The ducks are gonna get you »« For Al

White and delightsome

I strongly recommend that you watch this video just before the next Romney/Obama debate. It will strongly color your perspective.

You can also watch it right now if you’d like.

Comments

  1. viggen111 says

    Mormonism is a big block of crazy, but I’ve met a few atheists that I wouldn’t trust in government if my life depended on it and I’ve met a few mormons who were responsible, trustworthy people. Religion shouldn’t be the only thing coloring your vision.

  2. spamamander, internet amphibian says

    Nobody is saying it should be viggen111, but if someone truly holds a belief that a significant portion of the population is “cursed” it certainly colors my perception of whether they should be in high office or not. IF a Mormon came along who I agreed with politically (not going to happen) and it was clear that they were a “cultural Mormon” of sorts, denounced that line of thinking, and were vehement that their religious beliefs would not determine their political actions, I wouldn’t have an issue. See Biden for an example; I believe he is Catholic (?) and has a personal belief in “life begins at conception”, yet he has clearly stated he is pro-choice because women have absolute bodily autonomy.

  3. says

    The funny thing is how orthodox Christians so easily dismiss the Book of Mormon, but then think that believing in it is somehow so wildly different from believing in their own scriptures.

  4. ah58 says

    Hasn’t it also been a common view in xian circles that the “mark of Cain” that god supposedly placed on Adam’s son was to make him black?

    I know that I’d been told that back in the 60′s when I was growing up before it became politically incorrect.

  5. pramod says

    I made the mistake of reading the youtube comments. By golly, there are some serious racists out there defending this bullshit.

  6. says

    Hasn’t it also been a common view in xian circles that the “mark of Cain” that god supposedly placed on Adam’s son was to make him black?

    I hope not, considering the Mark of Cain isn’t a curse but a mark of protection (anyone who would harm Cain would be inflicted seven fold) it would be inexcusably stupid that they thought that and still enslaved black people.

  7. Hurin, Midnight DJ on the Backwards Music Station says

    Obama is not exactly an atheist either.

    And here I was thinking he went to Rev. Wright’s church just to see if he could one day induce conservatives to eat their own eyeballs. Silly me.

  8. Tony •Prom King of Sunnydale High• says

    selfmade:

    Obama is not exactly an atheist either.

    I’m trying hard to see how this is relevant to this thread (which is about how the Mormon religion is inherently racist).

  9. says

    As a native of the so-called “burned-over district” of NY, I’d like to formally apologize for all of the batshit-crazy crap that came out of there.

    Fortunately the Mormons are the only ones who have really survived. A few Millerites here and there are left, and you can still buy Oneida silverware.
    And yeah, there’s still Lillydale. Most of the various utopian groups died fast but at least some left some nice furniture and things behind.

    On the other hand we had abolitionists and Frederick Douglass’ paper The North Star and the Seneca Falls Convention, so some good did come out of the area.

  10. doug1943 says

    I think the logic here is as follows: “If someone is an adherent of a religion whose Holy Books say absurd and repulsive things about various races, then that person should not hold political office, (unless of course they are a liberal)”.

    I know my fellow atheists can cite chapter and verse from both the Old and New Testaments, and probably from the Koran too, which match and exceed in wickedness the repulsive rubbish from the Book of Morons, so in the interests of fairness, this reasoning should be extended to Jews, Christians and Muslims.

    Then we can leave out the redundant Mormon stuff and just say, “Don’t vote for anyone unless they are a liberal”.

  11. lcaution says

    @spamamander:
    Harry Reid is a Mormon. So is Jon Huntsman.

    The Constitution’s prohibition against a religious test for holding office is meaningless if we vote for/against somebody because of faith.

    And Doug1943 has nailed it. If the rationality or morality or simple logic of a religion’s holy book(s) is one’s bottom line, we should only vote for atheists.

  12. unclefrogy says

    It is nice and maybe necessary to know what at least are the basic ideas that a religion is base on. How can that be a bad thing?
    If somebody wears his religion on his sleeve and makes or says it’s the center of his moral thinking than everyone should know what it is.
    how else is anyone supposed to make an informed choice?

    uncle frogy

  13. unclefrogy says

    As far as voting for someone they better be at least a liberal though I would prefer someone a little more to the left than just a liberal.

    to make a hypothetical.
    would you vote for someone who followed Fr. Daniel Barrigan
    or Rev Jerry Falwell.
    take your time and look them up need to.

    uncle frogy

  14. slowdjinn says

    @lcaution #18

    The Constitution’s prohibition against a religious test for holding office is meaningless if we vote for/against somebody because of faith.

    There’s a difference between the government denying the electorate the chance to elect a candidate on the grounds of said candidate’s religion, and individual voters deciding that they cannot, in good conscience, vote for a candidate based on the tenets of said candidate’s espoused religion.

  15. says

    lcaution #18:

    The Constitution’s prohibition against a religious test for holding office is meaningless if we vote for/against somebody because of faith.

    No Religious Test, just like Free Speech and Due Process and anything else in the Constitution, only applies to the government. It does not apply to citizens. In fact, applying it to citizens would constrain their right to vote as they desire, violating the Ninth Amendment.

    What is prohibited is something like the Test Acts, which would legally bar people from elected office on the basis of religion.

  16. doug1943 says

    Political enthusiasm is leading to bad logic here.

    The Original Post appears to be arguing, Don’t vote for Romney, because he is a Mormon, who therefore believes bad things because look at what it says in his Holy Book.

    But the argument is totally bogus.

    If a Mormon who was a liberal Democrat were running, I can guarantee that we would not see this video, with its pious horror at 19th Century Mormon idiocies about race. ( The general outlook given lunatic religious expression in the Book of Mormon was, by the way, shared by almost all 19th Century thinkers, by the way, including Abraham Lincoln and Karl Marx).

    Mormons, like other religious people, can take up any position on the political map, including leftwing radicalism. If you find this surprising, please visit http://themormonworker.wordpress.com/ .

    As for Daniel Berrigan vs the late Jerry Falwell, I am sure that the former is a nice man who would be a much more pleasant and intelligent dinner companion than the late Reverend Falwell. But his head was and is full of leftist fluff which makes him reflexively oppose any war the US engages in, including ones which even liberals should have supported, such as the liberation of Grenada, Kuwait and Kosovo. By the way, in opposing the only practical steps — American military intervention — that could have secured independence for Kosovo, he was joined by none other than … Jerry Falwell.

    Moral: the formal religious affiliations and “beliefs” of people are very poor material on which to base your political assessments of them. I usually have to make this argument to religious people who don’t want, on principle, to vote for atheists. It’s sad to see the same sort of fuzzy thinking replicated among rationalists.

  17. Ichthyic says

    If a Mormon who was a liberal Democrat were running, I can guarantee that we would not see this video

    no, you really can’t.

    there was no point in reading past that statement.

  18. Ichthyic says

    I think the logic here is as follows:

    could it instead be that religious dogma informs people of that religion? Hence, why it’s dogma?

    how many times have you heard a xian say that their religion “informs” their decisions?

    hundreds? thousands?

    I know I have.

    if you REALLY think that one can completely compartmentalize this stuff, you’re lying to yourself.

  19. Rodney Nelson says

    Romney was a Mormon bishop and is a High Priest in his church. The LDS Church professes many absurd things, like a bunch of Middle Eastern Jews came to the Americas, rode horses, made steel weapons, and wrote in “Reformed Egyptian.” Most of these things don’t effect present day public policy. However, as the video shows, the LDS Church also has racism as part of its dogma. All adult males in the Church hold various ranks in its priesthood but until 1978 this priesthood was denied to anyone with “black skin.”

    It’s my understanding the main reason why the Church reversed this doctrine was they wanted to expand into Brazil and sub-Saharan Africa. Places where there weren’t many if any whites would have a severe shortage of priests and that they wouldn’t get too many converts if they made their racism too obvious. Also many North Americans and Europeans were commenting on the LDS Church’s conspicuous racism, which was a PR problem for a church with active proselytizing. So the Prophet had a revelation from God that explicit racism should be toned down.

    However the racism wasn’t reversed, it was just made less discernible. As the video says, racism is an integral part of Mormonism. So if Romney is a committed Mormon who accepts his church’s dogma, which by all reports he is, then he believes racism is dictated by God.

  20. Mak says

    how many times have you heard a xian say that their religion “informs” their decisions?

    Not only their decisions, but everyone else’s too! Which is why us icky atheists are so amoral and untrustworthy and we needs lots of Ten Commandments monuments to remind everybody to be good christian moral people.

  21. isilzhaveni says

    While this is much more blatant and pervasive, it’s not that much different than what I was taught in Southern Baptist churches. I don’t quite remember the details exactly, but there’s something in the old testament about different branches of Abraham’s family or something and one branch was cursed; anyway, whichever ones were the “wicked”, “naughty” branch were suppose to be the ones who ended up with dark skin.

    Ah, well, google has told me it’s the “curse of Ham” and it was the descendents of Noah. So…there you go.

