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Putting Hysterics Into Proportion: The Alleged Threat of the Rise of White Racism

shooting-fascists

I have many other things I’d rather be writing about, but the ‘left-wing’ hysterics about so called white nationalists on the rise thanks to Trump is something that I feel is necessary to talk about.  Necessary, because if these hysterics are not shown definitively to be discredited, there is no doubt in my mind that there will be violence–from the left.  This violence will increase in scale and scope quite a long ways before your average liberal says, “Ah, well, that was a tad too far, even for me.”  In the meantime, the idea is that “racists” deserve no quarter, and so no quarter will be given.  I have helpfully included a meme to the right that is like so many others that I’ve seen that I think captures the mentality perfectly.

The term ‘left’ is unfortunate, but necessary. I am trying to transition towards descriptions that are more accurate.  Namely, the divide is between people who have views that correlate with reality, and those that don’t.  (You can have people on the ‘right’ with unreal views, too.  My concern is only for that which is real.)  It is just not the reality that the vast majority of Americans who voted for Trump are ‘bigots.’

So, lets start with today’s trending media smear, the ‘excerpted’ video of the annual conference of the National Policy Institute.   Let’s bear in mind that this video is heavily excerpted.  Don’t we recall all the counter arguments to the Veritas folks making exactly this charge?  Ought we not be skeptical of such ‘heavily edited’ videos?  Moreover, isn’t it obvious now that the media itself can’t be trusted?   Why should we believe anything that Daniel Lombroso and Yoni Appelbaum of The Atlantic say?  I know I don’t.  For all we know, Spencer began his speech with the statement, “And now let us present the caricature that the media has of us… feel free to play along…”

And I saw several things in that video that seemed to war against the narrative that their article was trying to make.  Their own article says, “For most of the day, a parade of speakers discussed their ideology in relatively anodyne terms, putting a presentable face on their agenda.” Why would they deviate now?  According to the article, because ‘most journalists’ had left.

First of all, are we really to believe that “most journalists” left after dinner?  That in itself seems hard to believe.  More importantly, would Spencer have known that the journalists left?  Would Spencer have not noticed, in such a small gathering, the presence of the Atlantic writers?  That is also hard to believe.  Second of all, from what context we are given, many of Spencer’s incendiary remarks were directed at the media.  And frankly, the media deserves every arrow that it takes at this point.  But, unless someone is paying close attention, because of how the video is portrayed, the casual listener would think these incendiary remarks were directed at blacks.  (This is why you shouldn’t trust the media.)

Finally, at the end of the video, there is a truly strange spectacle of a guy running over and patting a guy on the back for doing the ‘hail’ gesture.  [2:56]  The impression I got from this scene is that the first person considers all their arm raising to be new, somehow, and wants to encourage others doing something that… wait for it… they had never done before.  As in, this is an extremely rare and singular event.  Maybe my impression is not correct.  Maybe these are more members of the Democrat hit machine trying to manipulate the scene, such as what Veritas uncovered.  It is not out of the realm of possibility.

But maybe the video genuinely portrays what it is said to portray.  Let’s suppose, for a moment, that it was.

According to the Atlantic’s own article, there were about 200 attendees at this event.  TWO HUNDRED.  Many of them…. the media.  I took the liberty of looking at the NPI’s blog to see if they had a response, and I found this article linked to a Southern Poverty Law Center (another organization with suspect integrity) write up which says that there were only 120 people present at the 2015 event.  NPI protested that “the actual tally was 172.”

So, I suppose that we could say that the Trump election gave NPI a massive boost of support… almost a 15% increase in their numbers!  Oh, the calamity!  Yes, that’s right… they sky-rocketed from about 175 to… TWO HUNDRED.  (Again, many of these, the media itself.)

As of this writing, Trump has received about 61,900,000 votes.

Let’s play a game.

Is 200 bigger or smaller than 62 million?  Someone help me work it out with Common Core math, because this one is just tooooooo hard.   Maybe if we line it up…

 

61,900,000
200

I might be an unedumated whit Chrestian mail, but my distinct impression is that 200 is not just a smaller number, but a much, much, much, much smaller number.  My trusty calculator says that 200 is .0000032 of the 62 million that cast their vote for Trump.

And for some reason, this video is what is trending on my Facebook news feed?  This video is what greeted me on Matt Laur’s show this morning?  WHY DO WE GIVE A RAT’S ASS WHAT A SCANT TWO HUNDRED PEOPLE BELIEVE?  Is THIS supposed to drive NATIONAL POLICY and/or SENTIMENT?  ARE YOU INSANE?  …….. GROW UP.

62,000,000…. big.  200…. little.  62,000,000 BIG.  200…. little.

BIG

little

Challenging concepts, apparently. Maybe if I get a PhD I’ll be able to work it out on my own.

I have argued frequently over the years that one of the clearest signs that a person has lost all ability to reason and employ logic is their inability to keep things in proportion.  In my recent post on real vs. unreality, I mentioned it again.

This Richard Spencer video is one of the best examples that I’ve seen in a long time.

But wait!  There is more!

After the election, a friend sent me a note expressing real concern.  Basically:  “The KKK is marching again!”  There was a link to an article like this one.

Now, the first thing of interest here was the belief that the Trump election signals some kind of new confidence among the KKK to march.  I knew that this was not true.  But why did this person think that?  The media, that’s why.  In point of fact, a simple Google search shows that the KKK has been marching for a loooooong time.  I went to Google and randomly chose a year.  Search term:  KKK Rally 1998.  I got this result.  Pick a year, any year, and you will see that the KKK has never been afraid to march.  They have never gone away.

So, we see in this example one more case where the media has painted a false picture.  By not making much of KKK activity prior to the election and choosing to report on KKK activity after the election, a clear impression was given.  A false one.

And how many people are in the KKK, anyway?

SPLC says: 

“Today, the Center estimates that there are between 5,000 and 8,000 Klan members, split among dozens of different – and often warring – organizations that use the Klan name.”

Heck, lets call it 20,000 members.  And let’s say that all 20,000 of them voted for Trump.  Once again, we’re dealing with numbers, and it is soooooo hard to work with large numbers, it makes our tiny brains work overtime.  When billions flummox us, that must be why when the national debt is climbing past 20 trillion, some 63,500,000 people think that’s ‘no big deal.’  “More status quo, please!”

So, getting out my trust calculator again… it turns out that 20,000 isn’t that much larger than 200 was, on a percentage basis:  .00032

.00032 of the electorate are die hard white supremacists.  What with my tiny brain and all, that seems pretty small, pretty inconsequential.  Maybe I can get me one of dem der expeerts to ecksplain it to me.  I’m sure The Atlantic is chock full of folks who could do it for me.

Mind you, there is no reason to believe that this .00032 votes uniformly Republican.  Although I suspect that they probably did vote for Trump in larger numbers than normal, historically they have had a great affinity for the Democrats.  Which makes sense, of course, when you realize that the KKK has, historically speaking, been populated primarily by Democrats.  It was founded by Democrats, after all.  (Praise God for primary sources!)

BUT WAIT!  THERE IS EVEN MORE!

The presence of even 20,200 genuine white supremacists in our midst is less than ideal, but the amount of harm that they can do as private citizens is radically limited, especially if their fellow Americans are firm believers in the second amendment.  A far more worrisome trend is the number of white supremacists who are in political office.  Remember, friends, David Duke endorsed Trump!  And that means if YOU voted for Trump, too, YOU ARE A RACIST, TOO! [see :30-45]

So, it just so happens that David Duke ran for election this year in the ‘deep south,’ that bastion of bigotry.   Consider how horrible we must feel as a nation that as of now, a US Senator from Louisiana is a former leader in the KKK.  We’ve sunk so low as a nation!  Sooooooooooooooo loooooooooooooooooow.

Waitasec.  He didn’t win.   He didn’t win?!?!?!?  But with all this talk about David Duke endorsing Trump as if that meant something, I can only assume that he did exceedingly well in his election?  Funny, the media told me all about Trump’s tenuous relationship with Duke (ie, its non-existent) but failed to mention that Duke not only did not win the election, but he was seventh in the list, pulling just 3% of the votes.  SEVENTH.

If we add his 58,581 votes to the 20,200 above… *fetching trusty calculator* … that’s 78,781 nasty people (assuming of course that all of them are actually white supremacists and that they all voted for Trump).  That is .0012727 share of Trump’s nearly 62 million votes.

Woe is me!  The sky is falling!  Dear Jesus (pardon the racist intonation), save us all!

Just how many white supremacists have political office in the United States?

As near as I can tell, that number is 0.  As in ZERO, Jim.

(That calculation is based on the assumption that the extremely biased SPLC would gleefully report every example that existed… if it could point to even one.  Readers are free to point me to examples, if they like, and I’ll increase the tally as necessary.)

