Religion and Politics

38


Discussion by: john.wb

Although my political views are on the left of the political spectrum I often read websites from the far right; and, in the US, this means the Tea Party (most of whom consider me a communist – but that's another story!). I do this because I believe that we can always learn from listening to the other side. (Listening to an opposing viewpoint serves to re-affirm ones own position). One of the things that stikes me is the correlation between tea party membership and religious affiliation – and not just any religion, we're talking specifically about fundamentalist Christians who believe the earth is 4,000 years old. This made me wonder, why this is. Why do religious and politcal affiliations seem to go hand in hand? Are atheists mostly left-wing? Are there any atheist tea-partiers (I doubt it judging from what I have read). And what about liberation theology – where does that fit in.

Logically, I would have thought that followers of Christ would have been more liberal than average. The precepts of helping the poor, casting off ones worldly possesions and turning the other cheek seem decidedly left-wing to me. And yet,.. that's not the case. Perhaps a pre-dispostion to believe in God also inclines one to be conservatve. Interested to hear others thoughts on this.

38 COMMENTS

  1. ” (Listening to an opposing viewpoint serves to re-affirm ones own position). “

    All else aside, think that statement through a bit more.

    ” Are atheists mostly left-wing? “

    This atheist eschews ideological positions in the strict sense of the word.

    ” Perhaps a pre-dispostion to believe in God also inclines one to be conservatve “

    Which god? I would think that the political ideology fits the notion of the god needed to reinforce the ideology. Liberals have their own notions of god.

  2. Then Ayn Rand was a pinko liberal commie. Atheists are classified as being progressive in this day and age. Upsetting the apple cart. But who knows, that might change. And we are often bundled with secular humanists. That’s a generalization, but it’s not the rule, by a long shot.

    Fundamentalists on the other hand are ultra-conservative. It’s in the nature of the beast.

    • In reply to #2 by obzen:

      Then Ayn Rand was a pinko liberal commie. Atheists are classified as being progressive in this day and age.

      How interesting! And exactly WHO is in charge of political classifications here? Atheists are classified as “progressive”?? (or “Pwogwessive” as Alex Cockburn used to call them). I have never understood where so-called “progressives” are “progressing ” to. The only progressives I am acquainted with are Theodore Roosevelt and his Cousin Franklin, and Woodrow Wilson. As I understood their positions, they felt that the US Constitution was much to restrictive on the Federal Government and needed to be highly modified or completely done away with so that an all-powerful Federal Government would have complete freedom to act (in the “people’s” interest, of course!) Thus far, the “progress” they tout, seems to be toward a complete dictatorship. If that is their goal, I sincerely hope the “progressives” fail!

  3. I am a libertarian atheist, on the conservative end of the political spectrum on many issues. It seems to me that both extremes have a fair share of bandwagon jumpers. Some people are sincere about their views, and some tick off the boxes most associated with their chosen conservative or liberal persona.

  4. I know very conservative atheists, and it’s really kind of odd. I see a lot of parallels between their belief in “the Republican party is always right” and religious belief, to the point of denial or shifting blame when something contradictory happens. I’m sure it happens in other political parties as well.

    I grew up in a very religious household and have a lot of complaints about religious practices as a result. They seem generally uncomfortable criticizing religion, or don’t believe it can be as problematic as it is, and I suppose this has to do with their political stance.

    I think I fall into being pretty centrist myself, though they see me as wildly liberal, and I’m too frustrated with politics and how childish everyone acts to feel like aligning myself with a group. Everyone has good ideas, everyone has bad ideas, and maybe if we talked about them and supported one another instead of voting according to party, we’d be better off. It often seems so petty, with people refusing to work together and trying to sabotage a plan simply because it was suggested by a member of a different political party.

  5. I also find it weird that anyone who claims to be a Christian isn’t a socialist. I recall reading a lot of pooling of resources, selling property for the community, rich men and camels through eyes of needles, charity, helping others, but not word about dog eat dog capitalism when I read the bible. God killed someone who said they sold all their property for the community, but only sold part of it (Acts).

    Being an atheist doesn’t go hand in hand with any particular economic or political beliefs. Atheists tend to be more rational than the religious, but there are rational reasons to support moderate left, right, and centre policies. Of course, what an American considers left wing is far right in most of the rest of the western world.

