Thursday, September 26, 2013

Banned from Triablogue, and more Pope Francis musings

Yet another conversation log, this one culminating in my apparently being flat out banned from Triablogue - your one-stop shop for right-wing anti-Catholicism. Two argument threads feature in that one - Steve Hays running defense for the decline of social conservatism (at least on some topics) in the US on the grounds that Pope John Paul II did not usher in paradise. Meanwhile John Bugay argues that Pope Francis is guilty of the crime of saying things that a hostile third party can willfully lie about and wildly misrepresent, and sticks to his usual tactic of claiming the Catholic Church is a plainly horrible organization that has never done anything right and only a sap would think otherwise, which he should know because he was a Catholic for years.

I think this is a particularly educational thread - more the conversation with Bugay than Hays, which quickly spins off into bizarre irrelevancies - mostly because it shows how rapidly the criticism of Pope Francis' interview falls apart when actually inspected.

12 comments:

Thnuh Thnuh said...

hi, I'm a right leaning atheist (there is nothing inherent in atheism that demands that one should adhere to a particular political point of view).

I just have 1 question. Why do you assume that the erosion of certain moral assumptions is due primarily to the tone of "socons"?

I'd say it has very little to do with the tone of socons, but more to do with the fact that liberals are more aggressive and effective in spreading their views via sitcom plots, little hints in movies, teaching their views in venues that are handed to them on a platter, such as public school systems, etc.

In other words, what can be regarded as the triumph of liberal views has nothing to do with errors in how conservatives present their views, but with how passive and docile conservatives have been, and with the complete absence of liberal ethics in certain areas (for example, how a liberal school board doesn't just care about how it has a duty to only teach the 3Rs, but instead thinks, "because I have this power to teach all these impressionable kids, I'll betray my trust to the parents of those kids and teach ideologies I like instead".)

You make this facile assumption that because of the decline of conservative values, conservatives are somehow to blame. But this is like the abused wife that she is somehow to blame for the fact that her husband beats her. It never occurs to her that her husband is a jerk who ought to be locked up.

Why? What evidence do you have that if conservatives are more docile than they are, that most people would *only then* see through the liberal BS? It seems to me that the opposite is true.

You even have a post below where you link to Reppert's blog on ID and you *know* it's a mistake to always kowtow to the angry leftist idiot and that sometimes the idiot needs to be taken to task and shown to be a sham. And yet when conservatives do this, you think that somehow they are wrong? Why? What if the failure is because of conservative pusillanimity and that increasing this will only make things worse? What positive evidence do you have for thinking the opposite?

Crude said...

Hey Thnuh Thnuh. What an interesting name. And a right-leaning atheist? Not the sort I usually encounter.

I just have 1 question. Why do you assume that the erosion of certain moral assumptions is due primarily to the tone of "socons"?

I'm not so naive to think that the loss of ground (I don't think 'certain moral assumptions' quite captures it) is totally due to the SoCons. Really, there's a determined social and media machine at work with this as well. I just think it played a major role. A good way to put it is, even if the media is out to get you, you can still have a shitty message.

So I agree totally about your media observations - I just don't think they're the whole story, and I think things can change. (To compare: the media isn't exactly pro-life or pro-gun either. Pro-life attitudes are largely unchanged over the same time period, and pro-gun attitudes actually seem far better now than they were in the recent past.)

You make this facile assumption that because of the decline of conservative values, conservatives are somehow to blame.

No facile assumptions here. I've watched and witnessed their approach and I think it's very often poorly considered, confusing, awkward and self-harmful. I see other approaches (Pope Francis in particular is doing stellar here, among others) and I see more success, not to mention a more reasonable approach.

Why? What evidence do you have that if conservatives are more docile than they are

I absolutely, positively reject 'docility'. That's not what I'm calling for, nor do I think Pope Francis (again, to use one example) can reasonably be called docile.

You even have a post below where you link to Reppert's blog on ID and you *know* it's a mistake to always kowtow to the angry leftist idiot and that sometimes the idiot needs to be taken to task and shown to be a sham.

I sure do.

And yet when conservatives do this, you think that somehow they are wrong?

I think you may be misunderstanding me.

Instead of mounting a defense of what I've said about this, I'm going to try something else if you're game. How about you tell me what you think I'm advocating? Describe my advice in your own words. If you succeed, I'll cop to it and we can continue. If you fail, I'll be able to locate where the misunderstanding lies.

Thnuh Thnuh said...

My impression is that if someone says that, say, you were talking to a liberal and he said, "What a horrible person the CEO of Chik-Fil-A is for expressing his opinion as a private individual!!!"