  22. laurentweppe says

    The Original Post appears to be arguing, Don’t vote for Romney, because he is a Mormon, who therefore believes bad things because look at what it says in his Holy Book.
    But the argument is totally bogus.
    If a Mormon who was a liberal Democrat were running, I can guarantee that we would not see this video, with its pious horror at 19th Century Mormon idiocies about race.

    No, the argument is bogus as an electoral argument because Dalton argue in the same breath that Mormonism is inherently racist and that Mormons are not.
    If a Mormon who was a liberal Democrat” was running for president, it is very probable that no one on the left of the asylum would see that video as an electoral argument, but that does’nt mean the video itself would no exist.

  23. says

    The “normal” Christian belief is actually the curse of Ham. Ham was one of the sons of Noah. Noah got drunk and passed out naked and Ham said something rude but the other sons threw a blanket over Noah. YHWH was so put out that he cursed Ham and his descendants with eternal slavery. Ham’s descendants are named; some obscure tribe the author didn’t like.

    In Joseph Smith’s day the majority of Christians were taught that Ham’s descendants had ended up in Africa and were intended by God to be slaves or at least subordinates. Modern Christians have the advantage that their racist text is so remote that the straightforward interpretation has no bearing on anyone alive today.

  24. Matt Penfold says

    Moral: the formal religious affiliations and “beliefs” of people are very poor material on which to base your political assessments of them. I usually have to make this argument to religious people who don’t want, on principle, to vote for atheists. It’s sad to see the same sort of fuzzy thinking replicated among rationalists.

    You seem to have missed the point by some margin. let me try to explain it you.

    Mormons may or may not be racist, but they do believe in a dogma that is inherently racist. In a society that still has huge problems with the issue of race that dogma is unhelpful. It is a form of institutionalised racism. Mormons, no matter what their personal opinion on race is, cannot escape some irresponsibility for the official position of their church. So even for the most liberal of Mormons there remains the issue they they choose to identify with an organisation that promotes racists dogma. When it comes to electing a Mormon, whether or not their good points are enough to offset that tacit support is something each voter will need to decide.

  25. tbp1 says

    #5: “The funny thing is how orthodox Christians so easily dismiss the Book of Mormon, but then think that believing in it is somehow so wildly different from believing in their own scriptures.”

    Yep. I will always remember listening to the “Bible Answer Man” on the car radio one day some years ago. He had a guest who had just published a book about Mormonism. Let me tell you, they just couldn’t get over those whacky Mormons and their silly beliefs. They talked about the suspicious origins of the religion and all the unbelievable things associated with it. They talked about the complete lack of any archaeological or other physical evidence to back up the Book of Mormon, how the Book talks about animals and plants that didn’t exist in the New World until after Columbus, how genetic evidence disproves the idea that Native Americans are Semitic. They talked about the major changes in doctrine that were obviously motivated by political expediency. They talked about the inherent racism that was the original topic here. And on and on it went.

    I knew it wasn’t going to happen, but I kept waiting for one of them to pause and then say, “Hey, wait a minute…we believe in talking snakes and that it’s possible for the entire world to be covered with a flood that leaves absolutely no trace behind. Maybe there’s a parallel here.”

  26. maryb says

    “I Wonder what it feels like debating someone who believes in this stuff on national TV?”

    Stunned? Like a deer in the headlights? Seems that’s what happened to Obama.

    I have a number of Mormon relatives but only one family was born and bred – the offspring of a brother. My mother also converted (when I was in high school – but like all religions she’s tried, she fell away from the hypocrisy and authoritarian nonsense. It became more evident that she is a racist as she is aging (and apparently her desired reasoning persona is falling away). This makes me think the basic reason she liked the Mormons is their inherent racism.

    She still says she is a Mormon despite having nothing to do with the church for many decades. The story is so ridiculous, it is hard for me to see why she would ever buy into it. (I was completely immune to them in high school – are you kidding me? I’m female so even if I could ever believe in the magic man in the sky (not!) this version is so anti-female, it was a non-starter for me instantly.)

    The more I learn about them, the ickier they become.

  27. flit says

    The pedant in me wants to correct a few things here.

    First of all, the Nephites and Lamenites weren’t always good vs bad. Much of the book of mormon goes back and forth between each group becoming evil and being slaughtered by the other.

    Second his call that the skin color is a major component of the book is unsupported, and I would have love to see some evidence or study about that, because it’s not really a “main” part of the story, it just happens to say things like this:

    “14 And it came to pass that those Lamanites who had united with the Nephites were numbered among the Nephites;
    15 And their curse was taken from them, and their skin became white like unto the Nephites;”

    Which don’t get me wrong, is fascinatingly abhorrently racist, but more of a side effect of the main story of genocide and war.

    Also, Romney was both a Bishop (in charge of a single ward) and also a Stake President (in charge of 6-12 wards over the bishop). Stake Presidents are likely the biggest church leader most mormons will meet without heading to general conference.

  28. says

    The general outlook given lunatic religious expression in the Book of Mormon was, by the way, shared by almost all 19th Century thinkers, by the way, including Abraham Lincoln and Karl Marx.

    Indeed it was! Which is why basing a religion on the racist writings of a racist man from an extremely racist time is a perfect example of institutional racism. The world is moving on, but we have Mormonism to preserve and promote that particularly intense version of racism that existed then.

  29. says

    Aug 22,1895 – First Presidency and apostles decide to deny temple endowments to “Black Jane” Manning (James) because of her “negro blood.” Black women are banned from temple, as are black men until 1978.

    June 17,1978 – Church News headline “Interracial Marriage Discouraged” in same issue which announces authorization of priesthood for those of black African descent. Sources at church headquarters indicate that Apostle Mark E. Petersen requires this emphasis.

    Source for excerpts above: http://www.i4m.com/think/history/mormon_history.htm

    “We recommend that people marry those who are of the same racial background generally, and of somewhat the same economic and social and educational background (some of those are not an absolute necessity, but preferred), and above all, the same religious background, without question” (“Marriage and Divorce,” in 1976 Devotional Speeches of the Year [Provo: Brigham Young University Press, 1977], p. 144).

  30. says

    Up until about a year ago, this excerpt from a 1976 speech was included in both the Young Womens and Young Mens lesson manuals.

    “We recommend that people marry those who are of the same racial background generally, and of somewhat the same economic and social and educational background (some of those are not an absolute necessity, but preferred), and above all, the same religious background, without question” (“Marriage and Divorce,” in 1976 Devotional Speeches of the Year [Provo: Brigham Young University Press, 1977], p. 144).

    Mitt Romney would have heard this repeatedly throughout his life, with special emphasis in “Seminary” classes for high school students. Mormon teens are treated to mucho repetition of lessons meant to teach them how to “choose an eternal companion,” to prepare for marriage, to make certain that they are married in the temple, etc.

    In the morridor, it is still common for mormons to be shocked when one of their own marries outside of their perceived “racial background,” and there is all kinds of social pressure to conform to mormon expectations.

    They’ve softened the rhetoric, but their cultural norms are slow to change.

  31. says

    cross-posted from a previous chapter of the [Lounge] thread:

    Online textual references: http://www.i4m.com/think/history/mormon_racism.htm

    More here: http://exmormon.org/d6/drupal/Racist-history-of-the-Mormon-Church-and-Mitt-Romney

    From Great Moments in Mormon History:

    Feb 5,1852 – Brigham Young announces policy of denying priesthood to all those black African ancestry, even “if there never was a prophet, or apostle of Jesus Christ spoke it before” because “negroes are the children of old Cain….any man having one drop of the seed of Cain in him cannot hold the priesthood.” Contrary to Joseph Smith’s example in authorizing the ordination of Elijah Abel, this is LDS policy for the next 126 years.

    Yes, Joe Smith gave one, just one, black man the mormon priesthood. Mormons like to point this out as proving that mormonism was/is not racist. One man does not make up for 126 years of prejudice against all other black, brown, and Native American persons.

  32. doug1943 says

    I repeat: if a Mormon Democrat were running against a conservative Republican (of any religious persuasion, or none) we wouldn’t see this video or hear any pious shock-horror pronouncements about the racist lunacy in the Book of Mormon. If a conservative, out of a sense of fun, brought it up, we would be told that the Mormon Democrat really doesn’t truly believe in it, etc. (The argument that was applied above to Joe Biden the Catholic: he’s a hypocrite about abortion, you see, so he’s worthy of political office.)

    There is a more general issue here: most of the people on this forum are — I hope — fairly consistent in their beliefs, which are based solely on their assessment, right or wrong, of how the world works, not on some doctrine pronounced by an invisible man in the sky.

    Liberal atheists, especially those of a seriously Leftist persuasion, do tend to have their own independent-of-empirical-fact pieties about the inherent goodness and perfectability of man, the attainability of world peace but for the wicked United States, human biological racial and sexual equality for any desirable behavioral characteristic, and so on, but they aren’t burdened with the requirement to “believe” in the divine origin of some nonsense written down in the Bronze Age or in the 19th Century by someone in the grip of a hallucination. (At most, the more serious leftists have to rationalize the racism of Karl Marx, or the illiberal actions of Hugo Chavez, or the failure of various welfare state programs to uplift their intended beneficiaries, or the inability of socialism to produce a pair of blue jeans. But the arguments around these issues can take place on grounds of social reality, not their supposed adherence, or otherwise, to supernatural dictates.)

