Friday, May 05, 2006

Deficits, Immigration and Culture War...

Before I re-light the political lamp, I am still trolling for images. Keep those eyes open for tribal chats/barbeques! Also, I could use images of (1) people collaborating around a whiteboarded project, (2) blatantly Hindi technical workers (e.g. Bangalore software rajas), (3) GROOVE-style meeting in action.

The Lamp is lit

In light of the present political climate... and as a diptych to the movie "Good Night & Good Luck"... I hope people will have a look at Gregory Benford’s story "Things Could Be Worse" currently posted on the web at:
http://www.fictionwise.com/ebooks/eBook357.htm
Yes, it will cost you a few cents. But this story, set in a parallel universe in which Joe McCarthy becomes president and starts suspending laws and creating American gulags, deserves widespread reading.

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Another extremely cogent take on Iraq from another general (former head of the Central Command):
http://www.foreignpolicy.com/story/cms.php?story_id=3430

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More from Russ Daggatt: “It was announced earlier this week that this country's current account deficit ("the most complete scorecard of the United States' international trade performance") ballooned to a record $804.9 billion last year, up more than 20% over the previous year. "It's going to start to snowball. ... We're at a tipping point," says Catherine Mann of the Institute for International Economics.
. . No industrial nation has ever run a deficit this size, equal to 6.4% of economic output.
. . This year, the deficit will be at least $950 billion before topping $1 trillion next year, says Brad Setser of Roubini Global Economics."

http://www.usatoday.com/money/economy/trade/2006-03-14-econ-usat_x.htm

(Senate Republicans defeated an effort to impose budget rules that would make it harder to increase spending or cut taxes, a move that critics said that showed Republicans were posturing in their calls for greater fiscal restraint.)

* So rapid is the rise of the US national debt, that the last four digits of a giant digital signboard counting the moving total near New York's Times Square move in seemingly random increments as they struggle to keep pace.

The national debt clock, as it is known, is a big clock. A spot-check last week showed a readout of 8.3 trillion -- or more precisely 8,310,200,545,702 -- dollars ... and counting. But it's not big enough. Sometime in the next two years, the total amount of US government borrowing is going to break through the 10-trillion-dollar mark and, lacking space for the extra digit such a figure would require, the clock is in danger of running itself into obsolescence. Read the rest of this article, to both laugh and cry... cry especially over the inability of conservatives to see what’s in front of their eyes. http://news.yahoo.com/s/afp/afplifestyleusbudgetclock

* Like the Great Big Immigration Fuss! All this sturm und drang... Letting Karl Rove set up yet another of his set piece battles, beckoning undocumented workers into the streets to wave Mexican fags and thus sparking the best round of Culture War since the Great Big War Against Christmas”... And no liberals catch on. They simply keep on letting Rove play the tune and dancing to it.

If ANYONE were to go to NASCAR America with an utterly clear and simple, in-your-face message...
...that Bill Clinton’s FIRST act in office was to double the Border Patrol...
... and Bush’s first was to fiercely cut it!

Oh, this would not turn NASCAR America into democrats suddenly or automatically. Not all by itself. But it would be the kind of short, sharp shocking factoid that plants doubt. I find this kind of jiu jitsu move (avoiding the standard buttons) leaves my conservative friends slack-jawed and speechless.

It is the sort of CONCISE bullet that hits the most vulnerable spot, the aorta of loyalty to a party and a movement that does not love them back.

NEEDED: A historical tracing of Rovean “Cultur War Triggers.” Someprofessor should do this, but an amateur could do a first cut. Simply start in 2000... or earlier... and track the cyclical appearance of divisive “issues” like (most recently) the Great Big War on Christmas, which was followed by the tepid “min-war on the Easter bunny...” then by the Immigration Fuss. I cannot believe there hasn’t been a tracking done, that shows how rhythmic it all is, with the clear intent of keeping red-state Americans fuming toward “liberals instead of noticing the hand in their pockets and the knife in their backs.

I’d imagine this could be tracked pretty easily, by graphing the hit-traffic on some hot button web site, corelating with the topic-of-the-moment. Such a chart could do a world of good.
.

37 comments:

Stefan Jones said...

"Letting Karl Rove set up yet another of his set piece battles, beckoning undocumented workers into the streets to wave Mexican fags . . ."

The polite term is "cigarettes." (Bah-dum-dum-DAHHH!)

I don't think Rove orchestrated the immigrant marches. This is an issue the administration DOES NOT want a lot of heat and resentment generated over. They don't want it to come to a head, because they don't want to be forced to do what angry nativist types want. Bush's big business base wants a source of cheap compliant laborers.

* * *

The deficit. Sheee-ahhht. How the hell do you invest to avoid getting stomped by a melt-down? Maybe it is time to sell my casino stocks and invest more in railroads and beer . . .

Anonymous said...

or euros or RMB

Rick Larsen said...

May 5, 2006



Tally my agreement with Mr. Brin’s earlier conclusion, that we should support the Military personnel who have made their voices heard, and those retired officers who are making a political stand against this administration and its operatives in Congress. By example, I am currently working with a retired career officer of The United States Navy in his bid to un-seat one of those people right in the heart of Carpet Bagger Candy Land (Texas).

My dear sweet Jesus, most of you are not understanding what is actually happening, and why. Please, do not think that I am insulting anyone’s intelligence. Y’all seem to be both intelligent and reasonable, and I believe seeing the pattern is just a matter of taking a cross jurisdictional approach to examining the current political situation.

Here is a clue: The last time the professional officers corps of this nation’s military made a stand, it was after Lincoln announced his plan to use force to quell the uprising in the South. The fact that so many of their number have stepped forward now, portends of dire times.

Here is another fact: Long before those people’s first purge of the Officers Corps, the professional and ethical core of broadcast journalists in the U.S. had been purged and replaced with imbeciles.


My perspective is that of an Emmy Award winning Television Photojournalist. I aligned with the pure journalists early in my career, and was able to avoid the purges of the late nineties by quick feet and shear luck. On December first of last year, luck ran out, and I was fired from a position in the news operation at the News Corp. owned and operated station in Dallas, KDFW-TV FOX 4. I was fired because of a steadfast belief that we, as journalists, are legally bound to fully inform the Electorate.

