Off to Beertown.

Sometimes my spam filter works too well. I tried to post a comment in the thread below and got banned — from my own blog! So here it is, and we can continue the discussion. Danny said I misjudged evangelicals, and I replied:

Danny, I won’t claim that all evangelicals are contemptuous of Jews, nor will I deny that many feel they owe something to God’s chosen. But it’s hard to square the foundational belief of Biblical literalism — the “I am the way, the truth and the light” part — with this sort of crunchy-granola idea of a Heaven where Jews and Christians live together in perfect harmony. Remember, the Bible gives these folks All The Answers.

I strongly recommend a wonderful book, “The End of Days: Fundamentalism and the Struggle for the Temple Mount,” by Gershom Gorenberg. It’s a fast, fascinating read, and should fill in a lot of gaps in all but the most scrupulously informed American’s knowledge of Israel and the issues surrounding it. You can read an excerpt online, and I think it’s the first chapter, “Cattlemen of the Apocalypse,” about Texas ranchers who are trying to breed a red heifer, the kickoff event in the chain leading up to the battle of Armageddon. I recall a line from one American fundy preacher: “The Jews think they’re in a three-act play. We know the play has four acts.” The fourth, of course, is the one where the unsaved are pitched into the fires of hell and only Jesus’ people enter the kingdom of heaven.

My previous comment was a bit rant-y, and I’m sorry if anyone was offended. But I had just read a WSJ story about the get-out-the-vote effort in Ohio, where one of the suburban soccer moms beating the bushes for Bush said, “Thank goodness sanity and morality prevailed.” Sanity and morality — ground she claimed for her side alone. It made me feel…unChristian.


And with that, I’m outta here for a few days. The fabulous Deb is hitting the midcentury mark, and we’re all gathering to lift a few pops, eat, dance and — because we’re all nearing, at or past the midcentury mark — fall into bed before midnight. Also, Alan’s making a pork tenderloin downstairs, and the aroma has reached the room where I’m sitting now. You know those cartoons where the aroma forms a beckoning hand, and you’re carried along by it? It’s like that.

So: Pork tenderloin, a party with friends and the certain knowledge that pendulums do swing after all — I think that’s enough for me to start the weekend. See you back here Sunday evening, unless the hotel has free wireless internet, in which case maybe I’ll upload some party snaps over the weekend. Don’t bet on it, though.

(Oh, and I finally saw “The Wire” last night. So if you want to discuss that, feel free. Some day I have to sit down and send David Simon and all his writers a long fan letter complimenting them on how well they capture the essential mystery of masculinity, week after week, year after year. I guess that’s what this is, though.)

Posted at 6:02 pm in Uncategorized |

17 responses to “Off to Beertown.”

  1. Danny said on November 4, 2004 at 8:29 pm

    Nance, thanks for the reading suggestion. I will check it out. I consider myself somewhat knowledgeable on Israel (both pragmatically and spiritually, although the two are not mutually exclusive) and look forward to learning more.

    To the rest youz guyz, I was surprised at the right-leaning trolls that came out in the last thread. I thought I was the only righty here and though my comments can sometimes be viewed as ascerbic, this is a polite forum and Nancy is the best and I try to comport myself in appropriate manner. I know that many of you on the left had as much emotionally invested in this election as I did and that it is cathartic and necessary to vent. No harm, no foul.

    And look at the bright side, there are another two Bush brothers to get us through 16 more years….ONLY JOKING!!! ;-)~

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  2. Cal said on November 4, 2004 at 11:21 pm

    If liberals consider themselves intellectually superior to evangelicals and evangelicals consider themselves morally superior to liberals then that cancels out and everybody ought to be happy. Seems silly to swipe at each other endlessly when both have different strengths. And why an election should cause so much angst at the other side is beyond me. If I lose a tennis match I’m going to see how I can improve, not say “I can’t stand that player I played”. You either get the votes or you don’t.

    Liberals are hypocrites for pretending to be in favor of tolerance except when it comes to evangelicals, and evangelicals are hypocrites for assuming there is nothing they can learn from liberals. It seems silly to be swiping at each other endlessly when both have different strengths and different weaknesses.