    But both liberal and conservative religious people are burdened with the requirement to “believe” in the nonsense-on-stilts of their various Holy Books: talking snakes, flying horses, mysteriously-multiplying loaves and fishes, women impregnated by spirits, and the whole laughable kit-and-caboodle of their organized superstitions.

    But do they really?

    No. For most of them, not really. The verb “to believe” is inadequate to describe how nominally-religious people rationalize the obvious twaddle in their Holy Books. Most of them just avoid thinking about it too much — how many Christians do you know who have even heard of the Amelikites, much less have an explanation for why God commanded the Jews to commit genocide on them (and on their domestic animals)?

    Intelligent and educated religious people — from Mitt Romney to John Kennedy — probably just don’t worry too much about the absurdities of their religions. “It was meant symbolically”, “the times were different”, “our religion has evolved over time,” etc etc. None of these arguments really stand up to serious critical scrutiny, but they provide a means for decent people to foreswear the indecencies of their religion’s formal beliefs.

    Most people who are religious are so because they see value in, and take comfort from, the quotidian practices of their modern-day religious community. They don’t judge Mormonism, Catholicism, etc by the formal beliefs of these sects, much less by things that were written long ago, but by the present-day actions of their fellow believers, which they find good.

    This ability of human beings to rationalize is what has allowed most Chrisitans and Jews, even orthodox ones, to adopt, de facto, the values of the Enlightenment, while notionally adhering to deeply un-Enlightened “beliefs”. Don’t look at what they “believe”, look at how they act.

    There is a parallel here, by the way, with respect to atheists and ethical behavior. How often have you been told by a religious believer that we atheists MUST be amoral human wolves, since we don’t believe in a supernatural Overseer who will punish us in the afterlife for any wicked behavior that escapes human punishment? There IS a kind of logic there, of the same sort that the Original Post uses, but it doesn’t actually predict the reality of the behavior of most atheists.

    Anyone who is attracted by this logic — “X adheres to organized religion Y, which teaches bad things, therefore X must behave badly” — should read Macaulay’s defense of Roman Catholics, written in the 19th Century but every bit as valid today as it was then. (Because Pope Gregory had pronounced Queen Elizabeth a heretic whose murder would be no sin, every Roman Cathoic in Britain became, in theory, a potential traitor. It took about 250 years before Catholics regained full citizenship rights in Britain. Macaulay pointed out that most Catholics didn’t even forego beef on a Friday because of their religion, so why would they risk being drawn and quartered for it?)

    Interestingly, the logic of the Original Poster, and of the people in Britain who made Roman Catholics into second-class citizens, is today applied by someone named Robert Spencer, who specializes in pointing out all the horrible bits of the Koran and of the hadith, implying that every Muslim must be assumed to believe and be ready to act on these horrible bits.

    The sad thing is that arguments about the alleged implications of someone’s religious belief degrades serious political discourse (although it would hardly be possible for it to get any lower, in the US).

    We ought to be arguing about what tax level we should have, how we are going to deal with the national debt, what we are going to do to revive the economy, how we are going to deal with the growing social inequality in the US, what our foreign policy ought to be, how we are going to handle illegal immigration, what sort of education system we ought to have, what we are going to do about health care, and so on.

    Atheists should be leading the way towards rational discussion of real issues, not dragging us back to irrelevant debates about Holy Scriptures.

  33. Matt Penfold says

    Atheists should be leading the way towards rational discussion of real issues, not dragging us back to irrelevant debates about Holy Scriptures.

    You took a lot of words to come out and say there is nothing wrong with espousing racist dogma.

    Why just tell us you do not give a fuck about racism ?

  34. doug1943 says

    How interesting to see, among atheists, the exact equivalent of that commitment to emotionally-comforting dogma compounded with ignorance and inability to make a coherent argument that we so often find among religious believers.

  35. chigau (this space for rent) says

    commitment to emotionally-comforting dogma

    like

    the liberation of Grenada, Kuwait and Kosovo

    for example?

  36. Nick Gotts (formerly KG) says

    Liberal atheists, especially those of a seriously Leftist persuasion, do tend to have their own independent-of-empirical-fact pieties about the inherent goodness and perfectability of man, the attainability of world peace but for the wicked United States – doug1943

    Won’t someone think of the poor strawpeople?

  37. says

    I repeat: if a Mormon Democrat were running against a conservative Republican (of any religious persuasion, or none) we wouldn’t see this video or hear any pious shock-horror pronouncements about the racist lunacy in the Book of Mormon.

    You would from me. Thus, your argument is disproved. There, that was easy.

  38. Janine: Hallucinating Liar says

    As for Daniel Berrigan vs the late Jerry Falwell, I am sure that the former is a nice man who would be a much more pleasant and intelligent dinner companion than the late Reverend Falwell. But his head was and is full of leftist fluff which makes him reflexively oppose any war the US engages in, including ones which even liberals should have supported, such as the liberation of Grenada, Kuwait and Kosovo.

    You have a funny view on what a liberal is and what a liberal supports. Most liberals saw Grenada for what is was, a photo op of a large military throwing a random weakling against the wall.

    Most liberals were against the first Iraqi war. Liberating an oil rich theocratic monarchy from a formerly US backed dictator? Yeah, that is high on the list.

    In the case of Kosovo, it was a desire to end an act of genocide.

    But, hey, you are the one blowing hot air about how US atheists would not comment about a hypothetical liberal Mormon candidate. While ignoring that US atheists never had a choice of any actual atheist candidate. And also ignoring that many people here do criticize Obama for being a christian.

    Blow it out you ass, doug1943.

  39. says

    We ought to be arguing about what tax level we should have, how we are going to deal with the national debt, what we are going to do to revive the economy, how we are going to deal with the growing social inequality in the US, what our foreign policy ought to be, how we are going to handle illegal immigration, what sort of education system we ought to have, what we are going to do about health care, and so on.

    We can do all that and also discuss how deeply racism is entwined with mormon dogma.

    BTW, your argument that smart men like Mitt Romney probably don’t believe all the crap in their holy scriptures doesn’t hold water.

    Mitt has yet to prove he’s smart. Cunning perhaps, but “smart,” no. He consistently fails to vet his sources, fails at reading comprehension, quotes other people as agreeing with him when they do not, and fails at math.

    As a missionary, Mitt spent two years teaching mormon dogma. He followed that up by teaching Sunday School, heading Elder’s Quorum, being a mormon Bishop, and serving as Stake President. He seems to believe all the mormon crap, and he certainly knows all that crap by heart.

    We have, as examples of Mitt’s humanity, tales of Mitt helping mormons. We have NO stories of Mitt helping non-mormons. Paul Ryan brought up yet another Mitt-helping-mormons story during the Vice Presidential debate. We have examples of Mitt restricting his care and help to mormons. He is into Building the Kingdom. Most of us are not part of the Kingdom. This trait of Mitt’s definitely gives one pause when it comes to voting. It will affect policy decisions.

  40. Ogvorbis: broken and cynical says

    We ought to be arguing about what tax level we should have, how we are going to deal with the national debt, what we are going to do to revive the economy, how we are going to deal with the growing social inequality in the US, what our foreign policy ought to be, how we are going to handle illegal immigration, what sort of education system we ought to have, what we are going to do about health care, and so on.

    And the discussion of religious beliefs is a very important part of this. Most of our politicians, left, right and center, are believers in gods. Most of them think that, among other things, there is a supernatural being who takes a personal interest in them, that the end of the world is a good thing, that ‘god helps those who help themselves’, and other absolute nonsense. They have been trained up from an early age to believe in magical solutions to everyday problems. And the assholes representing our interests in Washington are still trying to create magical solutions to everyday problems. For example:

    Cutting taxes creates jobs and increases tax revenue.

    Cutting taxes will solve the national debt.

    Cutting taxes will revive the economy.

    Giving more money to the wealthy will reduce social inequality.

    The US should have no second thoughts about using our military might to force any nation on earth to do whatever we want — we should make things happen.

    Villifying undocumented workers and undocumented taxpayers will make the problem go away.

    Education can be made better and cheaper by privatizing it and taking money away from schools that need money.

    Health care is cheaper and more available to everyone if the government is not involved.

    All of these are positions of main-stream US politicians. And every one of them ivokes magical thinking to solve real problems. And every one of these magical solutions will either make the problem worse, hurt and kill real people, or both. So yes, mocking a candidates beliefs, left or right, is important. Especially when those beliefs show that reality is, to the candidate, not real.

  41. Janine: Hallucinating Liar says

    Would you mock a liberal Ayn Rand acolyte?

    (I have definitely gotten too silly here.)

  42. doug1943 says

    No, no. It’s obvious that Christian and Jewish liberal political candidates wouldn’t be subject to a full video piously recounting the horrors of their particular holy books, despite the feeble protests here that some atheists ‘criticize’ Obama for being a Christian. Nominally-religious, or genuinely religious, liberals and lefties get a free pass from liberal and lefty atheists.