What I was witness to was a total perversion of the First Amendment ideal of a free press, twisting it into a Goebbellian nightmare. Institutionally, daily, both ethics and law were ignored for purposes of information manipulation. I repeatedly stood my ground alone, because where the watch- dogs of Democracy once stood vigil, now dwelt cowards. Four years of standing alone, reminding them that some one with integrity was watching. Four years of retaliation from those people would not make me budge. If this story has a happy ending, you will see me testifying before Congress concerning collusion and the broadcasting industry. I put my career, my ability to feed and cloth four children, on the line because of responsibility, and because of what is at stake: The Constitution of the United States of America, and the Republic which operates under its provisions. Remember, history is testament to this, all Authoritarian usurpations of western governments during the last century, have first muzzled the Journalists.

The idea is very simple. Representative Democracy will not work unless the Electorate is educated and informed, hence the Anti- Federalist ideal of a free and unencumbered press acting as the eyes and ears of the people. Logically, if you can blind the press, then you can in essence and practice blind the people. The Modus Operandi for the first phase was the deregulation of the broadcasting industry. It left the pure Journalists defenseless, and when we rebelled, our leadership, our rank and file, culled one by one.

Lets leave the issues concerning the broadcasting industry to the side, because it is just one piece of a much larger pizza.

What do we know?

We know that the one party take over had been in the planning and execution phase since at least 1980. We know that their tactics are straight out of both Niccolo Machiavelli’s and Joseph Goebbles’ play books. We know that a national emergency was used as reason for this President to assume, without the actual expressed authority of Congress, unprecedented power. We know that this power grab, and the subsequent illegal acts related to the power grab, involved direct violations of the Constitution and Federal law. We know that this President has repeatedly lied to the American people concerning issues of a much more serious nature than the Bill Clinton Presidential “Get some” Tour of 1996. We know the corruption this administration passes off as standard policy is crippling our government and our national economy. We know there has been at least two purges of the Officers Corps (and I can tell you, after having covered a number of command transfers during my career, there are a whole lot of Bush types that appeared out of no where)

An addendum to the purges is that Bush has repeatedly attempted to get Congress to either repeal, or suspend, The Posse Comitatus Act of 1878, which would make the use of the Regular Army against the American People nice and legal.

There is another issue that few have fully recognized, the “Bush Doctrine” is being applied domestically: Think about the middle class being under assault, which means looking at everything from current secondary education costs, to the push toward a “credit economy”, so called “reform” of the bankruptcy laws is turning this country into a big Debtors Prison, and Wal-mart is now the modern day “company store”. Why is the middle class being crunched? Because, they threaten the “most powerful group of men in history”, and since they are a “threat, either perceived or real”, the “most powerful group of men in history, have a right to undertake preemptive action”. Its just a matter of time before the middle class reapportions the 80% of the wealth that is currently held by Bush and the other Yankee Blue Bloods, less than one percent of the population. We are witnessing intentional impoverishment, and “dumbing” down, the same thing their ancestors did to the South to keep it from rising again.

Now, lets take a look at the perpetrators of this take over, that “Gang of 10,000 thieves”, do y’all really think they are going to sit by and get hit by the political avalanche without doing something desperately stupid to try and prevent it? Do y’all think they are all going to march off to federal prison with out a fight?

Ladies and Gentlemen, I’ll say again, these retired officers have stepped forward because they recognize the real danger to our nation lies within. This could very well be the eve of
Civil War, I only hope that enlightened reason will rule the day over ignorant stupidity.

Rick Larsen said...

May 5, 2006



Tally my agreement with Mr. Brin’s conclusion, that we should support the Military personnel who have made their voices heard, and those retired officers who are making a political stand against this administration and its operatives in Congress. By example, I am currently working with a retired career officer of The United States Navy in his bid to un-seat one of those people right in the heart of Carpet Bagger Candy Land (Texas).

My dear sweet Jesus, most of you are not understanding what is actually happening, and why. Please, do not think that I am insulting anyone’s intelligence. Y’all seem to be both intelligent and reasonable, and I believe seeing the pattern is just a matter of taking a cross jurisdictional approach to examining the current political situation.

Here is a clue: The last time the professional officers corps of this nation’s military made a stand, it was after Lincoln announced his plan to use force to quell the uprising in the South. The fact that so many of their number have stepped forward now, portends of dire times.

Here is another fact: Long before those people’s first purge of the Officers Corps, the professional and ethical core of broadcast journalists in the U.S. had been purged and replaced with imbeciles.


My perspective is that of an Emmy Award winning Television Photojournalist. I aligned with the pure journalists early in my career, and was able to avoid the purges of the late nineties by quick feet and shear luck. On December first of last year, luck ran out, and I was fired from a position in the news operation at the News Corp. owned and operated station in Dallas, KDFW-TV FOX 4. I was fired because of a steadfast belief that we, as journalists, are legally bound to fully inform the Electorate.

What I was witness to was a total perversion of the First Amendment ideal of a free press, twisting it into a Goebbellian nightmare. Institutionally, daily, both ethics and law were ignored for purposes of information manipulation. I repeatedly stood my ground alone, because where the watch- dogs of Democracy once stood vigil, now dwelt cowards. Four years of standing alone, reminding them that some one with integrity was watching. Four years of retaliation from those people would not make me budge. If this story has a happy ending, you will see me testifying before Congress concerning collusion and the broadcasting industry. I put my career, my ability to feed and cloth four children, on the line because of responsibility, and because of what is at stake: The Constitution of the United States of America, and the Republic which operates under its provisions. Remember, history is testament to this, all Authoritarian usurpations of western governments during the last century, have first muzzled the Journalists.

The idea is very simple. Representative Democracy will not work unless the Electorate is educated and informed, hence the Anti- Federalist ideal of a free and unencumbered press acting as the eyes and ears of the people. Logically, if you can blind the press, then you can in essence and practice blind the people. The Modus Operandi for the first phase was the deregulation of the broadcasting industry. It left the pure Journalists defenseless, and when we rebelled, our leadership, our rank and file, culled one by one.

Lets leave the issues concerning the broadcasting industry to the side, because it is just one piece of a much larger pizza.

What do we know?

We know that the one party take over had been in the planning and execution phase since at least 1980. We know that their tactics are straight out of both Niccolo Machiavelli’s and Joseph Goebbles’ play books. We know that a national emergency was used as reason for this President to assume, without the actual expressed authority of Congress, unprecedented power. We know that this power grab, and the subsequent illegal acts related to the power grab, involved direct violations of the Constitution and Federal law. We know that this President has repeatedly lied to the American people concerning issues of a much more serious nature than the Bill Clinton Presidential “Get some” Tour of 1996. We know the corruption this administration passes off as standard policy is crippling our government and our national economy. We know there has been at least two purges of the Officers Corps (and I can tell you, after having covered a number of command transfers during my career, there are a whole lot of Bush types that appeared out of no where)



An addendum to the purges is that Bush has repeatedly attempted to get Congress to either repeal, or suspend, The Posse Comitatus Act of 1878, which would make the use of the Regular Army against the American People nice and legal.

