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The path to power

Here is a website that is obviously produced by people very, very angry about what they see as the one-sided coverage of Mr Obama in his recent victorious campaign. You do not have to buy into conspiracy theories to be alarmed at the fawning press coverage that Mr Obama received during the campaign. As for the treatment of the McCain/Palin ticket, while I am certainly no great fan of either, the hysteria over Mrs Palin’s personal life or supposed wing-nuttery over religion seemed totally out of proportion.

In the end, we get the media we do because the underlying philosophical assumptions of the public at large are reflected by it and at the same time, those assumptions are held by the media outlets themselves. It pains me to say it but in many respects, the US is now closer to the social-democratic, corporatist model of Europe than many in the US will want to admit. There will, I hope, be a backlash, but whether that backlash is a particularly libertarian one is not something I am very confident about at this point.

Thanks to fellow contributor Paul Marks to alerting me to this website.

74 comments to The path to power

  • “In the end, we get the media we do because the underlying philosophical assumptions of the public at large are reflected by it and at the same time, those assumptions are held by the media outlets themselves.”

    “Propaganda is not the art of instilling opinion in the masses. Actually, it is the art of receiving opinion from the masses.”

    “Konrad Heiden, ‘Der Fuehrer: Hitler’s Rise To Power’, Boston, 1944, p. 139″

    (Hannah Arendt — “Part Three of The Origins of Totalitarianism”, footnote 55 at p. 59)

  • Kevin B

    It would appear that the backlash, (media wise anyway), has already begun.

    First there was Santelli and the Tea Party movement, and now it seems that even Chris Tingle is having buyer’s remorse.

    It will be interesting to see if the Tea Party thing takes off, and if it does, whether/how the MSM covers it.

  • Gib

    I don’t think the hysteria over the wingnuttery of her religion or anyone elses religion went far enough.
    More hysteria over that sort of thing is better. Particularly with Palin. She really was a wingnut. What’s wrong with drawing attention to that ?

    Why should we not be concerned with leaders who are that far from reality ? Isn’t a passing familiarity with reality a good thing?

  • Kevin B

    Gib,

    I think you’re missing a couple of points that were brought out in the trailer to the movie.

    First, that Sarah Palin’s ‘religious wingnuttery’ was exagerated and misrepresented in order to demonise her and derail the Republican campaign, and second, that Obama sat every Sunday for twenty years in the church of Rev. Jeremiah Wright, a ‘liberation theologist’, and this fact was quickly glossed over by the media.

    Personally, I am prepared to cut people, even politicians, considerable slack over their religious beliefs as long as they don’t try and impose those beliefs on me, but if I were an American citizen I would prefer as President a Christian conservative over a socialist steeped in liberation theology.

  • Russell

    I think you’re spot-on about how much closer the current U.S. is to Europe’s social-democratic, corporatist model – the current economic crisis is accelerating the shift exponentially.

    What frustrates me is when I try to speak to my European friends about “libertarian” ideas and they consistently refer to America as refutation of those ideas. “The current crisis shows capitalism does not work. America is laissez faire and look what has happened.”

    My friends fail to realize that their criticisms of the U.S. (aside from the ones coming purely from snottiness or aesthetics – some of which I sympathize with) could often be directed at the mirror. The U.S. as a free-market haven is a great meme to keep folks from looking squarely in that mirror.

  • Gabriel

    http://www.howobamagotelected.com/joe-biden-clip.asp

    Some of the videos at the website are astonishing. I knew about the bias and selectivity, but the volume of straightforward lying is crazy.

    One of the thing’s I think Gabb’s analysis misses is how much the enemy class has taken over the privately owned media. I have absolutely no idea how even a slash and burn Libertarian revolution can deal with this. In a sense, it would be easier in Britain as taking out the BBC would create a large media hole, but with CNN et al. what chance does America have?

  • Stephan

    Aside from my utter disgust at the fanboy group masturbation of the media all over Barak and anything he says, does or poses for; I find it noteworthy that the guy doesnt seem to neglect any opportunity to pose for magazine covers… I swear I have seen him posing (actually professionally posing) on the covers of at least a few magazines these last days.. Seem like the new Prez has a bit of inflated ego.

  • John K

    The sooner his face is on a dollar bill the better.

  • RFN

    Hey Gib. Tell us HOW Palin is a religious wingnut. Please do. I don’t care about your fantasies (terrifying as I’m sure they were). How does she govern like a religious wingnut? Thanks in advance. I’m betting you just loathe religious people.

  • Jordan

    The sooner his face is on a dollar bill the better.

    Not until its value approaches that of Zimbabwean currency.

  • RRS

    The “MEDIA, the “MSM” in particular is dying back. This is not news perhaps, but reflection will take us to the multiple reasons why; and, how some of the reasons are crudely displayed in “political reporting.”

    Most in the print field are concentrating on being “writers” without regard to or for basic factual reporting. There is total dependency on adverbial and adjectival phrasings. Tho’ it was somewhat reduced by the USA TODAY format, now in decline as well.

    There is of course the drive to become significant by “waging influence.” But then, that is the prerogative of publishers – not always with negative impact as was shown us in mid-18th century England.

    The fluid and ephemeral visual media have most of the same defects; but the supposedly entertainment presentations are now more and stuffed with what our “ironing lady” down South used to call “preachments.”

    The net response has been continuous decline in readers and watchers. That has been this writer’s response (along with millions) – ignore the bastards, they have no fight in them, they will not work for their ends.

    The proles will find their own way home after the “Snipe Hunt” guidance of the MSM.

  • Jack Olson

    The post said that we get the news media we get because they reflect the assumptions and beliefs of the population. Actually, the American MSM is far to the left of the population and is rapidly losing its audience. The network news shows have lost a third of their audience since 1992 and their average viewer is now in his fifties. Nearly all cable TV news shows have lost audience, with the significant exception of Fox. More and more American cities have only one daily newspaper. The best known American newspaper, the New York Times, has mortgaged its headquarters to get operating capital. Several large newspapers such as the Los Angeles Times announced layoffs last year. The Houston Chronicle, the only daily in that city, posted a 10% loss in readership last year. The traditional news media in the United States wants to die. Let it die.

  • John K

    The sooner his face is on a dollar bill the better.

    Not until its value approaches that of Zimbabwean currency.

    They don’t call them dead presidents for nothing. The sooner BHO is consigned to the dustbin of history the better. The US might just survive one term, but not two.

  • Britt

    Gib wrote

    I don’t think the hysteria over the wingnuttery of her religion or anyone elses religion went far enough.
    More hysteria over that sort of thing is better. Particularly with Palin. She really was a wingnut. What’s wrong with drawing attention to that ?

    Why should we not be concerned with leaders who are that far from reality ? Isn’t a passing familiarity with reality a good thing?

    _______________________________________

    Wingnuttery? Ah yes, that whole “maybe it would be better not to kill unborn children” thing. Yeah, that’s an extremist position alright. Ditto that nasty evil notion that the government in Washington is beholden to the people and not the Bipartisan Bureaucracy

    Actually Sarah Palin’s position on gay rights and her general tone and language when speaking about gay people was one of the best moments of the campaign for me. Her veto of an anti-gay law and her admission that she (gasp!) actually has gay friends is the first genuinely good thing coming out of the GOP on that front since the whole issue first hit the national stage.