You would smile apologetically, cast down your eyes, and say, "Oh... I'm so sorry. We conservatives are sooo horrible for expressing our views about sexual ethics. Sexual ethics can only be a subjective expression of religion. They cannot possibly be something of interest to society at large. And that bigoted photographer in New Mexico who wouldn't allow herself to be forced into photographing something she thought was immoral (a lesbian ceremony). What a bigot! I am so sorry I offended you!"

I happen to think that people should be allowed to photograph whatever "ceremonies" that they want. But I think it is horrifying that now because you are a professional photographer that you are FORCED to participate in things that you might think are immoral and distasteful. What if a horror fan wanted to force her to photograph some distasteful horror scene? Would she be forced to comply??? As an atheist I must say this is giving too much power to the government. But NO ONE has the right to force people to conduct their business, or raise their family in a way that violates their conscience by forcing them to engage or endorse some activity that they think is immoral. This clearly crosses a boundary marker.

But you would play the Neville Chamberlain type dutifully, a smiling, ingratiating, toadying dhimmi. You'd smile and nod and apologize and abdicate the concept of individual liberty on which this nation was founded.


Thnuh Thnuh said...

If someone just doesn't want to photograph a lesbian ceremony, no one is being denied a job, or housing or visiting rights or anything. They just want to be left alone. It's like a Jewish or Muslim caterer who wouldn't cater an event that involved serving pork or shellfish.

Do you think that government has the right to demand of us that we cannot live our lives according to our conscience? That spiteful idiots have the right to punish people who have done no wrong because they are personally offended?

This is what your gentler approach will lead to. The problem is not abrasiveness on the part of conservatives. It is that conservatives (especially hermit atheists like me) have been ASLEEP at the switch. We've allowed people like this to gain power and have NOT BEEN ABRASIVE ENOUGH in stopping them. And now things are probably too late. But you won't help anything by being conciliatory and telling liberals that they are right that conservatives should not enforce their views in law (the lie that social ethics are all somehow "religious" therefore enshrining sexual ethics in law violates "church and state" separation).

Again let me tell you as an atheist, these secularists are not going to give you any credit or any fair hearing. If you have a Pollyanna-ish belief they will do so, this is Stockholm syndrome.



Crude said...

Thnuh,

But you would play the Neville Chamberlain type dutifully, a smiling, ingratiating, toadying dhimmi. You'd smile and nod and apologize and abdicate the concept of individual liberty on which this nation was founded.

Haha. You're very direct. Excellent.

I'm about to go out, so I'll have to give you a fuller response later. For now, let me link you a past exchange I had on this blog. Right here.

It's long and it's a back and forth, but I link it because it should hopefully go some way towards disabusing you of the notion that I somehow wilt and am meek when it comes to this topic. If anything I'm more blunt than most SoCons, because I insist on talking about the issue graphically. That, actually, is one of my other criticisms of typical SoCons - they mince words and end up talking about what they object to in such abstract, niced-up language that as far as the world is concerned they seem to be angry that two men hold hands at times.

Chances are I'm taking an approach that's very different from what you have in mind - and the sort of thing you're targeting IS extremely common, so I can understand why you'd categorize me that way at first contact. I'm very aware of how common it is to encounter complete fucking quislings on this subject.

malcolmthecynic said...

My impression is that if someone says that, say, you were talking to a liberal and he said, "What a horrible person the CEO of Chik-Fil-A is for expressing his opinion as a private individual!!!"

You would smile apologetically, cast down your eyes, and say, "Oh... I'm so sorry. We conservatives are sooo horrible for expressing our views about sexual ethics. Sexual ethics can only be a subjective expression of religion. They cannot possibly be something of interest to society at large. And that bigoted photographer in New Mexico who wouldn't allow herself to be forced into photographing something she thought was immoral (a lesbian ceremony). What a bigot! I am so sorry I offended you!"


If you think this, you know absolutely nothing at all about Crude.

This is the problem I see, this false dichotomy that changing the way you present your message to reflect a more positive tone=dropping all moral standards and caving in to the liberals' every command. Nor is Crude saying that he thinks we should change one iota of our views, or not express them. Nor is he even saying that we shouldn't be belligerent in the appropriate context.

You're assuming a Hell of a lot about Crude with virtually no basis at all.

Thnuh Thnuh said...

Too busy to read right now, will reply tomorrow. But given how bad things have gotten over the past few years, I'd rather have Steve Hays as dictator than Obummer as a dictator pretending to be president. I just can't believe how things have got to this point.

