Top Leaderboard, Site wide
August 2, 2014
Truthdig: Drilling Beneath the Headlines
Help us grow by sharing
and liking Truthdig:
Sign up for Truthdig's Email NewsletterLike Truthdig on FacebookFollow Truthdig on TwitterSubscribe to Truthdig's RSS Feed

Newsletter

sign up to get updates


Give Kerry a Break




My Age of Anxiety


Truthdig Bazaar
Backroom Politics

Backroom Politics

By Bill and Nancy Boyarsky
$101.88

more items

 
Report

Fundamentalism Kills

Email this item Email    Print this item Print    Share this item... Share

Posted on Jul 26, 2011
AP / Frank Augstein

People embrace and mourn at the massive flower field laid in memory of victims of Friday’s twin attacks in Norway.

By Chris Hedges

The gravest threat we face from terrorism, as the killings in Norway by Anders Behring Breivik underscore, comes not from the Islamic world but the radical Christian right and the secular fundamentalists who propagate the bigoted, hateful caricatures of observant Muslims and those defined as our internal enemies. The caricature and fear are spread as diligently by the Christian right as they are by atheists such as Sam Harris and Christopher Hitchens. Our religious and secular fundamentalists all peddle the same racist filth and intolerance that infected Breivik. This filth has poisoned and degraded our civil discourse. The looming economic and environmental collapse will provide sparks and tinder to transform this coarse language of fundamentalist hatred into, I fear, the murderous rampages experienced by Norway. I worry more about the Anders Breiviks than the Mohammed Attas.

We offered Sam Harris a chance to respond to this column and he has done so here.

The battle under way in America is not between religion and science. It is not between those who embrace the rational and those who believe in biblical myth. It is not between Western civilization and Islam. The blustering televangelists and the New Atheists, the television pundits and our vaunted Middle East specialists and experts, are all part of our vast, simplistic culture of mindless entertainment. They are in show business. They cannot afford complexity. Religion and science, facts and lies, truth and fiction, are the least of their concerns. They trade insults and clichés like cartoon characters. They don masks. One wears the mask of religion. One wears the mask of science. One wears the mask of journalism. One wears the mask of the terrorism expert. They jab back and forth in predictable sound bites. It is a sterile and useless debate between bizarre subsets of American culture. Some use the scientific theory of evolution to explain the behavior and rules for complex social and political systems, and others insist that the six-day creation story in Genesis is a factual account. The danger we face is not in the quarrel between religion advocates and evolution advocates, but in the widespread mental habit of fundamentalism itself.

We live in a fundamentalist culture. Our utopian visions of inevitable human progress, obsession with endless consumption, and fetish for power and unlimited growth are fed by illusions that are as dangerous as fantasies about the Second Coming. These beliefs are the newest expression of the infatuation with the apocalypse, one first articulated to Western culture by the early church. This apocalyptic vision was as central to the murderous beliefs of the French Jacobins, the Russian Bolsheviks and the German fascists as it was to the early Christians. The historian Arnold Toynbee argues that racism in Anglo-American culture was given a special virulence after the publication of the King James Bible. The concept of “the chosen people” was quickly adopted, he wrote, by British and American imperialists. It fed the disease of white supremacy. It gave them the moral sanction to dominate and destroy other races, from the Native Americans to those on the subcontinent.

Our secular and religious fundamentalists come out of this twisted yearning for the apocalypse and belief in the “chosen people.” They advocate, in the language of religion and scientific rationalism, the divine right of our domination, the clash of civilizations. They assure us that we are headed into the broad, uplifting world of universal democracy and a global free market once we sign on for the subjugation and extermination of those who oppose us. They insist—as the fascists and the communists did—that this call for a new world is based on reason, factual evidence and science or divine will. But schemes for universal human advancement, no matter what language is used to justify them, are always mythic. They are designed to satisfy a yearning for meaning and purpose. They give the proponents of these myths the status of soothsayers and prophets. And, when acted upon, they fill the Earth with mass graves, bombed cities, widespread misery and penal colonies. The extent of this fundamentalism is evident in the strident utterances of the Christian right as well as those of the so-called New Atheists. 

Advertisement

Square, Site wide
“What will we do if an Islamist regime, which grows dewy-eyed at the mere mention of paradise, ever acquires long-range nuclear weaponry?” Sam Harris, in his book “The End of Faith,” asks in a passage that I suspect Breivik would have enjoyed. “If history is any guide, we will not be sure about where the offending warheads are or what their state of readiness is, and so we will be unable to rely on targeted, conventional weapons to destroy them. In such a situation, the only thing likely to ensure our survival may be a nuclear first strike of our own. Needless to say, this would be an unthinkable crime—as it would kill tens of millions of innocent civilians in a single day—but it may be the only course of action available to us, given what Islamists believe.”


New and Improved Comments

If you have trouble leaving a comment, review this help page. Still having problems? Let us know. If you find yourself moderated, take a moment to review our comment policy.

OzarkMichael's avatar

By OzarkMichael, August 27, 2011 at 12:37 pm Link to this comment

For those who define Fundamentalism as a license to kill, I want to explain something to you:

The Arizona killer, Jared Loughner, hated Fox news.

Which one of you hasnt used over-the-top vitriol as you whined about Fox? Such colorful language you employed.

Dont you wonder if the killer read some of your complaints about Fox News and nodded his head vigorously before he went out and bought his gun?

Report this
JDmysticDJ's avatar

By JDmysticDJ, August 27, 2011 at 11:14 am Link to this comment

#2

Hedges’ inclusion of the “So clled ‘New Athiests’” here and identifying people he believes are representative of the “So called ‘New Atheists,’” in his condemnation of fundamentalism has caused much spirited debate here and that debate has included angry and vitriolic comments. It appears to me that an impasse has been recognized by most here, and that most here are now endeavoring to find some common ground, with one exception. One here holds to the steadfast opinion that fundamentalism is in no way responsible for any killing, and if fundamentalism were to be responsible for killing in some way, it would be others fundamentalism that would be responsible for killing, not the fundamentalism he ascribes to or defends. For example, this individual has written, “Truthdig Kills,”“Atheism Kills,”“The Left Kills,” while tautologically denying that his preferred brand of fundamentalism in no way has any responsibility for killing.

Concerning truthdig, I suppose that it’s not beyond the realm of possibility that some fanatical fundamentalist from one end or the other of the political spectrum had become so incensed by reading articles or comments here at truthdig that that fanatical fundamentalist went out and killed one or more of his or her fellow human beings, or maybe a dog or cat or some other creature, but I have not seen any evidence to indicate that such a thing has occurred. Did Gerald Loughner read truthdig which led to his already deranged mind concluding that killing a middle of the road politician and her associates would be the thing to do. That is a possibility that I find very, very, remote, but maybe that’s just me, perhaps I lack the superior powers of deduction that one here has.

In truthdig’s defense, I’ll state that truthdig has a stated no tolerance policy for advocacies of killing on the part of those who comment here and I have seen no articles here at truthdig that advocate killing per se. That being said, I have seen articles here at truthdig that advocated rebellion and civil disobedience, and an article here that offered a defense of rationales for the institutional killing and/or torture of those perceived to be worthy of such because of their dangerous beliefs. However, this is my perspective regarding the “nuanced” article in defense of killing and torture, and my perspective in this instance has resulted in much acrimony and insult, but so far, no one has killed me.

(More)

Report this
JDmysticDJ's avatar

By JDmysticDJ, August 27, 2011 at 11:06 am Link to this comment

#3

Could it be that the nuanced thinking of the one who accuses “Truthdig” “Atheists” and “Leftists” of being responsible for killing is suggesting that “Truthdig,” “Atheists” and “Leftists” are equally as responsible for killing as the Fundamentalists who actually offer justifications for killing? It should be pointed out that “truthdig” comments and articles are almost 100% in opposition to killing, though some here have suggested that institutionalized killing of very specific perceived enemies is a virtuous defense of our principles, ideals, and a preservation of our safety, but as far as I know, no one has advocated the killing of their opponents or of like minded people in this debate because of their beliefs.

Subjects under discussion here have advocated killing people because of their beliefs, for example Breivik who actually killed people because he disagreed with their political beliefs and because of his desire to maintain a Christian culture in Europe and in his home country (Homeland.) It’s clear that there are counterparts to Breivik in Muslim lands, and that a lack of concern for the welfare of innocents, noncombatants etc. is evident on both sides of the conflict in question. There is, to some, a distinction to be made between intentional killing and “Unintentional killing” but what constitutes intentional killing is also subject for debate, and beyond the scope of the intention of my comment here.

The intent of my comment here is to point out that one person who posts here tautologically offering blanket and unfounded criticisms of a diverse group of people, using phantom evidence and simple minded logic unfathomable to more rational people is guilty of an all too frequent moronic and fundamentalist thinking, this person in my opinion has gone [B]zerk from trying to defend the indefensible.

Report this
Arabian Sinbad's avatar

By Arabian Sinbad, August 27, 2011 at 9:25 am Link to this comment

The question of the hour is:

“Hurricanes kill and destroy;” so can any self-righteous fundamentalist prevent or stop a hurricane or even explain why hurricanes, nasty as they are, have to be part of the laws of nature?!

But instead on dwelling on a phenomena that even science can’t change or prevent, I’d rather challenge all self-righteous posters on Truthdig to reflect on the Seven Deadly Social Sins that contribute to deadly fundamentalism. These are the following according to the humanist per excellence Gandhi:

1. Politics without Principle;
2. Wealth without Work;
3. Commerce without Morality;
4. Pleasure without Conscience;
5. Education without Character;
6. Science without Humanity;
7. Worship without Sacrifice.

I post as a reminder for Universal Truths because “Silence is Complicity!”

Report this
Night-Gaunt's avatar

By Night-Gaunt, August 27, 2011 at 8:28 am Link to this comment

Well Ozark Michael you never fail to meet expectation. You claim to have answered the question “fundamentalism kills” by asking me a question based upon you finding a “double standard” in my ranking of killers. I would tell you that there isn’t one. Not that it would affect your view of me or what I have said. Now I am not going to wade through your other comments over 3 years to see if you addressed directly if fundamentalism (in general) kills. Seems to me you refuse to answer so it behooves me to conclude that for you it depends on what particular type of fundamentalist point of view it is. You claim I soft peddle those identified as “Leftist” which I would tell you is false. However would you like to spend endless hours looking through my comments? I wouldn’t either. So fess up or not it is up to you. This is a different forum and for me the first time the topic was addressed unlike you who has experienced it numerous times. So unless you set up footnotes answer the question but I say you won’t ever. You are such a fundamentalist in Christian view and don’t want to be soiled by those that carry it that much farther. You are a Fundamentalist Christian that keeps it strictly to yourself. (I wish they all did, we’d all be better off.)

I have stated directly that fundamentalism of any kind is dangerous and gives license to those who wish to enslave, torture and kill to gain their ends. Christian, Muslim, Jew, Hindu, Atheist it doesn’t matter. Of any political persuasion but what they have in common is a preternatural certainty in their views and that all others are wrong and are less than they are. I consider you to be equal to me as far as personhood goes. Now tell me that is a double standard my haughty friend? I know you wanna.

Report this

By elisalouisa, August 27, 2011 at 6:45 am Link to this comment

Loughner and Breivik’s fundamental meeting point was that they were anti-immigration. The anti-immigration stance in Arizona is well known. Michael may have a point as to the hyperbole in the news but not by Truthdig but by msm in Arizona continually and fervently having the immigration issue on the news put in a negative manner. If events had been allowed to take a normal course we might be seeing a different Loughner. One that could speak coherently about his so called reasoning as to why he committed this despicable act.  Instead, one gets the impression of a mad man. He has been excessively drugged, muzzled, his head is shaven and photo taken when there is a maniac look about him. There were photos of him immediately following the crime where he looked human. Perhaps there was concern that he might be made a hero and others would emulate him.

Report this
Shenonymous's avatar

By Shenonymous, August 26, 2011 at 7:57 pm Link to this comment

Some comments sounds a tad anti-Semitic.  The link was
provided only to say she was not dead! 

Just to set the record more straight:  Giffords is seen as a
moderate, a former Republican who switched parties and
called herself a Blue Dog Democrat, that shrinking group
of centrist to conservative Democrats who’ve been losing
elections as both major parties move to the extremes.

But she won a tough reelection battle, last year with her
support of health care reform. Because of that stance, let’s
not forget that Sarah Palin had put images of gun sights on
a target map to identify 20 House Democrats, Palin wanted
defeated in November 2010 and that Giffords’ picture was
among them.  Now isn’t that interesting?  M’thinks Palin
ought to turn the gun sight on herself! Even though by a
narrow victory that month, Giffords won over a Tea Party-
backed Republican.  Win by an inch win by a mile!

Her blue dog politics are firmly centrist from far leftist
progressives especially on issues of guns and border
security, although she did oppose Arizona’s outrageous
immigration law S.B. 1070.  But distinct from many of her
blue dog congressional colleagues, she made the politically
precarious decision to vote with her party on highly charged
issues like healthcare, cap and trade and the stimulus bill. 
Still, in a terrible year for Democrats, she managed somehow
to win a tight election.

As for Gifford’s attacker:  It has to be said that politics is a
nasty business especially when images of politicians are put in
gun sights.  Even so, Jared Lee Loughner’s maniac ideas
apparently did not fit in with any one group or particular
political thought.  Hardly a leftist, he was not exactly a rightist
either.  He did “surf” the web and while he may have visited
Leftist websites, it seems there was more of a link between
Loughner and American Renaissance, the magazine of an anti-
immigration group ”that promotes views that are anti-
government, anti-immigration, anti-ZOG [Zionist Occupational
Government], anti-Semitic, devoted to what the the Anti-
Defamation League calls “intellectualized white supremacy.” 
(Christian Science Monitor, Patrik Jonsson, Jan. 9, 2011).
Hardly leftist in demeanor.  So far no clear connection has
been established between Loughner and current politics of any
particular party.  Those who know him, and the criminologists
that have been studying the case describe him as having a
twisted worldview that appears largely incoherent – ranging
from “a fascination with dreams to an apparent penchant for
nihilism.”  It is capricious to call him a leftist by implication
that he may have visited leftist websites.  Seems to me Jesse
Jackson had the far better view, ““There is no evidence that
Jared Loughner ... was a member of a right-wing hate group,”
Mr. Jackson writes. “He was clearly a young man whose mind
was unraveling. But it is exactly the mentally unstable who are
most likely to be influenced by an atmosphere filled with hate
and murderous rhetoric.”

We don’t know if any kind of fundamentalism, which develops
from an organization’s ideological original beliefs, could have
motivated Loughner.  He was not involved in any group, he
acted on his own.  It doesn’t look as though Giffords being a
Jewess had anything to do with Loughner’s attack.

Report this
OzarkMichael's avatar

By OzarkMichael, August 26, 2011 at 6:51 pm Link to this comment

Ah, please forgive an error. several people were killed in that tragedy in Arizona , so the sadness over the deaths bled out in my sentence about Giffords. i have followed her progress and knew she was alive, i also knew she came to that vote.

But while writing of the tragedy it all bled together and it all became one terrible thing and I felt as if she was dead. i appreciate the correction, its some good news I am happy to be reminded of.

Night-Gaunt said: “So I ask again, does Fundamentalism (of any kind) lead to killing?”

Two things. First, I have spent time answering that question, and similar questions. And variations on the question. And related questions. Dont you remember? If you forgot I direct you to a plentiful bounty of evidence, and it is 3 years of posts here on Truthdig from 2007 to 2010, where I listened to the questions and answered them, sometimes creatively, sometimes in a very friendly manner, sometimes with too much bravado, but always honestly. Night Gaunt, you were here for some of that. So do not make an issue of me not answering your 100th question, just go back and look up the first 99 answers i gave you.

Look it up if you really want to know. But if your objective is to perpetuate the accusations, i cant help you with that by answering the question. in fact, if i answer the question it only ensures the question in its perpetuity.

Second issue for you Night Gaunt: I did not mean to say that anyone really should be blamed for what Lochner did. I am saying that your own logic with Breivik ought to be applied to Lochner. If you can find a way to blame the deaths in Norway on American Christian Fundamentalism, you can use the same method to blame the deaths in Arizona on the American Left.

You, NightGaunt are the one who decides how the game will be played. It is not my decision at all. You are the one who insists on applying guilt-by-long-distance-association from the dead bodies in Norway to Christian Fundamentalists. And lets be honest about it, it isnt Norwegian Christian Fundamentalists on whose doorstep you want to dump the dead bodies!

I notice that from the dead bodies in Arizona it is a much shorter distance, logically a much tighter guilt-by-association to your own doorstep.

If you wont connect the obvious dots between Lochner and yourself in that Arizona shooting, then i say confidently that you have a double standard. Upon me you are very strict, but upon yourself you are most lenient.
 
It understandable that you might feel justified to use a double standard because you recall that in times past i used to be so pleasant and cheerful about your double standard, so now it might seem inexplicable that i am so different, so difficult, so unpleasant. You have me there. It is all true. It is my fault and I take responsibility for that.

So now let me make up for my shortcomings, let me do this the right way, let me answer your question about whether “Fundamentalism Kills” in a way that you will understand and learn from. Ready? Here we go:

Did you know that the Arizona killer surfed the web, especially Leftist websites?

Report this

By truedigger3, August 26, 2011 at 5:27 pm Link to this comment

Re: By Shenonymous, August 26 at 12:28 pm

Shenonymous,

Just to set the record straight!.
To the best of my knowledge, there is no issue of fundamnetalism in Rep. Gabrielle Giffords shooting.
Representative Garbrielle Giffords was a “blue dog” Democrat who voted almost consistently with the Republican bloc. She was a big enthusiast and supporter of the wars and the continuous increases in the defense budget. She was a big supporter of “fiscal responsibility” but only if it was on the back of the middle class and the poor!. She was a practicing Jew and NOT a secular Jew.
The shooter was also a Jew and I don’t know whether he was a secular or practicing Jew. Very little information were written about his background except to say only that he has “mental problems”!
Of course I agree, Fundamentalism kills, but NOT in this case. I don’t think fundamentalism has anything to do with it and there is a lot still to be known.

Report this
Night-Gaunt's avatar

By Night-Gaunt, August 26, 2011 at 12:19 pm Link to this comment

By your own logic and your own accusation you stand condemned and the headline should read:

“Truthdig Kills”
“Atheism Kills”
“The Left Kills”

You, dear reader, ought to spend some time examining yourself. In fact our correspondence in future isnt going anywhere until you do so. Ozark Michael

I would say the same for you. Adamant in your steadfast means of superciliously circumventing the direct approach. You won’t move, but you won’t define your terms either. What is Fundamentalism to you? I use the standard definition.

So I ask again, does Fundamentalism (of any kind) lead to killing? So far you say no in every way but using that one word. Which is why you don’t. It would be too easy to catch you in error with no way out. Smart in the way crafty is smart but not truthful, just political. Some would say slick which is a nicer word for slimy.

How can Truthdig kill? Ever heard of false logical argument? You have but you are just being silly. (Funny thing the original meaning of “silly” was religious in content.)

Fundamentalism concerning an idea of how things should run, how people should act, with a penalty up to and including death is dangerous. I would think you being a reasonable person would agree. But I can’t tell because you won’t acknowledge it. The longer to refrain the more likely I will conclude the opposite. And I can tell the difference between a fundamentalist Christian or Muslim or Atheist. For them, you can find them all over our history on every continent but Antarctica, are there for all to see and the depredations they did. For them no law moral or civil can stop them. Hitler, Stalin, Mao, Genghis Quan et.c. religious or secular showed the same views of humans. Their lives meant nothing to them next to their dreams of control.