    Yeah, if that’s a wingnut, then I want more of them. Because the snotty libertarians who bashed her because of her accent and her horribly unsophisticated lifestyle were bashing the only chance in the 2008 presidential election for some kind of reduction in Leviathan. Yeah, yeah, Ron Paul and all that, but he couldn’t clinch the nomination, and so he’s out. So what do you do? Do you pick the two statists and let them join up with a statist legislature? Or do you pick the maverick, who might be working against you about 90% of the time, but who has brought to the national political scene the one person since Reagan that actually wants to cut the size of government?

    So how again is Sarah Palin so terrible? Oh yeah, that’s right. She drinks beer, not wine, hunts her own food, has five (egads, how utterly unsophisticated) kids, drops her gs, believes in God, but damn it also happens to be one of the two people in 2008 who believed government should do less, not more? Well, you call her a wingnut and tear her to shreds. Real smart. Gosh, it’s a wonder that the Party can’t draw more then 3% of the vote.

    Libertarians: We Make The Perfect The Enemy of The Good.

  • Nick E

    “It pains me to say it but in many respects, the US is now closer to the social-democratic, corporatist model of Europe than many in the US will want to admit.”

    Wow, amazing it took Mr. H.L. Mencken in London so long to figure this one out. Those of us who actually live over here have been acutely aware of this for about a decade and a half.

  • Stephan

    Completely in agreement Britt! With Sarah Palin we saw a surprising number of libertarians completely sell out on a decent person due to a silly, pretentious bias against bieng associated with an “unsophisticated hick” like her. It’s like selling out a potentially good friend just to move higher in the opinion of someone strong who already hates you anyways.
    Truth be told, Palin doesnt at all strike me as being either stupid or ignorant. She’s well spoken, practical, and taking this whole sad mess of a smear campaign with remarkably good spirit and fortitude. I havent yet seen the kind of teary eyed “im such a victim” whining that we would almost surely see from someone like Katie Couric.
    Whats more, the leftie twats who slandered Palin on TV seriously imagine themselves as bieng tough heroines for doing so! HAH! I mean seriously, its hardly heroine like of them to throw stones at a someone that all thier numerous friends have already kicked to the ground.

    I really wonder how much of the hatred that comes from sources like “the view” and women like Katie Couric and all the other angry, fully “modern”, feminised female reporters is really just a deep bitter envy of the fact that this tough woman has managed to raise a large loving family, keep a solid marriage, and still become successful professionally.

  • M

    Palin’s major achievements in Alaska before becoming McCain’s running mate were to increase taxes on oil and then dole out hundreds of millions of subsidies for renewable energy.

  • Johnathan Pearce

    Britt, agreed. Ron Paul holds a lot of views that are simply off the charts for me as a libertarian, and yet some of the capital L libertarians felt okay giving him their support, but damned Mrs Palin.

  • feminised female reporters

    Good turn of phrase, that one:-)

  • Gib

    [Palin] drinks beer, not wine, hunts her own food, has five (egads, how utterly unsophisticated) kids, drops her gs, believes in God, but damn it also happens to be one of the two people in 2008 who believed government should do less, not more?

    I didn’t say she was all bad, just a wingnut. I’ve no problem with any of the qualities above, apart from the god thing.

    And, no I don’t loathe religious people as a rule. It’s in proportion to how much their beliefs influence others. As Vice President, it would have influenced others.

    Samples of her wingnuttery:
    Wants creationism in schools.
    Thinks things are “God’s will”, divorcing herself from responsibility (and reality) in decisionmaking.
    Is in favour of ignorance-only sex education.
    Is very anti abortion.
    Stands at the front of the church getting prayed for as protection against witchcraft by a Kenyan witch-doctor.
    Palin’s church, which she attends volountarily, is all about the end-times prophecy.

    Wingnut. Not all bad, but still a wingnut.

  • coniston

    Gib. Get your facts straight. Don’t know how to link on this computer..apologies but try explorations.chasrmartin.com/2008/09/06/palin-rumors.
    which will link you to the original stuff.
    Palin has not tried to get creationism to be taught in schools.
    The God’s will quote was taken out of context. It is a standard religious reference. Has nothing to do with divorcing herself from responsibility. “Thy will be done.” Lord’s Prayer.
    Has not said that she doesn’t want sex education taught or references to contraception.
    What is wrong or wingnuttery about being anti-abortion? I don’t agree, but I don’t think it is wingnuttery.
    RE: the Kenyan. She was in a situation that she wasn’t controlling. YOU would have done the same thing rather than throw a self-indulgent and rude hissy fit.
    Palin’s church is not all about end-times prophecy. Under those terms, Obama’s church was 99% racist and anti-American. Stop reading opinion. Start reading some news.
    You’re not all bad either, but still ignorant.

  • Laird

    Good reply, Coniston. I couldn’t support McCain, but when he added Palin to the ticket I got a whole lot closer. (Still couldn’t actually bring myself to vote for him, though.) In my opinion they had the wrong person at the top of the ticket, and I hope we see more of her in national politics.

    I’m an atheist, so I don’t much care about anyone’s religion as long as they don’t try to impose it on me. Palin’s religious views are very mainstream and unobjectionable (once you get past the distortions and outright lies spread by her political opponents). And abortion is not strictly a religious issue; there are plenty of solid libertarians who oppose the practice.

    (Oh, and as to her “increasing taxes on oil”, that’s another one of those distortions. All she did was eliminate an unfair and politically motivated [i.e., bought and paid for] exemption for the major oil companies, to put them on a level playing field with the local companies. You may call that an “increase”, but it’s more properly viewed as a simple exercise in tax fairness.)

    My choice for the GOP 2012 ticket: Palin-Sanford (in either order). Give me that and I wouldn’t even think of voting for the Libertarian nobody (or even for Ron Paul).

  • Gabriel

    My comment went down the memory hole, so I’ll repost minus the vitriol.

    From the perspective of our established church, Pentecostals are guilty of schism and are arguably heretics, measured by the standards of (small c) catholic orthodoxy. Additionally, many of their practices clealry mark them out as what used to be known in this kingdom as ‘fanatics’. We have always had healthy fear of such people (case for the prosecution 1, Lloyd George).

    However, what I think it is interesting is that what Palin et al. are usually attacked for are not their heterodox beliefs, but the areas they stick to traditional Christianity. It’s rather bizarre and not a little unpleasant to find Episcopalians (i.e. probably the only true church in the United States) condemning Anabaptist sectaries for taking the bible seriously.

  • Johnathan Pearce

    However, what I think it is interesting is that what Palin et al. are usually attacked for are not their heterodox beliefs, but the areas they stick to traditional Christianity. It’s rather bizarre and not a little unpleasant to find Episcopalians (i.e. probably the only true church in the United States) condemning Anabaptist sectaries for taking the bible seriously.

    I am taken aback by how you say “probably the only true church in the United States”, Gabriel, as if there was some way of officially divining what the “true” and “false” churches are in that country. Of course, the greatness of Jefferson’s Republic is in precisely not having to take a view on that matter, given the separation of church and state.

  • Gabriel

    The Apostolic church in any paticular area is the true church, any other congregations are schismatic. There can only be one true church in any particular place. That’s basic. Whether people outside that church are damned is a matter for debate, but the weight of Christian tradition certainly leans to yes.

    Arguably, given the 1st ammmendment, this has to be taken on a state by state basis, so while the episcopalian church is the true church in Virginia, the Roman Catholic one is in New Mexico and the Lutheran in Wisconsin etc.

    Obviously I don’t have much of a dog in this fight, but I must say that the American insistence that any conventicle of nutters equates to a church, and the fact that this is considered there virtually tantamount to national doctrine and, indeed, a fundamental truth that everyone must acccept, is one of the country’s less appealing features.