    There was no ‘genocide’ in Kosovo, by the way, just some vigorous killing by nasty people. (Don’t take my word for it, go read Saint Chomsky: http://www.chomsky.info/articles/200005–.htm)

    It was the same in Kuwait: no genocide, just plenty of murders, all in the name, as in Kosovo, of reclaiming sacred national territory. Was Kuwait better off after Saddam Hussein was expelled, or not? (By the way, you can believe that it was bettor off, but that the United States did not have an interest in making it so and should have just let Saddam have his way, which is a perfectly consistent position.)

    Nor was there genocide in Grenada, where the leftist revolutionaries began by killing each other (usually they wait a few years before killing each other) and then giving the populace a taste of what was to come by threatening to shoot on sight anyone venturing outside their homes during the period after thier coup. (For those who aren’t afraid of reading ‘lots of words’, see the Wikipedia article on Grenada, here:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grenada). The US kept Grenada from becoming another dreary Peoples Republic, and good for them.

    But if you, like Father Berrigan, think that the US is somehow the font of evil in the world, naturally you will, as he did, oppose any and all military action by the US. If he were logical, he would extend this position back in time, starting with WWII, but logic and leftist-pacifism are mutually exclusive terms. (Which is why many pacifists actually support military violence, as long as the people doing it mouth the right platitudes about social justice.)

  43. says

    They have been trained up from an early age to believe in magical solutions to everyday problems. And the assholes representing our interests in Washington are still trying to create magical solutions to everyday problems.

    And one of the most magical of all is Small Government. Republicans have no actual experience in creating Small Government. They only have experience talking about the myth of Small Government (small enough to invade and patrol all vaginas).

    http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2012/10/13/chris-hayes-small-government-argument-is-for-suckers/

    …Under Reagan and the Bushes, government spending grew rather than shrank, becoming a larger portion of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP). The national debt ballooned under Republican presidents as well.

    The real question we should be asking, according to Hayes, is “Who will government benefit?”

    “Do not let yourself get suckered into the belief that this is a battle over how big government is going to be,” he said. “I don’t think that’s what’s on the table. What’s on the table is, ‘Are the poor going to see their Medicaid cut and the Pentagon’s going to get two trillion dollars? Or is the balance going to be in the other direction.”…

    http://www.sfgate.com/opinion/article/Romney-promotes-small-government-myth-3905152.php

    …So at the risk of agitating Tea Party agitators further, and at the risk of upsetting Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan’s view of the past, the history of our political economy clearly demonstrates that there has always been quite a lot of interaction between our politics and our economics. There has never been a laissez-faire, “small government” America of the sort Romney and Ryan promise to “restore.” Not since 1789.

    http://front.moveon.org/the-gop-myth-about-small-government-shattered-with-one-simple-chart/

  44. Janine: Hallucinating Liar says

    But Ogvorbis, doug1943 has proved, with the use of hot air, that you would not. Seeing that you are full of fuzzy leftist ideas.

    (I am still trying to figure out why doug1943 thinks that liberals should support the silly posturing that was the “liberation” of Grenada?)

  45. Janine: Hallucinating Liar says

    Sorry, doug, but I do not give a shit what Berrigan has to say. Just like you have not shown that the invasion of Grenada was needed. Or that a liberation of a theocratic monarchy was needed. Or how the US could be expected to end conflicts that have roots going back centuries.

    Blow it out your ass, doug1943.

  46. doug1943 says

    Actually, we have plenty of examples of liberal candidates who profess belief in religious absurdities, starting with President Obama, who spent a couple of decades in a church which adheres to Black Liberation Theology, an even more egregiously stupid set of ideas than normal theology.

    I don’t recall any liberal atheists getting terribly upset about his religious beliefs. (They were too much in the grip of their own religious frenzy at the time, called “Hope and Change”.)

  47. Janine: Hallucinating Liar says

    I don’t recall any liberal atheists getting terribly upset about his religious beliefs.

    You are a dishonest little shitstain.

  48. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Yes, yes, yes, yes and yes.

    Amen brother Ogvorbis.

    But Ogvorbis, doug1943 has proved, with the use of hot air, that you would not. Seeing that you are full of fuzzy leftist[realistic] ideas.

    Minor correction Janine. Roll on…

  49. says

    In the past, I have mocked Harry Reid for his too-close-for-comfort past relationships with mobsters in Las Vegas. Harry Reid is a liberal mormon. I have also raised an eyebrow about his water-use policies, which are big deal in the western states.

    I would prefer to mock the likes of Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum. They make it so easy.

    Last night at a closed-door fundraiser in Spokane, Wash., Rick Santorum told the Family Policy Institute of Washington that the conservative campaign against same-sex marriage is more important than even the fight against abortion. “You’re fighting for the truth,” Santorum said in a video obtained by SeattlePI.com.

    The former senator and presidential candidate described the fight against gay marriage in almost existential, not to say desperate, terms. “The movement you are fighting is the most important movement to win,” Santorum told the group, which doesn’t favor abortion either. “This issue will destroy and undermine the church in America more than any other movement,” said Santorum….

    See? Rick is just so hopped up about same-sex marriage that he sounds like a parody of himself.

    And … wait for it… Rick is using his non-mormon holy book to back up his policy decisions, and to inform his politics. Link.

  50. says

    I don’t recall any liberal atheists getting terribly upset about his religious beliefs.

    Balderdash. I am still upset about his religious beliefs. I like that Obama gave a shout out to non-believers at his inauguration, but since then both he and Biden have ignored us. My feelings are hurt.

    As for the Black Liberation Theology, aim that rock at Reverend Wright’s head. Obama said he had never heard Wright preaching that shit, and when he did become aware of it, he disavowed it.

    And I don’t see how Black Liberation Theology is a “more egregiously stupid set of ideas than normal theology.” So-called “normal theology” is egregiously stupid, a case I think you have been making all along.

  51. doug1943 says

    I think it’s perfectly fair comment, by the way, to be harsher, with respect to their religious beliefs, on politically-conservative religious people, than on politically-liberal religious people. On the face of it, the former are more likely to be influenced by their religious beliefs than the latter. (Does anyone really believe that Hillary Clinton is a devout Christian?)

    The issue is: is Mitt Romney more likely to be seriously influenced by the racial nonsense in the Book of Mormon than Barack Obama is by the racial — indeed, genocidal — nonsense in the Old Testament? Despite the argument above about his being a bishop, etc — the one post which does try to defend the logic of the Original Post with serious arguments — I don’t think so.

    Nor do I believe that the makers of the video really believe it either. It’s just the liberal equivalent of the insane ‘Obama is a secret Muslim’ nonsense that circulates among some conservatives, who, however, have the dubious excuse of probably actually being stupid enough to really believe it.

  52. says

    Not fair, Lynna! What if this were a liberal mormon?

    The species is not extinct, but is exceedingly rare. Their rarity makes them relatively ineffectual in all spheres of life, and therefore not a great target for mockery.

    Nevertheless, I spit their eye for harboring and acting upon whackadoodle notions — especially for allowing only mormons with temple recommends to attend temple weddings. This nonsense often excludes even the mother of the bride, for example, from a meaningful ceremony. Hammer blow to family values!

  53. Ichthyic says

    How interesting to see, among atheists, the exact equivalent of that commitment to emotionally-comforting dogma compounded with ignorance and inability to make a coherent argument that we so often find among religious believers.

    you might want to look up the definition of projection there, bud.

  54. Janine: Hallucinating Liar says

    Lynna, you are forgetting about dougspeak. It is amore egregiously stupid set of ideas than normal theology because it is leftist fluff.

    And leftist atheist are always willing to over look religion as long as the religious figure is also a liberal.

    Or something like that.

  55. says

    It is amore egregiously stupid set of ideas than normal theology because it is leftist fluff.

    Sigh. I see I’m going to have to take time off to reorganize all my categories of theological fluff according to the DougSpeak plan.

    So little time, so damned fucking much fluff.

  56. Janine: Hallucinating Liar says

    Doug1943, the MittBot 3000 is part of the Mormon Church hierarchy. The Mormon Church has spent millions trying to pass laws that restrict the freedoms of citizens. I think it is fair to say that the Mormon Church has more to say about how the MittBot 3000 will rule than the more ecumenical approach of Obama.

    And please note, most liberal atheists are not pleased with Obama.

  57. Janine: Hallucinating Liar says

    Please, doug1943, explain to we atheist liberals why we do not mind having the “liberal” Obama conducting the National Prayer Breakfast?

  58. Janine: Hallucinating Liar says

    He seems to think that all liberal atheists should be followers of Father Daniel Berrigan because being filled with leftist fluff overrides how one views religious believes. And that atheist liberals are just as dogmatic as the devout.

    And doug1943 is as dishonest and as he is self deluded.

  59. doug1943 says

    With a couple of honorable exceptions, the level of debate here from the liberal side is depressingly low.

    There are plenty of religious-Right forums where childish insults and back-slapping you-tell-’em-brother comments pass for serious arguments, but it’s actually surprising to see the same stuff from people who are supposedly committed to reason.