Brevik shows that the secular pull of his society confuses him. He still wanted to be a Crusader, said he was 100% Christian. But does that sway you? Now you know how Muslims and Atheists feel when one person is singled out to represent a group—-and in a bad way.

However Christians have their bad eggs too. The Dominionists here want a theonomy, or one ruled by the Bible and those who operate it. But then that is closer to being Biblical anyway since Democracy isn’t preached in the Bible. Just dictatorship. However our Founders for all their faults wanted one where it was secular. They saw in Europe how the Catholic church and Anglican in Briton, interfered with the People. Most of us don’t want it here either. Do you?

Report this
OzarkMichael's avatar

By OzarkMichael, August 26, 2011 at 11:25 am Link to this comment

If Christian Fundamentalists are responsible for what Breivik did, then Truthdig Leftists are responsible for what Jared Lochner did to the people in Arizona a few months ago.

For if you accept that guilt can be extended by a tenuous ideological association, you must consider this:

If you complained about George Bush, then you are responsible for the death of Congresswoman Giffords. The shooter’s main source of rage was George Bush and you helped fuel that.

If you question the standard explanation of the events of 9/11, then you are responsible for the death of Congresswoman Giffords. The shooter was convinced it was a conspiracy and something needed to be done.

If you ever wrote about how government is owned by corporations, you are responsible for the death of Congresswoman Giffords. The shooter was frustrated that money did everything and he was powerless. The system was unfair. (oh, Truthdigger! how often that complaint echoes from your lips!) The shooter transferred all your rage to his innocent local congressional representative and some innocent bystanders.

You who read this, dear reader, have contributed to at least one of those motivations of the Arizona shooter. No exceptions. Every last one of you.

And your little jokes about how angry you are, or what needs to be done… maybe the shooter read that here on Truthdig. I want to know, dear reader and be honest: such a thought never occured to you, isnt that right?

By your own logic and your own accusation you stand condemned and the headline should read:

“Truthdig Kills”
“Atheism Kills”
“The Left Kills”

You, dear reader, ought to spend some time examining yourself. In fact our correspondence in future isnt going anywhere until you do so.

Report this
Leefeller's avatar

By Leefeller, August 26, 2011 at 10:36 am Link to this comment

JD, a nice fresh bit of air! For once you disparagingly hit the nail on the head, towards someone who evidently screamingly deserves it.  Of course I may be bias in in agreement with your points here, but one main difference compared to many, I know and admit my bias!

The classic victim syndrome from the right has become long of tooth! Could it possibility be that someone who happens to be one or all of the following, a self righteous ass hole, a bigot, a sexist or even a fundamentalist, would never see themselves in the real light? 

Apparently whining is not a monopoly in this world, it comes from all sides, though I find the right seems more apt at it!

Report this
JDmysticDJ's avatar

By JDmysticDJ, August 26, 2011 at 9:39 am Link to this comment

O[B]Zerk Michael

Night-Gaunt nailed it in respect to Breivik, the information he provided comes from Breivik’s own words, and his actions clearly demonstrate who he was and what he believed.

You are attempting to deny reality, and I find it very difficult to believe that you are so stupid that facts have no relevance to your thinking. I can only believe that you are denying reality because that reality is inconvenient. I’m sorry, but I must say that you are either incredibly stupid or glaringly, intellectually dishonest.

The truth sometimes hurts, intellectually honest people from the Left, and yes there are many, are hurt by the reality of Obama’s actions, but they do not deny the reality of those actions, quite the contrary.

The Right stubbornly adheres to failed right-wing policies, the evidence of those failures is painfully obvious, and the pain is felt by ordinary Americans. I’m no admirer of Alan Greenspan, but I admired his intellectual honesty when he said our economic theories were “Fundamentally flawed.” He had no choice but to make that admission; the facts were painfully obvious. And yet, the blind followers of right-wing ideology cry about the need for jobs, while they advance policies that eliminate jobs, and obstruct legislation that will create jobs. Our deficit! Our deficit! They scream, while they obstruct legislation that will reduce the deficit.

How can you defend an economic system where just 400 Americans have more combined wealth than the combined wealth of 150 million Americans? The annual combined incomes of those who accumulate more than a million dollars yearly amounts to 39 trillion dollars, an amount that dwarfs our deficit, and is triple the size of our total debt, and yet, right-wing ideologues were willing to send our government into an economy crushing default, rather than approve a modest increase in the taxes for the richest Americans.

All this lunacy and denial of realities is I believe the result of an irrational fear and hatred of the Left, and you are the perfect example that validates that belief.

Fundamentalism kills, it kills: people, economies, rational thought, aspirations we have for a better future, and Fundamentalism kills hope for eliminating tragic policies, foreign and domestic.

Report this

By elisalouisa, August 26, 2011 at 8:42 am Link to this comment

Michael, I am saddened by your post. My personal view is that Breivik saw the culture of his country deteriorating. Fundamental Christians have the same viewpoint as do teabaggers. This coupled with the violence and propaganda thrust at him via the entertainment and news media resulted in demons within convincing this otherwise law abiding man that the heinous act he committed was not only justifiable but necessary for the survival of his way of life. The evil within persuaded him of that. I cannot help but be curious if Jared Lee Loughner thought along the same lines, resulting in the mass murders in Arizona. The official statement as to his mental capacity just doesn’t hold water. FBI may have reinvented who he was, not wanting to give him a platform to speak.

Report this
Leefeller's avatar

By Leefeller, August 26, 2011 at 7:11 am Link to this comment

My time in the service, I found Texans very like JD describes thick and not very bright, though I learned more than once Texas is the largest state in the union because Alaska was not really a state.  For some reason I preferred and hung around the company of New York folks for their sense wit and dry humor, probably why I liked George Carlen? RIP; Rest In Politics.

Perry seems the dancing with the star opportunist in a cast of opportunists, the Republican ticket is a clear example of how bad thing have become.

Damn… it seems we will once more get to vote for the best of the worst, which corporatist seems to fit your fancy?

Perry seems to be the perfect icon to move everything even further to the right, unless the Democrats grow a few and Obama metamorphosis into a president for the people instead of a lackey for big money and Wall Street?  As I stated many times before, the people will always get it in the end!

Report this
OzarkMichael's avatar

By OzarkMichael, August 26, 2011 at 7:05 am Link to this comment

[qoute]Seems to me he has been sorely affected by secular culture but he is fighting it. With his mind and with a bomb and Mini-14. What say you to that Ozark Michael? So for you Fundamentalism doesn’t kill? That is the undercurrent I get from you whenever your write to defend it.

Anders Breivik was portrayed in the media as a Christian Fundamentalist, even though he never claimed to be one. It is doubtful that an interrogation of the man led police to announce that he was a Christian Fundamentalist, so i wonder what purpose they had for the lie? And what was the media’s motive to expand on that lie?

We will never get rid of that lie. It is established as a fact in people’s minds. Read JDMYsticDJ’s post about it, and see what i mean.

I do not think we should use a crazy person’s action to attempt to blame other people. Attempting to silence a group of people, or use them as a scapegoat, creates an existential threat. But this is Truthdig and that is the game here, which is tacitly approved of even by the most moderate. In fact, this Truthdig environment, which is rather extreme, allows some people who are only somewhat extreme, to look and sound moderate by comparison. It grants them that felling of wise moderation that a racist might feel at a KKK meeting: “Well, i am moderate, i would never go as far as some of the really bad guys.”

Against such moderation I must protest. Breivik is a secularist. He saw people like me as a threat, and he saw Muslim Fundamentalists as a threat. He is a moderate of sorts. Just read John Best’s joke about killing people, all you have to do is be a little more crazy than John Best to actually carry the damn thing out.

Religion is incidental, it is historically identified with Brieviks culture, but secularism is the cornerstone of his action.

Breivik is not a Christian Fundamentalist, and yet here we are. Just look at the article title and the picture and your emotions confirm that “Fundamentalism Kills”. This feeds the prejudice that you have.

Frankly, all the hullaboo about Sam Harris shows where the Truthdig mindset is at. It is very important to atheists to be precise about an atheist accused of “Killing”, to give that one man a fair hearing, thus a great deal of verbiage generated over it. And Sam gets to defend himself in a counter article.

The millions of Fundamentalist Christians accused of “Killing”... and they are slandered here far more often than Sam Harris…  do they get an article to answer the charge? Well, no. They deserve it apparently. Even the moderates think so.

If the future of the world is more atheism, a future where the Truthdig outlook and philosophy is more widespread, I do not look for a golden age. Taken as a whole, the Truthdig population(including the moderate Leftists who are moderate only compared to the nutcase Leftists) leaves little hope for the future. No. The world is in for its worst days.

Report this
John Best asks,

By John Best asks, "What IS Progress"?, August 26, 2011 at 4:45 am Link to this comment

JD, You Silly.
Referencing the world population clock immediately after the note of 7 billion gods makes it clear (doesn’t it?) that we each create our own god.  In my view there is one for each person.  The number of gods is on the rise. 

OM, you ask, “What i want to know is why is there a need to lie about Christian fundamentalism?”  - Specifically what lies have been told? 

On the recent political speculation…...Bachman is running for VP.  She can flit about DC pushing her agenda relatively un-noticed from there.  Dick Cheney on a different mission.

Report this
JDmysticDJ's avatar

By JDmysticDJ, August 25, 2011 at 10:04 pm Link to this comment

Shenonymous

I haven’t read the transcript yet, but I’m about to. I have known for quite some time that Perry would be the worst of candidates, but I didn’t think that he would become the front runner. My impression of Bachman is that she is stupid, but that she really believes the nonsense she spouts. Palin, to me, is both mean spirited and looney, but Perry, I believe, is a total phony and a very dangerous one. I believe that Perry is a front man for Texas Oil interests and the old boy network of ultra right-wingers that have infected Texas for over half a century. I lived and worked in Texas for a year in 1970, and from my experience the people in Texas are a different breed, poorly educated, bigoted, and very “patriotic,” about Texas, they are Texas–centric by my appraisal and clearly Fundamentalist in their thinking.  I believe that Perry knows how to appeal to their prejudices and plays them like a maestro, but I never thought he would have such a large appeal across the country. It’s sad, but his popularity says a lot about the people of our country and, to me, what it says is very frightening.

Report this
Shenonymous's avatar

By Shenonymous, August 25, 2011 at 5:40 pm Link to this comment

Not at all.  I went to the online article recommended by
ardee and listened to the interview, then read the transcript. 
It is a scary thing.  Rachel Tabachnick has researched this
movement and writes for Talk to Action.  RIck Perry is just
too friendly with this bunch.  The topic seems to fit this
forum to a tee.

Report this
JDmysticDJ's avatar

By JDmysticDJ, August 25, 2011 at 5:12 pm Link to this comment

Shenonymous

Just one question, then, depending on your answer, I’ll be able to give it rest for a while. Are you trying to portray me as being a Fundamentalist Christian because of my most recent post?

Report this
Shenonymous's avatar

By Shenonymous, August 25, 2011 at 3:55 pm Link to this comment

Fundamentalism Kills when Christians as Apostolic
Reformation Dominionists think they must take control
of the various institutions of government. Their reasoning
and every bit of their energy is focused on casting out
demons and save the world.  Do you think you have
found yourself in one of those horror films?  No, this is
worse, this is real life.  Dominionist evangelicals think
we are, well most of us, filled with demons.  Some have
been saved already.  Think TeaPartier Sarah Palin who
had demons cast out! But Democrats are nothing but
harborers of demons!  Cannot be saved.  But Jews can be. 
Must be for Christ to return.  Thanks to ardee, the notice
of NPR Terry Gross Fresh Air, yesterday’s program, Aug. 24,
is incredibly revealing. “The Evangelicals Engaged In Spiritual
Warfare.”  I found the web address for you all.  You ought not
to miss it.  Scary is too mild an adjective.
http://www.npr.org/templates/transcript/transcript.php?storyId=139781021 

This ascending religiopolitical movement believes they are
warriors getting the world ready for the second coming of
Christ (which one could stretch the imagination where Rick
Perry thinks he is He!) incognito.  His plan to restructure the
entire United States is spoken every time he opens his mouth. 
He scares the hell out of normal Republicans, yes there have
been some Republicans who used to care about the people and
this country. 

All Christians regardless of denomination or sect need to pay
heed to what is going on.  An organized effort to unify all those
who call themselves Christians whether Catholic, Presbyterian,
Methodist, Seven-Day Adventists, Mormon, Mormon?  Way….ellll
maybe not Mormons.  But all Baptists, you know, all, except maybe
the Black Baptists, since racism runs rampant among Dominionists. 
More on that in a later post.

The stated and published intention of the Domnionists employ
various approaches, exorcism is one most likely learned from
the Catholics, but their main intention is to cast out demons. 
The belief is that through demon warfare on whole communities
that a spiritual warfare is the only way to clean up society from
all the devils that are creating all the horror in the world and to
prepare for the rule of a corporeal Christ.  This Religious Right
which is separate from other legitimate Christian denominations
is a radical movement that wants to align government with their
idea of what is the kingdom of god and believe that God lost control
to satan when satan tempted Adam and Eve in the Garden. Now don’t
you think it seems strange that an all powerful god could have such a
problem?  Don’t you think if a god is all powerful, omnipotent, then a
slimy little satan would be no problem?  Smite the Devil with just a
Godly Look!  So must we not wonder about that power, and if we can
wonder about it, then could it be unreal?  Untrue?

The Perry connection with the Apostolic Reformation is about as close
as the Prayer event he recently had in Texas and the one he is about
to perform in North Carolina.  He is not someone Americans want as
President! 

Oh there is more, lots more, and more is to come. Like when it is all
right for Domnionists to kill.  But right now, it is dinnahtime and my family
has orders not to call me LateforDinner.

Report this
Night-Gaunt's avatar

By Night-Gaunt, August 25, 2011 at 1:58 pm Link to this comment

Some schools of thought think that too JDMDJ. From my own observations over the years I suspected that many but not all would become a dictator if they had the chance. Between the ego demanding to be fed more and the lust for money and power it is hard for a person should they ever get it to resist going too far. Also it must be said that the present corporate mentality and situation is ideal for psychopaths. They like the uncertainty and the power for they like it exciting and interesting. So of course they would promote it as the best way to live. Fundamentalism is there too just in more economic and secular garb. But still as dangerous.

Report this
JDmysticDJ's avatar

By JDmysticDJ, August 25, 2011 at 1:42 pm Link to this comment

Night-Gaunt

Thanks for the direction; you get my vote for thruthdigger of the week. It’s unfortunate that this thread is so sparsely populated now.

An ugly thought is that we all might have demons buried deep in our psyches. I’ll suggest that all of us here have provided a glimpse of the demons within us on this thread at one time or another. We should be eternally grateful that we have rational thought and philosophies of virtue to keep the demons we might have from escaping from their dungeons buried deep within our Psyches.

Report this
Leefeller's avatar

By Leefeller, August 25, 2011 at 1:13 pm Link to this comment

Conspiring to twist the facts, I maintain the ideal tea baggers are fascists, (a small group controlling the many by force) I suppose after all this time since I did not say someone by name was a Fascists, I just stated the Tea Bags were,... he took it upon himself to cry foul and that this was meant to say he was a fascist too. Now that I think on it, though in after thought the two words ‘ass’ and ‘hole’ come to mind! No not you JD!

So the same premise is used to apply stereotypes to all people of differences, usually for the fricking convenience and bias of it so all of everything are (fill in the blank)......!

Any fool can make shit up, just seems some people are very skilled at it!

As for fundamentalists, without any digging I would conclude fundamentalism can kill just like guns can kill. Though for now, I find fundamentalism very like orthodoxy and fanaticism, they seem synonymous in my book. All three require blinders, myopic vision and a perverted self righteousness! Hell! ...I may have just described Gov Rick Perry?

Report this
Night-Gaunt's avatar

By Night-Gaunt, August 25, 2011 at 12:44 pm Link to this comment

There actually are different conceptions
of god.  For instance there is the Brahman idea that all deities are actually incomplete bodiless phenomena of a God(head),then there is the notion that a deity(ies) is/are independent and self-sufficient beings self-generated or brought into being by a creator deity but they are always seen as part of a grouping (in Christiainity it is a triad, in Hinduism, ancient Greek Olympians, Romans, etc., a pantheon, or an ennead or a corps of nine deities as in Egyptian mythology, etc.).
Shenonymous

As I understand it in the Hindu pantheon there are 33 million godlings, then 3 primary gods then a single over arching god that is timeless and forever. Not a quibble just a clarification here. It doesn’t take away from what you are saying.

In 2009, he wrote “Today’s Protestant church is a joke. Priests in jeans who march for Palestine and churches that look like minimalist shopping centres. I am a supporter of an indirect collective conversion of the Protestant church back to the Catholic.”[120] On his Facebook profile, Breivik described himself as a Christian,[20] though he is critical of the Catholic and Protestant churches, objecting to their “current suicidal path”. Before the attacks, he stated an intention to attend Frogner Church in a final “Martyr’s mass”.[121]

The manifesto states its author is “100 percent Christian”,[6] but he is not “excessively religious”[6] and considers himself a “cultural Christian” and a “modern-day crusader”.[5][6] His manifesto states “I’m not going to pretend I’m a very religious person, as that would be a lie”, calls religion a crutch and a source for drawing mental strength, and says “I’ve always been very pragmatic and influenced by my secular surroundings and environment”; regarding the term “cultural Christian” which he says means preserving European culture, he notes “It is enough that you are a Christian-agnostic or a Christian-atheist (an atheist who wants to preserve at least the basics of the European Christian cultural legacy…)”[111][5] Furthermore, Breivik stated that “myself and many more like me do not necessarily have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ and God.”[5][122] Nevertheless, he stated that he planned to pray to God seeking for his help during his attacks.[123] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anders_Behring_Breivik

Seems to me he has been sorely affected by secular culture but he is fighting it. With his mind and with a bomb and Mini-14. What say you to that Ozark Michael? So for you Fundamentalism doesn’t kill? That is the undercurrent I get from you whenever your write to defend it.

Report this
JDmysticDJ's avatar

By JDmysticDJ, August 25, 2011 at 11:56 am Link to this comment

John Best

“I retain a sense of humor, though it may be unconventional.”

Let me suggest that you not give up your day job, jokes about killing the vanquished, men women and children, and cutting out preachers tongues, I’m quite sure, would bomb at any venue for humor, even at the most unconventional of venues. I’m sure that there are venues where sick and depraved humor are appreciated (Your average sitcom for example,) but it’s all in the delivery. Your delivery is bland, abstract, and just plain spooky. Don’t be offended, I get it now, but I’m still not amused.

“Oh, and you were thinking you’d made some progress with OM?  ha ha ha ha ha.”

More humor from you; you crack yourself up; and I thought I was making myself appear foolish?! Compared to you I’m a paragon of decorum, if I do say so myself.

How many Gods? Do they have names? Is there a hierarchy of your Gods? Or are you being funny again. Ha ha ha ha ha! heh, heh, heh,heh, heh! ( Sorry, I have never been good at forced laughter.)

Shenonymous

Alowe me to abandon my poor attempt at false levity, and get mortally serious for a moment.

