Enough is Enough

When is Humanity Going to Get That We’re All in This Together?

Those Bastards!

Posted by honestpoet on December 23, 2006

I’m sitting at the dinner table; things are wrapping up, and I feel like a rant. We’ve been talking about Bush & Co. again, and the possibilities, if not for impeachment, at least for some significant change, so that we don’t end up in another mess like this down the road. And we are in such a mess. I just got the issue of Newsweek with Obama and Clinton (Hillary) on the cover. Among many lovely tidbits in it we saw a photograph of a national forest that had been clear cut. You know, when I’d heard that those bastards had opened up some national forests for logging, I’d naively imagined that, though it was bad enough to do any logging there, they’d at least have the decency and sense to log selectively. No. The hill I saw was cut bare, nothing but bare soil and tree stumps, a few stripped logs still willy nilly, waiting to be dragged away. My daughter just about cried, thinking about all the animals that had nowhere to go. My son was outraged. And so am I.

What a horror. What a crime. And though it may not be a charge we can make stick, though most of them may not stick, thanks to Bush’s legalistic wartime-power voodoo, we ought to at least be able to ensure that it doesn’t keep happening.

Let’s face it. As someone said, democracy is the sneaking suspician that more than half the people can be wrong most of the time. I didn’t set out to impugn the intelligence of the average American, but let’s face it. Too many Americans get fooled too often. A handsome smile, the right name, a slick campaign, and some bozo ends up running things. And if he’s surrounded by enough evil people (ahem), then things can go very wrong indeed.

How to make things better? Hubby is an aristocrat, believes that the rule of a capable minority would be better than the rule of the easily fooled majority. Face it. Bush was elected because most Americans aren’t comfortable with smart people. (Unless you believe he was elected through voter fraud, a possibility I have considered.) And why don’t most Americans feel comfortable wth smart people? Because most Americans are stupid. I’m sorry, but it’s true. As Carlin says, think how stupid your average guy is: half the people are dumber than that! And this makes democracy a problem.

But the problem with an aristocracy is, who says who’s meritorious? Now that’s a sticky wicket, isn’t it? So I guess we’re going to have to keep democracy. But we ought to protect ourselves from having to endure this much damage when a bozo with evil buddies gets elected. How can we do that? Well, funny you ask, because I’ve thought about this, too.

We remove corporate influence from government by making corporate contributions illegal. That’s how it is in Canada, and it makes a lot of sense. And we need to terminate the 14th-Amendment personhood of corporations. There’s pretty good evidence that the Supreme Court that allowed that to happen was “unduly influenced,” shall we say (some might say “bribed”), and it’s also been made clear over the past century, culminating in the current catastrophe, that corporations abuse the privacy afforded by such personhood. They need to be transparent, so that the real citizens, the actual people, can be protected from the evil men will do in groups for the almighty dollar.

What’s perfectly ugly about this whole scenario, what I’d gloat about if it didn’t mean death and suffering for so many, for so long into the future, is that Bush&Co. used religion to fool people. Further proof that religous people are suckers. Suckers for a lie.

I bet those Islamic big-wigs live pretty well, too.

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38 Responses to “Those Bastards!”

  1. whig said

    I was never suckered by Bush & Co. Although I wasn’t originally religious, either.

  2. edalit said

    Being mistreated by government does not correlate definitively with religious belief system or rejection thereof. The same goes for acceptance of the mistreatment. Suckers? We know about religion-espousing despots and abusers of power, but did Stalin or Chairman Mao occupy the high ground of statesmanship and morality via rejection of religion?

  3. sajji said

    Good rant.

    The problem has always been religion. Faith is belief without evidence. The faithful people are always fooled by politicians that say “believe me. I know better”. We heard again and again by Bush & Co. to simply trust them; they saw top-secret evidence that we’re not allowed to see. “Trust Us”. And this Evangelical machine protected him by further sheltering their flock.

    So even the moderately intelligent American that had semi-conservative value system said OK. The good thing is that even God-blinded individuals can eventually see the truth. These people were never 100% for the war. They might have been 55%-75%. Whenever you have a slim majority that support a war with only 55%-75% conviction, that war cannot last. People will eventually get tired of the body-count and the money spent.