Crude said...

Thnuh,

No rush, but I'll assure you - the idea that I'm all meek and that priority one is not offending liberals is pretty funny to me in context.

You say you'd rather have Steve Hays as dictator. Alright - but that's not an option. Instead, we have to convince people we're correct, and convincing people means having to now and then take stock of what we say and how we say it and ask 'is this effective?' I agree with you 100% that the refusal to photograph a gay wedding (or various other things) should not only be legal, but the very idea that it should NOT be legal is goddamn absurd. Luckily that option seems more popular in the US right now, despite what the idiot courts say.

At the same time, I think that treating all people with same-sex attraction as basically LGBT warriors by default is a mistake, and using language to that effect is mistaken. Not just tactically (but certainly in that sense too) but also in terms of Christian faith as well. I think we should emphasize exactly what the problem with 'gay relationships' is, and - surprise! - it's the sex, not the hand-holding and some feelings of powerful friendship. There's a difference between worrying about offense, and worrying about needless, pointless offense.

We need to be more effective in getting out our message. We also need to recognize what our message is and should be, and a Steve Hays 'homosexuals sure are likely to molest kids, I don't have reliable stats on this but I feel it in my bones, this is sure to turn the tide!' move is a pretty stupid choice. Some of this won't apply to you - it's a Christian issue. Other aspects of it will. I doubt you personally would choose the argument 'Photographers shouldn't have to cover gay weddings because gays are disgusting people!' over 'Photographers shouldn't have to cover gay weddings because they have a right to choose what jobs they take, and forcing them to assist in a service they despise is insanely despotic.'

Syllabus said...

I'm frankly not sure why you even engage Hays et al in any sort of dialogue, given the obdurate way in which they think that a) they're obviously right, b) everyone who disagrees with them is not only wrong, but probably both stupid and wicked, and c) the license they take in being as big a jackass as they like in an argument, because 'hey, Jesus wasn't always nice to people!' I wonder whether actually fruitful dialogue can be had with such people, similar to the way in which you approach dialogue with the Gnus.

Crude said...

I'll actually throw in some defense of the Triablogue guys here. I think Bugay's one track mind with Catholicism is some weird, personal thing, and Hays is big on 'when in trouble, obfuscate wildly', but the conversation I had with both him and Hays is lightyears ahead of what I typically have with a Cult of Gnu sort - even if it ended with Hays apparently banning me. Bugay stayed something approximating civil (he conceded that the problem with Francis wasn't intent, but communication - I just think his argument failed badly there), and Hays actually tries to think on his feet and present good replies. He'll just spin off into irrelevancies and try to win the engagement rather than the argument. In comparison, I don't trust most Gnus to even know what they're talking about, or even comprehend their own parroted arguments.

One reason why I'll try to engage guys like that is simple: in part we're on the same side. Hays is hostile, and so is Bugay, but in spite of that hostility there is literal common ground there that I can appeal to. There's an outside chance he'll listen, if not about the Catholicism stuff, at least about communicating on social conservative issues. I have no problem trying to communicate with a sincere liberal Christian even though I'm arguably classed as conservative, precisely because a sincere Christianity at least gives us both a core view in common. It's when the Christianity or theism is overpowered by something else ('I'm a protestant, therefore Catholics are bad!' 'I'm a Republican, therefore Democrats are bad!') that trouble seeps in.

ColdIndustry said...

Crude, what do you make of the other Triablogue guys who post less, like Engwer, Chan and Schultz? Are all of them like Bugay and Hays? Or is it just that Bugay and Hays steal the show?

Crude said...

Cold,

I'm not sure. Most of them seem like a decent bunch - there was one guy who used to post talking in depth about his face to face experience when he went out preaching on campuses, etc, and I always found his stuff particularly fascinating and couldn't get enough of it for obvious reasons (I forget his name, sadly.). Sometimes I agree, sometimes I disagree, usually they present some decent thoughts or perspectives even if they're off in an extremely different Christian sphere than I've ever been in personally. (The whole YEC thing, etc.)

I think Steve tends to steal the show in that he's the most bombastic and prone to saying something outrageous, and he'll stick to his guns no matter what (way into 'this is actually a fault' territory). Bugay mostly seems easy to ignore, because he's predictable. For him the whole Catholicism thing has gone beyond 'He has serious disagreements with the Church' and more into the territory of 'You ever think about talking this over with a therapist, perhaps?' Who knows what's going on there.

But definitely, they don't all seem to be like Bugay and Hays, certainly in terms of the topics they stick to. Even Steve covers more topics than Bugay from what I've seen.