What happened to New York City? It used to be a city of tough cookies, but now it’s full of intellectually and spiritually numb drones cheering on officials who continuously find new ways to enslave them. New Yorkers can not be trusted with guns. New Yorkers can not be trusted with carbonated beverages. New Yorkers can not be trusted with e-cigarettes. And now, they can not be trusted to raise their own children, according to Democratic state senator Ruben Diaz.

Senator Ruben Diaz
This is the man who thinks New Yorkers should be forced to attend parenting classes. Sometimes, a picture really is worth a thousand words.

Fox 5 New York reported:

New York state Sen. Ruben Diaz Jr. introduced a bill that would require parents of elementary school children to attend a minimum of four parent support classes. If parents don’t go, 6th graders won’t move onto 7th grade.

The bill states one of the courses would be related to physical, emotional, and sexual abuse of children.

Employers would be required to provide one day a year of paid leave so working parents can attend classes.

What’s worse, when asked by a reporter what they thought about the mandate, there were New Yorkers who actually gave the idea two thumbs up.

“No, I don’t mind. I don’t mind. I don’t mind having to take the class because I think it’s a good thing.”

“You need a license to fish, but anyone could be a parent and there’s some really bad parents out there.”

“I  think every good parent would admit that there’s always something more that they could learn. So, people who are truly offended by it are  probably the ones who need it the most need it the most.”

Nobody denies that there is “always something more” to learn. The question is whether or not you should be mandated by the government to “learn” what nameless faceless bureaucrats want you to learn about raising your own kid.

Barry Goldwater was a smart man. He was also the type of guy New Yorkers have made fun of for decades, which is why they now beg politicians for psychological shackles without even realizing it.

Parenting Class New York
Hi, I’m a New Yorker who likes to be told what to do. When I have kids, I want politicians from the Bronx who wear goofy cowboy hats to force me to attend classes during the work week. But it’s okay, because they’ll make my employer pick up the tab. Being a slave is so liberating! It’s like you don’t even have to think for yourself. Ahhhh.

Let us revisit for a moment ‘The Conscious of a Conservative” to see how we ended up in a day and age where citizens would cheer the state’s imposition of parenting classes.

Consider the consequences to the recipient of welfarism. For one thing, he mortgages himself to the federal government. In return for benefits — which, in the majority of cases, he pays for — he concedes to the government the ultimate in political power — the power to grant or withhold from him the necessities of life as the government sees fit. Even more important, however, is the effect on him — the elimination of any feeling of responsibility for his own welfare and that of his family and neighbors. A man may not immediately, or ever, comprehend the harm thus done to his character. Indeed, this is one of the great evils of Welfarism — that it transforms the individual from a dignified, industrious, self-reliant spiritual being into a dependent animal creature without his knowing it.

[We] can shatter the collectivists’ designs on individual freedom if we will impress upon the men who conduct our affairs this one truth: that the material and spiritual sides of man are intertwined; that it is impossible for the State to assume responsibility for one without intruding on the essential nature of the other; that if we take from a man the personal responsibility for caring for his material needs, we take from him also the will and the opportunity to be free.

While Mr. Goldwater was talking primarily about the enormity of the welfare state at the time, the underlying point — that collectivism erodes man’s spirit — is relevant to New York’s politics.

With every new law that takes away a fraction of individual liberty, citizens say to the critic: “What’s the big deal? Why are you overreacting?” They laugh and continue on their way.  Over time, the State accumulates more and more power, and people born into the bureaucracy never even realize that there was once a time when they could perform activities “A-Z” without having to go through a maze of red tape. Like Shin Dong-hyuk, who was born into a North Korean prison camp, they can lack the ability to understand what’s really going on because they’ve never experienced anything else.

Obviously, New Yorkers do not experience anything like the North Korean gulags, but on some levels the kind of despotism they regularly put up with is worse — they’ve been made to crave it. American despotism is like the drug that makes people feel good as it destroys their ambition, hopes and dreams. As their lives crumble around them they simply demand more. They delude themselves into thinking that it isn’t their own behavior or the actions of the dealer who is to blame for the ills that befall them, but some other boogeyman. Often times the person trying to help them break the addiction is labeled the bad guy.

So who are the drug dealers? Ask yourself: Is MSNBC’s Melissa Harris-Perry one of them?

“We have never invested in public education as much as we should have, because we’ve always had kind of a private notion of children. Your kid is yours, and totally your responsibility. We haven’t had a very collective notion of “These are our children”; so part of it is that we have to break through our kind of private idea that kids belong to their parents, or kids belong to their families, and recognize that kids belong to whole communities. Once it’s everybody’s responsibility and not just the household’s, then we start making better investments,” (Melissa Harris-Perry, MSNBC promotional video).

That was a promo for her show. That wasn’t some off-the-cuff remark during a live taping. That was what she sat down and wrote to convey to the world who she is and what she represents. And when guys like me said it was sort-kinda-Communist to the ears, we were accused of seeing an agenda that wasn’t there. Well, it’s hard to say an agenda isn’t there when like-minded politicians start seriously floating about mandatory parenting classes.

The Borg is here…and you will be assimilated. Resistance is futile.

Check out Lee Doran’s take as well if you get a chance.

Related: NYC considers ban on e-cigarettes because its officials are addicted to power

Related: Mayor Bloomberg: Soda Jerk serves up soft tyranny

Related: When idiots dream big, they dream of Mayor Bloomberg

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About the Author Douglas Ernst

I'm a former Army guy who believes success comes through hard work, honesty, optimism, and perseverance. I believe seeing yourself as a victim creates a self-fulfilling prophecy. I believe in God. I'm a USC Trojan with an MA in Political Science from American University.

77 comments

  1. New York has really gone downhill and has transformed into a full-blown nanny state. When is enough going to be enough? When are people going to wake up and throw these statist clowns out of office?

    1. I think a lot of these cities are so addicted to GovDrug that it would take a major economic collapse to give them a shot at getting sober. Cutting them off cold turkey would make them quite angry…but when you have entire generations raised on this line of thought, there’s not a whole lot else you can do.

  2. This sounds like the opening scenes of a science fiction film. Cut forward 20 or so years and you will only allowed to have a child if you have passed the course and been selected for parenthood.

    1. I thought the exact same thing, Andrew. That type of future frightens me, where the government has taken control of your lives and makes decisions for you.

    2. Yeah. Government is there to act in the interests of the people. Unfortunately a lot of politicians nowadays are only interested in themselves and politics is seen as an alternative form of celebrity.

      With population control there would no doubt be quotas of ethnicity to fill. Liberal bureaucrats would block mixed race couples from conceiving as they were betraying their race by consorting with the white devil.

  3. Luckily for me, I don’t live in a major city like NYC, even though Minneapolis is a little over 40-50 miles away. But I am disturbed at how accepting people are of statists and I think the stuff that’s happening in places like New York thanks to Nanny Bloomberg sets an extremely dangerous precedent, opening up the door for more Orwellian policies elsewhere.

  4. I agree with the one commenter in the article you linked to: instead of forcing parents to attend unnecessary classes like this, I have a better idea: why don’t nanny state-loving politicians be forced to attend classes on the Constitution? They don’t understand that it was intended to limit the government’s power.

  5. I agree with your article, Doug. We need less “nanny state” thinking in our local, state, and federal governments, respectively. NY State Senator Ruben Diaz, Jr. is way off here. Forced parenting classes aren’t going to make better parents, it’s just going to waste people’s time.

    It gets worse. Read the other day that Borg statist are also at work in Alabama’s House of Representatives, who are working as we speak to pass a bill requiring school prayer. The same Alabama who is also addicted to “GovDrug” and runs a net deficit on federal tax dollars, i.e. they receive more than a dollar back for every dollar they pay in taxes.

    According to the Montgomery Advertiser, “the bill, sponsored by Rep. Steve Hurst, R-Munford, would require teachers to spend no more than 15 minutes in the first class of each day to read, verbatim, opening prayers said before a meeting of the U.S. House of Representatives or the U.S. Senate.”

    These statist maroons are ignoring, of course, the two SCOTUS rulings prohibiting school-sponsored mandatory prayer in schools on Constitutional grounds, but when has that stopped them from their insanity? Then again, with Justices like Roy Moore, they may have a fighting chance in the Alabama Supreme Court prior to the eventual reversal by SCOTUS.