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  3. Danny said on November 4, 2004 at 11:47 pm

    Cal, I know what you are getting at, but I think that you and most here would agree that it is not as straight a dichotomy as your post seems to suggest. On the right, there is a definite division and gradients between those who are strictly socially conservative and those who are strictly fiscally conservative. Hardly anyone really acclaims to eaiher ideal. The same is true for the left.

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  4. John said on November 5, 2004 at 7:31 am

    “gradients”…..sounds like a slippery slope to me.

    After a year of hearing that everything was black or white, it is refreshing to hear that the gray area (and matter?) still exists.

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  5. James said on November 5, 2004 at 7:53 am

    I really think the difference between “Liberals” and evangelicals is that Liberals believe that government is there to help the helpless, and to make things better for everyone (and they may be wrong or right in that belief) while evangelicals believe that anyone who doesn’t buy into their belief system (i.e. non-christians) will burn forever in a lake of fire.

    The hard line is created by what they say they believe, and someone (ok, I’ll do it…) needs to say that one side is crazy and one side is well-meaning. You make the pick…

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  6. brian stouder said on November 5, 2004 at 11:29 am

    OK – my 2 cents worth. Leaving aside baseless (and brainless) attacks on church people (a group that does not include me), AND leaving aside baseless (and brainless) attacks on secular Sunday morning newspaper readers (including me!) –

    If one looks alllllllll the way back to the original Democrats (or Democratic Republicans) and the Federalists, and then the Whigs –

    and if one looks in the absolute MOST general, macro, broad way –

    The agrarian, yeoman farmer Jeffersonian Democratic party has been subsumed into the GOP….and the whiggish internal improvements/pro-business impulse has been split by the modern Dems and modern Republicans.

    Both modern parties have moved away from the idea of protective tarriffs – and THAT offers a national opportunity to either one of the parties, or a third party (think of Ross Perot’s appeal, and his reference to the “giant sucking sound”);

    both parties are avidly in favor of what might have been called “internal improvements” – and the debate is over what is considered to be worthy objects for publically financed ‘internal improvements’.

    And – in general terms – the Democrats MUST take ownership of their own ‘moral clarity’. “Morality” must not (and in fact cannot) be rejected and dismissed on sight, as a quaint bit of irrelevence.

    On what basis does any human government begin operations, other than whatever the people within those governments consider to be “right” or “justified” (ie – moral)?

    Some in the Democratic party like to try and claim Abraham Lincoln would be a Democrat nowadays – and anyone who likes to believe that on the one hand, and who nonetheless scoffs that any such thing as genuine moral values exist and can be discerned – is simply incoherent. Statesman like Lincoln relied upon moral authority and rational appeals to moral reasoning.

    Running for office on a platform that openly scoffs at and rejects the existence of morality or natural rights, as if it is all just wispy opinion or clever tactical weapons used by one’s oppenents, is like trying to design a spacecraft that relies on an air-breathing engine.

    It can indeed succeed up to a certain (relatively low) altitude, but ultimately it cannot overcome nature, and will return to earth

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  7. James said on November 5, 2004 at 1:13 pm

    “And – in general terms – the Democrats MUST take ownership of their own ‘moral clarity’. “Morality” must not (and in fact cannot) be rejected and dismissed on sight, as a quaint bit of irrelevence.”

    … and what is morality, pray tell?

    Is it moral to wage a preemptive war, and bomb civilians because you have “daddy issues?” Is it moral to denigrate a genuine hero who served his country using lies and slander, as long as you keep your own immaculately manicured hands clean? Is it moral to bankrupt a country so that the top 2% can save on taxes? Is it moral to preach christian values while you’re killing people, and neglecting to help others who are less well off as you are?

    Or do you just mean it’s immoral for people of the same sex to have a loving relationship?

    Just checking on your own particular moral compass, Brian.

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  8. Danny said on November 5, 2004 at 2:05 pm

    Interesting post, Brian. I have seen some longer arguments of Natural Law as a basis for most modern legal systems (more specifically the laws within them). Unfortunately, I do not have sufficient background in philosophy of ethics to judge the merit or strength of such arguments, but they do seem quite compelling.