  6. Let’s draw some circles and see where they overlap. I see a small congruent set of atheism and conservatism, and a much larger set of conservatism and religiosity. Also a large overlap set of atheism and progressivism, and quite a lot of space not in any overlap. I don’t know whether belief in gods is progressive or conservative or whether it’s even a relevant question. Religion is another matter, and it seems (at least to me) basically conservative in that the intent of both is to couch and conserve established values.

    I lean pretty far left, but see conservatism (which even contains religion) as socially necessary to its purpose. The metaphor I like is to compare conservatism to the brakes on a car. If we were without them we could quickly get into deep shit, but they aren’t what move us forward. We need to maintain our brakes, maybe even more diligently than our engine because the consequence of not doing so is dire. But if we sit with our foot on them we aren’t going anywhere, and if we ride them all the way down the mountain they’ll eventually become irrelevant.

    }}}}

  7. I’ve long found the left/right spectrum in politics to be an inadequate and confusing way to describe the range of views. Right is sometimes business-friendly, small government, libertarian in the sense that government should stay out of my way while I do what I like to make money, and it shouldn’t tax me when I do. Right in this sense promotes freedom for the individual, or business corporation, to do whatever they want with minimal interference by way of taxation and regulation.

    But Right (especially Republican Right) also means prying into and controlling the behaviour of individuals, restricting their ability to do what they want, specifically in the areas of sex, drugs and reproduction (if not rock’n’roll). It means big government, snooping, controlling, imprisoning. It means big government when it comes to spending on the means to control people, inside the US (Homeland Security, DEA, NSA spying, TSA, prisons) and outside (CIA, drones, DoD, the whole military-industrial complex). It only means small government when it comes to the tax take that gets collected and spent on infrastructure for education, health, and any other public ameneties.

    This contradiction between libertarian and authoritarian policies is not reflected in the spectrum of left-right, as the right manages to claim both ends of a very wide spectrum all to itself. What’s Left is what’s left – what other countries refer to as “centrist”, but the US Republicans label “commie”. Left is only defined as not being Right, whatever Right chooses to be at the time. Anything that isn’t Right is called Left.

    It seems to me that the “religious conservatives” tend to the authoritarian-right. The libertarian-right would, I expect, be the place to find the non-religious. The left would be the place to find anyone who is uncomfortable with both ends of the right-right spectrum, be they religious (following the compassionate teachings of Jesus) or non-religious (such as socialist-humanists).

    I know this is may seem a bit tangential to the religion/politics topic, but it might help if others could shed some light on these contradictions.

    • *In reply to #7 by OHooligan

      Paul Krugman recently discussed the possibility that this free-market-yet-authoritarian combination may be because left vs right isn’t about the size of government, but whether or not to preserve existing power structures. On that interpretation, a left-right spectrum makes much more sense.

      • In reply to #21 by Jos Gibbons:

        *In reply to #7 by OHooligan

        Paul Krugman recently discussed the possibility that this free-market-yet-authoritarian combination may be because left vs right isn’t about the size of government, but whether or not to preserve existing power structures.

        Interesting point. It also seems fair to say that those in power are libertarian for themselves, and authoritarian towards others. Do as I say, not as I do.

        I’m also impressed by Phil Rimmer’s two axis model: left/right as one axis, authoritarian/libertarian as the other.

  8. Perhaps those on the political right simply have more of a ‘belief in belief’ because it’s useful. I look at all those conservative politicians ( usually coming out of church) and wonder at their sincerity. Our leader of the opposition is very vocal in his religious observance, but I always suspect his motives. He doesn’t look genuine to me, but who knows what’s in his heart of hearts.

    I think it’s fair comment to link atheism with the left. After a year of reading the comments here, I don’t feel embarrassed to wear my left-wing outlook on my sleeve. Perhaps it’s a feeling of being on the fringes or having a more enquiring mind that’s more prepared to scrutinise policies. I like to think it’s because we’re more intelligent, but that’s just vanity talking.

    Before Catholics began to ignore the dictates of their church and started to practise birth control, they were represented far more on the political left. Nowadays they have small families, enjoy a higher standard of living and divide their allegiance to both sides of politics.

  9. Logically, I would have thought that followers of Christ would have been more liberal than average.

    The mistake you are making here is assuming they are aware of what Christ taught. Many have never done more than read a few random passages of the Bible are are unable to judge for themselves what is actually being said. Many have been given a highly filtered version of what Christ meant by these things. I remember listening as a child of about 11 to a Sunday school teacher in my church (Morom) trying to explain away the passage in the bible saying that it is harder for a rich man to get into heaven than for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle. He attempted to tell me that what this really refered to was travellers unable to get into a city after dark when the gates were shut were able to get in through small openings where the camel had to crouch down and be shuffled through. I remember at the time thinking this sounded like rubbish to me. But it was good shot at trying to have your cake and eat it too.