So, basically, not only is it the case that the number of Trump-supporting racists extremely low, where they did stand for election, they were repudiated by… ironically…. Trump-supporting racists.  In Duke’s case, 1,074,895 (the sum of every vote cast for a Republican in Louisiana above Duke) effectively told him to go to hell.  Presumably, this 1,074,895  also voted for Trump in very large numbers, and yet they did not vote for Duke.  ‘Inexplicably,’ the media didn’t think to mention that.

And the same situation exists throughout the entire country.

One can understand, then, when the unrealists try to paint all of the ‘alt right’ as racists, and howl with outrage that someone like Steve Bannon is going to be as prominent as he is in Trump’s election, many of us just don’t take them seriously.  Their perspectives are totally skewed.  They have been utterly discredited.  It is highly unlikely that Bannon is actually a ‘white supremacist.’  The ‘alt right’, insofar as it has any substantial support of ‘whites’ seems, as near as I can tell, to be only the flip side of the same kind of beliefs and rhetoric we see among gays, blacks, and women.  That is to say, these groups already engage heavily in ‘identity politics’ but no one for that reason thinks that THEY are racist bigots.  I, and many of my peers utterly reject ‘identity politics’ completely, and aren’t particularly happy to see it emerge within the ‘right.’  But that’s only because we don’t want to see the Republicans pick up the same attitudes and methods that are already welcomed and advanced in the Democrat Party.

So, if the vast majority of us on the ‘right’ (in this case, those aligned with reality), do not take this hysteria seriously on the merits, why am I writing this at all?

Simple self-defense.

There is no question in my mind that if the ‘left’ continues to paint 62,000,000 Americans as racists bigots, and try to malign the ‘alt right’ through false accusations, two things are going to occur.  In the first place, by refusing yet again to acknowledge the legitimate concerns raised by Trump voters (eg, failing to recognize the difference between immigration and illegal immigration), you’re going to actually get even MORE people that gravitate towards the ‘alt right’ perspective, and yes, the NPI will probably sky rocket from 200 attendees at their convention to 225 in 2017.

So bully for you, you nits.  You’re creating the very phenomena you say you are opposed to.  Bravo!  Well done, Oh Ye Smartest People Ever To Have Existed!

In the second place, people on the ‘left’ are, literally, going to start shooting.  As in, real guns.  At real people.

Because their grandfathers didn’t support fascists.  They shot them.

Mark my words.

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48 Responses to Putting Hysterics Into Proportion: The Alleged Threat of the Rise of White Racism

  1. I confess my ignorance of the face pictured and quote. The face is painfully familiar, yet escapes me.

  2. I’m having a bit of trouble with your reasoning, Tony. We’ve been discussing stuff for quite a while now, and I’ve always had a strong regard for your considered views and your intellect.

    I am struggling, therefore, to work out how an hypothesis stating that Trump’s rise has emboldened white supremacists is negated by the fact that an alt-right circle jerk only had 200 attendees.

    Can you elaborate…?

  3. In the second place, people on the ‘left’ are, literally, going to start shooting. As in, real guns. At real people.</blockquote?

    Except that it's typically liberals who are in favour of more stringent gun controls.

  4. “I’ve always had a strong regard for your considered views and your intellect.”

    Flattery will get you everywhere.

    “I am struggling, therefore, to work out how an hypothesis stating that Trump’s rise has emboldened white supremacists is negated by the fact that an alt-right circle jerk only had 200 attendees.”

    Well, that’s not the hypothesis, is it?

    Not being in the United States, perhaps you are not privy to the smear campaign that is presently under way. Against Trump, yes. But also against all who voted for him. And, of course, all this is just an extension of the smear campaign that I have witnessed day in and day out every since I ‘woke up’, which insists that all of a ‘conservative’ slant are racists–even the blacks like Condoleezza Rice, Clarence Thomas, Ben Carson, etc.

    This video was in the original article. I didn’t emphasize it, but I think it well describes the ‘smear’:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dwg55plZQbA [see :30-45]

    So, perhaps I am to blame for not spelling out the ‘hypothesis,’ but I do think that for most of my American readers, the present context does make it obvious exactly what I’m attacking.

    “Except that it’s typically liberals who are in favour of more stringent gun controls.”

    Well, its like we always say. The only people who obey gun laws are the law abiding. 🙂 😉

  5. I will revise my comments somewhat. While I continue to stand by my assertion that the overall context is that every Trump voter is a racist, I think its still fair to call out the main thrust, which, as you put it was:

    “an hypothesis stating that Trump’s rise has emboldened white supremacists is negated by the fact that an alt-right circle jerk only had 200 attendees.”

    Let’s think about that hypothesis, in the context of the foregoing. Ask yourself, why do we care? If the KKK gets a bump from 10,000 to 10,500 or the NPI surges to 225 why is this suddenly national news?

    In any sane universe, this does not at all justify national attention. It is doubtful it justifies attention at the state level. Its hardly even a blip at the county level. If you think about the NPI getting an additional 25 members, spread out over 50 states, the practical import is absolutely negligible. It means that one household out of every 2 states has suddenly become ’emboldened’ by Trump’s win.

    So why is it national news at all? One reason, and one reason only: its part of a narrative by progressives, liberals, and Democrats to try to hang this ‘rise’ on Trump’s shoulders, and every other American who voted for him. That’s all. That’s it. There is nothing else.

    Taking the hypothesis as baldly as you put it… here is again: “an hypothesis stating that Trump’s rise has emboldened white supremacists” … means, basically, that yea, maybe some white supremacists might feel a little encouraged about a Trump win, but the group we’re talking about is so minuscule, among rational people, its virtually a non-story. Maybe if you were the leader of a gang task force or something and suddenly 2 new families have thrown in with the local white nationalist biker group, that’s something.

    As fodder for national concern?

    Absurd.

    And transparent. We know what’s really going on.

    Incidentally, I read an article where it was rumored that there were as many journalists at the NPI event as there were members of the NPI. (Which probably means that the media are racists–a proposition I am very ready to consider!) So, this 200 number might need to be reduced to a scant 100.

    If I come across the article I’ll link it.

  6. As near as I can tell, that number is 0. As in ZERO, Jim.

    Firstly, you spelled “Tim” wrong.

    Secondly, David Duke served in the Louisiana House of Reps. I’m sure there are other white supremacists, both currently and formerly serving, in the US governmental machine. Obviously it’s still going to be a low number, since not only are white supremacists very much a minority in your fine land (as you rightly point out), but even if there were white supremacists elected, they’re kind of unlikely to make their position known explicitly. You know, on account of people on both sides of the spectrum generally thinking they’re massive wankers. How many elected officials have come out as gay? Or as filthy, dirty, pinko Commies? 🙂

    Thirdly, the fact that even one white supremacist can get elected is a fairly big deal. Perhaps it is a quirk of your electoral process… in Australia we have this weird preferencing system which allows small parties that no one votes for to win seats. Which is why my own country can elect four frikken senators from Pauline Hanson’s One Nation party. I invite you to google “Pauline Hanson please explain” to gain an insight into that particular Antipodean embarrassment. But regardless… the fact that the state of Louisiana managed to elect a former Imperial Wizard of the Ku Klux Klan actually says a lot.

    But anywho…

    So why is it national news at all?

    I can’t speak for the media, but my thinking is it goes something like this:
    1. Richard Spencer coined the term “alt-right”
    2. The alt-right was one of the main driving forces of Trump’s election
    3. Spencer is a white nationalist / supremacist who held a meeting where people openly gave fascist / Nazi salutes
    4. Therefore big deal

    Note that I am not saying I agree with any of the above. To be honest I haven’t looked into it too much. I just think that that’s where the media is coming from. Also, they want to sell papers / make click-bait.

    Now… to the two things that I think are the really interesting points of conversation here.

    1 – Are all Trump supporters racist?
    2 – Does it matter that white supremacists are emboldened by a Trump win?

    I started typing out my own answer for this, but then I got lazy and googled and found this.
    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/verna-myers/if-you-voted-for-trump-an_b_13063298.html

    I confess to only skimming it, but I think it sums up my position fairly well.

  7. Dude, you wrote a whole blog freaking out about Annalise Nielsen – an individual woman who you apparently feel demonstrates something significant about ALL liberals. Let me check, is ONE person more or less than 64,000,000?

    Proportionality?

  8. I did no such thing. You are crazy.

    You know as well as I do I could easily find dozens, if not hundreds, of other examples. Poor Annalise was representative. Unfortunately, she probably stands in for millions.

  9. “Or as filthy, dirty, pinko Commies?”

    Evidently, you have not become acquainted with the current mayor of New York City.

    “Firstly, you spelled “Tim” wrong.”

    Damn it, Jim. I’m a doctor, not a spell checker!

    “I confess to only skimming it, but I think it sums up my position fairly well.”

    I hope you did not think that I considered the SPLC a reliable, credible source. I note that your linked article wants me to take it seriously. I don’t.