    Here’s a hypothesis: the real distinction should not be between those who profess a belief in a transcendent order, and those who do not, but between people who can defend their beliefs with rational arguments, who understand the dangers of seeking only confirmatory evidence for their beliefs, who understand how easy it is to be seduced by unexamined words and phrases — especially those which create that warm glow of moral self-satisfaction within us –, on the one hand, and those who simply uncritically accept the set of values and beliefs of their social surroundings, whether they are those of small-town Christian America, or those found in the milieu of university undergraduate social science majors.

  60. raven says

    Is there a bingo card for … whatever doug1943 is?

    Yes.

    It only has three spaces. Ranting, raving, and idiot.

    Doug has already hit all three.

  61. Janine: Hallucinating Liar says

    With a couple of honorable exceptions, the level of debate here from the liberal side is depressingly low.

    Chigau, doug1943 is also not a fan of self reflection.

    It does make to great low humor. I laughed at what I have quoted. How could I not?

  62. Ogvorbis: broken and cynical says

    I don’t recall any liberal atheists getting terribly upset about his religious beliefs.

    You are one of two things. Either you are are a liar or you are profoundly and willfully ignorant of progressive politics, politically active atheists, liberal politics, and religion itself. I’m leaning toward you being a liar. Especially since some of the ‘facts’ you present (without evidence, I might add) have been shot down again and again (with evidence, I might add) and then you repeat the lies (still without evidence, I might add) as if they are undeniable facts. Guess what, you fucking shitstain? Your beliefs do not define or create reality! You are engaging in exactly the magical thinking that I deplore and speak out against on the right and the left. You honestly believe that, if you say something enough times, it will become true. Guess what, asshat? Magic does not fucking work! Ever. Never has and never will. Yet the conservatives and theists continue to spin illusions and then assume that those illusions are actually reality. And it scares the shit out of you that there are people who actually see through your illusions, your magical thinking, and see it for the disaster it truly is.

  63. laurentweppe says

    In the case of Kosovo, it was a desire to end an act of genocide

    More like a desire to kill in the egg an ethnic cleansing mixing forced displasment of population with industrialized rape: the serbian regime had not -yet- gone into high gear like in Bosnia, but the fact Bosnia happened gave the western powers little doubts about what was intented.

    ***

    Cunning perhaps, but “smart,” no. He consistently fails to vet his sources, fails at reading comprehension, quotes other people as agreeing with him when they do not, and fails at math.

    Now now, let’s be fair: Mitt’s various failures have more to do with his need to pander than to any supposed cognitive weakness on his part.

    ***

    As a missionary, Mitt spent two years teaching mormon dogma.

    Mostly he spent two years chilling in a french mansion.
    As the owner of a french mansion myself, I feel offended by the idea of chilling in a french mansion is wrong.
    Is there a anti-blasphemy law aainst this blatant anti-french-mansionist bigotry? No? Well, there should be one!

    ***

    Most of them think that [...] god helps those who help themselves’, and other absolute nonsense. They have been trained up from an early age to believe in magical solutions to everyday problems.

    You do realize, I hope, that “God helps those who help themselves’” is something people tell kids to teach them to not expect magical solutions to everyday problems.

    Also, cutting taxes is not a “magical solution” as you claim: it can be used to stimulate the economy and therefore leads to increased jobs and tax revenues and lower debt in the long term, with some caveats: like cutting taxes for the super-rich will not lead to them consumming more or investing more money, but in more hoarding, which means that the extra money given to them is lost for both the state and the economy at large.
    What happens today is that right-wingers are doing the equivalant of saying that “since opiates are useful to medecine, they should be given free heroin shots” but no matter how stupid this is, it does not make surgeons witch doctors because they give morphine to patients before cutting them up.

  64. says

    I’ve never linked to this previously:

    http://articles.latimes.com/1988-12-18/books/bk-962_1_mormon-leaders-mormon-beliefs-lds-church

    It’s from 1988, but still holds up as an excellent example of the confluence of deceit and religion that mormonism embodies. For good measure, this review of books that tell a true story contains a healthy dose of greed, of money used to influence officials, the public, and the sheeple — of the mormon propensity to cover up faith-destroying facts.

    The Book of Mormon begins with a story of murder sanctioned by God. It is a story critical to understanding how in Mormon theology holy ends can justify what to non-believers would appear to be evil means.

    And the concept of holy justification for otherwise abominable conduct is at the core of these two superb books about a skilled forger and how the very top leaders of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints became entangled with him and then tried to mislead law enforcement, the faithful and the public about their conduct….

    …taking readers through the labyrinth of Mormon theological culture not as the church’s well-oiled publicity machine portrays it, but as it is….

    Mormonism is unlike Judaism, the rest of Christianity and Islam in that it was founded after the invention of the printing press. Journals, records, books and other documents from its early days abound.

    Documents, to Mormon leaders, fall into two categories: faith-promoting and faith-destroying. Genealogical records promote faith. So do testimonies. These and similar documents are exalted by the church hierarchy. But diaries kept by married women whom Joseph Smith bedded, supposedly on orders from God, are seen as faith-destroying. So are other records that might cast doubt on the church’s special claims.

    The top echelon of the church has ways of dealing with the problems faith-destroying documents pose: It focuses teachings on the right documents, instructs those seeking to become gods in the next life that injudicious inquiry can cause them to live together without family, and, finally, acquires dangerous documents and locks them in the First Presidency’s vault….

    That’s where the money comes in. A forger sold the mormon apostles, who were supposedly blessed with divine discernment, a bunch of fakes.

    … But Hoffman was both a lousy businessman and remarkably greedy. Soon he found himself short of cash with obligations aplenty to faithful Mormon investors who expected to get rich quick. And having promised to deliver a set of faith-destroying documents so powerful that he knew the church would arrange to have them bought up and then locked up, he wasn’t finished forging when his big bills came due.

    That’s when the bombings began, followed within minutes by the cover-up at church headquarters. At the time many Mormons believed the Mafia was behind it all. Even now… many Mormons cannot countenance the truth, a truth that the church helped make sure did not get dragged fully into the public record created by a trial….

    Most mormons, not just Mitt Romney, seem to be incapable of vetting their sources. Here’s a debunking of Mitt’s oft-repeated claim that “The president’s plan, on the other hand, cuts 700,000 jobs.” Mitt is relying on a “study” of the President’s tax plan produced by former Bush appointees and paid for by industries that have a record of opposing Obama. The debunking uses non-partisan sources to disprove the claim.

  65. Ogvorbis: broken and cynical says

    laurentweppe:

    I apologize. I thought that, in the context of the entire comment, it would have been obvious that I was referring to the current GOP’s magical thinking when it comes to tax cuts. I am familiar with the Laffer Curve, I am familiar with historical economics. I, apparently, just cannot write worth a shit. Sorry for my fail.

  66. doug1943 says

    Maybe our liberal temper-tantrum babies have a point about Mormon racism after all.

    I always thought Mormon convert Harry Reid was a pretty decent fellow — in the context of being a politician — but we should not forget his statements about President Obama (before he was President):

    ‘Reid apologized on January 9, 2010, for racially tinged comments he had made when Obama was campaigning for president. In private conversations, Reid had remarked that Obama could win the Presidency because the country was ready to embrace a black presidential candidate, especially one such as Obama—to whom he referred as being “light-skinned” [aha!] and “with no Negro dialect, unless he wanted to have one”.’

    From the Wikipedia article on Reid, available here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Harry_Reid

    Now, oh my goodness, if Romney had said that …. can you imagine the shrieking and weeping and pious indignation and heated readings from the Book of Mormon?

    But Reid is, sort of, a liberal, so … oh, look at that little bird over there!

  67. Ogvorbis: broken and cynical says

    You do realize, I hope, that “God helps those who help themselves’” is something people tell kids to teach them to not expect magical solutions to everyday problems.

    And you do realize, I hope, that “god helps those who help themselves” is invoked by some conservative politicians as a reason why less money should go to helping the poor? After all, if these poor people would just believe in gods and bootsrap themselves up into middle class, gods would reward them, right?

  68. Janine: Hallucinating Liar says

    Damn, doug1943, you fucking caught us. We are a bunch of unrepentant Harry Reid supporters.

    Once more, I fucking laugh at your higher level of debate.

  69. doug1943 says

    Of course, giving a free pass to your own side for something you self-righteously condemn in others is a very common human characteristic, practised by both liberals and conservatives, believers and non-believers.

    The most common instances of this among conservatives are when some prominent conservative is caught violating the “family values” thing, especially if said conservative is preacher. The examples of this are too many and too well-known to enumerate.

    And on the other side, if a prominent conservative academic were to write that ” …in mental ability [ethnic group X] are probably genetically superior to [ethnic group Y]“, you’d never hear the end of it. But a liberal can write this and no one turns an anti-racist hair.

  70. chigau (みじん切り肝臓) says

    very common human characteristic

    [citation needed]

    too many and too well-known to enumerate

    [citation needed]

  71. laurentweppe says

    You do realize, I hope, that “God helps those who help themselves’” is something people tell kids to teach them to not expect magical solutions to everyday problems.