  10. I am an Atheist and I am mostly conservative except on social issues, ex. gay marriage. When it comes to fiscal things I lean more towards the conservative point of view although I think that both sides are bad with money they just have different vices. I do agree with you that it is always good to listen to the other side but I don’t agree that it is just to reaffirm my own views. I find that having friends that have varying opinions prevents me from becoming radical in one direction or the other. When you constantly associate with people who always agree with you then it becomes easier to blow off any different opinions as being stupid or not very logical. Unfortunately this seems to happen in all groups be they religious or secular.

  11. i think your comments may be applicable to north america but less so ,if at all ,in europe and the u.k .
    i consider my politics to be to the right of centre by some distance (big supporter of the late margret thatcher,probably voting u.k.i.p next time around) yet i am an atheist as are most of my friends,some of which make my politics look close to pale pink.
    on the other hand my mother,a dyed in the wool labour supporter (and total “pinko” :-)) is a firm believer in god,regular church goer and helper.

  12. I don’t know if you have ever run into the prosperity churches. The idea is to get rich quick by giving the church money. They reel them in with stories of people who made a bundle “from god” for a small investment. They call themselves Christian but nothing could be more unlike the NT message of giving up pursuit of money.

    These Texan churches believe in making life as miserable as possible for gays and the poor, even though the NT calls for nothing of the kind. It works like this — make up any behaviour your want — polygamy, child molesting, slavery… and slap the term “holy” on it, and Americans mindlessly salute.

    Tea Partiers are lower class people who optimistically believe they will any day now be very rich. Therefore they must vote against their own economic interests and for those of the elite. They are very stupid people and very easily lead through the nose.

    • In reply to #13 by Roedy:

      Tea Partiers are lower class people who optimistically believe they will any day now be very rich. Therefore they must vote against their own economic interests and for those of the elite. They are very stupid people and very easily lead through the nose.

      They are the snobbish aspiring ignorant who think intelligence and wealth will rub off by associating with elite people and name-dropping. (Sometimes it does in Hollywood.)

      Butlers, servants of aristocrats, and waiters in posh restaurants or hotels, may be paid peanuts for long hours, but they have their “cultured accents” and noses high! Then there are those who associate with the wealthy in churches, theatre bars, golf clubs etc.

      • In reply to #16 by Alan4discussion:

        In reply to #13 by Roedy:

        Tea Partiers are lower class people who optimistically believe they will any day now be very rich. Therefore they must vote against their own economic interests and for those of the elite. They are very stupid people and very easily lead through the nose.

        They are the sno…

        Once again I find myself in complete agreement with your post, Alan. There are many individuals who seek to curry favour with the very, very rich by voting according to the best interests of the billionaires instead of their own. They usually have servile jobs and take home meager wages. If they could only see that their billionaire masters despise their lack of loyalty. Such individuals comprise a large chunk of the constituency.

    • In reply to #13 by Roedy:
      Its counter productive to label them “stupid”. There are powerful vested interests, worldwide but especially in the USA, who spend $billions in establishing a political ‘conventional wisdom’. It’s not surprising they do have some measure of success.

      • In reply to #17 by PeterMartin:

        In reply to #13 by Roedy:
        Its counter productive to label them “stupid”. There are powerful vested interests, worldwide but especially in the USA, who spend $billions in establishing a political ‘conventional wisdom’. It’s not surprising they do have some measure of success.

        I think it important to recognised the difference between the manipulators and the manipulated. I think Roedy was referring to the manipulated followers who fancy themselves as part of the “elite”!
        They are the ones who uncritically soak up this ‘conventional whizzdumb”!

      • In reply to #17 by PeterMartin:

        In reply to #13 by Roedy:
        Its counter productive to label them “stupid”. There are powerful vested interests, worldwide but especially in the USA, who spend $billions in establishing a political ‘conventional wisdom’. It’s not surprising they do have some measure of success.

        Regardless of all that, they are still asinine on many issues. Being educated, intelligent and/or clever on lots of things does not negate the fact that on lots of other things people can be complete imbeciles. A thing that many here can’t get to grips with IMO.