    Look at wars that had almost unanimous support: Bosnia, Iraq (Part I) for example. When there’s that level of international support, combined with unanimous at-home support, it’s a short lived war that is winnable.

    But getting back to the original problem…

    Smart people go to Church, because that’s what their parents did. They have faith in their preachers and their religion. When their priest says to trust them, they do, even if it’s against their better judgment. These people are smart enough to see how manipulative other preachers of other religions are…but they can’t see that happening to them.

    People are more and more, nodding their heads at Church just to fit in…but most of the time know right from wrong. For example, most Catholics in the U.S. use condoms. Even though there’s a massive campaign within the Evangelical movement support abstinence, it’s seldom practiced.

    That’s good and bad. It’s bad because nodding people in the church give ammunition and cover to those in the audience that actually believe the rhetoric. Just like most Muslims don’t like suicide bombings; they simply stay quiet at the Mosque.

  4. honestpoet said

    Good for you, Whig.

    Edalit, I didn’t say being mistreated by government correlates definitively with any religious belief system. Just because some secular governments are also bastards doesn’t change the fact that Bush&Co. used religion to create this mess.

    I’m also not saying that all religious people are stupid. But, as far as I’ve EVER seen, all stupid people are religious. It takes a certain amount of intelligence AND courage to reject religion.

  5. honestpoet said

    Sajji, thanks for your response. I couldn’t agree with you more.

    People do need to speak up. I’d have a lot more respect for the intelligent religious if they’d keep the idiots among them in line.

  6. _NH said

    The US has more forest than it did in the 1800s. Cool your jets, the deer never left when my neighborhood was built up.

    You are worshipping at the altar of Gaia, a good way to snooker people into World Government.

    Shame on you.

  7. honestpoet said

    More forest than in the 1800’s? That’s only if you count saplings as equivalent to old growth trees, and they’re not, neither in terms of oxygen production nor support of bioforms.

    Just because deer have figured out how to coexist with us doesn’t mean that clear cutting is okay. Duh.

    Context-switch much?

    I’m not looking for world government, just good government. If you’re satisfied with how Bush&Co. are doing, then shame on YOU. You don’t think much, do you?

  8. honestpoet said

    And BTW, Adam Weishaupt was a silly little man, and anyone who worries about the Illuminati is a stupid little man.

  9. whig said

    Shame on _NH for being deceptive.

    And by the way, I don’t speak for anyone but myself. So if someone thinks that I have to “keep the idiots in line” in order to be respected, well then who will take responsibility for the idiot in the white house? Is he supposed to be one of mine?

    I say that people have free will, and that means they can be idiots if they choose to be, and all I can do is exercise my own will in the way I think best. Perhaps I too will be thought an idiot, and perhaps none of us are anything but.

    Still and all, I do try to help and to reduce suffering.

  10. honestpoet said

    Whig, when I say they need to be kept in line, I mean by speaking up when they voice their idiocy. When, for example, a jihadist spouts off at a mosque about the glory of suicide bombing, moderate muslims need to speak up and say no. When, at church, idiotic Christians spout off about how gays are subhuman and don’t deserve the same rights as heterosexuals, moderate Christians need to speak up and say no, just as they need to remind their leaders that they’re not sheep and aren’t to be told whom to vote for from the pulpit.

    But I’m afraid that most of the people in the churches have forgotten that they are not sheep. The election, twice, of Bush& Co., shows that.

  11. whig said

    Honestpoet, no matter how much I and others say that the homophobic fake Christians are full of beans, the media isn’t interested in hearing and reporting it. Same goes for the extremists in Islam, no doubt. I guess hatred and violence is more newsworthy than peace and love.

  12. Ed Darrell said

    More forest now than the 1800s? Well, yeah, if you count 1899 in the 1800s. By 1899 much of the forest that had blanketed the eastern U.S. to the Mississippi River was already cut down. I have a friend in New Hampshire who lives in a forest now — he has pictures of the place when his grandfather got it in about 1910. No forest — the trees were all cut down to make farms.

