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I was watching the HBO documentary "Questioning Darwin" and was struck by one of the passages in the film. Basically, some of the young-earth creationists interviewed expressed disbelief, even resentment, over the idea that Man is not "special." Meaning, if Man is simply the result of natural selection, nothing more than a highly-evolved species of animal, and not created by God separately and distinctly from all other living things, then ... well, then man was not created by God separately and distinctly from all other living things, and is therefore not "unique" or "special" but is instead rather ordinary. The resentment comes, I think, from being thought of as ordinary, rather than as extraordinary, when one feels deserving of the latter.

As I was watching this I thought about some of the other issues I've written about here and elsewhere. For some time I've noted that right-wing/"conservative"/Tea Party™/Republican/whateveryouwanttocallit politics has, particularly in the Obama era, revolved largely around the dual emotions of self-congratulation and resentment. Indeed the whole Tea Party™ "movement" started with a rant by Rick Santelli on CNBC in which he asked his audience if they, the good and decent and responsible people who paid their mortages and didn't borrow beyond their means, wanted to "bail out" the "losers" who didn't, and did.

That's been the recurring motif on issue after issue, in speech after speech, in Fox News segment after Fox News segment, ever since. We are the Good People who have done everything right and believe in all the right things, They are the Bad People who wrongly benefit at our expense and don't deserve our help. Not only that, but We are not getting the respect and admiration we deserve [from the Bad People] for being the Good People, indeed We are Being Attacked for it [by the Bad People]. They "hate" Us, when They should admire Us.  

I couldn't help but notice a connection.

What these young-earth creationist folks were basically saying is that they feel insulted by the idea that Man is not as unique and special as the Book of Genesis would have us believe. Quoting Darwin, "Man ... thinks himself a great work, worthy of the interposition of a deity." There was even some talk in the documentary about pride; paraphrasing, Man should be proud of being Man, of being God's most highly favored earthly creation. That's the self-congratulation part. The resentment comes from being told that perhaps that feeling might not be entirely justified.

Pride is supposed to be one of the Seven Deadly Sins, after all. But, quoting Darwin again, "Man may be excused for feeling some pride at having risen -- though not through his own exertions -- to the very summit of the organic scale." Yet somehow, in some people, that pride has grown into a sort of grotesque and exaggerated sense of self-admiration. There are those who admire themselves so much that even an idea that might undermine the basis of that self-admiration becomes profoundly threatening.

I wrote about this recently, on the topic of gun enthusiasts and the Second Amendment. I came to the realization a while back that the Right to Keep and Bear Arms is grounded in property rather than liberty, as "Arms" are themselves property, viz., consumer goods that must be purchased before they can be Kept and Borne. As one insightful commenter (and gun enthusiast) rightly pointed out, thinking of gun rights as property rights instead of liberty interests has no real practical effect; it certainly doesn't enable any regulations or restrictions that are not already permissible. But it is taken, perhaps also rightly, by gun enthusiasts as an attempt to "diminish" them, their guns and their "rights," even though it really doesn't. Characterizing guns as property or as consumer products, merely thinking about them that way, implies that guns are about sales and profits, not Liberty and Freedom. It makes those who take such great pride in owning and using guns feel like nothing more than ordinary retail consumers. It tells them that owning guns doesn't make them heroes, doesn't make them "unique" or "special." It tells them, or seems from their perspective to tell them, that their pride is unjustified.

Here again, as with the young-earth creationists interviewed for the HBO documentary, a new or different idea undermines the individual's sense of his own importance, greatness, specialness, uniqueness, personal heroism, or whatever. Something that is of great emotional importance to the individual and about which he cares very deeply, is presented to him as a rather ordinary and unremarkable thing. Hence an idea that objectively should not be the least bit threatening, is. Whether the idea is valid or not becomes well beside the point; the person who feels threatened by it will vigorously defend himself against it, even though it is not directed at him personally, because he feels he's being attacked where he should be admired.

Marriage exclusivists, as I call them, can also be motivated by that sort of pride. The best, and worst, justification I ever heard or read for marriage exclusivity was grounded in the premise that straight couples' capacity to procreate offspring makes them "unique" and "special" and therefore worthy of special consideration, special reward, and special compensation from the state, in the form of exclusive access to marriage. This person actually compared marriage to veterans' benefits, the obvious implication being that straight people have earned exclusive access to legal marital status by ... well, by being straight, by being potential breeders for the state. By extension, then, same-sex couples have not earned it, and therefore ought not to expect it and ought not to complain that not getting it makes them "second-class citizens."

Sick, yes, I know.  I had to at least give this person credit for not bringing religion or "morality" into the discussion. But time and time again I had to remind him that nothing he was talking about with respect to procreation and child-rearing would change one iota if same-sex couples could be "married," each the other's "spouse," under the law. He was arguing the virtues of marriage as a justification for marriage, not exclusivity. Ultimately, what he was saying was this: Marriage is a "special benefit" reserved for special people; if we extend that benefit to non-special people, the benefit itself will not change in any material way, but it will no longer be special. The law should make special people feel special. One commenter related an anecdote in which she was told by a marriage exclusivist that that person "would not feel respected" if same-sex marriage became legal. Again, equality threatens the pride of those who deem themselves "special" and "unique," and insufficiently "respected" for it.

Which brings us to the 1%. I haven't written much about this, but we're all aware of what 1%-ers Tom Perkins and Sam Zell have recently said on record about themselves, their class and its critics. The wealthy are being criticized, vilified and persecuted when they should be thanked, admired and celebrated for being who they are and doing what they do. Perkins foolishly compared this to the Nazi Holocaust, whereas Zell actually came out and said, paraphrasing, Leave rich people alone; we're just better than you, so deal with it.

For five years Republican politicians and officeholders have been telling us the same thing: America's Job Creators™, these captains of industry and masters of the financial universe, are sensitive, delicate flowers who must not be criticized, scrutinized, or talked about in any way that does not acknowledge and laud their self-evident awesomeness. Republicans actually told us that our economic problems were solely attributable to the "fact" that the President of the United States was hurting rich people's feelings.

Obviously this is stemming from all that Liberal talk about "income inequality." What progressives are essentially saying to the 1% is, No, you and what you do are not worth 1,000 times more than your workers and what they do. And the 1% are fighting back, saying, Oh yes we are, and yes it is. Once again, we're seeing pushback from people who think themselves, whether justifiably or not, to be unique and special and even heroic, for which they congratulate themselves and expect to be congratulated, being told instead from the outside that they're neither unique nor special nor heroic, which they resent.

Which brings me to an interesting question. If right-wing/conservative/Tea Party™/Republican politics is grounded in self-congratulation and resentment, as illustrated herein, what is left-wing/liberal/progressive/Democratic politics grounded in? Is it grounded in envy, and a different kind of resentment? Is it grounded in an actual desire to take from others, to reap unearned benefits at others' expense, for "free stuff," as we're often accused? If it's true that what liberals and progressives are doing in promoting science, gun control, marriage equality and economic fairness is deliberately bursting the bubble of Good People, telling those who are unique and special that they are neither unique nor special, undermining the pride that Americans justifiably take in themselves, their beliefs, their possessions and their achievements, why are we doing it?  

We see people threatened by ideas that undermine their pride. They see people doing everything they can to undermine that pride. Are we both right?

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  •  Tip Jar (321+ / 0-)
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  •  Well Yes There's Certainly No Shortage of Voices (71+ / 0-)

    pointing to the selfishness of all these parts of the rightwing.

    Another indicator found in all of them is the regular come-to-Jesus moment one of them will have when misfortune hits their lives personally, them or a family member. Suddenly there's a reason to consider gun control, investor protections, unemployment insurance, affordable health insurance, social security, a cheap college education, or any of the other government promotions of the general welfare they've spent their entire lives fighting up to that minute.

    We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

    by Gooserock on Sun Feb 16, 2014 at 11:06:03 AM PST

    •  I read about a guy who was against helmet laws (29+ / 0-)

      he had a tire blowout and hit his head on the pavement ,
      he had a changed mind after .

      "please love deeply...openly and genuinely." A. M. H.

      by indycam on Sun Feb 16, 2014 at 11:17:32 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  like Dick Cheney... (27+ / 0-)

      He's not as strong against gay rights as most conservatives... because he has a gay daughter.  If it didn't affect him personally in some way, he'd be as strongly against it as most other conservatives.  When they have a vested interest in something, it suddenly becomes a big deal to them.  Otherwise, the hell with it.  They have lots of self-interest, but little empathy.

      "Glenn Beck ends up looking like a fat, stupid child. His face should be wearing a chef's hat on the side of a box of eclairs. " - Doug Stanhope

      by Front Toward Enemy on Mon Feb 17, 2014 at 06:22:22 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  It's Classic Divide and Conquer Messaging (16+ / 0-)

      There is a reason they use divisive messaging. If they can get people to resent each other, then they can peel us apart on issue after issue, making it much easier to keep us under control while they subvert our democracy.

    •  Overcompensation & insecurity. I think there's an (6+ / 0-)

      awareness, likely unconscious, that they would not be able to earn what is not awarded them by whatever virtue they are claiming. That the only way they can acquire these things is with the added leverage that 'position' allows them.

      As a kid I couldn't understand why anyone wouldn't think a meritocracy was the most sensible way to run things, (I was too young to factor in vested interests). It took an embarrassing number of years for me to realize that a meritocracy would be threatening to those who lacked merit. They can't 'earn' the things they would like to have, they need that advantage of patronage or birth, 'race' or whatever to allow them access to better stuff, basically.

      Simplistically, I think that progressives have, or at least believe we have, enough going for us that we have options and can do alright as long as the playing field is reasonably level. We have confidence that we can play the basic hand we're dealt and conservatives fear that they can't make it without an ace, or three, up their sleeves.

      JMHO

      Information is abundant, wisdom is scarce. ~The Druid.
      ~Ideals aren't goals, they're navigation aids.~

      by FarWestGirl on Mon Feb 17, 2014 at 11:30:25 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Or (0+ / 0-)

      as St. Phillip of Ochs used to say:  Liberals, ten degrees to the left of center in good times, ten degrees to the right of center if it affects them personally.  Of course conservatives stay about 50 degrees to the right of center as a matter of principle now.  

      If the Republicans ever find out that Barack Obama favors respiration, we'll be a one-party system inside two minutes. - Alan Lewis

      by pholkiephred on Tue Feb 18, 2014 at 03:24:47 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Since it says in the Bible that (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      aratinga, BenFranklin99, SilentBrook

      God said to man “Be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it; have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over every living thing that moves on the earth” (Gen. 1:28)

      It's no wonder that idiots insist on feeling 'special'.  These books were written by egoistic, ignorant tribes-people.

      •  Isaac Asimov had an awesome response to this (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        SilentBrook

        Isaac quoted that same passage, and then asserted that we had long ago accomplished that. He argued that by the beginning of the 20th century, we had indeed filled the earth and subdued it, and it was clear that humans had dominion over all other living species of our planet.

        Mission accomplished!

        •  Yes, we have already done that, time to switch to (0+ / 0-)

          a holding action.  Like stabilize the population--preferably at about 4.5 billion which would be sustainable if we get down there before hopelessly messing up the climate.

          •  Definitely (0+ / 0-)

            We've gone past having "dominion" over the planet to not being able to reverse the damage we've done to it. Over-population is just part of the problem. Now it would take a global effort to stop further damage AND clean-up our mess. And those who are "special" don't want to clean up the mess but are looking for cheaper places to pillage.
              What we all need to realize is that we're just another species on the planet. Darwin was and is right. If we make the planet incapable of supporting life, it won't matter if you have millions/billions----you're a goner, along with everyone else.  Pity the innocent species we take with us.
             Alert! I am not feeling optimistic! But then I clean up a beach that suffers from a continual spewing of plastic from the Pacific Garbage Patch, so maybe I'm just a bit jaded by the sight of multi-colored beach "sand."  And the Japanese tsunami debris hasn't even gotten here yet.  ARGHH!

              http://cams.allaboutbirds.org/...

            A link to mellow us all out a bit.  

    •  I've been called and do admit to being (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      travelerxxx, todamo13, LouisWu

      a "firearms enthusiast". I fire competitively, I hunt, I shoot for recreation.
      I haven't purchased a firearm in over 20 years, so the consumer part is a bit moot. I've purchased components to replace worn components, new mounts when better mounts for optics become available and even new optics when superior technology became available. But, those purchases are few and far between, handful of years apart far between.
      Ammunition, that is a different story, but I purchase reloaded ammunition for non-competition shooting (it's a bit of a bother and risk to reload, as one has to keep primers and smokeless powder about, which is a fire hazard).

      Now, do we need regulations that are sane, practical, but do not restrict an enumerated right excessively?
      Let's look at other rights, as when one discusses limitations or restrictions upon rights, one should compare them as peers.
      So we have a limitation upon free speech? Absolutely, since this nation's inception and even before, one could not engage in seditious or treasonous speech. One could not then, nor now, engage in speech designed to cause imminent lawless action, such as a riot or mass panic.
      One cannot carry a firearm onto school grounds. One cannot carry a firearm into a federal building.
      All are quite sane restrictions, indeed, when I was in school, we had a rod and gun club, guns were never on school property and it was lawful to have them there at that time. It was simply a bit of common sense.
      I don't need a firearm in a school, it is a risk that is unnecessary. I don't need a firearm to pick up my mail, if I did, I have some very serious problems! I don't need a firearm to discuss political matters with my representatives.
      I do need a firearm when hunting in large bore season or when firing on the range. I do retain two firearms for home defense, where they are the absolute last line of defense that is after throwing furniture down the steps at any intruder. My first line of home defense is good quality locks and strong doors, the second line of defense being my telephone. I had my fill of shooting people when I was in the Army, I'm retired from that and happy to be done with such distasteful things.
      Frankly, I firmly believe that semiautomatic firearms that are derived from selective fire or fully automatic service rifles should be restricted under a new class of the National Firearms Act, along with their magazines. A step lower on the onus scale for the background check, instead of an SSBI being performed, a NACLIC would be sufficient (do Google them, it's a bit involved to discuss those here).
      Make them not as hard to acquire as in getting a suppressor (aka silencer), but nowhere as simple as just walking into the gun shop, picking it out, paying for it, filling out a form and off you go.
      As for the "high capacity magazine" nonsense, it's nonsense, as what high capacity is is so highly variable, depending on who is asked. In the military, I used 20 and 30 round magazines to qualify on the range and 30 round magazines in combat. I use 20 and 30 round magazines in competition.
      I most certainly would never hunt with an AR, nor would I load even 10 rounds! But, I digress.
      I'm dubious as to the 100 round magazines, personally, I think they're absurd, not highly reliable (there's a reason that the DoD rejected them for use in combat) and a lot excessive. I also believe that safety consciousness can falter with something so absurd, potentially devolving from precision shooting to spraying high velocity lead about.
      So, perhaps place those up under the NFA alongside suppressors.

      As for humanity being special, I do believe humanity most certainly is special. No other animal on this Earth has evolved to create and use tools in such an extensive a manner. No other animal on this Earth has evolved to alter their environment to suit their desires, not only needs, but even whims. No other animal has developed technology. No other animal creates art. No other animal is as destructive, has large scale wars or would intentionally cause harm for no reason whatsoever.
      So, humanity is quite special!
      Special at times, as in short bus special, but at others, a shining example of forethought, wisdom, intellect and creativity.

      As for Young Earth, I frequently make light of it. For, it is entirely possible to move at nearly the velocity of light from the moment things cooled off enough to survive after the big bang and the Earth would only be 6000 years old, relativistically speaking.
      Of course, the mythical traveler wouldn't be enjoying the view very much, as the and their mythical ship would have photodisintegrated from the flood of hard gamma radiation from the front and their constituent particles spaghettified from the hard, near static magnetic field behind.
      Which renders such a discussion moot.  ;)

      As for marriage exclusivists, while I may not personally approve of all lifestyles, I'm not the designated approval authority. Indeed, per our Constitution, nobody is, save the participants of the relationship being discussed. So, it's not a bit of my business who is with whom.
      I do recall something about allegations of being a nation of equals, which is written into our Constitution in many words, but I also recall how we've been hypocrites since the inception of this nation.
      For, since the inception of our nation, we've been a nation of equals, with some being far more equal than others. Even to the point of being the property of one's "peer".
      Be it a slave or a wife.  :/

      •  NFA, yes. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        todamo13

        As to one of your points, in regard to placing semi-autos under the National Firearms Act of 1934, I have for some time thought this was the best move to be made. I'm surprised to even read the suggestion here at KOS, but not surprised that it comes from someone with a knowledge of firearms. Many not familiar with firearms are ignorant of the NFA. I have co-workers who own fully automatic weapons licensed under the NFA. When I mention this to some not familiar with firearms, they are often skeptical that it is legal to own these weapons, yet this Act has been law for 80 years.