    And you do realize, I hope, that “god helps those who help themselves” is invoked by some conservative politicians as a reason why less money should go to helping the poor?

    I do, but the first one lacks the Mine, Mine! Mine!!! subtext

  72. says

    And on the other side, if a prominent conservative academic were to write that ” …in mental ability [ethnic group X] are probably genetically superior to [ethnic group Y]“, you’d never hear the end of it. But a liberal can write this and no one turns an anti-racist hair.

    Bullshit. Someone who said that would be eaten alive asshole. BTW, good to know you had to invent your own situation cause you couldn’t think of a real one

  73. says

    ‘Reid apologized on January 9, 2010, for racially tinged comments he had made when Obama was campaigning for president. In private conversations, Reid had remarked that Obama could win the Presidency because the country was ready to embrace a black presidential candidate, especially one such as Obama—to whom he referred as being “light-skinned” [aha!] and “with no Negro dialect, unless he wanted to have one”.’

    You know you’d have to first establish I like Harry Reid before you accuse me of hypocrisy, asshole.

    And isn’t that a point in favor of mormonism promoting racism?

  74. Nepenthe says

    And on the other side, if a prominent conservative academic were to write that ” …in mental ability [ethnic group X] are probably genetically superior to [ethnic group Y]“, you’d never hear the end of it. But a liberal can write this and no one turns an anti-racist hair.

    I don’t usually do this, but [citation needed]. Because I’m pretty interested in whether you can come up with an example of this, especially one couched in terms of “genetic superiority”.

  75. says

    But a liberal can write this and no one turns an anti-racist hair.

    I see where you’re confused: you think that “liberal” and “conservative” are uncrossable lines that some people simply will not ignore. Some of us hold views that might be considered all over the place, which you could probably squish down to some point on a liberal/conservative axis only at the expense of losing a great deal of information. So, I don’t care if you think someone is a “liberal” if they’re talking racist nonsense I’m going to call them on it. I don’t care if someone is a “liberal” and is an MRA, I don’t automatically agree with the MRA bits because I agree with the “liberal” bits. See how easy that is? All you have to do is realize that people are a little more complicated that your simplistic and highly artificial liberal/conservative divide, and you’ll find things make a lot more sense. Try not to see the world in such a simplistic way and you’ll probably have fewer people annoyed at you for making silly overgeneralizations.

  76. says

    I don’t usually do this, but [citation needed]. Because I’m pretty interested in whether you can come up with an example of this, especially one couched in terms of “genetic superiority”.

    Who’s that idiot academic PZ was writing about the other day who was trying to float racist theories? Kanazawa or something like that? I don’t know whether he’s a “liberal” or a “conservative” because I was just paying attention to his stupid beliefs. Those terms aren’t fine enough resolution to merit use, really. I believe Kanazawa also thinks liberals and atheists are more intelligent – which probably means he considers himself a “liberal” and an “atheist” …

  77. doug1943 says

    Marcus: You’re quite right, of course. Both “liberalism” and “conservatism” refer to dispositions more than to worked-out ideologies, especially where conservatives are concerned. I certainly am aware that there is a wide spectrum of views left of center, ranging from, say, The New Republic out to Counterpunch.

    Some of the best demolitions of the more idiotic versions of Leftism have been written, in fact, by liberals (see the hilarious
    take-downs of the ‘postmodernist’ lunacy by the late Alan Sokal (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sokal_affair), or the scornful refutations of ‘Afrocentric’ pseudo-history — solemnly taught to hapless Black schoolchildren by the liberals of the Portland, Oregon school board — by the Skeptical Inquirer.(http://www.csicop.orAg/si/show/magic_melanin_spreading_scientific_illiteracy_among_minorities).

    The problem with polemicizing in a public forum like this is that it’s objectively difficult to distinguish among one’s opponents, who usually cover the whole spectrum.

    So among the people defending the video here we can roughly distinguish (1) some obviously young kids who have plenty of emotion but who know little and can’t put forward a serious argument, so who just make potty-mouth, (2) some people in the grip of various Leftist sillinesses (the fellow who would like to put Daniel Berrigan in charge of our foreign policy, for example), and, no doubt,(3) some sensible liberals with whom I probably have a lot in common.

    I’m really aiming at group (2), but it would be tediously complicated in every post to try to distinguish among the whole spectrum. Or maybe I’m just too lazy to do it. At any rate, thanks for the correction.

    And now to fulfill the perfectly reasonable request from Nepenthe and the abusive one from poor old Ing, who is going to have to learn not to be so confident in his own knowledge about that complicated world to which Marcus so rightly refers.

    I said that ” … if a prominent conservative academic were to write that ” …in mental ability [ethnic group X] are probably genetically superior to [ethnic group Y]“, you’d never hear the end of it. But a liberal can write this and no one turns an anti-racist hair.”

    Ing unwisely responded: “Bullshit. Someone who said that would be eaten alive asshole”. Leaving aside the elegant language of his reply, he is certainly correct that a conservative would be “eaten alive”. But a liberal can, and did, write that, and provided an opportunity for the man-in-the-gorilla-suit-during-the-basketball-game phenomenon, ie it was just blanked out by tens of thousands of liberal readers.

    I refer to the well-known liberal and anti-racist professor Jared Diamond, in his book Guns, Germs, and Steel, widely and favorably reviewed in the liberal press. (If you’ve never heard of him or heard of the book, then you should probably stop reading now and return to your X-Box.)

    If you will turn to page 21 you will find, as a part of his speculation on why New Guinea natives are smarter than Westerners (leave aside the factual accuracy of this, or, better, just stipulate it, as the lawyers say), the following statement: ” …in mental ability New Guineans are probably genetically superior to Westerners …”

    Now this clearly violates the Central Dogma of the religion of liberalism, which is that there can be no biologically-rooted cause of any distinction in any desirable human property among groups of humans. Any empirically-observed differences in anything desirable among ethnic groups, or between sexes, MUST be caused by the environment, ie. capitalism (and thus subject to benevolent intervention by the state).

    Anyone who casts doubt on the Central Dogma, or who even proposes that it’s an empirical issue to be tested by the methods of science, is a racist-sexist-fascist Heretic, who must be burned, or rather eaten, alive.

    But no one called him on it, and I’ve always wondered why. The more interesting question is why would he slip in this questioning of the Central Dogma? It would be like a bishop casting doubt on the authenticity of scripture. (I have a couple of hypotheses about both questions, though.)

    Far from being “eaten alive”, Professor Diamond was “smothered alive” in praise for his wonderful book (which, indeed, is well worth reading), despite his PC silliness about the brilliance of New Guinea tribesmen. Yes, life is complicated.

  78. doug1943 says

    Marcus. If we eschew the vague phrase “more intelligent” and substitute something more empirically rooted — like mean scores on IQ tests, or possession of advanced degrees — then I think that there is overwhelming evidence that self-professed atheists will rate considerably better than self-professed believers in the supernatural. Of course, there are stupid atheists and highly intelligent believers, but we’re talking about averages here.

    Similarly, I am quite willing to believe that the same could be said, although not so strongly, for liberals vs conservatives (in the US, at the present time).

    And … so what? I suppose the implication for those who put these assertions about is that “My group is smarter than yours, therefore we are right about [whatever issue is in contention].” I don’t think the implication is absolutely without merit — everything else being equal, smart is better than stupid — but even a meagre knowledge of history will show many situations in which one would not want to endorse the positions of one of two groups of people, in a contested issue, based on “intelligence” (however measured).

    For much of human history, “intelligence” or at least formal knowledge (such as the ability to read) was a near-monopoly of the dominant economic classes. But their political views were not based on their knowledge, but on their material interests. Slaveowners could read and slaves could not, but nothing about the desirability of slavery therefore followed from this.

    Or, for another example, a large part of the European intelligentsia, for nearly two generations, saw Stalin’s Soviet Union as the focus of human hopes for social progress. They were intelligent, educated… fools.

  79. chigau (みじん切り肝臓) says

    doug1943
    I (fearlessly) predict that you will end in The Dungeon.
    (I’m for bed. Wait a few hours, OK?)

  80. doug1943 says

    Chigau : Sadly, you’re probably right. Mankind cannot bear too much reality, as that fellow said. Me to bed as well, to catch up on a few more episodes of Breaking Bad.

  81. chigau (みじん切り肝臓) says

    doug1943 the reality is that you are probably a sociopath.
    Just go away.

  82. Ichthyic says

    Me to bed as well, to catch up on a few more episodes of Breaking Bad.

    trying to get pointers on your next career?

    I hear cooking meth is quite profitable, and doesn’t take any brains at all really so long as you don’t want purity.

    right up your alley.

  83. doug1943 says

    If I were a liberal, I’d be pretty embarrassed by the intellectual level of a lot of the comments here. Many of these young people have clearly been Left Behind. Maybe I ought to be more hesitant about my assumptions that atheists are smarter than believers … or perhaps for some reason, we just have the left tail of the distribution on this thread?