  • Gabriel,
    what on earth are you talking about?

  • Johnathan Pearce

    Gabriel, just because a church can trace its origins back centuries rather than back to a shorter time period does not prove its status as “the true church” while those that were established recently by groups of “nutters” as you call them are not so “true”. That begs the question of whether the longevity of any institution gives us much grounds for establishing its “trueness”. Your argument hardly sounds very logical.

    I suspect that you would have had an interesting time explaining such views in the era of Messrs Calvin, Luther and the other lot!

    Of course, back to the Republicans and the religious right, I hope that the Republican party tries to push back against the excesses of that grouping. The GoP must focus, in my view, on reclaiming the arguments for small, limited government.

  • Gabriel

    The GoP must focus, in my view, on reclaiming the arguments for small, limited government.

    Well, good luck to them; not much appetite for that though. Were I Bobby Jindal, I would have said the following last night.

    Dear American people, if you believe one word of that crock of s**t the President of this nation just tried to sell you, then you deserve everything coming. When we’re all eating gruel in 20 years time I hope you look back on this time of Hope and Change with fondess. F*k you. Seriously. G’night.

  • Laird

    Gabriel, any church is a “conventicle of nutters”, whether old or new, large or small, “true” or otherwise. It receives no more respect from me because of its “apostolic” nature. That’s basic, your peculiar notions of apostolic vs schismatic notwithstanding.

  • A Jew and an atheist arguing over what is a “true church”. Samizdata wonders never cease.

  • Paul Marks

    Gib shows just how powerful the media are – he believed almost every bit of nonsense they came up with about Sarah Palin. I am no Palin fan (the lady is far too moderate for my taste) – but what they came out was a tissue of lies.

    However, I will not accept the “snotty libertarians” wreaked things for McCain/Palin line either.

    I am a libertarian (I have been one since I found out what the word meant – about 30 years ago) – and although British I did what I could for the ticket, not the first time I have stuck my nose in either.

    In spite of the media McCain/Palin were getting ahead in the polls.

    And then the bank bailout came along – or rather JOHN MCCAIN’S support for the bailout.

    “But Obama supported it also” – he was not running on his record of opposing wild government spending.

    Do not take my snotty libertarian word for the above – Dick Morris said the same and said it at the time.

    The person who cost McCain/Palin the election was John McCain.

  • Paul Marks

    I forgot to thank J.P. for his kind mention of me – my apologies.

    For people who want a book on the media support of Comrade Barack Obama – then Bernie Goldberg’s “A Great Slushing Love Affair” is out there (not in Britain of course – where only pro Obama books seem to be allowed in the, near empty, book stores).

    Not to be confused with J. Goldberg’s “Liberal Fascism” (from H.G. Wells’ desire for “a liberal Fascism an enlightened National Socialism”) – although, I am told, this book is finally out in Britain (hard to believe).

    I do not know whether J.P. is right in saying that Americans in general are social democratic in their outlook.

    It is a complicated question – and I am just not sure of the truth of the matter.

    However, Barack Obama himself is not a European style Social Democrat.

    He is a lot worse than that.

  • Paul Marks

    I forgot to thank J.P. for his kind mention of me – my apologies.

    For people who want a book on the media support of Comrade Barack Obama – then Bernie Goldberg’s “A Great Slushing Love Affair” is out there (not in Britain of course – where only pro Obama books seem to be allowed in the, near empty, book stores).

    Not to be confused with J. Goldberg’s “Liberal Fascism” (from H.G. Wells’ desire for “a liberal Fascism an enlightened National Socialism”) – although, I am told, this book is finally out in Britain (hard to believe).

    I do not know whether J.P. is right in saying that Americans in general are social democratic in their outlook.

    It is a complicated question – and I am just not sure of the truth of the matter.

    However, Barack Obama himself is not a European style Social Democrat.

    He is a lot worse than that.

  • Laird

    Nice shot, Alisa. Touché!

  • M

    And then the bank bailout came along – or rather JOHN MCCAIN’S support for the bailout.

    “But Obama supported it also” – he was not running on his record of opposing wild government spending.

    You can add the fact that they were too PC to use the Reverend Wright issue against Obama. Also, they couldn’t use the immigration issue to appeal to the working class because McCain co-authored the failed amnesty bill.

  • Gabriel

    Alisa – chodesh tov – yes it’s odd. Nevertheless, if we must have avodah zarah, I would prefer it to be apostolic avodah zarah, established by law. Seriously, though, and very sadly in my opinion, I’m one of very few people in this country who gives a fig about such things and that includes the episcopal bench.

    Anyway, my point is, simply, that Palin, Bush and other members of whacky sects of dubious claim to catholicity are generally attacked, not for where they are genuinely whacky, but for where they preserve normative Christianity. Personally, I think that’s odd.

    **

    My other missing comment pointed out the obvious, that Obama’s church is not merely pseudo-Christian, but simply not-Christian. He himself espouses, when he can be bothered, a sort of New Age Arian-Pelagianism, but actually believes nothing, or certainly nothing edifying. His hero, Alinsky, dedicated his book to Lucifer, ‘the original rebel’.

    And, bringing us back to the topic, how many Americans know that?

    **
    Speaking of ‘ignorance only’ sex-education, there was an interesting article by a teacher (PHSE, but one can forgive that) in the Times a couple of days ago. And, if that doesn’t rather prove Palin’s point, I don’t know what does.

  • Gabriel

    Whoa! wrong article. Here’s the one:

    http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/life_and_style/education/article5760138.ece

    A Nugget.

    I have heard horrific stories, from the children themselves, about how they carry on. Claire, who needed the morning-after pill because after a “party” she had willingly lain down on a park bench and allowed four boys, one after the other, to have sex with her. “I just thought it was a laugh,” she said, “but I’m scared now.”

    I’ve never been prouder to be part of an extremist religious minority in my life.

  • Paul Marks

    On Rev. Wright – yes M, that was a John McCain veto.

    The ads were made, they were good – and the …….. would not run them.

    Someone who CHOOSES (as opposed to being from a family that just happened to go to the nearest church) a Liberation Theology Church (it is clear from the writings that “black” Libertarion Theology is just an off shoot designed to appeal to a certain target audience) and stays in it for 20 years is not a fit and proper person to run for local dog catcher – let alone anything else. This is the “joke” with all his links (and Rev Wright is just one – there are links going way before this) Barack Obama should not even get a low level security clearance – and now he is President of the United States.

    On immigration – my old friend (when we are not fighting over past history – as middle aged people tend to do) A. Clarke got it right.

    “Paul they fell between two stones – the Republicans were condidered anti immigrant by a lot of the hispanic voters [in spite of John McCain kissing up to La Rosa - which even a libertarian like me would no do] and yet having McCain on the ticket meant that people who really wanted a tough line on immigration stayed home”.

    Still back to Barack Obama:

    Even leaving aside his life long Marxist links (admitedly some of them to groups mainstream Marxists would consider heretical sects) and his decades in the corrupt Chicago Machine (opposing anyone, including liberal Democats, who tried to clean up Chicago politics) there is another thing that jumps out about “The One”.

    He wrote two books about how wonderful he was – before he was 40, and when all he had done was getting elected to a few things – he had never done anything worthy of praise (sorry helping to get taxpayers money does not count). And yet there were the books – with his smileing face on the front cover.

    Even in the U.S. Senate he had just got there before he was off running for President.

