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Aug 26 2012

Fischer: SOCAS is ‘Second War of Northern Aggression’

I think Bryan Fischer may finally have said something that is valid. In speaking about a case where the Freedom From Religion Foundation successfully convinced a Mississippi school to stop broadcasting prayers over the PA system before football games, he compares this to the civil war and calls it a “second war of northern aggression.” Hey, if you want to compare those who want to blend church and state to the confederacy, that’s fine by me.

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  1. 1
    Michael Heath

    It will be interesting to see whether conservative Christians continue to more overtly embrace the principles of the antebellum South or just secession in general. Todd Palin, Rick Perry, Ted Nugent, and now Bryan Fischer being the names which immediately come to mind who’ve done such. I’m sure I’m missing some members of the U.S. Congress who express the same.

  2. 2
    criticaldragon1177

    Ed Brayton

    The guy lives in a far right fantasy world. What would stop a school or a state from refusing to obey a court order? Does he not understand that the federal government would step in. Not to mention the fact that school boards and State governments are not allowed to defy the courts like that. Its not that the people in the south are pushovers, its that they’re obeying the law.

  3. 3
    democommie

    For those umfamiliar with his phrasing, Mr. Fishguts is referring to the, “War of Southern Treachery”.

  4. 4
    rturpin

    Actually, it’s just a reverberation of the original Civil War. The southern states seceded to preserve a slave economy. The Union defeated them. The radical Republicans pushed through the 14th amendment, to prevent states from passing laws that violated citizen’s rights or equality under the law. And because of that, states can’t institute Christianity in their public schools.

  5. 5
    chrisj

    Democommie:

    I’ve always liked “The southern slaveholders’ treasonous rebellion” as a name for it, myself.

  6. 6
    Sastra

    Yeah, we got another one here who can’t figure out the difference between people deciding to pray as individuals … and the same people demanding that the government help them increase their numbers and receive an audience. You want to live in a country with official state prayer? Move to Afghanistan.

    Notice the way Fischer tries to divide the issue into Us and Them, as if NO members of the FFRF live in the South, and nobody in the South would be uncomfortable with church encroaching into state. No, it’s just the folks from Wisconsin who do that. The southern United States is evidently an undifferentiated monolithic block of people who all think like Fisher. Gee, the Foundation couldn’t actually be representing actual fellow neighbors and citizens, could it? Surely not.

    This guy must be surrounded by a thick atmosphere of self-confirmation and religious privilege.

  7. 7
    Larry

    This guy must be surrounded by a thick atmosphere of self-confirmation and religious privilege.

    Isn’t that one of the main selling points of christ-inanity?

  8. 8
    Gregory in Seattle

    @rturpin #4 – You raise an interesting point. The GOP loves to claim Lincoln: point of fact, Lincoln defeated the south and squashed the future possibility of secession. Lincoln’s sucessor, his VP Andrew Johnson — also a Republican — and a Congress heavily dominated by Republicans oversaw the proposal and ratification of the 14th and 15th Amendments: birthright citizenship, due process, equal protection and the ban on a race-based right to vote, all things that the Republicans absolutely loathe.

    Maybe we need an ad campaign to remind the conservative base of these facts?

  9. 9
    Randomfactor

    What makes him think we wouldn’t just let them go this time? It’s not like they’re pulling their weight, nationwise.

  10. 10
    Chiroptera

    Gregory of Seattle, #8: …his VP Andrew Johnson — also a Republican….

    Actually, Johnson was a Democrat.

    But you are right that Congress was heavily dominated by liberal Republicans during Reconstruction. Meanwhile, free-black-hating Southerners were, I believe, mostly Democrats.

  11. 11
    Michael Heath

    Randomfactor:

    What makes him think we wouldn’t just let them go this time? It’s not like they’re pulling their weight, nationwise.

    I prefer selling Mississippi and Alabama to Israel, but only if they relocate the whole country there. Then we need to deal on Texas and Oklahoma to Mexico, where the federal government finances their purchase. Maybe Bermuda would buy South Carolina . . .

  12. 12
    DLC

    Could someone ask Imam Fischer if it’s okay for me to broadcast Prayers to Odin on the school PA system and make everyone repeat it ? Now kids, repeat after me : “Hail Odin, All-father! Lead us into Righteous Battle at Ragnarok! ”

    Or perhaps he would appreciate the new Pledge of Allegiance:
    “. . . one nation, under Allah . . . “

  13. 13
    Gregory in Seattle

    @Chiroptera #10 – Didn’t realize that. According to Wikipedia, he was a pro-Union Democrat, and the only Southern senator who did not abandon his post when the Civil War started. As president, he faced two impeachment trials. The first was for his lenient attitude towards the South during Reconstruction, as many of the Republicans in the House saw him as a Confederate-sympathizing traitor; that effort failed. The second one succeeded, on the grounds that he tried to remove Secretary of War Edwin Stanton without Congress’ approval; that effort succeeded (making him the first president successfully impeached) but the charges were not carried in the Senate.

