Saturday, April 5, 2014

Should conservatives be fair?

I hate to keep coming at Lothar on the "progressive" topic - I repeat again, he's always been civil and fair with me - but I want to focus on something he told me, after I announced that I really see no opportunities or reason to 'find common ground' with self-described "progressive" Christians. His quote:
But I hope you will start critically analyzing the misbehaviors of Conservatives in the same way you do for liberals. 
Now, for one thing - I do analyze conservatives already. I've criticized what I regard as the abundant flaws in social conservative over at What's Wrong With the World and on this blog. I've lodged my criticisms against what I consider to be the blind spots of economically conservative, I've defended Pope Francis' new approach to social conservative issues, and more. But I'm going to interpret Lothar's question to me in the way I think he ultimately meant it: shouldn't I be fair? Shouldn't I find, highlight and talk about the flaws in conservative views and approaches and arguments, just as I highlight and talk about the flaws in "progressive" views and approaches and arguments?

But here's the trick. Why should I do that? More to the point - since when do "progressives" engage in this kind of critical (and public) self-examination? Why should I regard myself as having any onus to play critic to the conservative points of view?

Is that an appeal to fairness? Because what... this is the standard held by the "progressives" when it comes to their own? Gosh, they're just lining up to highlight Obama as the biggest monster in town, aren't they? After all, he originally ran his campaign in opposition to same-sex marriage, and as the Eich situation demonstrated, even if you purport to change your mind after the fact on that topic your past position is still enough to run you the fuck out of town. And yet that's not happening. Call me crazy, but I suspect it won't happen for any politician with a flip-flop history who happens to be a Democrat running for re-election in the US. Or for any others of the situationally important.

But I should be fair, right? With 'fairness' defined as 'at least attack the conservatives SOMEtimes'.

Funny how that works.

Ultimately, it's moot. I'm not really on the "conservative" side - I am, intellectually, on a team with exactly one member at the end of the day, two if you count the Church. I know who I have something in common with, I keep tabs on the groups and people I can discuss things with, but I have little interest in mindlessly carrying water for the GOP, or "conservatives" or just about anyone else. But when it's suggested to me that I should at the very least gun for the conservatives now and then if I'm going to gun for the "progressives", rhetorically speaking, I somehow suspect I'm being played.

22 comments:

lotharlorraine said...

Dear Crude.

I really beg for your pardon.

Ever since I read your post yesterday evening, I have kept calling myself into question and reassessing my behavior in light of the Golden Rule.
I really fall short.


I just wrote a post presenting some conclusions I drew and changes I want to bring about .


I want to write a post calling my fellow progressive Christians so STOP using political means for imposing our liberal ideals.
I will argue that firing someone because he cannot (in good conscience) accept gay marriage is egregiously wrong and that it is even atrocious if it causes poor people to lose their livelihood.

Could you please give me web links towards examples of poor or moderately rich people having lost their job due to their opposition to homosexual weddings?


I genuinely want to foster a culture tolerance.


I truly hope that, one day in the future, you'll forgive me and see me as a brother in Christ despite our political differences.
I have even the (vain and probably delusional) hope we could even become friends if we better knew each other, this is why I once wanted to Skype with you.


I feel very depressed and worn down due to my own failures, I don't know what I could do for repairing this.


Sincerely yours, Marc.

Vand83 said...

In general, when conversing with progressives I'll at some point have a comment similar to these

"You need to be more open minded." or "You shouldn't draw a line in the sand." and my personal favorite "If you were actually open minded, you'd agree with me".

It seems that the progressive idea of fairness demands agreement with them. If this is the case, I'm quite content being labeled as unfair.

Acatus Bensley said...

What's wrong with the GOP? Ted Cruz has done no wrong so far. Or do you consider The GOP and Tea Party separate?

Crude said...

Acatus,

The problem with the GOP is that it's a political party filled with various interests, some of them I'm in opposition to, but often with a bit of bullshit going on. Yes, I do see the Tea Party as separate from the GOP - just take a look at the immigration fight to see an example of that split.

As for Cruz, I like him. The only area I strongly disagree with him would be, as far as I can tell, on foreign policy. I'm pretty isolationist at this point - I don't want us to go fight Russia or Iran or whoever else.

Crude said...

Marc,

I want to write a post calling my fellow progressive Christians so STOP using political means for imposing our liberal ideals.

Well, that would actually mean you're not a "progressive" anymore in my view. And I'm not kidding - that's a pretty big dividing line.

Could you please give me web links towards examples of poor or moderately rich people having lost their job due to their opposition to homosexual weddings?

Aside from Eich and Robertson, we also have the example of Frank Turek. You also get situations like this.

I truly hope that, one day in the future, you'll forgive me and see me as a brother in Christ despite our political differences.