    These people take an oath to uphold the Constitution and, apparently, the statists have short memories down in Alabama.

    Goldwater had sage words for this too.

    “Mark my word, if and when these preachers get control of the [Republican] party, and they’re sure trying to do so, it’s going to be a terrible damn problem. Frankly, these people frighten me. Politics and governing demand compromise. But these Christians believe they are acting in the name of God, so they can’t and won’t compromise. I know, I’ve tried to deal with them.”

    1. Lightbringer, why are you pulling a Lizard19 move here? I wrote a blog on New York politics and you used the comments section to go off on a long snarky diatribe (I love the quotations around “Nanny State” and “GovDrug” — nice touch) about school prayer in Alabama.

      At least Lizard19, for all his issues, would have just come out and accused me of not covering everything he wished I would write on and of being “partisan” (even though I openly admit that I’m conservative). You, however, have to play some dumb game after weeks (months?) of silence. You’ll have to forgive me if I lost track. I’ve been busy.

      What do you want me to say? That I think forcing school prayer is wrong? Sure. For a public school I think it would be inappropriate to force kids to pray 15 minutes at the start of class. And I, a devout Catholic, also think religious people shouldn’t act like jerks in the comments section of my blog, which is why I banned Emmanuel for a month. Moving on…

      I honestly wouldn’t mind discussing half of this stuff with you if you at least showed some semblance of interest in talking about the actual post. Since you wanted to act like Lizard19’s little cousin, that won’t be happening. Either stick to the topic at hand or go back to lurking.

    2. I thought that was a little odd, too, and it did remind me a bit of Lizard’s old tactics. As a Lutheran, do I think that forcing school prayer in public schools wrong? Yes, but this is a minor issue and I doubt it’ll actually come to fruition.. As for the Right being “hijacked” by Evangelicals, keep in mind that the last two GOP candidates were John McCain (moderate Republican from Arizona, whom the MSM loves because of his willingness to go against his party) and Mitt Romney (moderate Mormon from Massachusetts). So I hardly think they “have control of the Republican party.” And that ignores the fact there were quite a few Evangelicals who voted for Obama.

    3. It just gets old. You can tick of a list of a dozen ideas that erode individual liberties proposed by prominent Democrats (e.g., Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid, Barbara Boxer) and it always comes back to, “But…but…but the scary Jesus people that live hundreds if not thousands of miles from me are scaring me.” They act like Christians are angry Ren and they’re Stimpy cowering in the corner with his buddy Sven.

      “I’m gonna hit ya…and you’re gonna fall. And I’m gonna look down, and I’m gonna laugh.”

    4. At first I was like…

      But then I laughed. Are we reading the same post? The post is about statism, right? My example was about statism, right? You’re going to have to elaborate on why you believe my reply was somehow the equivalent of Lizard19 blatant trolling or Emmanuel’s impotent rage.

      I directly addressed your post and added another example, which was both relevant and timely. Had Carl or Jim or Andrew listed another example of statism by liberals, I think we both know your response would be entirely different. I honestly thought you would have found it interesting me supplementing the main thrust of your post with a similarly egregious, albeit conservative, form of blatant statism and agreed with me it was a Borg-like and wrong. And I thought you might like my quote from Goldwater. It appears I was wrong on both counts.

      I agree with your post and your disdain for statism wholeheartedly, though it’s disappointing to see you stoop to petty name-calling and mockery–which is rather Lizard19’ish if I might say so. If you re-read what I wrote, you will find neither scorn for your article nor for your position on the matter.

      What do I want you to say? That was my experiment. What could you say? The stench of statism doesn’t smell bad when it is conservative? I was hoping for something along the lines of “statism exists on both sides of the political spectrum and it’s both equally wrong and against the principles of our great nation.” Nope, you flip the table. (╯°□°)╯︵ ┻━┻

      I have been gone too long… this place needs an independent once in a while to keep you conservatives “intellectually honest.”

    5. There’s not much to elaborate on. Yes, you “agreed” with my post, but that quick nod of the head was really just used as a springboard to go off on a tangent aimed at faux religious conservatives. Your reply screamed: “Eh, I guess you’re right about this guy, but look over here. They’re talking about Jeeeeeeesus! Those are the real Borg.”

      I agree with your post and your disdain for statism wholeheartedly, though it’s disappointing to see you stoop to petty name-calling and mockery–which is rather Lizard19′ish if I might say so. If you re-read what I wrote, you will find neither scorn for your article nor for your position on the matter.

      I’ve read enough of your posts to know that there was plenty of eye-rolling going on, because you aren’t scared by New York-style leftists nearly as much as you’re scared of, umm, Rep. Steve Hurst. Also, if you’re not going to swim in the pool for a long time, it’s probably not a good idea to do a canon ball upon your return and then say, “What? Me? Making waves? What are you talking about?”

      Had Carl or Jim or Andrew listed another example of statism by liberals, I think we both know your response would be entirely different.

      Yes, it would have been different because a.) I’m conservative, b.) they post here regularly, c.) they typically stick to the subject at hand before allowing the conversation to naturally veer off into other directions.

      If you wanted to bring up Alabama prayer, would it be that much to ask that we have one or two interactions that revolve around New York and its problems first, since that was the main thrust of the post?

      And while I still think it’s quite humorous that you continue to refer to yourself as an Independent…I welcome any and all attempts to keep me honest.

    6. If we’re discussing nanny state as a govt imposing its will into the family life (like parenting classes), I think forced prayer would fall into that category as a discussion point. I’ll second the Catholic vote that forced, or crowbarred, prayer in a public school is a bad idea. One difference between the two situations as I see it is that New York seems to be on a pattern of nanny state proposals whereas Alabama seems more singular in its issue….just my two cents.

      Also loved the Ren & Stimpy clip, forgot how amusing that show could be!

    7. @Carl
      Have you heard of Dominionism? Triumphalism? Dominion Theology? Theonomy? Christian Reconstructionism?

      So I hardly think they “have control of the Republican party.”

      Courtesy of Christianity Today:
      http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2012/november-web-only/in-defeats-evangelicals-more-politically-united-than-ever-b.html

      “In 1982, exit polls showed an even 50-50 split of self-identified “born again” voters between Republican and Democratic candidates. That shifted to a 2-to-1 split favoring Republicans in the later ’80s and throughout the 1990s. Even when some exit polls shifted the question to ask whether voters were “members of the religious right,” two-thirds of such respondents supported Republican candidates. In 2004, “born again or evangelical” voters voted 3-to-1 for Bob Dole. In 2008, Democrats rebounded somewhat, with Obama receiving 29 percent of “born again/evangelical” support to John McCain’s 71 percent.”

      The evangelical voter split from 50-50 Republican Democrat in the 80’s to 79-20 in 2012.
      http://www.pewforum.org/2012/11/07/how-the-faithful-voted-2012-preliminary-exit-poll-analysis/

      What does that tell you?

    8. @Patrick
      You’re right, NY is a far worse offender than AL. On a side note, I always enjoy your comments, even when we disagree. If you truly live in Denver, we should have a beer. And you can report back to Doug that I am honestly a nice guy and not a sleeper, little-d liberal. 🙂

      @Doug
      That was a fair reply. But, I had to come back with a splash. You have to admit, that was a heck of a post. I truly believed every word–there was no eye-rolling or disingenuity. By presenting an alternate example, I knew having to confront the conservative version of statism would anger some readers and put you in the unenviable position of either defending religious-flavored statism or agreeing with me on a view contrary with a large number of the conservative base. Wasn’t exactly fair of me, but I wanted to see how you reacted. Plus, my Goldwater quote was too good to keep in the chamber. Felt like Holmes playing blind chess with Moriarty for a moment there. To be fair, I did show some semblance of interest in talking about the actual post, but like you said, there’s not much to elaborate on. I disagree with Diaz’s plan because I don’t think the role of government includes mandating parenting classes, full stop.

      Evangelicals do scare me, as they should any sane person. They believe with every fiber of their being that their god has mandated they proselytize to the far corners of the globe by any means they can, including using statism (as demonstrated in Alabama). Like I asked Carl, have you heard of Dominionism? Triumphalism? Dominion Theology? Theonomy? Christian Reconstructionism? All exist and there are elements of these ideals in many religions, especially Evangelicals. While Lizard’s “Christian Taliban” is hyperbole, the starter version of theocracy is Dominionism. That does scare me.