  84. Nepenthe says

    Jared Diamond is a well known liberal? I wasn’t aware that he was a liberal at all. (He very well might be, I’ve just had very few thoughts about him in any capacity, let alone in his representation of modern liberalism.)

    That pull quote is bizarre. I don’t know whether it makes any sense in context, but I doubt it. At any rate, I don’t think anyone could get too excited about Diamond, as the bastion of liberalism, perpetuating the historical dominance over and oppression of Westerners by aboriginal Papua New Guineans, tragic though it is.

    Now this clearly violates the Central Dogma of the religion of liberalism, which is that there can be no biologically-rooted cause of any distinction in any desirable human property among groups of humans. Any empirically-observed differences in anything desirable among ethnic groups, or between sexes, MUST be caused by the environment, ie. capitalism (and thus subject to benevolent intervention by the state).

    *blink* What? What on earth are you talking about? Perhaps you should adjust the antennae on your tinfoil hat for better reception.

    @Marcus Ranum
    Yeah, that’s who I thought of first, but I also was unsure whether Kanazawa is a “liberal”. Of course, he’s been eaten alive for his racist and misogynistic ideas, so, that’s not particularly helpful to our new obnoxious friend.

  85. strange gods before me ॐ says

    Would you mock a liberal creationist candidate for US president?

    We have mocked just such a person: Al Gore, time traveler.

    It’s a shame he didn’t beat McKinley though. That was the first election in which the Democrats were clearly a left-leaning party.

  86. strange gods before me ॐ says

    What doug1943 is getting at:

    So why is it that liberals just erase these words as they read Diamond, who is actually quite clear about his belief in the probable genetic roots of non-white mental superiority? What are the mental rationalizations through which they go?

    I don’t have an explanation, just some observations:

    (1)Many Leftists (who tend to make the most noise on this issue) have a deep hatred, or at least disdain, for the white race — Susan Sontag once called it “the cancer of humanity”. So anti-white racism tends to get a pass. Racism can only be racism against non-whites, in their view.

    (2) Perhaps they believe that Diamond was writing tongue-in-cheek, teasing us with a “reverse racist” argument in which he really does not believe? I have considered that possibility — it’s an approach to dialogue to which I am susceptible myself — but if he is being ironic, he is concealing it very well.

    (3) But I believe liberals and Leftists just blank out the plain meaning of these passages using the same mental process for suppressing cognitive dissonance that fundamentalist Christians use when confronted with, say, texts from the New Testament forbidding divorce except where one partner has committed “fornication”.

    They just don’t want to accept what is plainly in front of their eyes, so … they don’t. Easy.

    Can’t think of any other explanations, doug?

  87. strange gods before me ॐ says

    Here is a PDF of Diamond.

    Kanazawa is not a liberal. He is a libertarian Republican:

    «I proudly identify myself as a “South Park Republican,” which essentially means libertarian.»

  88. says

    @Strange Gods

    It’s humor that in your link someone refute him by quoting the author.

    Jared Diamond, Guns, Germs, and Steel p.19: The objection to such racist explanations is not just that they are loathsome, but also that they are wrong. Sound evidence for the existence of human differences of intelligence that parallel human differences in technology is lacking. In fact, as I shall explain in a moment, modern “Stone Age” peoples are on average probably more intelligent, not less intelligent, than industrialized people.

    He explicitly credits environment, and not “race” or “genetics” as a determinant of intelligence. You’re insisting that he is saying “race”, when his words on the page explicitly say “‘Stone Age’ peoples”. Your reading is not what his words are saying.

    ” ‘Stone Age’ peoples” can cover any of several “races”.
    “Industrialized people” can cover any of several “races”.

    Yes, he goes on to use his anecdotal experience with particular New Guineans, but you’re focusing on his anecdote, not on the overall argument his anecdote is cited to support.

    Diamond is explicitly denying “race” as the variable. You’re insisting that he IS making a racial argument. You’ve focused on the portion of the argument where he is speaking anecdotally, and elides from “industrialized peoples” to “Westerners”. But, still: as Diamond is using the term, “Westerners” is not a racial category. You’re eliding further, from Diamond’s “Westerners”, to your “Europeans” (in your first comment). The two terms aren’t equivalent, and he’s clearly using “Westerners” here as shorthand for “industrialized peoples”: an environmental argument, and not a racial argument. “Westerners” are not a race, certainly not as Diamond is employing the term here.

    Read those three pages and you will see there really isn’t any room for even the tiniest misinterpretation or doubt.

    Actually, there is. I read those same three pages and come to a quite different interpretation. This must be how theologians fall out with each other: which part of the text is most important?

    And doug’s response is “Oh of COURSE he has to say that because of the liberal academic hivemind! he really means racism!”

    Bob: I know that Diamond explicitly denies, as all good American academics must, if they are not to be convicted of the supreme thoughtcrime, any belief in racial superiority of whites.

    In fact, as I recall, he also repudiates the very idea of “race” as a meaningful concept. This too is academic orthodoxy, departed from at great cost.

    He even says that his book’s thesis could be summed up in the sentence “History followed different courses for different peoples because of differences among peoples’ environments, not because of biological differences among peoples themselves.”

    I am not disputing that thesis here. It may be true, it may not. That’s another argument.

    I am just pointing out that he asserts quite clearly that some human sub-groups are genetically superior to others in mental abilities.

    You are quite right that he claims that this genetically-based mental superiority played no decisive role in their (or by implication other groups’) histories; because the situation of each group of humans is all due to various accidents of geography.

    He could hardly claim that the genetically-based superior intelligence of the New Guineans has allowed them to evolve an advanced society!

    But he does assert that they possess at least some aspects of genetically-based superior intelligence. Right?

    This is the core of the racialists’ case, of course: they just apply the “superior” label to a different human group, or groups, and they also claim (much more plausibly, I would think, assuming it is true) that such superior intelligence did play a role in the different histories of various human groups. (And of course they base their claims not on impressionistic anecdotal data, as Diamond does, but on various formal tests of mental abilities — the validity of these is another argument.)

    So let me ask again: What do you think would become of me if I were a Harvard university professor, and I wrote in mental ability Westerners are probably genetically superior to Africans?

    Doug is full of shit and quote mining

  89. strange gods before me ॐ says

    Ing,

    It’s humor that in your link someone refutes him by quoting the author.

    Thanks for pointing that out; I hadn’t read that far.

    I was thinking about explaining to doug that the divide between industrialized and modern Stone Age peoples does not correspond to any alleged racial divide. But what’s the point of bothering, when Bob explained it to him five years ago?

    And if he’s been doing this same shtick for five years now, surely someone else has explained it again in the meantime.

  90. doug1943 says

    Poor Ing. A wounded ego is a pretty strong test of one’s committment to liberal values. Ban the heretic!

    Anyone who’s interested in this question and has some intellectual self-confidence should read the discussion at the link supplied by Strange Gods, which I’ll repeat here: https://www.librarything.com/topic/11208 . You’ll find the best attempts possible by some pretty smart liberals to explain away the inexplicable. (And an example of what serious debate among adults should be like.) It’ll be a test of your ability to apply critical thinking, as opposed to just looking for something to confirm your own cherished beliefs.

    Like Christians having to deal with the Bible’s encouragement of genocide against the Amelikites, there must be SOME explanation that will make you happy and let you stop thinking about it, mustn’t there? “Quote-mining”, that’s it!

    Since the statement by Diamond can’t be airbrushed out of existence — in mental ability New Guineans are probably genetically superior to Westerners — the only responses have to be Jesuitical quibbling over words, attempts to obfuscate the issue by re-writing Diamond’s words, etc . Race doesn’t exist, therefore … Elsewhere Diamond says racism is bad and wrong and incorrect, therefore he cannot believe .. Westerners are not the same as Europeans … Diamond really meant … etc etc

    But the reality is, Diamond opens up a can of worms with this statement, which — however you twist and turn — cannot be interpreted in any other way than to endorse the idea that one group of people — call them a tribe or whatever you like — can be mentally superior to another, for genetic reasons.

    “Mentally superior” … “for genetic reasons”. Whoa … don’t those two phrases make you want to cross yourself and mutter “God between us and evil”?

    I have thought that maybe he was being ironic, but if you read the surrounding discussion, it’s clear he’s not. He talks about the actions of natural selection in the challenging New Guineau environment which has produced these mentally-superior people, which is just simple orthodox Darwinism and would be of no interest whatsoever if he were talking about height or skin color or facial features. Diamond’s mistake was to extend this to something that challenges the central religious belief of liberalism, which I suppose he did in a fit of absent-mindedness.

    Now Diamond may be right, or he may be wrong, in the general thesis implied by the statement. This is an issue that we don’t know enough about yet, in my opinion, to have strong opinions.

    But what should be obvious to anyone is that if a conservative, or a libertarian Republican, said something like that, especially if he switched the groups involved — “in mental ability, Westerners are probably genetically superior to New Guineans” — we’d have to call a fleet of ambulances to carry off the swooning liberals.

    By the way, it’s really interesting to see supposedly rational liberals using the same sort of psychological mechanisms to deny an unpleasant reality that are used by the religious.