    I get what you are saying. All I can say, I guess, is that I reject the premise that Vern? Myers is peddling. Actually, its sort of ties in with why I don’t consider the SPLC to be reliable: to race-mongerers, everything is about race. They see racists behind every tree and under every rock. But a vast number of Americans just don’t give a lick about race. And those people voted for Trump.

    Doubling down on the bigotry card is not going to have the result that you want. First of all, the people you guys keep calling bigots aren’t actually bigots. Second of all, doing so breeds actual bigotry–I mean, among liberals. In the words of a liberal I saw on Facebook: “I hate people who hate.” No, she did not see the contradiction. Yes, she believes that violence is justified against people who hate.

    No, she does not see the contradiction.

    I don’t see this ending well.

  10. How does a blog over a clear example of a particularly extreme, but consistent, application of liberal ideas of ‘equality and tolerance’ that we see in similar crusades over who can use which bathrooms, or how the team name ‘Redskins’ needs to be changed, or blaming a flag over racial violence, etc. compare with national news coverage?

    Proportionally?

  11. Sorry EB, can you rephrase your question? I’ve read it several times and I’m not sure what you’re asking. (not being funny)

    And sorry, Tony… is Verna Myers part of the SPLC…?

  12. DB called out SJ for criticizing the national media for their propping up the KKK as a serious issue, by comparing it to his recent blog over a single liberal’s insanity as an example of a more general trend.

    So I ask how a private citizen’s blog compares to the national media?

  13. No, but she cited it in her article.

    I know I did, too, but only to immunize myself from liberal nit-picking on my sources.

  14. …a vast number of Americans just don’t give a lick about race.

    Can you see that such an attitude can be interpreted as, and actually be, racist?

    So I ask how a private citizen’s blog compares to the national media?

    SJ I think EB is saying your blog doesn’t have a national readership. The nerve!

  15. “Can you see that such an attitude can be interpreted as, and actually be, racist?”

    Sure. Can you see that such an interpretation would be regarded as evidence of lunacy, idiocy, stupidity, and actually, racism?

    Please see:

    http://sntjohnny.com/front/not-us-vs-them-its-reality-vs-unreality/2968.html

  16. That’s a little dismissive, SJ.

    “Not giving a lick about race” can easily be interpreted as “Not caring about the legitimate concerns of non-whites”. I personally think “race” is a stupid concept. We’re all human, there is only one race. But I recognise that I have a much better time of it because of my skin colour.

    Surely you can’t disagree with that…?

  17. But are they legitimate concerns? Or, are they, in fact, manufactured concerns?

    Look. When I say “people are not giving a lick” I mean that they are ‘color blind’ in the very sense that Martin Luther King Jr. longed for. With some exceptions, this is precisely the way conservatives view the world, especially Christian conservatives. The only people seeing color are liberals and progressives.

    To a hammer, everything is a nail.

    If anything, liberals are the racists. I don’t say that lightly. I really mean it. Liberals don’t think that blacks are able to manage their own affairs–the government must come to their assistance. Liberals don’t think that blacks are capable of succeeding on their own–unless white liberals give them a hand, blacks will fail. Liberals don’t think that black women will be able to make smart choices regarding sexual behavior, which is why they advocate for setting up abortion clinics in greater number in poor communities–‘code’ for BLACK communities.

    Conservatives (especially Christian ones) don’t pay lip service to the idea that there is only one race. We really mean it.

    Which means that we believe that blacks are perfectly able to succeed without a bunch of white ‘experts’ coming along to wipe their butts for them. We believe that liberals sabotage and undermine the dignity of black people by depriving them of their perfectly human desire to stand on their own two feet and have pride in their own achievements. We believe that black people are as obligated to own up to the consequences of their personal behaviors as anyone else, because, well, they aren’t children to be coddled. Like the rest of us, they don’t get a free pass to murder their own offspring just because they don’t have the resources that others do.

    Certainly, some liberals were sincere when they endeavored to help blacks back in the 1960s and 1970s, establishing the welfare state–which just so happened to completely obliterate the black family, making a serious problem even worse. (Google Moynihan’s report on the black family.)

    The ‘soft bigotry of low expectations’ is, in my humble opinion, as pernicious as any racist attitudes, words, or actions as any white supremacist group. There is no KKK group that has done as much damage to the black community as white liberals heaped upon them through the Great Society.

    Honestly, its a very simple thing.

    If birth control is such an economically liberating thing, then why is it that despite extremely high abortion rates within the black community, the black community remains impoverished?

    If welfare is such a compassionate thing, why is it that decades later, generation after generation after generation within the black community remains on it?

    Why is it that after 50 years of liberal advocating for blacks (after all, liberals tend to be in charge of the cities were blacks presently live in disproportionate numbers–such as Baltimore. Or Ferguson.) blacks are no better than they were before LBJ began throwing billions of dollars at the ‘problem.’

    And just who got that money, anyway?

    Not the blacks. Not the conservatives. Who, then?

    After 50 years of such policies, I think it is fair to ask exactly who the racists are.

    Hint: it ain’t the white Christian male Republicans. They tended to oppose all of the above. Not because they are racists, but because they are against soul-crushing measures that have the exact opposite effect of what they are supposed to accomplish.

    So you see, what I care about is REALITY. Even if you thought I was being “a little dismissive”, there is no denying that the harm in being dismissive pales in comparison to the harm inflicted on the black community by those who are fully engaged in identity politics and view every. little. thing. in racial terms.

    MLK Jr wanted a world where people would not be judged by the color of their skin. The only people judging people by the color of their skin is LIBERALS.

    Doesn’t that make them the racists?

  18. Not sure where to begin with that, Tony.

    In a post where your chief complaint is that liberals are labelling “every Trump voter [as] a racist”, you decide to call every liberal a racist instead.

    You then suggest that white, Christian Republicans are the sole champions of African-American welfare, while simultaneously dismissing their grievances as “manufactured concerns”.

    You dismiss birth control as worthless, because the “black community remains impoverished”, which not only seems to suggest that children are the sole source of poverty, but ignores the fact that conservatives do everything the can to deny access, and fails to account for what what would happen if access to birth control was removed completely.

    Ditto for welfare.

    Somehow, you’ve engineered a situation where you’re not only able to fight tooth and nail against birth control and welfare, to the point where the actual programs are mere shadows of those intended, but you then find yourselves in the happy position of being able to decry the programs as ineffective.

    It’s a little bit like a solider asking for a rifle. You guys give him a paperclip and a tuba instead, but then berate him for getting shot.

    That’s just mean.

  19. “In a post where your chief complaint is that liberals are labelling “every Trump voter [as] a racist”, you decide to call every liberal a racist instead.”

    Actually, I said, “if anything.”

    “You then suggest that white, Christian Republicans are the sole champions of African-American welfare,”

    I did no such thing. First of all, I put my emphasis on Christian conservatives, not Republicans. Secondly, I certainly didn’t say ‘sole.’ Thirdly, and I’m honestly a little annoyed that I have to repeat this, I pointed out that Christian conservatives actually hold a doctrine that positively wars against racism. “Conservatives (especially Christian ones) don’t pay lip service to the idea that there is only one race. We really mean it.”

    “while simultaneously dismissing their grievances as “manufactured concerns”.

    Again, an overstatement on your part. Let’s back up. I said: “…a vast number of Americans just don’t give a lick about race.” You said this is racist, or at least could be perceived as racist. I pointed out that my statement only reflects MLKjr’s statement about being color blind. That idea–that somehow taking every human simply as a fellow human is a racist rejection of legitimate concerns–is a complete fabrication. It is inventing racism where there is no racism. Engaging in such libel is BAD.

    “You dismiss birth control as worthless, because the “black community remains impoverished”, which not only seems to suggest that children are the sole source of poverty,”

    Once again, the invocation of the word ‘sole.’ I said no such thing. But it is in fact the liberal argument poverty is intimately tied to family size, family spacing etc. Watch! You are about to make this argument yourself!

    “but ignores the fact that conservatives do everything the can to deny access,”

    False.

    Conservatives oppose subsidizing access from tax dollars, for a variety of reasons. However, SCOTUS ensured (Griswold vs. CT) that there isn’t anything a state can do to prevent access to birth control. That was like, 50 years ago.

    Your statement here is basically a lie that liberals tell themselves and use as a propaganda weapon. Its right up there with ‘conservatives are against immigrants,’ omitting that tiny little word, ‘illegal.’

    “and fails to account for what what would happen if access to birth control was removed completely.”

    And there you go. You made the argument yourself. 😉

    No one is talking about depriving anyone of birth control. Anyone can go buy a box of condoms from their local Walmart for $5. You find me a woman who ‘can’t afford’ the ‘pill’ and I’ll show you a woman who almost certainly has cable internet and television, a flat screen TV, a cell phone with an $80/mo plan which costs $300 to begin with.

    Explain to me why it is the case that when a person who can afford these things chooses not to buy condoms, I have to pay for them myself. Explain to me why it is the case that when a person who can afford these things, chooses not to to use them and has their behavior result in a pregnancy, I now have to pay for their abortion.

