December 1st, 2009


My brother Ian, the raging Heathen

My brother Ian goes off.

There’s something awesome about fulminating rage from someone who can actually write. The title of this post refers to the quarter-page ads some fundamentalist nutjob used to buy in the Des Moines Register every sunday, which were dense, incoherent 750 word paragraphs, always under the headline “Why Do The Heathens Rage?”

I’ll add my own two cents with respect to raging about the ‘aughts’ decade. It was a decade so ruled by unreason, greed and nihilism that no one has come up with a name for it like ‘the seventies.’ My brother pretty much nailed it, but I have some specific complaints about the so-called conservative movement:

Dear Conservatives,

The latest in the long line of hobby horses y’all are wont to ride is Fiscal Responsibility. NOW you wring your hands over the National Debt and the Federal Deficit? Where the fuck were you when Cheney and Bush were flying C5As into Iraq full of PALLETS OF CASH and handing out bricks of hundreds to shady operators of all shapes and colors, without even GETTING A RECEIPT? Where were you when we started spending hundreds of millions of dollars a month to prosecute the worst run war in the history of warfare? Why were you silent when the Republicans rammed through tax cuts for the rich shithead leeches they play golf with?

We are in the middle of some pretty frightening deficit spending right now — I’ll grant you that. And I’m not crazy about the fact that we can’t rationalize the international financial system without handing out bricks of hundreds AGAIN without getting a receipt, this time to the shady operators who run banks. But you lot? You can fuck the fucking fuck right off. Health Care Reform, the Stimulus Plan, all the ways Obama and Congress are spending money right now is an INVESTMENT in our country — the education of our young, the care for our sick and infirm, the rebuilding of our country’s infrastructure.

Conservatives have NO problem with profligate deficit spending when it’s used to generate obscene profits for arms dealers and murderous thieving thugs like Blackwater. You have no problem mortgaging our future so a bunch of golf-playing, Swiss ski vacationing parasites can pay even LESS of their fair share for the common good. You have no trouble with paying CONSULTANTS a thousand dollars a day to TORTURE foreigners for the crime of being brown. But try to make government do something POSITIVE is just a bridge too far for you, isn’t it?

It’s all too much for me. It reminds me of one of Woody Allen’s best lines: “if Jesus came back and saw what’s going on in his name, he’d never stop throwing up. ” The modern conservative movement has nothing to do with ‘conserving’ what is good and moderating the more outlandish liberal impulses. It is a coalition of cynical sociopaths hell bent on destroying the Earth and a bunch of deluded millenialist dead-enders who think gay people will somehow ruin marriage. Conservatism as it is practiced today is not antithesis to liberalism’s thesis. It is a ill-constructed system of specious theorems constructed on axioms of the PUREST BULLSHIT.

The Chaircrusher

Originally published at Do My Eyes Look Scary?. You can comment here or there.


The Manhattan Document — Stupidity with a Christian Face

The Manhattan Document is a declaration of supposedly ‘core Christian values’ and they’ve gotten 160,000 people to sign apparently.

Some of the money quotes:
“The present administration is led and staffed by those who want to make abortions legal at any stage of fetal development, and who want to provide abortions at taxpayer expense.”

That is no doubt objectively true. The primary stance in the Obama administration is pro-choice. However, it is also disingenuous and misleading. The actual standard issue pro-choice position is that abortion should be legal at any stage of fetal development to preserve the life of the mother. In other words, late term abortions when medically necessary. No one supports late-term abortion of a viable fetus. Furthormore, if a fetus is viable, and the mother’s life is endangered by the pregnancy, is there a doctor on the face of the planet who would abort the child? No. They would deliver the baby.

As for ‘abortion at taxpayer expense’ — the Obama administration might support that in the abstract, but there have been a law on the books for a long time prohibiting that and no one in the Obama administration is trying to get that repealed. Not only that, the House Health Care Reform bill is even MORE restrictive on paying for abortions than current law, in that it would prohibit private health insurance from covering pregnancy termination if the patient has any government subsidy of her health insurance costs.

“The impulse to redefine marriage in order to recognize same-sex and multiple partner
relationships is a symptom, rather than the cause, of the erosion of the marriage culture.”

For crying out loud, who is advocating group marriage? I mean, aside from the redneck pedophiles in back-country Utah? This is just another specious ’slippery-slope’ argument. Try this one on for size: “Accepting Jesus Christ as your personal savior is the first step on the slippery slope to believing all sorts of stupid shit, starting with basing your entire life around magical thinking.” If I were to make that statement in earnest, I think a lot of reasonable Christians might be rightly offended. But “slippery slope” is always an argument with nothing to back it up. It’s basically making the logical assertion “For all B, A implies B.” It’s not an argument, it’s baseless fear-mongering.

And “marriage culture?” Listen, you pious wankers, people get married, people get divorced. Some married people do wonderful things, and some commit all sorts of unspeakable cruelties and crimes. Whether or not gay people get married will have no bearing whatsoever on whether marriage is a strong ‘institution,’ or ‘culture.’ It is a flawed human institution, that on balance is a positive. But whether marriages are good or bad has nothing to do with what sort of sex the parties involved prefer. Besides, married people stop having sex and the issue becomes moot.

“It is ironic that those who today assert a right to kill the unborn, aged and disabled and also a
right to engage in immoral sexual practices, and even a right to have relationships integrated
around these practices be recognized and blessed by law—such persons claiming these “rights”
are very often in the vanguard of those who would trample upon the freedom of others to express
their religious and moral commitments to the sanctity of life and to the dignity of marriage as the
conjugal union of husband and wife.”

OK there it is, all rolled into one. That’s who they’re up against — those butt-fucking, baby-killing, granny-smothering infidels who want to harsh on their mellow. Classic straw man argument. Let’s make this perfectly clear: No one, no where is trying to limit their free speech or freedom to worship. Or if you can actually find such a person, they are by no means in the mainstream, and they certainly have no power to actually implement such a program.

The fact is, people like the Manhattan Document signatories are really lost without someone persecuting them. It defines them, it binds them together, it gets them out of bed in the morning. But this persecution is imaginary. If anything, I think they have too many venues in which to spin their fairy tales, and their phoney-baloney arguments get way too much credence in the marketplace of ideas.

I’ve no doubt that these people are sincere, but sincerity counts for little in American politics. If it did, the entire Republican Party establishment would have to hang up their expensive suits and sell used cars. Ditto for most of the Democrats. The Manhattan Document is a succinct explication of a set of deeply held religous beliefs, but they aren’t everyone’s beliefs, and they consequently cannot and should not be implemented in law! To do so would be a betrayal of the core political values of our country.

Originally published at Do My Eyes Look Scary?. You can comment here or there.