        There is ignorance in even the most astute of minds, there is also stupidity in some of the most astute minds. Calling it out is nothing to be reluctant about in this day and age. Undeserved respect gets no quarter from me I’m afraid.

  13. Religion survives nowadays because it is kept alive by the clerics. Left to the people it would lose most of its most objectionable qualities and become a mildly comforting or alarming aspect of folk culture. It lives vigorously in some places only because it has political clout. It organises people and their thoughts and hands them on a platter to those who have political intent (covert or otherwise). It covers the ground on the left right axis and on the orthogonal libertarian/authoritarian axis. South American liberation Roman Catholics happily embraced the revolutionary left, when their were rich pickings to be had, and uber right theocrats of every stripe can find their chosen sheeple in the right contexts.

    As anti-dogmatists (as I hope, at least, sceptical atheists view themselves) I would urge you never to think of yourself as politically left or right or authoritarian or libertarian. Instead recognise that these predispositions are descriptors of your personal moral (and aesthetic!) values and not the decider of your political actions. We are wired by genes and possibly very early acculturation to be at some position on each axis. Recognising that left or right predispositions, say, can both be valuable in the right contexts should tell us that our predispositions should not guide our behaviours in every case. Those on the left tend to be those most wanting to create new social capital whilst those on the right tend to want to conserve existing social capital. The former can pay dividends in a low risk resource rich world, the latter in a high risk resource constrained world. Left wing dogmatists will often blithely fail to see real dangers a society is in. Right wing dogmatists will tend to invent dangers. (We’re all going to hell in a hand basket.)

    By ditching (political) dogma, removing the shackle of that self label, and adopting only pragma, evidence and reason, we may yet find a greater consensus in the democratic control of our various countries. I came to this view when I, as a “caring lefty” “saw through” the great risks that unfettered empathy could cause and understood that modest psychopathy (well lower empathy) could sometimes render more moral judgments. The problem with many hyper pro-social types is that they often create demonised outgroups. (This is a well known dark side of oxytocin. My discussions with Atheist plussers was quite a shock.) They may also greatly overestimate psychological harms. The less socially squeamish, however, can make more moral judgments in the sense of doing less net harm though some harm may be done (unfairly) to others, eg in immunisation programs say.)

    Conventional politics is too like religion for me, too train track. I no longer describe myself as a slightly left of euro-centred socialist, with capitalist tendencies, but rather, an evidence and reason based anarcho-pragmatist favouring consensus and democratic processes. Process over feelings as a self descriptor.

  14. Does Right wing politics go hand in hand with religious belief? This is probably true in America but elsewhere its not unusual to find Christians with more progressive political attitudes. The UK Labour Party is sometimes claimed to have an historical affiliation with Methodism as well as the Trade Union movement.

    Its important, IMO, to distinguish religion from politics when it comes to debate. In neither case is it likely to change minds but at least in politics its just about possible to debate rationally. That’s not the case with religion. Those of a religious belief know that themselves. We don’t see debates between Catholics and Protestants. Hindus and Moslems etc. Until that changes I would suggest we don’t debate with them on religion questions either.

  15. Hi John,

    … my political views are on the left of the political spectrum …

    Mine are too. They’re also not. Of course, in both cases, it depends who’s spectrum your using.

    My point is: The labels Left and Right are hopeless – they’re totally inadequate. Allow me to illustrate:

    What is the biggest single change in politics, in most Western countries, since the end of the Second World War?

    The slow death of traditional political parties, and the rise of single issue-politics.

    The labels Left and Right are convenient short-hand for the Old Media. Every time you use them you buy into the biggest continuous lie since the French Revolution.

    I often read websites from the far right …

    It takes all sorts to make a World.

    I do this because I believe that we can always learn from listening to the other side.

    I agree. Joking aside, we should all do it. I distinctly remember Christopher Hitchens once saying “You give me the awful impression of…someone who hasn’t read any of the arguments against your position ever”

    One of the things that strikes me is the correlation between tea party membership and religious affiliation – and not just any religion, we’re talking specifically about fundamentalist Christians …

    One of the problems of declining political parties is that they become exposed to the risk of takeover by minor factions – particularly active ones. I met an academic studying British politics just a couple of years ago. He revealed to me that some local councillors are voted into power with just 2% of all votes CAST – not registeredt.

    Of the three biggest political parties in Britain, most have constituencies they come to rely on in an election – which means that short-lists of candidates are made up by, typically, 20 people who regularly turn up at meetings. The candidate is then selected, often by less than 200 local party members.