There is another issue that few have fully recognized, the “Bush Doctrine” is being applied domestically: Think about the middle class being under assault, which means looking at everything from current secondary education costs, to the push toward a “credit economy”, so called “reform” of the bankruptcy laws are turning this country into a big Debtors Prison, and Wal-mart is now the modern day “company store”. Why is the middle class being crunched? Because, they threaten the “ most powerful group of men in history”, and since they are a “threat, either perceived or real”, the “most powerful group of men in history, have a right to undertake preemptive action”. Its just a matter of time before the middle class reapportions the 80% of the wealth that is currently held by Bush and the other Yankee Blue Bloods, less than one recent of the population. We are witnessing intentional impoverishment, and “dumbing” down, the same thing their ancestors did to the South to keep it from rising again.

Now, lets take a look at the perpetrators of this take over, that “Gang of 10,000 thieves”, do y’all really think they are going to sit by and get hit by the political avalanche without doing something desperately stupid to try and prevent it? Do y’all think they are all going to march off to federal prison with out a fight?

Ladies and Gentlemen, I’ll say again, these retired officers have stepped forward because they recognize the real danger to our nation lies within. This could very well be the eve of
Civil War, I only hope that enlightened reason will rule the day over ignorant stupidity.

Rob Perkins said...

I think we're about two human generations from civil war.

And Rick, it might help your cred a bit if instead of just sour graping you gave us something to grasp on, concerning your work at that TV station, in addition to the unsubstantiated claim that you and you alone stood up for righteousness and the Constitution, all while invoking the name of Jesus to call the rest of us ignorant.

P.T. Galt said...

The national debt clock, as it is known, is a big clock. A spot-check last week showed a readout of 8.3 trillion -- or more precisely 8,310,200,545,702 -- dollars ... and counting. But it's not big enough. Sometime in the next two years, the total amount of US government borrowing is going to break through the 10-trillion-dollar mark and, lacking space for the extra digit such a figure would require, the clock is in danger of running itself into obsolescence.

Crikey! Makes me think of the giant calendar used as a foreshadowing device in Atlas Shrugged. Your Days Are Numbered... Anybody remember when "conservatives" used to want to cut spending?

David Brin said...

-

I would like to welcome Rick Larsen and thank him for an eloquent and passionate denunciation of the clade of kleptocrats that is currently running wild through American society. I commend him for having fought so long and hard to maintain journalistic standards. Though, since RM urdoch is clearly one of the very top ranked members of this cabal, our only surprise should be that Mr. Larsen lasted as long as he did, at a News Corp outlet.

Mind you, I do diverge just a bit. Perspective. Perspective. The perspective of history and anthropology are very helpful here. Because at one level, the motives and behavior of this gang are, indeed, toweringly predictable, even banal -- observed every single time that a human group got both metals and agriculture. You would be hard put to find any era or nation when these drives did not blend with the infinite human capacity for self-delusion, resulting in a cabal of would-be lords who sat in a circle-jerk, telling each other how brilliant they are and chanting about how badly the People need to be led. That is, led by the right sort.

While I agree, the middle class is being squeezed and ripped off, it is more complicated. Take the attempt to privatize social security. Even if the rationalization for this move had been 100% correct, and stock-invested SSI fund would grow faster, there still would have been one fundamental short term fact: that the first wave of people to benefit from this shift would be those who ALREADY own stock, and who thus would acquire a tripled pool of new buyers. No one ever denied this. At its most honest and open and OPTIMISTIC extremum, it was still a blatant plan to benefit the already wealthy. Moreover, at that extremum, it would be utterly useless even to deny this!

And yet not one democrat raised that objection, to the best of my knowledge.

(Moreover, the optimistic and honest interpretation would be a stretch. In fact, there is strong reason to believe that the aim was to create a vast pool of “greater fools” upon which to unload stocks that tha cabal know to be doomed. Why else would otherwise intelligent men have been absurdly and openly denying global climate change? They know that the fit will hit the shan, but hope to re configure their portfolios for a new era, before it happens.)

Likewise, how can the dems be so dumb as to ignore the plight of the Officer Corps, who are our only defense against an October Surprise?

Likewise the decline in ACTUAL and effective military readiness. What an issue!

Likewise the fact that Clinton guarded our borders and controlled illegal immingration verifiably vastly better than Bush ever did.

Or the potentially lethal revival and comparison of “contracts with America”.... (See my piece on that.)

These would have been winning issues, but dems shy away from them. Why? Because of contempt for the voters? An assumption that common folk would not understand complex thoughts?

In fact, you are right that these people are afraid. Deeply afraid. They know that 50% of the rich in our civilization have refused to join their cabal, and this disturbs them deeply. They know that this 50% includes most of those who got rich through the delivery of innovative goods and services, instead of parasitism or rent collection. In other words, the smarter half of the 21st Century aristocracy is either loyal to the social diamond or at least unwilling to crush it completely back into the traditional pyramid of privilege.

They worry deeply about a rising Age of Amateurs, in which a myriad empowered individuals may use distributed networks of cameras and open databases to finally figure out who owns what on planet Earth. And, mind you, even without ANY socialism or confiscation or “social levelling”, that knowledge alone would re-invigerate accountable markets, and cause the entrenched to face a new era. One in which every person who is humble will have a chance to compete fairly, and every person who is briefly on top with have to keep working and innovating, just to stay on top.

Now THAT is a nightmare to them. Indeed, it must be terrifying to every poor soul who is cursed with the aristocratic variety of greed, instead of the modern and honorable greed of enterprise.

So, they are trying the tired old coup game. Risking engendering the very same “class war” that they accuse others of fomenting. For, indeed, if these trends continue, isn’t that what they’ll arouse? How can they not? Yet they will risk it, even the reappearance of tumbrels, rather than allow the doors and vaults and account books to be thrown open to the light of day. Even if that light is what nearly all economists call the life blood of truly free markets.

Indeed, that is the very reason why they hate the idea of an era of light.