You write:

“Then there is the perennial case of metaphysics (as all religions are cases of metaphysics) vs hard reality.  The crucial difference between metaphysics and science is the non-testability of speculative (metaphysical) statements.  Whereas the empirico-formal propositions of science (statements of fact combining the fundamental discoveries of whatever is the
current scientific paradigm) are based on testable and challengeable processes. The calculative speculations of metaphysics are only based on argumentation.”

My point was ,and has been, that a rational contemplation of the metaphysical reveals that the metaphysical is metaphysical, and that there can be no rational argument about the metaphysical; no argument and no understanding. Mysticism on the other hand, accepts the existence of a metaphysical. To the extent that I am a mystic, I make no attempt to define the metaphysical, my only assertion is that the existence of something metaphysical can not be known, one way or the other, because it is a concept involving metaphysics, the unknowable can not be rationally argued about because it is unknowable.

Please, let us not delve into Donald Rumsfeldisms once again. I’m searching my memory bank in a vain effort to recall your definitive identification of the Greek philosophers expounding on the knowns and the unknowns and what such has been identified as by the Greek philosophers, was it agoriasas rhetoric? Please let us not go there once again, any discussion of such would reveal the fifth, or is it the sixth humor,  that discussion would be ridiculously humorous to behold. Where is theway when we need him, I think I’ll see if I can find him on his way to the i80 degree point where he will begin making his way back this way, there’s no way I can weight for him to make his way back thisaway, I need some direction now, right now! I’ll accept direction from anyone now, accept from Harris, he’ll send me off on a murderous quest.

(Incidentally, the fifth humor conjured up by… was it Aristotle? Was a way of dealing with the metaphysical if I’m not mistaken; I’m sure you’ll correct me if I’m wrong, but I’m not interested, the only thing of importance to me here is Harris’ sociopathic proposals, and Hedges astute and profound description of what constitutes Fundamentalism in all its manifestations, and the dangers associated with Fundamentalism in all its manifestations.)

(I’m also not interested in the seven elements, or how the teachings of the Greek philosophers were translated into Arabic, and back into Latin, and revived by the Renaissance fops over a thousand years later, too much to think about, lets stick to the issue at hand.)

Report this
Shenonymous's avatar

By Shenonymous, August 25, 2011 at 11:38 am Link to this comment

As for She, who proposes to live by science, who several
times in past castigated me by bringing up the name ‘Timothy
McVeigh’, She needs to learn at least and at last that McVeigh
was an atheist who wrote, “Science is my religion.” She needs
to understand that science is and will become more and more
the last refuge of scoundrels. She needs to learn that science
is not a pure and safe thing, it has been used ‘used’, and in
future will be used, probably as the weapon of choice for
those wishing to subjugate others.
This is a bald-faced
prevarication.  I have rarely talked about McVeigh and have
never castigated OzarkMichael for anything except once abuot
Saul Alinsky when OM provoked me.  You should search
yourself for truth OM then try to express it truthfully.

Report this
Shenonymous's avatar

By Shenonymous, August 25, 2011 at 11:33 am Link to this comment

Hello Owen, I take your comments seriously.  I agree
that religion is used as a vehicle to further political
driving forces.  Prostituted could be a more descriptive
word.  However, it is in the very nature of religion, in its
occult appeal to the many unsophisticated susceptible,
submissive and shortsighted engendered believers that
the political power players can get traction.  The minds
of the indoctrinated religious are already primed for
“charismatic” leaders, and all of the examples I gave had such
leaders lead the people into an armageddon of their own.  By
“living spring of violence,” is meant that out of the deep well
of uncriticized belief is the predisposition to follow and a need
to be led.  I thought it was clear that transcendent significance
in this case means beyond the cognition of the ordinary mind
to be influenced.  I believe you understood this perfectly.  And
in this instance, what is normal is the state of ignorance and in
this case a priori assumptions is merely an overarching view of
the game board, who are the players, who are the pieces, what
are the legitimate and illegitimate moves, and what is the
objective.  There is a concerted effort by factions in this
country, and elsewhere in the world, to keep ordinary people
ignorant, and religion is only one but a most potent ticket on
the train.  Susan Jacoby states it excellently well in The Age of
American Unreason, as do a number of other keenly insightful
minds about what is the orchestration of anti-education in this
country.  The insidious efforts of the Religious Right is
stunningly spelled out in Edward Humes’ Monkey Girl. 

I am not singling out the Christian Evangelical Protestant
RIght, but Catholics, Jews, Muslims, even the HIndus in their
religion is used as political fodder in India to perpetrate
continuous animosity towards the Pakistanis, and visa versa
the Pakistanis in their hatred toward India does the same
thing.  It seems an imperative that all religious people soberly
and strenuously self-reflect on the real nature of their religion
and not fall prey to interpreters who are leading them into
catastrophe after catastrophe.

Report this
OzarkMichael's avatar

By OzarkMichael, August 25, 2011 at 11:31 am Link to this comment

Concerning the killer in Norway, Anders Breivik,
it is true that the initial blush of information from the police during the first hour was that Breivik is a “Christian Fundamentalist”. Which is very interesting, very strange, in light of what the police later said, and more importantly what he says about himself.

What is stranger still is the news reporters and editors of major newpapers accepting the first blush and expanding upon it instead of performing their supposed function of doing a little footwork.

A little digging, a little searching of Brievik’s declaration of what he is fighting for reveals the following:

“Christian fundamentalist theocracy is everything we DO NOT want,” followed by “a secular European society is what we DO want.”

We can study this quite a bit further if anyone wants to get to the truth of it. Do any of you have a leg to stand on about this Brievik who is the occasion for this awful Truthdig article “Fundamentalism Kills”?

If not, i want to hear from you why it was so important for the newspapers to pin the blame. i want to know what the motivation was and will continue to be for blaming Christians. I want to know who benefits from that.

As for She, who proposes to live by science, who several times in past castigated me by bringing up the name ‘Timothy McVeigh’, She needs to learn at least and at last that McVeigh was an atheist who wrote, “Science is my religion.” She needs to understand that science is and will become more and more the last refuge of scoundrels. She needs to learn that science is not a pure and safe thing, it has been used ‘used’, and in future will be used, probably as the weapon of choice for those wishing to subjugate others.

Although yes McVeigh was, like Breivik, cast by the media as a “Christian fundamentalist”. And yes it will probably stick to Breivik the same way it stuck to McVeigh, or to be more precise, Christian Fundamentalists will be stuck with them and with their blood guilt. Who is pushing this and why?

Much as Jared Lochner(who shot Congresswoman Giffords) was initially described by the ‘experts’ as a ‘Christian Fundamentalist’, but in fact he is another atheist. The only reason the scapegoating didnt work, didnt stick to us that time, was that Sarah Palin threw it back in your faces. So we need more people who are effectively truthful like Sarah.

What i want to know is why is there a need to lie about Christian fundamentalism? Why do informed people like yourselves fall for that crap year after year until it all adds together into a mountainous indictment for us?

Anders Breivik is the springboard for “Fundamentalism Kills”, and all the posts and opinion hardening of atheists that followed was based on that lie, fueled by emotion. And in future the lie will be referenced a thousand times as a truth. Why?

Maybe the article should have been called “Secularism Kills” because secularism was Breivik’s philosophy. Maybe the title should be “Atheism Kills”, because he certainly wasnt a believer.

(Really, deep down, i do not wish for that. It wouldnt be fair. i do not wish to pin one person’s evil on anyone else. But something sharp and unpleasant needs to be said, or you will just keep right along on your path. I dont care if you think you are the Prophetess of what the evolution of the human race is leading to, or the Moderate who can joke about maiming people and get away with it… Even a lowly ass was justified to be most uncooperative in order to restrain the madness of a great prophet.)
 
Ask yourselves: who benefits from the lie which you have accepted, a lie which you think gives you liberty to joke about killing people and cutting their tongues out? and when called out you confidently infer that this is somehow a reflection of my own guilt?

Who benefits from all that falsehood?

Report this
Shenonymous's avatar

By Shenonymous, August 25, 2011 at 8:50 am Link to this comment

Funny thing is that if one picks a point on a compass
and goes far enough, one goes full circle to 180 degrees
and then back.  It is fruitless to tell one to go away, at
least by way of any arbitrary compass point.

The idea that each human has their own god is a radical
form of polytheism. Polytheism worships either a finite
certain number of or infinite variety of independent
Divine beings, or God(s).  Or if deism is claimed to be
reality, then the eternality of the soul as a physical entity
becomes problematic.  This more or less goes hand in hand
with patterns of concrete thought or thinking of actual objects
or events, limited by a concrete context of place, time, and
who, which, when ironically “thought about,” is antithetical
to a “divine” anything as an approach to life.  The logical
problems invoked by polytheism cannot be accommodated
by rational thought.  There actually are different conceptions
of god.  For instance there is the Brahman idea that all deities
are actually incomplete bodiless phenomena of a God(head),
then there is the notion that a deity(ies) is/are independent
and self-sufficient beings self-generated or brought into
being by a creator deity but they are always seen as part of
a grouping (in Christiainity it is a triad, in Hinduism, ancient
Greek Olympians, Romans, etc., a pantheon, or an ennead or
a corps of nine deities as in Egyptian mythology, etc.).

Putting one’s faith in science, on the other hand, does not
require a religion, though belief is involved since ‘absolute’
knowledge, just as it is in religions, is elusive, science is able
not only to construct explanations based on the collection of
empirical data or material, unlike religion that is not capable
of reconstruction without a schism, science can reconstruct
itself when new verifiable discoveries are made in response
to challenges that may dangle when solutions or answers
are incomplete. 

Then there is the perennial case of metaphysics (as all
religions are cases of metaphysics) vs hard reality.  The crucial
difference between metaphysics and science is the non-
testability of speculative (metaphysical) statements.  Whereas
the empirico-formal propositions of science (statements of
fact combining the fundamental discoveries of whatever is the
current scientific paradigm) are based on testable and
challengeable processes. The calculative speculations of
metaphysics are only based on argumentation.

Report this
Leefeller's avatar

By Leefeller, August 25, 2011 at 8:16 am Link to this comment

Fundamentalism is nothing new, the same old crap through out the ages. Instilling awe and reverence in ritual, only now it happens to be the evangelicals who feel the wind at their backs. Look at Perry the new even further to the right apostolic minion. Always the fear, once again it seems most important in the grand scheme of things for Perry has been the chosen apostolic happening.

So we see Prayer Perry running around with his war on prayer, diverted lives in the constant preparation for the big day when Hunky Gebeebiz will return.  They are just getting the red carpet cleaned, ... just a part of the ritual you know!

Once again we see the ritual of pompoms and circumcisions or is it pandonium and opportunism?

Democracy appears to be the real figment of ones imagination!

Report this
John Best asks,

By John Best asks, "What IS Progress"?, August 25, 2011 at 7:17 am Link to this comment

DJ, interested or not, you didn’t get it, a gross example of grouping (herding rounding up) people and the rapid fall into a mentality of ‘dispatching’ with the problem….....as believers are doing all about us vis-a-vis non-believers.  Hence the winkey thing.  As serious as events are, and will become, I retain a sense of humor, though it may be unconventional.  Grow one.    Oh, and you were thinking you’d made some progress with OM?  ha ha ha ha ha.


OM,  “.........the portrayal of Christian Fundamentalism in America as the cause of misery in the world?”  You’re very sensitive, and perhaps rightly so?  I am viewing ‘Fundamentalism’ as a manifestation of the nature of ‘morally weak’ humans.  Not necessarily of all Christians, nor of all Muslims, Jews, etc.  But, is one finds themselves ‘going along’ with what strikes one as needing to look the other way morally, then perhaps they have crossed the threshold of ‘fundamentalism’ which does make them quite dangerous to humanity as a group.    Now, if you’re uncomfortable with the policies of your particular flavor of ‘Christian Fundamentalism’, I can see why you’d feel uncomfortable and perhaps specifically picked upon.

There are indeed many, many decent Christians, but when one makes the decision to inscribe bible verses on military scopes http://articles.nydailynews.com/2010-01-19/news/17945278_1_marines-inscriptions-vendor ??  The cure they offer (eradication of the non-believiers) is morally identical to that of their counterparts.

But back to the big picture, who profits?  Who ends up in control of oil-bearing territories and in the stream of wealth from same.  Apparently fundamentalists of one stripe or the other…...those who surrender the burden of personal moral obligations to a religion which will act in conjunction with an army. 

I declare the Enlightenment on the wane, the modern crusades trumpet the dawn of the dark ages of fundamentalist domination.  Anyone who resists is convinced by the sword if they have not already accepted the personal game-theory analysis which makes them wear the mask of believer.

“If you’re not with us, you’re against us” -GWB OM is ‘with us (them)’ but can’t admit it.  Such an admission would be cataclysmic to his personality.

If you’re in favor of ‘killing ragheads’ or if you don’t fight actively against that sort of rhetoric and belief, but still say you ascribe to a Christian theology, then you have crossed over into the la-la land of fundamentalist influence.  You’ve given yourself over to the blackest of evil.

And I wonder if there is any coming back for a fundamentalist.  When I see the Syrian and Libyan resistance fighters, I wonder if that adrenaline pumping lifestyle, where one can run roughshod over the boring live involving rules of civility can ever be changed back to something a little more peaceful.  Certainly this applies to US soldiers as well.  Once ‘fundamentalist’ thinking is deeply impressed in their psyche, is life forever a crusade against non-believers?  How does one come back from a life of risk and excitement and the incredible camaraderie?  Am I speaking of the Christian or Muslim armies? 

I say that in keeping large numbers of potentially rational citizens swept up in the emotional existence of fundamentalism is the third leg of a stool, the others being bread and circus.  These fundamentalists on both sides, whether they be on the battlefield, or merely in some tacit support of it, are under the direct control of barons and kings who finance and profit from their operations. 

‘Fundamentalism’, based on the illusion of life eternal, is the enemy within, the human weakness well exploited for many generations.

Report this
JDmysticDJ's avatar

By JDmysticDJ, August 25, 2011 at 6:17 am Link to this comment

theway

Of course! Of course! Of course! How stupid we have been! Slaps to the forehead with the heels of our hands all around, how fortunate we are to have theway show us the way.

Let me try my hand at way showing. Pick any point on the compass, go that way, don’t stop, just keep going, just go…away.

John Best

The last time O(B)zerk Michael made an appearance on this thread he appeared to be a little bit closer to rational thinking regarding people from a left perspective, but your moderation[?] has pushed him back to a blanket condemnation of everything Left.

What are we to make of your inflammatory comment? Are we to read between the lines and chalk it up to a sad kind of hyperbole? Your comment taken at face value can only be considered the hallucination of an extremely deranged mind. So much for your claim of being moderate; O[B]Zerk Michael is completely, absolutely, and totally correct in his condemnation of you, if only because your inflammatory comment showed you to be reckless (For lack of a better word,) and lacking in any moderation. Is it that you are in total agreement with Harris’ sociopathic ravings or is it that you have offered a most fundamental fundamentalist solution to Hedges’ condemnation of Fundamentalists? Oh I forgot! You’re a moderate thinker so you will place yourself somewhere between the opposing positions. I believe that Hedges and even Harris, taking your comment at face value would consider you to be a lunatic whack job. Your comment appears to be right in line with the most extreme elements of Fundamentalist thinking, identical to the thinking of Breivik and his counterparts in Muslim extremism. I’d be interested in any clarification you might offer, but very suspicious of the authenticity of that clarification. On second thought, I’m not interested in anything you might have to say.

Addendum:

Having just read your most recent post, I found it mildly interesting.

O[B]Zerk Michael

Qualified interrogators on the scene described Breivik as being a religious fundamentalist, so your bold assertion that he was not holds very little weight.

The Telegraph, July 23, 2011

Norway attacks: profile of suspect Anders Behring Breivik

“Anders Behring Breivik, the main suspect in the Norwegian bomb attacks and shootings, has been described by police as a Christian fundamentalist with right-wing views.”

“On the Facebook page attributed to him, Mr Breivik describes himself as a Christian and a conservative.”

Shenonymous

Yeah, I know. Pretty weak, huh?! Any person who believes he is “communicating or in union with the divine,” is highly suspect. All people who have spiritual beliefs must acknowledge a kind of mysticism, but I believe the classical definition in question, “Belief in intuitive spiritual revelation: the belief that personal communication or union with the divine is achieved through intuition, faith, ecstasy, or sudden insight rather than through rational thought” is too grand and all inclusive in scope. Mysticism can not come from rational thought, but being rational about metaphysics gives mysticism credibility to the spiritual thinker, don’t you think?

We should all be free to have our delusions or insights, as long as those delusions or insights do no harm.

Report this
OzarkMichael's avatar

By OzarkMichael, August 25, 2011 at 6:09 am Link to this comment

John Best said:

Stepping back a bit, might we ask ‘who profits?’ from the impending wars between fundamentalists?  At this moment, who can deny we have two competing ‘dominionist’ religions, factions of Islam and Christianity, ready to go all the way for their faiths?  Who profits?

Stepping back a bit more, would it be too much to ask ‘who profits’ from the portrayal of Christian Fundamentalism in America as the cause of misery in the world? Why do the artificial and trumped up charges follow one after another?

Might we ask why how people who have benefited from Christianity in so many ways have been channelled into making Christianity the scapegoat for the ills of the world, while reserving all good events and outcomes as products of their own virtue?

Who can deny that is happening, has been happening every day for years, and that everyone here at Truthdig unthinkingly propels that agenda along? 

Might we ask, “Who profits?”

Probably not. That is stepping back a little too far.

Report this
John Best asks,

By John Best asks, "What IS Progress"?, August 25, 2011 at 5:06 am Link to this comment

Something that seems ignored by certain self-described fundamentalists (ahem) is, atheism is a religion to some atheists, that there are indeed atheists who exhibit fundamentalist tendencies, but, they are in such small numbers and more importantly, are far less empowered than traditional ‘god based’ religious fundamentalists so as not to be capable of inflicting mass misery.

For the record, I personally am not an atheist, I believe in about 7 billion ‘gods’ (  http://www.census.gov/main/www/popclock.html ).  I also believe that many, many people ‘believe’ they worship the same ‘god’ as other people.  When enough people say they are believers in a particular god, and some form of priestly hierarchy rises up from within the group, presto, we have a religion.  In reality, no two people actually believe in the same god, but for economic convenience and the politics which enables war, murder, and slavery, many, many people say “I am here!” to believe in the same god.  They discard personal moral responsibility in favor of group-think and group-act.  It works for them.

Stepping back a bit, might we ask ‘who profits?’ from the impending wars between fundamentalists?  At this moment, who can deny we have two competing ‘dominionist’ religions, factions of Islam and Christianity, ready to go all the way for their faiths?  Who profits? 

All these pious, self righteous ‘believers’ are merely making theater to cover their banding together for protection, and/or profit.  The price?  Their individual morality, if they had one at all.  For them, if they had an individual morality, a true inborn sense of personal responsibility to humanity,  a sense to leave things better than you found them and to abide by the golden rule, well, it didn’t really have much value to them, as is apparent when they traded it away for what passes for morals in the major present-day fundamentalist movements.

Report this

By ardee, August 25, 2011 at 3:05 am Link to this comment

As John says:

  When a person ‘gives in’ to fundamentalism, they discard personal responsibility for their humanness and humaneness.  When this condition is detected, the person is no longer human, and moral justification exists for killing it like a rabid animal.  (<:

That was telling.  A not-so-subtle hint that the fundamentalist has caught a disease and is no longer human,is less even than an animal,  and thus the normal people have ‘moral justification for killing it like a rabid animal’.