    Since we had that conversation, Britain’s political parties have changed. Many candidate short-lists are at least vetted, if not actually written, centrally. This is in direct response to the ‘tea-party’ problem of local party membership being vulnerable to takeover by loonies from the political fringes.

    Then the candidate goes to the polls and is voted for by a large minority group of people who think they’re at a football match – to paraphrase an old saying: “They’ll vote for a dog – providing it’s wearing a red rosette” – while a growing number stay at home because they ‘know’ their vote is ‘useless’.

    Thus: millions of people are being represented by politicians that none of them wants.

    As you’re clearly a US citizen, I feel I must tell you that my academic friend was even less enthusiastic about US democracy. Gerrymandering by more transparent methods has been a huge problem in the US for many decades.

    Why do religious and political affiliations seem to go hand-in-hand?

    • Because people are lazy and ignorant.

    • Because we’re kept in our place by keeping us ‘time poor’ so that we can’t give politics the attention it deserves.

    • Because religious leaders seek unelected power.

    • Because the press see all of the above, and pull all the right tricks.

    Are atheists mostly left-wing?

    I have no idea. Two things:

    Richard Dawkins has likened organising atheists as being like herding cats – tough because, by definition, they’re independently minded.

    These pages (RD.net) demonstrate that atheists think in ways that cut across the labels Left and Right. They also clearly demonstrate that atheists are prepared to change their minds if new evidence comes to light, and to listen. They’re not politically dogmatic in the exactly the same way that they’re not philosophically and religiously dogmatic.

    Most of the World’s atheists are also humanists. As you’re a US citizen, and the US political spectrum is to the right of all Western countries, and never mind the rest of the World, it is my duty to say that – in US terms – that makes most of us ‘lefties’ on things like social policies. But don’t start extrapolating from that to conclude most of as are, say, socialists. That would just be stupid.

    What about liberation theology – where does that fit in[?]

    I’m a religious sceptic, and libertarian. I see no dichotomy. Please ask a clearer question if you want to know more.

    Logically, I would have thought that followers of Christ would have been more liberal than average.

    The majority of the World’s Christians would agree with you. I can only refer you to one of my favourite Americans Bill Maher – nobody puts it better.

    Peace.

  16. This subject has, indeed, rung the bells off their rockers for some posters here. It’s been quite a while since I have read this much closed-minded ignorance by people tending toward atheism (or claiming to do so)! The unmitigated bile being swilled by some regarding the political right, particularly those such as myself who are very proud to claim firm Tea Party affiliation as well as confirmed atheism, is truly disheartening, especially given the high level of discourse and thought I read regularly in this forum.

    There is not enough space available to use at Richard’s expense in trying to set some of the “thinking”(?) aright regarding the Tea Party being expressed by several of the posters here. For those interested, I would highly recommend Mark Levin’s fine explanation in his book AMERITOPIA of what goes on in the Tea Party mind and what those “goings on” are actually aimed at. Mark explains very clearly what the basic philosophies of the time were that motivated the Founders to concoct the form of government that they did.

    One of the essentials was liberty, the more the better! For those who might want to look into the whole subject, I would highly recommend reading the Federalist Papers as well. Suffice it to say that the US Constitution, which was the culmination of all the thought and discussion in Philadelphia in 1789 took 13 disparate and often quarreling colonies to the richest and most powerful country on the planet in a mere 235 years!

    The Tea Party is nothing more than a modern-day effort to re-establish most, if not all, of the kind of thinking and individual responsibility that brought that happy circumstance about. The Tea Party has Liberals as well as Conservative people of all races who share a burning love of liberty and personal responsibility and a desire to further a CIVIL society, without which self-governance cannot exist.

    For a compendium of the glaring ills extant in the current US Government, read Dr. Angelo Codevilla’s seminal work on the Ruling Class and the Country Class. After all that, come back and tell me about the Tea Party and I would be happy to discourse with you. It is patently obvious to me that most of the posts here regarding the Tea Party are being made by people who have not the faintest concept of what they are talking about.

    • In reply to #23 by beest666:

      The Tea Party is just a bunch of dogmatism and like religious doqma is, of course, well intentioned but unfit for purpose in a rapidly changing and complex society. Rather more, evidence and reason should be guiding all policy making, not some prescription cleaved to by acolytes. Originalism, a Tea Party tenet, sums up this typical poverty of sceptical thought in political movements.