They know, now’s the time when we are choosing - all of us - between PERMANENT diamonds or pyramids. And while the smarter 50% of the rich waffle in indecision, the frat jocks and would-be barons are making their move.

So, yes, I agree at some levels. But I see them as much more tedious and banal, than you do. They are dinosaurs. Nobody who operated on genuine intelligence would follow such a predictable and historically foolish pattern, risking everything... For what?

I doubt they even have a clear idea. For if they did, this coup would be based upon something far more subtle and convincing and reliable than Culture War.

Alas, for them and for us. That is their weapon. Culture War. And it has been effective, so far. The rhythmic attacks upon snooty urbanity have lured rural America into a populist trance in opposition to their own interests. (A trance abetted by a few silly leftist freaks.)

But Culture War is a fickle and potentially catastropic weapon. It involves DELIBERATELY DESTABILIZING the very same society that built and protected these guys’ wealth! No other fact shows the level of their desperation. Or stupidity. Or both.

One might hope that modernists could exploit this desperation...

... If only some of the dems and libertarians and true Goldwater Republicans got a clue. A real sense of perspective.

Patricia Mathews said...

What can we do?

I am a middle-class retiree, meaning somewhat of a rentier myself and an obvious dinosaur, with no gift for activism whatsoever, out here in New Mexico. BTW - I am starting to note local actions I call "knitting the Unraveling back up," in which Bill Richardson is taking the lead. OTH, one huge anti-middle-class action, the newest interpretation of Eminent Domain, was backed by Democrats! (insert shocked sense of betrayal here)led locally by mayor Marty Chavez.

On top of all that is the looming oil crisis - not the immediate stuff, to be solved by political action, but long term.

Any clues?

(signed) too tired to think for myself right now.

Hawker Hurricane, passive activist said...

Rick...
The current 'general revolt' resembles less the lead in to the civil war (where 1/2 to 1/3 of the officer corps decided that loyalty to state was more important than loyalty to federal) than the late 1940's 'Revolt of the Admirals' where a number of senior admirals threw a fit over the Air Force plan to abolish heavy carriers in favor of nuclear armed heavy bombers...
We haven't reached that stage yet. The active duty flag officers are NOT going public yet, they're waiting until thier pensions are safe first... when a active duty officer publicly denounces the administrations actions, and resigns rather than carry out orders, is when we have to worry about civil war or coup...

On the immigration debate...
Immigration is a fork dilemma for the Republicans, not a culture war item. On one hand, thier 'base' is very much anti-immigrant, and Karl Rove can take advantage of this... but on the other, thier 'money' backing NEEDS those immigrants to keep wages down. Watch for tough talk (immigrant bashing) and no action to cut off the cheap labor...
Patricia...
Look for David Brin's comments on 'Proxy Power'... donations to worthy causes of money or time... and don't forget to vote, 'early and often'. In California, people like me who vote in every election (general, primary, special, all of them) get noticed... and then the phone starts ringing because YOU are the one the pollsters and campaigners want to talk to and influence...

Tangent said...

Humanity has a tendency to be conservative in nature. It's a fundamental fear of change that drives many of these people.

There is a general perception that Democrats believe in "change for change's sake" which runs head-first into the old axiom "if it ain't broke, don't fix it." But that old axiom is incorrect. Instead, conservativism goes "if it still works, even a little, keep using it."

The system is broken. But it still works. So conservativism keeps clinging to it and shoring up bits here and there, not realizing that they are actually changing things and not for the better. What's going on in this country is an attempt to keep things as they are so that there's no visible change. The people at the head of things currently, Bush, Rove, and the others, they are not conservatives. They are con men manipulating conservatives to gain power and money. They use religion and other emotional issues to rally conservatives to their cause, and then disguise the changes they make by claiming "it's for the public good" and that liberals are damaging our country.

We'll know that despotism has reached this country not when the free press is muzzled... but when the leadership of this country turns around and starts banning firearms and rounding up registered gun owners as "potential terrorists" under the Patriot Act and other such acts.

I suspect that day is far closer than anyone thinks.

David Brin said...

It is more delusional than that. Ask any conservative public figure what they think of recism-vs-civilrights and they will hurriedly show you the BIG picture of (Saint) Martin Luther King they have on their wall. A big one. Right on the wall. They will also point to dozens of ethnic conservatives they would gladly vote for, even for president.

They will, in fact, try hard to imply that they were always for civil rights. Always.

Worse yet, they deeply believe it. Their version of the halcyon fifties either erases the towering injustices of that era, or else envisions themselves as leaders in the reversing of such travesties.

The underlying reason for this is simple, and devastating. THE reason for the fury against liberalism, and especially the Great Big War Over Abortion has less to do with politics - or even thievery - than to do with Smugness and the Moral High Ground. The thing that conservatives deeply loathe about liberals is the sanctimony with which liberals have claimed to be more caring, more devoted to justice and goodness and kindness.

Oh, you liberals, don't even try to deny this, or that you get off on this moral high ground thing. What I am pointing out is that it has its self-defeating side. If you REALLY only cared about pragmatically making a better world, you would never have gone so far out of your way to tout your own moral superiority over people who were GUARANTEED to thereby take offense and swear forever enmity toward you, and all that you stand for!

(Take gay "marriage". Talk about a perfect example.)

This is all you need, in order to explain the neocon fury over abortion. All a lefty ever had to do, in order to utterly gall a fundamentalist, was ask: "If he were alive today, which party would that sandal-wearing, long hair growing, poverty-preaching, peacenik Jesus vote for?" The fundies DESPERATELY needed a SINGLE ISSUE with which to seize the moral high ground (at least in their own eyes.) Faced with the "Jesus Effect", they had to find a simple, on-off switch.

"Jesus would be on OUR side because, even though he'd be liberal in every other way, there is nothing more pivotal than killing babies." Oh, and it worked perfectly! That is, for those who can convince themselves that a clump of cells is a "baby."

No, don't pretend for a moment that "culture war" is ONLY about a gange of kleptocratic theives. Those kleptos could not seize a democracy all by themselves, no matter how much money they throw around or how many districts are gerrymandered. To get millions of red state votes, they have been pushing buttons in a rhythm, of which the Spanish National Anthem is only the latest. And in almost every case it nurses a hatred of liberals that liberals themselves have helped to create, by (explicitly or implicitly) sneering "I'm a nicer person than you are!"

This is one reason why I have preached the politics of joy... CONGRATULATING the American people for their past efforts to solve the nasty problems of their own hearts, overcoming millennia of racism and bigotry and sexism...

