I have had it with the lie most prominently proclaimed of late by the latest theocon Texan whom wants to be an anti New Deal President that Social Security is a Ponzi scheme. That’s a through the teeth, outright Texas sized lie because it’s simply not anywhere close to being technically accurate. Nor is Social Security a pyramid scheme as many on the right contend.
Part 1: Why Are Many Christians Randian/Miserian Influenced Social Darwinists Instead of the Socialists The Bible Prefers?
“For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil, for which some have strayed from the faith in their greediness.”
Paul in 1 Timothy
These days many conservative Christians, mostly Protestant but also a number of Catholics, would have us all believe that the Creator is not only dead set against any wealth redistributing socialist collective, but that the creator of the universe favors free wheeling, deregulated, union busting, minimal taxes especially for wealthy investors, plutocrat boosting capitalism that buts the individual above all else as the best if not ideal earthly scheme for his human creations. And many of these Christolibertarians are either direct or indirect followers of Ayn Rand and Ludwig von Mises, who were the most hard-line anti-Christian atheist/s you can get. Meanwhile many Christians who support the capitalist policies associated with social Darwinism strenuously denounce Darwin’s evolutionary science because it supposedly leads to, well, social Darwinism! Meanwhile atheists, secularists and evolutionist are denounced as inventing the egalitarian evils of anti-socially Darwinist socialism and communism.
Liberals and progressives are also doing something strange. They are failing to take full advantage of The Great Theocon Libertarian Contradiction by loudly exposing the marvelous contradictions of the religious and economic right. And the mainstream press is missing the boat as it fails to cover a top factor of the ongoing cultural, political and economic wars raging in the US.
What with the shuttle having made its last flight, there is a way you can get a sense that humaned (manned is sexist) space flight is a dead end proposition that has no long term place to go.
The below essay is an expanded version of an op-ed published on 4/30/11 on the opinion pages of the Washington Post(print version www.gregspaul.webs.com/WPoped.pdf; online version www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/why-do-americans-still-dislike-atheists/2011/02/18/AFqgnwGF_story.html). With a print edition run of over half a million, 75,000 Facebook recommends and rising, and 1500 comments, the op-ed was among the most widely read in the WP this year, and is among the most read proatheist essays ever. Written in the tradition of Letter From Birmingham Jail, the essay has put the nation on notice that there is chronic bias against those who do not believe in the supernatural, that this is unwarrented, and that it must cease. The popularity of the piece reflects how fed up nonbelievers are with being picked upon for no good reason. Originally there were 5 cosigners, but because only 2 are allowed in WP op-eds Daniel Dennett, Darren Sherkat and Linda LaScolla had to be dropped, they are cosigners of the below.
What with all the hoopla about Ronald Reagan’s 100th birthday, it is a good time to explain how he did serious damage to popular religion in America without having a clue that he his procorporate socioeconomic policies would accelerate the rapidly growing secularization of these United States. Policies that the bulk of the religious right is still blindly following without understanding how they are shooting themselves in their theistic feet.
Conservative Christian American’s believe that God blesses these United States, an exceptional nation that stands as Reagan’s Shining City on a Hill to the rest of the world. Because free enterprise is the American Way, most right wing Christians presume that the liberty of unhindered capitalism and low taxes must be the godliest economic arrangement available to humankind. And because the Bible is God’s word, scripture has to describe private enterprise as His gift to the world. The belief that the one God is procapital has become a key weapon the right deploys to oppose that which is not in accord with the libertarianism advocated by Ayn Rand --who has become a favorite of leading right-wingers despite her being a convinced atheist. If the perfect creator of the universe is for unrestrained free markets, how dare any decent American be for anything that smacks of ungodly socialism? Conversely, only god free atheists could concoct socialist systems that demand the death of those who refuse to comply with the evil that is communalism. This is a favorite theme of many Tea Partiers as they furiously denounce the Democrats, liberals and progressives as them secular collectivists who hate the individual liberty the Lord gave us.
Rachel Maddow should run for President of the United States of America. Seriously Rachel, you should.