        The NRA has been very vocal in defense of owners of fully automatic weapons, licensed under the NFA. They claim (and I don't have time to go look it all up) that there have been practically no abuses of the firearms licensed under the NFA. The NRA uses this argument to bolster their support for private ownership of select-fire weapons, but if the NFA is so effective for fully automatic weapons, they should be happy to see it used for semi-automatic weapons - particularly those modeled and/or based on military weapons.

        I doubt the NRA would support semi-autos falling under the NFA, but there are years and years of published comment from them regarding how effective the NFA is in regard to preventing crime with fully automatic weapons. It would be rather hard to now disavow all that talk ...although I'm sure they'd try.

        I like your idea of the NCIC check, also.

      •  created equal in Dec of Indepdnc not constitution (0+ / 0-)

        to all you fetishists obsessed with the inerrant perfection of the Constitution, take this quiz:
        does the Constitution permit the existence of a national military for longer than two years?  

    •  It is not only liberals who consider a gun a tool (0+ / 0-)

      -  a consumer good.  Massad Ayoob, in his classic book The Truth about self protection, treats the gun as just one of many tools.  There is nothing special about guns except they are a specialized tool that can be quite effective if you are attacked, IF you have an appropriate gun and know how and when to use it.  

    •  And then there's (0+ / 0-)

      the congressman whose son came out as gay.  All of a sudden he was for equal rights for gays.

      Funny how that works.

      The price of apathy is to be ruled by evil men - - Plato . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . We must be the change we wish to see in the world - - Mohandas Gandhi

      by twocrows1023 on Fri Feb 21, 2014 at 06:46:45 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Equality under law means the government (77+ / 0-)

    doesn't have special favorites among its citizens. Your skin color doesn't matter. You don't get different rights if you're gay or straight. Ideally, you aren't favored with special tax breaks that only the wealthy can get. And so on. Having this as an idea doesn't take away the respect that anyone deserves to have.

    But also, beyond the idea of neutral government, there is the further idea that a very wealthy nation such as ours shouldn't have people so poor that they are deprived of basic necessities such as food and housing. Granting assistance to obtain such things to people in great need is not favortism, nor does it reward bad people. It is good public policy, and humane.

    •  Yes to this... (15+ / 0-)

      One thousand times yes...

      Ignorance more frequently begets confidence than does knowledge: it is those who know little, and not those who know much, who so positively assert that this or that problem will never be solved by science. CHARLES DARWIN.

      by Tronsix2 on Sun Feb 16, 2014 at 06:35:44 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Not just humane (17+ / 0-)

      Christian, even.

      After all, Jesus did say to heal the sick, feed the hungry, cloth the naked.

      He didn't say to belittle them, to make them beg, to treat them like dirt, like they're not human.

      You COULD look at govt doing those things as forcing you to be Christian, whether you like it or not.

      I would think they'd consider that a GOOD thing, not something to get upset over.

      •  Well, multiple religions have that teaching. (7+ / 0-)

        So if you don't like Christians, maybe you can accept it from a different religion.  If you don't like religion, consider it national self-interest, like wanting to make sure people aren't sneezing on food in restaurants because they're sick but can't afford to take the day off, or that having good highways is helpful so that people don't have potholes flattening tires, or mass transit so people don't have as much pollution causing the population to suffer, or nice parks with maintained trails, or safe drinking water and water to wash with, etc, etc, etc.

        If only peoples' selfishness lifted its eyes higher than the end of their upturned noses to realize that so much more affects them than just their bank balances.

        •  There is some evidence that it is actually cheaper (0+ / 0-)

          within ten years to treat the poor decently than to either neglect them or be mean to them.  there must be some level of modest comfort such that it would be cheaper to support all the poor at that level than to neglect them.

          •  Especially since the cost of prisons has (0+ / 0-)

            risen due to the private sector becoming involved and adding their ever rising "profits" to the mix.

            I'm waiting for work houses/poor houses and orphanages such as were plentiful in Dickens's time.  Orphanages were a suggestion of Newt's if I remember correctly.  With single parents to lose their children to the system due to... their singleness, of course.

    •  Not just food and housing. (25+ / 0-)

      Clean safe, free air to breathe.

      Clean, safe, available, free water to drink.

      High quality, appropriate, compassionate, accessible, affordable health care.

      Safe streets and neighborhoods.

      Excellent public education.

      Personal privacy -- freedom from government intrusion into examining rooms, bedrooms, and personal communications.

      Freedom from hatred and discrimination.

      Respect for truth, science and dignity.

      A reliable infrastructure for our civilization.

      A planet that isn't being poisoned and destroyed.

      Whew. I'm sure there's much more, but if we just did these, what a great world this would be.

      "We can either have democracy in this country or we can have great wealth concentrated in the hands of a few. But we can't have both." - Justice Louis Brandeis

      by flitedocnm on Mon Feb 17, 2014 at 02:05:39 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Insight of this diary is extraordinary (11+ / 0-)

      Bringing together the need of some people to feel "special" and to have their specialness recognized by others is indeed a common thread among these groups.  And some others as well.  And this comment recognizes what a threat to this idea a real belief in the equality of all persons as the basis of democracy is, and vice versa.  These "special people", or God's chosen, or the Masters of the Universe or whatever are also betrayed by this need to believe in their specialness as being pretty insecure on some level.  Or they have some guilt about their position they can't face, like the older whites who used to imagine the negroes were coming for them when they were terminally ill.

      It takes a tolerance for ambiguity and a strong sense of ones own beliefs and self-worth to acknowledge that there are people who are different, who believe different things, and that is ok.  It isn't a zero sum game, it isn't threatening, it is what makes life endlessly interesting.

      And so we get people who enjoy the diversity and unpredictable nature of urban areas and people who want to live where everyone is just like them.  We get future-oriented innovators and people who want to return to an imagined, idyllic past.  

      And of course we get ultra rich people whose sense of self worth is so fragile they require the adulation of the masses.  It is really lot easier to be compassionate toward the less well off young earthers than the Tom Perkinses of this world, for whom nothing is ever enough and the rest of the human race are just objects to be manipulated for personal gain.

       

      Don't bet your future on 97% of climate scientists being wrong. Take action on climate now!

      by Mimikatz on Mon Feb 17, 2014 at 09:01:10 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  I want lots of people to join me in the special- (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        texasmom, CharlieHipHop, Matt Z

        ness of believing we can eradicate world poverty, raise children without brutality, and generate wealth and sci/tech advances without destroying the environment.

        Fight them to the end, until the children of the poor eat better than the dogs of the rich.

        by raincrow on Mon Feb 17, 2014 at 11:11:56 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  I cant speak for every one else, but I do (3+ / 0-)

          have a sort of "uniting" idea that motivates me. It has not escaped me that the uniting idea of conservatism is resentment.

          Mine is that all statements about what we should do should always be based on evidence. I view things through the lens of science.

          When climate change became a big target, I was not particularly trusting of the liberal side. I increasingly checked out the evidence myself, and for many years when people denied the reality of global warming, I did not immediately shoot it down until I checked the evidence they gave. I kept finding that what they were saying simply didn't make sense.

          I've reached a point now where I recognize the tactics being raised, and I've seen many of the studies produced. I pay very little attention now because of the massive weight of evidence that global warming is happening.

          By their nature, scientists are reluctant to completely rule out any argument until they have tested its value. That's one reason why they have taken so long to respond to denialism. By his nature, the scientist is a sceptic. He must review evidence carefully before making up his mind.

          It is glaringly obvious to me these days that conservatives have no respect for science, and are not accustomed to checking their own facts. This is inevitable, because most conservative views don't do well when you review the facts.

          Socialist countries in Europe have far lower rates of criminals reoffending because they do not use our harsh penalties for criminals. Such things satisfy conservatives, but we have known for forty years or more that they are not particularly good for society. Conservatives like them because they make them feel like they've gotten revenge, but ultimately they harm society.

          That's a consistent trend more and more obvious to me as I grow older. Conservative idealogy does not survive review, which is why conservatives are seldom very reflective.

          Ignorance more frequently begets confidence then knowledge. Charles Darwin

          by martianexpatriate on Mon Feb 17, 2014 at 11:26:00 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

      •  Internalized guilt (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        pennyck

        Special people get a free pass. Special people get the benefit of the doubt. Special people start from the assumption that what they're doing is good and right and lawful.

        If I am not special, maybe that douchey thing I did is not right or good. Maybe I can't be excused because I really didn't mean to break the law when I was just taking a shortcut/a little extra, just this once. If I am not special, maybe the people I've hurt are just as important as me, and that means I've hurt a lot of other me's. Maybe my ends won't justify my means. Maybe I'm not really that self-made man I said I was, and I had a lot of help from people I stepped on over the years. And maybe I owe those people something they'll be coming to collect on.

        IOKIYAR is so common we acronymned it.

        How does the Republican Congress sit down with all the butthurt over taxing the wealthy?

        by athenap on Mon Feb 17, 2014 at 02:12:46 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  "Pride goeth before a fall." I wish I had a nickel (33+ / 0-)

    for every time I heard my mother say that.
    She also said, "A wise man changes his mind, a fool never does."
    Probably got them from the Bible via her mother.

    You can't make this stuff up.

    by David54 on Sun Feb 16, 2014 at 12:18:20 PM PST

  •  Gun rights as property rights (44+ / 0-)

    I see no reason why anyone should object to gun rights being viewed as property rights. The Constitution contains a number of provisions that protect property. Just look at the just compensation clause.  

    So I think the diarist is correct in saying that the objection is really about a desire to have the right to possess deadly weapons seen as something special. It's not enough that it be accepted as a right existing in the Constitution (assuming one agrees that it does). It has to be raised to another level, one that puts it on a par with, say, the right to vote. This bespeaks a kind of emotional need that goes beyond an effort to enforce or defend a legal right.

    "Ça c'est une chanson que j'aurais vraiment aimé ne pas avoir écrite." -- Barbara

    by FogCityJohn on Sun Feb 16, 2014 at 12:27:12 PM PST

    •  Makes sense on another level (35+ / 0-)

      that it's intertwined with homophobia and marriage.  Ultimately, weapon fetishization is about a man's power to dominate sexually.  I'm not talking about guy's who own a gun or two for hunting or even personal protection, but the men who own dozens of guns and exhibit a sort of castration anxiety when thinking of those guns being taken away.

      "When I was an alien, cultures weren't opinions" ~ Kurt Cobain, Territorial Pissings

      by Subterranean on Sun Feb 16, 2014 at 01:46:16 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  no, it's about maintaining well regulated militia (7+ / 0-)

      for mutual self defense.

      nothing well regulated about retired cops murdering unarmed kids for cranking the volume on their car stereo...or for packing twizzlers.

      •  Skittles? n/t (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        sfbob, caul

        The Dutch kids' chorus Kinderen voor Kinderen wishes all the world's children freedom from hunger, ignorance, and war. ♥ ♥ ♥ Forget Neo — The One is Minori Urakawa

        by lotlizard on Sun Feb 16, 2014 at 08:16:49 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  It's entirely about murdering unarmed kids (7+ / 0-)

        The second amendment was created for militias to go get runaway slaves and keep slaves in line. The contemporary right is pushing for it in almost the exact reasons it was created.

        If knowledge is power and power corrupts, does that mean that knowledge corrupts?

        by AoT on Mon Feb 17, 2014 at 08:00:19 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  It was also to prevent the need for... (7+ / 0-)

          a standing army.

          How many of the Tea Party enthusiasts would be for eliminating the four primary branches of the military in exchange for reinstituting the draft and requiring everybody be armed an ready to fight off potential threats to our homeland?

          Keep the National gaurd and the Coast gaurd and a skeleton crew to upkeep, protect the existing equipment and assure that our military would never leave our borders again; I am all for it.  Sign me (back) up!  

          Think of what we could do for our country if we didn't spend so much of our money fighting wars and blowing stuff up.

          "Perhaps the sentiments contained in the following pages, are not YET sufficiently fashionable to procure them general favour..."

          by Buckeye Nut Schell on Mon Feb 17, 2014 at 08:53:54 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  Um, I disagree, though I'm not a historian. (0+ / 0-)

          I believe the militias were for defense purposes, seeing as how they had just come through the Revolutionary war and the country didn't have a standing army or navy at the time to protect them from continuing aggression from England and potential threats from other external forces, like the other European powers and even threats from Native Americans.

          Perhaps in the slave-owning states militias were also used for enforcing slavery but from what I've read, the slave enforcement was generally individuals or posses, not militias (except for the rare slave rebellion).

    •  I'd expect the obvious argument against that (0+ / 0-)

      would be that the constitution doesn't present it as a property right. One could think of freedom of the press as a property right, but it also isn't one. If it were merely the right to keep arms which was guaranteed in the constitution I could see property rights as being a replacement, but as it is property rights are much weaker than gun rights.

      The government can take away virtually any property it wishes by providing compensation, the constitution forbids that with guns. Also, property rights in no way include the right to "bear" property. Just because I own something doesn't mean I have any right to travel with that item. It's a fundamentally different right than property rights, and not because people want to be "special". Although there most certainly are gun enthusiasts out there who think having a gun makes them special. But it's having the gun that does that, not having a right.

      If knowledge is power and power corrupts, does that mean that knowledge corrupts?

      by AoT on Mon Feb 17, 2014 at 07:56:32 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Actually... (6+ / 0-)
        property rights in no way include the right to "bear" property.
        ...they do. And, actually...
        Just because I own something doesn't mean I have any right to travel with that item.
        ...it does. Carrying or transporting a chattel is an exercise of one's property rights in that chattel. Property rights in chattels include carrying, holding, displaying, storing and transporting those chattels.
        [P]roperty rights are much weaker than gun rights.
        Not true. The Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments protect both liberty and property from deprivation without due process of law. The Fifth Amendment also protects property from confiscation without just compensation; the Second Amendment, as you pointed out, adds additional protection for this particular category of chattel. If anything, treating gun rights as property rights strengthens rather than weakens the protection of those products/chattels from things like confiscation and commercial regulation.
        •  The government cannot simply give people (0+ / 0-)

          money and take their guns away, period. Eminent domain applies to other property, not to guns, which means that gun rights are more expansive than property rights. And other sorts of property do in fact have restrictions on "bearing" said property. Alcohol being the most obvious.

          If anything, treating gun rights as property rights strengthens rather than weakens the protection of those products/chattels from things like confiscation and commercial regulation.
          How so? Any other form of property can, in theory at least, be made completely illegal. We could outlaw owning cars, property rights be damned.

          Either way, it's not the right that people think is special, it's the actual guns. People fight for this because they want guns, not rights. And that's not everyone who is a gun owner, not even a majority I'd guess. Putting this in the same category as young-earth creationists and marriage exclusivists is just incorrect.

          If knowledge is power and power corrupts, does that mean that knowledge corrupts?

          by AoT on Mon Feb 17, 2014 at 08:31:44 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Guns ARE property. That, at least, is undeniable. (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Miggles, pennyck
            If anything, treating gun rights as property rights strengthens rather than weakens the protection of those products/chattels from things like confiscation and commercial regulation.
            How so? Any other form of property can, in theory at least, be made completely illegal.
            Right. And guns can't. Because they have, and no other "form of property"/category of chattels has, an explicitly-enumerated, non-infringeable "right to keep and bear" them.
            •  Guns are property, certainly (0+ / 0-)

              It seems like the same could be applied to the fifth amendment. Which would mean that the right to privacy is really also property rights. Then we start down a slippery slope because then privacy only applies to property and we get more and more problems.

              Do you know if gun rights are legally the same as property rights?

              If knowledge is power and power corrupts, does that mean that knowledge corrupts?

              by AoT on Mon Feb 17, 2014 at 10:03:25 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  If you classify privacy as a property right, then (0+ / 0-)

                people would have to be compensated for having it taken away from them according to the 5th amendment.  So violation of privacy rights would still be unconstitutional.

                •  But only in regards to physical property (0+ / 0-)

                  Unless we are going to redefine humans as property in regards to things like abortion rights. I thin that's going to be a bad precedent to set.