...but so addicted are self-righteousness junkies of all sides that this is a futile effort, it seems. Not even the example of Bill Clinton - the only liberal who won every fight and stmied the neocons into impotent frenzy - not even his joyful example, winning through happiness and not smarmy indignation -- has no effect upon the indignation junkies of the left, who actually convince themselves that they can defeat Karl Rove by giving him MORE of what he so, so wants.

Doug S. said...

Well, here's a bit of good news...

Rob Perkins said...

The "clump of cells" counterargument is a massive strawman. That's why it doesn't have any effect on pro-lifers.

And, perhaps it's worth mention that the early beating embryonic heart and humaniform shape so very soon after fertilization and implantation resonates with the emotions of thousands of years of human civilization at least. If it looks like a baby, with a beating heart, I mean for cryin' out loud...

That's one reason why it wins with pro-lifers. It's a deeply ingrained emotional thing. Coupled with a universalized "shalt not kill"... there's little that the counterargument of "cell mass" will do. Our cameras are just to good for those people to buy it in their gut.

(This assumes, of course, that there are far fewer people actually hewing to the Catholic/Evangelical position on When Life Begins than the Pope supposes.)

And it is, if you will, simply one of the easiest things to leverage in a culture war. That dovetails nicely with your argument that the cabal is banal and simplistic.

(And it remains my opinion that the same people who tout the most permissive "pro-choice" approaches, while at the same time idealistically decrying all applicaitons of the criminal death penalty, seems incongruous on the surface.)

As for welcoming Rick Larsen, well, hey, me too. But having been "fired" by a media company myself, I'm interested in more details than "I stood guard on the bridge until they blew it up and threw me in the river." He ought to blow a detailed whistle, not just spout that he was the Only Righteous One and leave it at that. The fact that he worked for and was fired from a Murdoch affiliate seemed to be enough reason for you to just agree, without rigor, that he too was righteous.

I've never met a conservative outside of politics who displays a picture of ML King. And not to put too fine a point on it, but there really were decent things about the "halcyon" fifties, right alongside what we today consider to be atrocious behaviors. Kind of like... today. In fact in many ways I think we've simply traded one set of atrocities for a second, and are in flux about realizing its full consequences.

I doubt articulating that further would result in more light and less heat, even around here. And the conversation is very good around here.

Regarding Doug's "good news", I've always thought the sample sizes of those surveys should be at least one order of magnitude larger than the thousand or 800 or so they usually ask. And yes, I've heard all the explanations from qualified statisticians about why that sort of random sample is fine. I disagree.

Tangent said...

I've said it before. I'll say it again. If you want to destroy the Pro-Life movement, use this simple argument:

I feel abortion is wrong. However, I do not have the right to tell a woman she can or cannot have an abortion. If you feel you have that right, then put your money where your mouth is: personally help fund an expectant mother's medical bills and insurance, and the insurance of the child for his/her first ten years of life.

If you do that then I grant you the right to state abortion is wrong and needs to be banned. If you don't, then you're just spouting blind rhetoric. And the reason I don't is because I know I cannot afford to do this... and thus I know I do not have the right to state abortion should be illegal.

-------------

Abortion activists are full of their self-righteousness. It doesn't help that they are, on a fundamental level, correct. Abortion is wrong. However, the alternatives do not work and have not worked in quite some time. By telling them to put their money where their mouths are, you force them to either show their hypocrisy for what it is (a desire to control people), or to do something good and noble in their lives, by helping an expectant mother with expenses she cannot afford.

Robert A. Howard

Tangent said...

Oh, and with the above argument with assisting a mother with her bills? It cannot be family or someone you married. I'm talking a stranger off the streets: pure charity.

Few would be willing to do that. If more people did, if they advertised an alternative to abortion than their shouts and blind rhetoric, then perhaps abortion would be less common.

Steve said...

The "clump of cells" counterargument is a massive strawman. That's why it doesn't have any effect on pro-lifers.

And, perhaps it's worth mention that the early beating embryonic heart and humaniform shape so very soon after fertilization and implantation resonates with the emotions of thousands of years of human civilization at least. If it looks like a baby, with a beating heart, I mean for cryin' out loud...

That's one reason why it wins with pro-lifers. It's a deeply ingrained emotional thing. Coupled with a universalized "shalt not kill"... there's little that the counterargument of "cell mass" will do. Our cameras are just to good for those people to buy it in their gut.


I dunno, Rob. Usually I respect your position even when I disagree with it. But this seems like rationalization rather than based on fact. It is pretty far into a pregnancy before the fetus looks like anything other than a worm, fish, or an alien. And while the heart does beat early on (good thing too), what does that have to do with anything? Not since the Greeks have we thought that anything especially human resides in the blood-pump. Or do you contend that my niece who just received a heart transplant is somehow less-than-human since her heart (which started beating shortly after conception) is gone, or is she more than she was since now two humans inhabit her body? Or does a beating heart really not matter to the state being human one way or the other? Since we now know that it is the brain which makes one human, if we base our decisions about abortion on when the brain functions like a human's, we end up with about the current limitation of abortion in the first two trimesters.

And the "Thou shalt not kill" argument is facile. Those who are loudly protesting in front of the women's health clinics are also those who favor the death penalty, the war in Iraq. (Oh, OK, that was truly an unfair strawman. But I have personally met people who were horrified by abortion and also advocated "nuking Iran until it glows" as a foreign policy option.)

Now, I think that one can arrive at an argument against abortion, but not with those reasons. However, I also think that there are good arguments for allowing abortion as an option. The fact is that since there is no universal answer, I trust women to decide what is best for their own body on a case-by-case basis. The women I know are fully aware of both sides of the argument and are quite capable of living with the consequences of their decision - if they are given the trust to make it.

And I like Tangent's argument. In a perfect world, women would not become fertile until and unless they were ready and able to support children, but short of that I can't see broadly eliminating that as an option.

David Brin said...

tangent, in fact, let me avow that many (a minority) in the anti-abortion camp do EXACTLY as you advise. A certain fraction have gone farther and adopted one or more unwanted children, or thrown themselves into foster care.

Moreover, I always treat such people very differently than your typical right wing hypocrite. A person who fosters (or the equivalent) has earned a moral place of respect and I will argue with such people in a voice that does them due honor, even when I think them wholly wrong.