    But since then we’ve had the dustbowl, and farming played out in a lot of places. A few of those places have gone back to forest.

    Sure, we have more forest now than we did in 1899 — but we’re significantly down from 1800, 1810, 1820, 1830, 1840, 1850, 1860, and on. Today we need those trees especially to be sinks for air pollution and to deflect the effects of acid rain.

    Deforestation, concretization, and the general destruction of natural ecosystems is a major problem. Even where we didn’t have forests, where graslands were, we have significant erosion problems (my recollection is that we’ve lost about four feet of topsoil from our agricultural lands, throughout the Mississippi drainage).

    I suppose that making excuses for despoiling the land is what was meant by that line that fundies don’t think we need to protect the environment.

  13. honestpoet said

    Thanks, Ed.

    It is true that things had been improving before Bush&Co. came to power, forestwise. It’s astonishing how far they’ve been able to set things back — environmentally, internationally, economically — in just six years.

    I guess the executive branch really can have a big impact. Yet more evidence that we as voters need to be more careful about whom we elect and why.

    You know, it takes nature 100 years to make an inch of topsoil. Thankfully, with really good stewardship, we’re able to speed up the process. But unfortunately, there still aren’t enough good stewards in agriculture. More and more every year, though, so there is cause for optimism. (Because we can also vote with our $$, and organic methods yield products that make $$.)

  14. whig said

    Cannabis will grow more rapidly than most trees, and does an excellent job of refreshing the soil.

  15. I am a little late in responding to this month-old rant, but you know I had to say something.

    You stated, “What’s perfectly ugly about this whole scenario, what I’d gloat about if it didn’t mean death and suffering for so many, for so long into the future, is that Bush&Co. used religion to fool people.” While this statement is risible in relation to my own voting record, you may well be correct about many religious folks – unlikely, but it is possible.

    Still, even if we assume that you are not wrong about your assessment that religious people “were fooled,” the relevant question is where does that get you? You still have to prove why you are right and Bush is wrong. Your assertions (if true) really only prove that religious people vote using religion as there foundation. It seems relevant then to ask, “Okay, so what?” There is no correlation between that foundation and the ultimate conclusion that you have drawn about Bush.

    I would recommend you stick to the facts about Bush. We will still disagree, but at least then we can focus on the real issues. 🙂

  16. honestpoet said

    You may not live in the Bible Belt, but around here, preachers essentially INSTRUCTED their flocks to vote for Bush & Cheney. What else can I infer from this except that religion was USED to attain victory in the election?

    I’m not sure what Bush really believes in his heart and don’t pretend to, but I do know for a fact that he took plenty of opportunities to grin on the steps of churches on the way in and out, because I saw the photos. They turned my stomach and made me think of that passage about the men who prayed so loudly in the synagogue, and Christ’s comments on this. In fact I believe there are more than one tale or parable in the Bible that instructs us not to wear our relationship with the Divine on our sleeves or our chests like some kind of badge of honor. Any reward is to be in the other world, no?

    Religion, for most today, has become more about networking than anything else. You seem to be one of the rare few, like my mother and her husband, who take Christ’s message seriously. And I do concede, btw, that the overriding message (however whacked some of the words can be, taken out of context) is very positive (however unheeded). I just consider it myth and not history.

    Thanks for your comments, in both threads.

  17. whig said

    FaithfulObserver, George Walker Bush is a very bad Christian, in that he defies Christ’s command to love your enemy (Matthew 5:44). So is the rest of this hateful administration, which preys on people’s fear of the other to get bountiful wealth for themselves.

    Shame on them.

  18. You’re right. I do not live in the Bible belt. I live in Florida and go to a church where people wear shorts, have piercings, tattoos, mohawks, and just about everything else that would make you believe you were at a rock concert instead of church. My pastor was also once a drug-addicted hippy. I say that simply to point out that Christians do not fit into a single mold, in much the same way that atheists do not.