    It was as if J.F.K. had written two books about himself before being elected to the Senate in 1952 – and (without having served in the military – as the real J.F.K did) had decided to at once run for President and had been elected in 1956.

    Of course the real J.F.K. was a friend of Joe McCarthy so perhaps it is a bad comparison with Comrade Barack.

    I am now told that why-I-am-so-wonderful Volume III is out (again with the sacred image of the face of The One on the front cover).

    Whatever someone’s politics – writing three books about yourself, when you have never done anything worthy of praise, is just sick in the head.

  • Sunfish

    Gabriel

    The Apostolic church in any paticular area is the true church, any other congregations are schismatic.

    This is like the gay guy living on my couch commenting on women.

  • Gib

    OK, Palin isn’t pushing for creationism to be taught, although she has been quoted as saying both should be taught. Her current position may not include that.
    It looks like I was wrong about the abstinence-only education.
    It wasn’t only one quote about God’s will. There are several. And yes, reciting the lord’s prayer is divorcing yourself from reality, but that’s not what I meant anyway.
    Being anti-abortion isn’t wingnuttery in itself, but it helps.
    Regarding the Kenyan, I haven’t heard any subsequent explanation from her, denouncing the witchdoctor, or explaining herself. I can’t assume she was just going along with it until she does say such a thing.
    The news I’ve seen does indicate her church and pastor have a fascination with end-times prophecy. Care to show me the news which disagrees ?

    Thanks for the info. Not as big a wingnut as I thought. But, still a wingnut. (Whether Obama is a wingnut too is not the discussion here. There’s room is this world for more than one.)

  • M

    On Rev. Wright – yes M, that was a John McCain veto.

    The ads were made, they were good – and the …….. would not run them.

    Someone who CHOOSES (as opposed to being from a family that just happened to go to the nearest church) a Liberation Theology Church (it is clear from the writings that “black” Libertarion Theology is just an off shoot designed to appeal to a certain target audience) and stays in it for 20 years is not a fit and proper person to run for local dog catcher – let alone anything else. This is the “joke” with all his links (and Rev Wright is just one – there are links going way before this) Barack Obama should not even get a low level security clearance – and now he is President of the United States.

    On immigration – my old friend (when we are not fighting over past history – as middle aged people tend to do) A. Clarke got it right.

    “Paul they fell between two stones – the Republicans were condidered anti immigrant by a lot of the hispanic voters [in spite of John McCain kissing up to La Rosa - which even a libertarian like me would no do] and yet having McCain on the ticket meant that people who really wanted a tough line on immigration stayed home”.

    McCain ended up being denounced as a racist by the usual suspects anyway, which only makes it even more strange why his campaign refused to attack Obama over his links with Wright. Anyone going against Obama was going to be called a racist. Since that was inevitable, they should have used the Wright issue.

    My reading of Rothbard, Von Mises, Hoppe, Ron Paul, Stephen Cox, Friedman, and others has led me to the view that the conventional libertarian view on immigration- open borders- is simplistic and wrong. So I don’t have much of a problem with some form of immigration restriction. You don’t have to buy all the arguments some restrictionists make about the issue or support measures like ID cards to realise that the mass immigration from Latin America into the US has little to do with libertarianism, does nothing to improve liberty in the US, is actively encouraged by the Mexican government, and that if the illegals were amnestied and given citizenship, the left would be the beneficiary.

    The GOP leadership seem to think that they can win in the future by appealing more to minorities. I think this won’t work, but it will push the GOP to the left and GOP politicians will become increasingly PC. Their attempts to reach out to blacks and Jews and Hispanics will probably be cringeworthy too.

  • Laird: I meant Jonathan, but sure, any time:-)

    Gabriel: oy.

  • Palin believed in witches. I have seen video of her, standing in a church, with some witch-doctor apparently doctoring her witch problem. Where I come from, that’s called crazy. Does it mean that she’ll decide that somebody is a witch and should be burned at the stake? Don’t know. Does it mean that she’ll decide that some foreign government is overrun by witches and that we should go to war with them? We’ve gone to war over imaginary WMD’s, why not imaginary witches?

    As for Palin being a chance to shrink government, “stuff and nonsense”. It is McCain who would have run the show. We didn’t get small government from Bush the Father, and we didn’t get small government from Bush the Son, why should we expect small government from Bush the Holy Ghost?

  • tdh

    In several senses, Barack Obama must be seen to be beloved.

    I liked Palin, and maybe would have voted for her had she not been dragged down by that brain-dead anti-American McCain (unless he’d apologized for lots of stuff like McCain-Feingold). The misrepresentation of her beliefs, as by Rich Paul above, and the portrayal of her not recognizing the unestablished term “Bush Doctrine” as being one of ignorance rather than of not having been initiated into the right cult left me in contempt not of her but rather of the newsbimboes themselves. Still, I’d like to see her actually cut state spending, as proven by the number of dollars spent going down year after year, before I’m willing to give her credit for being a genuine fiscal conservative.

  • CFM

    Rich Paul, did you go to Lefty grope therapy to get that crap pharmaceutically implanted?

    Did it hurt?

  • Johnathan Pearce

    Sunfish on the increasingly strange Gabriel and the latter’s ruling on what he considers to be a “true” church:

    This is like the gay guy living on my couch commenting on women.

    LOL!

  • Gabriel

    Increasingly strange I may be, but people who take religion seriously know that what congregation one chooses is not like picking smooth over chunky peanut butter. A shockingly high proportion of Americans change their church over the course of their life for no other reason than it suit their tastes better. This is self-worship and Pentecostals should remember that, if Christ is indeed risen, they choose their church at extreme peril to their salvation.
    This is germane for politics because a culture so deeply mired in unseriousness and instant-gratification even in divine matters will not long resist the blandishments of an Obama.

    Their attempts to reach out to blacks and Jews and Hispanics will probably be cringeworthy too.

    No more cringeworthy than that idiot Obama’s “Tikkun Olam” gibberish. Most American Jews are even more of an embarrasment to their co-religionists than American episcopalians are to their’s.

    Lefty grope therapy

    Best typo ever?

  • Johnathan Pearce

    but people who take religion seriously know that what congregation one chooses is not like picking smooth over chunky peanut butter.

    Well I don’t take religion, or collective irrationality, seriously. But even if I were a believer, I’d say that it is rather hard to judge whether those who want to form a church that suits what they regard as the “true” religion are any less “serious” than those who attend a church that has been around for a long time with accumulated priviledges and wealth, like the Roman Catholic Church.

    As for the point about instant gratification, don’t forget that when Henry VIII set up the Church of England, now the established state church in England and Wales, it was in order that the king could achieve the “gratification” of getting a divorce otherwise unobtainable by a Catholic pope.

    I have no time for established churches seeking state privileges, as the CoE does, and as have churches down the centuries. It is well to recall that within living memory in the UK, Anglicans and non-Anglicans alike in England were forced to pay a church tithe, or tax. My grandfather, a Methodist, justifiably loathed that impost, and campaigned against it. The idea that believers or non-believers should be taxed in this way is an outrage.

    To repeat, the glory of Jefferson’s Republic is that state of affairs does not exist. Long may it remain so. Let’s hope any future Republican presidential ticket understands that.

  • Gabriel

    As for the point about instant gratification, don’t forget that when Henry VIII set up the Church of England, now the established state church in England and Wales, it was in order that the king could achieve the “gratification” of getting a divorce otherwise unobtainable by a Catholic pope.