      You understand Kant’s positive and negative liberty theory as well as I do. Statism is a weed that chokes the tree of liberty. Your posts make me think, and I hope that when I contribute, others do the same.

      I’ll leave this thread (at 1am MST) with this:

      When I do good, I feel good; when I do bad, I feel bad, and that is my religion.
      – Abraham Lincoln

    9. That was a fair reply. But, I had to come back with a splash.

      And that is what annoyed me. I don’t like when people do canon balls next to my head in the swimming pool and scream “Hey buddy, it’s me!” when they’ve gone MIA for extended periods of time. That doesn’t mean that they’re not my buddy or that I don’t want to see them — I do — but I’m generally more of a low key person. I know that may seem odd coming from a guy with his own blog…but it’s true.

      I knew having to confront the conservative version of statism would anger some readers and put you in the unenviable position of either defending religious-flavored statism or agreeing with me on a view contrary with a large number of the conservative base.

      I think statism is statism. It sounds weird to start parsing it into “Liberal statism,” “Independent statism,” “Libertarian Statism,” “Conservative statism,” etc.

      Evangelicals do scare me, as they should any sane person. They believe with every fiber of their being that their god has mandated they proselytize to the far corners of the globe by any means they can, including using statism (as demonstrated in Alabama).

      This fear of Christians seems a bid absurd, considering a.) in many ways individuals were much freer during a time in our history when a larger percentage of the population was religiously oriented, and b.) even in the areas where we were woefully deficient, like slavery, in most cases it was Christians leading the charge to rid it from the American landscape. This is all the more impressive given that slavery in some form or another was the norm in basically all cultures up until that point in recorded history.

      ’ll leave this thread (at 1am MST) with this: “When I do good, I feel good; when I do bad, I feel bad, and that is my religion.” – Abraham Lincoln

      First of all, Lincoln’s beliefs in good and evil were rooted in knowledge and belief in God, so it’s a bit disingenuous to throw it out there as if he was really just the Civil War-era’s version of Hippie Chistopher Hitchens. Also, where is that quote from? I have to get ready for work so I don’t have time to research it. A quick Google search shows that Lincoln was quoting an old man who said it … during a Church meeting. Ha! 🙂

      I particularly like this quote:

      “The will of God prevails. In great contests each party claims to act in accordance with the will of God. Both may be and one must be wrong. God can not be for and against the same thing at the same time. In the present civil war it is quite possible that God’s purpose is something different from the purpose of either party — and yet the human instrumentalities, working just as they do, are of the best adaptation to effect His purpose. I am almost ready to say that is probably true — that God wills this contest, and wills it shall not end yet. By His mere quiet power , on the minds of the now contestant, He could have either saved or destroyed the Union without a human contest. Yet the contest began. And having begun, He could give the final victory either side any day. Yet the contest proceeds.” — Abraham Lincoln, 1862.

      And this one:

      “At the beginning of the war, and for some time, the use of colored troops was not contemplated; and how the change of purpose was wrought I will not now take time to explain. Upon a clear conviction of duty I resolved to turn that element of strength to account; and I am responsible for it to the American people, to the Christian world, to history, and in my final account to God. Having determined to use the negro as a soldier, there is no way but to give him all the protection given to any other soldier.” — Abraham Lincoln, April 18, 1864.

      The problem you have isn’t with Christians, but with stupid Christians. I personally am glad that God never said only smart people are eligible to get into heaven… Regardless, I could not be more thankful that a smart Christian man like Lincoln was at the wheel during the Civil War. You want to talk about “scary,” Lightbringer? What is scary is to think about what the world would look like today if that man of faith wasn’t in charge at such a pivotal point in American history.

    10. Wow, you found that some born-again Christians vote for Republicans. That doesn’t mean they’ve hijacked the Republican Party. As for Dominonism, that’s a baseless conspiracy theory with no factual basis. That’s just as bad as those conspiracy theories that claim Jews want to take over the world. I really don’t see any type of dictatorial Christian theocracy ever happening in the U.S. or elsewhere for that matter. I think being afraid of Evangelicals is irrational and absurd. They don’t go around beheading people or they don’t force women to cover every bit of skin on their body. I’m not worried about them. They’re not going to stage a takeover of the U.S.

    11. @Doug

      Cannon ball or not, arguing is exhausting. During my break, I did read and enjoy your blog from time to time and would comment to myself privately on each topic. It’s been a busy stretch for me and arguing with people on the internet was not a priority.

      I agree with you on statism is statism, but it would be useful to our conversation to hear if you believe what Alabama is attempting to do is statism, in plain terms.

      I was disappointed to read that you stopped my “scary Christians” quote and your subsequent reply short of the actual reason I was troubled by Evangelicals, choosing to sidestep it entirely. Have you no opinion on the latter part of my comment?

      Lincoln a “Christian man?” Let me correct you right there, Lincoln was not “Christian man” by either the times’ or today’s interpretation. Not at all. By many accounts, including his own writing, he was is a Deist in the manner of Thomas Payne with strong Freethinker leanings. At this point, I can’t say I’m shocked as Christians have falsely claimed most of the Founding Fathers as one of their own, men who were predominantly Deists and Unitarians, along with other important historical figures such as Lincoln, whitewashing history to serve their own purposes.

      “Mr. Lincoln was never a member of any Church, nor did he believe in the divinity of Christ, or the inspiration of the Scriptures in the sense understood by evangelical Christians.”
      – Colonel Ward H. Lamon, Lincoln’s close friend and later, biographer

      You would probably be surprised to know that Lincoln’s friend and law partner, John T. Stuart, commented:

      “Lincoln went further against Christian beliefs and doctrines and principles than any man I ever heard: he shocked me. I don’t remember the exact line of his argument — suppose it was against the inherent defects, so called, of the Bible, and on grounds of reason. Lincoln always denied that Jesus was the Christ of God, as understood and maintained by the Christian Church. The Rev. Dr. Smith, who wrote a letter, tried to convert Lincoln from Infidelity so late as 1858, and couldn’t do it.”

      Lincoln actually wrote a book early in his career that, excited by the works of Payne and Volney, that greatly criticized Christianity and posited that that the Bible is not God’s revelation and that Jesus was not the son of God. His close friend, fearing for his political ambitions, tossed it into a fire. Lincoln never denied having wrote the book nor backed away from its writings.

      Mrs. Mary Todd Lincoln said of her husband’s religious views after his death:

      “Mr. Lincoln had no hope, and no faith, in the usual acceptation of those words.” “Mr. Lincoln’s maxim and philosophy were: ‘What is to be, will be, and no prayers of ours can arrest the decree.’ He never joined any Church. He was a religious man always, I think, but was not a technical Christian.”

      Col. Lamon explains:

      “As he grew older, he grew more cautious; and as his New Salem associates, and the aggressive Deists with whom he originally united at Springfield, gradually dispersed, or fell away from his side, he appreciated more and more keenly the violence and extent of the religious prejudice which freedom in discussion from his standpoint would be sure to arouse against him. He saw the immense and augmenting power of the Churches, and in times, past had practically felt it. The imputation of Infidelity had seriously injured him in several of his earlier political contests; and, sobered by age and experience, he was resolved that the same imputation should injure him no more. Aspiring to lead religious communities, he foresaw that he must not appear as an enemy within their gates; aspiring to public honors under the auspices of a political party which persistently summoned religious people to assist in the extirpation of that which it denounced as the ‘nation’s sin,’ he foresaw that he could not ask their suffrages whilst aspersing their faith. He perceived no reason for changing his convictions, but he did perceive many good and cogent reasons for not making them public.”

      “But he never told anyone that he accepted Jesus as the Christ, or performed a single one of the acts which necessarily follow upon such a conviction. At Springfield and at Washington he was beset on the one hand by political priests, and on the other by honest and prayerful Christians. He despised the former, respected the latter, and had use for both. He said with characteristic irreverence that he would not undertake to ‘run the Churches by military authority’; but he was, nevertheless, alive to the importance of letting the Churches ‘run’ themselves in the interest of his party. Indefinite expressions about ‘Divine Providence,’ the ‘Justice of God,’ and ‘the favor of the Most High,’ were easy and not inconsistent with his religious notions. In this, accordingly, he indulged freely; but never in all that time did he let fall from his lips or his pen an expression which remotely implied the slightest froth in Jesus as the son of God and the Saviour of men.”