    Dumb. Just plain dumb.

    (As for the people who can’t afford these amenities, I will speak to that below, when I talk about whether or not people have been lifted out of poverty on account of government subsidized ‘family planning.’)

    “the point where the actual programs are mere shadows of those intended, but you then find yourselves in the happy position of being able to decry the programs as ineffective.”

    No clause of this paragraph corresponds to reality, at least in America. The idea of ‘mere shadows of those intended’ is a complete farce. We know, of course, that a liberal ‘intends’ to tax a society forever, regardless of whether or not it obliterates their country. So, that part is just a given, and goes without saying. But the overall spinelessness of the GOP has allowed family planning programs to proceed almost unabated until recently. For example, there was a recent attempt to defund Planned Parenthood, but it failed. PP still got their money.

    If you count up all the Federal dollars allocated for Title X (family planning) it amounts to over EIGHT BILLION DOLLARS since it was passed in the early 1970s. But if you look at it line by line:

    https://web.archive.org/web/20160830230240/http://www.hhs.gov/opa/title-x-family-planning/title-x-policies/title-x-funding-history/index.html

    you will see that funding for Title X has gone up almost every single year, whether a Republican was in the White House or a Democrat was.

    That’s just Title X. There are many other agencies that have money available for such things too, and they don’t suffer for funds, either. It is precisely the Christian conservative’s complaint that for all their complaining, their tax dollars keep funding family planning–even with Republicans in power.

    Notwithstanding the caveat above (re: liberalism’s ‘intent’ to tax-tax-tax-tax), family planning at the Federal level is fully funded, my friend. Fully funded. Although, I am hoping that will finally change. We’ll see.

    But this now brings us round to the clause, “decry the programs as ineffective.”

    Well, obviously, in reality, if its “ineffective,” its not for lack of funding. If you will once again peruse the link above, you will see that Title X funding has continued to skyrocket even in George W Bush’s tenure, and of course in Obama’s. Between the two, they account for 16 years.

    In the real world, has poverty actually diminished? Is the black community better today than it was in 2000? Or 1970?

    Given that you would have me put hyperventilate at even the most microscopic ‘legitimate concern’ expressed (according to you, anyway) by the black community, that suggests to me that you don’t think they are better off.

    Don’t you think that’s a little strange?

    Did you know that a recent report showed that there were more black children aborted than born in New York City?

    http://www.politifact.com/texas/statements/2015/nov/25/cynthia-meyer/cynthia-meyer-says-more-black-babies-are-aborted-n/

    So, Tim, the black community in NYC ought to be one of the most thriving communities on the planet, no? I mean, they have so fully availed themselves of ‘family planning’ that they literally kill more of their unborn than are born. From the point of view of a community ‘accepting’ birth control, its hard to conceive of acceptance rates higher than that! So, are they thriving? Is their community better off than a community where they give birth to more babies than they abort?

    The idea that ultra-liberal NYC, in an ultra-liberal state like NY, fully funded by a fully Democrat Federal government (2008-2010) which has remained fully funded, has a family planning program that is a ‘mere shadow of those intended’ is asinine. (You know something about asinine, right? 😉 )

    The idea that conservatives have been able to block access in NY is silliness beyond comprehension.

    And yet we are left with reality: the blacks in NY are as poor as ever while liberals have had full rein to enact their ‘compassionate’ programs, decade over decade.

    Which leaves us again contemplating the world as it really is. It is a world where liberals decry racism, but nonetheless black communities that have been ‘helped’ by them are left, for all intents and purposes just as we would expect them to be if actual racists had imposed their policies on those communities.

    In the meantime, conservatives are accused of being racists, but they are the ones that are advocating for things that would actually give blacks the same level of prosperity (or at least, the same level of opportunities) as whites. And we know that these policies and ideologies result in prosperity, and we know that white Americans aren’t wealthy because the government gave them a bunch of birth control pills!

    So, wouldn’t the actually compassionate approach be to call on people to engage the world in a manner known to result more usually in prosperity rather than in a manner that has, after almost 60 years (two full generations!) not gotten them any further than when they started?

    I absolutely reject your characterization of my view as even remotely racist. Not only do I desire peace and prosperity for all, including blacks, but all real-world data shows that my proposals would actually deliver on that desire. In the meantime, all real-world data shows that YOUR proposals would keep the black community in the exact same situation that they are today, for ANOTHER 60 years.

    And I AM THE RACIST?

    I think not.

  20. Appealing to the “longing” of Martin Luther King Jr for a ‘color blind’ society, as a way of legitimising conservative views on race, is blatantly ahistorical. The dishonest appropriation by the Right of someone who in his lifetime was a champion of government action to redress the structural causes of injustice and inequality has been going on for a while, but don’t let this precedent of partisan falsification deceive you. There is a huge amount of easily accessible documentation showing MLK’s commitment to social “uplift” services, his support for universal family planning access, his dismay at the fanaticism of the “radical right” and it’s alliance with segregationists, his fearless campaign for political changes which would necessitate government intervention to engineer greater fairness in housing, education, voting, employment, etc. The Reverend Jerry Falwell (one of your much-vaunted totally-not-racist enthusiastic-segregationist White Christian Male Republicans) excoriated King for having “well-known left-wing associations” and accused him of fomenting violence and bloodshed. But sure, King would totally agree with modern conservatives about race!

    If you recall, MLK had a dream that “one day” his children would live in a nation where they would be judged not by the colour of their skin but by the content of their character. That seems to be the beginning and the end of the speech as conservatives remember it, but I would encourage you to look up the full text. He also spoke of poverty, police brutality, discrimination and disenfranchisement, and the need for collective and government action to set right these wrongs, which were disproportionately levelled against African Americans. Acting as if he intended this to be a prescription for how to overcome racial disparities, rather than an aspiration for how life would be once they were, is inconsistent with almost everything else that he ever said.

    “The only people seeing color are liberals and progressives.”

    Then you agree that Martin Luther King Jr was a liberal progressive? He did accept a Margaret Sanger award, after all. You should probably stop quoting him, lest you be implicated by association in the Liberal Culture of Death! 🙂

    Being “blind” to colour is also a helpful way of making yourself blind to the consequences of colour. Martin Luther King Jr saw and spoke about the consequences of poverty – for both Blacks and Whites – in birth rates, crime rates, employment, etc. Notwithstanding your quoting of him, we might possibly agree that he was a liberal, but I can’t see you arguing that he was a white one. This alone exposes the fiction that it is only white liberals who advocate for the sort of policies you object to – the picture is much more mixed than that. If anything, it is pretty much only white conservatives who oppose them.

    Paternalism and the creation of dependence are genuine challenges that liberals and leftists must strive avoid. You might reflect on what YOUR challenge is in this situation, especially as an occasional advocate of a US political party whose membership is only 2% African American (African Americans account for 22% of Democratic party membership) and has only two house representatives (Democrats have 44). What is your explanation for this striking disparity in the demographics of what you describe as the non-racist US political party?

    Your analysis of the outcomes of liberal policies for the Black community was enlightening, if only because I was not aware that still being required fifty years on was the agreed-upon standard for considering it a particular social programme to be an utter failure. How long has Christianity been around for again?

    The link you provided on the ratio of children born and aborted in New York was interesting. Shocking numbers, no doubt, but did you note the comparison with Texan cities? In Texas, with far greater restrictions on the availability of abortion services, abortion rates are obviously much lower. If what you say is true (i.e. if a lack of access to abortion and family planning would “actually give blacks the same level of prosperity/opportunity as whites”), shouldn’t this have had a positive effect on the economic situation of African Americans in Texas? As far as I can tell, African-American poverty rates are about the same in Texas and New York.

  21. “Appealing to the “longing” of Martin Luther King Jr for a ‘color blind’ society, as a way of legitimising conservative views on race, is blatantly ahistorical.”

    So says you. I’m not sure its worth belaboring, either. I believe you have completely failed to grasp the real history of the civil rights movement, and you think the same of me. Probably the best thing is for the ‘lurker’ to do some investigating of himself. You and I can pick up this battle some other time. 🙂

    But I did stumble upon a very interesting refutation of your rose-colored portrayal of liberal civil rights advocacy in Dinesh D’Souza’s “Hillary’s America.”

    http://hillarysamericathemovie.com/evidence/

    It is all quite good, and accurate in every place where the movie’s statements touched on my own area of research, but his rebuttal of your constant statements about Democrats switching to the Republicans (“The Big Switch” at that link) receives the most succinct and straight up refutation I’ve seen. Maybe you can find that excerpt online. (I gave a brief google search and failed, although I found several places where he talked more about it. Maybe you can find it there.)

    Very good stuff.

    “The Reverend Jerry Falwell (one of your much-vaunted totally-not-racist enthusiastic-segregationist White Christian Male Republicans)”

    I have never said anything positive about Falwell. Just so you know.