    I also understand what you mean about blind religious voting, and I am not saying that politicians did not use religion. Politicians have always used religions. Even Democrats. I am merely trying to point out something that you weren’t clear on and I have hope that you would acknowledge. When you refer to stupid people, you act is if that attribute is exclusive to the religious. The truth is that there are stupid people on both sides of this debate.

    Those stupid people on both sides have this same problem in common. They both follow their leaders and their ideals blindly without a full understanding of what they mean. What I am asking of you and those with opposing views of mine is to come to the debate with thoughtfulness and reasonableness. Don’t argue based on the fringe element, but on the issues. As I said in my comment, ultimately there are a number of things we will still disagree on. But, you might begin to see it is not as black and white as you think if you can cast aside the demonizing.

    I will continue to read your postings so that I can better understand the opposing viewpoints. I also love to be challenged in my faith! 🙂

  19. honestpoet said

    FO, what you need to realize in this conversation is that YOU are the fringe element in Christianity, not the kind of folk I rail against. They’re the average, the ugly hump of the bell curve. That’s the missing piece in the puzzle of your perception.

    And politicians have NOT always used religion, not in this country, at least. And it’s time we got back to that, a politics of reason and ideas, not superstition and innuendo.

    If you actually enjoy having your faith challenged, you should try reading Richard Dawkins. I’m reading an old book of his, Unweaving the Rainbow, right now. He’s one of the most entertaining science writers I’ve ever read, and, read with an open mind, would make even the most faithful observer abandon the god superstition in the blink of an eye. I haven’t read The God Delusion yet, but I’m looking forward to it.

  20. whig said

    Honestpoet, once again I think you miss a chance to communicate by your rejection of religion. The fact is, many people perceive God. You might not, or you might not call what you perceive by that name more to the point, but to ask a self-proclaimed Christian to abandon their own experience is counterproductive.

  21. honestpoet said

    I would never ask anyone to ABANDON their EXPERIENCE. Just to be open to reinterpreting it.

  22. whig said

    Of course, as you should be open to reinterpreting your models. None of us have the complete perception or description of the universe, we have ways of speaking about things that allow others who understand the same things to communicate. That’s really all religion is. Or science, for that matter.

  23. If you will oblige me a further dialogue…

    As for being on the fringe, I certainly hope that I am not in a minority of truly positive Christians, but will be open to observe that in the future. Truth be told, it would have to be one whopper of a statistical anomaly for that to be the case, but you never know. In the end, the overall point remains the same. We all have our own front porch to the world. From that viewpoint, some people have seen the world in a manner that was so skewed they’ve done more bad than good. Truly, some of these – both religious and non-religious – have been wretchedly terrible. Others have observed the world for mostly what it is and have managed to do more good than bad. And still others have been so utterly focused on doing good that they absolutely changed the world and left it better than when they came in.

    In the model that I follow, I see people like the many missionaries I have come in contact with that, while focusing on spreading the gospel, did it by educating and feeding the poor, teaching them to be self-sufficient, teaching them about modern medicine, and leading them from a world of mere survival to one of hope. As I look over this world, there are few people that can compare to these people in terms of the sheer positive force that they have fostered and harvested in other people. Whatever that means in the grand scheme of things is a decision that each of us has to make, whether for or against the truthfulness of the Bible. While acknowledging that there is no “logical” correlation between the conclusion and the premise, I ultimately conclude by faith that there is something more to these people than an empty religion.

    For me, I choose to live my life for positive change. I choose to have hope, faith, and a commitment to something that I believe is greater than myself. I do that in the same manner as Jesus when he gave the Sermon on the Mount, or when he said, “What you have done for the least of these, you have done for me.” The wisdom in both of those messages goes beyond the grave, whether simply by the traditions of a faith that produces the likes for which I identify above or truly by the spirit. I still value reason and logic, but only with a healthy dose of those other attributes that makes life absolutely priceless! 🙂

  24. Whig,

    Whether or not Bush is a good Christian is for another debate. There were entirely too many generalities thrown out about Bush to address anything with substance. Should the opportunity arise, I will be more willing to address that issue further, but not without a foundation of context.