    James, I think that your first paragraph of rhetorical questions are not very effective because it is full of half-truths or outright fabrications. Not trying to piss you off, just stating a reasoned opinion.

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  9. brian stouder said on November 5, 2004 at 2:09 pm

    >>… and what is morality, pray tell?

    Answering that question is really the most basic job of anyone who seeks the presidency of a nation as large and complex as the United States, James.

    It might surprise you that I admire Kerry greatly; I would have been a doomy-gloomy guy if Howard Dean had won the D nomination, and then defeated Bush.

    But Dean clearly stated what he thought was right and wrong, and ran on it, and was rejected by the Democrats; by way of saying that if you view Bush the way I viewed Dean, then indeed I can understand your current angst.

    Kerry was not substantively anti-war regarding Iraq, which undercuts your ‘immoral pre-emptive war’ canard; and he specifically stated that he agreed with W’s defintion of “marriage”, which undercuts your blanket condemnation of the GOP.

    I am nowhere near the “top 2%” of wage earners or asset owmers, and my family benefited very much from those much-hated tax cuts.

    your argument is with the results of an American national election. All these elections are healthy, if for no other reason than that there will always be another one, on a date-certain.

    Historically, “me-too” candidates have a hard time winning, because the voters can simply vote for the “original recipe” instead of the “genuine imitation”. Think of the “me-too” Republicans that could never prevail against the New Deal Democrats.

    but enough –

    I believe that a candidate for office should FIRST decide what she believes, and THEN run on it – (trimming as needed), rather than the other way around. Doesn’t mean that the person will WIN – but at least questions like your “and what is morality, pray tell?” will have been addressed

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  10. brian stouder said on November 5, 2004 at 2:24 pm

    >Unfortunately, I do not have sufficient background in philosophy of ethics to judge the merit or strength of such arguments, but they do seem quite compelling.

    Neither do I, Danny!

    But I am an avid reader of things related to Lincoln, and Harry Jaffa (for one) goes on and on about natural law; and William Lee Miller’s “ethical biography” of Lincoln was quite good; and Allen Guelzo (who was just in Fort Wayne in September, along with a stellar group of Lincoln scholars, for a day-long Lincoln colloquium) has written tremendously insightful essays and books on Lincoln….

    and all of this stuff is directly relevant to current issues and events, I believe.

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  11. James said on November 5, 2004 at 6:24 pm

    I’m asking about morality; not what the candidates ran on. You keep saying Kerry this and Dean that… Morality is absolute.

    The war is immoral. It’s being done in our names under false reasons, and being paid for by us, if not now, then later. Don’t you understand that someone will have to pay for this deficit? If not us, then our children or their children. They’ll also have to deal with the legacy of an administration that has run this war so poorly.

    OK, let’s play the candidate game. Do you honestly think we’d be in Iraq if Gore had been in office? What if it was Kerry’s decision? How about any President in the last 20 years? Bush had decided to go there before 9-11, before any evidence, before any facts. Yes, I’m making an assumption he has daddy issues, but at least my assumption hasn’t cost 1200 American lives.

    See the difference?

    About homosexual marriage…

    This was a wedge issue devised by Rove to bring out Bush’s base, aka the wingnuts. People who can’t deal with other people’s decisions and choices. Oddly enough, people who want government to regulate people’s lives. Hmmmm… not very conservative, I’d say. More like crypto-facist self-righteous closeted homosexual self-loathing goofballs.

    People’s choices are their own, and I don’t want to impose my will on others. If 2 people love each other, fine, let them declare it and benefit from the civil benefits like anyone else can. Don’t exclude them because they express their love in a different way than I happen to. It’s none of my business, and I might add, none of yours.

    What’s immoral is judging others. That’s from the bible, by the way.

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  12. brian said on November 5, 2004 at 9:18 pm

    >>I’m asking about morality; not what the candidates ran on. You keep saying Kerry this and Dean that… Morality is absolute.

    forgive the long post –

    What I was initially reacting to was the idea that “morality” is inadmissable as a political criteria; as if it is the first step toward some islamo-fascist theocracy, and therefore should be rejected out of hand.