    “Acting as if he intended this to be a prescription for how to overcome racial disparities,”

    You are moving the goal posts. I never said that it was a prescription. I am responding to the accusation that we (in particular, Christian conservatives) are racists. Well, WE already have this perspective. It is, as I said, the liberals and progressives who can’t get past skin color and genitalia.

    “Being “blind” to colour is also a helpful way of making yourself blind to the consequences of colour.”

    Spoken like someone who will, with nothing more than the best intentions, achieve the opposite of them for another two generations.

    “we might possibly agree that he was a liberal,”

    An interesting tact to take, since he was actually a Republican.

    “Paternalism and the creation of dependence are genuine challenges that liberals and leftists must strive avoid.”

    Maybe in another 60 years you’ll have the problem licked.

    “What is your explanation for this striking disparity in the demographics of what you describe as the non-racist US political party?”

    I thought D’Souza presented it well.

    “How long has Christianity been around for again?”

    Christianity is not a social program.

  22. “If what you say is true (i.e. if a lack of access to abortion and family planning would “actually give blacks the same level of prosperity/opportunity as whites”),”

    That’s not at all what I said. In fact, I went out of my way to point out that there are no restrictions on access. Griswold vs. CT put a stop to that. Condoms won’t cost you any more than a meal at McDonalds, and the ‘pill’ not much more. Even very poor people can afford birth control. For those who can’t, we return again to our example from NYC…

    “As far as I can tell, African-American poverty rates are about the same in Texas and New York.”

    Which should tell you that the insistence that “family planning” lifts people out of poverty is completely false. We know what things lift people out of poverty, and it ain’t birth control. If YOU were right, then since NYC does not have the same “lack of access” issues that Texas has, the poverty rates in NY would be much LOWER than in Texas.

    In short, your example undermines your own argument, and gives weight to mine.

    The fact that they are roughly the same proves that it is not family size and spacing that are the primary determinants.*

    *I say that, because if I don’t, Tim will go wild with the word ‘sole’ again. I certainly believe that family dynamics is a factor in health, wealth and prosperity. A FACTOR. But, as a FACTOR, if anything, all the data points towards the best path forward being what we would call ‘traditional marriage.’

    I found this conceded, interestingly, in a recent book by Democrat strategists:

    “Much of that political reaction [that led to Reagan’s election] was inevitable and understandable. Some government programs did waste resources and did little to promote a better society. Welfare, as originally devised, did encourage family break-up; much public housing fostered ghetto crime.” (pg 164, “The Emerging Democratic Majority.”)

    Welfare encourages family break-up? SHOCKER. Takes a real genius, 30 years after the fact, to figure out that in the name of compassion they screwed over a whole population for a whole generation. God save us all from the geniuses!

    Of further interest, they acknowledge what you fight me tooth and nail about–that it was Republicans that led the fight for civil rights. (They obviously have a different take on “The Big Switch.”) And I believe it was in this book that they maintain that, indeed, family size and spacing is the best way to lift people out of poverty. (It would be, like, one example out of a gazillion.)

    If I find the quote, I’ll shoot it to you. Or Tim, who does not seem to know that this is an article of faith among progressives.

  23. Dinesh D’Souza? This is almost as bad as your previous linking of Infowars “journalism”, or dissemination of anti-immigrant enterovirus conspiracy theories.

    He’s the hysterical conservative documentary-maker who was castigating Obama on cable news for destroying “traditional values” just before being himself caught in the act of adultery, right? Tell me, is there ANYONE who is willing to sling mud at Democrats – no matter how falsely or hypocritically – who you will NOT appreciatively reference?

    “I have never said anything positive about Falwell. Just so you know.”

    Have you ever said anything negative about him? Not to my knowledge.

    “I am responding to the accusation that we (in particular, Christian conservatives) are racists.”

    Yes. By, as Tim noted, accusing the other side of being racists instead. Kudos for taking the moral high ground there.

    “An interesting tact to take, since he was actually a Republican.”

    I believe that this is a false statement. You now have a duty to either retract or support it.

    “Christianity is not a social program.”

    True, as a divinely inspired institution it should be held to a much higher standard. Two thousand years, was it? Well overdue to have solved all the world’s problems…

    “If YOU were right, then since NYC does not have the same “lack of access” issues that Texas has, the poverty rates in NY would be much LOWER than in Texas.”

    Well sure, if I believed that birth control alone could lift people out of poverty.

  24. “Dinesh D’Souza? This is almost as bad as your previous linking of Infowars “journalism”, or dissemination of anti-immigrant enterovirus conspiracy theories.”

    This is a logical fallacy. Maybe you know it? See if you can spot it, you being educated in philosophy and all.

    “Tell me, is there ANYONE who is willing to sling mud at Democrats – no matter how falsely or hypocritically – who you will NOT appreciatively reference?”

    Well, gee, DH. When I cite liberal Democrats to support my points, you don’t give that any weight, either, do you? Wasn’t it just like 20 minutes ago that I gave a 2,000 essay on a book by 2 undeniably liberal folks? And what did you say then, when I indicated that the ‘mud’ you accuse me of slinging was in fact slung by them far more than I ever could? You called it confirmation bias.

    Another good reminder of why I call you DH.

    “Yes. By, as Tim noted, accusing the other side of being racists instead. Kudos for taking the moral high ground there.”

    If the shoe fits.

    “I believe that this is a false statement. You now have a duty to either retract or support it.”

    Get off your butt and research it yourself. Then, after you have discovered that once again I am right in my assertions and facts, you may, if you like, apologize.

    “True, as a divinely inspired institution it should be held to a much higher standard. Two thousand years, was it? Well overdue to have solved all the world’s problems…”

    *shrug*

    If you knew anything about Christianity at all, you would know very well that it has solved the world’s problems.

    “Well sure, if I believed that birth control alone could lift people out of poverty.”

    DH, in fine form.

  25. That’s not at all what I said. In fact, I went out of my way to point out that there are no restrictions on access. Griswold vs. CT put a stop to that. Condoms won’t cost you any more than a meal at McDonalds, and the ‘pill’ not much more. Even very poor people can afford birth control. For those who can’t, we return again to our example from NYC…

    Thanks Alex, I’ll take abstinence programs for $100.

    And then anti-abortion laws for $1,000.
    https://www.theguardian.com/world/2016/jun/01/anti-abortion-laws-legislation-clinics-dangerous-methods

    If you knew anything about Christianity at all, you would know very well that it has solved the world’s problems.

    I’m sure that will come as news to my autistic nephew. Although I’m not sure how I’ll be able to tell him, given he can’t speak.

  26. “I have the greatest affection for them [Negroes] but I know they’re not going to make it for 500 years. They aren’t. You know it, too. The Mexicans are a different cup of tea. They have a heritage. At the present time they steal, they’re dishonest, but they do have some concept of family life. They don’t live like a bunch of dogs, which the Negroes do live like.”
    – Renowned Republican and All-Round-Good-Guy, Richard Nixon

    He seems to have been a Quaker, not a Christian, but I think his attitude is typical.

  27. “I’m sure that will come as news to my autistic nephew. Although I’m not sure how I’ll be able to tell him, given he can’t speak.”

    I’m sure that would probably be confusing to those aboard a sinking ship and truly believe the problem that needs to be solved is that the doilies don’t match the table patterns.

  28. “I’m sure that will come as news to my autistic nephew. Although I’m not sure how I’ll be able to tell him, given he can’t speak.”

    And my daughter can’t walk, use the bathroom normally, has a seizure disorder, has had brain surgery, spine surgery, leg surgeries, etc.

    Now don’t you feel like an ass? 😉

    So, Tim. If you knew anything about Christianity, you would know that Christians believe there is one, fundamental problem. And Christ solved it.

    “– Renowned Republican and All-Round-Good-Guy, Richard Nixon”

    Ah, well, I am no fan of Nixon. And I have made that clear. Eg: http://sntjohnny.com/front/china-lifts-one-child-policy-few-know-it-was-instigated-and-applauded-by-western-liberals/2733.html

    I have also denounced both Nixon and GHB, as well as Kissinger. And I have denounced them to Republicans.

    But don’t forget LBJ. He’s as racist as they come. What did he say again?

  29. I’m sure that would probably be confusing to those aboard a sinking ship and truly believe the problem that needs to be solved is that the doilies don’t match the table patterns.

    Far out, EB… your English is going backwards. What on earth are you talking about?

    And my daughter can’t walk, use the bathroom normally, has a seizure disorder, has had brain surgery, spine surgery, leg surgeries, etc.

    And God allowed that to happen. So he’s the ass, not me.

    Either way, the “fundamental problem” you speak of was instigated and perpetuated by God anyway. But perhaps that’s one for Sword of Truth.

    What did he say again?

    Ask not what baseball can do for you…? I dunno… you guys have so many presidents, I get them confused.

  30. “Far out, EB… your English is going backwards. What on earth are you talking about?”