    • In reply to #23 by beest666:

      This subject has, indeed, rung the bells off their rockers for some posters here. It’s been quite a while since I have read this much closed-minded ignorance by people tending toward atheism (or claiming to do so)! The unmitigated bile being swilled by some regarding the political right, particula…

      Taking your sincerity as a given, something that is easy to do since unlike every other teabagger I have listened to, you are coherent, grammatical, and have your dates & history right, and you obviously do not believe in talking snakes etc, why then do you permit demonstrable morons like Bachmann, Palin, and others of the American Taliban (qv, google,) do your talking for you?

      Presuming the tea party has a point of view worthy of public consideration, it is not well represented by those we see on it’s hustings.

  17. Be fair John.wb

    Fundamentalist Christians don’t believe the Earth is 4,000 years old, but insist that James Ussher (Bishop of Armagh in 1611) was spot-on when he computed from data he ferreted out of the OT that his god started the project of creating the universe (including the Earth in one day, then all the galaxies in one day, and finally Adam, also in one day) on “The beginning of the night which preceded the twenty third of October in the year 4004 BC”.

    That makes the Earth 6,017 years old in a couple of months time (happy birthday), which of course is closer to the truth than the 4000 years you quoted. But why have a dig at illiterate and innumerate idiots, when you can have a go at learned authorities that, apparently, know cosmology, astrophysics, and evolutionary biology inside out, and would have us believe that the universe was born as follows:

    1) Jehova’s Witnesses – 2104 BC (first choice)

    2) The Vatican – 2370 BC

    3) The Rabbinate – 3761 BC

    4) Luther and Melanchthon – 3963 BC

    5) Jehova’s Witnesses – 4026 BC (second choice)

    6) Eusabius (Chairman of the Nicene Council) – 4957 BC

    7) The Syrian Orthodox Church – 5490 BC

    8) The Orthodox Church of Constantinople – 5508 BC

    I would go on about big-bang fantasies, but I don’t want to stir a hornet’s nest.

  18. Logically, I would have thought that followers of Christ would have been more liberal than average. The precepts of helping the poor, casting off ones worldly possesions and turning the other cheek seem decidedly left-wing to me.

    I think you’ll find if you read it properly, jesus’s message was a lot more about gun ownership, obeying religious authority, avoiding taxes and personal wealth. beware of those tricky commie bibles that have been distributed with stuff about peace, questioning the religious elders, camels and needles or rendering unto ceasar etc… it’s part of their evil plot

  19. As an Atheist I believe in gay marriage, abortion, divorce, family planning, kindness to animals and everyone to be equal. I am not left wing. I just believe that we must progress from an old book which hasn’t got a clue about human problems. I do not believe in slavery, breeding like rabbits, keeping woman in their place, and treating people like scum. The American right winged religious movement are so behind the times that they cause so many problems to their subjects. Politics should never be involved with religion Otherwise world war three would have happen by now.

  20. Being unconvinced by a flawed argument is probably unrelated to one’s politics. Not following an illogical belief system is not a point of view. However, following a societies traditions may well be.

  21. The sentiment that you believe followers of christ would have been more liberal means that you ascribe more moral fiber to the teabaggers than they deserve. The purpose of religion is no longer about faith and/or compassion. It is about power and control. Without their god and bible, they (by their own admission) have no framework of authority from which to edict how others are to live their lives. Thus, teabagger cling, tenaciously, to that which gives them authority which, in today’s socioeconomic and sociopolitical atmosphere, equates to control of resources and the laws that protect the privileged. A predisposition to believe in god does not just incline one to be conservative; it all but compels one…

  22. Both these areas of human activities are attractive to the nasty, nasty part of humanity lacking empathy just wanting power, malignant narcissisits, sociopaths and psychopaths utterly interested in gaining wealth and control. Experts in hipocrisy, total oppotunists with no ideology only a self-serving agenda. They come in all models, no matter what their party/church is called. Those working from love and reason in these areas must have a very hard time weeding those elements out, or find routes around them, or control them. I don’t know how they do it. On a very small private scale; the most greedy, tight with money people I have met were communists; as a teenager I got from high to very low marks all of a sudden in philosophy and religion. The class was held by a clergyman who visibly reacted with shock when I suggested that Jesus would probably have been a radical pacifist in modern terms.

    Education with strong emphasis on natural sciences and philosophical discussions, secular humanism and never-ending debates on power and opression issues I see as a must. I’m ready to vote for it whatever label they put on their party.