What is telling, OM,  is your lack of understanding of the thrust of that comment. It was not the critics of fundamentalism that condone the use of violence against them but the very heart of fundamentalism itself that ends violently.

I would offer , to those unaware of the work of fundamentalism in this nation and how it threatens our very way of life here, the NPR program, Fresh Air, which yesterday devoted most of its hour to the discussion of the religious movements in this nation engaged in political activism with the intent of altering the very fabric of our culture and our nations foreign policy in order to hasten the “end times”.

Just go to NPR.org and look for the Fresh Air site. Easily done and quite informative, scary as hell too.

Report this

By theway, August 25, 2011 at 2:51 am Link to this comment

Back to the start: Of course fundamentalism kills because it is intolerant, rigid and fuelled by a belief that all outsiders ought to be converted, punished or killed. Like other delusions fundamentalists’ delusions cannot be reasoned away.

Perhaps it is time to end the discussions outside of the topic.

Report this

By Owen, August 25, 2011 at 1:50 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Shenonymous, you say that fundamentalism kills when the problem is religion, you refer to the “balkanization” of the world into separate moral communities and you say these divisions have
become a continuous source of bloodshed.

But inter-communal violence isn’t “continuous”.  The blood shed is driven by specific political divisions.  In almost all cases you mention, religion is the excuse rather than the driving force for violence.  In Bosnia, for example many local communities were mixed and lived harmoniously together until outsiders used propaganda to whip up the climate of fear and awareness of difference in which the normal rules of communal living ceased to apply.

The situation is similar in most of the other examples you cite. Religion is not so much the “living spring of violence” as its vehicle.

Each situation must be judged on its own merits, but differences are cast in terms of present aspirations and fears as much as everlasting rewards and punishments.  That was certainly clear in Bosnia, where religious differences were insignificant compared to political and economic interests and substantive intercommunal differences were initially minor but were consolidated by politically engineered conflict.

Religion is not the only endeavour in which us–them thinking achieves transcendent significance, assuming I understand what you mean by “transcendent significance” correctly as a force transforming attitudes and emotions in a way that renders the “rational” circumstances of normal existence irrelevant. A priori assumptions tend not be unhelpful in trying to understand specific events.

Report this
JDmysticDJ's avatar

By JDmysticDJ, August 24, 2011 at 8:58 pm Link to this comment

RE: Shenonymous, August 24 at 2:20 pm

I sometimes think that my flippant choice of a nom de plume here at truthdig hangs like an albatross around my neck. The origin of my nom de plume dates from a time long, long ago when I did a two year stint as a manager and “On Air Personality” At a small, eclectic, College Radio Station. The “stint” was only a lark for me and it turned out to be a lot of fun, but I don’t believe the word “mystic” describes me or my mode of thinking at all well. I have continually espoused my belief in rational thought and that is what I ascribe to but I’m certain some here will jump at the opportunity to challenge my ability to think rationally. There are two general definitions of mysticism, one, I believe, has taken precedence in modern thought, that being the following:

1. Confused and vague ideas: vague or unsubstantiated thought or speculation about something.

The other definition is:

2. Belief in intuitive spiritual revelation: the belief that personal communication or union with the divine is achieved through intuition, faith, ecstasy, or sudden insight rather than through rational thought.

With all due lack of respect for Harris the following seemingly innocuous statement from Harris provides a basis for his more irrational and dangerous dialectic.

“If you really believe that calling God by the right name can spell the difference between eternal happiness and eternal suffering, then it becomes quite reasonable to treat heretics and unbelievers rather badly.”

I’ve spoken with “Jehovah’s Witnesses” who seemingly believed the above but Harris makes a quantum leap of irrationality by suggesting that such is typical of religious thinkers. It should be clear that I have no admiration for Harris’ moral character but If I thought that Harris was being anything but intentionally spurious in making the above comment I would be equally lacking in admiration of his intelligence and/or mental health. That being said, I’ll agree that certain religious thinkers tend to treat “heretics and unbelievers” badly, but only the most extreme of fundamentalists would believe that heretics and unbelievers should be killed for their non-belief, or “dangerous beliefs” Harris by his own writing has placed himself in such a category.

You write:

“It is inevitable to come down at some point as to which one [Religious belief system] is the right one.  Essential human intolerance will say that only one interpretation will inherit heaven and godliness and not in different ways or by the grace not of different gods but only one.”

I would be more inclined to agree with the above by you if you were referring to belief systems and not exclusively to religious belief systems. Essential human intolerance… essential human intolerance suggests an innate/inherent human condition that can not be overcome by philosophical thinking, such is a cynical belief system characteristic of a fascist mentality. Do you really believe what you write here is “inevitable”? If so, wouldn’t it be true of conflicts between all belief systems religious and otherwise? I think you are extrapolating far too much with this statement.

(More)

Report this
JDmysticDJ's avatar

By JDmysticDJ, August 24, 2011 at 8:46 pm Link to this comment

RE: Shenonymous, August 24 at 2:20 pm #2

Here is the crux of the issue here; in my humble unknowing opinion. You write:

“When the belief cannot be reconciled by scientific evidence, the scientific data is minimized, and the mind escapes into mysticism, which seems much more reliable, let us say, comfortable.”

Clearly there is much evidence of minimizing scientific data, but the mystique of science is that science has the capacity to answer all questions. This, I don’t believe, is a rational expectation. In an odd counter intuitive way contemplating the metaphysical and coming to the understanding that the metaphysical, is metaphysical, is comforting. Understanding that the metaphysical, is metaphysical, eliminates the propensity for “confused and vague ideas: vague or unsubstantiated thought or speculation about something,”not vice a versa.

Conversely, “belief in intuitive spiritual revelation: the belief that personal communication or union with the divine is achieved through intuition, faith, ecstasy, or sudden insight,” rather than through rational thought is a personal belief system not contingent on religion as fundamentalist religion is perceived. Fundamentalism in all its forms is characterized by groups of like minded people coming together to believe in a doctrine. Coming together per se is not necessary, but believing in a doctrine is, according to my understanding.

You conclude your somewhat lengthy, demanding, and well stated comment with the following:

“Pseudosciences and religions, even though the have a tendency to ease anxiety about the miseries of the human condition, they themselves have exacted much harm and dread thoughout history.  They weaken one’s ability for critical thought and takes a measure
of self control out of the picture.”

Although I agree with the above in its contention, the issue of what constitutes “Pseudosciences and Religions” is left unresolved. It is my perception that this post by you is an attempt to validate an atheistic doctrine, and what concerns me most is that validation in this case is a tacit validation of the beliefs of a spokesman for atheism whose advocations and proposals, if adopted by the norm, will exact much harm and dread in the present and into the future and will expand the miseries of the human condition, not minimize those miseries. Miseries are relative; some are tangible and inevitable, while others can be, I believe, minimized greatly by our “self control” i.e. philosophical thinking.

Report this
OzarkMichael's avatar

By OzarkMichael, August 24, 2011 at 6:26 pm Link to this comment

Shenonymous said: “Tolerance is
possible if conclusions are not pushed to the extreme of doctrine.”

Since John Best is a moderate and not extreme at all, his love for moderation causes him to be very wary about the Believers. He is very suspicious of Doctrine. In an earlier thread he proposed and ran a think tank session on how to decieve those Believers into some semblence of rationality. Which was enjoyed by many here,how chummy it all was, because John Best is all moderation and all rational, and the atheists here are all so moderate and oh so rational.

However, we Believers are a recalcitrant bunch, and even under the heavy indictment “Fundamentalism Kills” we arent budging, arent going away, arent changing at all, so John concludes that minor deception isnt going to work well or fast enough. A paradigm shift is needed in order to deal with us dangerous people more quickly, before more people are maimed or die from Fundamentalism, which Kills.

As John says:

When a person ‘gives in’ to fundamentalism, they discard personal responsibility for their humanness and humaneness.  When this condition is detected, the person is no longer human, and moral justification exists for killing it like a rabid animal.  (<:

That was telling.  A not-so-subtle hint that the fundamentalist has caught a disease and is no longer human,is less even than an animal,  and thus the normal people have ‘moral justification for killing it like a rabid animal’.

For years I have seen atheists here, even the best, refer to Believers as ‘less than human’ ‘sub human’.  In the heat of argument but also in friendly conversation I have heard it.

However, to refer to any human being as less than human frightens me, probably because of my fundamentalist religious beliefs, so I have been secretely appalled at such talk for a long time. After reading it often enough, i decided the only way to break out of this is to hurl your own stupidity back at you. That little smile at the end of the sentence John, made it all ok? Everyone here is ok with it? Listen now… you are all a bunch of buzzing cicadas!

Here is John Best again:

More seriously, ‘followers’ are the problem.  I’m not sure if the excuse of ‘gullability’ flies.  After a war we prosecute the leaders for the crimes of the followers, and I wonder if it would be a different world if some alternative means of enforcing responsibility had been taken.  I vaguely recall stories of ancient battles where every man, woman and child was killed after a battle, and I wonder if that is not a better deterrent to future breaches of personal responsibility.  Ugh, that sounds an awful lot like “kill ‘em all, let God sort ‘em out”.  Perhaps it’s just be better to cut the tounge out of any sort of preacher.  Damn, this is a nasty issue to consider.

Please note, that under the false banner “Fundamentalism Kills”(false because the Norway killer was not a Christian Fundamentalist, but facts make no dents in atheists, they just roll on and on and on) after a hundred posts John Best ends up where the greater mass of gullible atheists always end up; needing to kill, needing to maim.  And finally, note how weary he is, how he didnt want to propose a thing like that, but since “Fundamentalism Kills” he was pushed by moderate atheist objectivity to the logical measures of killing and cutting tongues out as a prophylactic measure.

If you knew your atheist history(which you dont) you would know its been said and done before, and in your ignorance you repeat the ‘saying’ but perhaps some of us Believers will restrain you from the ‘doing’ for a long time to come.

Report this

By ardee, August 24, 2011 at 5:22 pm Link to this comment

Ardee, maybe an expansion to the vast beyond would be in order, otherwise to explain what appears so very cryptic to me in your last post?

Oh, Lee, rather beneath you I think, and not at all the riposte you intended. If indeed you are serious in the lack of understanding of that rather direct statement of fact perhaps you would elaborate as to what about it you find confusing.

Report this
Shenonymous's avatar

By Shenonymous, August 24, 2011 at 2:20 pm Link to this comment

This one is my own comments from my own studies
and experiences. 

The sentence “The stakes of our religious differences are
immeasurably higher than those born of mere tribalism,
racism, or politics,” must be read in light of the previous
two statements.  It is conclusive of the two.  “Religion is
the one endeavor in which us-them thinking achieves a
transcendent significance. If you really believe that calling
God by the right name can spell the difference between
eternal happiness and eternal suffering, then it becomes
quite reasonable to treat heretics and unbelievers rather badly.

In spite of the fact that religious belief systems are not
rationally based, there is nothing wrong with Christianity,
nor Islamism, Judaism, Hinduism, etc., that adhering to their
humanistic creeds won’t go miles towards elevating them as
caring belief systems.  It is the inventions of men’s religious
belief systems and the plenitude of the variety of emoion-
based religious interpretations and dogged attachment to
them that have caused most of the death and destruction in
the world throughout history. It is inevitable to come down at
some point as to which one is the right one.  Essential human
intolerance will say that only one interpretation will inherit
heaven and godliness and not in different ways or by the grace
not of different gods but only one. 

It is human beings and their need to dominate others that
has always been the problem since the savages on the
Savannah and it is the same problem today.  There are plenty
of good and moral Christians, Muslims, and Jews.  It is the
fanatics in each who have spoiled these religions.  If people
need a belief system, then psychologically that is what they
need and they ought to have the right to practice their
religions without harassment from anyone else.  Tolerance is
possible if conclusions are not pushed to the extreme of
doctrine.

There is a cognitive ability to see relationships that don’t
exist.  We have an innate adaptive reflex to make sense of
the world in which we find ourselves and a strong motivation
to give it meaning, because the world is such a complex and
chaotic place.  Often, that effort can fail, and the normal
ability for pattern recognition will account for the man in the
Moon (a face caused by shadows of the mountainous
moonscape) or the correlation that full moons cause people
to go crazy.  When there is a strong belief in something, an
image say of a christfigure, or a causal interpretation of two
things seemingly connected by time sequencing, that belief
is unlikely to be let go, even if it is repeatedly disqualified. 
It is also said that even in some cases, when evidence is
contradictory it can actually strengthen a belief.  When the
belief cannot be reconciled by scientific evidence, the
scientific data is minimized, and the mind escapes into
mysticism, which seems much more reliable, let us say,
comfortable.  People have an inherent predisposition that
desires assistance and support.  It is an extension of
childhood when we had people around who not only provided
for our needs, but who also controlled our lives.  Belief
systems such as astrology and religion are a willed projection
that there are powers outside our own ordinary sphere of
living that will provide for you.  Pseudosciences and religions,
even though the have a tendency to ease anxiety about the
miseries of the human condition, they themselves have
exacted much harm and dread thoughout history.  They
weaken one’s ability for critical thought and takes a measure
of self control out of the picture.

Report this
John Best asks,

By John Best asks, "What IS Progress"?, August 24, 2011 at 1:24 pm Link to this comment

I’ve thought religion is just a front for various forms of economic domination (thievery and slavery), a justification for aggression. 

Once people have a conscience,  they can’t just treat each other horribly without the de-humanizing excuses provided by their religious leaders. 

DJ- While the Soviets were atheists (godless), communism, the struggle of the state was the holy religious cause.  Communism was the religion.

Soooo, I think we take too formal a definition of religion.  The ‘free marketeers’ have a religion.  Their god is the magical hand of the market.  What they have, and what all religions offer is the opportunity for individuals to place their own morals aside in favor of the economic benefit they gain in acting without said morals.  Charge what the market will bear anyone?  I don’t know, but I’d guess almost every war ever fought has alongside it’s generals and military commanders a ‘divinity officer’ or some other spiritual representative.  Certainly both functions might reside in the same person, but the individual who implies “Charge! For the greater glory!” is fulfilling that religious function.

There is a bit of a double meaning here…....“Charge for the greater glory”......as related to modern purely economic warfare/enslavement.  Perhaps the FED chair is the ‘divinity officer’ in this cruel war.  I digress, yes. and excuse me, but….not all battles involve bombs, and there are ‘lives of slow death’ being ‘lived’ in this overpopulated world.  I can’t help draw paralells between fundamentalism in the traditional sorts of war (blatant killing), and the new war of global economic domination, of which the killing wars are merely a component.

But back to the previous two posts…  She and DJ, I had a problem with the statement “The stakes of our religious differences are immeasurably higher
than those born of mere tribalism, racism, or politics.”  because it is tough to separate the four differences cited, and I have a problem with the statement: “many of the examples of religious killing Harris offers were actually because of political conflict and not because of religious conflict”, for the same reason.  The relationship between religious and political leaders seems so incideous and incestuous (sometimes residing in the same person) that it seems a purely academic distinction without practical difference to me.

Fundamentalism to me is not the characteristic or nature of the ‘leader’, religious or political.  Fundamentalism is the followers willingness to discard both reason and personal morality in favor of a more convenient group morality, justified by faith.  When a person ‘gives in’ to fundamentalism, they discard personal responsibility for their humanness and humaneness.  When this condition is detected, the person is no longer human, and moral justification exists for killing it like a rabid animal.  (<:

More seriously, ‘followers’ are the problem.  I’m not sure if the excuse of ‘gullability’ flies.  After a war we prosecute the leaders for the crimes of the followers, and I wonder if it would be a different world if some alternative means of enforcing responsibility had been taken.  I vaguely recall stories of ancient battles where every man, woman and child was killed after a battle, and I wonder if that is not a better deterrent to future breaches of personal responsibility.  Ugh, that sounds an awful lot like “kill ‘em all, let God sort ‘em out”.  Perhaps it’s just be better to cut the tounge out of any sort of preacher.  Damn, this is a nasty issue to consider.

Report this
JDmysticDJ's avatar

By JDmysticDJ, August 24, 2011 at 12:30 pm Link to this comment

Shenonymous

I was ready to compliment you for a well written, but I believe errant, comment until I noticed the comment was written by Sam Harris. Harris is persuasive in his specious demagoguery and dogma. However, I have some objections to Harris’ little dialectic.

First, Harris holds his own particular brand of fundamentalist thinking aloof and separate from the examples of Fundamentalist killing he offers. Secondly, many of the examples of religious killing Harris offers were actually because of political conflict and not because of religious conflict, and thirdly, Harris omits the most obvious examples of death causing conflict in recent times. I’ll offer that communist Atheists in the Soviet Union and in China contributed significantly to the death tolls of recent times, and furthermore, the greatest contribution to death in recent times came from inauthentic pseudo-Christian leaders whose beliefs were more akin to Social Darwinism and “Naturalism” than the more humanitarian teachings of progressive non-dogmatic Christians, but even so, Harris gives legitimacy to Hedges’ thesis of Fundamentalists being responsible for killing.

Hedges writes:

“This apocalyptic vision was as central to the murderous beliefs of the French Jacobins, the Russian Bolsheviks and the German fascists as it was to the early Christians.”

Again I’ll suggest that Harris’ writings should be analyzed and studied in order to decipher and identify his fundamentalist thinking and dogma, his more blatant justifications for killing and cruelty aside.

Report this
Shenonymous's avatar

By Shenonymous, August 24, 2011 at 10:58 am Link to this comment

Fundamentalism Kills when the problem is religion

Incompatible religious doctrines have balkanized our world
into separate moral communities, and these divisions have
become a continuous source of bloodshed. Indeed, religion is
as much a living spring of violence today as it has been at any
time in the past. The recent conflicts in Palestine (Jews vs.
Muslims), the Balkans (Orthodox Serbians vs. Catholic
Croatians; Orthodox Serbians vs. Bosnian and Albanian
Muslims), Northern Ireland (Protestants vs. Catholics), Kashmir
(Muslims vs. Hindus), Sudan (Muslims vs. Christians and
animists), Nigeria (Muslims vs. Christians), Ethiopia and Eritrea
(Muslims vs. Christians), Sri Lanka (Sinhalese Buddhists vs.
Tamil Hindus), Indonesia (Muslims vs. Timorese Christians),
Iran and Iraq (Shiite vs. Sunni Muslims), and the Caucasus
(Orthodox Russians vs. Chechen Muslims; Muslim Azerbaijanis
vs. Catholic and Orthodox Armenians) are merely a few cases
in point. These are places where religion has been the explicit
cause of literally millions of deaths in recent decades.
 
Why is religion such a potent source of violence? There is no
other sphere of discourse in which human beings so fully
articulate their differences from one another, or cast these
differences in terms of everlasting rewards and punishments.
Religion is the one endeavor in which us–them thinking
achieves a transcendent significance. If you really believe that
calling God by the right name can spell the difference between
eternal happiness and eternal suffering, then it becomes quite
reasonable to treat heretics and unbelievers rather badly. The
stakes of our religious differences are immeasurably higher
than those born of mere tribalism, racism, or politics.
 