    Like SJ said, if you actually knew anything about Christianity rather than choose to speak from ignorance, you’d understand what we’re talking about.

    Or you know, actually pay attention to what SJ and I ACTUALLY say in discussions, since we’ve gone over this ground in the past numerous times.

  31. “And God allowed that to happen. So he’s the ass, not me.”

    Fine, we’ll leave it there.

    I would just submit to you that you may wish to try to figure out how it is that someone with a daughter like mine still maintained that God has solved the world’s problems. Perhaps I could offer up a reading list?

    “What did he say again?”

    He said (among other things): “I’ll have those niggers voting Democratic for 200 years.”

    This link talks about it and responds to the silly Snopes article in the same manner I would, so to save myself some typing, here ya go: http://www.intellectualtakeout.org/blog/did-lbj-say-ill-have-those-nggers-voting-democratic-200-years

    EB says: “Or you know, actually pay attention to what SJ and I ACTUALLY say in discussions, since we’ve gone over this ground in the past numerous times.”

    And we’re talking about a core Christian belief. It’s a little weird that it would be over anyone’s head who had passing awareness of what Christians believe. But, I guess that’s a lesson to me.

  32. Oh yea, and I forgot to mention… perhaps this quote references LBJ’s strategy for stealing the black vote away from Republicans. Not the idyllic account that liberals have for it, what with forty years of self-congratulations on not being racists like THEM…. but wouldn’t it be funny that the switch was itself a racist maneuver, now obscured by time and confirmation bias? Yes, wouldn’t it be funny?

  33. I don’t think that drawing attention to the lamentable provenance of your sources of late is a logical fallacy. I didn’t say that the information you were providing was necessarily false on that basis – maybe the Sandy Hook truther/birther/Lizardmen conspiracy crowd got it right this time, eh? I was merely publicly regretting the poisoning of a fine mind with partisan lunacy.

    To then call me unreasonable for also objecting when you quote liberals as-if-they-represented-all-liberals strikes me as setting up a false dichotomy, which is actually a logical fallacy. 🙂

    “Get off your butt and research it yourself. Then, after you have discovered that once again I am right in my assertions and facts, you may, if you like, apologise.”

    This should be interesting.

    I am guessing that your extensive research on this topic includes (and possibly concludes with) the statement made by Alveda King (MLK’s niece) for a black republican group. Are you aware that King’s living children described her statement as false? Are you further aware that Alveda later renounced the claim and said that she was wrong to say it, describing MLK as “an independent, who in his own words tended to vote Democrat.”.

    Are you aware that King described the democratic 1964 victory over Barry Goldwater in these terms in his Nobel Prize acceptance speech:

    “The American people revealed great maturity by overwhelmingly rejecting a presidential candidate who had become identified with extremism, racism, and retrogression. The voters of our nation rendered a telling blow to the radical right. They defeated those elements in our society which seek to pit white against Negro and lead the nation down a dangerous Fascist path.”

    I doubt that he was a huge fan of LBJ either, since as you observe he was as racist as they come. However, I am not suggesting that MLK was a democrat. YOU claimed he was a republican, and suggested that I should apologise once I have “discovered” that you are right about this. Perhaps you should now either retract or support your statement, as I previously suggested, and if you discover that I am right I do not demand an apology. A simple acknowledgement will suffice.

    “If you knew anything about Christianity at all, you would know very well that it has solved the world’s problems.”

    That is not a morally serious statement.

  34. I am unable to recall the precise source of my information on MLK’s political affiliation and a quick search of my own just now does not bode well for my assertion so until I turn up that information, I withdraw it. And I apologize for my curt comment.

    “That is not a morally serious statement.”

    I don’t know what that means, ‘morally serious.’ A better question would be, “is it a true assessment about Christianity’s central claims?” It’s about true or false, not good or bad.

  35. That’s alright buddy. 🙂

    As for the other bit, allow me to summarise our “has Christianity solved all the world’s problems?” dispute with one of those allegorical dialogues that you seem to enjoy:

    Dan – “Excuse me, waiter?”
    Tony – “Yes sir?”
    Dan – “I came to this restaurant because it promised to serve me the best steak in the world.”
    Tony – “Yes that is correct. We serve the best steak in the world!”
    Dan – “Right. But you haven’t served me the best steak in the world. What you have given me appears to be a chicken nugget, an apple, a raw fish and half a dead mouse.”
    Tony – “We have served you the best steak in the world sir. You are extremely welcome.”
    Dan – “No, hang on! How can you claim to have served me the best steak in the world when what you have served me is demonstrably not even a steak, let alone the best steak in the world?”
    Tony – “If you knew anything about this restaurant at all, you would know very well that we serve the best steak in the world.”
    Dan – “Dude, WTF?”
    Tony – “If I may suggest, perhaps a better question would be ‘Is serving the best steak in the world one of this restaurant’s central claims?’, sir.”
    Dan – “%$@£&!!!”

    Aaaaaaaand, scene.

  36. How fun.
    *cracks knuckles.*
    Dan – “Excuse me, sir?”
    Tony – “Yes sir?”
    Dan – “I came here because I was told I could find the best steak.”
    Tony – “Then you came to the right place!”
    Dan – “But you are serving me steak!”
    Tony – “Yes, of course. Because its a steakhouse.”
    Dan – “But in my opinion, a ‘steak’ is a patty made from liquefied chicken bits that are reconstituted.”
    Tony – “Well, that may be your definition of a ‘steak’ but you ought to have known before you came into the restaurant that this particular franchise has an entirely different understanding of what a ‘steak’ is.”
    Dan – “Dude, WTF?”
    Tony – “If I may suggest, perhaps you should look at the pictures on the door, which plainly show you what we believe a ‘steak’ is, which happens to be exactly what you have on your plate right now. If you didn’t want what you knew we were serving–and we’ve been serving it as described for 2,000 years–why did you come in and place an order in the first place?”
    Dan – “%%%$#@#$!!!”
    Tony – There’s no pleasing some people!

  37. I did some mental prediction and in anticipation of the next story, let me offer up mine again with some replacements that I hope will be helpful.

    Dan – “Excuse me, sir?”
    Tony – “Yes sir?”
    Dan – “I came here because I was told I could find the solution to the world’s greatest problems.”
    Tony – “Then you came to the right place!”
    Dan – “But the world still has problems!”
    Tony – “Yes, of course. Because the biggest problem is Man’s imminent, eternal, separation from God.”
    Dan – “But in my opinion, the world’s biggest problems are poverty, children born with birth defects, racism, etc.”
    Tony – “Well, that may be your idea of what the world’s biggest problems are, but you ought to have known before you came into the place just what Christians perceive to be the world’s greatest problems.”
    Dan – “Dude, WTF?”
    Tony – “If I may suggest, perhaps you should look at some Christian literature, starting with the Bible, which plainly shows you what we believe the world’s biggest problems are, which happens to be exactly what I have dished out to you just now. Surely you knew this before you walked through the door?”
    Dan – “%%%$#@#$!!!”
    Tony – There’s no pleasing some people!

  38. Oooh this looks like fun.

    Dan: “Excuse me, sir?”
    Tony: “Yes sir?”
    Dan: “I came here because I was told I could find the solution to the world’s problems.”
    Tony: “Then you came to the right place! Because if you knew anything about Christianity at all, you would know that it has solved the world’s problems.”
    Dan: “But the world still has problems.”
    Tony: “Yes, of course. Because the biggest problem is Man’s imminent, eternal, separation from God.”
    Dan: “But you said Christianity has solved the world’s problems. That just sounds like Christianity has only solved one problem, which is of its own making anyway.”
    Tony: “Oh my, you are so right. I feel so silly!”

    Or perhaps…

    Tony: “Yes, of course. Because the biggest problem is Man’s imminent, eternal, separation from God.”
    Tim: “Oh right. And how did that happen?”
    Tony: “Well, god made a man and a woman, gave them no moral compass, planted a special fruit tree that he didn’t want eaten, and then allowed a snake to deceive the woman into eating the fruit and hurting god’s feelings. God then decided to punish every human ever born.”
    Tim: “Oh well that sounds perfectly reasonable. Carry on.”

  39. On a more serious note… I encourage you to look through these photos.
    http://poyi.org/72/R37/first_01.php

    It is at best disingenuous, and at worst, downright callous, to suggest that these problems don’t rate very highly next to the dubious and alleged salvation provided by Jesus.

    I know you are being sincere, but I trust you at least see how it looks from a non-Christian perspective?

  40. Like SJ said, if you actually knew anything about Christianity rather than choose to speak from ignorance, you’d understand what we’re talking about.

    A ridiculous statement, given that I spent the first 20 years of my life as a Christian.

    Catholic, too… which as we all know is the One True Faith (TM).

  41. “A ridiculous statement, given that I spent the first 20 years of my life as a Christian.”

    Well given the gross inaccuracies in your attempt to parrot SJ, I can see you probably paid as little effort to actually listening in those 20 years as you do now.