    Arguably, though, he was neither Republican or Democrat during his one term as President: in the 1864 election, the GOP temporarily renamed itself the National Union Party in an effort to attract Unionist Democrats. Johnson was picked as VP to further the idea of the nation pulling together after a horrific war which is why Lincoln’s former VP, Hannibal Hamlin, served only one term.

    Still, it would be interested, trying to tell the Republican base that so much of what they hate about America is their own damned fault.

  14. 14
    Gregory in Seattle

    @DLC #12 – I’ve got a prayer they can use as sporting events:

    “Hail to the Sun God. He is the One God. Ra! Ra! Ra!”

  15. 15
    skinnercitycyclist

    I prefer selling Mississippi and Alabama to Israel, but only if they relocate the whole country there. Then we need to deal on Texas and Oklahoma to Mexico, where the federal government finances their purchase. Maybe Bermuda would buy South Carolina . . .

    I heard the Vatican City was interested in purchasing Nebraska, but it turned out they were just interested in Boys’ Town….

  16. 16
    jakc

    Can’t we just take a,page from the NFL and declare “after further review, the South won the Civil War” and then just kick them out our country? Or perhaps build a time machine and have Sherman burn a lot more of the South?

  17. 17
    silomowbray, sans frottage pour la douche

    Sastra @6 wrote:

    Notice the way Fischer tries to divide the issue into Us and Them [...]

    Indeed. I refer anyone here who has not read Dr. Altemeyer’s paper “The Authoritarians” to his website here. He also has a postscript on the 2008 election, and a comment paper on the Tea Party, both also worth reading.

    Fischer may come across as a deluded freakish wingnut, but Altemeyer’s findings indicate that Fischer and others like him know exactly what they are doing, and it behooves us to be aware of this.

  18. 18
    Michael Heath

    silomobray writes:

    . . . Altemeyer’s findings indicate that Fischer and others like him know exactly what they are doing, and it behooves us to be aware of this.

    I do not recall Dr. Altemeyer making such a conclusion about someone like Bryan Fischer. Instead I recall him defining Fischer’s behavior as a type of psychosis where the subject is oblivious to absurdity of their arguments. I see him as a very illustrative example of a RWA if I use my understanding of Altemeyer’s framework.

    Altemeyer did find that social dominators who are identified as part of the in-group RWA’s identify with can easily exploit RWA’s, e.g., Mitch McConnell, Richard Nixon (my examples, I don’t recall Altemeyer’s); where those social dominators are cognizant of what they’re doing and don’t have the integrity to care. Mitt Romney is a perfect example of a social dominator though one RWAs would prefer not having to submit to given his being one that used to try and exploit moderates, plus he’s a cultist (in their eyes).

    I challenge your point here because the most interesting new dynamic I see emerging that Altemeyer didn’t cover is when RWAs begin to prop up leaders who are also oblivious RWAs as delusional and moronic as they are, rather than submitting to their tribe’s social dominators who did understand the con they were running. George W. Bush seems to be a transitional fossil between social dominator and RWA where Don Rumsfeld and Dick Cheney are obvious social dominators. But it’s obvious the new breed, Rick Perry, arguably Rick Santorum, Michelle Bachmann, Steve King, Sarah Palin, and Bryan Fischer are RWAs and not social dominators.

  19. 19
    silomowbray, sans frottage pour la douche

    michael @18: Then I’ll concede to your point – I’m not well-read enough on the topic to argue that Fischer and his ilk are in fact social dominators and not RWAs or double-highs or what-have-you. From my vantage Fischer seems like a social dominator, because he has assumed a leadership role that requires some degree of charisma. Having said that, I recognize I have made some assumptions to get to that conclusion.

    I’d be interested to know more about your observations if you have the time and inclination to expound a bit on the rise of RWA leaders that you’ve noticed.

  20. 20
    Ace of Sevens

    I’m only familar with RWA meaning “ready, willing and able” i.e. some you can ethically and practically have sex with. I take it that’s not what you mean, but Urban Dictionary is no help.

  21. 21
    silomowbray, sans frottage pour la douche

    Ace@20: Right Wing Authoritarian.