As it is with many liberals, self-righteous sanctimony can sometimes reinforce genuine goodness... or at least aggressive do-gooderness. Despite my call for scientific repudiations of indignation, I am not recommending that all righteousness be banished, only that it be recognized as a dangerous, voluntary addiction that warps good judgement and common courtesy. A habit-forming vice that makes a person profoundly immune to citokate.

That is why the pragmatist argument, chosen by most MAINSTREAM liberals and democrats (as opposed to the loony fringe) simply does not cut water with most fundies. Because the personality divide is deep and unbridgable.

Hillary can repeat as often as she wants that : "abortion should be safe, legal and rare." She can point to stats showing that sex education that includes birth control/condoms is MORE effective at reducing disease, unwanted pregnancy, abortion AND premarital sex, than so-called "abstinence only" programs. Hell, a liberal Rush Limbaugh could go crazy with the corelations, pointing out that "moral" Bible Belt regions have more divorce, domestic violence and pregnant brides than any "decadent city...."

And none of it will do a cintilla of good. Because you won't be addressing the REASON why these stances have been taken.

Anyone who is listening to God's Big Sermon knows that the core lesson is ... ambiguity. That the world is filled with murky boundaries and unclear borderlines... including the whole issue of His own existence, which He has left purposely vague.

Moreover, THAT AMBIGUITY IS CLEARLY MEANINGFUL.

It means we need to find ways to be moral and decent and wise amid some murkiness and contingency, not by applying digital laws to an analog world.

But this modernist-pragmatist approach is profoundly disturbing to those childish and retro types of all political and creed-suasions.

They need polar opposites. They need explicit good and evil. They need indignation.

They MUST have the moral high ground.

.

Big C said...

Rob wrote:

"(And it remains my opinion that the same people who tout the most permissive "pro-choice" approaches, while at the same time idealistically decrying all applicaitons of the criminal death penalty, seems incongruous on the surface.)"

Now, c'mon, Rob, that's a bit unfair to point out the hypocrisy on one side and not mention the other side. What about the pro-lifers who advocate for the dealth penalty for criminals while calling doctors murderers? Or the staunch pro-lifers who are against contraception in general and comprehensive sex-ed for teens? It seems to me the best way to reduce abortions would be to reduce unwanted pregnancies, no? (By the way, I'm not against programs that advocate abstinance for teens while still providing information, but I am against keeping them ignorant of contraceptives and their effectiveness against pregnancy and STDs) Or the extremist pro-lifers who advocate killing doctors and bombing abortion clinics?

The problem is both sides have legitimate points, but neither side wants to compromise. Pro-lifers vilify pro-choicers as advocates for murder, while pro-choicers vilify pro-lifers as misogynistic opponents to women's rights. Neither characterization is accurate for the majority of the people on either side, and there's plenty of hypocrisy to go around.

As I was writing this, Steve and David's posts showed up. Steve, I don't think Rob was making those arguments you quote per se, but rather pointing out why those arguments have an emotional appeal and can convince a significant number of people to take the pro-life position. And I have to say, the "clump of cells" argument pretty much pushes all the *wrong* emotional buttons that would tend to be ignored rather than be convincing.

Rob Perkins said...

It's actually just so interesting how much light *and* heat still surrounds the issue of abortion, 33 years after Roe v. Wade. 33 years of two indignance-addicted groups of people talking well and truly past one another.

Point by point, then:

@tangent -- I belong to a (very centralized, 12-million member) church which does exactly that, to the point of providing family assistance *and* adoption services at no or little cost to prospective adoptive parents and unwed mothers who choose birth and adoption. The waiting list through that service to adopt is immense, and the standards for selecting the parents are incredibly high.

The doctrine preached by that church to its members are that convenience abortions are a sin, but that there shouldn't be an insurmountable obstacle towards obtaining one in cases of rape, incest, or danger (in the opinion of competent medical authority) to the life or ongoing health of the pregnant woman. Along with a guarantee that that woman has every possible social and familial safety net.

So, yeah, through my tithes and other offerings to my church, my money is exactly where my mouth is, thanks very much. As were my grandparents, who took in four foster kids (teens out of horrific situations, all of them) after raising six of their own to full adulthood, adopting three of them.

(Will I? I don't know. I deeply respect the people who actually do adopt troubled children and attempt to give them more than their previously horrific life. But I will always give money to that sort of cause.)

So I'm not that willing to stand there and be called hypocrite, however obliquely, especially since my church is only one small example of many such churches' efforts to do exactly what you suppose would make us unpretentious.

@Steve

I name it as a core emotional element, and a fantastic bit of demagoguery on the part of pro-lifers. I agree they're not good reasons, and I agree it's a rationalization. But it has weight because of the deep-seated metaphors used to describe the human in all our literature, especially in an over-romantic era such as ours.

So we shouldn't have any nonsense about heart as metaphor for the soul or the seat of emotion being absent from our language and culture; that's just nonsense, of course such an argument tugs at emotions.

Plus, with the anecdote about your niece, you're playing argumentum ad absurdium, which is, plainly put, fallacy. Personally, I don't care to stand for it, being incapable of drawing a prejudice about people I've never met, and because I've never met them, never had an opportunity to so much as form a prejudice about them.

Finally, many things are facile, but in my opinion if one hews to absolutes then I say have the courtesy to at least try to be intellectually consistent (or explain why their apparant inconsistency is in fact consistent), no matter the issue.

@big c -- Wasn't really trying to be "fair", since I don't have a lot more invested in the wider political argument than to say I think abortion should be administered consistent with what my church teaches. Neither national position is consistent with that.

And I had hoped with careful wording to avoid the reaction you gave. Perhaps "seems incongruous" is too dogmatic and idealistic as phrasing?

Anonymous said...

RE: the heart

Q: How do you see if someone is alive or dead?

A: Check the heart.

In most practical circumstances we will encounter in our lifetimes, this is a fine definition of alive. To suggest we should use another one when considering abortion might sound like moral equivocation.

RE: ...I think abortion should be administered consistent with what my church teaches...

This is a fascinating statement! (Though you probably didn't mean it in as general a sense as the one in which I'm about to interpret it.)

Assuming that one believes in the ideals of a secular government in addition to the tenets of a particular Church, to what extent does one outlaw sin?

Alternatively, how is a religious person supposed to make voting decision on an issue with an official Church position? When should they go against/with the Church position?

-Andrew

Don Quijote said...

McIntyre in the Morning Talk Radio 790 KABC - AN APOLOGY FROM A BUSH VOTER

Looks like the wheels are coming of the wagon.