    The church was dis-established in Wales in the 1920s (and look how far ahead of England it has advanced since then!).

    Jefferson’s republic

    When Jefferson was alive the state of Virginian collected compulsory tithes for the episcopalian church. Sure, he was POd about it, but he didn’t get his way.

    The growth of “separation of church and state” in the United States, found nowhere in the constitution, which only separates church and federal government, correlates more or less exactly with the growth of said federal government and the subversion of the U.S. as a federal republic.

  • Laird

    The growth of “separation of church and state” in the United States, found nowhere in the constitution, which only separates church and federal government, correlates more or less exactly with the growth of said federal government and the subversion of the U.S. as a federal republic.

    Well said. As originally envisioned, within the United States the individual states had plenary sovereignty, whereas the federal government had only limited sovereignty within the carefully delineated sphere of its delegated authority. In the early years of the Republic several states had official state churches, which was (and still should be) perfectly constitutional. Personally, I wouldn’t want such an official church, but if my state were to establish one my only remedy would be to move elsewhere. The “wall of separation” has been inappropriately applied to the states through the misinterpretation (willful, in my opinion) of the Fourteenth Amendment. But then, we wouldn’t be in the fix we’re now in had not the Supreme Court misinterpreted (again, willfully in my opinion) numerous other sections of the Constitution, too (notably the interstate commerce clause).

  • Yeah Gabriel,

    The Welsh managed to produce Rowan Williams.

  • Johnathan Pearce

    The church was dis-established in Wales in the 1920s (and look how far ahead of England it has advanced since then!).

    Huh? In fact, it is worth bearing in mind that during the Industrial Revolution, for instance, some of the leading industrialists of their time were Dissenters, Quakers, Methodists, etc. The Anglican church in the 18th Century was frequently characterised by the laziness of its clergy.

    The best that could be said for the CoE was that it was so useless that it was not strong enough to squash intellectual enquiry much. The old universities of Cambridge and Oxford did not admit non-Anglicans; to sit in Parliament required the same tests; etc. Hardly something a non-Christian such as yourself would favour, I would have thought. But then as I said, you are one strange bunny.

  • Gabriel

    The Anglican church in the 18th Century was frequently characterised by the laziness of its clergy.

    I know. Perhaps you’d prefer a bunch of ranting Wesleyan nutters getting all in your face. Not me.

    Hardly something a non-Christian such as yourself would favour, I would have thought

    Au contraire. If a Jew wants to bcome part of the legislature he should move to Israel. He has no business intefering in the affairs of his host country, except perhaps to prevent persecution. Plus, once you let in Jews then you have to let in everyone and then you end up with Lord Ahmed.

    The universities would have been more of a problem, but I suppose I could have gone to UCl.

  • Johnathan Pearce

    If a Jew wants to bcome part of the legislature he should move to Israel.

    You fuckwit. Are you demanding that any Jewish MP should resign his/her seat and emigrate?

    Well well. So some time ago, I recall you getting very upset about a post that suggested that certain religious practices vis a vis kids might be a problem if you believe in the principle of consent. And now it turns out that you think that Jews, if their views are at variance with the indigenous population of a country, should “emigrate”.

    Let me make this crystal clear so there is no room for misunderstanding. You are a troll. You are obviously a bigot who cannot be bothered to argue for your views from principles, or in a logical way. Instead, all we get on these boards is your irritating, sneering tone. I also happen to think that you’re a bit of a phoney. You’ve been rumbled, matey.

  • Gabriel

    And now it turns out that you think that Jews, if their views are at variance with the indigenous population of a country, should “emigrate”.

    Huh? I said if Jew wants to become a part of the legislature he should become an MK not an MP.

    obviously a bigot

    Against who? Are you high?

  • But then as I said, you are one strange bunny.

    Don’t give Gabriel compliments, he might come for more.

    More seriously, though, I have to join Gabriel in asking: bigot against whom? I also happen to think that he has a point (his style and temper put aside): non-Christians have no business demanding to be accepted into a christian society and it’s political institutions. It is up to the Christians whether to accept non-Christians or not. It is great if they do, but it’s OK if they don’t. But, if a christian society accepts Jews, it would seem inconsistent for them not to accept Muslims, for example. (And of course one should feel free to substitute “christian” with any other religion one can think of, including atheism).

  • Johnathan Pearce

    I call you a bigot because you do not think that it is wrong, for example, for people to be barred from say, sitting in the UK parliament if they happen to be of a certain religious group, such as a venerable one like the Jewish religion. Britain has, since Cromwell’s time, welcomed Jews and has progressively removed the barriers to their involvement in UK public life. Quite right too.

  • Johnathan Pearce

    I have to join Gabriel in asking: bigot against whom? I also happen to think that he has a point (his style and temper put aside): non-Christians have no business demanding to be accepted into a christian society and it’s political institutions.

    So you would say that atheists/agnostics or non-”mainstream” (whatever) should be barred from entering such places, then? And since when was the House of Commons a “Christian” institution? It is a secular institution. That may upset theocrats, but I thought we’d resolved those matters over the past few hundred years.

    Well well, what an interesting thread this is turning out to be.

  • Gabriel

    You are being tediously dishonest again. What I endorsed, is what you brought up, namely the restriction of certain things, such as the right to be an MP, to communicating members of the Church of England. I said nothing about discrimination against particular groups. Next up, though I didn’t use the term emigrate, your use of quotemarks not withstanding, I happen to think that, ideally, all Jews should move to Israel. Thirdly, I think that it is an empirical fact that the influence of Jews on the of politics the English speaking world has been predominately negative and that this, above all, has been extremely bad for the Jews. If you want to dispute that proposition, bring evidence not names. Whatever my sins, bigotry against Jews is not among them.

    Finally, I might as well explain the purpose of my so-called trolling. In this country there are two libertarian traditions, which started to become separately articulated in the 17th century. One – the dominant one- came from Whigs and dissenters and found its highest expression among Cobden, Bright etc. in 19th c. liberal-radicalism. This tradition made many worthwhile achievements, but was undermined by its internal contradictions and is now very much a spent force. The other tradition comes from the country-party wing of the Tories and has always been rather more inchoate, but, I believe, still has legs, and is the only thing that can save this country from perpetual authoritarianism. So, if I’m talking to convinced conservatives, I try explaining to them why the NHS needs to be disbanded, but what’s the point in doing that here? Here, I try to make the case for things like an established church, a politics of virtue and a historically, rather than philosophically, grounded politics. If I do so rather ineptly, then that is a fault of mine, but I am not here to sneer.

  • So you would say that atheists/agnostics or non-”mainstream” (whatever) should be barred from entering such places, then?

    You would have to explain “should” first. I am not referring to the reality of the UK, but making a general point that might or might not apply to the UK: if tomorrow I bought an uninhabited island somewhere, I could set up a community that would only admit people who walk funny in a certain way. No other funny walks would be admitted. What’s wrong with that?

    I thought we’d resolved those matters over the past few hundred years.

    Maybe Gabriel feels that you really have not. I am sure he is wrong, but so what? He is not saying that non-Jews should be barring Jews from the Parliament, he is saying (I think) that Jews should not be joining. Again, I disagree, but surely you can see the difference between the two statements?

    Interesting thread? Yes, I think it might be.

  • Johnathan Pearce

    if tomorrow I bought an uninhabited island somewhere, I could set up a community that would only admit people who walk funny in a certain way. No other funny walks would be admitted. What’s wrong with that?