      I can understand how puzzling it could be that Lincoln could quote the bible and it’s teachings so eloquently while not being a Christian. But to do that you need an understanding about Deism in the 1700 and 1800’s, Enlightenment thinking, and the political landscape of the times.

      “My earlier views of the unsoundness of the Christian scheme of salvation and the human origin of the scriptures have become clearer and stronger with advancing years, and I see no reason for thinking I shall ever change them.”
      – Lincoln in a letter to Judge J.S. Wakefield, after the death of his son, Willie Lincoln

      Was Lincoln a godly man? Very likely, but to ascribe him a Christian is a false statement. It would appear that he was closer in viewpoint to me than to Christianity then or now.

      What I don’t understand is your viewpoint on “dumb Christians.” What or who makes the distinction?

    12. This is hilarious. You’re all over the map. “Well, Lincoln may have believed in God, but he wasn’t a Christian per se, and he spoke eloquently on God but you know…he didn’t really believe it because he was a politician. He’s more like me, the atheist, than you, the guy who believes in God, etc. He wasn’t a ‘technical’ Christian.”

      If you lived during the Civil War and believed in God, I believe your faith would be tested…

      Lincoln, like most people, was a man who believed in God whose faith was challenged — a man who had questions about his faith — like all of us.

      What I don’t understand is your viewpoint on “dumb Christians.” What or who makes the distinction?

      Look at you. You know there is a difference between the Westboro Baptist Church…or people who believe public schools should force kids to pray…or people who think gays should be beaten up in Russia just because they’re wearing a rainbow shirt, and a Catholic of Patrick’s persuasion. Or a Protestant like Carl. Or a Catholic like myself. And yet you want to act like you don’t understand what I meant. I would say there’s a bit of difference between the man who falls in line with Thomas Acquinas and the man who shows up to a military funeral with a sign that says “God hates fags.” Some people don’t go to Church regularly or aren’t “technical Christians” when they’re exposed to the “God hates fags” variety of Christians.

      Was Lincoln a godly man? Very likely, but to ascribe him a Christian is a false statement. It would appear that he was closer in viewpoint to me than to Christianity then or now.

      If you do not believe in God — and Lincoln did — you are spiritually separated by him by an unfathomable distance.

    13. @Carl

      Wow, you found that some born-again Christians vote for Republicans.

      Carl, Carl, Carl. Within a 30-year span, Evangelicals went from 50-50 R-D to voting 4-1 in favor of Republicans. Maybe I’m old, but does 80% classify as “some” nowadays? Does that not strike you, even a little, as Evangelicals exerting more influence on the party (or using the apt hyperbole “taking it over”), as Goldwater had predicted? I even gave you a Christian website who stated this, just in case you though Pew Research was some liberal conspiracy.

      In the last election alone, Mike Huckabee, Michele Bachmann, Haley Barbour, Rick Perry, and Newt Gingrich courted the hell out of pastors, some of whom are avowed Dominionist. That’s the overwhelming majority of your primary candidates!

      As for Dominonism, that’s a baseless conspiracy theory with no factual basis. That’s just as bad as those conspiracy theories that claim Jews want to take over the world.

      I would post the facepalm art over and over, but Doug would likely disaprove. “A baseless conspiracy with no fact,” you say?

      I could post dozens of examples of real pastors who have real influence in both the Republican party and its Tea Party members espousing this philosophy, but here are just three:

      1. Jim Barlow. Is a pastor of Skyline Church in CA and frequent speaker on the Tea Party circuit. Is an evangelical preacher in the political arena, who both believes and promotes the 7 Mountains Strategy of Dominionism, he also head of Newt Gingrich’s group, Renewing American Leadership and is an advocate of the “pulpit freedom” movement which thinks that churches acting politically shouldn’t mean they have to lose their tax protections as churches.

      2. Ted Cruz’s father espouses Dominionism.

      Short version: he asserted that Christian true believers are “anointed” by God to “take dominion” of the world in “every area: society, education, government, and economics.”

      But, you ask, maybe Ted doesn’t? Nah, Ted courted the same bunch and Rand Paul was there too!

      Who organized that meeting? David Lane, an anti-gay, anti-choice, anti-Mormon, Christian-nation absolutist who has declared war, not only on secularism and separation of church and state, but also on establishment Republicans who don’t embrace his vision of an America in which the Bible serves as “the principle textbook” for public education and a “Christian culture” has been “re-established.”

      3. Bachmann has a close relationship with Truth in Action ministries, a group whose former leader George Grant once explained: “Christians have an obligation, a mandate, a commission, a holy responsibility to reclaim the land for Jesus Christ — to have dominion in civil structures.” She also put up then took down the reference Grant’s endorsement on her campaign website. Oops.

      I’ll give it to Grant, at least he has the conviction to be honest and upfront about what he believes.

      Start looking up some of the Dominionist pastor names and their associations with your party and then come back here with more than “Dominionism is a conspiracy ‘cuz I said so.”

      P.S. Dominionism theory is fascism and incongruent with the vision of the Founding Fathers.

    14. Well, I see you have successfully turned this thread into one on religion, even though it was supposed to be on New York and its politics. You even got me to allow it to happen. Congrats. Lizard19 could learn from you. If you’re remotely tactful it is possible to hijack a thread.

    15. I love when you swing wildly. Entertaining to watch. Lincoln wasn’t a Christian. Hard stop. There is no all over the map. Lincoln was a man who believed in God whose faith was challenged? There you go again revising history. Where did you get that from my post or elsewhere? No, he most certainly didn’t. Lincoln, by accounts of his friends and family, did not waver in his beliefs. He just learned to be quiet about his so to not upset potential voters and their pastors. He appears to have believed in a deist, non-interventional god, certainly not a Christian one. Calling him a Christian is patently false and is spiritually akin to Mormons baptizing the dead (yes, they do that).

      Unfathomable distance? On a religious scale, someone who doesn’t believe in the divinity of Christ, who wrote a pamphlet to that end, was a Freethinker, and who did not believe in any redeeming power of god, who believed in a deist, non-interventional god is light years further away from your end of the spectrum than mine. In fact, from the accounts of his friends who said he was awfully close to an atheist pre- and post-Washington, would attest to that.

      Let’s be honest with ourselves, would Lincoln pass the Republican party religious litmus test in this day and age? HELL NO. First person to get wind of that pamphlet would talk-show circuit his chances into the ground.

      On the topic of loaded questions, I ask them, Doug, because you are vague in your answers. No, I don’t consider only the extreme example of WBC to be the only ugly religious folk on the spectrum. Interesting you chose their hating gays stance. Many others, while obviously less explicit and vulgar in their expression, do indeed hate fags. Or are at least sympathetic to that cause. Keep in mind the sheer amount of Western Evangelicals who have fomented Uganda’s anti-gay laws. Another example closer to home the Arizona Catholic Conference has already gone on record urging Jan Brewer to sign SB 1062. Pope Francis has been curiously silent about Uganda’s recent law.

      It is and was a valid question.

    16. I can feel the hate in this response. Look at the anger. It’s resonating off the screen. That isn’t good for the soul, Lightbringer. In fact, I might have to start calling you Darkbringer.

      I’ll tell you what: I’ll have my view of Lincoln shaped primarily by what he actually said as a matter of public record, and you can have your view of Lincoln based primarily on what others said about him after he died and couldn’t defend himself or clarify the record.

      If you don’t want to research Thomas Acquinas, perhaps you can start with something a bit more contemporary. Try reading Dinesh D’Souza’s “What’s So Great About Christianity.” It’s pretty darn good.

    17. I’ll withdraw the religious aspect, though I was hoping you would weigh in on the current Dominionism streak in your party, but you seem to be steering well clear of it. Maybe Carl will answer his own posts and show me how very wrong I am how Dominionism, regardless of the examples I have given, is a myth. Kinda of like the Keyser Soze of the Republican party.

    18. I’ll withdraw the religious aspect, though I was hoping you would weigh in on the current Dominionism streak in your party, but you seem to be steering well clear of it.

      Excuse me? My party? I don’t have a blind allegiance to the Republican party. I don’t claim them as my own and I don’t defend them when they do stupid things. Don’t pull that card with me.