                  What worries me about the gun rights conversation from many on the left is that it ignores the fact that anything we do that can work around the 2nd amendment can be used to work around other amendments as well. Rights are inherent in people, if we change that then our entire legal structure will be upended and we will end up the worse for it. We've already seen most of our rights take a beating, the whole privacy as property ideal would completely legitimize the NSA spying on every American. The ramifications of a change like that are broad.

                  If knowledge is power and power corrupts, does that mean that knowledge corrupts?

                  by AoT on Mon Feb 17, 2014 at 10:19:12 AM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  This is why (0+ / 0-)

                    The "property rights" argument is somewhat offensive based on the source it's coming from. As a legal thought exercise you can make his argument. It does have some degree of logic to it (though it also has fatal flaws). The issue is we recognize WHY he is making it. It's to create a crack, a sliver of light, that can have a crowbar wedged in it to rip the door right on open.

              •  I'm not sure what you mean. (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                FogCityJohn, pennyck

                First of all, "property rights" refers to an area of law, a basic category of legal rights, of which I am arguing "gun rights" are a subset/example. By way of illustration, "Property" is a first-year course in law school, and a topic (one of six) on the Multistate Bar Exam. "Guns" is not (although I'm sure there are law schools that offer discrete Second Amendment law and policy courses, that's beside the point). When I state that "gun rights are property rights," what I mean is that the latter category includes the former, or that the former is an example of the latter, not that the former is "the same as" the latter.

                Second, the "right to privacy" is not itself a property right because it is not necessarily connected in any way -- and certainly not explicitly so -- to chattels or any particular type/category of chattels (nor, for that matter, real or intellectual property), as the "right to keep and bear arms" is. Moreover, I'm not sure how this relates to the Fifth Amendment. The Fifth Amendment does not provide a "right to privacy;" indeed, no Amendment does. The "right to privacy" is a judicially-created "penumbral" right that is derived from various Amendments, including (but not limited to) the Fourth Amendment right to "be secure in [one's] persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures," and the Fifth Amendment rights to not "be compelled ... to be a witness against [one]self, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law[.]"

                Now, the "right to privacy" might include a right to keep one's chattels private, viz., to keep the chattels themselves hidden from public view, or prevent anyone from knowing that you have them. These would be property rights, so in that sense the "right to privacy" might implicate property rights. But chattels are not the only thing that one has a right to keep private; indeed, all of the jurisprudence we have involving the "right to privacy" (as distinct from the Fourth Amendment right against unreasonable search and seizure) concerns behavior, not property. Reproductive health-care decisions and consensual sexual conduct, for example, are not property and are not chattels but are protected by the right to privacy.

                The "right to privacy" is in no way dependent on property, or chattels, or any particular type/category of chattel, as is the "right to keep and bear arms." Moreover, privacy in chattels and real property ("houses, papers and effects") is explicitly protected by the Fourth Amendment. Therefore there is no reason to believe that the "right to privacy" could somehow be limited to property or chattels only, let alone as a result of characterizing the "right to keep and bear arms" as property rights.

                •  To be clear, I don't think that (0+ / 0-)

                  the right to privacy should be conceived of as a property right, I think that if we treat the 2nd amendment as laying out a property right then the fourth amendment could also be construed as such based on the wording.

                  The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated
                  That pretty well explicitly connects property and privacy. I don't have a right to privacy in public, so in that sense it's certainly tied to property. I'd add that when we look at the courts decisions on metadata that decision hinges in part on the possession of said data, so that's also a property issue in some respect.
                  When I state that "gun rights are property rights," what I mean is that the latter category includes the former, or that the former is an example of the latter, not that the former is "the same as" the latter.
                  In theory it may be a subset, but in practice, because of the 2nd amendment, it is an entirely different area of law. Restrictions and privileges associated with property of other types don't apply to guns. Except when you're talking about who owns a gun there are no property rights involved. In the same way drug laws aren't property laws, even though drugs can be property.

                  If knowledge is power and power corrupts, does that mean that knowledge corrupts?

                  by AoT on Mon Feb 17, 2014 at 11:13:28 AM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  The Second Amendment is even more explicit than (3+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    AoT, FogCityJohn, pennyck

                    the Fourth. "To keep" means to own, possess, hold, or withold from others; "to bear" means to own, possess, hold, carry, transport, use, maintain, &c; "arms" are a type/category of chattels. There is nothing in the verbs "keep" and "bear" that implies anything other than property interests, any "right" to do any particular thing that does not involve the enjoyment or exercise of property rights.

                    I'm aware that the "right to keep and bear arms" is not always treated, in practice, as a property right. It's been used -- wrongly, in my opinion -- to support a "right to self-defense" (viz., a right to shoot other people in defense of one's person or property) or, as Judge Napolitano put it, a "right to shoot tyrants," or a "right to shoot other people in order to revolt against and overthrow a democratically-elected internal government" (viz., a right to shoot elected officials, judges and law-enforcement officers), none of which are announced by or contained in the phrase, "to keep and bear arms." If there is indeed a constitutional "right to shoot other people," it is found elsewhere, not in the text of the Second Amendment.

                    Don't confuse property rights with "property laws." Drug laws are criminal laws; they're statutory, whereas property rights derive from the common law. It's true that drug statutes affect property rights by criminalizing possession of drug paraphernalia. Possession is a property interest. But property rights are not wholly inviolable, and again, there's no explicit constitutional "right to keep and bear" drug paraphernalia. Again:

                    Restrictions and privileges associated with property of other types don't apply to guns.
                    ...because the Second Amendment provides an explicit non-infringeable right to "keep and bear" guns, and the Constitution does not anywhere provide any explicit, non-infringeable "right to keep and bear" any other type/category of property.  

                    Any and all forms of gun control that you can imagine -- background checks, waiting periods, trigger locks, insurance requirements, registration, discrete bans on certain types of weapons, clip size limits -- all of these interfere in one way or the other with the property rights of the owner, buyer, seller or manufacturer. They interfere with the owner's/buyer's right to acquire, own, possess, carry, transport, display and utilize the chattel -- all property interests -- and/or with the manufacturer's/seller's right to convert or alienate the chattel -- also property interests.

                    I think we've gone way, way, WAY off the topic here. [Not that I don't appreciate the thought exercise.] The question is, why would a gun enthusiast, one who insists that gun rights are absolute and inviolable, based on the text of the Second Amendment, push back against the idea that gun rights are property rights? If it's all about the guns themselves, as you suggested above, they should embrace the concept of guns-as-property, and gun-rights-as-property-rights. Indeed, most conservatives and libertarians I know are huge fans of property rights; it's why Rand Paul et al. are against the private-discrimination provisions of the Civil Rights Act. Some have even told me that there is no such thing as civil rights or "liberty interests;" that property rights are the only legitimate rights that exist. Except, of course, on this one issue.

                    That's why I don't think it's about the guns, because guns are just retail products. It's about all the heroic things they imagine themselves doing with their guns. It's not a right to own, possess, carry, store, transport, display and maintain guns that they care about; it's a right to shoot. A "right" to be heroes, a "right" to be the Heroes of the Next American Revolution; a "right" to feel heroic, if not to actually be heroic, and to be regarded as heroic by others.

                    To a lot of gun enthusiasts, guns are not just guns; they're symbols of Liberty and Freedom and Patriotism all the mythic heroism they associate with the Revolution and the Founding, a source and object of great personal pride. They're not just mechanical devices sold at retail; they're the instruments of Liberty and Freedom and Patriotism and many various heroic exploits. And by extension, the NRA and the gun industry must only be promoting and acting on behalf of Liberty and Freedom and Patriotism and heroism and "rights," not their own profits and self-interest.

                    That last one is another important point. People who deem themselves heroic for being gun owners and advocates of "gun rights" and Liberty and Freedom and Patriotism, don't want to regard their advocates as being that cynical. If guns are just retail products, then the whole Freedom/Liberty/Patriotism/Second Amendment Rights/Next American Revolution thing coming from the NRA and the industry is just a marketing campaign to sell more guns and boost industry profits. No one wants to believe they're being played like that.

                    •  I don't know that you really addresseed the (0+ / 0-)

                      connection between drug laws and gun rights. The issue I was trying to point out is that property rights are separate from criminal laws, exactly as you say. That means that gun rights are not property rights and more than drug laws are property laws. If we were to outlaw guns we'd have to repeal the second, obviously, but it would be criminal laws, not property laws that would change. To me that indicates that gun rights are not property rights.

                      Thanks for your response here. Lot's to think about.

                      If knowledge is power and power corrupts, does that mean that knowledge corrupts?

                      by AoT on Mon Feb 17, 2014 at 01:11:08 PM PST

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  Umm... (1+ / 0-)
                        Recommended by:
                        pennyck
                        [P]roperty rights are separate from criminal laws[.] That means that gun rights are not property rights[.]
                        No, it doesn't.

                        Criminal laws can implicate property rights. Possession of certain kinds of property, and certain uses of property (i.e., the exercise of property rights in certain chattels and realty), can be and are made illegal by statute. Apart from that, criminal laws and property rights have absolutely nothing to do with each other. They are separate topics and separate areas of law. That fact has nothing whatsoever to do with, and no bearing whatsoever upon, whether gun rights are property rights.

                        This is like saying, "Hits are separate from the strike zone. That means home runs are not hits." It's absurd.

                        Thanks to you as well.

          •  If you have a gun, and a cop is chasing someone (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            AoT

            but needs your gun to be more effective, it can, in fact, be taken. And if it somehow becomes renedered valueless, you will repayed for your loss with money.

            There can be no protection locally if we're content to ignore the fact that there are no controls globally.

            by oldpotsmuggler on Mon Feb 17, 2014 at 10:57:17 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

        •  Not that it would happen, but I think a good (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          oldpotsmuggler, k9disc, pennyck

          solution might be to actually treat guns as something regulated by states in this manner:

          Guns are all the property of the state.
          Guns may be issued/loaned/checked out to citizens of the state to "keep and bear" for a period of time.
          That period of time should be for such time as the citizens are part of the state's militia, with regulations for membership being agreed to prior to the issuance of the gun.  
          Gun use would be allowed only for certain purposes per the state - I would think these purposes would at the minimum include for militia duty, training (including target shooting), hunting and travel to and from those duties.
          I should think those regulations/conditions include maintaining the weapon in a ready state (cleaned, ammunition at the ready), regular drilling, like monthly, demonstrated proficiency, the gun must be stored in a controlled manner (gun safe, transported in case, unloaded, etc)
          The gun must be surrendered upon legal action like a conviction for mis-use, for a restraining order, for commitment for mental issue that would show they're a danger to themselves or others.

          I'm sure there are other regulations that would be imposable by states and I'm sure this will never happen because of those who treat the right to possess guns without restriction as a sacred right that shall not be infringed.  I'm sure I'm in the minority of this country.  I'm also sure there are far too many people who shouldn't possess guns who do possess them.

          •  I'm not sure in what countries (0+ / 0-)

            You have " the right to possess guns without restriction", but it's certainly not the US where guns are very heavily regulated.

            If I put a 5" barrel on my AK that has a stock I just committed a felony. If I thread an oil filter on to the end of my deer rifle creating a silencer, I just committed a felony. If I file the serial number off my gun, felony. Saw my shotgun barrel off to 12", felony. Attach a removable stock to my pistol, felony. Alter a weapon to be full auto, felony. etc...

            •  I'm not saying it's the situation in the US at (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              pennyck

              present, but reading comments on various public sites it sure seems to me like there are plenty of people who feel that any infringement on their right to own any gun they want without restriction is against the US Constitution.  Present farmers excepted, of course.

              •  In a perfect world (0+ / 0-)

                those restrictions wouldn't be there, but we are in "balance a fundamental right against a compelling public interest" world. I think most gun owners get that. You are really on the fringes when they don't I agree.

    •  Well, because they aren't (0+ / 0-)

      As has been explained multiple times in multiple threads, A specific gun owned by me is property. The state of being "armed" (as in "bearing arms") is not a property right, it's a human or at worst civil right. Gun rights are no more property rights than the state of being "free from unreasonable search and seizure" is a property right. It's the right to exist in a particular state of being. In this case "armed".

      •  In law, there really is no such thing as a (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        pennyck

        "right to exist in a particular state of being." As a general matter, states of being cannot be criminalized or outlawed, so one cannot really be said to have a "right to exist in a particular state of being."

        To use the absolute worst and most horrible, disgusting example imaginable, being a pedophile is not illegal and cannot be made illegal. Molesting a child is, and must be, but simply existing in the state of being sexually attracted to children cannot be made unlawful. Does this mean a person has a "right to be a pedophile" (or a "right to exist in the state of being a pedophile")? I suppose it could, but (1) it would be hard to find that specific right in the Constitution or the law, and (2) the "right" would be meaningless since there's no way to exercise, assert or enforce it without committing a crime.

        Same thing with "being a drug addict." It is not and cannot be a crime to simply "exist in the state of being addicted" to cocaine or heroin or any other illegal drug. Using, possessing, buying or selling such drugs can be and is against the law, but that's not the same thing. Whether there is a "right to be a drug addict" is subject to the same analysis as the "right to be a pedophile" discussed above.

        Is there a "right to exist in the state of being" a kleptomaniac or a pyromaniac, even though there is no "right" to steal or set things on fire?

        I can't think of any other specific legal or constitutional "right to exist in a particular state of being" that is analogous to the "state of being armed" suggested here. The only thing I can think of is a "right to exist in the state of being" married, but "married" is a nominal legal status conferred and recognized by the state, so the issue there is whether the state can confer that status upon some but not others, or refuse to confer or recognize that status, so I'm not sure it's analogous. It's not so much a "right to exist in the state of being" married as it is a "right" to marry and to choose one's spouse, to obtain a marriage license, to be treated as "married," and your partner's "spouse," under the law.  

        I suppose there's also a "right to exist in the state of being" gay, or a "right to exist in the state of being" black, or a "right to exist in the state of being" Muslim, or a "right to exist in the state of being" an immigrant, or a "right to exist in a state of being" bad at math, or a "right to exist in a state of being" hungry, or a "right to exist in a state of being" on the couch watching Star Trek, or ..... I could go on and on. I'm not sure one can identify a particular state of being in which one has a specific right to exist, if one cannot identify a state of being in which one does not have a right to exist.

        You make an interesting distinction, though, one I'll have to think about some more.

        [Let me also take this opportunity to apologize for my poor choice of words in the other comment thread. I could have made the same point using a different word and there was no reason to use the word I chose. I'm sorry for doing that.]

        •  Well... (0+ / 0-)

          "To use the absolute worst and most horrible, disgusting example imaginable, being a pedophile is not illegal and cannot be made illegal. Molesting a child is, and must be, but simply existing in the state of being sexually attracted to children cannot be made unlawful."

          Yes, that is correct. You have an absolute right under the constitution to be a pedophile, to be unabashedly attracted to children. You even have a right to freely express those desires. You do NOT have a right to act on those urges which is a crime.

          I appreciate the thought. I am all for respectful disagreement. I try to keep to that, but sometimes people (me and others) get heated.

          •  OK. So, by extension and by way of analogy, (0+ / 0-)

            does that mean that the Second Amendment "right to exist in the state of being" armed also does not provide a "right" to act upon being armed?

            Also, if it's true that (1) the Second Amendment announces a "right to exist in the state of being" armed, and it is also true that (2) there is no "state of being" in which a person does not have a "right to exist," then doesn't that make the Second Amendment essentially meaningless? Why announce a "right to exist in a particular state of being" when everyone already has the right to exist in any and every conceivable state of being?

            I'm still trying to think of a state of being in which a person does not have a "right to exist." I'll check back if I think of one. Very interesting question.

      •  You can't be "armed" without owning property. (0+ / 0-)

        Specifically, the piece of property you have to own for these purposes is a gun.

        The right to be free from unreasonable searches and seizures does, in fact, often partake of property rights.  As the Supreme Court explained in the recent case of United States v. Jones, 132 S.Ct. 945 (2012):

        The text of the Fourth Amendment reflects its close connection to property, since otherwise it would have referred simply to “the right of the people to be secure against unreasonable searches and seizures”; the phrase “in their persons, houses, papers, and effects” would have been superfluous.

        [. . .]

        [F]or most of our history the Fourth Amendment was understood to embody a particular concern for government trespass upon the areas (“persons, houses, papers, and effects”) it enumerates.

        [. . .]