    Your remarks regarding the war in Iraq are as stridently ‘absolute’ as any moral proclamation can be…in fact I don’t completely disagree with you. To me, this is what elections are supposed to be about – argue your beliefs, state your case, answer your opponents, and abide by the results of the balloting.

    I cannot resist pointing out that the history of US/western military intervention in Iraq did not begin on January 20, 2001; we spent a decade making actual war on that nation – enforcing unilaterally imposed, non-UN sanctioned “No Fly Zones”, and conducting air strikes against those people pretty much weekly (when it wasn’t in fact daily) for 11 years. The crushing economic sanctions and embargoes against Iraq all those years directly and adversely affected all the weakest people in that nation, while leaving the thugocracy there relatively untouched.

    Why were we doing this to them? Michael Moore’s movie would lead one to believe that Iraq was a land of children flying kites ruled by a harmless has-been military dictator with eccentric ideas. But indeed Iraq started not one but two major regional wars – the first of which more horrible than we may ever really know.

    In 2002, after 11 years of actively enforcing the dismemberment of that sovereign nation, and in the aftermath of 9/11, the question “what is Iraq up to?” was all the more pressing. If they were as bad as we then had every reason to believe – and make no mistake, the bipartisan consensus of the American political establishment through three presidencies and six congresses was that Iraq presented a clear and present threat to regional security and world stability – then why fool around with them any longer? Why not simply terminate the reign of Saddam Hussein?

    Honestly, if I had been in congress in 2002, I don’t know whether I’d have voted for the authorization for war in Iraq. But congress DID authorize war, and then there was an election – and then we went to war; and now we’ve had another election. In a free republic, elections at such times are as much as we can ask for – and as meaningful as it gets.

    If you say – Bush could and SHOULD have handled this better, and in fact should not have gone crashing into Iraq – I tend to agree.

    But here we are. Would we be here if we had President Gore from 2001 onward? Who can say? I recall President Clinton massively ramping up troop strength for possible action in Iraq (maybe in 1997?) The problem is, NYC, DC, and PA were going to get struck regardless who was in the White House in 2001, and that person was going to have to either risk going too far (as we agree Bush has) in protecting America, or else risk not going far enough.

    Mind you, I am NOT saying that Iraq was behind 9/11. Iraq was a special case that posed a threat long before 9/11, and which warranted a hard look, and a re-assessment of that continuing threat after Sammy bin Laden and his band of nihilists showed us what could possibly come our way out of the clear blue sky.

    Unpleasant choices all around.

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  13. ashley said on November 6, 2004 at 1:27 am

    “The problem is, NYC, DC, and PA were going to get struck regardless who was in the White House in 2001, and that person was going to have to either risk going too far (as we agree Bush has) in protecting America, or else risk not going far enough.”

    No. Fucking. Way.

    I’m not buying this line, not for a minute. This is the kind of shit the NeoCons have used to make fear the biggest motivational factor in voting. If a memo named “Bin Laden determined to attack inside the US” appeared across Clinton’s desk, he would have 1) read it, 2) done something about it. Too bad Gore and Kerry have written more books than Bush has read. He even BRAGS about not reading newspapers. What a fucking twit.

    This idiot has put more idiots (look at Condi’s academic publication record) in positions far exceeding their peter principal limits, and doesn’t even listen to their advice, as he thinks that God speaks directly to him. Bullshit. Show me the stone tablets if God is talking to you.

    Another thing. If terrorists had struck while Gore or Clinton was in office, you KNOW that the republicans would be screaming “It happened on HIS watch. We’d be tough on terrorism, unlike the Democrat.” You know that’s true. You know it.

    I am a Christian, but I don’t try to force my beliefs on others. I also don’t let my faith get in the way of rational, logical thought. I also don’t believe that if you don’t believe exactly what I believe that you will burn in a lake of fire for eternity.

    And as for Lincoln, well, I think he was vastly, vastly overrated. But what do you expect from an “elitist liberal” like me.

    Maybe Marx was right. Maybe a violent revolution is the only way.

