations. "Fighting terror" offers up a LOT LESS credible evidence than keeping DoD campaign contributors happy, IMHO.By the way Jan, I can still tell that you have not seen "Bowling"; but you seem awful eager to justify not seeing it by wholly accepting the right-wing spin that it's full of lies and mis-information. Funny, that's the same reason my Baptist friend gave me for refusing to ever read the Book of Mormon (not that I'd dare to compare the two, just thought that was another clever hyperbole!). I'd just like for YOU to draw your OWN conclusions on the matter, that's all.(I know, you have better things to do with your time. That's what he said too. Sigh. I know, I know, I don't have as much credibility as Rush Limbaugh does). (Oops, forgot the html brackets again).You also said in another post that you agree with the right on economic issues. Really? You think that tax cuts for the wealthy are good? (Actually, tax cuts are a myth; Bush's "cuts" are merely a tax shift from the upper class to the middle class. We just don't call them taxes, we have more user-friendly labels, like "fees"). Do you think sending a trillion dollar deficit to your grandkids is good economic policy? Do you think shipping technology jobs to India and Russia are a way to improve the nation's economy (especially via Bush's proposed multinational corporation tax cuts to fuel that corporate incentive?). Have any of you called a help desk or support or call center lately? More likely than not you will be speaking with someone with an Indian accent sitting in Bangalore. Bush has spent more money and created more government bloat than any president in history. You agree with that? You agree that opening our borders to Mexico is going to help the average american laborer maintain a sufficient wage to pay the bills and keep food on the table? Just curious...Probably some of you are pretty sick of me by now. I just thought y'all could use a bit of a gadfly to keep this very homogenous board stirred up a little. You know, add a little more Yin to your Yang. ;o) Thanks for tolerating me so far...
Well, Kris. You're certainly full of criticism. But as they say in the business world, anyone can identify a problem. What's your solution?>my bible does say that money is the root of all evilIs that a new version? 1 Timothy 6:10 says
"For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some ccoveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows." (emphasis added) I'd say that's a pretty logical assessment. Furthermore, no one is immuned from it. Not Limbaugh (ps, very few conservatives cater to his schtick anymore), not Bush, not Clinton, not even Michael Moore. Probably not you or me, either. This principle is manifested in all our lives to one degree or another.
PS, Kris, after re-reading your comments, you make a hell of a lot of assuptions about how simple all our lives have been. You think that just because we criticize something that we have never experienced it or had it impact our lives? Did it ever occur to you that sometimes people criticize behavior because it has impacted them? Sorry to disappoint you, but not everyone here has always lived the sweet, simple life of the plan of happiness. Get over yourself.
I've read the screenplay for Bowling for Columbine, and it was one that was available from a left wing organization on the net. I'll see if I can find it. From that, I've drawn my conclusions. Renee, Don't waste your time. I've decided that there's no use in debating someone who can't even read the comment she is supposedly arguing against. Also, anyone who uses the phrase "commander-in-thief" is not someone you can reason with. I give up. There's simply too much manure to wade through. Also, she's someone who doesn't even do her homework, and that, in a political debate, is unforgivable.
Kris - Yes, I got your post, but I chose not to respond to it because I saw your comments as just a repitition of previously stated issues, only further exacerbated and enflamed. You apologized, only to follow it up by calling me naive, and telling me to "get a clue," etc. I just didn't see the point because not only did you not address perfectly reasonable things that I had brought up, but you also continued to behave in an overly passionate manner. There's no way to carry on a debate when a party is, instead of throwing out facts, figures, or references, is simply relying on extreme cases and anecdotes. Furthermore, I just didn't care. Despite what you keep saying about being a moderate, all of your views match up with the mid-extreme left. Oh, just on the Halliburton thing, for everyone else's consideration, I was bothered by that at first as well when my brother first brought it to my attention. After doing some research, and reminding myself how the government contracting system works, I realized that I don't even think it's an issue. (Oh, and by the way, my father's an upper-level government contractor working in war planning and tactical deception. I can testify that our bank account certainly hasn't been padded.) Anyway, here's what I found out.The bidding process for a contract like the one needed for the various tasks that Halliburton was assigned, takes a year in total - at the very least - to bid, win, and put into action. For sensitive war-related contracts, the bidding process is done in preparation for several possible war-time scenarios, simply because the bidding process takes so long to make it entirely fair, and because war can be launched in most circumstances with very little notice. In the case of the Halliburton contract, the contract that they supposedly got in a no-bid process, was actually won by Halliburton under the Clinton administration several years ago. They won the contract because they have the most experience dealing with several things in particular that are pertinent to a war in the Middle East. First and foremost, their experience in dealing with oil fires. During the first Gulf War, Saddam Hussein actually lit most of his oil reserves on fire to keep anyone from getting at them. He wasted all of that oil out of spite. During that war, Halliburton was also responsible for putting out those fires, which take extra expertise and care to put out. It's not simple and it's incredibly dangerous business. Halliburton is the leader in that field.So, based on their experience with oil fires and other significant concerns that they were most adequate to address, they won the contract for a Middle East war scenario, in the event that conflict would arise. They did bid for it over that year-long process, and they got it fair and square. Because they won this contract, naturally they were brought into the process of the current war in Iraq, and for good reason. Based on his actions in the past, there was every reason to believe that Saddam would again light his oil on fire once again. Halliburton deserves to be there because of their experience, their knowledge, their equipment, their personnel, and because they won the contract in a fair and open bidding process.To claim that there was some kind of favoritism going on in this case is just silly, because Cheney wasn't in any kind of government position when the contract was awarded under the Clinton administration. Furthermore, to claim such a thing - apart from the lapse in timeline - only shows a lack of understanding of the government contracting business. Contracts are settled by an entirely different department, through which the Vice President or Donald Rumsfled has no control whatsoever. To assume those contracts were given by either of those men also assumes that hundreds of department heads, military leaders, and government contractors (like my father) would put their careers on the line. Halliburton deserved that contract, and that contract was awarded through the recognized established system. Jan - Loved your war for baseball bit. That's great! :)
Heather, thanks for explaining that. I now think the blog entry I referenced above, where I said the Halliburton thing had been explained to my satisfaction, was probably one of yours, though I think Cameron mentioned it too. I wouldn't totally discount the possibility of favoritism as an influence in the process, as I'm sure there were some ties that predated Cheney's official White House position, but I really don't think it's a significant factor or relevant at all as a criticism of Bush.As far as stirring things up and keeping things non-homogeneous, I thought that was my job! ;) I try to be polite and rational about my disagreements though, at least most of the time.