        We have embodied that preservation of past rights in our very definition of “reasonable expectation of privacy” which we have said to be an expectation “that has a source outside of the Fourth Amendment, either by reference to concepts of real or personal property law or to understandings that are recognized and permitted by society.”

        [. . .]

        [A] seizure of property occurs, not when there is a trespass, but “when there is some meaningful interference with an individual's possessory interests in that property.”

        Id. at 949, 951 & n.5.  So contrary to your assumption, the Supreme Court recognizes that there is a connection between property rights and the right to be free from unreasonable searches and seizures.

        "Ça c'est une chanson que j'aurais vraiment aimé ne pas avoir écrite." -- Barbara

        by FogCityJohn on Mon Feb 17, 2014 at 01:46:15 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  You can't have a free press (0+ / 0-)

          Without owning the means to disseminate it. So the free press is a property right?

          So choice, which flows from an implied privacy right, is a property right, per the logic of your quotes above?

          •  Um . . . (0+ / 0-)

            I fail to see the logic in this argument.  As I pointed out in response to another user, I need have no property right to exercise my right to freedom of the press or expression.  For example, I don't own DK, but I am nonetheless able to express my political viewpoints here.  I could also write an article for a newspaper (and thereby exercise press freedom), without having any ownership or other property interest in the newspaper.

            The right to privacy, and thus choice, flows from a number of different constitutional rights, as Justice Douglas explained in Griswold.  My quotes above refer to a case decided under the Fourth Amendment.

            "Ça c'est une chanson que j'aurais vraiment aimé ne pas avoir écrite." -- Barbara

            by FogCityJohn on Mon Feb 17, 2014 at 03:14:12 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

  •  Very Insightful (26+ / 0-)

    I think on the left Obama has shown some of the responses to this and that is to define what makes Americans special in our terms.  That we are special because we believe in fair-play, in human rights, and in looking after each other.

    So, to counter the right's narrative is to enforce our own narrative of what make's us special rather than to say "we aren't special - get over it."

  •  Maybe pay should reflect working conditions (12+ / 0-)

    The present system of deciding compensation levels for the 1% could be modified to adjust for the fact that they have a pretty cushy work life. They work in nice offices that are climate-controlled in the winter and summer, aren't subject to industrial accidents and breathing toxic substances, enjoy excellent business lunches and dinners paid for by the firm, can sit down and rest whenever they like, or in fact decide not to come in to work at all on any given day. All these benefits should surely be balanced by a substantial reduction in their current salaries.

    •  Nor are they supervised to death (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      historys mysteries, dragonlady

      It turns out that the most stressful aspect of work is lack of control. It's also not very good for mental health for one's only interpersonal interactions with one's superiors to consist of criticism (some argue that there is in fact positive interaction, namely the fact that the worker gets a paycheck; however, this isn't an interpersonal interaction; this argument is mostly made by geeks, for whom interpersonal interaction is of less importance than non-geeks).

      Unfortunately when smart and educated people get crazy ideas they can come up with plausibly truthy arguments. -- Andrew F Cockburn

      by ebohlman on Mon Feb 17, 2014 at 09:07:30 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Not long ago, (24+ / 0-)

    I saw a misspelled comment following a story in the corporate media, where the person was all huffy that some childless people prefer to be called "child-free." As if not procreating could be a conscious, dignified choice, one that in no way jeopardized the dignity of anyone else, including the comment-writer. This person just could not get their head around anyone living differently from them, trying to embrace "equality."  They seemed about to have a heart attack. It was incredible.

    There are reactionary bigots all bent-out-of-shape over that harmless little "CO-EXIST" bumper sticker, too.

    "I am a white, straight, Christian male, God-damnit. My life has value!"

    Really brought home to me that, yes, there are people with a deep-seated need to be "better"--more real, more credible--than others.

    It's here they got the range/ and the machinery for change/ and it's here they got the spiritual thirst. --Leonard Cohen

    by karmsy on Sun Feb 16, 2014 at 12:51:43 PM PST

    •  I'd have thought the writer was offended (as I am) (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      oldpotsmuggler

      by the political correctness of it. "Childless" is for some people an intolerable NEGATIVE connotation (just about everything is an intolerable connotation for someone), so we have to get smarmy. Back in the good old days of George Herbert Walker Bush, a magazine columnist remarked how the Bushies were "never at a loss for a smarmy euphemism," e.g. calling people in wheelchairs "challenged": "Does calling someone in a wheelchair 'challenged' make him able to walk, or make life in a wheelchair more tolerable?" was the author's opinion.

      As much as I detest he use of "liberal" as an epithet, I detest even more the idea of language police, not that I'm in the habit of using nasty words about the handicapped or whoever. I just don't want those who have Received the Wisdom to take it upon themselves to force others to use only words from the Received List.

      •  Which to police, Child free or Childless? If a (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        mike101, oldpotsmuggler, mmacdDE, grover

        a couple prefers one or the other, how hard is it to phrase something so that it doesn't grate on others ears? It neither breaks your leg or robs your purse.

      •  If somebody (13+ / 0-)

        lets you know that certain language bothers them, why in the world would you object? For example, if somebody who hasn't had children by choice wants to be called "child-free" instead of "childless," why in the world would this be an issue, unless you're Rush Limbaugh?

        You don't define the world, or anybody in it, besides yourself. You leave to others to specify the language they prefer used about themselves.

        It's here they got the range/ and the machinery for change/ and it's here they got the spiritual thirst. --Leonard Cohen

        by karmsy on Sun Feb 16, 2014 at 04:23:07 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  If you refuse to call me a genius (4+ / 0-)

          then I will be bothered by that.  I demand to be called a genius.  

          When you understand why I don't have the right to make that demand of you, then you'll understand why, in general, people don't have the right to demand that others are only allowed to refer to them using the terms they insist upon.

          Demanding that other people must speak about you using only the terms you dictate is a way of curtailing their right to express their viewpoint.

          If you don't have children, you have every right to eschew the phrase "childless" when describing yourself, and instead call yourself "child-free".  But what you don't have the right to do is demand that everyone else is required to do so also.

          I am not required call someone "child-free" any more than I'm required to call them "a nice person" if I don't think it's apposite.

          •  With all due respect, this (6+ / 0-)
            Demanding that other people must speak about you using only the terms you dictate is a way of curtailing their right to express their viewpoint.
            is reactionary, authoritarian BS.

            Man, I am sick and tired of these precious "viewpoints." I am sick and tired of others insisting on the right to use hurtful, denigrating terms, not restricted to "fag" and "bitch" and "nigger," because they personally want to feel "comfortable" in a way "political correctness" disallows. Sigh.

            It's here they got the range/ and the machinery for change/ and it's here they got the spiritual thirst. --Leonard Cohen

            by karmsy on Sun Feb 16, 2014 at 06:15:42 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  With all due "respect", (0+ / 0-)

              you are lying when you say its reactionary, authoritarian BS, and I don't respond well to being lied to.  If you had a good point you wouldn't have to be dishonest to express it.

              And I refuse to be forced to agree with your terms.  There is nothing derogatory about describing someone who lacks a child as "child less".  It's perfectly accurate.  If someone else wants to pretend it's derogatory, I'm not required to partake in that pretense.

              I have no children.  I am child-less.  And also child-free.  Neither term was invented as a slur, and it's ridiculous to pretend they were.

          •  Hey, if you want to think you're a genius (9+ / 0-)

            have at it.

            I'll even call you one if you want. Of course, the tone of voice will imply a lot of sarcasm.

            You might change your mind after that. Or not. After all, you are a 'genius'.

        •  To give a better example. (17+ / 0-)

          If someone is anti-abortion but pro-death penalty and they insist on being called "pro-life" I am under no obligation to obey that directive.  I think it's far more accurate to call them "anti-abortion" and will continue to do so despite their insistence that I adopt their preferred framing.

          •  I'll tip this comment, (7+ / 0-)

            because "preferred framing," for political reasons, is different from hurtful and denigrating language. Targets of the latter, even subtle, terms have the perfect right to make others aware of the harmful effects of their language and to ask them not to use these terms.

            To describe the political movement to restrict safe and legal abortion, I myself prefer "forced-birth." Acolytes of this movement, then, I refer to as "forced-birthers."

            It's here they got the range/ and the machinery for change/ and it's here they got the spiritual thirst. --Leonard Cohen

            by karmsy on Sun Feb 16, 2014 at 06:24:16 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  There is no logical difference (0+ / 0-)

              of any kind between someone demanding that I am required to speak of their group in positive terms if that group is a political movement, a religion, or anything else.  Both are a case of demanding that I must express an opinion of approval to be allowed to talk about it at all.  

              None if which is relevant here since "childless" isn't a slur.

        •  It's when it becomes official that it bothers me, (0+ / 0-)

          because while I'm no contrarian, nor one who's enraged by anyone who dares tell me anything. But greater minds than mine have feared the controlling effect of language on culture. IOW, if I remember correctly, it's the idea that thought patterns and discourse will be changed if only certain words and expressions are allowed to describe something.

          Example: a sermon I heard years ago, 2 weeks before the second election of Shrub. The pastor spoke as passionately as I'd heard about abortion, but he referred to the fetuses as "the pre-born," as if they're actually fully-developed humans already. Mind you, I'm not in favor of abortion, but feel it has to be the woman's choice--a position that has not been entirely well received by friends. The pastor's undisguised message was "Anyone who doesn't vote for the pro-life candidate" (that'd be the famously pro-life W) "will answer to God." As I hope he will, that moron and hypocrite. I walked out of that church, never to return, and while the pastor was gracious in a subsequent e-mail exchange, he didn't back down.

          My point is that, even without his heinous disregard for the living ("A pre-born child in its mother's womb is in more danger than a soldier in Iraq,") I felt he was trying to stifle dissent by using the term "pre-born," which grated on me.

          For the record, no one saying "nigger", "kike," etc. is ever going to get a pass from me, unless they're carrying a truncheon or something.

      •  Challenged (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Mimikatz, oldpotsmuggler, grover, athenap

        "Does calling someone in a wheelchair 'challenged' make him able to walk, or make life in a wheelchair more tolerable?"

        Not able to walk.

        But for many, calling them "challenged" instead of many traditional terms (like "crippled") does make life in a wheelchair more tolerable.

        By making the less challenged person better able to relate to them.

        For some people empathy is so alien that it unhinges them.

        "When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro." - HST

        by DocGonzo on Mon Feb 17, 2014 at 06:40:37 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Yes! I call my friend who uses a wheelchair (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          DocGonzo, k9disc, Question Authority

          "Susan."

          (Fwiw, a person in a wheelchair may use it for a lot of reasons not having much to do with not being able to walk at all. Unfortunately, the other commenter made a HUGE assumption... Which people often do)

          If I need to make arrangements for my friend and me at a building that might be old and not have modern facilities , I call them up and say, "my friend uses a wheelchair."

          It's really pretty easy.

          Many of the vague old terms dehumanize.

          Talk about the person (or people) factually as actual human beings. The problem goes away.

          © grover


          So if you get hit by a bus tonight, would you be satisfied with how you spent today, your last day on earth? Live like tomorrow is never guaranteed, because it's not. -- Me.

          by grover on Mon Feb 17, 2014 at 12:39:33 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

      •  One of the biggest challenges folks have to deal (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        karmsy, pennyck

        with is social stigma.

        That wheelchair likely isn't the worst thing in a person with a disability's life. It's the obnoxious, thoughtless and sometimes downright rude people one has to deal with.

        Language perpetuates social stigma.

        Your comment about "those who have received the wisdom" is downright insulting. PWD have the right to decide what they shall be called. Childfree couples have the right to decide what terms shall apply to them. Women, LGBT, racial and ethnic minorities have the right to be called terms that they think are most respectful, and to not be called terms they think degrade them.

        Folks who use the value-laden derogatory language should expect to be judged as harshly as the judgement implicit in the terms they use. Whether people use these terms because they are lazy, want to feel superior or are bullies, we understand.

        Folks like this are "challenged."

        © grover


        So if you get hit by a bus tonight, would you be satisfied with how you spent today, your last day on earth? Live like tomorrow is never guaranteed, because it's not. -- Me.

        by grover on Mon Feb 17, 2014 at 12:24:41 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  This is evident, even in sports (12+ / 0-)

      The fans, I mean.

      If one NFL team defeats another, the fans of the winning team somehow feel their city or region is somehow better (i.e., more special) than the city of the team that didn't win.  In truth, the winners were the carpetbaggers who, through no control of their own, play for a certain team.

      Great diary.  Bookmarked for future reference.

      TEA PARTIES: Something little girls do with their imaginary friends.
      (-6.75 -6.51)

      by flygrrl on Sun Feb 16, 2014 at 02:52:52 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  I believe that child-bearing couples (11+ / 0-)

      should get special treatment. Maybe they could get a free education for their kids. How about a tax break for dependents? Or perhaps the ACA could cover prenatal care. In the private sector, I bet some businesses might even be willing to offer discounts to families.

      But we can do better. We can find a way to keep poisonous substances out of the air, water, and food. You know, stuff like requiring paint and fuel to be lead-free. Heck, I bet it would even be possible to prevent harmful drugs from being sold to sick people, if we put our mind to it.

      Despite being child-free and, for that matter, un-coupled (heh), none of those perks take anything away from me. In fact, my life is better if child-bearing couples get this stuff.

      •  There is something very very (5+ / 0-)

        wrong with you.  Don't you get it!  THEY are getting stuff that you don't!!  That is not fair!!!  I want that stuff too!!!!  Give it to me now!!!!!

        Unfortunately, it seems for every person like you there are at least three who don't get it.  Why should everyone pay for education?  Because a more educated population makes for a better society.  And we all live in that society.  If by giving a small portion of my income over and having that income benefit someone less fortunate than I am then I benefit from a wealthier, healthier society as a whole.  And it really costs me little.  There is a reason that the countries always ranking at the top of health, wealth and happiness are those darn Scandinavian countries with those socialist ideas.  Sure it cost an arm and a leg for a coke but I think that may be worth it for a better life.

        "I'm not left wing because i'm ideological, or passionate, or angry. I'm left wing because I'm informed." - Mikesco

        by newfie on Mon Feb 17, 2014 at 09:12:01 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  So happens (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        pennyck

        I myself have no children and probably won't ever have any.

        And I can't argue with a single demand you've made. "Special privileges" for families, those you've described, work just fine for me.

        One thing they want, the biggest makers and shapers of meme in this culture, is to divide child-free people from families. As if our interests were in conflict, or should be.

        Here's to questioning that framing, and upending the status quo.

        It's here they got the range/ and the machinery for change/ and it's here they got the spiritual thirst. --Leonard Cohen

        by karmsy on Mon Feb 17, 2014 at 01:50:46 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  It should be noted, though, that (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      athenap

      some (by no means all) people who apply the "child-free" label to themselves seem to view other people's children as intrusions on their own lives, and describe parenthood as an "expensive hobby". This kind of behavior is naturally offputting (because it is in fact pure asshole behavior) and because of its high visibility and salience, tends to become (incorrectly) associated with the group as a whole. Much like the popular perception of vegetarians as scolds.

      Unfortunately when smart and educated people get crazy ideas they can come up with plausibly truthy arguments. -- Andrew F Cockburn

      by ebohlman on Mon Feb 17, 2014 at 09:19:24 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  I should clarify that by "the group" (0+ / 0-)

        I'm referring to those who specifically make a point of calling themselves "child-free" rather than "childless", not to those in general who choose not to have children.

        Unfortunately when smart and educated people get crazy ideas they can come up with plausibly truthy arguments. -- Andrew F Cockburn

        by ebohlman on Mon Feb 17, 2014 at 09:23:06 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  That's what happens when you have (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          ebohlman

          a group of people attempting to establish a cultural state (or making a cultural statement). It takes time to filter through the elements of society until it becomes one of those "understood" things. It starts with the radicals, who have active animosity towards some state of cultural acceptance. If it's appealing enough, less-radical individuals add to the movement--also affecting its direction and purpose--until it grows into something that remains outside the mainstream, but has more and more cross-pollination with mainstream society.

          "Child-free" is somewhere along that path. There is a vocal element that is actively antagonistic towards people with children, who probably started using the term amongst themselves to give their state an identity in opposition to the one towards which they are antagonistic.

          They were then joined by people who weren't as antagonistic to those who have children, but who drove the term and concept in a more positive direction by establishing their state as an active choice, rather than a state forced upon them by circumstance.