    19. Here’s a link that disproves Dominionism:

      http://www.faithstreet.com/onfaith/2011/08/18/dominionism-beliefs-among-conservative-christians-overblown/20283

      It is nothing more than a baseless conspiracy theory, not like 9/11 Trutherism, based on an irrational fear of Christians and their beliefs.

      And Jan Brewer vetoed that bill, by the way, last night.

      Lastly, I don’t hate gays. I don’t hate anyone. I don’t agree with Uganda’s laws, and if you read the Russia post you’d see that I called Emmanuel out for his disgusting comments on that thread. That’s what happens when you lump all Christians into the same category as the loons in the WBC.

    20. @Carl

      I certainly didn’t imply you hate gays and know that was not my intention if you got that impression from what I wrote.

      Good. I’m happy Brewer vetoed the vote. The right to discriminate based on religious grounds has no place in civil society.

      While I am glad my comment spurred you to actually do some research, two things strike me as odd.

      #1. I can’t help but be skeptical you link really “disproves Dominionism.” Even looking past the fact that it’s from a Christian website, the very title of the article ‘Dominionism’ beliefs among conservative Christians overblown actually has the opposite effect you intended.

      o·ver·blown
      ōvərˈblōn/
      adjective
      excessively inflated or pretentious.

      For something to be excessively inflated, it must first exist.

      #2. I don’t think you read the article. If you had, you would have read:

      Extremist dominionists do exist, as theocrats who hope to transform our democracy into something that looks like ancient Israel, complete with stoning as punishment. But “it’s a pretty small world,” says Worthen, who studies these groups.

      While I would agree with the author that liberals in media are excessively inflating this topic, but I also think the author is downplaying key facts–so the truth is somewhere in the middle. I took the time to give you plain examples above of some “extremist dominionists” in videos that actually show them voicing their dominionist beliefs and I also showed irrefutable links between the next crop of Republican candidates and these “extremist dominionist” pastors. At least two candidates are actively courting them.

      Maybe you’re trolling me or maybe you’re being willfully ignorant, I don’t know. But I do hope that, at very least, you are open to explore this on your own with an open mind and ponder that it might actually be possible for these fascist beliefs to influence, even partially, conservative candidates that may hold the executive office after the next election. Unless Ryan wins, which at very least it is looking like he might get the nod. But I digress.

    21. I’ve worked with some of the most religious conservatives you will ever meet. I worked with them at Heritage, met with Family Research Council members at events, and talked to them at length at conservative events around the United States. I know people who can quote scripture until the cows come home who have prominent roles in the conservative movement. Not once — not once — have I ever experienced someone preaching Dominionism or even heard the word. The only time I’ve heard the word is when atheists and liberals freak out about it. Kind of odd… Heck, I even went to a HUGE event at Colorado Christian University and met hundreds of so-called “scary” believers, and it turns out they’re actually really nice people.

      Speaking of odd, the first thing that came up when I searched on the Pope and Uganda was an article by the Gay Star News. It also turns out that Pope Benedict was against the law…

      I suppose if Pope Francis spent more time on Uganda you would say that he was trying to distract from lawsuits filed against the Church, or that he wasn’t doing enough to rid the Church of bad actors, etc.

      Maybe you’re trolling me or maybe you’re being willfully ignorant, I don’t know.

      You sound a lot like DeLoftie. He also had a thing for believing people who disagreed with him on issues were ignorant. I don’t think you’re ignorant or a troll, Carl. Maybe one day we’ll meet and we can talk about scary things.

    22. Now, Doug, you and I both know that dog won’t hunt. I’m not going to argue you haven’t met a lot of people in your previous job. Ever meet anyone from Tonga? Me neither, but apparently there are 104,941 Tongans in this world as of two years ago. Do they not exist?

      I posted you videos above and I assumed since my Youtube code embedding is messed up (damn you damn dirty Safari, damn yooooou), maybe you didn’t watch them. I’ll summarize: if you have decent vision and watch the videos and don’ t believe they are a fabricated conspiracy, then it would illogical to state that Dominionism does not exist and Tea Party candidates are not at very least meeting these pastors.

      Let me clarify a moment. Nobody, especially not me, is saying that all evangelicals or Catholics or religious people have all thrown in their hat with the Dominionist lot. Not by a longshot. But the fact Ted Cruz (whose father is one!) and Rand Paul went to a meeting with them thrown by a very evil man (by Christian standards) and spoke to a group which had prominent Dominionist in it, men whose claims are posted in spoken out loud in the videos above, suggests they are willing to entertain theocrats in their quest for votes. That influence, however small, scares me.

      I was going to leave the Pope alone, but since you’re okay with talking about it. Did you miss during your Googling where Pope Benedict XVI blessed Rebecca Kadaga, Speaker of the Ugandan Parliament, who wrote what is colloquially known as the “Kill the Gays” law in Uganda a month after her the law was up for a vote? Yikes! Which priest vetted her credentials?!?!?! The weaker version of her law was passed, by the way.

      It’s great that Benedict denounced the “kill them” version, which makes it all the more curious why Pope Francis, who was softer toward the treatment of gays hasn’t provided spiritual guidance for the 40% of Ugandans who are Catholic about the “jail them” version of the bill that passed. Not too surprising considering back when he was an archbishop, he denounced Argentina’s gay adoption bill as the work of The Prince of Darkness, but how far the 2013 Time Man of the Year has spiritually grown since assuming the Holy See, right? Anyway, I’m done with the Pope because it’s not interesting to me anymore.

      Carl has a good friend in you, Doug. Guy is willing to go on record and refute videos of Tea Party candidates at a event thrown by avowed Dominionist in Iowa means there are no Dominionist anywhere because he never met any. That’s a Herculean task and the fact he’s willing to even try speaks a lot about his respect and affection for you.

      I know I risk a smiting by Ernstjölnir, the Banhammer, on this one, but that’s okay.

    23. But the fact Ted Cruz (whose father is one!) and Rand Paul went to a meeting with them thrown by a very evil man (by Christian standards) and spoke to a group which had prominent Dominionist in it, men whose claims are posted in spoken out loud in the videos above, suggests they are willing to entertain theocrats in their quest for votes. That influence, however small, scares me.

      And yet, if I was to talk about radical Islam in the way that you talk about an extremely rare breed of Christians (who don’t chop off heads or fly planes into buildings or blow up women and children at outdoor cafes) you would talk about how I’m overreacting, fear-mongering, etc. Classic! Side note: The president of the United States is the president of all Americans. Yes, that includes Christians. Even wacky ones.

      Did you miss during your Googling where Pope Benedict XVI blessed Rebecca Kadaga, Speaker of the Ugandan Parliament, who wrote what is colloquially known as the “Kill the Gays” law in Uganda a month after her the law was up for a vote? Yikes! Which priest vetted her credentials?!?!?! The weaker version of her law was passed, by the way.

      You say this as if he shouldn’t have. Yes, the Pope is going to bless a member of the Church in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Yes, he is going to remind them through that blessing that their salvation — and human kind’s salvation — can be found through the cross of Christ. If everyone was perfect like you Lightbringer, there would be no need for blessings.

      Anyway, I’m done with the Pope because it’s not interesting to me anymore.

      Actually, you’re done with the Pope because if you want to talk Catholicism you’re going to quickly find out that you don’t nearly as much as you think you do.

    24. Oh, I’m not a troll, Lightbringer. Nor am I ignorant. I tried to have a reasonable debate with you, and yet you resorted to name-calling, something you like to accuse others of doing when you lash out at them and they give you a taste of your own medicine.. Unlike Emmanuel, who IS an example of the radical Evangelicals you fear (although people like him, I believe, are in the minority), I’m not going to going to get into a pointless debate about “constrained or unconstrained morality.” I’m not going to even respond to you if that’s how you’re going to act.

      “Carl has a good friend in you, Doug. Guy is willing to go on record and refute videos of Tea Party candidates at a event thrown by avowed Dominionist in Iowa means there are no Dominionist anywhere because he never met any. That’s a Herculean task and the fact he’s willing to even try speaks a lot about his respect and affection for you.”

      It isn’t a popularity contest. So grow up, would you?

    25. While being called an “ignorant troll” isn’t right up there with Lizard wishing I’d never procreate or Emmanuel telling me that I’m “sexist,” I still don’t like being lectured by pompous blowhards like Lightbringer who think they know everything.