Religion is also the only area of our discourse in which people
are systematically protected from the demand to give evidence
in defense of their strongly held beliefs. And yet, these beliefs
often determine what they live for, what they will die for, and
—all too often—what they will kill for. This is a problem,
because when the stakes are high, human beings have a
simple choice between conversation and violence. At the level
of societies, the choice is between conversation and war.
There is nothing apart from a fundamental willingness to be
reasonable—to have one’s beliefs about the world revised by
new evidence and new arguments—that can guarantee we will
keep talking to one another. Certainty without evidence is
necessarily divisive and dehumanizing.

Therefore, one of the greatest challenges facing civilization in
the twenty-first century is for human beings to learn to speak
about their deepest personal concerns—about ethics, spiritual
experience, and the inevitability of human suffering—in ways
that are not flagrantly irrational. Nothing stands in the way of
this project more than the respect we accord religious faith.
While there is no guarantee that rational people will always
agree, the irrational are certain to be divided by their dogmas.
– Sam Harris

Report this

By Owen, August 24, 2011 at 10:53 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

JDmysticDJ, Chomsky got it wrong on a very serious issue because he took the version of the story that suited his argument not the one that matched the facts.  He then stuck by his error even though he couldn’t defend it.  Amnesty did a Hedges, that’s why they were criticised.  Why don’t you ask Amnesty how convincing they found Chomsky’s answers to the questions they put to him on the subject?

You talk about the “smears” that Chomsky has to endure.  Not much sign of concern about the smears Chomsky bestows so generously on others whose version of reality is inconsistent with his great theories. Spare a thought for Fikret Alic - no permanent tenure, just permanent incapacity from what he endured in the Prijedor camps.  And the same for the other camp survivors, who’ve had to endure having their experience trivialised by the mouthpiece of their torturers.  How many of them enjoy the privileged access to the media that Chomsky has?

This is a pointless dialogue, as you don’t seem able to see it in terms of anything more than a gratuitous personal attack.

Report this
Leefeller's avatar

By Leefeller, August 24, 2011 at 8:36 am Link to this comment

Well darn! For Chomskyism is has been forbidden to use the word, “worship” maybe then how about calling it perverted or unperturbed addiction?

Tribalism seems alive and well right here in TD, though I prefer to address it as cliques.  Always the Us and them, the U and Mee! The rallying of the minions and the ever promoted ignoble lack of comprehensiveness.

As a triviality I find it amusing even to be mentioned once again by the same oral physics.

As Lew Cerifr so politely stated ...“Very Pathetic” ...indeed!

Ardee, maybe an expansion to the vast beyond would be in order, otherwise to explain what appears so very cryptic to me in your last post?

Report this

By elisalouisa, August 24, 2011 at 6:49 am Link to this comment

JDmysticDJ’s vast pool of knowledge, objectivity and moral ground provide the setting for well written posts that summarize in a comprehensible manner the discussion at hand. It is not my intent to embarrass you JDmysticDJ but I must add that the piece de resistance among your comments is the following simple but poignant observation, one that some would find difficult to detect.

“Finally, a triviality of minor irritation, I believe that Leefeller is projecting upon me his own shortcomings.  .  .  I’ll proffer that I am biased regarding the advocacy of peace and rational thinking, while Leefeller is biased regarding something more harmful in its context. Leefeller accuses me of thinking like a
Republican, while he provides support for the worst aspect of right-wing thinking.”

‘Worship’ is a word that is used quite frequently by Leefeller to erroneously describe the attitude of some as to Hedges’ columns. Weefeller’s myopic vision does not allow him to fully comprehend his worship of Harris.  Is this another case of projecting his shortcomings onto another?

TD3 has also added much to this thread.

Report this

By ardee, August 24, 2011 at 4:47 am Link to this comment

Is there a particular reason why the most vehement posts decrying JD’s ,“mostly quoting” and seemingly accurate description of the work and thought of Harris et al, come from the staunchest defenders of the Democratic Party?

Coincidence?

Report this
JDmysticDJ's avatar

By JDmysticDJ, August 24, 2011 at 4:42 am Link to this comment

This will be the last comment by me about Noam Chomsky on this thread. My admiration for Noam Chomsky and Hedges’ lack of condemnation of Noam Chomsky are being used to obfuscate the important issues discussed on this thread.

Noam Chomsky has many enemies for a variety of reasons. Noam Chomsky has long been a commentator on the plight of Palestinians and the hypocrisy of absolute support for Israel and all its policies. Chomsky has also written extensively about war crimes committed by nations, and the hypocrisies of rationales for war crimes. A man with such a powerful message and with opportunistic enemies needs to be very careful not to give his enemies a means of criticizing him and of obfuscating his message. Chomsky made the unforgivable error, according to some, of saying that “Living Marxism” was “probably correct” in respect to the legitimacy of a photograph that was used so frequently in the media, that Journalist Ed Vulliamy “Probably got it wrong,” and for expressing his approval of literary works that expressed views similar to his own. For this, Chomsky, Amnesty International, and Hedges here have come under attack. Note that Chomsky made the “probably” comments in defense of free speech, and that Amnesty International and Hedges here have been attacked for not condemning Chomsky. Amnesty International has been attacked for inviting Chomsky to speak at a conference, and Hedges is being attacked here for not condemning Chomsky. I believe that a good man has become the subject of a smear campaign. People are accusing him of excusing war crimes which is despicable and a blatant falsehood. Chomsky has been in the forefront of criticizing war crimes and the most prominent critic of war crimes in our time, and I suspect that his being such a strong critic of hypocrisy has resulted in this smear campaign.

While watching a documentary about Daniel Ellsberg and the Pentagon Papers the other night I got a glimpse of young Chomsky for a few seconds in the company of other “student radicals.” Chomsky had the appearance of a reserved, even reclusive, myopic dweeb, an academian, not a self promoting firebrand. I doubt that those who knew him then would suspect that he would go on to become a Pulitzer Prize winner in the field of Linguistics. Linguistics of all things, not the field of study for someone who had aspirations of becoming a future “Radical” I’ll suggest. Chomsky is frequently described as a radical, and his views are portrayed as being extreme, but I see nothing extreme in his writing, I see his writings as being perfectly rational, and it is this rationality that is perceived as being extremism by many. To me, Chomsky’s character is impeccable, and his personal and public life have been an example of virtuous behavior worthy of admiration. Yes I admire Chomsky, and I have no regret about that admiration, nor do I believe that this admiration should be seen as incriminating or subject for discussion here on this thread.


I have less admiration for Hedges, but I have a great deal of agreement with what Hedges has written here. I can only disagree with those who see this article by Hedges as being full of exaggeration and false equivalencies. Hedges has described the reality of our existence exactly as I see it, and he has made observations that I completely agree with, and I believe that this article is perfectly astute in respect to the realities so obvious in our society, and furthermore I believe that this article is prophetic. I would suggest that everyone able to comprehend sociological concepts should read it, and read it again, I believe that this article should be analyzed and studied in great detail. I also believe that what Harris has written should be analyzed and studied in great detail.

(More)

Report this
JDmysticDJ's avatar

By JDmysticDJ, August 24, 2011 at 4:30 am Link to this comment

#2  


Most obvious in Harris’ writing would be the following:


“What will we do if an Islamist regime, which grows dewy-eyed at the mere mention of paradise, ever acquires long-range nuclear weaponry?” “If history is any guide, we will not be sure about where the offending warheads are or what their state of readiness is, and so we will be unable to rely on targeted, conventional weapons to destroy them. In such a situation, the only thing likely to ensure our survival may be a nuclear first strike of our own. Needless to say, this would be an unthinkable crime—as it would kill tens of millions of innocent civilians in a single day—but it may be the only course of action available to us, given what Islamists believe.”

Harris has written, “Some propositions are so dangerous that it may be ethical to kill people for believing them”

Harris argues that torture is preferable to collateral damage and since collateral damage is acceptable then torture should be even more acceptable.

“We are at war with Islam,” Harris goes on. “It may not serve our immediate foreign policy objectives for our political leaders to openly acknowledge this fact, but it is unambiguously so. It is not merely that we are at war with an otherwise peaceful religion that has been ‘hijacked’ by extremists. We are at war with precisely the vision of life that is prescribed to all Muslims in the Koran, and further elaborated in the literature of the hadith, which recounts the sayings and teachings of the Prophet.”

Hedges writes:

“Harris assures us that ‘the Koran mandates such hatred,’ that ‘the problem is with Islam itself.’ He writes that ‘Islam, more than any other religion human beings have devised, has all the makings of a thoroughgoing cult of death.’

Hedges writes:

“Our religious and secular fundamentalists all peddle the same racist filth and intolerance that infected Breivik. This filth has poisoned and degraded our civil discourse.”

Clearly the above comment is vitriolic, but I believe it is astute, and virtuous in intent.

Hedges concludes his article by writing:

“Those who seek through violence the Garden of Eden usher in the apocalypse.”

A simple and unavoidable truth is that Western Powers have been and are encroaching on Muslim lands with advanced weaponry and the subliminal intent of western hegemony, but all the might and power of western nations has not brought an end to the violence, and will not end the violence, if the thinking of Fundamentalists continues unabated the future holds little promise.

****************************************************************

Finally, a triviality of minor irritation, I believe that Leefeller is projecting upon me his own shortcomings. I believe that the concepts of belief-bias, my-side bias, and confirmation bias previously identified here are on display here. I’ll proffer that I am biased regarding the advocacy of peace and rational thinking, while Leefeller is biased regarding something more harmful in its context. Leefeller accuses me of thinking like a Republican, while he provides support for the worst aspect of right-wing thinking.

I’ll agree that I think fundamentally, but I don’t believe my fundamental thinking can logically be compared to the fundamentalist thinking that Hedges rightly condemns.

Report this

By OwenE2, August 23, 2011 at 3:58 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

truedigger3, I’m afraid the name of Diana Johnstone is not one I associate with the word honesty, sorry. 

I’m not going to suggest any specific source to read.  I think you can guess pretty quickly where I think the truth lies and I don’t expect you or anybody else to take my judgment for granted.  Go out and look for the evidence yourself and make your own assessment of who you can trust once you’re confident about some of the specific facts.

As I mentioned to JDmysticDJ, if you look at ICTY transcripts of testimony about events you can see what the witnesses say, balance the prosecution arguments against the defence’s and form your own opinion.

Report this

By truedigger3, August 23, 2011 at 2:21 pm Link to this comment

Re: By Owen, August 23 at 7:04 am

Owen,

Here are two books I read several years ago that might shed some light and look at the war in Yugoslvia from different angle than yours. Both books are written by two writers who are, to the best of my
knowledge, are not fake progressives.
Of course as Leefeller said there is nothing absolute known or made by man and so these two books might contains errors but as I said they were written with a honesty and no hidden agendas.

1)      FOOLS’ CRUSADE
  Yugoslavia, NATO and Westerns Delusions
        DIANA JOHNSTONE

2)      TO KILL A NATION
      THE ATTACK ON YUGOSLAVIA
        MICHAEL PARENTI

Here is another book I DID NOT read but it might worth a look by you since you are so interested in the subject:
        HUMANITARIAN IMPERIALISM
      Using Human Rights to sell War
          Jean Bricmont

Report this
Leefeller's avatar

By Leefeller, August 23, 2011 at 1:18 pm Link to this comment

Judging the reality of opinionated views is a very hard task if not impossibility.  As I stated before absolutism’s, can be as wrong as guesses,  in the case of Hedges or Chomsky as idols in the minds of some, it is possible they may really have feet of clay. Why not, because their fan club says so?

I defer my limited knowledge on the subject at hand to the all knowing JD and his cornucopia of expertise on everything under the sun.

Even if a person is present in the happening, why would they not have a biased opinion, and why should Hedges be an exception to bias? How about only in myopic opinion of a biased worshiper gleaning from biased certainty, so if not worshiper how about unenlightened fan or even a member of some sort of support group?

There are many hideous events happening all around the world, and if someone knows the real facts from their presence,... I can safely say I do not want to be in their shoes! A certainty?

Report this

By Owen, August 23, 2011 at 11:36 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

JDmysticDJ, work your way through some of the transcripts of the Stakic, Tadic and other Prijedor related trials.  Whatever your views on the ICTY as a political institution, and I can guess them, the evidence offered by the defence is in the transcripts alongside the prosecution’s evidence.  You don’t need to rely on judges, you can use your own intelligence. 

Chomsky didn’t use his own intelligence, knowledge or analysis.  He lifted LM/Deichmann’s arguments about the picture through Philip Knightley’s speculative essay for LM which they didn’t use in their defence because that was all it was - speculation not grounded in the facts of Trnopolje (when he cites Knightley’s expertise in his defence Chomsky always sidesteps that inconvenient aspect). LM’s case collapsed when the libel case jury heard the evidence of the real-life camp doctor about the real-life situation of the real-life prisoners in Trnopolje.  I haven’t yet come across anyone who’s discredited Dr Merdzanic’s evidence, but I’ve never seen Chomsky mention his name or discuss his evidence.  That’s there for you in the transcripts of you want to look.

As you’ve read the Campbell exchange with Chomsky you’ll have seen that Chomsky offers no convincing explanation why he continues to challenge that reality, just bluster and then retreat.  But as you’ve read Campbell and can’t see even room for doubt, let alone appreciate how inadequate Chomsky’s defence of his analysis is to anyone who has bothered to find out about the Prijedor camps, we’re simply shouting at each other across the room.

The real point about the row over the Trnopolje photo is that it was concocted by Thomas Deichmann, a defence witness for Tadic and associate of the Serb lobbyists in London, on the basis of Michail Wladimiroff, defence lawyer for Dusko Tadic.  These were not neutral academic sources.  Chomsky never subjects the origins of the story to any form of testing analysis in the way he does the reporting of the substance of the camp.  The story of the photo served the dual purpose of distracting attention from the substance of the camp itself and by focusing on Trnopolje distracting from the other Prijedor camps, in particular Omarska, Keraterm and Manjaca.  What academic advances theories without at least a passing mention of the significant context?  Doesn’t that bother you?

And don’t tell me this is a minor issue that Chomsky has only touched on in passing.  Long after the LM/ITN libel trial, after the 2005 Guardian intereview controversy, in 2006 Chomsky plunged into the subject again as grist to his Western liberal media mill in the interview he gave for Serbian Television Online.  When he was asked about “the fraudulent photo”, did he speak out to the station that had supported and propagandised for intervention in Bosnia?  Did he “speak truth to power” in Serbia and ask about their complicity in Omarska and Keraterm?  No, he rushed to confirm his Serbian interviewer’s description of the “fraudulent photo” and the Serb representation of Trnopolje as an open camp and Fikret Alic as simply a thin man, with no reference to Alic’s brutalisation in Keraterm and the other emaciated ex-inmates who’d been transferred in from Keraterm that day.

I presume you’re familiar with the concept of “framing”.  It’s hard to believe that Chomsky didn’t bring his own specialist analysis to bear on his contribution.  In any case he had no hesitation in taking up the issue when offered the opportunity.

As I say, Hedges knows all this, Hedges knows what a fraud Chomsky is on Trnopolje.  He also knows that acknowledging the great truth-teller’s untruthfulness is no trivial matter.  Hedges as least recognises an issue where you appear committed to looking in the opposite direction.

Report this
JDmysticDJ's avatar

By JDmysticDJ, August 23, 2011 at 9:54 am Link to this comment

RE:By Owen, August 22 at 2:59 pm

“JDmysticDJ, you tell me you’ve read Chomsky’s exchange with David Campbell.  You seem to have no problem with Chomsky’s refusal to discuss why he builds a theory about the Western media’s demonisation of the Bosnian Serbs on other people’s disproved speculations in an area where he has no personal knowledge or expertise.”

You claim Chomsky has no personal knowledge or expertise? I claim that Chomsky has the most knowledge and expertise in respect to the hypocrisy of action he so cogently points out using the glaring evidence of history. 

“You don’t seem inclined to ask yourself whether when a self-proclaimed truth-teller gets it wrong and repeatedly resists acknowledging that they did so, that fact says something significant about them and the merit of their discourse.”

Chomsky uses historical reality to give merit to his discourse. A discourse of hypocrisy of action.

“I think David Campbell’s engagement with Chomsky is quite enlightening, because Campbell himself has made a very thorough study of the area in which Chomsky seems to consider himself an authority, the nature of the Prijedor camps and the claims by LM magazine that the British journalists misrepresented their reality.
http://www.david-campbell.org/
2009/11/14/chomskys-bosnian-shame/
http://www.david-campbell.org/
wp-content/uploads/2008/12/part1.pdf
http://www.david-campbell.org/
wp-content/uploads/2008/12/part2.pdf”

Based on what I know of “Living Marxism Magazine” that Magazine has put forth ideas I strongly disagree with, and from what I know of Chomsky, I feel confident that Chomsky would also disagree with those ideas put forth by “Living Marxism Magazine,” but that’s not the point, Chomsky criticized the litigation against “Living Marxism Magazine” as a free speech issue. Due to the intricacies of British laws regarding what constitutes libel the truths reported in “Living Marxism Magazine” became irrelevant. The suit brought against “Living Marxism Magazine” silenced “Living Marxism Magazine” now and forever and put the Magazine out of business. After the fact, the truth that the photograph in question was of a refugee and not a prisoner, and that the camp in question was not a concentration camp but a camp for refugees who were free to go or stay at the camp as matter of choice. David Campbell’s credentials are put up against Chomsky’s credentials in this debate. By my perception, Chomsky’s pointing out the hypocrisy of action has raised Campbell’s ire and Campbell has been guilty of distortion and demagoguery all throughout this debate.

(More)

Report this
JDmysticDJ's avatar

By JDmysticDJ, August 23, 2011 at 9:42 am Link to this comment

RE:By Owen, August 22 at 2:59 pm #2

“Putting that aside, however, I’ll agree with you that Chomsky’s a subject of secondary interest here, because what matters here is not that Chomsky considered that he understood the nature of the Prijedor camps better than the journalists who had been there.  What matters is that Chris Hedges certainly knew that Chomsky had got it wrong and could have told him so and perhaps did tell him so.”

What you suggest here is only conjecture, and you have no evidence to support your conjecture, only your prejudicial speculation.

“Because Hedges really did know about the crimes committed by and with the encouragement of the Prijedor Crisis Staff up until the time the journalists visited Omarska and Trnopolje.  He had been there himself, so he knew that Chomsky was not telling the truth, and he knew that Chomsky had no right to imply, and persist in implying, that Hedges’s journalist colleagues from the Guardian and ITN were parties to a fraud.”

Based on the facts, they were guilty of publishing false information, not being able to prove fraud is what put “Living Marxism Magazine” out of business. Chomsky was offering his opinion about free speech rights, and such as you have distorted that position in order to condemn first Chomsky, and Hedges for not condemning Chomsky’s position on free speech.

“Hedges is aware how Chomsky’s reassurances to the Bosnian Serbs that they were demonised by the Western media have helped the war criminals create a smokescreen around their activities and recruit a whole host of well-intentioned supporters to their defence.  He had the chance to speak out and tell the truth last year but chose instead to remain silent.”

You accuse Chomsky, and Hedges of something they are not guilty of in any way, something most vile, and your accusations have no support, as if Chomsky and Hedges provided the defense for war criminals, this is an absurd contention, pure distortion unsupported by any evidence. The actual evidence shows that both Chomsky and Hedges condemned the activities of war criminals.