          In time, as more people choose to identify as "child-free" there will be more whose behavior and position will drive the term to mean something that is less antagonistic and more pluralistic, by virtue of their identification with it, and the general awareness, then acceptance, of it by mainstream society.

          It's kind of like the hippie movement, as taken overall--first it was the radicals, the ones who couldn't or wouldn't move about in society of the time, then as it grew and more people heard of it, more people started to identify as "hippies" and changed it according to their priorities. Then the day-trippers came, and now "flower power" is a theme at childrens' birthday parties. It's sunk into cultural awareness and been assimilated. There are still fringies who can and do identify with the movement and drive it in radical directions, but it's become big-tent enough to include them, and 9 year old girls who just want peace signs on their t-shirts. :)

          How does the Republican Congress sit down with all the butthurt over taxing the wealthy?

          by athenap on Mon Feb 17, 2014 at 02:40:09 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

      •  This may indeed be a problem (0+ / 0-)

        under some circumstances.

        Believe me, however, it's one the myth-makers have every interest in playing up.

        It's here they got the range/ and the machinery for change/ and it's here they got the spiritual thirst. --Leonard Cohen

        by karmsy on Mon Feb 17, 2014 at 01:52:57 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  Selfishness, hate, jealousy and all similar (15+ / 0-)

    emotions require that there be some "other" for the good and true to distinguish themselves from. In those religions that are based on harnessing these emotions in order to gain power and control for the sacerdodtes and priestly class, this other is "sinners", "infidels", "heretics" or other "wrongdoers", generic "bad people", and this model has become the standard for all other such groups.

    That, in its essence, is fascism--ownership of government by an individual, by a group, or by any other controlling private power. -- Franklin D. Roosevelt --

    by enhydra lutris on Sun Feb 16, 2014 at 12:53:01 PM PST

  •  The tea party is basically the religious right. (27+ / 0-)

    It's funded by the 1%.

    That's basically the right wing in this country. You can subdivide a little based on the appeals they make to the "middle " (gun fanatics and the gun lobby make appeals to the broader segment of the gun owning population via 2nd amendment hysteria, the hard core evangefundelicals and the televangelist/megachurch hustlers make an appeal to the wider audience of Christians via the "war on Christmas" or the "war on Christianity", the hard core race baiters try to throw gasoline on the smoldering race relations in order to leverage the racial resentment of the less fanatical etc.)
    That's why you're finding so much similarity across the spectrum of the "right wing".

    Putting aside the nature of the "religious" person in general, there is a certain fundamental fact that you're getting at here, regarding the "religious right".

    It's partly a function of the rise of the "born-again" evangelical movement. It's a little different from the nature of the "orthodox" mainstream churches and  their traditions, and it has actually changed worship in those venues.

    They are more invested personally, and a major selling point is the release from guilt and the promise of everlasting life.
    So they fear death in ways which some of us don't. We've already matured beyond that conceptual hurdle.

    They have doubt. Partly because they have been "born again" , and they have memories. So they have need to assert their "faith" continually, and they must remain within "their group" where their "group-think" is unassailed. They're also beset by doubt and fear because they live in the age of materialism, where there is absolutely no evidence for the supernatural.
    So, they externalize their doubt and blame it on the "other", and they're especially susceptible to authoritarianism in an effort to control it, and to control everyone they deem to be responsible.

    The 1% have been breathing the whacky vapors of "supply side economics" and the myth of the "free market" for the last 35 years, at least.

    We, the progressives, are for the most part, the un-deluded. It's obvious, for example, that unregulated, with corruption compounded, like interest, Wall Street has become a massive tumor on the economy. It has sucked the lifeblood out of the middle class, to the point that it is destroying demand, and it has sucked reinvestment in our infrastructure and institutions of human resource, education, etc. in a way that threatens the existence of civilization. We realize this.
    That's who we are.

    You can't make this stuff up.

    by David54 on Sun Feb 16, 2014 at 12:54:46 PM PST

  •  The universe is made of chemicals and energy. (13+ / 0-)

    We are fortunate to have a planet which has chemicals, energy, plants and animals.

    Looking up at the sky we see the sun and other stars going around the earth.  A big leap of imagination and intellect realized that a turning moving earth would show the same effect.  Oh yes, the moon does go around the earth

    I suspect those who do not realize that humans are animals also think the earth is fixed and the universe revolves around them.

    This is the normal attitude of little children.

    United Citizens beat Citizens United

    by ThirtyFiveUp on Sun Feb 16, 2014 at 01:03:31 PM PST

    •  This planet actually has chemicals, energy, (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      oldpotsmuggler, ColoTim

      and gravity.

      (plants and animals are for all intents and purposes merely clever combinations of those three things and don't really deserve their own category IMHO).

      •  Gravity is energy, isn't it? (4+ / 0-)

        I've always used the dichotomy "matter and energy" as opposed to "chemicals and energy," but if "chemicals" means the Periodic Table of the Elements it's really the same thing. Another way to think of it is, chemistry and physics. Just about all of science boils down to and/or is derived from those two disciplines.

        In that vein, isn't gravity a form of energy, in the sense of matter acting upon other matter and causing it to move? Motion is energy, yes? Or does energy only result from chemical reactions?

        Maybe there's a trichotomy: Matter, energy, and motion. Again, chemistry and physics.

        •  which is, centripetal or centrifugal (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Sharon Wraight, oldpotsmuggler

          I'm dyslexic always had to stop to think

        •  Einstein showed mass WAS energy (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          oldpotsmuggler, ColoTim

          and vice-versa via the famous relationship:  E = mc^2.

          Motion (aka Velocity Kinetic Energy) is 1/2*mv^2.
          Gravitational Potential Energy is mgh (where h is the height above the gravitational source).
          Heat is energy; light is energy.

          I could probably say more, but I barely understand the 100 year old physics, much less that of the last 10 years.

          "Push the button, Max!" Jack Lemmon as Professor Fate, The Great Race

          by bartcopfan on Sun Feb 16, 2014 at 02:56:12 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Not exactly, if mass WAS energy (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            oldpotsmuggler

            the equation would simply have been E = m

            •  Einnie didn't say they were EQUAL, he said (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              oldpotsmuggler

              they were RELATED and quantified the relationship, as described.

              "Push the button, Max!" Jack Lemmon as Professor Fate, The Great Race

              by bartcopfan on Sun Feb 16, 2014 at 05:03:15 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  You were the one who claimed equality (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Sparhawk, oldpotsmuggler

                they're not.

                One can be converted into the other (under a few, very specific circumstances), and the equation quantifies the phenomenon.

                You're really the first person I've heard claim that they were the same thing, however.  I remain appropriately dubious of that idea.

                •  I never "claimed equality"; my equals sign (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  mkor7

                  was in a relationship w/ a constant and a second-order term.

                  Now, I'll admit that when I said "same", I only meant in the offhand, blog commentary mode that fish and apples are the "same" in that they're both "food". Please accept my apology for posting a two-minute blog comment that was not written to the technical standards of a peer-reviewed, scientific journal.  :-)

                  Remain as appropriately dubious as you like. I was only trying to shed (obviously, very little) light on the topic.  As I also said, I do not claim rigorous knowledge of the Theories of General or Special Relativity, I stupidly hoped some Kossack physicists would jump in to explain it to both of us.

                  "Push the button, Max!" Jack Lemmon as Professor Fate, The Great Race

                  by bartcopfan on Mon Feb 17, 2014 at 07:26:06 AM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  The problem with offhand, blog commentary (0+ / 0-)

                    is that some of the more gullible out there might be tragically misled.

                    For example, like I did long ago, wander out of their house and pick up a modest (say, 1 kg) sized rock and  - believing mass and energy to be interchangeable - so some quick (but technically accurate) calculations that the rock holds enough energy to power their US-style lifestyle for 712,483 years.

                    Or since that's probably longer than they anticipate living, let's say 1,000 Americans throughout their entire life.

                    But that's not going to happen because there is simply no way to turn an average rock into energy.

                    Oh, the disappointment!  It's like when Terry Jacks came along and opened my eyes to the evils of Canadian music (what with the later arrival of the likes of Celine Dion and Justin Bieber everybody is now aware of, but hey, I knew that 40 years ago!)

                    But let's get back to the energy thing and say the person picking up the rock got lucky insofar as the rock happened to be comprised entirely of U-235, which can actually be used for energy production purposes.

                    But then they chance upon this website and become confused.  Because it says that 3 kg of U-235 are required to power a 1000­MWe Power Plant for one day, when the E = mc^2 equation would lead them to think that 3 kg of U-235 should be sufficient to power it for about 1,000 days.

                    What gives?

                    Well, like the link you finally gave finally gets around to explaining , only a tiny fraction (in this case about 1/1000ths) of the mass of a very specialized compound (enriched U-235) can be converted from mass into energy. . . . .

                    The point being, that if you're doing offhand, blog commentary - using Einstein's equation to suggest that mass is somehow equivalent to energy is rather kinda highly misleading.

                    Which maybe is why it actually is totally appropriate "blog commentary" material, who knows.

                    •  I wrote a response that day, then reconsidered it. (0+ / 0-)

                      Now, I'm going ahead and posting it because, on further reflection, I believe my "offhand blog commentary" contains more thought than I originally gave myself credit for.

                      I figured even the "more gullible" would understand that if we could do what you suggest--again, to my understanding, a correct interpretation of Einstein's famous formula--we would already have done it and our energy needs would be over. That we haven't (at least, not yet) doesn't disprove Einstein's theory, though.

                      With this in mind, I'm modifying one of your comments to one I can agree with (hopefully, you can too):

                      Well, like the link you finally gave finally gets around to explaining , only a tiny fraction (in this case about 1/1000ths) of the mass of a very specialized compound (enriched U-235) can be converted from mass into energy with our current understanding and technologies. . . . .  (bold verbiage added)
                      Even after those U-235 nuclei are split and some of their mass converted to energy, there's still plenty of other mass available. The (for example) barium and krypton atoms formed as a result of the fission still have mass and could still--theoretically--be converted into more energy. I don't expect we'll get there; my even-more-minute understanding of this topic suggests it would take far more energy than it would yield and would thus be unattractive to pursue.

                      Roadbed Guy, you've been at this site several months longer than me; you're surely interested in defeating conservatives and their policies, as am I. I don't know your background and would be interested to hear it; you're obviously a serious person. As I can be. So I feel the need to give you a serious answer.

                      I'm a licensed professional engineer, in industry practice, and I take science very seriously, in part because I believe, as I'd heard attributed to Einstein (and now can't confirm anywhere in the whole www!), one can't con Nature.  I remind myself that if I forget that in my work, even once, people can get hurt or killed.

                      My bottom line is that yes, a "more gullible" person could plunk a brick on the chairman of XOM's desk and laugh maniacally that s/he was going to put them out of business with the energy it contains. But coming up with the "how" and accomplishing it might be a bit more complicated. That we don't know how to do it (or to turn a lightning bolt into, say, a Big Mac) doesn't make Einstein's equation (or your previous calculation) wrong, however.

                      There are differences between "it can't be done", "we don't know how to do it", and "we don't know how to do it profitably". They are differences I guess I trust even the "more gullible" to be able to understand. If not, I don't think either one of us could probably help them, anyway.

                      "Push the button, Max!" Jack Lemmon as Professor Fate, The Great Race

                      by bartcopfan on Wed Feb 19, 2014 at 09:03:45 AM PST

                      [ Parent ]

                    •  This is probably also not the best time to mention (0+ / 0-)

                      that when Terry Jacks' Seasons in the Sun came out, (mostly the story (urban legend?) behind) it had a powerful effect on me....

                      "Push the button, Max!" Jack Lemmon as Professor Fate, The Great Race

                      by bartcopfan on Wed Feb 19, 2014 at 09:15:36 AM PST

                      [ Parent ]

            •  By a popular convention, it is when you set c to 1 (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Roadbed Guy
              •  it's also popular in many red states to set (4+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                rduran, bartcopfan, jodylanec, ebohlman

                pi to exactly 3.  OK, maybe not today, but a hundred years ago it was.  And since history tends to repeat, these efforts could make a comeback at any time.

                After all, it's in the Bible for fuck's sake!

                But yet, that doesn't make it the right thing to do . .. .

                •  Um (0+ / 0-)

                  I don't know about red staters and pi, but that's not even close to the same thing I'm talking about:

                  Administrative notes: physicists love to set constants to unity, and it’s a difficult habit to break once you start. I will not set Newton’s constant G = 1. However, it’s ridiculous not to set the speed of light c = 1, so I’ll do that. For further reference, recommended texts include A First Course in General Relativity by Bernard Schutz, at an undergrad level; and graduate texts General Relativity by Wald, Gravitation and Cosmology by Weinberg, Gravitation by Misner, Thorne, and Wheeler, and Introducing Einstein’s Relativity by D’Inverno. Of course best of all would be to rush to , where you will find about one semester’s worth of free GR notes, of which this introduction is essentially an abridgment.
                •  At first I thought you were being facetious (2+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  Roadbed Guy, pennyck

                  but it turns out you're right on the money where it concerns red states and pi.  So rec'd for that.  

                  Learn something new everyday.

                  •  Well yeah, well over 40% of what I post (0+ / 0-)

                    on the internet isn't pulled out of my ass with no basis in fact.

                    This was one of those things.

                    •  Nice (0+ / 0-)

                      Still, setting c = 1 is entirely legitimate.

                      •  Sure, but when the value is actually known (0+ / 0-)

                        to nine significant digits, what's the point?

                        •  To make number crunching easier (0+ / 0-)

                          Same reason we may choose dimensions in meters, miles, or whatever.  When dealing with large (or small) constants, it's useful to set as many as you can to unity to remove the clutter.  

                          •  Somehow we're just not connecting here (0+ / 0-)

                            for me, I just don't get how it would be at all useful to set the speed of light to 1 if one was trying to do something useful with the equation (like calculate how much energy was in a particular amount of mass).

                            Especially if one has been able to update one's computer beyond those early Pentium units that for one reason or another weren't able to crunch numbers accurately.

                          •  Depends on what you're trying to do (0+ / 0-)

                            For simple straight forward calculation of E = mc^2, where you'd likely want the answer immediately something other than natural units, sure.  If you're solving field equations, it pays to be able to drop constants out.

                          •  Well, my number one objective (0+ / 0-)

                            is to know how much fuel I need to bring home for my backyard nuclear reactor

                            so keeping thing like mass units in there tends to be helpful for me.

                          •  Actually, keeping values between 0 and 1 (0+ / 0-)

                            as much as possible can make calculations more numerically stable. A big problem with floating-point arithmetic is that you can lose large amounts of precision when adding or subtracting quantities of significantly different magnitudes; many textbook formulas in statistics, for example, don't work properly in floating point (this isn't due to hardware bugs; floating-point arithmetic has an inherent compromise between precision and dynamic range).

                            Unfortunately when smart and educated people get crazy ideas they can come up with plausibly truthy arguments. -- Andrew F Cockburn

                            by ebohlman on Mon Feb 17, 2014 at 05:28:07 PM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                •  By the way, the biblical verse (0+ / 0-)

                  isn't actually wrong; the first thing you're taught in any lab science is that you absolutely do not report derived quantities with more significant figures than the measurements they were derived from. If you only state the circumference and diameter of a circle to the nearest cubit or what have you, then you properly report their ratio as 3.

                  Unfortunately when smart and educated people get crazy ideas they can come up with plausibly truthy arguments. -- Andrew F Cockburn

                  by ebohlman on Mon Feb 17, 2014 at 05:36:44 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

        •  Gravity is a force, not energy (necessarily) (5+ / 0-)
  •  The ideology changes to suit the immediate needs (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    oldpotsmuggler, devis1, blueoasis, ColoTim

    I just assume that people who fit into these boats will adapt any aspect of their ideology to make it possible to do and say whatever the hell they want.  

    Streichholzschächtelchen

    by otto on Sun Feb 16, 2014 at 01:05:32 PM PST

  •  I see in myself the tendency to be smug (21+ / 0-)

    And to believe that I am in a good place in one way or another because of my wisdom in previous actions, or my ability to reason and determine what is reality.  The difference is that I also acknowledge to myself that maybe that smugness is misplaced, and therefore I avoid acting on it. Besides, my success should make me humble, because the fact that I have the skills to succeed is more a matter of luck than anything else. So I have no right to condemn others who weren't so lucky in their skill development.