      And Doug’s right. If you’re acting those two trolls, go somewhere else. The only one who’s posting trollish comments is you, Lightbringer, not me.

    26. I don’t blame you for bowing out of this one, given that your own “proof” refuted your assertion.

      I’m not sure you understand the difference between the act of trolling and being a troll. “Troll” is a noun and “trolling” is an action verb. Nobody called you a troll. I wondered aloud if you were trolling me. Kind of the difference between doing evil and being evil. Having done evil today doesn’t necessarily make you an evil person.

      Trolling refers to any Internet user behavior that is meant to intentionally anger or frustrate someone else in order to provoke a response.

      By that definition, you could easily classify Doug’s suggestion that I dance around to cheesy 80’s songs from Footloose out of defiance to Christianity is an act of trolling me. I certainly felt frustrated having an blogger whose blog I enjoy reading (but frequently differ in opinion) openly call for his readers to join in “friendly” mockery of my position on a topic, which is and was the growing (to use your article’s term) “extremist dominionist’s” influence on Republican candidates. Not that any of us can say we haven’t partaken in trolling at least once on a comment board, myself included, so I’m not too insulted. Comes with the territory. You won’t find me clutching my pearls over that one.

      I’d be insulted that by calling me a liar about which political ideology I subscribe, but that would give someone power over my emotions, and that I do my utmost to avoid.

      Not sure how you got a popularity contest out of that quote you re-posted, but that’s an interesting interpretation, I’ll give you that.

      I’ll let you in on a little secret: I first commented on this blog because I thought Doug a partisan nutter, but came to like him. Even though I don’t often… well, hardly ever agree with him. Sometimes it’s topic, but usually there’s a smaller gap between our positions. Sometimes it’s tone but that’s kind of petty, I admit. Doug is a sin-eater of sorts, having to wade through pages of liberal claptrap, and I appreciate how that affects his writing. I’d probably write that way too, trading places. I still come here because I can get a slice of conservative thinking on trending topics without having to mire through traditional conservative media. I have a hardcore liberal friend, and get much of my left-leaning news and opinion from him. Anyway, he challenges me from time to time, and that I very much enjoy. If I come on too strong and offend him occasionally and get a dose of Ernstjölnir, so be it. We are who we are. Plus, Patrick likes my posts and I his, so here we go. It’s partially your fault, Patrick. 😉

    27. By that definition, you could easily classify Doug’s suggestion that I dance around to cheesy 80′s songs from Footloose out of defiance to Christianity is an act of trolling me. I certainly felt frustrated having an blogger whose blog I enjoy reading (but frequently differ in opinion) openly call for his readers to join in “friendly” mockery of my position on a topic, which is and was the growing (to use your article’s term) “extremist dominionist’s” influence on Republican candidates. …

      Doug is a sin-eater of sorts, having to wade through pages of liberal claptrap, and I appreciate how that affects his writing. I’d probably write that way too, trading places. I still come here because I can get a slice of conservative thinking on trending topics without having to mire through traditional conservative media.

      You’re so terrified by guys like Ted Cruz’s father (I watched about 20 minutes of his sermon and wasn’t scared by it), and yet you voted for a guy who spent roughly 20 years in Rev. Wright’s church? Interesting.

      Regardless, you hit the nail on the head: you’re commenting on a conservative blog. I allow liberals to say all sorts of things about me, my faith and everything I stand for — but the trade off is that they get to put up with me laughing them off with Kevin Bacon videos, etc. I think that’s more than a fair trade.

      I find it odd that you would be scared of Ted Cruz and Rand Paul, when in general their policy positions are light years closer to the founding fathers than President Obama…

    28. I should’ve brought up the Reverend Wright. Funny how that’s not considered a red flag by some but a video of Ted Cruz’s father is (I wasn’t scared by it, either) I’ve always found it amusing how Obama sat in that nutcase’s church for over 20 years and claims to have not heard the inflammatory, racist garbage (such as “God Damn America”) that Wright espoused and still espouses on a regular basis.

    29. Ted Cruz is the product of his father in many ways. Ted Cruz is a fighter for individual liberty and limited government. He loves the country. He’s an upstanding citizen. I’m not scared by an old man who believes that Christians should spread the word of God and take it to all corners of the earth.

      Christians want to spread Christianity, Muslims want to spread Islam, and atheists want to spread atheism. If someone can show me this “Christian Taliban” nation I’d like to see it. It doesn’t exist. However, I could point to places like Iran, Afghanistan and Pakistan to show you what a repressive Islamic regime looks like. We’ve also had Communist regimes that done everything within their power to stamp out religion (i.e., murder millions of people).

    30. And yet, if I was to talk about radical Islam in the way that you talk about an extremely rare breed of Christians (who don’t chop off heads or fly planes into buildings or blow up women and children at outdoor cafes) you would talk about how I’m overreacting, fear-mongering, etc.

      I’m going to ignore the “less evil equals better” argument and just focus on Islam. Not a fan of radical Islam or Islam in general. My opinion is the same as Hitchens on Islam as it is on Christianity. That said, “fear-mongering” about Sharia is akin to Dominionism.

      The president of the United States is the president of all Americans. Yes, that includes Christians. Even wacky ones.

      When are they visiting Westboro Baptist Church, Mormon Central in Salt Lake City, any Mosque, or an atheist meeting to rally some votes, you would go WILD!!! Don’t pull my leg. They went to that meeting because that guy helped Buchanan in Ohio and they want those votes.

      Yes, the Pope is going to bless a member of the Church in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Yes, he is going to remind them through that blessing that their salvation — and human kind’s salvation — can be found through the cross of Christ. If everyone was perfect like you Lightbringer, there would be no need for blessings.

      I wish he would have blessed harder. Bill was passed. Benedict condemned the original bill and “kill” turned into “jail.” Why not go for two and get it reduced down to just “condemn to hell.” I am certainly not perfect, nor claim to be. Quite flawed, actually. But my desire to be good is of my free will and not coerced by the threat of eternal damnation. I don’t need saving. I wasn’t born with sin warned by some Bronze Age fable. Or a while in Purgatory then on to the better of the afterlife two theme parks.

      Actually, you’re done with the Pope because if you want to talk Catholicism you’re going to quickly find out that you don’t nearly as much as you think you do.

      Hahaha. I went all the way and become a “soldier of Christ” just like you did, Doug, before I rose from my knees and threw of the shackles of superstition. I also have read the Bible cover to cover, unlike a lot of Catholics I know who rely on the priests (who used to only perform Mass in Latin, because they couldn’t have the unlearned masses discovering half the dogma isn’t anywhere in the Bible). And allow me to remind you that according to Pew, atheists rank above Catholics on understanding religion, so I feel darn good about my chances.

    31. Well, you were 0-1 on blessings. Feel free to go 0-2.

      Tell me, if there is no God, what makes your idea of “good” different than, say, an Islamic radical? Why is Lightbringer “good” and someone else not if we’re all just magnificent accidents?

    32. Reverend Wright is an excellent point. Don’t like him or Obama. But you have to pick your crazy. Your candidate believes in and wears magic underwear to protect against evil influences. The touch, the feel, the protection, OF COTTON!

    33. I’m not sure who my candidate is, but I’d rather vote for a guy who wears funny underwear if he understands limited government than a guy who sits in a racist church for decades and then has the gall to say that $17 trillion in U.S. debt is a long-term problem.

    34. Tell me, if there is no God, what makes your idea of “good” different than, say, an Islamic radical?

      Easy. No Allah to tell me. If Allah asked me to murder infidels, I’d tell him to f*** off. If God commanded to me to murder my son to prove my piety, I’d also tell him to f*** of. Even if the angel told me “nah, man, just messing with you, dog.” I’d open up a can of whup ass and give him a Stone Cold Stunner right then and there then drink two beers.

      Why is Lightbringer “good” and someone else not if we’re all just magnificent accidents?

      I don’t understand what you are asking. Are you asking how am I good absent belief in a deity?

    35. Where do you derive your standard for what is “good” and what is “bad” and what gives you any authority to say that is more legitimate than the person next to you?

    36. Show me one R from recent memory who actually goes beyond talk to limit government spending. Somehow the new and improved crop of R’s are going to turn it around?

      I doubt it. Lot of R’s presiding over this graph of shame. Both parties are guilty.

      “…than a guy who sits in a racist church for decades and then has the gall to say that $17 trillion in U.S. debt is a long-term problem.”