    Well that is a hypothetical example, Alisa, and of course my answer to your question at the end would be that there is nothing wrong. You found the island, you settled it, it’s your property. But a country is not like your own house.

    And remember how this thread started: it was in reference to US politics, and then Gabriel came in, in his usual fashion, making a remark in favour of “true” religion. The US and the UK does not have a “true” religion; while many, if not most US citizens think of themselves as Christians or believe in a supreme being, the US is not, unlike say, Iran, a theocracy. The reason why parts of the Republican party got so much heat is because, perhaps unfairly in my view, they were seen to flirt with that.

    Right, deep breath, let’s deal with Gabriel:

    What I endorsed, is what you brought up, namely the restriction of certain things, such as the right to be an MP, to communicating members of the Church of England. I said nothing about discrimination against particular groups

    That’s lame. If you favour restricting membership of a country’s legislature to members of a specific church that you claim is the “true” one, and those who wish to sit as MPs have to abandon their own religion, or claim to be religious when they are not or pass some test to do so, that is discrimination.. for a Jew, atheist, agnostic, Hindu, etc, such things require one to live a lie in order to exercise the right to represent one’s fellows in a democracy. Further, given the principle of “no taxation without representation”, why should a non-Anglican have to pay taxes and then not be able to represent a constituency in parliament/Congress/etc?

    That, by the way, was why things like the church tithe – abolished finally only a few decades ago – was so unpopular. Regardless of whether a person went to an Anglican church or not, he had to pay for it. And don’t reply by saying that such a person could emigrate: that is hardly proof that such an arrangement is just in the first place. It was wrong and it was finally removed.

    Thirdly, I think that it is an empirical fact that the influence of Jews on the of politics the English speaking world has been predominately negative and that this, above all, has been extremely bad for the Jews.

    Many Jews were among the Fabians; on the other hand, Jews were also prominent in the Cabinets of say, Margaret Thatcher. Your assertion is unfounded.

    Finally, I might as well explain the purpose of my so-called trolling. In this country there are two libertarian traditions, which started to become separately articulated in the 17th century. One – the dominant one- came from Whigs and dissenters and found its highest expression among Cobden, Bright etc. in 19th c. liberal-radicalism. This tradition made many worthwhile achievements, but was undermined by its internal contradictions and is now very much a spent force. The other tradition comes from the country-party wing of the Tories and has always been rather more inchoate, but, I believe, still has legs, and is the only thing that can save this country from perpetual authoritarianism. So, if I’m talking to convinced conservatives, I try explaining to them why the NHS needs to be disbanded, but what’s the point in doing that here? Here, I try to make the case for things like an established church, a politics of virtue and a historically, rather than philosophically, grounded politics. If I do so rather ineptly, then that is a fault of mine, but I am not here to sneer

    This requires another thread to disentangle all this. But for a start, what are the “internal contradictions” that you talk about? Do you mean the ambiguous liberalism/quasi-socialism of JS Mill or T.H. Green? Second, calling for things like an established church – protected by certain privileges, such as the right to require that people observe certain tests to obtain positions in life – does not seem remotely sympathetic to liberty or be consistent with liberalism. And as for the “historical” grounding of politics, while I am sympathetic to the Burkean tradition in some ways – E. Burke was a Whig, remember – the historical longevity of a tradition is often no indication of that tradition being particularly benign. If you don’t have some axioms and principles against which to judge a tradition, you are flying blind. The conservative approach often is simply to say: “Whatever is, is right”. That is not even an argument.

  • Gabriel

    And remember how this thread started: it was in reference to US politics, and then Gabriel came in, in his usual fashion, making a remark in favour of “true” religion.

    No. I made a comment that the people like Bush and Palin are abominated by polite opinion not so much for belonging to fanatical sects, but for their maintenance of certain features of (small c) catholic orthodoxy. That is something I think future historians of 21st c. religion will look on with some puzzlement. As usual, you chose to throw your toys out of the pram about some throwaway remark in parentheses.

    The US and the UK does not have a “true” religion; while many, if not most US citizens think of themselves as Christians or believe in a supreme being, the US is not, unlike say, Iran, a theocracy.

    My views on the relationship of church to state are very centrist, indeed rather to the liberal end of things, historically speaking. Nevertheless, it is clear that the fundamentalism of separation of church and state is a bigger competitor to my viewpoint than theocracy. No-one here is arguing for a theocracy, so if I was to launch into a disquisition on why that was wrong, it would be a waste of my time. On the other hand, many people seem to think that separation of church and state is not merely the best option among many, but the sine qua non of a civilized society.

    I’ll give one example of why I think this is dangerous. Britain, along many other countries, has pursued a fairly reckless experiment in mass immigration over the last 50 years. I do not want to comment upon that except to point out that one result is the growth of various different religious groups. Now one way to deal with this state of affairs is to have a strong, if not hegemonic, established church. You may not think that very libertarian, but it is rather more so than options other countries, such as France, are currently implementing. I rather suspect that the British way of dealing with this problems will, when it comes, look rather like Beirut circa 1980.

    Further, given the principle of “no taxation without representation”, why should a non-Anglican have to pay taxes and then not be able to represent a constituency in parliament/Congress/etc?

    Leaving aside the dubious proposition that representation justifies taxation, what has this got to do with the right to sit in parliament? You may think that access to political power is a fundamental human right, I tend to think it more the single most polluting engagement a human being can engage in.

    Regardless of whether a person went to an Anglican church or not, he had to pay for it.

    And whether I want to go to SOAS or not, I have to pay for its academics to churn out filthy lies about my people. We all pay for shit we don’t like, I can’t see why the Anglican church is some special exception. Especially given that tithes used to be, plausibly, considered a form of property.

    Many Jews were among the Fabians; on the other hand, Jews were also prominent in the Cabinets of say, Margaret Thatcher. Your assertion is unfounded.

    You mean that I did not provide evidence or that it is not founded by evidence full stop? I beg to differ and I’ll wager I’ve looked into this more, though, I’ll admit, the situation is more balanced here than in the U.S.

    But for a start, what are the “internal contradictions” that you talk about? Do you mean the ambiguous liberalism/quasi-socialism of JS Mill or T.H. Green?

    Those would be good examples, but I’d probably pinpoint the fundamental tension as that between liberty, happiness, and progress.

    If you don’t have some axioms and principles against which to judge a tradition, you are flying blind.

    Says you, but at least we’re getting somewhere now.

    And a final note. I apologise for any rudeness, but I do not think I’m the only guilty party here. Once upon a time, if I remember correctly, you started up a thread with a post deliberately mis-representing my arguments against the prohibition of infant circumcision and that kind of infantilism is more or less a constant from you. If you want me to get lost, just IP ban me and save yourself the trouble. If not, hold the insults.

  • Johnathan Pearce

    As usual, you chose to throw your toys out of the pram about some throwaway remark in parentheses.

    Oh come off it. It wasn’t a “throwaway” remark, unless you are just trolling again and are bored on a Friday afternoon. You clearly do believe in an established, “true” faith church that should command respect. I have learned how to spot these little giveaway remarks of yours, Gabriel: you have provided the bemused Samizdata commentariat with a lot of practice.

    My views on the relationship of church to state are very centrist, indeed rather to the liberal end of things, historically speaking.

    I beg to differ.

    Leaving aside the dubious proposition that representation justifies taxation, what has this got to do with the right to sit in parliament? You may think that access to political power is a fundamental human right, I tend to think it more the single most polluting engagement a human being can engage in.