    One area where I fail to feel charitable about those less fortunate than I is with the RWNJs we are talking about. In theory I should grant that they simply don't have the skills to figure out the reality of our world and feel sorry for them. The problem is that part of their belief system is that they have the right to control me and mine. That infuriates me. An old saying is that your right to express your anger stops at my nose.  They don't get that.  At all. So I must fight to stop them from taking what is mine.  

    Be bold. Be courageous. Americans are counting on you. Gabby Giffords.

    by Leftleaner on Sun Feb 16, 2014 at 01:07:30 PM PST

    •  Skills to succeed... (11+ / 0-)

      It's frightening to think that acquisition of skills can come down to luck. Especially if you're brought up to believe you're special, you have great potential, etc. But in the real world, whether we get the practice to hone our skills all too often does come down to what happens in our interactions with others... whether we're lucky enough to have had positive interactions at crucial moments. Scary, because it gives the lie to "believe in yourself", a crucial American mantra of specialness.

      Ask anyone duking it out in this job market... and that's only the mildest example, frankly; apart from meeting or not the person who could become your SO/spouse.
      Every day, POC die from being unlucky. Renisha McBride is dead because she was unlucky to be on the receiving end of some white person's split second fear decision. Trayvon and Jordan are dead because they were unlucky enough to be interacting with malicious white people.

      To say nothing of every woman who's been sexually assaulted, and told if only she could have invoked the magic power of self-presentation, she could have avoided her fate.

      These are not things you can escape by making yourself more acceptable or less threatening. What has to happen is the other people have to choose not to do X, Y or Z. In a word... you have to be lucky that the people you're with will make good decisions.

      Real Democrats don't abandon the middle class. --John Kerry

      by Lucy Montrose on Sun Feb 16, 2014 at 04:20:39 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  When people are interviewed after a disaster (7+ / 0-)

        They frequently report that god was watching over them.  Which always makes me wonder what they think was going on between those who died and god. In fact, of course, it was luck.  Which is one of the big differences between me and them.

        Be bold. Be courageous. Americans are counting on you. Gabby Giffords.

        by Leftleaner on Mon Feb 17, 2014 at 12:44:36 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  And in addition (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        SuWho, pennyck

        even for those who have all the right skills, success is a matter of being in the right place at the right time. Bill Gates would likely be wealthy no matter what (after all, he's the son and grandson of millionaires), but if he had been born either 5 years earlier or 5 years later, it's unlikely that he'd be the super-wealthy person he is now, simply because a critical stage of his career wouldn't have precisely lined up with the demand for an OS for the PC market.

        Unfortunately when smart and educated people get crazy ideas they can come up with plausibly truthy arguments. -- Andrew F Cockburn

        by ebohlman on Mon Feb 17, 2014 at 09:33:14 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  Insecurity (16+ / 0-)

    Insecure about their place in Universe, insecure about their masculinity and physicality, insecure about their sexuality, insecure about anything and everybody who threatens their delicate sense of self.

    •  In a way, Tea Partyism is simply... (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Wreck Smurfy, gmoke

      ... the result of what happens when those children who were told constantly that they were special, and that the world is primarily for giving them good self-esteem, become adults without having grown out of it.

      Real Democrats don't abandon the middle class. --John Kerry

      by Lucy Montrose on Sun Feb 16, 2014 at 04:23:57 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  I don't think so. That's the wrong generation. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        ebohlman

        About 15-25 years off.

        I do think it is the Libertarian problem though.

        The Tea Party is a whole other critter. I think the Tea Party are the people who "fought" the commies - they were defined by the "Other" every bit as much as their parents were defined by the Depression and WWII.

        Absent an "Other" they just don't know what to do with that excess fear. They are an anachronism.

        They have the same anachronistic value system on racial, economic, social, and ecological issues as well, but I think it is the Cold War that is their soul.

        The special snowflake stuff, that's Libertarian or Leftist - Libertarian if your family were lucky and/or stable, Leftist if they were not.

        Democracy - 1 person 1 vote. Free Markets - More dollars more power.

        by k9disc on Mon Feb 17, 2014 at 03:30:21 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  Most people feel the need to be "special". (7+ / 0-)

      I agree that this is grounded in insecurity.

      Now, there are two ways to give yourself that specialness. First, you can become special because of what you do. This is tricky, because you may not have the talent, or ability, or just the simple persistence, to do anything special. Or perhaps you do have, but despite your best efforts your specialness simply isn't recognized at large.

      Second, you can become special because of what you are. This is easy. You simply assert that some characteristic you were born with makes you special (in fact, superior) to all other beings except those few that share your characteristic. Find the nearest authority figure willing to back your assertion, and ignore anyone who says otherwise. Presto! You (in your own mind) are special, with virtually no effort on your part.

      American exceptionalism, "The Master Race", "the Wogs start at Calais", the Code of Bushido, most major religions, and all other forms of tribalism use the easy route to specialness.

      -8.38, -7.74 My friends, love is better than anger. Hope is better than fear. Optimism is better than despair. So let us be loving, hopeful and optimistic. And we’ll change the world. - Jack Layton

      by Wreck Smurfy on Sun Feb 16, 2014 at 06:01:19 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Everybody can learn to do SOMETHING well (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Wreck Smurfy, ebohlman, SuWho, gmoke

        And it doesn't have to be the same for everybody.

        Even if it's just cleaning. Cleaning well is a skill. I admire somebody who can do it. Somebody who knows what to use to clean what in the best and fastest way. I recognize that as a skill, one that I don't have, and I compliment it when I see it.

        It's important work. In some cases, as cleaning a hospital, it can mean the difference between life and death.

        •  True. But does our society get this? (5+ / 0-)

          This comes back to my point above:

          Or perhaps you do have, but despite your best efforts your specialness simply isn't recognized at large.
          I agree that the specialness of a skillful cleaner at a hospital is 100 times more important than the "specialness" of a Justin Bieber or any other celebrity. But you wouldn't know it to look at our media, including our social media.

          And perhaps this is the difference the diarist is looking for between the right and the left. The right is grounded in self-congratulation. The left (on our good days) is grounded in mutual-congratulation. It might be just as simple as that.

          -8.38, -7.74 My friends, love is better than anger. Hope is better than fear. Optimism is better than despair. So let us be loving, hopeful and optimistic. And we’ll change the world. - Jack Layton

          by Wreck Smurfy on Sun Feb 16, 2014 at 08:03:59 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

    •  I think this is the key. (13+ / 0-)

      As someone who has done years of counseling in the field of domestic violence, I've written repeatedly here about how the (modern, at least) conservative mindset exactly parallels that of domestic violence abusers:

      The overly inflated ego ... the sense of entitlement ... the complete inability to take any sort of personal responsibility ...  the complete inability to admit any fault or mistake whatsoever ... the seeing of all relationships in terms of competition and hierarchy (who is above/below, winning/losing, better/worse) rather than equality and mutuality ...

      And the root of domestic violence is self-esteem half-a-millimeter high.  I'm talking real self-esteem, not false conceit.

      Real self-esteem is humble.  When you feels you are innately worth something and valuable, then you aren't defensive or easily insulted.  You can admit mistakes and faults without feeling your whole sense of self is collapsing.  Knowing you're not perfect (but are still worth something), you can give others some slack too, and allow differences and disagreements.  Knowing you're no better than anyone else (but also no worse), you work to lift others up too.

      The diarist hit it with this quote:

      Basically, some of the young-earth creationists interviewed expressed disbelief, even resentment, over the idea that Man is not "special."
      The need to be "special" is like a neon sign saying "low self-esteem."
  •  Conservativism is grounded in vanity (17+ / 0-)

    projected out across several domains such as money, religion, morality, and power.  (Not to be confused with pride)  Their core arguments are about who is better, holier, more powerful, etc.  Theirs are status centered arguments.

    Liberalism is grounded in justice and fairness.  The rules of the game should be reasonable for all citizens.  Our arguments are about what rules constitute 'fairness' and 'justice'.  Ours are process centered arguments.

    The Long War is not on Iraq, Afghanistan, or Iran. It is on the American people.

    by Geonomist on Sun Feb 16, 2014 at 01:14:44 PM PST

    •  Indeed, as evidenced by the never-ending... (0+ / 0-)

      conservative purity contest, RINOs, etc.  

      I don't know what's been trickling down, but it hasn't been pleasant---N. Pelosi

      by Russycle on Mon Feb 17, 2014 at 10:32:51 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Grounded in the fear of death (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Geonomist

      The more afraid of death you are, the more you fight for temporal spiritual power, the irony of course being that in trying to deny death you slowly choke out your own life and the life around you.

      Love, the sustainer of life, is always the answer.

      Fight them to the end, until the children of the poor eat better than the dogs of the rich.

      by raincrow on Mon Feb 17, 2014 at 11:34:14 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  That's an interesting insight (26+ / 0-)

    Any time you have privilege - financial, racial, gender, orientation - part of what it does is reinforce the message that those on top are just better.  And time and again, when those on the bottom move toward equality, the ones on top feel threatened, even when they aren't actually losing anything.  I believe I was the commenter in question in this part:

    One commenter related an anecdote in which she was told by a marriage exclusivist that that person "would not feel respected" if same-sex marriage became legal.
    I remember asking her:  you're saying I should be denied a basic civil right like marriage because you don't feel respected if my rights are the same as yours?  Not better, just the same?  (I couldn't get a real response, just a bunch of weaselling about how she was ok with civil unions and those were just as good.  So if they're just as good, why not marriage?)

    I'd never thought to connect that with creationism, but I'm reminded of another acquaintance, who was downright offended at the suggestion that we "came from monkeys."  She was equally offended by the idea of life on other planets:  according to her, we were "the crown of God's creation," which meant that there couldn't be any other life form that was our equal.  which seems like a waste of a very, very large universe.

    I shall die, but that is all that I shall do for Death; I am not on his payroll. - Edna St. Vincent Millay

    by Tara the Antisocial Social Worker on Sun Feb 16, 2014 at 01:32:25 PM PST

  •  Very awesome diary, thanks! n/t (4+ / 0-)

    If I have any spit left after I've licked my own wounds, I'll be glad to consider licking yours. Peace.

    by nancyjones on Sun Feb 16, 2014 at 01:51:01 PM PST

  •  Given that the wealthy, the teabaggers and the (7+ / 0-)

    fundagelicals have enjoyed benefits at the expense of others, I don't think the efforts of the left are just an envious mirror of that. One class has been stealing from the others and we need to put a stop to that.

    I'm sure there's a lot of class resentment on the left. I'll certainly admit to that. I resent the wealthy for hogging all the benefits of my improved productivity and I think I'm justified in feeling that way.

    •  I was thinking about opposition to "mean-ness" (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      oldpotsmuggler

      where taking stuff that doesn't belong to one (money, privilege, dignity, etc.) is plain-ol' mean!

      "Push the button, Max!" Jack Lemmon as Professor Fate, The Great Race

      by bartcopfan on Sun Feb 16, 2014 at 03:00:01 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  I resent the wealthy for... (9+ / 0-)

      ... hogging all the social capital, the lucky interactions in life. How many 99% can't get anything done because we're stuck trying to wade through a sea of underling gatekeepers whose job it is, in service of the 1%, not to help us out? How many of us can't hone our skills because we're too tired from multiple jobs, families and poverty-induced worry?

      I resent the wealthy for having the chutzpah to then turn around and say all that stress is caused by our negative thoughts... a proxy, of course, for our basic inferiority to them. And if only we had more of a "the right mindset", we could be rich and superior just like them.

      I resent the wealthy for robbing us, primarily through their corporate policies, of our time, energy and self-determination... and since without those things, no one can take chances or stand up to injustice; you have to wonder if that's intentional.

      I resent the wealthy for setting our cultural tone, presenting the kind of person who would succeed on Wall Street as The One True Success. Because then all of us have to act like Wall Streeters too, to fucking financially and socially survive. We all have to learn to lie, to be mean to others with a smile, to overspend so as to come across more like a 1-percenter; to become one of those obstructing, innovation-killing underlings ourselves. Because those are the personal qualities that the 1 percent have, in their own version of natural selection, chosen as the "fittest" traits.

      Real Democrats don't abandon the middle class. --John Kerry

      by Lucy Montrose on Sun Feb 16, 2014 at 04:40:29 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  the only thing I resent about the 1 percent is (9+ / 0-)

      that they have subverted our government.  In doing so, they have created additional protections and privilege exclusive to themselves.

      "I watch Fox News for my comedy, and Comedy Central for my news." - Facebook Group

      by Sychotic1 on Sun Feb 16, 2014 at 05:07:00 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  The "liberal" view of self/other is reflected (7+ / 0-)

    in the label.

    Liberals are, by denotation, generous and open-minded. While we might think ourselves fine fellows and quite the quite, we refuse to be stingy with the right to self-approbation. Other people could well be fine fellows, too.

    I live under the bridge to the 21st Century.

    by Crashing Vor on Sun Feb 16, 2014 at 02:24:04 PM PST

  •  I've long said (10+ / 0-)

    that the common thread among neocons, theocons, & me-ocons (oh, and libertarians) is excessive self-regard.  Usually it's coupled with a desire to marginalize others, preferably through state action so the insults aren't so personal as to reflect badly on those who like to marginalize.  It's a character thing, IME.

    "Conservative principles" are marketing props used by the Conservative Movement to achieve political power, not actual beliefs. -Glenn Greenwald

    by latts on Sun Feb 16, 2014 at 02:26:28 PM PST

    •  The desire to marginalize makes me think (0+ / 0-)

      the problem is deep-seated insecurity and low self esteem, the opposite of excessive self-regard.

      Fight them to the end, until the children of the poor eat better than the dogs of the rich.

      by raincrow on Mon Feb 17, 2014 at 11:19:16 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  And there I was guessing (4+ / 0-)

    .. that the similarities were their brains all looked like moldy Swiss-cheese in a PET scan.

    Dear future generations: Please accept our apologies, We were roaring drunk on petroleum -Kurt Vonnegut

    by Anthony Page aka SecondComing on Sun Feb 16, 2014 at 02:40:05 PM PST

  •  Where do the overlapping people fit into this? (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    FrankRose, happy camper, andalusi

    Since 30% or so of Democrats are gun owners and some percentage of those are "gun enthusiasts", there are plenty of one percenters who are unabashedly liberal, and I would not be surprised if many religious liberals oppose same-sex marriage but are just not openly ranting about it, where would people like this fall in terms of the analysis?

    (I left out the young Earth creationists, as I really hope there are not too many liberals who qualify)

    We are so used to looking at this country as left-right that we seldom remember that most modern democracies have more than just two parties.

    •  hmm... (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      oldpotsmuggler, Glen The Plumber

      there are plenty of one percenters who are unabashedly liberal

    •  Some gun people are able to accept guns as (7+ / 0-)

      mere guns. I think that's a central premise here.

      There can be no protection locally if we're content to ignore the fact that there are no controls globally.

      by oldpotsmuggler on Sun Feb 16, 2014 at 06:34:31 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  My dad is one of those. (5+ / 0-)

        He had a rather large collection, vintage and modern, handguns and long guns, "off the rack" and richly customized. But he doesn't fetishize guns, isn't magically in thrall to their power; he admires them as skillfully designed and precisely manufactured works of art in wood and steel, not as instruments of power or machismo. And he thinks these guys who feel that they have to carry their Smith & Wesson to the grocery store are just fucking nuts.

        Your black cards can make you money, so you hide them when you're able; in the land of milk and honey, you must put them on the table - Steely Dan

        by OrdinaryIowan on Sun Feb 16, 2014 at 06:45:13 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  Out of curiousity (4+ / 0-)

        Would the people able to accept guns as "mere guns" include the people who demonize and belittle gun owners at every opportunity, and who for no discernable liberal reason insist on penalizing and restricting people who have done no harm because of misuse by a tiny minority? Or are those people fetishizing them as some evil totem far beyond what "mere guns" would be?

        To return to my original comment, the question was where do all the people who do not neatly slot into the artificial categories of the diary fit in? The diary sets up a "there are only two sides" situation that does not mirror the actual beliefs of a lot of the population. Guns are merely one of the items that crosses that two-sided view of things.

        •  I didn't get that at all Shamash. I respect what (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          oldpotsmuggler, raincrow

          you are saying, but I believe that the author saw a "common thread" and wanted to explore that. I would rather embark on an exploration then make everything about a fight.