(More)

Report this
JDmysticDJ's avatar

By JDmysticDJ, August 23, 2011 at 9:35 am Link to this comment

RE:By Owen, August 22 at 2:59 pm #3

“Now, knowing that he has himself has supported the most prominent Western defender of the murderous ideologues who slaughtered Muslim civilians in their tens of thousands and waxing eloquent on the guilt of those he holds responsible for the ideas that inspired Anders Behring Breivik, has he also considered the possibility that Chomsky’s own views and analyses may have fed into Breivik’s mindset and his so-called “European Declaration of Independence”?  And if so, does he believe that it is honourable for a journalist to allow the reputation of his colleagues to be trashed in order to safeguard the truth-telling reputation of a very flawed guru?’

The above paragraph by you is not only distorted beyond any semblance to reality it is a despicable dialectic.  Your attributing Breivik’s action to Hedges and Chomsky is demented and exactly the opposite of reality. Breivik cited Webber of Jihad Watch 15 times in his manifesto and Webber’s views on the dangers of Islam are nearly identical to the views of Harris. In fact, Webbers expressed views are more moderate than the views expressed by Harris.

“JDmysticDJ, you’ve already dismissed my views on the subject out of hand, so I suspect that anything more I have to say is going to be fairly meaningless.  Instead, why don’t we ask Chris Hedges himself to explain how he reconciles his memories of Bosnia with the guru’s trashing of his colleagues’ good name and how far he is prepared to go in compromising his own good name in order to preserve the truth-teller’s reputation.”

Something of a loaded question don’t you think? No you don’t think in anything but a distorted prejudicial way. You make assertions without any evidence to support those assertions. The evidence is that your thinking bears no resemblance to reality, and that your thinking is composed by a fundamentally prejudiced mind.

Poor Chomsky, he has to put up with and respond to critiques having absolutely no substance, and those critiques come from all sides. Chomsky is accused of saying the Serbs were demonized by the West by Campbell and, and he is also accused of demonizing the Serbs by Jared Israel at emperors-clothes.com. Jared Israel writes:

“Recently I’ve read on Internet discussion lists that Noam Chomsky is being attacked as, of all things, an apologist for Slobodan Milosevic and the Serbs. 

In fact, throughout the Yugoslav conflict, starting with the fighting in Bosnia and continuing through the 1999 bombing of Serbia, Chomsky provided a kind of Left cover for the demonization of the Serbs.”

Chomsky egaged Jared Israel in an e-mail discussion; Jared Israel’s version of that exchange can be found at
http://emperors-clothes.com/yr/chomsky.htm I suggest that interested people read it; it shines some light on Chomsky’s position on this issue. 

“Perhaps the TruthDig moderator here could act as go-between in asking the question.”

I believe that no one would like to see Hedges respond to these warrantless accusations than me, whether he will do so seems doubtful. I’ll suggest that he is occupied with other more meaty issues and that he will have no inclination to defend himself against moronic assertions that have no substance whatsoever other than the imaginings of a fundamentally prejudiced mind. If Hedges were to respond to your accusations I feel certain that he would offer examples showing that your assertions were warrantless, but you would continue with your accusations devoid of evidence and consisting only of suspicions of perfidy.

Report this

By Owen, August 23, 2011 at 7:04 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Truedigger3, I was concerned primarily with the discussion about Chomsky and Hedges and omitted to respond to the enormity of your comments.  I don’t know whether to lay it at Chomsky’s door, your own fervid imagination or where, but the notion that the atrocities committed against the Muslims in Bosnia by the Serbs was “blown extremely out of proportions by the Western Corporate Media.” is breath-taking in its complacency if spoken in ignorance and in its savagery if not.  I am not “surprised to know that the Serbs committed the least”, because I know the direction where that comes from.  If you want to talk about atrocities being blown out of proportion, first educate yourself a little by reading about the things that were done at Omarska, Celopek, Foca, Vilina Vlas, Bikavac, and a multitude of other locations, then tell me who else had a network of Crisis Staff Committees organising such crimes on a systematic basis?  The Western Corporate Media blew all that out of proportion?  What sort of proportion did it deserve?

Report this
John Best asks,

By John Best asks, "What IS Progress"?, August 23, 2011 at 6:10 am Link to this comment

I’m curious about this statement and what self-described ‘fundamentalists’  think of it.

Start excerpt———
The term “Religious Right” is not synonymous with “Evangelical.” In contrast to the Religious Right, the Evangelical Environmental Network assumes responsibility for protecting and restoring the environment stating: “Because we worship and honor the Creator, we seek to cherish and care for the creation.”

And the Religious Right is not a monolithic bloc. While legislators pushing the religious right agenda receive remarkably low scorecards from the League of Conservation Voters, James Dobson of Focus on the Family who is one of the most powerful figures of the Religious Right, actually signed an “Evangelical Call to Civic Responsibility” that, for the first time, emphasized every Christian’s duty to care for the planet and the role of government in safeguarding a sustainable environment.
————End Excerpt

Report this
Leefeller's avatar

By Leefeller, August 23, 2011 at 3:29 am Link to this comment

Fundamentalism is a word which seems to describe a focused form of opportunism? In Hedges Case he uses the word to attack Harris and Hitchens as a vendetta from past personal experiences and debates?  I see this similar to the lashing out mentality sponsored by the Tea Baggers who have a festering burr under their saddle and need a hero to cleanse the wound.

The evolution of inequity has composed it self over the years by what may be nothing more then time lapsed osmosis, always opportunism by the usual various means, religious, political and individuals.  All seeking more power radiating from the center to their disciples, their flock or their following. 

In the end it comes down to the priming of the clique the polarization of us and them, but of course there are always the well placed sponsors.

Report this

By Owen, August 23, 2011 at 1:35 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

truedigger3 and elisalouisa, what concerns me is not that Chomsky and Hedges “did not pay much enough attention” to the atrocities committed against the Muslims in Bosnia.  It’s that for the purposes of his criticism of the Western media Chomsky chose and continues to choose to circulate untruths that enable the Serb nationalists to deny responsibility.

That involves accusing someone else of doing their job dishonestly.  Firstly Hedges knows that the journalists reported the reality they found and their reporting saved hundreds and possibly thousands of lives, as camp internees have acknowledged.  And secondly, knowing Chomsky to be to be wrong, and knowing that Chomsky has chosen not to acknowledge that he is wrong, Hedges criticises others for expressing views that allow the crimes of Anders Behring Breivik to take place.

Chomsky’s exculpation of the Bosnian Serbs and his persistence in providing them with the excuse to avoid moral if not criminal rersponsibility is not excused by truth being “the first casualty in any war”. The war is over.  The truth is well known.  And in any case Hedges knows it at first hand.

Hedges accuses Harris of “externalizing” evil.  When Chomsky tells the Bosnian Serbs that they have been demonised as a result of the Western media telling an untruth about what they were doing in the Prijedor camps he is not just allowing them to externalize evil, he is allowing them to deny evil and to deny that they engaged in evil. 

elisalouisa, Hedges knows and condemns the evil that was done in Bosnia.  But he is aware that a man whose reputation for truth-telling has been prominent in allowing those who committed evil to pretend and convince others that they did not commit evil - a man whom he publicly eulogises.  He remains silent when the “truth-teller” portrays what others have said about a subject he is familiar with as untrue.  In this instance those others are the individuals who did more than anyone else to end that particular instance of evil.

This is not the only instance where Chomsky’s “truth” is told at the expense of others’ truth, but it is one in which both Chomsky and Hedges have been asked to “examine”.  Hedges has chosen to defend Chomsky’s right to his “unexamined” view and his right to continue propagating a world view that asserts the capacity for evil in some in a way that overlooks it in others.  A man who claims the right to denounce human failings must acknowledge and justify his choice to discriminate between those whose failings are to be denounced and those whose failings are to be condoned.

Report this

By elisalouisa, August 22, 2011 at 9:10 pm Link to this comment

Excerpt from “I Don’t Believe in Atheists” - Chris Hedges

“Finally, let us not forget that the worst genocides and slaughters of the last century were perpetrated not by Muslims but Christians.  To someone who lived in Sarajevo during the Serbian siege of the city, Sam’s demonization of Muslim world seems odd.  It was the Muslim-led government in Bosnia that practiced tolerance.  There were some 10,000 Serbs who remained in the city and fought alongside the Bosnia Muslims during the war.  The city’s Jewish community, dating back to 1492, was also loyal to the government.  And the worst atrocities of the war were blessed not by imams but Catholic and Serbian Orthodox priests.  Sam’s argument that atheists have a higher moral code is as specious as his attacks on Islam.  Does he forget Joseph Stalin, Adolf Hitler and Pol Pot?  These three alone filled the earth with more corpses in the last century than all of the world’s clerics combined. 
The danger is not Islam or Christianity or any other religion.  It is the human heart—the capacity we all have for evil.  All human institutions with a lust for power give their utopian visions divine sanction, whether this comes through the worship of God, destiny, historical inevitability, the master race, a worker’s paradise, fraternite-egalite-liberte or the second coming of Jesus Christ.
  Religion is often a convenient vehicle for this blood lust.  Religious institutions often sanctify genocide, but this says more about us, about the nature of human institutions and the darkest human yearnings, than it does about religion.  This is the greatest failing of Sam’s book.  He externalizes evil.  And when you externalize evil, all tools, including violence and torture, become legitimate to eradicate an evil that is outside of you.  This worldview—one also adopted by the Christian right—is dangerous, for if we fail to acknowledge our own capacity for evil it will grow unchecked and unheeded.  It is, in essence,
the call to live the unexamined life.”

Footnote: “Sam” that Chris Hedges mentions is Sam Harris of course.

Report this

By truedigger3, August 22, 2011 at 8:09 pm Link to this comment

Re: By Owen, August 22 at 2:59 pm

Owen,

The reason that both Chomsky and Hedges, did not pay much enough attention to the atrocities committed against the Muslims in by the Serbs was that it were blown extremely out of proportions by the Western Corporate Media.
Don’t get me wrong. All parties in the conflict, Serbs,  Croats and Muslims committed atrocities and ethnic cleansing, but you will be surprised to know that the Serbs committed the least.
The reason that the Western Media exaggerated the Serbian atrocities only was that to give the West a “human rights” excuse to intervene militarily and break up Yugoslavia.
The reason the West wanted to break up Yugoslavia was that Yugoslavia did not want to join completely the Neoliberal Global economy and open its industry and financial system completely wide open and dismantle its publicly owned enterprises.
Yugoslavia agreed to partial opening and less dismantling than that was demanded and that was not enough!!!
That concentration on the Serbian atrocities was the classical Red Herring, and as they say the first casualty in any war is the truth.
I guess both Chomsky and Hedges wanted to keep their jobs and so they ignored and bypassed this issue the best they could and I don’t blame them.

Report this
Night-Gaunt's avatar

By Night-Gaunt, August 22, 2011 at 3:48 pm Link to this comment

Fundamentalists in any endeavor act from a level of infallibility or total certainty that makes them different from the rest of us. It allows them the psychological leeway to do whatever they want to get to their “higher” goal. Murder, despotism, torture, war etc are well within what they can and would do. Yet even if it violates their Religious tenants and secular moral parameters they consider what they are doing a mission that suspends such limits. Right makes might and they can’t brook any dissent as it would weaken their absolutist position. Such is the danger that has been understood for thousands of years. We need some doubt so we can explore alternate paths and points-of-view. A better way of being right for right than wrong and hurtful to most.

However there are those that think that because something is established, like Evolution, that it is dogma even though ideas of how it operates have changed since 1859. But not that it is the very foundation of modern Biological science. A subtly to be sure but one that can be examined. Only most do not care to be lost in the mire of esoteric science (to them). But do I make myself understandable here concerning some of the problems we are discussing here?

As for Dr.Chomsky he has ample means of defending himself. There are whole places on the Internet to attack him and others that are banes to the pro-Imperial American set. Gross distortions of what he and others have said. Best thing to do is read for yourself.

Report this

By Owen, August 22, 2011 at 2:59 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

JDmysticDJ, you tell me you’ve read Chomsky’s exchange with David Campbell.  You seem to have no problem with Chomsky’s refusal to discuss why he builds a theory about the Western media’s demonisation of the Bosnian Serbs on other people’s disproved speculations in an area where he has no personal knowledge or expertise.

You don’t seem inclined to ask yourself whether when a self-proclaimed truth-teller gets it wrong and repeatedly resists acknowledging that they did so, that fact says something significant about them and the merit of their discourse.

I think David Campbell’s engagement with Chomsky is quite enlightening, because Campbell himself has made a very thorough study of the area in which Chomsky seems to consider himself an authority, the nature of the Prijedor camps and the claims by LM magazine that the British journalists misrepresented their reality.
http://www.david-campbell.org/
2009/11/14/chomskys-bosnian-shame/
http://www.david-campbell.org/
wp-content/uploads/2008/12/part1.pdf
http://www.david-campbell.org/
wp-content/uploads/2008/12/part2.pdf

Putting that aside, however, I’ll agree with you that Chomsky’s a subject of secondary interest here, because what matters here is not that Chomsky considered that he understood the nature of the Prijedor camps better than the journalists who had been there.  What matters is that Chris Hedges certainly knew that Chomsky had got it wrong and could have told him so and perhaps did tell him so.

Because Hedges really did know about the crimes committed by and with the encouragement of the Prijedor Crisis Staff up until the time the journalists visited Omarska and Trnopolje.  He had been there himself, so he knew that Chomsky was not telling the truth, and he knew that Chomsky had no right to imply, and persist in implying, that Hedges’s journalist colleagues from the Guardian and ITN were parties to a fraud.

Hedges is aware how Chomsky’s reassurances to the Bosnian Serbs that they were demonised by the Western media have helped the war criminals create a smokescreen around their activities and recruit a whole host of well-intentioned supporters to their defence.  He had the chance to speak out and tell the truth last year but chose instead to remain silent.

Now, knowing that he has himself has supported the most prominent Western defender of the murderous ideologues who slaughtered Muslim civilians in their tens of thousands and waxing eloquent on the guilt of those he holds responsible for the ideas that inspired Anders Behring Breivik, has he also considered the possibility that Chomsky’s own views and analyses may have fed into Breivik’s mindset and his so-called “European Declaration of Independence”?  And if so, does he believe that it is honourable for a journalist to allow the reputation of his colleagues to be trashed in order to safeguard the truth-telling reputation of a very flawed guru?

JDmysticDJ, you’ve already dismissed my views on the subject out of hand, so I suspect that anything more I have to say is going to be fairly meaningless.  Instead, why don’t we ask Chris Hedges himself to explain how he reconciles his memories of Bosnia with the guru’s trashing of his colleagues’ good name and how far he is prepared to go in compromising his own good name in order to preserve the truth-teller’s reputation.
 
Perhaps the TruthDig moderator here could act as go-between in asking the question.

Report this
Leefeller's avatar

By Leefeller, August 22, 2011 at 11:55 am Link to this comment

John Best, If you do not know the question,... I am fairly sure probably more than fairly sure, even hoisting up one Of JD’s or Om’s horn of plenty absolutism’s,... I do not have the answer!

From what I gather in your comment, it sounds possibly like you are describing the essence of cliques?

Absolutism and infallibility, as connected to sureness and certainty, do seem a requirement of the fundamentalist and I would add the staple bread and butter of the fanatic!

Orthodoxy seems a companion of certainty, one thing they all seem to have in common is a clear abandonment or disregard for facts or truth. Discussion as in debate with the fanatics appears a lost avenue, for fanatics are always right and never wrong.  (Republicans anyone?) 

From what I understand ignorance is not a requirement of fanaticism, even though from observation, one would believe otherwise!

Report this
Shenonymous's avatar

By Shenonymous, August 22, 2011 at 11:38 am Link to this comment

JohnBest - If it is human fallibility you are seeking, you might check
out the idea of fallibilism, most likely place would be Wikipedia.

In this day and age of relying on technology for human travel, food
production and commercial preparation, and going to war, and a
whole host of other human endeavors, the notion of human error,
or fallibility becomes extremely important for human safety.
Accidents and incidents result in vulnerable situations.  Because of
a common human tendency to stop caring about the quality of their
work, this is a tendency of human fallibility to make mistakes. The
fact is that people are fallible. 

Or you could be thinking about something called belief-bias, which
is a situation that occurs when a person’s prior knowledge, attitudes,
or values distort the reasoning process by influencing the person to
accept invalid arguments, or it can be called Myside Bias or Confirmation
Bias, which is a tendency for people to favor information that confirms
their preconceptions or hypotheses regardless of whether the
information is true.

Anoher possibiity you might check out is the idea of evil and whether
people are born good or evil (bad) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Evil

Also several of us dealt with this latter problem at the forum
http://www.truthdig.com/arts_culture/item/
the_examination_of_evil_20110804/
My few posts dealt with the question of whether man is born evil or good.

Report this
John Best asks,

By John Best asks, "What IS Progress"?, August 22, 2011 at 11:37 am Link to this comment

JD, you missed the point of my question.  It goes to the core of why fundamentalism works on some people.  The nature of people who can live with the consequences of literally damning, imprisoning, discriminating, torturing people because of their ‘outsider-ness’.  It’s not about fallibility at all, it’s about the tendency to put neutral objectivity aside in favor of a simpler us-vs-them mentality.

This is the difference between enlightenment thinking and the dark ages.  It’s certainly not my idea, and it is profound.  It’s what separates reasonable men from superstitious beasts.

Report this
JDmysticDJ's avatar

By JDmysticDJ, August 22, 2011 at 11:04 am Link to this comment

RE: John Best, August 22 at 9:07 am

Wow! How profound! What an epiphany! You’re profundity has provided me with a new paradigm of thinking.

All sarcasm aside, mankind’s fallibility is something I’ve commented on here at some length, but those comments were inadequate in their fallibility. The only thing close to being infallible by my appraisal is the statement that we do not know, and we can not know. We can believe but we can not know is a pronouncement that I believe comes close to being infallible, but I’m sure that fundamentalist believers will find that pronouncement to be fallacious.

Let’s see, Marx was fallible, his followers were fallible, the Great Philosophers were fallible, the Popes were fallible, Nazi ideologues were fallible, The French were fallible, both the leaders of the French Republic and the leaders of Vichy France were fallible, Roosevelt was fallible, Reagan was fallible, I am fallible, you are fallible. Perhaps the only infallible person here on this thread is Leefeller with his absolute opposition to absolutism.

Perhaps a reality we can agree upon is that some people are more fallible than others; Hitler versus Roosevelt for example. All spirited discussion is marked by opponents focusing on the fallacies of their opponents, some perceptions of fallacy valid and important, others not so much.

I continue to believe that Hedges’ and Chomsky’s fallibility is less harmful than the cruel fallacious thinking of Harris, Hitchens, Ayn Rand and their ilk.  Further, I believe that Mother Teresa’s thinking was less fallacious than was Vlad the Impaler’s. I could be wrong; after all, I’m fallible.

Report this
JDmysticDJ's avatar

By JDmysticDJ, August 22, 2011 at 9:28 am Link to this comment

RE: Owen, August 22 at 7:16 am

Your brief comment, devoid of fact, lacking in intelligence, short of perception, errant in regard to my suggesting you accused me of worshiping Chomsky, completely false in the contention that I have not looked critically at Chomsky’s moral stance regarding the mass-slaughter of Muslims, “ leaves me a great deal to respond to, but I have already stated that I do not wish to change the focus of this debate to a debate about Chomsky’s veracity.

I will state, that you have “mispronounced” and “misunderestimated [sic]” my ignorance, however ,I don’t have any “first hand knowledge” of what Chomsky “mispronounces,” him being a Pulitzer Prize winning linguist I will suggest that he doesn’t often “mispronounce,” according to that words most common usage.