You guys really think I'm a troll? Ow.Jeez Jan, give an old James Bond fan a break -- even as a child I saw the silliness of fat old Goldfinger getting sucked out of that hole. But surely you don't, in your wildest engineering imagination, believe that bullets flying through a pressurized cabin at 40,000 feet, surrounded by critical fuel, hydraulic and electrical lines (not to mention a truckload of passengers) could possibly be anyone's notion of a good idea? Anyway, it was a silly aside from a silly neighbor. Thankfully I understand that the guns the pilots are packing now use very short-range bullets.I'm still scratching my head over your comment that I don't bother to read what I'm rebutting. I'm afraid to ask for clarification, as you seem so weary of me (I know, I'm not worthy to debate you).As to the 80,000 number (not 18,000) I used in my admittedly lame illustration, my mistake. That's a number I swear I heard on the radio just a few days ago. Most of what I've been able to find is that there may be as many as 300,000 suspected dead, most of them killed between 1983 and 1991. Nobody knows for sure, and may never -- seems the locals keep spoiling the evidence. How many killed since 1991? Nobody has a clue as far as I can tell. My point was simply this: most of the dead are thought to be Kurds and Shiites that violently and militantly rose up to try to topple Saddam. One could argue he had little choice when Baath party throats were being cut by Kurdish belt-knives and angry Shiite warriors. Anyway, here's the other point of view (sorry I don't know how to make inline hot links here) that those of you objective enough to weigh the "liberal" spin might want to ponder:
http://www.democraticunderground.com/articles/03/09/12_graves.htmlLastly hat's off to you! Wading through an entire screenplay (on the web no less) must have taken you hours. It really would have been easier to just see the dang movie however.Heather - Thanks for the head's up on Haliburton. That was news to me. Hey, if we don't toss around ideas to get shot down, how do we learn and grow? (I STILL think Dick is making bank on this though!) :o) I am sad however that you outright dismissed/ignored all the stuff I went to some trouble to send you by way of responding to your "Give me some concrete examples of Bush Lies" because I jumped into this board foolishly telling all of you to get a clue (boy do I regret that one).Renee, sorry to offend you. Nobody's giving me ANY feedback if I happen to make a valid point or ask a valid question here or there (perhaps I haven't; there's a scary thought) -- all I seem to be doing is making outrageous, fallacious claims I'm honestly TRYING to keep it unemotional. But part of what fuels me is that I'm getting very little back in terms of what y'all have been demanding of me (evidence, reasons, explanations, examples), other than "Kris, you are outrageous".I'll say it again. Just what were the valid reasons we went to war? How many direct threats to the welfare of the United States have we thwarted by this effort? How many more have we created? Yes, we captured an evil, despicable human being. Probably most of his countrymen are glad of that. Many however are not. It's also safe to say that most of them are not at all happy about our continuting presence there. Where will this resentment lead us? To ultimate peace and stability (and how long will that take), or a bloody, quasi-Israeli/Palistinian scenario? I honestly fear it is the latter.Do we have unlimited tax resources to take on all the world's bad guys? Can we afford to keep our current foreign policy? One that has fomented resentment and disgust from many of our European neighbors? Renee asks the real question. What to do? Unfortunately, the quagmire we find ourselves in will not be easy to remedy. Do we put a Dem in office to clean this mess up? Or allow George to get us in even deeper, and make him accountable? That's my dilemma. My reason for spouting off on this board was simply to shake your (speaking to most of you) conservative world-view tree a little and see what kind of fruit falls.