          "It were a thousand times better for the land if all Witches, but especially the blessing Witch, might suffer death." qtd by Ehrenreich & English. For Her Own Good, Two Centuries of Expert's Advice to Women pp 40

          by GreenMother on Mon Feb 17, 2014 at 05:26:17 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  As it turns out, I don't want a fight either (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            GreenMother, FrankRose

            I think the question I asked was a valid one. GrafZeppelin posed a diary that put everyone on one of two sides. I'll grant that a lot of people do fit into that definition, but there are a huge number of people that do not (huge enough that they cannot be discounted), and I was curious as to his take on this unaddressed group, since I personally fall into it.

            So far the comments in reply have touched on guns and wealth, but no one has offered any opinion on the original question.

            •  But that's just the sides the diarist focused on (3+ / 0-)

              It doesn't mean that, that is all there is or those are the only sides the diarist sees. For the sake of argument, sometimes everything cannot always be included. That would be a book, not a diary.

              However, if you feel strongly about it, write your own diary about it. I am sure it would be just as interesting. I would be there with bells on if you do.

              "It were a thousand times better for the land if all Witches, but especially the blessing Witch, might suffer death." qtd by Ehrenreich & English. For Her Own Good, Two Centuries of Expert's Advice to Women pp 40

              by GreenMother on Mon Feb 17, 2014 at 07:14:05 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

        •  I find it far less common than you do for a person (0+ / 0-)

          to be deminized or even belittled simply on the basis of an item of property ownership. In fact, I'm not sure how anyone else would even know.

          There can be no protection locally if we're content to ignore the fact that there are no controls globally.

          by oldpotsmuggler on Mon Feb 17, 2014 at 10:32:06 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

  •  I did read a comment in the New York Times (11+ / 0-)

    recently where someone was trying to argue that having marriage equality for gays and lesbians (and I'm paraphrasing here) violated the "complementarity" of his heterosexual marriage.  He never really explained how (how could he? the concept is sheer bullpucky), but you certainly got the sentiment that he felt his heterosexual marriage was actually diminished by the existence of marriage between gas and lesbians.  And, of course, no amount of anyone rational pointing out that his marriage was no different the day before any gay or lesbian couple was finally allowed to marry than the day after would make a difference.  His sense of what made his marriage significant was "violated" by expanding the concept of marriage.  It's a "Star-Bellied Sneetches" kind of thinking, but it's out there, and planted firmly in the minds of people who like to think they're actually adults.

  •  Uniquely entitled (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Glen The Plumber, oldpotsmuggler

    That's a primary plank in most right-wing and some libertarian ideologies, IMHO.

    "So, please stay where you are. Don't move and don't panic. Don't take off your shoes! Jobs is on the way."

    by wader on Sun Feb 16, 2014 at 03:50:58 PM PST

  •  Great analysis. Pride is what drives them (14+ / 0-)

    I just watched (with great  disgust) the documentary Hating Breitbart.  One of the things that becomes clear about Briebart, who had become a sort of spokesperson and leader for the Tea Party is how proud of himself he was.  

    One of the things he reels against is "multiculturalism".  His successors still reel against multiculturalism;

    WHY COCA COLA'S MULTICULTURAL 'AMERICA THE BEAUTIFUL' AD WAS OFFENSIVE

    In the film, Brietbart essentially says that "E Pluribus Unum" goes against multiculturalism and that we should be proud of being part of a single culture (Unum?).

    IMO, this argument is a justification of his racism and xenophobia.  We should be proud of being of one English only culture as he defines it. Voter rights trampling and immigration reform flow from this faux pride.

    Daily Kos an oasis of truth. Truth that leads to action.

    by Shockwave on Sun Feb 16, 2014 at 04:03:37 PM PST

  •  Very ironic! They worship one form of specialness (9+ / 0-)

    ... while completely ignoring another!

    Human beings ARE special-- because we can think, imagine, reason, empathize, feel more deeply than just about any other animal.
    We can comprehend our own mortality, even as we can do nothing about it; which means we have a concept of the future and of posterity. We have the most highly developed self-awareness of any living creature.

    When we choose to use it. Because here's more irony: righties and creationists are actually MUCH closer to acting like "mere animals" than we are-- with their trust in gut reactions and base tribalism to the exclusion of higher-level thinking. Not to mention their sometimes complete lack-- or deliberate disavowal-- of self-awareness. And lest anyone forget: animal nature is a lot closer to authoritarianism than democracy. You know which side our friends from the right most often land on.

    We are STILL special by virtue of no two human beings being exactly alike. Carl Sagan had a grasp on things-- both in the beauty and wonder of the universe in no way being diminished because it was not created by a deity; and in human beings in no way being less "special" or unique because we are not superior to any other human being:

    The beauty of a living thing is not the atoms that go into it but the way the atoms are put together.  The cosmos is also within us.  We're made of star stuff, we are a way for the cosmos to know itself.

    Real Democrats don't abandon the middle class. --John Kerry

    by Lucy Montrose on Sun Feb 16, 2014 at 05:00:03 PM PST

    •  I don't see us as being that special, other than (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      hutchinsonterry, SuWho, k9disc

      having thumbs. Plenty of animals use tools, even some insects, but it is our thumbs that really allowed us to turn tool use into a genuine technology.

      As for thinking, reasoning, love, memory--spend time with animals, lots of time, and you will see that humans have not cornered the market on any of that. Even my bees exhibit some of these qualities outright and for all I know all of them on levels I have not learned to spot yet.

      "It were a thousand times better for the land if all Witches, but especially the blessing Witch, might suffer death." qtd by Ehrenreich & English. For Her Own Good, Two Centuries of Expert's Advice to Women pp 40

      by GreenMother on Mon Feb 17, 2014 at 05:28:52 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Climate change, too. (5+ / 0-)

    Many of those who begrudgingly admit that the climate is changing are adamantly opposed to the idea that human activity is the cause (or even one of multiple causes).

    I've thought about that a lot, and it seems to fit in with that "we're special" mentality. On top of that, a God who sees us as special would never allow the planet to become uninhabitable due to the stupidity of his Very Special Human Race. If the climate is changing, it has to be due to natural causes, right?

  •  They're endangered species and they know it (11+ / 0-)

    Cornered beasts lash out. It's just not that complex.

    And they have no compunction about flying planes into occupied skyscrapers, or car bombs, or getting the drop on first graders, or shutting down entire nation-states if it hurts people they hate by the hundreds of millions. And if it's billions so much the better.

    The scope of this violent allergic reaction to change, and being subsumed by it, cannot be overstated. It's not endemic, it's pandemic. It's everywhere.

    Something in the human collective psyche knows that nothing we take for granted will outlast the millennium, and perhaps not the century.

    The most violent among us will react most impulsively, and with the most drama, and with the most damage.

    And then they will be gone. And some of us will remain to rebuild once they do their worst.

    But rest assured: They will do their worst and cannot make themselves doubt the rectitude of doing so.

    The good news is the rest of us can play for time. We don't intend to be drawn in. We don't intend to join the violent in their extinction-assured mindset.

    We, or at least some of us and our descendants, have a future to look forward to. And we will mourn our brethren who were violently allergic to change, and we will remember them.

    But we won't miss them.

  •  I don't understand how a denial of (5+ / 0-)

    the claim that humanity is divine somehow means we're not special.  In a sense if we are just animals, that in a way makes our achievements even more special.

    Look at these two statements:

    1. "Here on this world, the only world that gets divine attention, the rest being relegated to being just there to make little points of light in the sky, these divinely designed entities whom the creator of the universe breathed intelligence into managed to build the internet."

    versus

    2. "These hairless apes on a tiny spec of a rock managed to build the internet".

    The accomplishments of the hairless apes in #2 sound a LOT more impressive to me.

    •  Yes, receiving divine gifts is weak specialness, (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      richardvjohnson

      compared to, on our own, accomplishing things like:

      Language,
      Music,
      Culture,
      Civilization, and

      Morality (where's the specialness in identifying and making moral decisions based on "fear of God", compared to doing so one one's own?).

      •  That was the argument of..... (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        TakeSake, SuWho

        ....the classical Chinese philosopher Xunzi (Hsun-tzu), 3rd century BCE, who claimed that humans had a fundamental tendency towards doing evil deeds (xing ben e) which grew out of their intrinsic greed, as opposed to Mencius' assertion that they had a fundamental tendency to do good deeds (xing ben shan). For Xunzi, the greatest achievement of human beings was that they had made themselves good through civilization -- goodness was thus "artifice" (wei), not natural, but essential.

        "They bash your face in, and say you were always ugly." (Solzhenitsyn, Gulag Archipelago volume 3)

        by sagesource on Mon Feb 17, 2014 at 12:27:51 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  I don't understand why anyone lets these people (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      SuWho

      claim understanding of divinity, as if they own that idea, because it's bullshit.

      Having a soul is divine, however having a soul is not a rare as some people may want to make it out.

      And it is doubtful that what the call divine, means what they believe it means.

      As I stated before: Sure humans are special, just like everyone else.

      "It were a thousand times better for the land if all Witches, but especially the blessing Witch, might suffer death." qtd by Ehrenreich & English. For Her Own Good, Two Centuries of Expert's Advice to Women pp 40

      by GreenMother on Mon Feb 17, 2014 at 05:31:04 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  faith (0+ / 0-)

        I don't understand how anyone can claim understanding of a concept that has nothing but faith to back it up.  If you think faith is an acceptable path to the truth (I don't) then you lose all possible grounding to claim you understand the faith-based thing better than anyone else does.  There's no shared axioms from which to start your reasoning.

  •  Authoritarianism (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    raincrow, k9disc

    They need someone to tell them what the "rules" are, and to tell them who the good people and who the bad people are.

    I'm living in America, and in America you're on your own. America's not a country. It's just a business.

    by CFAmick on Sun Feb 16, 2014 at 07:28:34 PM PST

  •  The ridiculous part of the right wing (8+ / 0-)

    Zeitgeist is that if they really loved life, then they would want to share with others.  Real exuberance for life leads to generosity in spirit and with possessions.  

    While resources are becoming stretched, progressives don't want to solve our resource problems by clinging to the fear of scarcity.  Instead, those focused on sustainability are busy trying to figure out how to make sure everyone has enough, without focusing on too much.  Nothing good in societal terms has ever come from exclusivity.

    "Since when did obeying corporate power become patriotic." Going the Distance

    by Going the Distance on Sun Feb 16, 2014 at 08:24:56 PM PST

  •  It's much worse than that (5+ / 0-)
    What these young-earth creationist folks were basically saying is that they feel insulted by the idea that Man is not as unique and special as the Book of Genesis would have us believe.
    Some of them said on the show that if we are mere animals there can be no basis for morality. But even that is not the main point.

    When Darwin published Origin of Species in 1859, and The Descent of Man, and Selection in Relation to Sex in 1871, he committed two grave sins, in the eyes of certain segments of the population. One is denying God, and the other is telling slaveowners that they are descended from Black Africans just like the rest of us.

    I don't think that it is a coincidence that Young Earth Creationism took off in the early 60s, during the time of the Civil Rights Movement.

    The association of God, Guns, and Gays that Senator James Inhofe campaigned on in 1994 has long been understood.

    Similarly, both Adam Smith, in Wealth of Nations, and Thorstein Veblen, in The Theory of the Leisure Class, told us about the 1% in considerable detail. Can you tell which is which?

    Everything for ourselves, and nothing for other people, seems, in every age of the world, to have been the vile maxim of the masters of mankind.
    or
    As the tradition gains consistency, the common sense of the community erects it into a canon of conduct; so that no employment and no acquisition is morally possible to the self respecting man at this cultural stage, except such as proceeds on the basis of prowess—force or fraud.

    Back off, man. I'm a logician.—GOPBusters™

    by Mokurai on Sun Feb 16, 2014 at 09:55:13 PM PST

    •  I am going to go out on a limb (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      oldpotsmuggler

      Prior to running a Google search:

      Your first quote is from Smith; the second is from Veblen.

      And (subsequent to that search) it seems I was correct. If nothing else the use of language would have given it away.

      And of course the above will constitute an admission on my part that I have not read either author, other than by way of quotes or short excerpts.

  •  Nobody responded to your last questions (8+ / 0-)

    At least not based the comments I've read. And I do think it's important that your get a response.

    If right-wing/conservative/Tea Party™/Republican politics is grounded in self-congratulation and resentment, as illustrated herein, what is left-wing/liberal/progressive/Democratic politics grounded in? Is it grounded in envy, and a different kind of resentment? Is it grounded in an actual desire to take from others, to reap unearned benefits at others' expense, for "free stuff," as we're often accused? If it's true that what liberals and progressives are doing in promoting science, gun control, marriage equality and economic fairness is deliberately bursting the bubble of Good People, telling those who are unique and special that they are neither unique nor special, undermining the pride that Americans justifiably take in themselves, their beliefs, their possessions and their achievements, why are we doing it?  

    We see people threatened by ideas that undermine their pride. They see people doing everything they can to undermine that pride. Are we both right?

    I do sometimes ask myself if the views of us progressives are simply mirror images of those on the right and therefore no more worthy of trust or admiration. Absent at least some notion that we are on the side that is "right" there would scarcely be any point in engaging in dialog or debate or really anything other than a struggle by one side to annihilate the other by any means necessary, because in that case one would be "right" only if one were victorious. I don't find that to be an acceptable approach to things. I would at like to at least believe that the reason I'm a progressive rather than a conservative is that my way of framing things is more congruent with facts and reality. That and only that would be the basis for me to defend my views.

    Where you use the terms "self-congratulations and resentment" I might suggest the term "entitlement" instead. Those on the Right operate from an unquestioned sense of entitlement. While it is probably true that we operate from that basis as well, I do think that there is an important difference. We are the ones more likely to examine the assumptions undergirding that sense of entitlement, to question whether we really actually deserve to have our views prevail. This makes us rather less efficient but I do think it gives us a certain amount of, for want of a better word, humility which the Right sorely lacks. That is the reason why some on the Right experience a sudden conversion to more moderate views when challenged by adversity or at least when events produce a counterargument (for example when an opponent of marriage equality finds out his son is a gay man). Finding that ones' values are not the be-all and end-all of existence is a surefire way of attaining at least a bit of intellectual modesty and a willingness to question what one formerly took for granted. Because most of us have not previously experienced entitled lives we are more prone to come to that sort of humility naturally rather than by being thrown for a loop.

    I really do think that those of us on the Left really are more intellectually honest than those on the Right. It is both an advantage and an obstacle. The preponderance of evidence would seem to indicate that we have more highly developed consciences than they do. We have the sense of decency that perhaps they lack. Because they aren't encumbered by scruples they way we are. Scruples can be paralyzing, at least in the short run. This is a price I am not at all worried about paying.

    To quote Winston Churchill,

    A lie gets halfway around the world before the truth has a chance to get its pants on.
    This is not an invitation to lie; it's an explanation of why those who don't scruple about lying often appear to get away with it. Fortunately, a failure to conceptualize things as they actually are means that at some point one is going to go off the rails in ways that those with intellectual integrity are not subject to. So the answer to the first part of your two-part question is that in fact we are NOT pulling the rug out from the sense of self-worth of those who deem themselves "unique and special." We are changing the context. Are we doing that out of covetousness, simply for the sake of bursting their bubbles? No we are doing it because the views they embrace do not serve the interests of humanity or the earth as a whole. And they don't serve the interests of humanity and the earth as a whole because they are contrary to fact. If we continue to consume without limit, we render the earth uninhabitable. That ultimately nobody, not even the 1%. We are not both right; we have an understanding of things that is better grounded in reality. Theirs is a world of more or less immediate gratification and selfishness while we at least to some extent understand that limiting one's demands in the short run may lead to a far more satisfactory and stable outcome over the long term.
    •  There is a bigger reason for this: (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      sfbob, SuWho
      And they don't serve the interests of humanity and the earth as a whole because they are contrary to fact.
      Religion has always been about defining humanity for a tribe or clan. On the inside of the religion/clan are human beings and correctitude.

      On the outside of that group are spirits and demons and tricksters.

      They don't want to share with everyone else because their definition of humanity is narrow, and that means that many of us will not fit the definition.

      They need words to mark us as other.
      A god to justify their delineation
      and Weapons to enforce it all.

      It really is as simple as that.

      See Mircea Eliade The Sacred and The Profane

      "One of the outstanding characteristics of traditional societies is the opposition that they assume between their inhabited territory and the unknown, and the indeterminate space that surrounds it. The former is the world (more precisely our world), the cosmos;  everything outside it is no longer a cosmos but a sort of "other world," a foreign, chaotic space, peopled by ghosts, demons, "foreigners," (who are assimilated to demons and souls of the dead). (Eliade pp29).