You're forgiven. Look, Marc, I keep trying to explain here that you've done me no personal wrong - in fact, you've been tremendously considerate, as I keep pointing out. What I am opposing here is a mentality, an attitude, that I see as epidemic among "progressive" people, Christian and not. So when I see an endorsement of, frankly, Dawkins' nastiest charge - the charge that really threatens to make state persecution of Christians ramped up to an extreme, and it seems tweaked and aimed at those forever flawed 'conservative Christians'... that's an example of my limit. The 'bakers must make a wedding cake for gay couples' thing, likewise, is something I can't turn a blind eye to.

I'll have a look at your post.

lotharlorraine said...

" of, frankly, Dawkins' nastiest charge - the charge that really threatens to make state persecution of Christians ramped up to an extreme,"

I should have thought twice before formulating this sentence.
I sincerely don't think that parents teaching eternal torment to their child are always abusing them.
As I said, my almost secular parents taught me the existence of such a place awaiting the wicked.

However, I do believe that saying to a child "If you don't believe in Jesus, you are going to eternally suffer" can be abusive, depending on the tone which is employed.
I think you would probably agree with me that intentionally terrorizing a child with eternal pain is abusive.

And theologically speaking, I find that irreconciable with God's perfection and the life of Jesus of Nazareth (whereby He showed us His human face).


But you know what? Teaching the annihilation of the wicked (my own view) can be abusive as well.
And under certain circumstances, an atheist teaching to his small kid that she has to come to term with the fact she is just a temporary insignificant being can be abusive as well:
You should take a look at this
http://www.bethinking.org/atheism/atheism-and-child-abuse

So I certainly don't endorse the entire claim of Dawkins and was silly to have left such an impression, I do agree with him that many people have been traumatized by this teaching

But you know what? I am not dogmatic by any means about this.

I want to find studies where the well-being of children with different kinds of religious and non-religious backgrounds is compared AND the influence of belief in eternal torment, annihilation, universalism, and atheistic nihilism is objectively compared and analyzed.

If it turns out that very few children feel abused due to the teaching of eternal torment, I shall gladly revise my opinion on this.


A last remark: annihilation is a form of hell, not a denial of it, as Chris Date explained:

http://lotharlorraine.wordpress.com/2014/02/25/eternal-hell-and-conditional-immortality-an-interview-with-chris-date/

P.S: I wrote this before having read your comment:

"“Anna, remember… you don’t even have a self. You’re really just a soulless automaton, a meat robot. Your every supposed “choice” is just the unintended result of mindless physical properties – just like my love for you, which is really just a survival mechanism programmed by evolution. And when you die, you’re altogether gone and will never come back… just like everyone you love. Well, everyone you think you love – there is no you. Nighty night.”"

We truly are in the same boat here, I entirely agree this would be abusive :-)

Acatus Bensley said...

I knew it. I'm an isolationist too. Ted Cruz is the guy. I bet he'll win the presidency if America has realized that Democrats are socialists that don't actually plan on restoring the country.

Vand83 said...

"A last remark: annihilation is a form of hell, not a denial of it, as Chris Date explained: "

So annihilation is a form of non-existence that has a form requiring that it exist non-existingly? Are you using the classic philosophic use of the word form here?

Acatus Bensley said...

Speaking of various interest, I've heard among fellow Conservatives that Boehner isn't conservative enough. Are they referring to him budging on every budget conversation? I haven't kept up with talks about the budget.

Crude said...

Acatus,

It's probably budget issues, immigration issues, and more. I really disliked how for a long time Boehner was giddily having these private meetings with Obama where he'd 'make bipartisan deals' and then announce all the concessions he made to Obama after the fact - the impression I got was that he loved feeling so important and being able to negotiate directly with the president, and didn't care so much that every 'deal' with a rotten one.

That's another reason I'm not too hot on the GOP. I don't equate 'GOP' with 'conservative'. Just as the democrats are beholden to various industries and interests, so are the GOP - just a different spread of industries, and often what would 'benefit the industry' and what benefits Americans generally are at odds.

Vand83 said...

Never mind, I'd rather not discuss the uselessness of annihilation theology. In part because the majority of secular thought is quite comfortable with the idea of non-existence. Many prefer the idea to Heaven. Now, if you want to get them fired up, explain hell as it's traditionally understood.



Syllabus said...

Ultimately, it's moot. I'm not really on the "conservative" side - I am, intellectually, on a team with exactly one member at the end of the day, two if you count the Church. I know who I have something in common with, I keep tabs on the groups and people I can discuss things with, but I have little interest in mindlessly carrying water for the GOP, or "conservatives" or just about anyone else.

Now, see, I'm willing to believe that, but progressives (at least, American progressives) probably wouldn't be. One of the defining characteristics of progressive political philosophy is identity politics, which means that, no matter how much you say this, and no matter how true it is, to a lot of them (I don't say all) you're lying, because you belong to tribe X, and thus must believe all the things that they think tribe X must think. So I'm not really clear on the point of making this distinction, since the people who would actually be amenable to the argument will probably already assume this sort of thing, and the people who don't will, by and large, not actually be open to that argument.