Can you help to eliminate my ignorance by providing quotations from Chomsky regarding his moral stance on the mass-slaughter of Muslims? In my ignorance, I’m only aware of one of the individuals subject to debate here having pronounced anything in favor of the mass-slaughter of Muslims. So please, provide me with the pertinent quotations from Chomsky. Until then, I can only say that it is you who “Seem[s] to be mistaken.” No seems about it, you are mistaken in so many ways that replying to your mistaken “mispronounce”-ments would require many words and characters, and those words and characters, I fear, would have little impact on your fundamental ignorance.

Meanwhile, I’ll suggest that Hedges needs no excuse for turning his gaze elsewhere. His “gaze” seems to be focused on more substantial issues, replete with appropriate quotations to validate his substantive criticisms.

I’m saddened by my use of insult in response to your insults, but I’m gladdened by my superior skill at such.

Report this

By Owen, August 22, 2011 at 9:15 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

JDmysticDJ, my apologies for getting hold of the wrong end of the stick.  Leefeller, thanks for the correction. JDmysticDJ, my basic point still stands.  Chomsky is inaccurate, a sloppy scholar and above all he persists in mitigating the substance of the atrocities committed by the Bosnian Serbs above all in relation to the Prijedore camps and Srebrenica.  Particularly in relation to Trnopolje he has been shown to be wrong and to stick by what he has said (notably when interviewed for Serbian television) even though it has been demonstrated to be inaccurate and wrong-headed, not just by David Campbell.  He prefers to accuse the journalists who put an end to the terrible things being done in Omarska liars when he knows nothing aout the matter himself and relies on someone else’s pure speculation.  What is contemptible about Hedges is that he as a journalist condones Chomsky’s impugning of the truth told by his professional colleagues when he himself is in a position to vouch for their integrity rather than Chomsky’s implicit libel.  The rights and wrongs of NATO intervention have nothing to do with telling the truth awnd challenging lies.

Report this
John Best asks,

By John Best asks, "What IS Progress"?, August 22, 2011 at 9:07 am Link to this comment

LeeFeller, your comment on absolutism and infallibility reminded me of something I’ve wanted to ask.  And I don’t even know how to phrase the question, but I think it’s certainly related to fundamentalism. 

The question has something to do with the apparent view of some people that good people do no bad and bad people, well, I suppose they’re no good? 

To some of us, we are all a product of our common human natures, though there does seem to be a great deal of variance in exactly what that is.  But, nobody, and I mean nobody is perfect, but, we seek political leaders who portray themselves as so damn pious and blessed.  It’s almost as you’re either descended from Christ himself in some fashion, a chosen one, or you’re an outsider. 

Part of the tribal nature of some?  As I said, I don;t know what I’m asking, but perhaps there is a term for the world view that people are either good or bad.  The view that makes it simple to ignore what a person says, and evaluate their argument based on their character.  What is that tendency of non-objectivity and predisposition to find personal bias called?

Report this
Leefeller's avatar

By Leefeller, August 22, 2011 at 8:08 am Link to this comment

Owen, it was I who may have suggested JD’s worship of Chomsky. This from my previous extensive experience on the subject with JD. In fact I got a cornucopia of Chomsky to last my life time.  I also suggest many Hedges regulars do the same thing, in appearing to worship Hedges with the same blind fanatical relish!

It is comforting to know I am not alone in my observation to the degree worshiped idols are not really infallible.

Now that I reflect on it, I find infallibility just another one of those absolutism’s whistling in the wind.

Report this
Leefeller's avatar

By Leefeller, August 22, 2011 at 7:23 am Link to this comment

One must stand up for Chomsky, especially when ones idol may have been slapped in the face with an opinion which is not in agreement!  Pathetic is a good word to describe what I perceive as whiny escaping air.

In a sense I did almost the same thing by standing up for Harris and Htichen"s, clearly only in the context of this article and the attack by Hedges, which can never be accepted by those intrenched mindless ones.

One big difference is I do not worship Harris and Hitichens"s and even may find I disagree with them on some points, so I do nor worship and hang on their every word!

Worship seems a most fitting word for the focused hypocrites who belong to the huddled flockers club.

Actually for me, I would place Chomsky a bit below Harris and Htichens in my list of agreement and Hedges way below in his approach. I understand this is my opiinon and for now my right, if someone like Om has his way as the fundey Christian in the group, I suspect things would be different for all of us!

Report this

By Owen, August 22, 2011 at 7:16 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

JDmysticDJ, you seem to pay about as much attention to the trivial details of fact as Chomsky does.  Nowhere did you read me saying that you worshipped Chomsky.  What I did suggest was that you were unwilling to look too critically at the substance of Chomsky’s moral stance on the mass slaughter of Muslims and and Hedges’s unwillingness to examine Chomsky’s position.  I don’t seem to be mistaken.  You have the excuse of ignorance, since you have no first hand knowledge of the matters on which Chomsky mispronounces.  Hedges has no such excuse, he makes the choice to turn his gaze elsewhere.

Report this
JDmysticDJ's avatar

By JDmysticDJ, August 22, 2011 at 6:01 am Link to this comment

RE: By Owen, August 21 at 12:57 am

This forum is not the place for a lengthy debate about the veracity of Noam Chomsky. My including Chomsky in my comments was in response to an accusation that I “Worship” Chomsky. I admire Chomsky, and David Campbell’s criticism of one tiny aspect of Chomsky’s commentary about the Balkans tragedy has little affect on my admiration.

Chomsky, true to form, in his commentary about the Balkans points to the Hypocrisy of action, pointing out that much greater atrocities were: ignored by, sanctioned by, and perpetrated by the U.S. and its allies. Chomsky points out that advocates for a peaceful solution to the conflict in the Balkans were ignored, in lieu of military action. Chomsky also points out that the atrocities escalated in the Balkans during NATO bombing.

Most prescient in Chomsky’s 1990’s commentary was his warning that U.S. and NATO military actions, contrary to the precepts of International Law, were a threat to world peace, those warnings proved to be prescient indeed.

Chomsky’s commentaries about the Balkans are available on the web and I would suggest that all read those commentaries. Please note that Chomsky in no way condones or excuses atrocity, and anyone who implies otherwise is guilty of demagoguery.

Report this

By ardee, August 22, 2011 at 5:05 am Link to this comment

OzarkMichael, August 21 at 8:28 pm

That you attempt to frame the rights of fundamentalist christians as a free speech issue starkly avoids the real point of most of the intelligent critics.

It is not the rights of christians to practice their religion that is at issue here, Michael, and all your protestations of being a target, or being unjustly subjected to the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune is simply subterfuge, in my own opinion.

What I rise to counter in your diatribes against all who seek to caution against this tide of religious fervor is simply this; free speech is not a right to force ones own religion upon the majority, and that is exactly what is occuring among a small but vocal and well financed minority of fanatics.

Report this
John Best asks,

By John Best asks, "What IS Progress"?, August 22, 2011 at 4:12 am Link to this comment

If I were to have a ‘target’, it would not be fundamentalist Christians per se.  Though I am disgusted with some of their behaviors, the hypocrisies of fundamentalist Islam and others are as disgusting.  But I am not saying I don;t have a problem with fundamentalist Christians, because they just can’t seem to respect other peoples right to be free and clear of their particular religious views. 

What I dislike about ‘fundamentalism’ regardless of brand is the ‘I answer to a higher authority’ issue.  Leaders without accountability are the cause of the founding of this country in theory (though there were additional interests).  I adhere to the notion that leaders would be accountable to the people,  not to any ‘higher authority’.  God Duty Country?  No, no, no.  a better motto…...“Country, Duty, optionally God, but keep it to yourself”. 

One can be moral without having to submit to the proselytizing of the various fundamentalists.  I’ll determine my own ‘fundamentals’, thank you, and that Sir, is Freedom.

In the end, keeping Christians at bay, or ‘in the dock’, is about what authority we allow to regulates and controls our lives through the passage and enforcement of law.  So, do we want an authority who is spoken for by religious leaders, fundamentalists, the loudest and most assertive being the dominant ones?  Or, do we wish for our authorities to be accountable to the people, and theoretically, human reason?  Granted, neither system is either perfectly good nor evil, but when George W. Bush cited God as a factor in going off to Iraq, it was creepy.  My God made no such inkling, in fact, the opposite if anything. 

At it’s core, fundamentalism is a power grab, preying off the gullibility and discontent of the followers with this world.  The leaders of any fundamentalist movement know full well the followers seek a better world, and in exchange for power, the fundamentalist leaders promise to deliver the better world.  But they can’t.  They make fools of the very people who trust them.  Can’t cotton to that. 

Taking the muzzle off is just allowing the most opportunistic and ruthless among us to take advantage of the meekest and most vulnerable.  No Sir, if you support evangelism, you’re supporting a preacher making his living from mouthing off every Sunday and doing nothing productive, in fact, what they do is too often very counterproductive.  They (the fundamentalists, and preachers) should have to take a ‘do no harm’ sort of hypocritical oath I tell ya.

Report this
OzarkMichael's avatar

By OzarkMichael, August 21, 2011 at 8:28 pm Link to this comment

John Best said:

I was never interested in the Hedges points about Harris and Hitchens, which should have been plain from my comments.  The more general topic of fundamentalism, followers, rhetoric, personality types, etc, are interesting.

My point isnt about Harris and Hitchens. I am not accusing you of that.

Please listen carefully, maybe I was unclear before. Once you take the ‘secular fundamentalists’(Harris and Hitchens) out of the equation for “Fundamentalism Kills” who is left to go after?

The only group left to pass judgement upon is Fundamentalist Christians, who are the main target anyway, the perennial target at Truthdig, the ones under countless indictments here. We are on the defendent’s hot seat forever. The blood guilt piles up in case after case after case.

The Norwegian case, the blood guilt of scores of people, it turns out the killer was not a Christian Fundamentalist after all. so all this blood guilt for us in this particular case is phony. Yet there it remains in the header, you see it every time you log into this thread like a banner over our conversation, there it is in half the posts here, and that is what so many Truthdiggers will remember as a fact later that “Christian Fundamentalism killed those poor people”

Where is that going to lead? What purpose? What end?
Whatever it is, i have discovered that it cannot be stopped or slowed by pleasant conversation, and it is growing more widespread.

For I have submitted myself to the prosecution in the past, hoping to check that spread. A cheerful defense was offered by me. It went on for a long time, each case running into the next. Many people found it amusing. The only thing accomplished, the only lasting impression it gave to the bloggers is that they have a right to accuse, prosecute and judge. Please note:  I enabled that by going along with it cheerfully. That was a mistake.

Even if I earned a personal exemption, meaning that some of the Leftists would would write things like “Well, OzarkMichael is ok” they still want to keep the other Christians in the dock. The blood guilt still sticks to the other Christians, who are made the scapegoat. That is completely unacceptable to me.

Please dont protest that you dont want to hurt anyone, i know that already. 

You find the case for prosecution ‘interesting’. i know that too. While I dont know much about you or what you really believe, I see the bottom line of what you are saying very clearly. You have been dabbling with blood guilt all along. You want to find tactics to make it stick better. Maybe you dont understand what you are doing and that would be my compliment to you, but unfortunately that doesnt matter. i see the over-arching direction and i oppose you vehemently.

This is not merely interesting, this is serious. It is what is called an existential threat. If it was only about me this would be interesting and fun, I would win you over. You would win me over. I would be happy. But no, this is much bigger than you and me. 

I must resist the entire scapegoat project and stomp on the toes of the people who carry it along. Even the nicest, most civil, more intelligent ones like yourself.

So these days i do not make a cheerful defense, I make agressive sharp counteraccusation, creating dismay and confusion among those who enjoy sitting in the judgement seat.

Every attempt to muzzle Christians or make their political activity illegitimate, gets thrown back in your face. You wear the muzzle for awhile! Maybe you will realize that no-one should be muzzled.

Instead of enabling the process, I break it up.

Report this
John Best asks,

By John Best asks, "What IS Progress"?, August 21, 2011 at 3:47 pm Link to this comment

OM,

You seem again find a way to trivialize, politicize or personalize discussion. 

I was never interested in the Hedges points about Harris and Hitchens, which should have been plain from my comments.  The more general topic of fundamentalism, followers, rhetoric, personality types, etc, are interesting. 

I’ve done everything I can to promote an interesting, fairly civil discussion.  As a cicada, I have already found a nice tree here at TD.  Perhaps it is you who should go looking for a cloud of flies in search of your all-knowing pile-ness.

Report this
Leefeller's avatar

By Leefeller, August 21, 2011 at 2:00 pm Link to this comment

It is very clear, some people here; actually the majority who are still here; do not agree with my comments, and have now I been asked or told to eat crow and shut up?

I have a pet crow and would never eat my crow or any other crow for that matter,... you may not know this like you do not know many thing,  crows are good luck,...of course An unsound assumptions but just maybe a sound one; ...I would not expect someone heating their tent with camel dung to know anything about crows, nor would I know if they eat crows? Do you guys never hither land have crows next to Zionist country?  Do they have Zionist crows and Arab crows over there? From what I have read they even have crows on the south pole? 

You should know crows are very intelligent birds, they are supposed to be more intelligent then a Republican pig or even those two word dogmas out there.

What seems quite amusing, is so many supposed liberals here emulate and make insane stupid comments like Micheal Boch man,  then get mad when someone calls them on it.


“Seems some people do not like getting their Simple Simon ass kicked all over the blogs.”

Ellowesia reply comment;

“Visionary indeed, a self-fulfilling forecast.”

Net at all a forecast,... actually a hysterical statement!

Report this
OzarkMichael's avatar

By OzarkMichael, August 21, 2011 at 1:19 pm Link to this comment

John Best said:

When I said, “And abso-freaking-lutely, you OM are personally responsible for your little bit of it”  That was indeed a serious statement.  You are responsible for a little bit of it, as we all are.

That was alright. In fact, since you include yourself in the pushing instead of glaring down imperiously at me, it is more than alright.

That was the most moderate thing you have ever said. Moderates tend to bridge gaps, and they tend to seek the good everywhere, and understand the bad is also everywhere, including themselves.

John Best also said:

The issue I thought was interesting is that people can be easily provoked into these pushing matches, and that it can indeed be an invisible third party who pushes on behalf of one side or the other.  I forget, who made the comment about ‘sign makers’?  That was s good comment.  The idea that some of the the Tea Partiers, and indeed various ‘leftie’ protesters over the years have carried signage they themselves did not understand, is noteworthy, particularly in a forum where we are presumably talking about the killing potential of fundamentalism.

Except the premise to discuss fundamentalism is already false, and I sternly reject the offer.

Normally i would end with that. You are trying to be nice so i will explain why.

I am not saying your premise about the point of the article is wrong. Nor do I mean to say that the topic isnt worth discussing.

I am saying that the banner of this discussion(the article by Hedges) seeks to pin blame for the killing in Norway on certain people. The header and the article provide the backdrop and impetus of our discussion, even when people forget it. 

Hedges places the dead bodies at the doorstep of the Fundamentalists. So you are quite right to bring that up, to focus on topic.

Notice the uproar that resulted when Hedges placed the dead bodies at the feet of Harris and Hitchins. The resultant uproar is quite proper though. If they are guilty, the prosecution ought to demand some sort of remediation for them. If those two men are not guilty, then the attempt to pin the deaths on them is most foul, and places their free thought and speech in jeopardy.

The court case is existential, in that people’s lives are at stake(if you believe the prosecution), or at the very least other people’s ideals and beliefs are(if you believe the defense).

It is very important then. Thats why the initial uproar still echoes on this thread.

Now i want to point out that Harris and Hitchins are not on trial very often, so nothing will come of it.

But what if they were in the defendent’s chair constantly, in every Truthdig article? In that case the prosecution has full reason to demand their remediation, or curtail their right to speak, to implement ways to outlaw or limit their thought from effecting others.

Do you understand that?

Now, consider that ‘Fundamentalism Kills’ goes after Hitchens and Harris… incidentally, almost artificially. The primary target is someone else. That target is perpetually placed in the defendent’s chair by Truthdig and the bloggers around us.

While it is good of you to ease up on your previous attack(which i will call ‘guilt-from-pushing-first’), and kind of you to include yourself as one who ‘pushes’, so that we are now on equal footing, I wonder if we will ever be on equal footing in this regard: that the indictment is aimed at me, and not seldom but perpetually here at Truthdig.

For you it is ‘interesting’.. For me it is existantial. That is the chasm between us.

For you it is pleasant. I know it is. It is almost a reflex, an impossible habit to break. Let me help by performing a bracing stomp upon your sensitive toes:

You dont know the meaning of what you say until i explain it to you. How can you possibly understand the complex events around you and have a discussion with me about them?

Buzz off, little cicada!

Report this

By truedigger3, August 21, 2011 at 11:51 am Link to this comment

Re: By Leefeller, August 21 at 10:06 am

Leefeller wrote:
“Biased interpretation appearing as absolutists meet their demands that Anders Behring Breivik is a Zionest”
————————————————————————
Leefeller,

Here is what Beveirik wrote in his “Manifesto”:
“” So let us fight together with Israel, with our Zionist brothers against all anti-Zionists….”
——Manifesto of Anders Behring Breivik

Why don’t you eat crow and shut up.
It is certain that, even if your beloved Shenonymous, jumped on you and sank a kitchen knife in your throat, that you would have said: Shenonymous is misunderstood. She is great and she means well.??!!
Genuine, grade A Imbecile you are.

Report this

By elisalouisa, August 21, 2011 at 10:40 am Link to this comment

By Leefeller, August 20 at 3:36 pm
“Seems some people do not like getting their Simple Simon ass kicked all over the blogs.”

Visionary indeed, a self-fulfilling forecast.

Report this
Leefeller's avatar

By Leefeller, August 21, 2011 at 10:06 am Link to this comment

Providing a dignified answer to Leefeller has never been an option (an absolutists comment contrived for the convenience of it)  We see the usual covey of imbeciles who show themselves incapable of comprehension whenever the programmatic stringing of two words together appears looming before them for interpretation like the Berlin Wall.

Sick and pathetic are those who would construe and portray completely out of context to create their own contrived conjecture just like Republicans in Congress. Never let the written word mean what was meant, so we see a twisted constant myopic attempt of opinionated interpretations completely out of context.

Biased interpretation appearing as absolutists meet their demands that Anders Behring Breivik is a Zionest,... he spent copious time in Zionist school and learned to shot at a Zionist shooting range, with apparently Zionest Harrise and Hitchens in attendance. Also in attendance would be anyone deemed New Atheist enough (christian?)  who does not agree with all the absolutist surmising of such ignorance. This is to say anyone deemed a New Athiests by association with Harris and Hitichens must apparently have been in cahoots with Breivik, for it seems the simple minds of bias demand it be just that way!

Such are simpleton values and interpretations one must be on one side or the other!

Report this

By truedigger3, August 21, 2011 at 6:10 am Link to this comment

Re: By Shenonymous. August 20 at 4:37 pm Link to this comment


Shenonymous,
The following is what you wrote about the criminal Norwegian Breivik in your post of Ausgust20 at 9:07 am:

“Breivik is a rational man who wanted to revive a strong Christian Europe, but he wasn’t a Christian fundamentalist by any estimation.  A self-made millionaire by the age of 24, he saw himself as a “cultural conservative” and who admired the Knights Templar, a Medieval Catholic Order, Crusaders, and who detested who he called the corrupt liberal eunuchs who were destroying his country and who seems to have acted purely out of a sense of conscience and commitment to truth and justice.”