  25. honestpoet said

    FO, altruism among Christians proves absolutely nothing about the validity of the religion. For all we know, they could be altruistic despite the religion, not because of it. I know of plenty of altruistic folks who practice no religion.

    It’s actually been found in recent studies that altruism has a biological basis, though whether the signs of altruism in the brain signal a genetic predisposition to altruism or are the remnants of a reward mechanism is not yet clear.

    And btw, I think missionaries who spread the gospel are awful people. If those people in other countries with other cultural traditions reject Jesus (which is as understandable as you rejecting Ganesha when told about him by a Hindu), then aren’t they damning them to Hell? If they’d never heard the message, then they can’t be responsible for rejecting it. Missionaries do what they do to score points in heaven. Yuck.

  26. honestpoet said

    Whig, I’m constantly reassessing and reinterpreting my perceptions of reality, so you can spare me the lecture.

    And no, you can’t say science is a language for communicating subjective perception. Science is a methodical pursuit of knowledge, not an attempt to communicate with like-minded individuals.

    Religion is most clearly not.

  27. whig said

    Honestpoet, you have no objective reference. What you have is the combined input of many subjective references. When we create machines to make measurements, we amplify our subjective capabilities, but no matter how far we go we can only perceive and conceive that which is perceivable and conceivable.

    Science is the language of the perceivable, and religion of the conceivable. Both are needed, and the great tragedy is the war between them.

  28. whig said

    FaithfulObserver, your unwillingness to address the waywardness of your sheep is telling. Do you claim George Bush as one of your flock?

  29. whig said

    I am thinking of starting a new loaf of bread, will you try an experiment with me and we can even use a commercial yeast to make it easy. I want you to see what I am talking about and maybe we will understand one another better. We can decide on ingredients together and we can each make our own bread, and discuss it as we go.

  30. Clearly, there is not much left to say then. I cast my lot with the missionaries for all of history. Not only do you attack people who deserve to be respected, but you do it with fallacious reasoning – the irony is certainly thick.

    There is no God, but missionaries are awful for condemning others to hell for spreading the message of Christ? Wow, I am dumbfounded! It is obvious that there must not truly be a Christian bell curve with you. It seems that all Christians MUST have an ulterior motive. Only atheists can do good acts without any further motivation since they don’t believe there is something after this life – how sad.

    Finally, if you reread what I wrote, you will find the complete acknowledgment that altruism does not prove anything about the validity of Christianity.

  31. honestpoet said

    Whig, when you get metaphorical I can’t help but wonder if you aren’t already baked.

    FO, you say that you acknowledge that altruism doesn’t prove anything, and yet essentially in your previous post you concluded that despite the lack of logic you found the missionaries’ acts and existence to move you to believe.

    And yes, I do believe that Christians do have an ulterior motive, however ego-dystonic (hidden from their consciousness).

    We are not going to find common ground here. I essentially see all believers in the paranormal as suffering mental illness. That’s not said in any superior way. I have compassion, having suffered it myself in the past. But in this forum I am not mincing words.

    The world is sick. You can’t look at current events and pretend otherwise. The expedient cure is secular humanism.

    Human cultures, like all things, evolve or die. People can either help in that, or fight it. Personally, I’d rather help, even though emotionally it can be uncomfortable.

  32. whig said

    Honestpoet, what do you think I was being metaphorical about? Do you want to go along with my experiment or not? It’s quite practical and we can do it with ingredients that we are both likely to have on hand or obtain easily. It’s a simple yes or no, we will bake bread together or we will not.

  33. whig said

    Secular humanism didn’t work very well for the Soviet Union, by the way. Putting people in mental hospitals for their religious beliefs is something they did, too.

  34. honestpoet said

    Whig, now you’re just being silly.

    I’m an American, remember. I’ve got no desire to hospitalize anyone for believing in an imaginary deity. Besides, there are too many of you. And the Soviets were hardly secular humanists. They may have been atheists, but that’s not necessarily the same thing.

    And no, I haven’t even cleaned up from dinner yet. I certainly can’t be baking bread.