  42. “next to the dubious and alleged salvation provided by Jesus.”

    But if what you describe as ‘dubious and alleged’ is actually true, and the thing being saved from is also true, then, yes, this ‘solution’ is the main thing needful.

    “It is at best disingenuous, and at worst, downright callous, to suggest that these problems don’t rate very highly”

    There are many things wrong with this. I’ll address one of them below (my reference to DH.) But one of the most striking things wrong with it is that you see a disconnect between these problems and the ‘solution’ Christianity offers. If you really understood why it is that it is Christianity that has been most welcomed by the poor and afflicted, the starved and oppressed, you would see your ‘disconnect’ thoroughly exposed. What is it in Christianity that all these people over the centuries see that you don’t?

    To put it more bluntly, it is precisely because Christianity rates all the things you mentioned (and your photos are meant to illustrate) very highly, and considers Death the greatest enemy. The suffering of humanity is a recurrent theme in the Scriptures. It is Job’s great complaint, if you recall. How exactly did you miss it?

    I’ll give you a hint: the suffering was taken very seriously, but it was put into a higher context.

    Many suffering people are thrilled to learn that their life is not the difference between the sum of their pleasures levied against the sum of their sufferings, precisely because their suffering has been great. To hear news that their suffering can be put up against a light that is so bright that it doesn’t even leave a smudge is great news. To learn that it is actually true? Even better.

    “I know you are being sincere, but I trust you at least see how it looks from a non-Christian perspective?”

    It doesn’t matter ‘how it looks.’ It’s not a PR campaign. This strikes me very much of the same attitude that DH often takes, about whether or not he and I can be ‘allies.’ The frame of mind is that there are hundreds of different religious viewpoints (all false, of course), but wouldn’t it be nice if we could all get together to do some good, anyway?

    I don’t doubt his or your sincerity, either. Your attitude is itself derived from your own religious beliefs, which you take to be true. And in those religious beliefs, our lives are ‘nasty, brutish, and short.’ There is nothing after them, which means the only purpose in this life (excepting the evolutionary constraints of survival and reproduction) is pleasures piled upon pleasures, and the greatest–nay, almost the only–evil is suffering.

    Which I think resonates with western liberals, in particular, who have a good shot at making sure the pleasures outweigh the suffering, but not really what those who have no hope for escaping their suffering tend to want to hear. At least, historically.

    So you can see that from my perspective, it is your point of view that is callous. If I am right, one can imagine a scenario where DH meets a fellah in hell* (he won’t, because hell* is not like that) and the guy says, “Hey, weren’t you the guy that gave me a bunch of condoms? Wish you would have told me about Christ, instead. A fat lot of good condoms do, now!”

    But one could argue that from even your own perspective, your ’empathy’ and ‘compassion’ is callous. Given enough time, death comes to all. An asteroid will eventually hit us, or the sun will consume us, or the heat death will consume everything, and all the suffering will be shown to be as meaningless as the pleasures. Why bother doing anything? Only because it makes you feel good.

    Anyway, I don’t blame ya’ll for caring so much about suffering. Its a function of your religious beliefs, which you believe to be true. And I’m not against alleviating suffering, either. But its silly to forget that WE believe OUR beliefs are TRUE, too.

    “Christianity has only solved one problem, which is of its own making anyway”

    This is another comment premised on the idea that Christianity is not actually true. But if it is true, then Man himself made it.

    “Well, god made a man and a woman, gave them no moral compass”

    Which contradicts your other statement somewhat, since now you are conceding that either God ‘made’ the problem or Adam and Eve.

    But the statement is not accurate. They were made in the image of God–with a moral compass.

  43. “Catholic, too… which as we all know is the One True Faith (TM).”

    That explains a lot, actually.

    “A ridiculous statement, given that I spent the first 20 years of my life as a Christian.”

    There is no particular reason to think that your time as a Christian actually made you well-versed in it. I presume that you are counting the time when you were a 2 year old? Why, I’m sure you were an expert by age 3!

    I spent the first 18 years of my life as a Christian, and even attended Christian education throughout that time–Sunday School, grade school, high school, confirmation class, etc. I fell away my first semester of college. I thought I knew something about Christianity, too.

    Well, I knew about as much about Christianity as a 7th grader might know about pre-algebra. It would be pretty foolish for a 7th grader (13 year-old) to think he knew all there was about mathematics because he learned 7th-grade level math! That’s why, in the real world, they have college, and then post-grad (Masters) and then terminal degrees (PhDs) because it actually takes a lot of time and study to really know a topic. I mean, really know it. What was learned in 7th grade and even 12th grade is all meant as building blocks for further study, and, I suppose, enough of a base to enter society without hurting yourself or others.

    It is similarly foolish to think you know something about Christianity because you went to Sunday School and CCD, where you heard Bible stories presented in cartoons and doctrine delivered for memorization, only. It *might* perhaps be enough of a baseline for further education, but anyone one who knows anything about anything knows it can ONLY be a baseline. We don’t live in the Matrix, where knowledge and understanding can be downloaded directly into our brains in an instant, and suddenly we know Kung Fu.

    But as I’ve been complaining about the poor quality of Christian education ever since I dived into apologetics (and recently penned a 7 part series on it, in this very blog), I think you should probably guess I don’t think very highly of whatever it was you think you knew about Christianity, even if it was as ‘extensive’ as what I had learned, actually attending Christian schools and attending religion class every day. Which is to say, I don’t think very highly of it.

    Not that I’m blaming you here for the poor religious education I’m betting you received. I’d like to encourage you to take a more honest measure of your knowledge. Especially if you presume to consider Christianity to be false. But all the more if it might actually be true.

    I mean, you could die, and turn into dirt. But you could die, and immediately be faced with your maker, with the prospect of living forever either with Him or without Him. This possibility has been taken so seriously over the last 2 thousand years that at present more than a billion people have accepted it as truth. Might it perhaps be worthy of scrutiny in proportion?

  44. That explains a lot, actually.

    WHAT DO YOU MEAN BY THAT?! 🙂

    If I had to guess, I reckon you mean that it explains why I am going to heaven, even though I am a dirty atheist, and you are damned, because you’re not a True Christian (TM), and refuse to acknowledge the Pope and his many awesome encyclicals. :-p

    I thought I knew something about Christianity, too.

    I accept your point… but, by that reckoning, only 1% of Christians have any real idea of what it is they think they believe.

    I think you should probably guess I don’t think very highly of whatever it was you think you knew about Christianity

    And therein lies the chief benefit of being Catholic… you don’t need to understand, because the Church has worked it all out for you. 🙂

    I’m being facetious, of course… but only a little. If I was still Catholic, this would be a very interesting conversation! Not that it isn’t interesting regardless… but you know what I mean.

    This possibility has been taken so seriously over the last 2 thousand years that at present more than a billion people have accepted it as truth.

    Well now… this sounds suspiciously like Pascal’s Wager, which immediately raises two problems:

    1. A billion people being in Allah, so…
    2. Climate change, anyone?

  45. But if what you describe as ‘dubious and alleged’ is actually true, and the thing being saved from is also true, then, yes, this ‘solution’ is the main thing needful.

    Agreed… sort of. I guess my issue is that you said that “Christianity…has solved the world’s problems”. This is patently false, given how many problems we still have. If you would like to amend your statement to “Christianity has solved the world’s biggest problem”, be my guest.

    The suffering of humanity is a recurrent theme in the Scriptures. It is Job’s great complaint, if you recall. How exactly did you miss it?

    I haven’t missed it. It’s the exact point. Taking Christianity at face value, the suffering of humanity commenced with Eve’s ill-advised fruit salad, and has continued ever since, with or without the alleged Salvation provided by Jesus. Yes, you are right – the suffering of humanity is a recurrent theme in Scriptures… and it is still a recurrent theme 2,000 years later after Christ’s enforced “sacrifice”. That should tell you something.

    Now, it might tell you, as a Christian, that mankind is inherently a bunch of wankers. And that is true. But it should also tell you that Christ dying for the sin of eating fruit didn’t achieve squat for the real-world suffering of humanity. As a Christian, you can argue that it makes everything hunky dory after we die… but the real-world consequences are exactly nothing.

    To hear news that their suffering can be put up against a light that is so bright that it doesn’t even leave a smudge is great news.

    That may be. But it can equally go the other way. To hear that the all-powerful being who loves you beyond measure allows you to needlessly suffer maaaaaay instill some cynicism.

    Your attitude is itself derived from your own religious beliefs

    Not sure what you mean by this.

    Which I think resonates with western liberals, in particular, who have a good shot at making sure the pleasures outweigh the suffering…

    … if only you’d stop blocking our legislation. 🙂

    Why bother doing anything? Only because it makes you feel good.

    Ba bowwwwwww… wrong.

    Which contradicts your other statement somewhat, since now you are conceding that either God ‘made’ the problem or Adam and Eve.

    Not at all.