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  14. brian said on November 6, 2004 at 8:53 am

    >>And as for Lincoln, well, I think he was vastly, vastly overrated

    Lerone Bennett wrote a very entertaining book with that exact theme (“Forced Into Glory; Abraham Lincoln’s White Dream”); Bennett is tremendously interesting, and he shakes up the mostly white male Lincoln scholar world with well thought out and provocative critiques of Lincoln.

    (for the record, his book struck me as a sort of “if Michael Moore were an actual scholar” sort of iconoclasm; very healthy leavening of the usual inclination toward Lincolnian hagiography)

    Also, Jean Baker wrote a marvelous biography of Mary Todd Lincoln, and to paraphrase you, she puts forward the idea (mostly denigrated by male historians, of course!) that Mary was ‘vastly, vastly UNDER-rated’…I LOVED that book.

    Did you know that Robert Lincoln had the commitment of his mother so orchestrated that Mary returned to her Chicago home from a shopping trip, only to find a lawyer and the police waiting to take her away? They took her directly to a courtroom, where a jury was already seated(!!) – and that was where she finally saw Robert, and realized what was occurring.

    They gave her a lawyer (selected by Robert), tried the case – whether she was sane – (one of the charges against her was that she shopped for things she didn’t need!!! Mary was ahead of her time!!) and the (white male) jury deliberated and found her INSANE, and they had her involuntarily committed into an institution ALL ON THE SAME DAY!!!!….

    all before the sun went down.

    Certainly, she was a bit eccentric – but sheesh!!

    (she defeated her son and his allies at their own game, and got herself released within 3 months, but that’s another story)

    Anyway, she’s a hero (heroine?) of mine.

    Sorry for the digression!

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  15. Danny said on November 6, 2004 at 9:48 am

    Ashley, I don’t think we should play the “blame game” with respect to the terrorists and who would have done what if given a certain situation. Your position is utterly indefensible. Clinton had eight years of memos on UBL and DECIDED not to go after him. There is PLENTY of blame to go around.

    And something else, I don’t know if you are an elitist or a racist, but just about every democrat I have heard in my lifetime tends to make two consistent slanders of the opposition.

    a) You are dumb, I am smart.

    b) Blacks are dumb and black conservatives are REALLY dumb.

    It is this latter argument that particularly annoys because of the inherit hypocrisy. In the first case, Dems pander to blacks once every election by showing up at black churches and essentially saying that they are the true sugar daddies. I’m not black, but I gotta tell you, it must get pretty damn old to constantly be spoken to and about like one is perpetually 4 years old.

    Then the second part of the position is that ANY black conservative is an Uncle Tom or sell out or has self loathing or whatever. George Bush has a VERY diverse cabinet and it is a Good Thing. But not to the Dems. It seems that many white libs want to pay lip service to civil rights issues, but that is as far as it goes because it is mainly a ruse to garner the “black vote.” I recently spent several days in the belly of the beast, Marin county. I assure you that those rich Kerry supporters would have crapped their pants if a black person even showed up in their neighborhood.

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  16. ashley said on November 6, 2004 at 11:54 am

    “Clinton had eight years of memos on UBL and DECIDED not to go after him”.

    Wrong. Very, very wrong.

    Personally, I think it’s hard to live in uptown New Orleans, as I did and soon will again, which is 63% black, and be a racist. They live in English Turn or Metairie. Or Marin county.

    I agree with you about the annoyance of things like Kerry showing up in a black church once every 4 years and every other Christmas. Clinton was not like that, is not like that. Kerry and Gore seem to be like that.

    Alan Keyes is an idiot. I hope we can agree on that point. That being said, Condoleeza Rice is a true academic lightweight. As a professor, I have to look at publication records and such for promotion and tenure cases. I can assure you, she has not gotten where she is on her publication record.

    Bush’s cabinet is diverse in color, not in thought. He promised in 2000 to bring democrats on his cabinet, and to aid in the decision making process. He lied.

    Obviously, Karl Rove is an evil genius. He is not dumb by any means. He is, however, evil.

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  17. Danny said on November 6, 2004 at 3:10 pm

    Obviously, Karl Rove is an evil genius. He is not dumb by any means. He is, however, evil.



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