  23. THOUGHT I”D PUT THIS IN FOR THE BENEFIT AND ENLIGHTENMENT OF “DragonMyst” AND PERHAPS A FEW OTHERS “WHERE DID CAIN GET HIS WIFE ?” QUITE SIMPLE REALLY, CHECK OUT GENESIS CH,5 V,4 And the days of Adam after he had begotten Seth were eight hundred years: and he begat sons and daughters: FOR THE UNENLIGHTENED, BROTHERS MARRIED SISTERS IN THAT TIME, AND ONLY BECAME PROHIBITED DURING THE TIME OF MOSES, DONT BELIEVE ME, CHECK IT OUT FOR YOURSELF. BUT THEN OF COURSE, EVEN IF YOU READ IT YOU STILL WONT BELIEVE. HAVE EYES AND EARS BUT BLIND AND DEAF Etc……..

    • In reply to #32 by genesis:

      THOUGHT I”D PUT THIS IN FOR THE BENEFIT AND ENLIGHTENMENT OF “DragonMyst” AND PERHAPS A FEW OTHERS “WHERE DID CAIN GET HIS WIFE ?” QUITE SIMPLE REALLY, CHECK OUT GENESIS CH,5 V,4 And the days of Adam after he had begotten Seth were eight hundred years: and he begat sons and daughters: FOR THE UNENLI…

      A bit of netiquette wouldn’t go a miss there with the capitals.

      Evolution and the fact that there wasn’t two individuals at the “beginning” of the Human species aside…you are talking about endogamy.

      So incest isn’t proscribed in the OT until that Moses nonsense? Why was that then, why did God decide all of a sudden to make it illegal? Particularly as the rules a bit confusing between Leviticus 18 & 20…and Deuteronomy…unless they were 3 seperate documents to begin with and are inventions of men..do ya think?

      “In Genesis 4:17, Cain has a wife, though there is no account given of where his wife comes from. Excepting direct creation by God, as was the case for Adam himself, the only two obvious possibilities for Cain’s wife are that she was either a full sister of Cain or she was Cain’s mother Eve.”

      So, although you and I are free to interpret the nonsense as we will, incest, which is morally corrupt by most modern standards, was the how we got here by your reckoning? Way to go God…couldn’t be arsed pulling some more ribs or clay moulding, nope. A bit of perving was how it all got going. If you believe in nonsense off course. What was that tribe you said before…

      BUT THEN OF COURSE, EVEN IF YOU READ IT YOU STILL WONT BELIEVE. HAVE EYES AND EARS BUT BLIND AND DEAF Etc……..

      Yes, that was it…SPOING!!!!

  24. Actually it isn’t the case that religious people in America generally vote Republican. There are one or two extremely religious groups like the Mormons and Evangelicals that do. However, people who are merely run-of-the-mill Christian tend to vote Democrat by a very small margin, while other religious groups do by a larger margin. The Godless, of course, vote overwhelmingly democrat.

    I suspect that when you think of your typical Republican voter you are thinking of some hick from Redneckville. However, there are plenty of sophisticated Republicans who don’t live down on the farm or believe that the Earth is 6,000 years old.

    One more thing. You seem to attribute all virtues to liberals and see conservatives as stone-hearted Gradgrinds. The truth is that conservatives and liberals often want the same things, they just have different ways of going about achieving them. Liberals start from an unrealistic view of human nature and consequently their programs tend to fail. Despite this they think they are the more virtuous group. Conservatives on the other hand are more realistic and find themselves picking up the pieces after liberal governments have run up huge amounts of debt to pay for their programs that don’t work. They are then called ‘heartless’ and ‘uncaring’ and are voted out so that Obama and Co. can continue running up more debt to pay for more programs that don’t work. This is called ‘caring’.

    • In reply to #36 by keith:

      Liberals start from an unrealistic view of human nature and consequently their programs tend to fail. Despite this they think they are the more virtuous group. Conservatives on the other hand are more realistic and find themselves picking up the pieces after liberal governments have run up huge amounts of debt to pay for their programs that don’t work.

      I think that’s just psuedoscientific analysis not much better than saying “conservatives are Taurus and Liberals are Aquarius” The idea that you can just divide people into these little boxes and say “oh you are a conservative therefor you think X for reasons Y” is just BS there is no good evidence for it that I’ve ever seen and all the actual human beings I know, well many of them at least, have far more interesting and nuanced ideas and personalities than just liberal or conservative.