You wrote that about a criminal who wrote:
” So let us fight together with Israel, with our Zionist brothers against all anti-Zionists….”
——Manifesto of Anders Behring Breivik
——————————————


Shenonmous,
When you were accused by sympathizing with that criminal Breivik you complained it should have been “INTUITED” that it was just rebuttal against any defense by reason of insanity.
Really! No kidding!  You are an educated woman with an excellent command of the language. Do you think , REALLY, it should have been easily INTUITED what were your true feelings??
You wrote this without a SINGLE word alluding that this is a rebuttal against any claim of defense by the reason of insanity defense.
You wrote this without a SINGLE word of condemnation of that heinous criminal act.
Your wrote this with your long history in truth dig of spouting hatred and fear and stirring hysteria against Arabs and Muslims and your continuous repeated professed love and admiration for Israel and Zionism.

Why are you using such lawyery tactics and bullshitting with words. We are writing posts here and we are not writing legal depositions or legal defense for the courts.
Few easy words would have clarified your thought and intentions, but you didn’t write them.!  WHY??!!
If you wrote he “thought of himself a rational man “….that would have clarified your intention.
Not a SINGLE word that this was a rebuttal against any claim of insanity.
Not a SINGLE word of condemnation for that heinous crime.
If a Muslim terrorist would have committed such a heinous crime against children., would you have written similar words??
I DO NOT THINK SO.!!!

Report this
John Best asks,

By John Best asks, "What IS Progress"?, August 21, 2011 at 6:08 am Link to this comment

When I said, “And abso-freaking-lutely, you OM are personally responsible for your little bit of it”  That was indeed a serious statement.  You are responsible for a little bit of it, as we all are.  But the statements for your being responsible for the whole situation?  C’mon. 

But ‘tripling down’?  you try to force a useful argument off to a tangent.  You say, “Now it’s over”, well, to imply the tangent was indeed the crux of the argument, and walk away from some interesting areas of discussion is, well, I’m going to try my best to resist what amounts to ‘inflammatory back-handed name calling’.

The issue I thought was interesting is that people can be easily provoked into these pushing matches, and that it can indeed be an invisible third party who pushes on behalf of one side or the other.  I forget, who made the comment about ‘sign makers’?  That was s good comment.  The idea that some of the the Tea Partiers, and indeed various ‘leftie’ protesters over the years have carried signage they themselves did not understand, is noteworthy, particularly in a forum where we are presumably talking about the killing potential of fundaentalism.

If you want to back out of the discussion OM, fine.  I’ll be a gentleman and assume you simply have a full schedule and don’t want to get embroiled.  And frankly, I welcome that because you just can’t seem to resist going to the ‘party line’ tactics and techniques.  Nobody wins when the rules of logical fallacy are abused and violated.  I’m not interested in that either.

But, I do hope the general discussion can continue among capable persons.  The ‘pushing dynamic’.  It reminds me of some scene one would see on ‘The Little Rascals’ where Spanky would shoot a spitball at Alfalfa, who, turns to look at Spanky, who slyly and knowingly points to Buckwheat.  Alfalfa pushes Buckwheat, Buckwheat pushes back, it escalates, a fight ensues.  Spanky gets Darla.

So, it goes, and it was always obvious that who pushed first is not the issue, nor did I intend to imply that fault for the left can be ray-traced back to some original push from the right, nor that the left or right can be absolved from attacks on our society simply because somebody else was pushed first.  Frankly, I as sadly surprised to see the discussion was mis-framed and mis-directed that way.  Nevertheless, I try my darnedest to get it back on some productive track.

To that end, a productive track, I’d offer that behind all the pushing, so much ‘getting Darla’ (graft, gummint contracts, free reign over consumers rights, etc, etc) (and this list is worth filling out) has become the economic lifeblood of so many, that we invest more and more energy into provoking the continuation of the pushing match.  I am speaking of two big factors, one, our commercial driven media’s control by various finders and advertisers, and two, our Legislators.  Both highly influential groups are ‘stuck’, entangled, completely unable to escape this incestuous pushing match and Darla grabbing system that we cannot (will not) encourage TRUE patriotism, which is economic nationalism, NOT mindless the flag waving the aforementioned groups like to call patriotism.

We need a national trade policy, an industrial policy, a reinventing of national manufacturing standards, etc.  The radical ‘Laisse Faire’ economics practiced by so-called ‘free marketeeers’ is just a smokescreen behind which the common wealth is being badly abused to the point of used up. 

To conclude, fundamentalism is a powerful tool to keep the petty bickering going, and Darla is being raped.  The only hope of end to her agony is that we see past our personal pasts and use the rhetorical and logical tools of adults.

Report this

By ardee, August 21, 2011 at 3:59 am Link to this comment

In this post:

OzarkMichael, August 20 at 1:20 pm

Michael succumbs to childishness, refusal to give weight to anything his worthy opponent notes and vents anger that is thoughts are not instantly recognized as pearls of wisdom..

Welcome to the club. wink

Report this

By Owen, August 21, 2011 at 12:57 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

JDmysticDJ, I was referring to Hedges’s “inexplicable lack of condemnation” not simply in reference to this specific post but against the background of the uncritical eulogy I previously mentioned that Hedges posted at
http://www.truthdig.com/report/item/noam_chomsky_
has_never_seen_anything_like_this_20100419/

Chomsky is fiercely resistant to any notion that he might be utterly wrong in his comments about Trnopolje and its relationship to Omarska and Keraterm.  Hedges knows how Chomsky determinedly persists in mitigating the responsibility of “demonised” characters including the likes of Dusko Tadic, Milomir Stakic, Milan Lukic, Dusko Vuckovic and - making due allowance for his as yet unconvicted status - Ratko Mladic.  Hedges knows what these people did, and he knows that the body count of their victims goes way beyond that of Anders Behring Breivik or Mohammed Atta, but his epistle of adulation is unnuanced.  The vehemence of the criticism he voices in this message stands in sharp contrast.

Report this
JDmysticDJ's avatar

By JDmysticDJ, August 20, 2011 at 10:14 pm Link to this comment

“I am outraged, to say the least, and I believe that a person who writes such words describing a terrorist murderer of children must be a terrorist herself, who must be stopped before she goes on a copycat act imitating her murderous hero!”

At first glance the above comment can only be interpreted as a gross misunderstanding of the intent of the comments in question. It appears that Arabian Sinbad has allowed his emotions to cloud his thinking. Perhaps having a Muslim perspective and having been witness to the worst kinds of prejudice directed at Muslims he is prone to jumping to conclusions about people who don’t demonstrate an appropriate disdain for the murderous proposals put forth by certain, very specific, fundamentalist thinkers.

I too, having witnessed what I believe to be inappropriate support for and lack of criticism of those whose proposals are by my appraisal murderous if acted upon, am prone to thinking ill of those who refrain from the appropriate condemnation.

A more subtle analysis of Arabian Sinbad’s condemnation might be: a person who fails to condemn where condemnation is appropriate,  has become a de facto accomplice to one who advocates acts most cruel. I won’t suggest hero worship as the reason for inexplicable lack of condemnation, but I will suggest a lack of appropriate condemnation because of mutual agreement on a matter seemingly unrelated.

It appears that their thinking goes something like this; the friend of my Atheism is my friend and I don’t care how murderous and vile that friend’s proposals are.

Report this
OzarkMichael's avatar

By OzarkMichael, August 20, 2011 at 7:42 pm Link to this comment

I wrote that post in a snap. It doesnt go into subtleties about anything. It was easy.

Just like this one. its just cut and paste your quotes with a quick commentary.

were you joking when you said this?

“And abso-freaking-lutely, you OM are personally responsible for your little bit of it”

You claim you were making a joke?  Yea, right. seems abso-freaking-lutely serious to me.

Now tell me again why i should prove anything to you? you will just weasal out again. And your proof that there wasnt prayer in schools seems to be because Ben Franklin didnt like a preacher. I dont see how that proves anything. There is no answer for an irrelevent remark.

Actually, for the first time in our chats, you were right about one thing. i didnt write out a proof of my case, although i had a rough version in mind already. i didnt need to write it out because I knew you would back away. Here is another example of your bail out:

“To that point we were squabbling over ‘who pushed first’, which is ridiculous, because intelligent people should recognize that it it the dynamic of pushing back and forth, being coaxed farther apart by interested parties, which is the problem, not who exactly pushed first.”

An intelligent person(me) recognized right away what a stupid argument this is, but you tripled down for it.  Now you realize its stupid too. We agree. Now its over.

Report this
John Best asks,

By John Best asks, "What IS Progress"?, August 20, 2011 at 6:48 pm Link to this comment

My Gawd OzarkMichael….....aren’t you able to read sarcasm and other subtleties into the written word?  Are you’re severely handicapped, or does intentional obtuseness serve your need to skulk away with some plausible shred of dignity? 

And you never do address the central issue of religiosity as it relates to the United states.  You do not refute or in any way analyze Ben Franklins problems with that fundamentalist preacher, and as I expected, you won’t touch Dougherty, the modern foister, the pusher of religion into the classroom through his insistence on modifying the pledge of allegiance. 

Good lord man, how must your choice of argumentative tact be looking to any right wing intellectual out there.  Look at it…...your ‘argument’, your ‘eloquent treatise’ amounts to nothing more than an attack on the credibility of the other debater!  You actually wrote a long, long time, and that’s all you accomplished.  Is your time worth so little you can waste it that way? 

Now, for the another go at it, I’ve cited two examples in history of religious jerks foisting their views into our government…...the preacher who vexed Franklin, and Dougherty.  One new, one old.  You can either refute these examples, or you can provide examples of religion which was a welcome (non-imposed) part of our government.  From this sort of discussion, all might learn.  And, I don’t care if I’m proven wrong…....at least I’ll learn something. 

Now, if you can’t proceed as stated above, then it’s getting pretty apparent that regarding ‘who pushed first’ with regard to religiosity in the Government, well, you’ve lost that part of the general argument.  Who ares?  The larger argument, that the righties pushed first, if you really think that was a serious statement, well, fine, I’ll engage.  Perhaps I’ll be wrong, but that’s fine with me…...just show me when the lefties pushed first, and back it up, and perhaps you’ll win the overall. 

By the way, back this up: You said, “And i used the example of school prayer. His own example by the way, and showed that the first push was made by the progressive side.”  Can you show me where you actually showed the progressive side made the first push with regard to school prayer?  Perhaps I’ve had a brain fart, but I just don’t see where you demonstrated that.

Report this
Shenonymous's avatar

By Shenonymous, August 20, 2011 at 4:37 pm Link to this comment

It is a truism that all men seek the good, and believe what they do
and what they think is both good an correct.  Just reflect on what
you believe.  You believe your beliefs are correct, and morally good
and true.  For to not think so, would make you a very miserable
human being.  That is the nature of beliefs.  The perception that I
presented a defense of Breivik is just the opposite.  One has to think
beyond mere repulsive reaction.

What I said was the way to charge him for the full force of the crimes he
committed and not be able to weasel out of prosecution with an insanity
plea to get out of punishment for one of the most heinous of crimes in
this decade! 

I am surprised this was not intuited from my comments, except for
Leefeller who saw immediately the meaning of my words.  I admit I
expected, apparently wrongly, that those who read what I said were
able to read and correctly analyze what they read.

Breivik believed he was doing something good in killing 97 people,
85 of which were innocent children.  Now normally, we would think that
someone who committed such a grotesque and dispicable act was mad,
insane.  But to allow that, he gets off scott free because that is the law,
and to show he was fully in possession of his senses and was a rational
human being, is the only way to put the beast away forever!  Well to
whatever extent that is for Norway.  If you had a momentary coronary,
I am sorry, and I hope you have calmed yourself down and can see the
logic that was put forth.

Report this
Leefeller's avatar

By Leefeller, August 20, 2011 at 3:36 pm Link to this comment

“Breivik is a rational man who wanted to revive
a strong Christian Europe, but he wasn’t a Christian fundamentalist by any estimation.”

“... and who seems to have acted purely out of a sense of conscience and commitment to truth and justice.” Are you the only person here Sinbad who cannot place fit in the rest of the comment….“in his mind”?

Sindbad’s myopic tainted lack of reason is showing even more than the self proclaimed mind reader JD!

“This is a quotation from one post above! Now can anyone with a sound reasoning explain what this is supposed to mean?!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!”

“Yeah it is a real mind twister and in code!! The murderer thought he was self righteous and acts like many imbecile posters here on TD, and they should know who they are, but then this is my illusion!

“A murderer terrorist killing 85 defenseless children is being described as “acted purely out of a sense of conscience and commitment to truth and justice.”!!!”

What the hell do you think Osama Ben Ladans and the fricking morons who flew a plane into the towers thought they were doing? They I suppose thought in some good conscience the act they were preforming was martyrdom and they wanted to collect on their virgins?

“I am outraged, to say the least, and I believe that a person who writes such words describing a terrorist murderer of children must be a terrorist herself, who must be stopped before she goes on a copycat act imitating her murderous hero!”

Her murderous hero? I find Sindbad has bit himself in the ass once again on this, as he like Hedges pinned the tail on an illusion stemming from biased views of pettiness and in Sinbads case man envy by saying her!

Seems some people do not like getting their Simple Simon ass kicked all over the blogs.


No wonder our world is so screwed up!

Report this

By Owen, August 20, 2011 at 1:37 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

JDmysticDJ, you refer to Chomsky and Hedges and their credentials.  You say you are impressed that their dialectic is concerned with morality.  You seem unwilling to shine too harsh a light on their notion of morality.

You describe Chomsky’s thesis as being that what we consider immoral behavior by our perceived enemies should also be considered immoral when we engage in that same behavior.  But you don’t seem worried that Chomsky grants himself exemption from that principle or that Hedges condemns Christian fundamentalists and atheists for his condemnation for promoting bigotry and hatred against observant Muslims while remaining silent as his prominent academic friend and hero continues to deflect criticism from the murderous thigs who slaughtered Muslims in their tens of thousands in circumstances (Omarska, Bikavac, Celopek, Srebrenica) that even Anders Behring Breivik does not appear to have contemplated.

Chomsky’s counter-factual pronouncements about Bosnia, his wilful untruth-telling to power, in particular about the Prijedor camps system, the shoddy second-hand scholarship on which he bases his sweeping condemnations of the inaccuracy of others and his admiring support for the excusers of mass murder and genocide is precisely the sort of immoral behaviour he would condemn in targets for his own criticism.  And Chomsky’s reassurances to the Bosnian Serbs that they were unjustly demonised by the Western media for activities such as the operation of the Prijedor camps is exactly what one should have expected Hedges, with his personal first-hand knowledge of mass scale atrocities perpetrated by Bosnian Serb fundamentalists on Bosnian Muslims, to be condemning with the same if not more force than he devotes to the Christian right and the secular left.

Report this
OzarkMichael's avatar

By OzarkMichael, August 20, 2011 at 1:20 pm Link to this comment

Lets trace the rise and fall of John Best. He starts with doubling down:

And to re-ask…..would there be a ‘left’ without a ‘right’?  It is your fault OM, and right wing fanatics like you OM that there even is a left.

This assertion, a double down assertion because he is ‘re-asking’ it, is that Leftists are conjured up out of thin air because I exist or act in any way. My response was to draw Mr Best out more, see how far he would go with that terribly false line of thinking, so i said: “I suppose even a crazy terrorist actor with Leftist motives could be blamed on me too.”

John Best charges ahead:

Yep, it’s all your fault.  Whoever started pushing first.  A push provokes a push back.  This is why lawyers do so well.  Haven’t you figured that out?

Notice, dear reader, that instead of just saying ‘ooops’ or ‘walking back’ his attack, he triples down on it, and adds a taunt ‘havent you figured this out’ as if I was stupid not to have bent the knee to his ridiculous assertion.

OK, thats the high point, the apogee of Mr Best’s perfomance. He charged at me without hesitation. Now i begin my counterattack, but first I informed everyone: “Well, I am going to hold you to it to the extent that you will stand behind your words… (ahem). We both know this wont last long.”

Then I began to explain the consequences of Mr Best’s assertion: “Now that you trace guilt to the folks who push first, and you have have absolved reactionaries from all blame, we need to examine the consequences.”

And i used the example of school prayer. His own example by the way, and showed that the first push was made by the progressive side. According to Best’s logic they are to blame for everything that followed!

The next quote from John Best is where he suddenly abandons his attack on me about “pushing first”:

“Ardee, I’m actually trying not to worry about who pushed first, it’s more that we’re embroiled in a pushing contest to the delight of those who get away with raping our economy and natural resources, and with enslaving us.

It’s adults who will forgive whomever was instigated into pushing first, compromise, and rebuild the integrity of the country.  Problem is, ‘integrity’ means different things to different people.

 

Now thats a reasonable and noble adult thing to say. Except it is a full retreat from John Bests attack on me, which was doubled, then tripled(!), plus a taunt added in for good measure. Suddenly he wants to pretend he never said it and he is changing what we are debating about.

No, lets stay in this topic awhile longer. Mr Best wanted to limit/reduce/end/nullify my political activity and effectiveness by adding as much guilt as possible to my side. He wanted to make conservatives a scapegoat for everything that goes wrong: every riot, every terror attack by anyone… including Leftists…. all my(conservatives) fault. This blood libel, this scapegoating, is an attempt to muzzle the political Right.

Make no mistake, if I didnt kick him in the nuts(figuratively speaking) he would have ‘discovered’ a successful new ‘tactic’ to use against the Right. He would have been very pleased. Except it didnt work, i was able to shove the muzzle back in his own face. 

Thats when Mr Best suddenly changes. He ducks, he dodges. Now he doesnt care about who “pushed first” and he is the “adult” who is apparently going to “forgive”. How nice.

Except he was the one who thought “pushing first” was vitally important… as long as it made me look bad, as long as it seemed to be working, as long as it looked like he could muzzle me.

In the end he folds up like a cheap suit. Didnt last long. I cant say i was disappointed because as you saw, i knew it was coming and announced his collapse to everyone beforehand.

Report this
Arabian Sinbad's avatar

By Arabian Sinbad, August 20, 2011 at 11:36 am Link to this comment

“Breivik is a rational man who wanted to revive
a strong Christian Europe, but he wasn’t a Christian fundamentalist by any estimation.” 

“... and who seems to have acted purely out of a sense of conscience and commitment to truth and justice.”
===================
This is a quotation from one post above! Now can anyone with a sound reasoning explain what this is supposed to mean?!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

A murderer terrorist killing 85 defenseless children is being described as “acted purely out of a sense of conscience and commitment to truth and justice.”!!!

I am outraged, to say the least, and I believe that a person who writes such words describing a terrorist murderer of children must be a terrorist herself, who must be stopped before she goes on a copycat act imitating her murderous hero!

Report this

Page 3 of 10 pages  <  1 2 3 4 5 >  Last »

 
Right 1, Site wide - BlogAds Premium
 
Right 2, Site wide - Blogads
 
Join the Liberal Blog Advertising Network
 
 
 
Right Skyscraper, Site Wide
 
Join the Liberal Blog Advertising Network
 

A Progressive Journal of News and Opinion   Publisher, Zuade Kaufman   Editor, Robert Scheer
© 2014 Truthdig, LLC. All rights reserved.

Like Truthdig on Facebook