    If you have the time, please consider reading Altemeyer’s work. I put the link in #17. I read the paper years ago and found it truly eye-opening.

  22. 22
    Modusoperandi

    silomowbray, from Nixon* to Reagan, the RWAs were almost all cynical manipulators, whereas now there’s a disproportionate minority who are true believers (the former knew right and wrong and didn’t care [liars] or didn’t know and didn’t care [bullshitters], while the latter only knows that the Tribe is right no matter what it says [cultists] or sticks to those shibboleths because they mark the border between their Tribe and their hated “Other” [um, Dogwhistle Republicans?]). Boehner’s a manipulator; the Teabaggers in the House who gleefully talked about deliberately defaulting on the debt are true believers. One group knew that the talking points, for example, only worked to make the rich richer and the poor poorer, and pushed them anyway, as “Trickle-Down makes everybody rich!”, while the other has absorbed those same talking points as Gospel.

    It’s like a padre teaching the Prosperity Gospel to make himself rich, then having some of that flock rise to positions of power and push those same points doubly hard, because they actually believe them (see, Dover School Board, or the Right’s doubling down on tax cuts and deregulation as panacea).

    * Before the LBJ-era’s Voting Rights Act/Civil Rights Acts, the party lines were, politely, different.

  23. 23
    Michael Heath

    Ace of Sevens,

    RWA stands for right wing authoritarian, which is what Bob Altemeyer called the primary group his studies revolved around; the secondary group being social dominators who exploit RWAs. Altemeyer’s book The Authoritarians is a quick, easy, entertaining, and most important – revealing study of the behavior we now see within the North American conservative movement and therefore the U.S. Republican party – primarily from the voting base though as I noted earlier, post-Altemeyer, the inmates are increasingly taking control of the asylum. And it’s also free: http://home.cc.umanitoba.ca/~altemey/

    Altemeyer’s work is rough given it’s both pioneering and obviously done on a shoestring budget. For the more concise work that followed off the shoulders of this giant, Chris Mooney’s latest book provides a great start. However I would start with Altemeyer’s work prior to delving into Mooney’s report.

    Altemeyer’s book also provides some tests you can take yourself. I’m about as low as you can get when it comes to authoritarianism, I only answered one question in a manner friendly to authoritarianism, where I argued it wasn’t wise to expose kids to nudist communities. Other than that one question, I answered the extreme opposite of what an extreme authoritarian would answer on every single other question.

  24. 24
    Michael Heath

    Modusoperandi writes:

    silomowbray, from Nixon* to Reagan, the RWAs were almost all cynical manipulators, whereas now there’s a disproportionate minority who are true believers (the former knew right and wrong and didn’t care [liars] or didn’t know and didn’t care [bullshitters], while the latter only knows that the Tribe is right no matter what it says [cultists] or sticks to those shibboleths because they mark the border between their Tribe and their hated “Other” [um, Dogwhistle Republicans?])

    I think you’re defectively conflating social dominators with RWAs. Nixon is an illustrative example of a social dominator and not a RWA. Reagan did care about optimal outcomes, contra your assertion, he was instead an RWA who was by definition oblivious to the negative ramifications of some of his most repugnant policy positions.

    So I don’t see RWAs changing since Nixon, instead I see RWAs embracing their own as leaders rather than embracing social dominators who’ve long sought to exploit RWAs for obvious reasons. That being the fact RWAs are malleable and more than happy to vote against their interests on issues the social dominators care about as long as you pander to issues RWAs care about – government promoting Christianity, hating gays, keeping females as second class citizens submissive to men, hating secularists and now Muslims, etc. Thomas Franks distinguished himself in What’s the Matter with Kansas in explaining how social dominators (the GOP’s financial constituents’ hand-picked political leaders) exploit RWAs though he doesn’t use those terms. RWAs happen to be conservative populists and of course, conservative Christians – devout, cultural, and nominal.

  25. 25
    Modusoperandi

    Michael Heath “Altemeyer’s work is rough given it’s both pioneering and obviously done on a shoestring budget.”
    Lies! For more than a two decades, it consumed almost 1/3rd of Canada’s entire federal budget! It’s crops of wild salmon and Leafs jerseys withered in the fields! David Suzuki had to sell his beard!

  26. 26
    Modusoperandi

    Michael Heath “I think you’re defectively conflating social dominators with RWAs.”
    Wups. Change my intro to “It’s leaders used to be social-dominators, now they’re RWA”. Also, in between the second and third paragraphs add a musical interlude.

    As an aside, I can’t help but note that my post, as originally drafted, had something along the lines of “Now wait a minute, for Michael Heath’s superior version”.