  91. says

    which I suppose he did in a fit of absent-mindedness.

    or, he could have done it for the same reason I one logically demonstrated that God must be a duality: to show a particular line of “reasoning” to be unfalsifiable bullfuckery that can be used to “prove” the opposite of what usual proponents use it for.

    Or, he could actually believe the BS about natural selection and intelligence. And consequently…. what? How is this not an “Al Gore is fat” argument?

  92. Drolfe says

    Depressing. At least five years of crying about this same trope: LIBERALS ARE THE REAL RACISTS! Wow.

    What does that absolve you of, Doug? What comfort are you looking for here? Did a liberal steal your lover? Turn your kids against you? Maybe it wasn’t liberalism, maybe it was what a racist asshole you must be.

  93. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Dougie still showing how vapid and inane it is? Boring and killfiled for utter insipidity. Not a cogent idea in sight.

  94. Ogvorbis: broken and cynical says

    Dougie does fit one of the working definitions of a troll. Lies and then, when the lie is pointed out (with evidence) xe pretends it doesn’t exist. Xe really does believe that hir thoughts and beliefs will create a new reality. Fully immersed in right-wing authoritarian magical thinking.

  95. strange gods before me ॐ says

    Proclaim proclaim proclaim. No attempt to understand.

    Hey dumbfuck doug!

    I asked you a question.

    Here’s another one:

    Poor Ing. A wounded ego is a pretty strong test of one’s committment to liberal values. Ban the heretic!

    Is that your idea of what serious debate among adults should be like?

  96. says

    strange gods before me’s comment about doug, “Proclaim proclaim proclaim. No attempt to understand” applies more generally to fanatics who create their own universe through repetition, and by blithely avoiding both facts and math.

    Let’s take a look at two examples. First up are a bunch of CEOs who are also Republicans:

    Plenty of eyebrows were raised last week when David Siegel, the CEO of a large timeshare company, sent a lengthy written tirade to his workers, telling them President Obama’s re-election would “threaten your job.” Siegel has long been a major Republican backer, including having boasted that he was “personally responsible” for George W. Bush’s 2000 victory, thanks to efforts Siegel said “may not necessarily have been legal.”
    Video and text here.

    …Chris highlighted a message Arthur Allen, CEO of ASG Software Solutions, emailed to his employees, pleading with them to “elect a new President and administration.” The executive added, “If we fail as a nation to make the right choice on November 6th, and we lose our independence as a company, I don’t want to hear any complaints regarding the fallout that will most likely come.”

    The Huffington Post added that Bob Murray, CEO of coal company Murray Energy, has allegedly pressured his employees to make campaign contributions to Romney; the CEO of auto parts manufacturer Lacks Enterprises has told his employees that an Obama victory may lead to pay cuts; and the Koch brothers have warned their employees of dire “consequences” of a Romney defeat.

    Next up is Romney surrogate, Rob Portman:


    Video and text here.

    Jake Tapper [ABC journalist] noted a clip from the vice presidential debate in which Paul Ryan said the unemployment rate is going up “all around America” — an argument that happens to be wrong. The host asked Portman a simple … question: “Now, senator, this has been weak economic recovery, without question, but it is a recovery, and unemployment is going down, just as a factual matter. Why would Congressman Ryan, in defiance of facts, suggest otherwise?”

    To which Portman responded:

    “I think that what he was saying was the truth: which unemployment is higher today than when the president took office. Unfortunately, in the meantime, we’ve created net zero jobs, Jake.”

    This is genuinely remarkable. Ryan was caught presenting a false claim to the nation, and asked to explain why, one of the Romney campaign’s leading surrogates told a national television audience, in effect, “The lie is accurate.”…

    As an objective matter, unemployment is lower today than when the president took office, and we’ve seen a net increase in job creation. Portman — a sitting U.S. senator and former budget director — surely knows this, but chose to say the exact opposite. Why? Because he thinks he can get away with it. Post-truth politics is liberating that way.

    You see, Portman doesn’t like our reality, so he has no qualms about making up his own version of facts, and asking Americans to believe him — even though he’s blatantly, shamelessly lying….

    Patriarchal at all levels, including toward one’s employees and TV audiences, authoritarian at all levels, and willfully stupid. The mormon priesthood just jacks these traits up another notch. What they say is taken as god’s truth — facts, empathy, and math be damned. Why, yes, Native Americans can become white and delightsome if they convert to mormonism. And if enough of them convert in southwestern states, we can stack tribal councils with mormon Indians and they will sign lopsided resource-extraction contracts with mormon companies.

    If questions are asked, give the answer the sheeple should hear, which has little or nothing to do with the truth.

  97. says

    Telling a bunch of lies, and worse yet, believing the lies you are telling, is going to trip Romney up more and more as attention is focused on the election.

    One of my favorite lies is that Obama has doubled the budget deficit. This talking point is a favorite of most Republican candidates. It is their blond-haired, blue-eyed baby.

    It was never true, and is now even further from the truth.

    Graph and text here.
    Late Friday afternoon, the Treasury Department published the official report on the U.S. budget deficit for the most recent fiscal year: $1.089 trillion. While that’s obviously still a very large budget shortfall, the deficit is $200 billion smaller than it was last year, and is nearly $300 billion smaller than when President Obama took office.

    … only two presidents have reduced the deficit this much, this quickly: Bill Clinton and Barack Obama.
    ….
    very few presidents in American history can boast about having inherited a massive deficit, then cutting it by nearly a fourth in just one term.

    …while Romney’s correct to note that the existing budget shortfall is still quite large, it’s worth appreciating the fact that the main drivers of the remaining deficit are Republican policies. …

    …Romney doesn’t have a deficit-reduction plan. It simply doesn’t exist. If you go to the Romney/Ryan “issues” page, you’ll see 29 links. One mentions “spending,” but there are no references to “deficit” or “debt.”

    If one looks hard enough, there is a “Romney Plan For Deficit Reduction” on the campaign’s website, but the entirety of the plan is literally just 208 words long. (For contrast, note that President Obama published a plan of his own over a year ago. It’s 80 pages.)

    Making matters worse, Romney’s ridiculously thin, 208-word plan actually includes provisions that would the deficit worse, not better, such as destroying the Affordable Care Act….

  98. says

    Vanity Fair article on mormonism and politics

    For not yielding to the wishes of the L.D.S. Church, in 1965, Mormon Congressman Kenneth W. Dyal said he received “abuse, threats, blackmail and vicious attacks on my integrity from corporations, church members and their leaders.”…

    In August 1956, L.D.S. president David O. McKay’s office diary noted, “Met Senator Wallace Bennett. I took him into the meeting of the First Presidency so that he might make his report also to my Counselors. He discussed general matters pertaining to political affairs of the country.” In December 1957, Senator Bennett wrote to those “Dear Brethren. . . . I would welcome an opportunity to cooperate with a person or persons who may be assigned by the First Presidency…”

    In 1975, after Republican Utah state legislator M. Byron Fisher sponsored a bill to ratify the proposed Equal Rights Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, the Church’s newspaper, the Deseret News, published a typically unsigned editorial, which opposed ratification. Within days, Fisher reversed himself and voted against the bill he had sponsored, explaining, “It is my church and as a bishop [of a local L.D.S. congregation], I’m not going to vote against its wishes.”

    In May 1981, U.S. senators Jake Garn and Orrin Hatch unexpectedly found themselves in the middle of a church-state conflict. The two Republicans had supported locating an MX-missile system in Utah, until the First Presidency announced its opposition to the proposal. Both quickly and compliantly changed sides, and Hatch later omitted this controversy from the discussion of “Missiles” in his memoirs.

    By contrast, L.D.S. Democrats in public office have often rejected the hierarchy’s efforts to persuade them to vote contrary to their political principles…. In June 1965, Senator Moss joined with four Democratic L.D.S. congressmen in publicly defying the voting instructions they had received from the First Presidency. At issue was the anti-union section of the Taft-Hartley Act, about which the First Presidency had written to each Mormon member of Congress, asking them to vote to sustain it….

    In 1978, the First Presidency sent a letter asking every L.D.S. member of Congress to vote against the proposal to deregulate the airline industry. [The Church owned stock in airlines.]

    In 2008, the L.D.S. Church’s Deseret News announced, “Before each general session [of the Utah Legislature], GOP and Democratic leaders in the House and Senate sit down separately with The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints Special Affairs Committee, a group made up of Church general authorities, Church public relations officials, and their lobbyists, to discuss any item on the minds of both legislators and Church leaders.” Organized at L.D.S. headquarters in 1974, the Special Affairs Committee has directed the L.D.S. Church’s overt and covert political activism throughout the nation ever since….

    Stirling’s [Don Stirling, a mormon and political consultant for Romney] e-mail to the C.E.O. of the Church-owned Deseret Book Company outlined a covert strategy (which Apostle Holland approved) of “coordinating” donations for Romney through Deseret Book and Brigham Young University’s Management Society of M.B.A. alumni, “while not creating undue heartburn” (i.e., media attention)….