    You have got it the wrong way round. If a person is taxed, then they are entitled to vote, and entitled to stand for political office. That was my point. Are you disputing that?

    I do not say that standing for office is a “fundamental right” – I am not a great fan of democracy, as you know – but given that we are where we are, and have taxes, and elected parliaments, then it is only right and proper that taxpayers are not frozen out of the process by some insistence that they be Anglicans, or whatever.

    We all pay for shit we don’t like, I can’t see why the Anglican church is some special exception. Especially given that tithes used to be, plausibly, considered a form of property.

    We all have to currently pay the BBC TV licence fee. I want it abolished. Tithes may have “plausibly” be considered property, but they weren’t, and they were scrapped. Try and explain what was plausible about coercing folk, regardless of views, into paying for a church. Good luck with that!

    Those would be good examples, but I’d probably pinpoint the fundamental tension as that between liberty, happiness, and progress.

    Well, I tend to look at those parts of the world where people are free and less free, and observe that happiness is more likely to be in those places where adults are treated as such, as free, independent people. But maybe that’s just me.

    I have not misrepresented your position on the final point. I was hardly the only one to disagree with your views on that occasion.

  • Gabriel

    You clearly do believe in an established, “true” faith church that should command respect.

    Ein li moed elah eilu.

    Or in English, no I bloody don’t. I am familiar with traditional Christian ecclesiology and think it still might have some bearing on how people approach various churches, but that’s just me.

    Well, I tend to look at those parts of the world where people are free and less free, and observe that happiness is more likely to be in those places where adults are treated as such, as free, independent people.

    And other people thought they’d be more happy expropriating the wealth of others in order to have free healthcare. Then there was an election and they won and you lost.

    I was hardly the only one to disagree with your views on that occasion.

    You were the only one to start a new thread and personally identify me as making an argument I had not in fact made. Whatever, I somewhat suspect that you are wired in a way that makes you mis-apprehend every argument as a more easily rebuttable strawman.

  • Midwesterner

    Johnathan & Gabriel,

    I don’t have the luxury of enjoying this thread in detail but a couple of things stand out that may ease communication.

    When I first saw Gabriel refer to “true” and “schismatic” religions (I think I have that right) I immediately, by virtue of having lived among life sciences types, interpreted his usage in exactly the same argument function usage that biologists use the words wild type and “mutated”. If by “true” he is using the standards for “wild type”, then his argument makes sense. As one might expect of a conservative, he is seeking to conserve the ‘wild type’ of the culture. While I don’t agree with conserving of an ‘ideal’ state as sound principle, when one finds self annointed rulers have run amok, restoration of checks and balances is an excellent idea. Gabriel extends the function of checks and balances to state religion as well which, consider the constitutional role of religion in the UK is so very different than in the US, may be appropriate their for restraint of its government. I don’t know and am not necessarily endorsing the religion angle.

    The other point I would like to insert is that the function of government is not to be just and treat with equality those who govern, it is to be just and to treat with equality those who are governed.

    An example of this is that I think the worst mistake made in the UK, one on a par with popular election of senators in the US, was the creation of “Life Peerages”. If I were going to try and restore liberty in the UK, the first step I would take would be to revoke all voting privileges for life peers and take a step in the other direction by requiring several generations of eligibility before extending a vote in the House of Lords to the peer. Patently unfair to those who govern, yes. But useful to restrain government from usurping the rights of those who are governed? Yes again. Separation of powers, an independent veto.

    If I have totally mischaracterized anybody’s positions, I apologize, I have not fully read the thread and should perhaps not be commenting on it.

  • Johnathan Pearce

    Gabriel, either be honest on this board or give it a miss. Game well and truly over, old chap:

    There can only be one true church in any particular place.

    (Comment at 06:31, 25 Feb.)

    In response to my statement that you said there was such a thing as a true church, you write:

    no I bloody don’t. I am familiar with traditional Christian ecclesiology and think it still might have some bearing on how people approach various churches, but that’s just me.

    No, you clearly do take a distinction between what you think of as established and fringe churches, and regard the former as preferable to the latter, and therefore, feel that the privileges that the former have – such as the right to charge tithes/taxes, or for membership requirements for parliament, are in some way benign, even beneficial. You may even have a point. But you cannot just duck out of your previous statements and not be called out for it, or challenged at least to clarify what you say.

    Your remark in particular about Jewish folk and public life really stunned me. And that takes a bit of doing.

  • Gabriel

    FFS, JP.
    You made a claim about my original comment, I pointed out that you were focussing on a parenthetical remark (and, yes, it was in parentheses) and then you start quoting subsequent comments by me, after you had decided to take up that discussion. Thus you accuse me of ducking a discussion by quoting examples of me not ducking a discussion.
    Like I said, FFS.

    And, yes, according to traditional christian doctrine there can only be one legitimate church in any one place. Maybe if you read around more that wouldn’t seem so shocking to you. And, yes, I support an established church, like the one we have now only a bit more so. And, no, I don’t think that restricting access to parliament to Anglicans is no. 1 on my list of priorities, but nor do I think it was such a bad thing. And, yes, the proper forum for Jews to take part in the activity of governing* is in Israel and nowhere else.

    Anyway, I have to break things off now because the Sabbath is imminent. It’s going to be tough restraining myself from beating up all the people I’ll be praying and dining with.
    Yeesh.

    (Also, thanks midwesterner. That’s more what I was getting at. Btw, horrendously, there are now plans to extend membership of the House of Lords to representatives of the various faiths. I understand the Chief Rabbi is keen).

    * not ‘public life’, whatever the hell that is.

  • Johnathan Pearce

    Gabriel, shut up. You lost the argument. Bang to rights, as they say in the criminal law.

    And, yes, I support an established church, like the one we have now only a bit more so. And, no, I don’t think that restricting access to parliament to Anglicans is no. 1 on my list of priorities, but nor do I think it was such a bad thing. And, yes, the proper forum for Jews to take part in the activity of governing* is in Israel and nowhere else.

    What do you mean by a “bit more so”? Tithes, taxes, barriers on certain professions, universities, etc?

    As for your last line, you’re a fucking disgrace.

  • Gabriel

    As for your last line, you’re a fucking disgrace.

    A disgrace to, and in the eyes of, whom?

    That line is a pretty moderate nugget of zionism. A rather more strident zionist would argue that the proper venue for a Jew, full stop, is Israel, the forum for Jewish national aspirations.* Few non-zionist orthodox Jews would quibble with the proposition that Jews in exile should be politically quiescent. So what exactly offends you so much?

    Of course, you are on record as favouring a ban on circumcision and have libelled almost all Jewish parents as child-abusers, whilst calling for the prohibition of Judaism’s single most important rite, which would inevitably lead to the exodus of 100,000s of British citizens. That is, as anyone remotely clued up would realise, scores more offensive and prejudicial to the interests of Jews than anything I have written by a factor of a thousand. But that’s just the point; though you may try to obscure this with references to the “venerable”** Jewish faith, you don’t understand the first thing about it. You are an ignoramous.

    And this is a point of not inconsiderable relvance to this debate. Your knowledge of history – the sensitive account you gave of the Henrician reformation not withstanding -is obviously poor, though only in a fairly run of the mill way. Your knowledge of the history of western thought, however, is catastrophic, a perfect example of what happens to those addicted to a narrow ideology. Thus when presented with arguments slightly out of your frame of reference, you flail about like a blind spastic with a knife, making attacks only mathched in their vituperativeness by a rare combination of imprecision and inaccuracy, without a grasp of the basic technical language necessary to discuss such issues. Thus, erastianism is labelled and attacked as theocracy and the very word ‘schism’ throws you into the intellectual equivalent of an epileptic fit. Periodically you make bizarre declarations of victory, roughly as intelligble as those of Hamas. This whole thread demonstrates one of those strange paradoxes of life: with effort it’s possible to beat a wise man in argument, but, no matter how hard you try, you can’t prevail over a dope.