This is not because I want to see President Obama not have a second term. He has accomplished more for the progressive cause than any president since, well, Johnson. Assuming he does run for four more years he is infinitely superior to any Republican the GOP will nominate. And a progressive third party candidate will only serve to split the liberal vote allowing say, Sarah Palin, to walk into 1900 Penn. Ave. on a plurality. The reason someone like Maddow should run is in order to enhance the prospects for Obama while boosting the fortunes of the progressive cause.
Dragging drearily and endlessly on, the Gulf oil calamity did not help Obama, the Democrats and the progressive cause as the mid terms approached. This is ironic in that Obama et al. do not bear the primary responsibility for creating the entirely man made mess, and there is not a whole lot he and they can do about it. It is all the more ironic that the national crisis that has no end date is largely the fault of Republican style economic libertarianism. Remember back when those pesky liberals and Dems complained about Dick Cheney having those secret meetings with the fossil fuel industry in the first year of the Bush administration? And how the whining libs warned we would end up regretting how Big Oil and friends got the big breaks while a few crumbs were thrown to alternative energy? The progressives were of course correct, but it is not doing them much good while it improves the immediate prospects of the right.
Those who oppose the Muslim establishment near Ground Zero protest that they are doing so merely because they are concerned about the feelings of the survivors of the relatives of those slain in the terror attack. On the PBS Newshour right wing Jew and supporter of conservative Christianity Michael Medved, for instance, went so far as to kindly offer to assist the Muslims – who oppose terrorism including Islamic -- building the center to find a more suitable location. He being a friend of Islam as long as it is of the proper sort. This is not true. He and they from the right to the left who oppose the Muslim center (it is not much of a mosque because the latter is predominantly a place of worship) while professing to not oppose the faith per se are genteel bigots against Islam. This is easy enough to demonstrate.
As the Nathan character said in The Searchers, that tears it. The last shred of the Catholic claim to being an ethical institution has been eliminated by the cruel perfidy of its clerics. It is time for all decent people to demand that the institution no longer exist as an organized entity, and for all upright people who belong to the body to leave in disgust. It is not just the pedophile scandal. It is because core Catholic doctrine is outright evil. Here’s why.
There is a strong libertarian streak to the Tea Party crowd. In some recent elections where they have had an impact, such as the election of Ron Brown to the late Ted Kennedy’s seat, the TPs held their noses as they voted for a nonlibertarian, moderate Republican in order to bump off one of them socialist Democrats. But TPs scored a big coup when they shot down the establishment Republican primary candidate for a Kentucky Senate seat and elected a full blown libertarian, Rand Paul, son of the equally fervent liberty ideologue Ron Paul. And a couple of days later Rachel Maddow put a great big Type-93 super torpedo into the ship that is libertarianism, the Tea Party, and Paul’s candidacy by simply and repeatedly asking the latter whether or not he thinks it should be illegal for businesses to discriminate on the basis of race, religion, sex and so forth – Paul had announced his candidacy on her show awhile back and had no idea tht he was sailing into such dangerous waters. It was fun in that cringy, squirmy way to watch the supposedly principled Paul devolve into the run of the mill politician who can taste the power if only he can get elected weave and dodge Maddow’s question like he was a ship chasing salvos without actually answering with the plain truth.
Not literally, but he is dangerously close to doing so. Here’s how it works. The notorious Shroud of Turin has been purported to be the burial shroud of the crucified and resurrected Christ for centuries. Skeptics have been explaining why it is an artistic fraud over the same period, starting apparently with an outraged Catholic Bishop in the 1300s. Radiometric dating shows that the cloth dates from about that time. Rarely displayed, the Catholic Church has tended to take a neutral stance on the authenticity of the object. But during its current exhibition Benedict 16 contended that the shroud once "wrapped the remains of a crucified man in full correspondence with what the gospels tell us of Jesus" (www.csmonitor.com/World/Europe/2010/0503/Pope-Benedict-says-Shroud-of-Turin-authentic-burial-robe-o f-jesus; www.straitstimes.com/BreakingNews/World/Story/STIStory_522047.html). Although it is not absolutely clear if the Papacy is now claiming that the shroud is directly tied to Jesus, Ratzinger is clearly stating that it was used to wrap the body of a human being. The same claim was made on the new two hour History (when its convenient) Channel pseudodocumentary "The Real Face of Jesus" that gave shroud advocates free reign to present their nonsensical notions without contradiction by those more in touch with reality.