Could have told that the Bush Presidency would end poorly, what qualifications did Shrub have for the position?

Tragically, the Democrats have allowed crackpots, leftists and demagogic cowards to snipe from the sidelines while taking no responsibility for anything.

Like Bill Clinton, Al Gore, John Kerry, Lieberman, Hillary Clinton, Joe Biden and Howard Dean.

In fairness, I don’t believe a Democrat president would have gone into Iraq. Unfortunately, I don’t know if President Gore would have gone into Afghanistan. And that’s one of the many problems with the Democrats.

You're right Gore would not have gone into Afghanistan, because the WTC would still be gracing the skiline of NYC.

Nate said...

On abortion, a big part of the problem is less indignation than it is about trust. No matter how pragmatic you are, if your opponent is bargaining in bad faith, what possible reason do you have to negotiate with them? None. Which is one of the reasons I'm cynical about the success of "pragmatic modernism" right now. Currently, the Republican Party can't be trusted to bargain in good faith, just look at all the bills passed in the Senate that then get retconned in the negotiations between the houses and turned into dreadful versions the kleptocrats want and passed by brute force majority, while being touted as "bipartisan" or attacking the Democrats who supported the completely different Senate version as "flip-flopping."

It's the same thing with abortion, only even moreso. Neither side trusts the other and invokes slippery slopes. Especially when the loudest "pro-life" proponents are out there spouting nonsense about "baby killers" and so on. And the anti-abortion side can find plenty of loonies to cherry pick quotes from too, for the same effect. So there's no reason for either side to trust or work with the other side. Much of the anti-abortion side has made it clear their goal is to ban abortion, any in-between thing will just be used as a stepping stone to more restrictions, until you end up with the situation in South Dakota.

And, frankly, considering how many of the anti-abortion crowd are anti-contraceptives, anti-sex ed, and anti-support for children and mothers, I really can't honestly say I trust their motives.

And the other irony about the abortion "debate" is most of it's conducted by a bunch of old white guys.

Nate said...

On a note related to the non-culture war parts of the essay, a quote from the Washington Post:

This tightening in the labor market was underscored yesterday by new government data. For most of the past five years, workers' productivity has risen faster than their compensation. But in the first quarter, the value of pay and benefits for workers rose at a 3.6 percent inflation-adjusted annual pace, as their productivity rose only 3.2 percent.

These numbers are subject to big swings quarter to quarter, and other measures of workers' pay show more modest gains. There is little doubt, though, that the market for U.S. workers is tighter than it was even a few months ago. The unemployment rate was 4.7 percent in March, down from 5.1 percent six months earlier. The Labor Department will announce April employment data today, which should indicate whether the trend has continued into the spring.

The data speak to one of the big questions looming over the economy. If the tight labor market leads to wage growth at roughly the same pace as the nation's output rises, it would be welcome news for workers who have seen scant raises in recent years, would support consumer spending and help continue the economic expansion. But if wages grow too fast, it would create inflation, leading the Federal Reserve to try to put the brakes on the economy in a potentially painful manner by raising interest rates aggressively, slowing the economy.

"If the cost of labor rises much further, it's something the Fed will really have to watch," said Jason Schenker, an economist at Wachovia Corp.


So, when employees start getting a tiny cut of the ginormous profits companies have been raking in the past few years, that's a problem. Seriously, economists, WTF?

Francis said...

Re: abortion, I've given up on the US version of the issue (the aggregate British view is that it's an unpleasant operation that's sometimes regrettably necessary - but there certainly isn't much heat around it*). But AFAIK, there's no lobby trying to get it banned.

However, I get irritated by the amount of talking past each other that goes on from both sides. And the perversions of and from Sola Scriptura that are prevalent among conservative evangelicals.

Nate, I suspect that the economist in question is a follower of the Chicago School and believes in the Natural Rate of Unemployment (something that undermines one of the Libertarian tenets because it means that workers will always be competing for jobs rather than the other way). Either that or a corporate shill. I can't tell the difference, personally.

* It may help that contraception (up to and including both the coil and the Morning After Pill) is available for free on the NHS.

Rob Perkins said...

You're right Gore would not have gone into Afghanistan, because the WTC would still be gracing the skiline of NYC.

Nonsense. That plan was in the works from the time of the USS Cole bombing or before.

Rob Perkins said...

RE: ...I think abortion should be administered consistent with what my church teaches...

This is a fascinating statement! (Though you probably didn't mean it in as general a sense as the one in which I'm about to interpret it.)


I meant it both personally and as my preference as a meme for others to adopt, of course.

Assuming that one believes in the ideals of a secular government in addition to the tenets of a particular Church, to what extent does one outlaw sin?

That's a really good question, which requires the definition of "sin" to answer properly. Anciently the word had the same meaning as today's interpretation of "crime", I think. That alone is food for thought.

Alternatively, how is a religious person supposed to make voting decision on an issue with an official Church position? When should they go against/with the Church position?

My church's position is that people should use their heads and vote for leaders who will forward their own interpretation of what good government is. It's not defined any further than that around me.

What that means is that we have Mormons who almost always vote Democrat, and Mormons who almost always vote Republican, as well as Mormons who join this or that splinter party (Libertarian, Constitutional, etc., even a few Greens) Around my area the distribution pretty much matches that of the surrounding population, which is predictable for a church which grows largely through conversions.

Anonymous said...

The Greek word for "to sin" (used in the Orthodox liturgy -- I don't know if its Koine) translates literally as "to miss the mark," i.e. "to screw up." .


We should outlaw crimes, but not screwing up...

-Andrew

Rob Perkins said...

grant you that, but I wasn't thinking about Christian usage

Tony Fisk said...

Debate the abortion issue here shows how far that particular horse in the culture war has bolted. Not going there today.

No, I'm more concerned with the *possible* way in which the outspokenness of certain military types could be incorporated into the culture war.

You, who value freedom, democracy, and the social diamond, what would be your gut reaction to news of an attempted military coup in the US?

The reaction that I suspect the average american would have: not impressed!

The reaction before your more critical response... 'And whose interest does this best serve?'

Would the average person wish to side with those plotters? Would they blame the government from moving to protect itself? From proactively weeding out 'dissident' elements from the armed forces?

I may be wrong (hopefully, I am!). But, just remember this scenario, come October. If it does come to pass, point out what I've just suggested far and wide. FAST!

(and point it out to those outspoken military types, now!)