I bet he'll win the presidency if America has realized that Democrats are socialists that don't actually plan on restoring the country.

I'm not a Republican, but FWIW I'd nominate either Mitch Daniels or Scott Walker for a presidential run. Both have shown themselves to be quite competent administrators in their respective states, and I have a good degree of confidence that they could do real good in the White House.

Acatus Bensley said...

Could you name any other GOP representatives that seem too shady?

Acatus Bensley said...

Libertarian?

Crude said...

Acatus,

Could you name any other GOP representatives that seem too shady?

John McCain. George W Bush was hardly conservative in a lot of ways, rather conservative in others. Bob Dole, historically. I would have said Arlen Specter but ha ha we saw how that turned out.

I think the term 'establishment Republican' sums up the sort I'm talking about.

Acatus Bensley said...

I actually thought John McCain was a Democrat LOL. What a RINO. Paul Ryan seems genuine. What do you think Crude.?

Crude said...

Acatus,

Well, keep in mind it's not necessarily a binary situation. Paul Ryan, etc, have their upsides and downsides. At this point I have a pretty negative view of any GOP member pushing for immigration reform with a 'reform first, enforcement second' attitude. They strike me as utterly beholden to business interests that want to keep wages in the US deflated.

So for me, that's a kind of litmus test.

Crude said...

So I'm not really clear on the point of making this distinction, since the people who would actually be amenable to the argument will probably already assume this sort of thing, and the people who don't will, by and large, not actually be open to that argument.

I'm just speaking frankly, I don't care of some "progressive" disagrees. That said, their attitude is a self-fulfilling prophecy. If you keep drawing a circle around a given group of people and treating them as an Other and you have the power to effect them, they're going to react as a group if they don't get exterminate, and thus I suppose your group identity is born even if it wasn't beforehand.

lotharlorraine said...

Hey Crude, did you receive my email?

I am genuinely seeking a constructive dialog and want to be just towards everyone and unapologetically recognize the egregious mistakes I sometimes make.

I'd need the information I asked you for writing a good post.

There are clearly progressive Christians who find it bad (and even shameful) to fire a nice person just because she opposed gay weddings.
I'll try to raise a global consciousness that it is something which we ought to condemn.

I truly hope we'll find a manner to have further cordial interactions while disagreeing on many issues.

Is not such a learning process (in general) an excellent way to start loving our foes?


Cheers.

Crude said...

Lothar,

I received an email that said 'hey' but the body seemed empty. Try sending it again?

And, I thought we were having cordial interactions all this time, even after my posts? Admittedly I wrote those when I was pretty furious, but I've been going out of my way to give you what I thought was fair treatment, defending you from what I thought were improper charges, etc. Have I failed in this respect? A sincere question, that - I really am trying to be fair and considerate here, as you always have been with me in direct conversation, even if I deeply disagree with some of what I regard as your inclinations regarding government.

You're a unique case, so to speak.

malcolmthecynic said...

Marc, you're kind of funny, and not necessarily in a bad way. I remember you once, not long ago, had a post where a gentleman talked about a debate he had with an evangelical who believed in Hell.

In this debate he emphasized that the woman he talked with seemed like a genuinely good person, polite, amicable, and all-around decent.

She also believed it was likely he was going to Hell. The gentleman interviewer said this soured his entire opinion of her, because either she didn't care about his eternal soul or she was going through massive cognitive dissonance.

You remind me of that girl. You seem like a genuinely good guy, open to constructive dialogue, intelligent, and polite to everybody he debates, no matter how strong the disagreements.

But some of the things you believe cause such massive gulfs between you and conservative Christians that despite your goodwill it does unfortunately sour my opinion of you, much like the woman who is a decent person but believes in eternal torture in Hell.

As for myself - as you like to say, it's always a learning experience. You might be interested to know that when I was younger I was in favor of same-sex marriage and in favor of abortion in cases of rape. My opinions are now strongly held, but not totally static either, and each time I talk to somebody I do try and pick up on my mistakes, hence the apology I issued after posting on your blog.

Our opinions, though, may differ by so much that true dialogue is impossible. Ultimately such conversions must be left up to the Holy Spirit, and our real efforts should be to persuade those who are perhaps more open to ideas.

I just don't know if we have the same ideas about what would constitute "conversion" and how desirable it would be.

Goldenrush Apple said...

This is what someone replied back to me when I said that I didn't like Macklemore's politics (this years Grammy civil marriage event with homosexuals & straights) and attributed his politics to his home city, Seattle, which he is a big advocate of:

And how is your music taste living in the swamp with your sibling parents? Dueling banjos perched up in a tree with the ubiquitous missing teeth? Just curious..

I neither have blood ties to the "swamp" aka the South & Great Plains (I actually was raised in the city where I currently reside) nor were my parents young when they got married or had kids when compared to the late teens/early 20s stereotype of supposed country folks.

I don't play the banjo (though I would like to learn the dobro) and I have all my teeth.

He later accused me of mocking rap (which I never did).