Kris, I'll repeat my earlier question. What's your solution to all these fiascos? Your comments are as relevent to the solution as the political ads barraging my neighboring state of Iowa right now. I don't really care that Dean thinks he's a Washinton outsider. He's a politician. There's a level of smug pride that goes along with that occupation no matter if one's "in" or out of Washington. Like all politicians, his interest lies with those funding him. That is not a game of conservatives. It's a game of all politicians. In the same regard, I don't really care that you think the reasons for going to war weren't justified. We went. So what would you have us do now? Pull out all troops? Vote out Bush? What would you want a new president to do? Raise everyone's taxes? Free health care funded by the middle class for everyone? Subsidies for all farmers paid for by...? Increased Medicare and Medicaid funded by...? No more i.d. checks when traveling? No more border patrol in Mexico? Increase the minimum wage by $10/hr? Come on, let's hear all your solutions to the country's problems. Surely you have the answers that have eluded this conversation thus far. Otherwise, you wouldn't be criticizing so many things. You obviously know what should be done by our government. Let's hear it.
As a service to newcomers to this very long debate, I've taken the liberty of preparing an executive summary of the proceeedings since they started to heat up.(disclaimer: This is just my impression of how things looked, with the substance of the arguments removed since neither side really seemed to consider those of the other anyway. I apologize in advance if you feel I mischaracterized you. I found this amusing, and my intent is to bring some light-heartedness into a too-emotional debate that's not going anywhere.)"I demand you answer my exaggerated and inflammatory criticisms of your closely-held political beliefs! You don't know what you're talking about!""You're way off-base! How dare you insult us like that! But here are our answers from sources that agree with us.""I'm sorry for the inflammatory remarks and insults. They were meant to be funny! But I'm not really sorry, because I'm going to repeat them. And again! Why do you keep misunderstanding me?""OK, so we don't have any answers you'll believe, you nasty troll. We're going to take it personally and bristle for a bit before totally changing the basis of the 'debate' and make unreasonable demands of YOU for a change!""I'm going to ignore the change and pretend to be offended while dropping a few more thinly-veiled insults in my less-outrageous repeat of the same sort of stuff I said before.""No, no... we insist that you argue on our terms! Anyone with criticisms must have solutions ready to back them up!"And this brings us up to date. We now return you to the live feed.
Thanks for a unique summary, Levi. We are all surely now put in our place. It must be a burden for you to have read through all our tripe.
So much for the disclaimer.I found the discussion interesting, or I wouldn't have participated. Certainly there was a lot of good information presented. I just wanted to put things in a different perspective and show that the two sides in the debate were mostly talking at cross-purposes. I guess that's just how blog political debates go, though. I get sucked into them as surely as anyone else, with just as little effect.Anyway, I'm sorry if I offended you, and from now on I'm resolving to stay out of political arguments on blogs.
Well then there's no point staying out of this one. The issues brought up go far beyond political. Ethical and moral issues abound. Politics are limited in discussion. IMO. They are general things but getting to the ethical and moral issues, well that is handled specifically. People can argue Bush vs. Gore or Bush vs. Clinton and that politics. As soon as people start bringing up specifics, that's not politics, that's real.
If I had some sort of evidence that my contributions to these sorts of discussions had any positive effect, I might be convinced to continue. Otherwise, I'll just read them and keep my poor attempts at humor to myself. All the arguing I've done in the past few days has kind of brought my spirits down and taken way too much time.
Levi, you usually do have a fairly moderate tone. While we don't always agree, it's good to have other reasonable voices out there. I dare say that I think I've been influenced by your comments at times. You're welcome to comment.BTW, 50 comments! How cool is that?
Happy half-century to this thread! May it grow ever longer!Er, well, maybe not. :)
Solutions...I've had all kinds of ideas swirling around my head most of the day. I even wrote pages of notes to myself throughout the day of how I would logically lay it all out (and keep every cotton picking ounce of sarcastic bombast out of it even). I had a hard time focusing on my work. Even my workout was filled with conversation and threads of debate and resolution raging in my thick skull. I tried to put it down for a while and go to sleep a couple of hours ago without any success, as it was getting late. No use. So I got up and fired up the PC, determined to make a go. Role reversal; instead of me intruding into your cozy little blog world here, one of you actually was asking me (well, okay, taunting acutally), what I would do if I ran the zoo. I was admittedly pretty excited at the thought of stepping up to the soap box and seeing if I couldn't finally turn my rant into something productive, morally sound, even a little bit validated. And yet, now that I'm here to do the deed, I just suddenly feel tired, wiped out, and more than a little despondent. And for some weird reason the words of Dorothy to the Scarecrow keep ringing in my ears: "What would you do with a brain if you had one?"It's not that I don't have tons of good ideas Renee. They suddenly just don't seem important anymore -- I feel like someone pulled the plug on me. Frustrating! I was so fired up earlier. At the moment all those notes just read like pointless drivel. Even my favorite, about going to the moon (looking way beyond president Bush's vision in fact) and the marvelous things we could accomplish there.Tja, maybe some other time...
Levi, that was hilarious. As for resolving to stay out of political comments, it won't last long. At least, it didn't last long when I made the same resolution.