      No arguments here. He was wrong. Wright is a nut. Your folly is thinking any candidate can turn it around without selling really bad news to America and having us buying it. Think Rome.

    37. At the federal level, it’s pretty darn hard. At the state and local level, we can clearly see who is on the right track and who is on the wrong track. Regardless, we’ve had this talk before and at least the worst GOP member gives lip service to the problem, whereas the guy you voted for refused to even acknowledge that we had a problem. Correction: he says it’s a “long term” problem. On top of that, his position on gay marriage (up until it was politically convenient) was … the same most Republicans.

      You’ve read this blog enough to know that I am not guilty of any folly regarding the debt. I’ve said over and over and over again that the American people needed to hear the bad news. And I’ve also said that only guys like Paul Ryan were willing to talk about it. But then when they did … they got treated to national ads that literally showed a representation of him pushing an old woman off a cliff. Oh…and Mitt Romney gave a woman cancer…or something.

    38. Where do you derive your standard for what is “good” and what is “bad”…

      Like you and multiculturalism, I’ll let a titan speak for me.

      “…and what gives you any authority to say that is any more correct than the person next to you?”

      American physicist Steven Weinberg sums it up best.

      Religion is an insult to human dignity. With or without it you would have good people doing good things and evil people doing evil things. But for good people to do evil things, that takes religion.”

      Which leads us back to Hitchens…

      The Bible may, indeed does, contain a warrant for trafficking in humans, for ethnic cleansing, for slavery, for bride-price, and for indiscriminate massacre, but we are not bound by any of it because it was put together by crude, uncultured human mammals.
      ―Christopher Hitchens in God Is Not Great

      Abrahamic religions still command adherents to cut off a perfectly functional part of a male infant’s penis because of a grotesque “flesh covenant” tradition from the Old Testament. We are aghast when we read about Muslims remove clitorises of young girls in sub-Saharan Africa, but shrug when part of a penis is cut off to please the Lord (Genesis 17:12). Who, apparently, accepts that kind of down payment from parents. Poor kids never had a choice.

      My turn. How do you cobble together a morality out of the Old and New Testaments?

    39. You never answered the question and quite frankly neither did Hitchens. Like another atheist friend of mine, you seem really fond of quoting Hitchens when it comes down to tough questions that demand you speak from the heart. I have countless blog posts on multiculturalism. I add Steyn on as an addendum. No need to quote him when cornered.

      No, what Hitchens said was that there is a biological impulse to live. So what? In your view — a world without God — life can be no better than death. The killer can be no better than the protector. When we die, it’s over. Blackness. Consciousness up in smoke — Poof!

      So again, where do you derive your notion of good and bad and what makes your view more valid than the next guy? You mentioned earlier that when you “feel good,” you feel good, and when you “feel bad” you feel bad. So I’m taking it that you derive your sense of good and bad from … whatever it is Lightbringer says is good and bad. Am I wrong?

      Hitchens is so profoundly wrong it’s not even funny. Why? Because I know that if you could prove to me that God does not exist (you can’t, but if you could) I would be a VERY different person. And I promise you, it would not be for the better. And there are billions of people like me. Unlike most people, I am willing to acknowledge uncomfortable truths about myself. My “superstition” as you call it, allows you (whether you fully comprehend it or not) to sleep peacefully at night.

      You pine for a world in which you would inadvertently unleash a hell out of your worst nightmares. Ironic, isn’t it? In a world without God, I’d email Carl tomorrow and we’d find every person who ever bullied him (that is, if you’re game godless Carl). I’d find a few people who bullied me…and we would show them what happens when God doesn’t exist. And unlike the common criminal, I’m smart. It’s a scary place. One we can choose to go to or not. I however, choose God and I am a better man for it.

    40. I know and you and I agree on debt, probably 99%. The folly is thinking a Romney or McCain White House would be much different. R’s controlled all three branches for 6 years of the Bush II presidency and spending skyrocketed. Yes, it go even worse under Obama, but you’ll remember he sucks too.

      Ryan did have a plan but I found his numbers suspect, though I tried to keep in mind he had to present something passable. Which leads us to the real issue, the entrenched parties who love the status quo.

      What we need is a charismatic leader who can unite the parties, sell hard news to the citizenry, rally us together towards that cause, and act responsibly. You are right, our government is too much American Idol and not enough of the Founding Fathers spirit.

      “Nations do behave wisely once they have exhausted all other alternatives.”
      Abba Eben, Israeli politician and diplomat

      I hope we exhaust those other alternatives, and soon.

    41. What we need is a charismatic leader who can unite the parties…

      It’s rare that the “charasmatic leader” works out. I think the culture needs to change. We don’t need a pied piper who can get people with fundamentally different views to manage a truce for a few years. Maybe when the next bubble bursts it will wake up a few people.

    42. Yes, I voted for him. Must you club me over the head over and over about it? The first time he was the lesser of two evils as McCain (who I have always liked) lost me with Palin. Obama talked a mean game in ’08 then did nothing but disappoint. Guy turned into HW, Jr.

      Romney lost me with his wishy-washy behavior–he seemed willing to say anything to any group to win votes. That said, the most impressive thing I saw was his concession speech and the genuine emotion he showed on the tarmac. As much as I disdain religion, his reputation as a bishop, by all accounts was warm and caring, and that would have won me over far more than attack ads and pandering to the far right. I know you will take issue with this, and that’s okay. I can admit Obama was a wrong choice. I can be humble. If I had to do it over again, I would have done a little more research on alternate platforms and voted for minor party candidate. I just can’t endorse a major party candidate due to all the baggage they carry to win. I’m done with voting for the lesser of two evils.

      I think we all long for someone we can truly believe in, not the best of poor options.

    43. I’ve spent hours on here and while it is engaging and informative, I have a busy weekend ahead and must cede the last word to you.

      Since we are keeping it on the blog: I saw that you are finally writing your book, so congrats on that. I’ve been reading this incredibly inspiring book you might enjoy: Daily Rituals, by Mason Currey. Lists the daily rituals of 161 creative people. Carl, Jim, and other readers might enjoy it as well. Interesting to see how others create.

      My wife saw me writing on the blog again and said “the people on the other side of the keyboard are not bad people,” smiled, then walked away. I love that woman. Good luck all. See you on another post.

    44. Thanks. The book is…perhaps 60% done at this point. The goal is to finish by sometime in May. I think I should have a decent first draft by then if I keep up the pace.

      Keep that book suggestion of yours handy. I may come back to you on that. I’m sort of drowning in books at the moment, in part because there are scenes I can’t write with authority without a good bit of research. So far, I’m pretty happy with what I have.

      Mrs. Lighbringer 2016? I’d need to hear more details, but at this point she’d definitely have my ear. 🙂

    45. I apologize for the pompous blowhard comment, Lightbringer; I was reacting out of anger. I guess I don’t like being called “ignorant” and don’t like being a troll.

    46. There is a part of me that wants to “release the Kraken” by undoing a certain ban that doesn’t expire until April 14. 😉

      Editor’s note: Carl, I edited your previous comment and this one so there would be zero confusion as to when the ban ends. Thanks for the correction! I forgot that after my clear warning…it wasn’t enough and I extended it.

    47. And I’ll have to check out that book, too, Lightbringer. I put my blog on a long-term hiatus because I too am writing a book.

    48. Yeah, I knew that he’d (Emmanuel) been banned for an additional month or so. I’ve seen him comment over at Avi’s place since his ban was enacted, but he seems to have left you alone.

  6. LOL!! Used to watch that show quite a bit when I was a kid…. hard to believe they got the stuff in it past the Nickelodeon censors.

    In all seriousness, it does get old. You bring up legitimate erosion of civil liberties caused by hardcore liberals, and guys like Lightbringer want to talk about those dastardly conservative Christians that he’s so afraid of… who are ultimately harmless. Yeesh. His post about Alabama and school prayer is right in line with Lizard’s “Christian Taliban” conspiracy theories.

    The so-called “evangelical right” does not pose a threat to the country in my view. I’m more concerned about the secular left and their attempts to limit civil liberties through their nanny state initiatives.