      I’m very to the left when it comes to US foreign policy. But I’m very much in favor of the free market and having government encourage the free market to develop new technologies and find ways to stimulate the economy. I’m also an extreme Libertarian (not a Ron Paul Libertarian but a Jeffrersonian) when it comes to individual human rights vs. the state.

      • In reply to #37 by Red Dog:

        In reply to #36 by keith:

        Liberals start from an unrealistic view of human nature and consequently their programs tend to fail. Despite this they think they are the more virtuous group. Conservatives on the other hand are more realistic and find themselves picking up the pieces after liberal govern…

        1. What does a leftist foreign policy look like? Interventionist or non-interventionist? George W. Bush came to power saying he wanted nothing to do with interventionism. Then 9/11 happened and it became clear that non-intervention was perhaps not the solution. Was Bush’s decision to invade Iraq left-wing or right-wing? If right-wing, why was it right-wing and what would a leftist president, say Obama, have done? In general leftists are internationalists and talk highly of solidarity with their fellow humans in other countries who are suffering. Surely this leads to interventionism. In short, I have no idea what you mean when you say you are leftist in regard to foreign policy.

        2. My post could not have been pseudoscientific because it made no claims to be scientific. I was just quoting numbers that are published by companies paid to find out such things. If listing statistics is pseudoscience, then so is vacuuming the carpet.

        3. Are you saying that there are no differences between liberals and conservatives? If so, what is the use of having those words if they don’t mean anything? I think it is generally accepted that liberals think that humans are flexible and that nature counts for little when compared to culture. The opposite is true for conservatives. This leads to the liberals keenness for social and welfare programs. This does not mean that every single liberal is keen on social welfare programs, just as the statement ‘Men are generally taller than women’ mean that all men are taller than women. So what is it here the you object to?

        • In reply to #38 by keith:

          What does a leftist foreign policy look like? Interventionist or non-interventionist? George W. Bush came to power saying he wanted nothing to do with interventionism. Then 9/11 happened and it became clear that non-intervention was perhaps not the solution. Was Bush’s decision to invade Iraq left-wing or right-wing? If right-wing, why was it right-wing and what would a leftist president, say Obama, have done? In general leftists are internationalists and talk highly of solidarity with their fellow humans in other countries who are suffering. Surely this leads to interventionism. In short, I have no idea what you mean when you say you are leftist in regard to foreign policy.

          In short what I mean is that I agree with people who are typically identified with the far left on foreign policy. People like Noam Chomsky.

          My post could not have been pseudoscientific because it made no claims to be scientific. I was just quoting numbers that are published by companies paid to find out such things. If listing statistics is pseudoscience, then so is vacuuming the carpet.

          You weren’t just describing data you were making an interpretation of the data. Essentially a theoretical interpretation of why conservatives are conservative and liberals are liberals. My point was your interpretation was wrong. Specifically when you say:

          Liberals start from an unrealistic view of human nature and consequently their programs tend to fail. Despite this they think they are the more virtuous group. Conservatives on the other hand are more realistic

          Saying that somehow liberals are unrealistic and conservatives are realistic is wrong. Look at some of the recent positions conservatives (I’m talking about the US now) have taken. Most of them thought Mitt Romney was going to be elected. Most of them don’t believe in climate change despite overwhelming evidence. Most of them believe nonsensical things that have been contradicted by tons of evidence about economics.

          Are you saying that there are no differences between liberals and conservatives?

          No. And I don’t see how you could infer that from what I said.

          If so, what is the use of having those words if they don’t mean anything?

          I didn’t say they don’t mean anything. I’m saying the way you describe the difference (while a common fallacy) is wrong.

          I think it is generally accepted that liberals think that humans are flexible and that nature counts for little when compared to culture.

          Saying something is “generally accepted” in no way implies it is true.

          The opposite is true for conservatives. This leads to the liberals keenness for social and welfare programs. This does not mean that every single liberal is keen on social welfare programs, just as the statement ‘Men are generally taller than women’ mean that all men are taller than women. So what is it here the you object to?

          I agree with the last part of what you said. Calling people Liberal or Conservative means that you are essentially making a statistical prediction about where they fall on a range of issues. A liberal is more likely to be pro-choice for example. As to why liberals and conservatives believe what they do, I think that is a complicated question and probably impossible to answer in a meaningful way for all liberals or all conservatives. But my point was the way you were answering that question is simply based on common stereotypes that are clearly wrong.

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