Don Quijote said...

Nonsense. That plan was in the works from the time of the USS Cole bombing or before.

August 6 2001 Presidential Daily Briefing

I can't make up my mind as to whether it was your standard generic incompetence or your standard generic evil of seeing no evil and letting events follow their course.

Either way had Gore been in the White House, I don't believe that 9/11 would have occured. There is something to be said for competence and basic decency which are things that Gore would have brought to the White House.

PS.

David,

Liberals ,in general, are better people.

Jace said...

David, just a quick note: Bangalore != Hindi.

While the city is cosmopolitan and has a fair number of Hindi speakers, the local language is Kannada and some Kannadigas are getting increasingly vocal about their city being run over by immigrants and their alien cultures.

This city used to be peaceful. It no longer is.

I have pictures of techies clustered around a computer for a training session, all wearing clothes and in a building that are blatantly not "corporate", by Bangalore standards. Let me know if you're still on the lookout. I haven't bothered with uploading most of my older pictures, including these.

Jace said...

Here they are. Hope they're useful:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/jace/142470419/
http://www.flickr.com/photos/jace/142472623/
http://www.flickr.com/photos/jace/142474095/

Steve said...

I apologize for the word-wall!!

@Rob,

I understand your position better now, thanks. I really do respect your support for unwed mothers and their children - it is a consistent position if you also support unwed mothers who do not choose adoption, and I wish more people pro-choice and pro-life did that. [irony]Oh, wait, a bunch of conservatives claimed that was why welfare needed to be reformed.[/irony] Just curious - what do the LDS say about the prospects of an unwed mother making it into Heaven? Presuming they get married before death so their husband can let them in, since I think that is a precondition of your faith. To hear non-Morman Christians talk you would think it was impossible for one so soiled - it would be nice to hear the LDS think otherwise.

Just a couple of points, since the irony tags in my previous post don't seem to be working. :)

I concur that it is an emotional argument. I just don't get it, I guess. Some people react viscerally and violently when they consider reproductive cloning, even presuming 0% error rate. I don't get that either, seems to me that those same people would hate twins since they are clones. So I was trying to portray my ignorance of why the emotional response has resonance, I guess not very well.

The example of my niece was either reductio ad absurdum, which is perfectly acceptable logical proof by contradiction, or an extension of the principle, a.k.a. Kant's Moral Imperative. The tool is logically legit. Of course my argument does not invalidate the fact that a beating heart has emotional resonance, which I again don't get. Lots of things have beating hearts that people don't fret over, including many of the 50% of pregnancies that end in spontaneous abortion before the woman even knows she is pregnant (after she knows is a way different story that my wife and I had to go through). I don't lose any sleep about these - I don't know of anyone that does. I mean to imply that feeling that a baby was being killed just because there was a beating heart in tissue that might or might not have become a baby is untenable logically.

I agree that hypocrisy exists on both sides of the debate. Really, that is the point I wanted to make. This is a murky issue and there is no consensus, therefore it is a decision best left to the one who knows that situation best - the women. It is not an ideal solution by far - I would prefer no one ever be faced with it - but the only one that I can see that best acknoweldges the uncertainty of the truth of the matter.

@Anonymous Andrew
The heart has nothing to do with defining life or its cessation. This is the point I tried to make about my niece, and is a point supported by medicine. Brain function is the legal and medical definition of life. Whether someone is alive or not is also highly correlated with the function of their spleen, but no one says someone is dead if their spleen is removed.

Anonymous said...

Yes, Steve, I know and agree with that; I was attempting to give a plausible reason for:

...a beating heart has emotional resonance, which I again don't get.

-Andrew

Ted Frier said...

David has a great idea in a historical tracing of Rovean “Culture War Triggers.” Only in that way can we see the thoroughly cynical nature of the national GOP governing coalition, and also its underlying insecurity. A movement that was confident of the merits of its agenda, and the public support behind it, would not waste its time on distractions like these serial culture wars. But, as we know, throwing red meat to red state constituents has become SOP with the GOP, as routine as it is predictable.

I remember reading a prediction after the 2004 election that Republicans would need another hot button issue in 2006 to match the success of gay marriage in changing the subject from the administration's record of failure. And immigration was the likeliest candidate. And, so, it has come to pass that just before Christmas House Republicans, on cue, rammed through an immigration bill without hearings. Give the Democrats credit for refusing to let Republican bomb-throwers off the hook when they tried to take back their mean-spirited proposal to make illegal immigration a felony. And shame on Republicans, now that the issue has blown up in their faces, for trying to blame Democrats for the felony provision even though the final bill passed the House on a party line vote with nearly every Republican voting aye and every Democrat voting nay. I am a Republican, but more and more the crowd in there today shows me they have no shame or character or honor.

Immigration, gay marriage, Hollywood elites, wars on Christmas and all of the other bogus issues that Republicans have used in recent years to raise temperatures and campaign contributions are mere nuisances compared to the real damage they have done to the nation's security by politicizing "the war on terror," as they did in 2002 and 2004. Can you think of anything more reckless than deliberately creating national divisions for political gain just as the nation was about to launch a major land war in the Middle East. Our great leaders have always sought national unity before undertakings of this magnitude and potential danger, recognizing that when things go bad, as they always do, you need the support of even your political opponents.

But by turning the war on terror into yet another tedious culture war issue Rove and others have revealed just how unserious they really are about the serious issues that face this country. And that includes the final outcome in Iraq and the war on terror. Perhaps that is why they have handled these so badly. It is my experience that when you deliberately politicize an issue you make it far more difficult to solve whatever problem needs to be solved, since you are far more interested in exploiting the issue for political gain.

As never before the nation is crying out for unity, and the Republican's sinking poll numbers show that the public at long last is losing patience with a party and an administration whose single-minded pursuit of absolute political hegemony has left us dangerously divided at home and isolated abroad.

Rob Perkins said...

Just curious - what do the LDS say about the prospects of an unwed mother making it into Heaven? Presuming they get married before death so their husband can let them in, since I think that is a precondition of your faith.

It is not. And it's not the best idea to impose Aristotlean/Aquinian metaphysics ("Heaven", assumed to be the dichotomous opposite of "Hell") onto Mormon ideas.

That said, the prospects of an unwed mother in LDS ontology are no different than that of any person.

To hear non-Morman Christians talk you would think it was impossible for one so soiled - it would be nice to hear the LDS think otherwise.

Hope that was "otherwise".

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