    * You can quibble with the definition of the Jews as a nation, but you will find that your quibbles apply equally to any other national groups, with a few exceptions, such as the Basque people.
    ** Of course it’s fucking venerable.

  • Paul Marks

    I much prefer Governor Mark Stanford to Governor Sarah Palin – but it seems that I have yet more anti Palin propaganda to deal with.

    Gib.

    The “will of God” stuff was part of a speech from President Lincoln that Governor Palin was reading out.

    The Kenyan thing – nothing to do with Palin, no matter what church she moves to (and she is moved several times to get AWAY from “wing nut” stuff) there is always going to some event people can blame on her.

    “Palin believes in witches” – Rich Paul.

    So do I – indeed I know some.

    This does not mean I wish to burn people I have been friends with for years.

    Of course you may mean “Palin believes that magic spells can do ……”

    In which case – show me the evidence.

    Although, of course, Sarah Palin married a part “native American” and belief in magic is widespread among this ethnic group.

  • Paul Marks

    The bar on dissentors taking degrees (not a ban on attending) from Oxford and Cambridge in the early 19th century was not a violation of libertarian principle – as these universities were not getting government funding in this period and (unlike in previous times) other religious groups were not prevented from setting up their own universities.

    For example, University College London in the mid 1820′s.

    As for “established churches” in general – well they are not state churches (although the line between the two concepts can get blurred).

    But I see no great harm to the state or people in having an established church (it is forgotten that the First Amendment only applied to Congress approving an established church – several States had de facto estabished churches).

    However, I do think that the idea presents great danger to the Church concerned.

    For example, much of the weakness of the Catholic Church in France before the Revolution lay in its established status – the reforms of the Council of Trent could not be applied in France (due to government veto) and many Bishops were weak reeds (to put it mildly) and this seems clearly connected to them being appointed by the government (supposedly the King – although Louis XVI rarely got personally involved – although he did veto the suggestion of making a fanatical athiest Bishop of Paris, and that was years before the Revolution) rather than the Pope.

    As for Britain – what self respecting Christian Church would have Rowen Williams as its main archbishop?

    This may have been “Mr Blair’s parting joke” – but it is not funny.

  • Paul Marks

    Really what people tend to want when they say they favour an “established church” is for the government to accept an existing reality – i.e. that their is a church in the area that has been an instititution of the nation (not the same thing as the state).

    For example, the Orthodox Church (not the Roman Catholic Church) is the Church of Greece – and it was for centuries before there was any “Greek government”.

    It is part of the culture and history of Greece – even for athiest Greeks.

    The Anglican tradition that such people as T.S. Eliot and so many other non native British people (as well as British people) see as part of the history and culture of Britain is the established church.

    This does not mean that it should be state funded (that would make it a state church – a different thing), but it does mean that even athiest Englishmen should feel a sense of loss when things like the Book of Common Prayer come under attack.

  • Johnathan Pearce

    This does not mean that it should be state funded (that would make it a state church – a different thing), but it does mean that even athiest Englishmen should feel a sense of loss when things like the Book of Common Prayer come under attack.

    Paul, I can understand, even sympathise, with that outlook. I think – as a lapsed Anglican – that one would have to be very deaf to history and culture not to understand the contribution made to culture by the Anglican liturgy.

    It may be, as a matter of fact, that the Anglican church has in some ways been a moderating, gentle force in our national affairs, and that the very fact of the CoE being a nationalised church means that it is more powerful as a social force than a religious one, although in the last 100 years that force has lost a great deal of its power. I have often heard atheist/agnostics make the point that there is a lot to be said for state religions because, like state industries, they are not very good at delivering the product.

    As for Gabriel, what one can one say of a Jew who argues that Jews have no place running for political office in a secular country like the UK where there is a distinction, albeit non-formalised, between church and state? I mean, I would be fascinated to know what other Jews think of his statement.

    To be fair, if Gabriel really does – mistakenly – think that Britain is a Christian nation and that Jews have no business getting involved in public affairs, then he is of course entirely within his rights to act on that view himself and confine his activities to what he regards as proper. Some Jews will agree. Others will not, and disagree vehemently. What is vital, of course, is that such a choice rests with the persons concerned, rather than is decided on the grounds of discriminating against persons because they happen to belong to a non-established faith. Laws banning Jews, dissenters, Catholics etc from voting were progressively repealed during the 19th Century. Fact.

    Does Gabriel think that Jews should not sit on juries, or be magistrates, or hold other public offices or positions of civic responsibility in the UK? I fail to see how his view that Jews should have no role in UK public life – assuming he is sincere and not just trolling – cannot be exploited by anti-semites who want to use the old, hoary dual-loyalty card against Jews, just as such bigots have done in the past against say, Roman Catholics.

    And that is why I have come to regard Gabriel as a troll, as a phony. I am not an editor of this site so I cannot have him banned and he does provide me with an opportunity to sharpen my views. But from now on I have no interest in debating with this character or indulging him further. He’s a waste of intellectual DNA.

  • Johnathan Pearce

    I promised I would not deal with this odious character ever again, but just for the record, in case he or anyone ever strays down here, some final points:

    Your knowledge of history – the sensitive account you gave of the Henrician reformation not withstanding -is obviously poor, though only in a fairly run of the mill way

    I read history at university and qualified with a First. I guess that makes me an ignoramus compared with Gabriel. What this character cannot handle, of course, is that I disagree with his ultra-conservative interpretations of the past, such as US history, say. And yes, my language got a bit salty. Well pot, meet the kettle

    Thus, erastianism is labelled and attacked as theocracy and the very word ‘schism’ throws you into the intellectual equivalent of an epileptic fit.

    The Oxford English Definition of erastianism is “the doctrine that the state should have supremacy over the Church in ecclesiastical matters”…In other words, that things like the choice of the Archbishop of Canterbury, or the amount of money that the CoE should be able to raise from tithes, if at all, should be matters for the secular government, not the church itself. In short – that is a clear blurring of a distinction between church and state, which is where we started this discussion off in relation to the US. The state has no business telling Anglicans about the choice of their head, any more than the Anglican church, as opposed to any other group of people, in my view, has any business telling or advising the Queen on the choice of her First Minister (as the PM used to be called).

    Few non-zionist orthodox Jews would quibble with the proposition that Jews in exile should be politically quiescent. So what exactly offends you so much?

    Many Jews clearly do feel drawn to public life and continue to be involved, and I am not sure how many people you are speaking for when you talk about a sense of being in “exile”. But secondly, as I said before, if some Jews feel – wrongly – that they are in “exile” and should be quiet in our public life, then that is your choice and I respect that. As a libertarian, I have no desire to run for political office, either. That does not mean that I am “in exile”, which implies coercive pressure of some kind. Be very careful about your choice of words.

    I do not, however, think there should be any legal or political restrictions imposed by non-Jews on the entry of Jews into public life, such as were imposed – but later lifted – in the UK. And those sort of restrictions can easily arise when you get things like established churches. Yes, it is true that the Anglican church was generally a moderate force in UK public affairs but that is a happy accident, not inevitable.

    And that, as they say, is that.