    If the Adam and Eve story is true, God planted the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil in the garden. Prior to eating the fruit, Adam and Eve could not have had any knowledge of good and evil, i.e., they had no moral compass. God also placed a “cunning” snake in the garden. Who is really to blame for all this? The two naked muppets who had no idea what they were doing? Or the all-knowing, all-powerful being who placed a tree that he didn’t want touched right in front of two idiots and a deceptive little bastard?

  46. “I accept your point… but, by that reckoning, only 1% of Christians have any real idea of what it is they think they believe.”

    Well, yea, that’s probably about right. Doesn’t mean I think they are going to hell* but its definitely not helpful. I might be a little more generous with my percentage, but it is far lower than is healthy, for sure.

    “Well now… this sounds suspiciously like Pascal’s Wager, which immediately raises two problems:”

    Both of your examples suggest to me that you’re not actually familiar with what Pascal said. May I submit that you read it? It *is* necessary to read the whole book in order to understand his ‘wager.’ This is a link to the edition that I publish: https://www.amazon.com/Pascals-Pensees-Thoughts-Religion-Wagers/dp/097912767X/ref=sr_1_1_twi_pap_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1482415845&sr=8-1&keywords=pascal+suzeteo

    Even so, on the caricature concept of the ‘wager’, I will have you note that I didn’t say anything about not investigating other possibilities. Even the bastardized notion of the ‘wager’ ‘refuted’ by atheists only targets the idea of BELIEVING something. I’m talking about investigating. Certainly, if 1 billion people accede to Islam, that also is a reasonable basis for taking a look at its merits. In a grander sense, it makes your problem even more pronounced, because it means that almost half the world’s population has concluded that there is an afterlife.

    If it may be the case that this life is just a speck on the spectrum of a life that goes on infinitely after death, then one is wise to do a thorough investigation. And if there is Life that goes on indefinitely after this life, that would significantly alter some of your current perceptions; eg, suffering, the world’s greatest problem, etc.

    “If you would like to amend your statement to “Christianity has solved the world’s biggest problem”, be my guest.”

    Actually, I already amended it to the degree I am willing:

    If you knew anything about Christianity, you would know that Christians believe there is one, fundamental problem. And Christ solved it.

    “and it is still a recurrent theme 2,000 years later after Christ’s enforced “sacrifice”. That should tell you something.”

    Or it ought to tell YOU something, since people are still lining up to be Christians, notwithstanding the existence of continued suffering.

    “But it should also tell you that Christ dying for the sin of eating fruit didn’t achieve squat for the real-world suffering of humanity.” … “To hear that the all-powerful being who loves you beyond measure allows you to needlessly suffer maaaaaay instill some cynicism.”

    I would take issue with the ‘needlessly’ part. That’s not how we would frame it. Rather, it would be, “suffering that is regretfully necessary to endure in order for greater goods to exist and persist.”

    I submit to you for this Alvin Plantinga’s book on the subject: https://www.amazon.com/God-Freedom-Evil-Alvin-Plantinga/dp/0802817319/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1482416476&sr=8-1&keywords=plantinga+evil

    I’ll come back to this in a moment.

    … if only you’d stop blocking our legislation. ?”

    If only your legislation didn’t cause more suffering, perhaps I would. 🙂

    “Prior to eating the fruit, Adam and Eve could not have had any knowledge of good and evil, i.e., they had no moral compass.”

    These two things are not connected.

    “Who is really to blame for all this?”

    The problem with this line of reasoning is that it is superficially plausible but refuted day in and day out in our own lives. I have talked about this quite a bit in my presentations. It is part of many talks I’ve given about my daughter, who, after all, you could say, only suffers today from her spina bifida because we refused to kill her in the womb.

    You can see that you yourself live out the refutation. You have brought into the world a son, knowing full well that he is going to die. You know that in all likelihood, either he or you will stand by the grave of the other, and suffer grief. You knew this would be the outcome, and if I recall correctly, you paid money for procedures to increase the chance of having a kid. Why did you do this, knowing that you would be the most proximate facilitator of suffering?

    Your kid will experience a great deal of suffering in this world, and you don’t even have the option of weighing that suffering against an afterlife. And yet you brought him into the world, anyway. There is no God to blame for his suffering (on your view), so doesn’t that leave only YOU to blame?

    Do you feel morally culpable for bringing into the world another entity who you know, with absolute certainty, will suffer?

  47. Back to:

    If you knew anything about Christianity, you would know that Christians believe there is one, fundamental problem. And Christ solved it.

    and

    didn’t achieve squat for the real-world suffering of humanity

    Lots of things wrong with your response to this, not the least of which is your continued insistence that the ‘real-world suffering of humanity’ is the highest bar to measure things against. As I already acknowledged, on YOUR view, suffering is indeed the only metric worth our attention. But it isn’t YOUR view we are analyzing, is it?

    It is silly to evaluate theism AS IF atheism is true. It is like investigating a murder. I blame it on suspect Bob, and you blame it on suspect Steve. In interpreting the evidence in light of Bob being the suspect, you keep saying, “Well, no. How could Bob have done such and such when we know Steve did this and that?” But what we are actually debating is whether Steve or Bob committed the crime, so it doesn’t make sense to import conclusions based on the premise that Steve did it into an analysis of how the event went down under the premise that Bob did it.

    This is such plain, common sense, that you would never find people engaging in such convoluted ways on a real crime scene or anywhere else where people live in the real world. It is a uniquely atheistic habit. 🙂

    In the [Christian] theistic scenario, suffering is indeed a horrible thing. It was not the intention. Nor is it absolutely the most horrible thing. Sure, God could end it in an instant, merely by declaration. But what if that entailed some other harm, which in His judgement was worse than the horrible suffering?

    That is your problem, right there. You cannot conceive of (or admit to) the possibility that there might be joys that are so surpassingly great that might themselves be obliterated if the sufferings were dispensed with with a wink and a nod. An example of such a joy would be Life after life which never ends. If you had a life of suffering for 70 years but knew that once you passed through it you would have life for 7,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 which didn’t include even a speck of suffering, wouldn’t that alter your perspective on this present suffering?

    You do take suffering in stride already, since, as I pointed out, you brought a child into this world, knowing full well that he could very well be the subject of one of the pictures you linked to. It is plausible. But what is absolute is that you or he will die. So, you have already made the calculation that the joy of life and relationship is greater than the inevitable suffering, and that’s just on a time frame of 70-100 years, and without any hope or belief it could go beyond that.

    If you reserve this right to yourself and do not feel morally culpable, why can’t God, when looking at the entire human race from the beginning of time to the end, look upon the suffering as a foul intrusion but endure it because he knows that in the end, he will secure an everlasting paradise for everyone?

    And on this view, this is what Christ achieved.

    On this view, his death and resurrection solved everything that needed to be solved.

    One last comment on this to come.

  48. Last comment.

    In a war, it is often necessary to put up with grave evils for a time in order to win the ultimate victory. World War 2 had many such examples, from allowing the concentration camps to persist in Europe to skipping over Japanese held islands on the way to Japan itself. See, the reality is that if you stopped to deal with every last issue, you may not in fact win the victory *at all.* And, at the same time, by pressing forward for the victory, and obtaining it, these other issues are themselves resolvable.

    So, after you defeat the German war machine and cut off the head of the Japanese nation, liberating the concentration camps and subduing the island hold-outs is a far easier affair. It doesn’t mean the concentration camps were not a horrific thing. It does mean that to deal with them, it is more effective in the long run to deal with the ones that established them in the first place.

    And even after the Germans and the Japanese were defeated, there was still work to be done. But the one thing needful was victory.

    Similarly, the one thing needful was the defeat of Death and the reconciliation of God with Man. The horrible events of human experience remain horrible, but dealing with them was less effective than dealing with the problem that caused those experiences in the first place. Christ secured the victory, so that part is done.

    Now comes the critical next part. Apparently, the earth is a sinking ship. Its going to be destroyed. (This, by the way, is true on both a theistic and atheistic perspective). It is not the thing to be ‘saved.’ As such, while it would be nice to make things as comfortable as possible while it is sinking, and in some cases we may be able to do some things, the most important task in front of all of us is to find a way off the ship.

    In this new metaphor, what Christ has done is to secure for us an entirely new ship. Life boats have been sent from his ship to ours. It is just a matter of getting on them.

    Now, your argument is that Christ and Christians do not care about the people suffering on the sinking ship. That is nonsense. In fact, we would put it just the other way around–if you cared about the suffering of the people on the sinking ship, you would make it a priority of getting them OFF the ship, first.

    And in the real world, that is precisely what you would do. Medics might stabilize someone, true, but they wouldn’t delude themselves into thinking that once they patched someone up, they’ve spared them from their more ultimate problem.

    All the world’s problems are on that ship. ALL of them. Solving ALL of those problems means, primarily, getting an entirely new ship.

    And that is what Christ has provided, and that is how Christ has solved all the world’s problems.

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