  35. whig said

    Goodness, you recognize that secular and humanist don’t necessarily go together.

    I don’t have anything against secularism if it is humanistic, nor do I have anything against practitioners of any faith if they are humanitarian.

    I would think the breadmaking would take a bit longer than one evening anyhow. It’s a project, in the course of which you might understand a bit of what religion tries to communicate, which is to say what we understood in a cruder way than our modern science might describe but which does not recognize the significance of.

  36. And the band plays on…

    Honestpoet,
    I understand what you say your view is, but I am simply pointing out that you aren’t putting forth a very convincing argument. You rely on a regular trick of arguers who do not have much of their own logic invested on a subject. Namely, you quote studies or authors like, “It’s actually been found in recent studies that altruism has a biological basis.” Once you throw something like this out, you cannot stand pat and act like that has proven your point. Instead, to be logically coherent, you must further explain yourself.

    Now even if we take a vague reference such as this as fact, what does that prove? I have no doubt that much of our emotions and behavior have a biological basis, but that means nothing to our debate and only serves to in fact mince words. I am not opposed to you using science, as clearly it is your foundation, but it is silly to use it in such an esoteric manner.

    Finally, my use of altruism was an explanation of the behavior I value and not an explanation of the reason I believe in the salvation of the cross. Having already believed in salvation for other reasons, I acknowledge the altruism of missionaries as evidence of something more. Of course, I fully acknowledged that there is no logical correlation between the two that can be proven on this earth. The observation is purely dependent on my faith. That is why I ended the observation with the marker that it was not used as a logical proof of Christianity. Instead, it was merely used to identify the group of Christians I feel I am represented the best by. Unfortuantely, although strangely in my book, that is not a good thing in your eys.

    At any rate, lose the vague references and the strawmen and your arguments will be more effective.

  37. Whig,
    What is your point about Bush? My evaluation of him should relate to his politics, should it not? In which case I am presupposing that you are calling into question my own faith because I support some of his’ policies that you probably find most offensive. I gather this from reading some of your blog. So, isn’t that the real issue? But again, what context do I have to address anything about Bush or my own political beliefs in this conversation without knowing your issues?

    Still, since you insist, I am going to take a guess and address what I suppose is your primary issue; the war. Yes, I support the war. In fact, not only did I support it originally, but I support it today, tomorrow, and ten years from now if it is necessary. Perhaps to you that makes me a warmongering fool. My defense of the war is simple and since I have had to do it so often, I will simply provide a cut and paste:

    Supposing I grant the war opposition crowd the example of Bush as being a warmonger with a failed Iraq strategy, where does that get them? Even if they listed a whole assortment of alleged people who are not peaceful, wouldn’t they still have to define peace? Clearly, we must have a different view of peace. Are we being peaceful simply because we are tucked away in our quaint suburban homes, with our plug-in heated sheets, our latte, Blackberry, and our Grape Nuts Cereal, while ignoring the evil that occurs in other countries?

    It is easy for us to debate such a subject when we don’t have to deal with the daily horrors of suicide bombers, government oppression, rape squads, and the like. Perhaps conservatives are completely misguided in their methods of attacking these problems, but it seems equally misguided to merely talk about peace as if by talking, peace is attainable. Year after year, U.N. proposal after U.N. proposal, the international community talked and talked about the problems in Iraq. In that time, hundreds of thousands died, with the mass graves being uprooted after the invasion of Iraq. Was that peaceful? In deed, it was not.

    Need I also go into the millions of people in history who have died while the international community “talked” about peace? And for what purpose did they die? I truly hope that is not your idea of peace.

  38. honestpoet said

    Whig and FO, I’m bored with this and am not going to waste my time with you anymore.

    I don’t blog to get into debates. I blog to vent my frustration at the status quo and the rampant belief in fairy tales. I don’t expect to change the mind of anyone already infected with this virulent meme. I just hope to help inoculate those not yet infected. Don’t bother posting anymore in this thread. If you want to argue with each other, you can do that at one or both of your blogs.

    Good luck.

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