It's been posted many times before, but it's always worth reminding ourselves what it is, exactly, that we're fighting against -- Chris Bowers reposts the central tenets of the Texas Republican Party's 2000 Platform, as reported by Kevin Drum.
Materialism stresses the essence of fundamental particles. Everything that exists is purely physical matter and there is no special force that holds life together. You believe that anything can be explained by breaking it up into its pieces. i.e. the big picture can be understood by its smaller elements.
As you may have begun to notice, the right wing doesn't adapt well to change. They are still talking about McCarthyism and hippies and any number of other anachronistic topics. They are obsessed with being right, not only today, but fifty years ago.
The weight of responsibility and guilt they carry must be back-breaking!
A quick thought: the important dichotomy of our age is not necessarily liberals versus conservatives, or progressives versus repressives, it's the one between people who, when they come across something that's foreign or inexplicable, do their damnedest to try and understand what they don't understand, as opposed to those whose strategy for dealing with the unknown is to refer to what they absolutely already know is THE TRUTH.
(And, obviously, this is intimately related to the distinction between a "reality-based" world-view and one that operates solely from a dogmatic ideological standpoint. You can see the difference operating in the blogosphere, where liberal bloggers will often say "I don't understand why X is doing or saying this, because it seems crazy to me," and then spend a fair amount of time and energy trying to figure out what's behind the craziness, instead of only just decrying it as the rightists seem to prefer to do.)
Billmon looks at the philosophical underpinnings of the neo-cons, their fight against modernity and The Enlightenment (something the Straussians have in common with Osama bin Laden and the radical Islamists) and their effort to create a moral nanny state (a very concise expression).
If there is a crisis of modernity, it appears to be more a function of the faithful – some whom are getting awfully violent for a bunch of opium addicts. When the 9/11 terrorists flew their planes into the World Trade Center, I can guarantee you they weren’t reciting passages from Mill’s On Liberty. The real crisis may be the lack of modernity, not a surplus of the stuff – an argument the neocons themselves are now making, at least about the religious fanatics in the Middle East.
The ones in Midwest, on the other hand, are another story. To the Straussians, it apparently doesn’t matter what kind of religious orthodoxy America has – as long as it has one. And so the highly educated followers of a Jewish refugee from demented old Europe have allied themselves with some of the most ignorant, racist and xenophobic people in modern crazy America.
...Maybe modernity isn’t in crisis, but classic liberalism – and the political institutions it created – is trapped in a dire one. It, too, seems increasingly incompatible with the demands of imperial globalization. And the “parchment regime” that Thomas Jefferson and James Madison gave us is being subverted by the very forces – the executive branch, the corporate media, one and a half of the two major political parties – that are supposed to defend it.
As I’ve said before, the American constitutional edifice reminds me of a house riddled by termites – it looks solid enough from the outside, but lean too hard against a wall and big pieces might start toppling over. And right now, the neocons and their Bible Belt allies are leaning pretty damned hard. There are days (like “Justice Sunday”) when the Weimar analogy no longer seems so far fetched.
If we’re fortunate – as fortunate as America has been through most of its history – the center will hold. Things won’t fall apart. The neocons, having overreached, will be thrown for a big loss and forced to punt. But I’m not as confident as I used to be that the game still works that way.
What’s more, if the neocons did succeed in tearing up the liberal parchment regime, I seriously doubt they could control the forces they’ve helped unleash. The Bible fedayeen aren’t exactly yearning for a little recycled Plato from the philosophical elite. Their version of the city on the hill might not have room for a philosophical elite – not unless it’s a fundamentalist Protestant one, which is a contradiction in terms.
The risk, then, is that by unleashing the forces of religious populism to save America from the inevitable consequences of liberal nihilism, the Straussians conceivably could end up assisting the very catastrophe they claim they’re trying to avoid.
The "fast tracking" of the canonization of the late Pope John Paul II has apparently begun.
On the one hand, I really don't much care who the Catholic Church wants to annoint as their newest official demigod, but on the other hand, I see this move as of a piece with the actions of the political right-wing in this country: they're all for "law and order" until it's time to apply it to them. Due process is good enough for the other guy, but when the right takes over, they throw traditional processes out the window in favor of anything that will get the results they want.
It might make a revolutionary-minded person start to think that the whole point of all that process isn't to keep things fair and uniform, it's to keep the people firmly under the thumbs of the bosses.
If you're in Brooklyn this weekend, come by and take a look at a most unusual and interesting work-in-progress. (Reservations at 212-244-2371. Get to the Brooklyn Lyceum by taking the R train to Union Street.)