    1. I don’t think you really understand what statism is, Carl.

      statism |ˈstātˌizəm| noun
      a political system in which the state has substantial centralized control over social and economic affairs

      How does Alabama mandating Christian prayer NOT exert a “substantial centralized control over the social affairs” of the citizenry? Regardless of your religious affiliations and sympathetic nature to their respective means of proselytization, can you see the similarities between what Reps. Hurst and Diaz are both trying to accomplish? Does that sounds like “controlling the social affairs of the citizenry” to you? Even a little?

    2. I say this out of love for our friend, but sometimes I think Lightbringer has “Footloose” on an endless loop in his house, and when no one is around he reenacts Kevin Bacon’s warehouse scene to let the world know that those darn Christians will “Nevernevernevernevernever…hide…his…heart!”

    3. LOL!

      Lightbringer, I don’t think there’s any comparison to the New York law. Besides, I doubt they could even get something like this passed without the ACLU interfering.

    4. @Doug
      That’s not even worth bothering typing out a proper reply.

      @Carl.
      How do you rationalize that Diaz’s proposed legislation is statist, while Rep. Hurst’s is not?

  7. @lightbringer,

    I live closer to boulder, took on “Denver” in case another Patrick/Pat joined, and figured it would be better then an unknown town…anyways, unfortunately I don’t get out for beer much anymore; I work and go to school full time. It has been a challenge (there was no Internet when I was in school last!), but I’ve enjoyed it. This is why I often comment at odd hours of the night. I’m probably more prone to coffee than beer these days as time permits. I enjoy your comments and opinions also; agree or disagree its nice to hear where people are coming from. Even those banned I appreciated -in small doses- as sometimes it’s good to stir the pot. While politically/religiously I’m similar to Doug and Carl, I think it important to have a dialogue with all.

    I’m sure Doug thinks you’re a good guy as he wrote his thoughtful thanksgiving piece, as far as sleeper liberal; you guys will have to hash that one out! 😜

    1. Ah, Boulder is a drive from here. I’m near the border of Aurora and Greenwood Village. If you ever find yourself on this side of town, let me invite you to a coffee shop I stop by once in a while. It’s actually in The Augustine Institute of all places. Yes, that’s right, the evangelical arm of the Catholic Church! So, is some little way, my coffee habit funds evangelicalism. Like Val Kilmer as Doc Holiday said in Tombstone, “[m]y hypocrisy knows no bounds.”

    2. That’s funny! I know exactly where that is; you drink coffee in the very place we train our catholic agents of Dominionism! (just kidding, of course) In all seriousness, yes, I’m familiar with the area. I can’t laugh too much because you drink coffee in the Catholic evangelical center, and I’m the only registered republican in Boulder county (it seems like)! Life is full of irony. 😄

      Completely off topic, but I loved Tombstone….after looking at the senator’s picture above, maybe they should pass a nanny state law that says you can only wear cowboy hats if you are: an actual cowboy, riding a bull, or a member of the village people. Not thinking that’s a NYC look.

    3. I chortled pretty hard at your joke. Nah, Catholics aren’t really big on that from my upbringing and my experiences with them. Unless you guys started knocking on doors and leave pamphlets in bathrooms in your free time. 🙂

      I’ve been to Boulder once and I see your point. It’s a crazy mix of yuppie, hippie, trustifarian, homeless, and hard-left liberals. Interesting place with an amazing view.

      Tombstone is one of my favorite movies. Have it on Blu-ray and try to catch parts every time it comes on HBO. Interesting story how that movie survived a rocky start. On a side note, the movie got me interested in Wyatt Earp and I read a few articles and books about him. Did you know one of his many jobs in his life was pimp? I couldn’t believe it. Reinforced a lesson I learned when I was younger about elevating your heroes too highly–they are generally too complicated men and women to be flawless. Still, a great movie and a great story.

      Plus, Kilmer got f***ing robbed during Oscar voting. Wasn’t even considered. Hackman won for his role in “Unforgiven,” which was good, but not nearly iconic. Nobody quotes his character but I hear “I’m your huckleberry” or my previous quote once in a while.

      Thanks again for the comment.

    4. I’m sure Doug thinks you’re a good guy as he wrote his thoughtful thanksgiving piece, as far as sleeper liberal; you guys will have to hash that one out!

      Oh, I definitely think he’s a good guy. I just think a guy who never voted for a single Republican and can’t name one he’d like to run for president and vote for has a hard sell if he wants to convince me he’s at least not a ‘little d democrat.’

    5. Couldn’t help yourself, could you? Making the contents of a private conversations with you public was a stand-up move, buddy. Actually, you didn’t even afford me the benefit of also offering up my reasoning behind my decisions, just the result without context. Us Independents outnumber each party individually, but have no party therefore no primary. We have to choose the lesser of two bums offered up by two horrible, corrupts parties. Does it really matter who we vote for anyway? The candidates are pretty interchangeable. Pander to the base in the primary, go centrist in the general election, act the same in office.

      Well, I don’t suppose it matters anyway. I’ve been called worse. Who is the best candidate in your eyes? Ryan? Given what I have seen lately, I would have to agree.

    6. You’ve been on these boards before doing you’re “I’m independent, I swear!” thing, if I’m not mistaken. I thought I called you out on the boards as well as privately. If that’s not the case, then I apologize. I’m sorry if I can’t remember all the endless streams of dialogue I have with people via gmail and on the boards. That’s one of the reasons I prefer to discuss these things…on the boards. If you say many of the same things on the board that you do privately, you’ll have to cut me some slack if there are rare instances where my lack of total recall comes to light, “Lightbringer.”

      Regardless, my point still stands. You can rationalize it all you want, but at the end of the day most people will not believe you’re Independent… “I’m totally not a little d democrat even though the ‘lesser of two bums’ is always a Democrat. Belieeeeeve me!”

      I find it interesting that one of the things you get bent out of shape about is conversations on religion, but yet after not commenting on the boards for an extended length of time the first thing you do is turn a non-religious discussion into one on gay rights, the Pope’s position on gays in Uganda, and “scary” Evangelicals. I can’t wait until you make some comment about how it’s impossible to have a positive conversation around here and take off for another three months, even though you’re the one who forced the issue.

    7. If I’m getting ready for work (like I am right now), I have a limited amount of time to write a response. I do my best to reply and get in what I can when I can. I’m busy, but I want to give people the response they deserve. 99% of the time I’m adding to existing text, although I do fix typos.

      Why don’t you take it up with WordPress and ask them for an “edit” function? In the future if I’m busy perhaps I’ll just not respond to you.

      Update (for demonstration purposes):

      Here’s how it works: I wrote you an answer that I was generally happy with. I went to take a shower and get dressed for work. You still had not responded but I have a second before I have to go. Given that, if there is more I would have liked to say but didn’t … I’ll add it now. I will continue to update until I’m completely satisfied or until you respond. Typically, once some responds I don’t go into my earlier posts.

      If your response deserves a “10 minute answer” in my mind and I only have “5” before work and “5” after work, I’m going to do that. I’m not going to get home at 9:00 p.m. at night and write a “10” minute answer. I’m trying to use my time as efficiently as possible. If you don’t like that, so be it. Like I said: in the future, if I’m busy, perhaps I just won’t respond to you and then you can complain about that.

    8. Editor’s note: Lightbringer wants to push it. Comment deleted.

      Apparently there is a WordPress plugin for edits. Perhaps I’ll add it. Perhaps not. I’m pretty happy with things as they are. Those of you who have my off-the-grid contact info can contact me with any feedback if you feel the app should be added, and I’ll take that into consideration.

    9. That was rather hasty. I was being civil, Doug. Why don’t you cool off some and discuss the thread with someone you trust, like Patrick, and see if my last comment was truly delete-worthy.

    10. I’m really not in the mood today, Lightbringer. I suggest moving on to another thread. I allowed you to take the conversation from New York politics to insinuations that the Pope is fine with gay people being brutalized in Uganda, but it will not now become about a.) your preferences as a commenter on my boards, or b.) whether I need to “cool off.”

  8. Mein Gött! Go to work and do some homework for a few hours and you guys are all over the place! 😄. I know this was an older discusion point, but I did read this interesting article on Lincoln and his religious stance. For full disclosure it is from a pretty “Christian friendly” source, it is one of the few things I’ve read that take into account the church practices of the time, which we often dismiss; that’s why I found it compelling. If anyone is interested:

    http://www.wnd.com/2013/08/debate-over-abraham-lincolns-faith-resolved/

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