  27. 27
    Ace of Sevens

    Didn’t we narrowly avoid a second civil war the last time a governor tried to mobilize the national guard to resist a federal court ruling? Thankfully, the guard leadership had the good sense not to go along with it.

  28. 28
    F [i'm not here, i'm gone]

    Heh. The New Late Unpleasantness.

  29. 29
    YankeeCynic

    Meanwhile, lying in its grave, the corpse of General Sherman unconsciously reaches for the book of matches in its pocket.

  30. 30
    dickspringer

    Quote from Michael Heath:

    “I’m about as low as you can get when it comes to authoritarianism, I only answered one question in a manner friendly to authoritarianism, where I argued it wasn’t wise to expose kids to nudist communities.”

    I am a naturist and exposed my son to public nudity from an early age. My wife did the same with her daughters. We have never seen any adverse effects and believe that they were taught valuable lessons about body acceptance.

  31. 31
    scott

    I love the phrase “War of Northern Aggression”. Along with “Democrat Party”, “reverse discrimination”, “statist”, and “death tax”, it’s an easy sign that completely ignoring the speaker is simply lossless compression of information.

  32. 32
    dingojack

    Michael – strange, I wouldn’t call Nixon a social dominator. From what I’ve read about him (and what he wrote about himself) he seems to have been constantly trying to be one of the ‘in group’ (with little success, most people disliked him). Nixon was a ‘yeah,what he said’* who, it seems, ended up being the schoolyard bully by tapping into his inner RWA.
    Dingo
    —–
    * The bully’s offsider, whose distinctive cry of ‘Yeah, was he said’, follows the alpha’s every taunt and jibe. These are usually the lowest ranking male in the bully’s posse. He is equally loathed by the ‘in group’ (who treat him as a whipping-boy or jester) and the ‘out-group’ (who simply consider him with contempt).

  33. 33
    laurentweppe

    Altemeyer’s book also provides some tests you can take yourself

    Actually, Altemeyer provided example of tests he used on his students who did not know they were being tested, noting that self-test was meaningless since someone who knows that he is being tested will tend to answer along what they consider socially acceptable to say instead of what they really think.

    ***

    That being the fact RWAs are malleable and more than happy to vote against their interests on issues the social dominators care about as long as you pander to issues RWAs care about – government promoting Christianity, hating gays, keeping females as second class citizens submissive to men, hating secularists and now Muslims, etc.

    Note that none of these policies are per se against the interest of their supporters:

    People tend to think that for someone low on the social food chain, “voting for one’s interest” means voting against the privileges of people above them, but if you’re already convinced that the rich, the powerful and the privileged are too strong to be challenged, turning against those below you and forcing them to become an underclass can at least give you both the psychological gratification of not being at the bottom of the totem pole and the actual advantage of not being the prime target of the grossest forms of discrimination.

  34. 34
    martinc

    Interesting stuff about Altemeyer’s identification of social dominators and RWAs as sub-groups of Republicans. It ties in with a broad bifurcated classification I’ve made myself, only I labeled the two groups “evil” and “stupid”.

  35. 35
    DaveL

    One of the most important facets of Altemeyer’s work concerned the overlap between social dominators and RWAs, the so-called “double-highs.” I think it’s an error to regard the rise of the low-information Tea Party and Republican candidates as the RWAs inflitrating the sphere of the social dominators. Instead, what I believe we’re seeing – starting arguably with George W. Bush and continuing with the Tea Party movement is the rise of the double-highs. They have all the faulty reasoning, irrational fear, and stark tribalism of the RWAs, but they also have the lust for power and the disdain for equality that is the hallmark of social dominators.

  36. 36
    dingojack

    Lauent – “People tend to think that for someone low on the social food chain, ‘voting for one’s interest’ means voting against the privileges of people above them…”

    They could also vote against they’re own proximal interests in exchange for more important distal ones.
    For example, they might vote to keep the RWA’s in power in exchange for protection from the hatred of the ‘in-group’ (the case you cited), protection from the ‘out-group’ (a situation the French used in Syria BTW), to gain future perks and privileges, to improve their relative social position and so on.
    There are plenty of reasons to do go against one’s ‘natural interests’, particularly if the group in power is not as distrusted by those doing the voting as the ‘out-group’ or the situation as a whole (this kind of behaviour is probably more common when fear is a major motivator).
    (All IMHO, of course).
    Dingo

  37. 37
    dingojack

    Sorry, the above was directed at laurentweppe.
    Crappy keyboard (that’s my excuse, and I’m sticking to it*).
    ;) Dingo
    —-
    * both keyboard and excuse

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