Another piece of interest in The New Yorker, unfortunately not available online, is Peter J. Boyer's critical evaluation of the state of the Catholic Church at the start of Cardinal Ratzinger's ascension as Benedict XVI. He brings to mind an important point, in terms of American politics -- that under Benedict, the ultra-orthodox regime of John Paul II will continue, which means that the American Catholic episcopacy will also continue to be orthodox, conservative and regressive. (As well as, according to liberal American Catholic critics, mediocre, sycophantic, and intellectually incompetent -- "the worst group of bishops in modern Church history.") Because of this, we're likely to continue to see the Catholic hierarchy make problems for Catholic politicians who support reproductive rights, rights for gays and lesbians, and other positions which go against the official teachings of the Church -- in the manner of the fuss made in the last election over whether Kerry should receive communion because of his stand on abortion.
Given this, I think I would be inclined to view negatively the bid of a Catholic politician for the Democratic nomination in 2008 -- not because of anything to do with their Catholicism per se, but because I don't see any particular value in giving the enemies of progressive thought a weapon to use against our candidate, not with the country so fairly evenly divided, and victory apparently dependent on avoiding having your potential supporters sliced-and-diced away.
(This is also one of the reasons that I do not take very seriously the contention of some that the Democratic party needs to attempt to cater more to religionists. Generally speaking, pace Amy Sullivan, people of religion who are liberal-minded are already on our side, and those that remain are more likely to follow the dictates of their churches than they are to make up their own minds. Since many of these hierarchies, like the Catholic Church's, tend to be conservative, I just don't see a lot of votes out there that can be swayed. Update (5/14): Digby on this topic.)
Of course, I realize how sad it is -- given the prejudice that JFK faced as a Catholic running for the Presidency -- to say that a candidate's Catholicism will work against them, but it's not a position I take by choice -- it's been forced on me by the political shenanigans of the archbishops of the American Catholic Church, who used to be a force for progressive values, but are not now.
Update (5/14): Via Digby, take a look at this great map from USA Today. You'll note that "No religion" holds a plurality position in several Western states, and in much of the North and Midwest is the second or third largest segment of the population. In such a circumstance, with no apparent boom in religious belief in the country, and non-religionists the fastest growing sector, I just don't see what the brouhaha is, and why Sullivan et al. seem determined to get bent out of shape about Democrats not going after the religious vote. It looks to me as if they're fighting the last war, not the one we're currently in.
There is good evidence that we are the victims of Republican hype on this religious issue, which perpetuates itself in the servile media, creating a faddish obsession with religiousity at a time when more people are actually leaving religion than coming into it. Like the phony campaign against Christmas, they are tying us up in knots with this theocratic correctness. For both practical and principled reasons, we shouldn't let them do it.
Get a bunch of your friends together, ring O. J. Simpson’s doorbell, and tell him that you are “the real killers” and that you are surrendering to him so that he can finally stop searching for you. Get his reaction on videotape and sell it over the Internet.
Convince the leaders of the world’s only superpower that a Middle Eastern nation is loaded to the gills with weapons of mass destruction. Tell them that some broken-down old vans there are “mobile weapons labs,” and persuade them to spend billions of dollars on an invasion and an occupation. After they scour the country for the weapons and come up empty, shrug your shoulders sympathetically and take over the oil ministry.
hostile to science
lacking in empathy
lacking in public spirit
out of control
Thanks to: Breeze, Chuck, Ivan Raikov, Kaiju, Kathy, Roger, Shirley, S.M. Dixon
i've got a little list...
Steven Abrams (Kansas BofE)
Howard Fieldstead Ahmanson
Roger Ailes (FNC)
Alan Bonsell (Dover BofE)
Bill Buckingham (Dover BofE)
George W. Bush
Bruce Chapman (DI)
The Coors Family
William A. Dembski
Leonard Downie (WaPo)
John Gibson (FNC)
Fred Hiatt (WaPo)
James F. Inhofe
Philip E. Johnson
by Joel Pelletier
(click on image for more info)
Stephen C. Meyer (DI)
Judith Miller (ex-NYT)
Sun Myung Moon
Elspeth Reeve (TNR)
Martin Peretz (TNR)
Richard Mellon Scaife
Susan Schmidt (WaPo)
John Solomon (WaPo)
Richard Thompson (TMLC)
Bob Woodward (WaPo)
All the fine sites I've
Be sure to visit them all!!
Arthur C. Clarke
Daniel C. Dennett
Philip K. Dick
Stephen Jay Gould
"The Harder They Come"
Ursula K. LeGuin
The Marx Brothers
Michael C. Penta
Michael Powell & Emeric Pressburger
"The Red Shoes"
"Singin' in the Rain"
Talking Heads/David Byrne
Hunter S. Thompson
"2001: A Space Odyssey"
If you read unfutz at least once a week, without fail, your teeth will be whiter and your love life more satisfying.
If you read it daily, I will come to your house, kiss you on the forehead, bathe your feet, and cook pancakes for you, with yummy syrup and everything.
(You might want to keep a watch on me, though, just to avoid the syrup ending up on your feet and the pancakes on your forehead.)
Finally, on a more mundane level, since I don't believe that anyone actually reads this stuff, I make this offer: I'll give five bucks to the first person who contacts me and asks for it -- and, believe me, right now five bucks might as well be five hundred, so this is no trivial offer.