      The whole point of some sects walking the land and casting out demons and blessing it, is to reclaim "The World" and turn it into their exclusive sacred space, in order to cleanse it and to "give" themselves power over the Others that inhabit that space either to transform them into true believers (humans) or to caste them out as "demons".  That's why the symbolism of putting 10 commandments and creches, and giant crosses everywhere they can is so powerfully symbolic beyond mere legalities.

      They are trying to "mark their territory" as it were. Legislating their beliefs on the rest of us is simply an extension of that attempt to define exclusive ownership of the country.

      They have no idea that if they succeed, they will create a new monarchy and feed a very powerful class of amoral merchant princes *see Tommy Perkins, and various CEOs etc.,

      "It were a thousand times better for the land if all Witches, but especially the blessing Witch, might suffer death." qtd by Ehrenreich & English. For Her Own Good, Two Centuries of Expert's Advice to Women pp 40

      by GreenMother on Mon Feb 17, 2014 at 05:46:06 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  I'd like to try to answer too... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      sfbob
      If right-wing/conservative/Tea Party™/Republican politics is grounded in self-congratulation and resentment, as illustrated herein, what is left-wing/liberal/progressive/Democratic politics grounded in?
      Is it grounded in envy, and a different kind of resentment?
      Is it grounded in an actual desire to take from others, to reap unearned benefits at others' expense, for "free stuff," as we're often accused?
       
      Leftist politics are grounded in fairness and empathy.

      The difference between a Libertarian and a Leftist is often just a family tragedy during formative years, that cataclysmic event that puts us into some uncomfortable shoes turns on that empathy button. The resultant unfair situations that follow, and all of other similar unfair situations - anecdotal and systemic - reinforce this outlook.

      Maybe we can't save the planet, but we can try to make it a fair and fulfilling place to live.

      I like that a bit more than, "He who dies with the most toys wins."

      If it's true that what liberals and progressives are doing in promoting science, gun control, marriage equality and economic fairness is deliberately bursting the bubble of Good People, telling those who are unique and special that they are neither unique nor special, undermining the pride that Americans justifiably take in themselves, their beliefs, their possessions and their achievements, why are we doing it?  

      We see people threatened by ideas that undermine their pride. They see people doing everything they can to undermine that pride. Are we both right?

      It is not true, and accepting it as true is pretty offensive, to tell you the truth.

      As if the 60% of Americans who want sensible gun legislation are out there thinking about how they're going to spank some random Billy Bob in front of his buddy's and leave him defenseless and emasculated unable to protect his family because we want to hurt his people's pride and take away their specialness.

      I mean, it's what they're pitching, no doubt about that, but it's pretty ridiculous on it's face and is nothing more than 50 years of well focused group government, corporate, and pop culture propaganda.

      Losing privileges is hard. It's hard to be told what to do, especially by "those people". Given that this, like many Conservative political arguments is totally cyclical - they strip you of your guns to strip you of your liberty, and without your liberty what recourse do you have but guns.

      It's like fraud and abuse leads to smaller government leads to less regulation leads to fraud and abuse leads to smaller government.

      A politically unstable and dangerous world requires belligerent foreign policy which leads to regional conflict and instability which leads to a politically unstable and dangerous world.

      It's really beautiful stuff.

      Anyway, losing privileges is hard. Being told what to do is hard. But that doesn't mean you can invent reasons that it's occuring, "I got grounded because they hate me," is nowhere near the truth.

      Democracy - 1 person 1 vote. Free Markets - More dollars more power.

      by k9disc on Mon Feb 17, 2014 at 04:25:46 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Hardly unique to the Obama era (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    GreenMother, oldpotsmuggler, SuWho

    Those of us old enough to remember well the Reagan years know that they were defined by self-congratulation and resentment.  It's just the nature of conservatism.  Read the works of Sinclair Lewis, read Babbitt and Elmer Gantry, about the conservative 1920s:  self-congratulation and resentment.  We're just in a particularly long, deep and hegemonic conservative era, where it's the only air there's been to breathe for over 30 years.  

    "Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will." ~Frederick Douglass

    by ActivistGuy on Mon Feb 17, 2014 at 01:36:35 AM PST

  •  One further point (4+ / 0-)

    America almost across the board has bought into an ideological doctrine that has no relationship to the truth.  Who is it that's taking "free stuff", that create nothing but want to reap rewards?

    Labor Creates All Wealth
    Rich guys in suits don't create wealth.  They don't create fuck-all.  The entire set-up is one of parasitism.  The rich guys riches come from helping themselves to a share of the wealth created by every single honest working person.  How that makes them different from thieves, I don't know.  But then they have the gall to stand up at their fancy-shmancy luncheons and denounce as "moochers" that want thigs they didn't earn the very same damn people whose productivity they stole and got rich off of.  And nobody points out the dishonesty and hypocrisy, sure as hell nobody in the political establishment who are far too busy providing oral satisfaction to 1% genitalia in the hopes of getting a little chump-change tossed in their direction.  I think that's called "pragmatism" these days, though down at the station house the charge is still prostitution so far as I know.  But by their silence signifying agreement, the pols allow the self-worth and dignity of working people to be run down literally into the muck, by the very people who robbed them financially to begin with.

    "Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will." ~Frederick Douglass

    by ActivistGuy on Mon Feb 17, 2014 at 01:51:57 AM PST

  •  They do admit its about property. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    SuWho

    Every time the subject of gun control comes up, the gun lobby starts up the old victrola: the liberals want to take your guns away. That's a property issue.

    Interesting that the GOP has promised to run in 2014 on taking away peoples health care. Please proceed.

    A true craftsman will meticulously construct the apparatus of his own demise.

    by onionjim on Mon Feb 17, 2014 at 03:04:08 AM PST

  •  Interesting questions. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    SuWho
    We see people threatened by ideas that undermine their pride. They see people doing everything they can to undermine that pride. Are we both right?
    Interesting questions at the end there, but I don't think it reduces down that easily. The Corporate Finance Right's actions over the last 40 years (especially) have actively harmed the day-to-day existence of millions of Americans, and people around the world, too.  The pushback goes way beyond envy, to survival instincts, and is all-natural. Their vaunted "pride" is just an illusion whose bubble must be burst, and if some hurt feewings result in enacting that, well, honestly, that's life.

    All for nonviolence, but no one has the Absolute Right to a life without Hurt Feewings. There is no right to a tax-free, hurt feewing-free existence. That's life.

  •  Interesting Observation, good questions (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    SuWho

    1/ I don't like kowtowing to assholes, especially not by threat of being shot or fired, or shunned.

    I don't like being ripped off by holier than thou shitheads, even if they do truly believe that a gawd gave them permission to take advantage of the "heathen".

    And sure they are special, just like everyone else.

    I do what I do, because I know we can make a much better country, and a much better collective life for our people.

    Their greed, and vanity and hubris disgusts me on a primal level. They make the entire world look like, feel like, smell like and taste like shit. And that's because their vanity, greed, and hubris exist primarily to cover up their innate fearful cowardly nature.

    I would be more sympathetic if they weren't so shitty about it all.

    "It were a thousand times better for the land if all Witches, but especially the blessing Witch, might suffer death." qtd by Ehrenreich & English. For Her Own Good, Two Centuries of Expert's Advice to Women pp 40

    by GreenMother on Mon Feb 17, 2014 at 05:24:30 AM PST

  •  self-worship is the real religion (7+ / 0-)

    Being "special" is exactly what it's all about.  People who have a religion are actually worshiping themselves.  We all have a sense of right and wrong, we all have a "voice within"... and it's our mind.  It's our thoughts and feelings.

    Some people - to comfort themselves, to feel "special" or loved - like to think their mental activity comes from some other place.  It makes them feel like they're part of (or at least chosen and beloved by) something infinitely greater and more powerful.  And they think it means that what they believe and say is far more important.

    One thing I see over and over again among the religious right is that "God says this" and "God says that," when it's actually their opinion.  It's a nifty trick -- not only is your opinion supposed to carry a lot more weight since it comes from The Most Powerful Force In The Universe, it also keeps your hands clean if that opinion happens to be assholish.  Like, "Hey, I don't hate gays, I'm just telling you what GOD said!  Take it up with GOD!"

    All religion is basically an attempt to make a god of one's own mind.  It's not always malevolent, and it's not even always as arrogant as it sounds, and, for some, it makes them be a nicer person.  For others, it helps them feel somehow justified in doing shitty things.  But it's all externalizing the internal.

    "Glenn Beck ends up looking like a fat, stupid child. His face should be wearing a chef's hat on the side of a box of eclairs. " - Doug Stanhope

    by Front Toward Enemy on Mon Feb 17, 2014 at 06:19:16 AM PST

  •  Right to Self Defense (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    oldpotsmuggler

    People don't have a right to guns any more than we have a right to cars. We have a right to self defense, as we have a right to travel. We have a right to free expression, not literally a right to a free press.

    When we understand our rights in terms of people, not the specific machine used to exercise them, we understand freedom and its limits. We understand that fighting back with whatever we need is our right when physically threatened, and that nobody has a right to carry a nuclear weapon or gallons of sarin gas.

    There is no right "to bear arms". There is a right to self defense, which bearing arms might fulfill. Since weapons are of such limited use, and such small benefit to their risk, compared to vehicles, we can see that guns should be regulated even more than vehicles are. So mandatory insurance, trigger locks, registered chain of custody, chemical serial numbers in gunpowder, prohibited from bringing anywhere public except explicitly designated places, regular proficiency tests, power limits, and whatever else is necessary to mitigate their substantial risk against their narrow and occasional benefits.

    Unless our weapons are simply the object of a fetish. In that case "rights" are a pretext and anything goes.

    "When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro." - HST

    by DocGonzo on Mon Feb 17, 2014 at 06:36:41 AM PST

    •  In general I would agree, however the text of the (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Miggles, oldpotsmuggler, SuWho

      Second Amendment does not provide for a "right to self defense." It provides explicitly for a "right to keep and bear" ("to keep" and "[to] bear" meaning to own, possess, hold, carry, display, use, maintain, &c., all property interests) a particular category of property/chattel, viz., "arms." A "right to self defense" may be a natural right, but it's not an explicit constitutional (or Second Amendment) right.

      [On the other hand, it might be found as a "penumbral" constitutional right, similar to the "right to privacy" invoked in Roe v. Wade, based on the Fourth, Fifth and Sixth Amendments, or a right that doesn't need to be enumerated, like the right to vote or the right to engage in commerce, but that's a separate discussion.]

      That said, this is entirely correct and also indicates the proper focus:

      Since weapons are of such limited use, and such small benefit to their risk ... we can see that guns should be regulated even more than vehicles are. So mandatory insurance, trigger locks, registered chain of custody, chemical serial numbers in gunpowder, prohibited from bringing anywhere public except explicitly designated places, regular proficiency tests, power limits, and whatever else is necessary to mitigate their substantial risk against their narrow and occasional benefits.
      (emphasis added).

      Even if we grant that the Founding Fathers™ thought it vitally important to have an armed civilian population, and even if we grant that they thought it vitally important to have an armed civilian population so that it could revolt against and overthrow a "tyrannical" internal government (just in case the Constitution, the Bill of Rights, rule of law, habeas corpus, due process, separation of powers, checks and balances, an independent judiciary, regular free and lawful elections, separation of church and state, a free press, and nothing resembling hereditary monarchy or nobility, weren't enough), they would have to have recognized that having a weapons of war circulating unsupervised and unregulated among the general public would create significant societal risks. Even laying aside that in the 1780's "arms" could not be mass-produced, mass-marketed or shipped in large quantities over long distances, and no "arms" in existence could be fired more than once or twice per minute or concealed under one's clothing, it's absurd to think that the Founders would have endorsed arming the entire civilian population without regard to risk.

      Of course, many gun enthusiasts would argue, and have argued to me, that guns themselves create no risk at all, that they are not the least bit dangerous, and that the risks associated with firearms have not changed in the slightest since 1790. One even told me that it would be, quote, "far easier" for Adam Lanza to have committed the Newtown massacre, all else being equal, with 18th-century weapons (e.g., a barrel of gunpowder) than with the AR-15 assault rifle he actually used. "Far easier." To anyone who believes that, any discussion of risk/benefit falls on very, very deaf ears.

      •  Rights (0+ / 0-)

        It's clear to me that the 2nd Amendment is wrong in implying there's a right to keep and bear arms. Or rather we are wrong in insisting on interpreting it literally rather than interpreting the right against which infringements are measured as "self defense". We do not interpret the 1st Amendment as protecting literal speech and a literal press: we know it protects writing, hand gestures, emails, TV, etc.

        The 2nd Amendment's reference to a physical object limits it in ways that rights are not. The Constitution has a few such specific references, and all are problematic. For example the formulation that securing to authors and inventors the exclusive right to their works automatically promotes science and the useful arts is increasingly backwards in the info age.

        Unfortunately the constituency for the 2nd Amendment is heavy with monomaniacal literalists who don't understand rights, but rather understand power and propaganda.

        I prefer repealing the 2nd Amendment and replacement with something like "the people's right to self defense shall not be infringed except by due process of law". I'd probably settle for a solid and relatively unambiguous series of laws and court decisions interpreting the current amendment in the terms of my proposed revision.

        But to get started I'd rejoice just to see states require trigger locks and the Feds require gunpowder include chemical serial numbers.

        "When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro." - HST

        by DocGonzo on Mon Feb 17, 2014 at 02:18:24 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  Narcissistic Personality Disorder (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    oldpotsmuggler, SuWho

    Narcissistic Personality Disorder: Symptoms:

    * Expects to be recognized as superior and special, without superior accomplishments
    * Expects constant attention, admiration and positive reinforcement from others
    * Envies others and believes others envy him/her
    * Is preoccupied with thoughts and fantasies of great success, enormous attractiveness, power, intelligence
    * Lacks the ability to empathize with the feelings or desires of others
    * Is arrogant in attitudes and behavior
    * Has expectations of special treatment that are unrealistic

    There's more, and they should sound familiar.

    American class privileges that stack up with theocracy, gun collecting, hetero marriage, $millions and Whiteness all deliver these symptoms.

    America's greatest public health crisis is our narcissism epidemic.

    "When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro." - HST

    by DocGonzo on Mon Feb 17, 2014 at 06:51:07 AM PST

    •  Bingo (0+ / 0-)

      Yeah, that was my first thought, "Well, this is all describing narcissism."  And yes, it's on the rise in the US.

      Really, you can explain a lot about the US between narcissism, psychopathy, and sociopathy.  

      Why are we on the left so interested in bursting those bubbles?  Because it's not good for a Democracy to be ruled by people with psychological problems.  In particular, it's important for people to have empathy, and these are all problems with people who have little or no empathy.  People die when the people in charge are empathy impaired.  

  •  In the end, it's all about ego (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    oldpotsmuggler, SuWho

    and having one's delusions validated, not confronted.

    Legal means "good".
    [41984 | Feb 4, 2005]

    by xxdr zombiexx on Mon Feb 17, 2014 at 07:03:03 AM PST

  •  we aren't special (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    SuWho

    just higher on the food chain.

    know how many different creatures have sat at the top of the food chain here on earth?

    just about all of them can kill us easily and they are mostly all gone now.

    we are sooo full ourselves.

    -You want to change the system, run for office.

    by Deep Texan on Mon Feb 17, 2014 at 07:26:57 AM PST

  •  Human Beings ARE ordinary beings. (0+ / 0-)

    We do however, have the ability through thoughts and deeds and compassion, to make ourselves extraordinary. Only that takes caring. And making an effort. Unfortunately, too many of us believe that we are special simply because we EXIST.

  •  Christian theologians would call this the... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    SuWho

    ...original sin.  A refusal to submit one's self to that which is greater than him/her self...wanting to be gods unto themselves. Interesting that christianists would be such "sinners".  

    Government works when you elect those who want it to. --askyron (2013)

    by Simul Iustus et Peccator on Mon Feb 17, 2014 at 09:24:35 AM PST

  •  Self-worship is at the heart (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    SuWho

    of the entire conservative movement, from Republicans to Tea Partyists. That's been apparent to me for quite a while.

    They are all about worshipping themselves. And the superiority complext that comes with that, thinking that they are, uniquely superior to other humans, who, in their twisted world, must be superior to all other species...because...

  •  Additional example (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    SuWho, raincrow, ebohlman

    The deification of the Flag, just because it's there. Ritualized worshiping of it, attempted criminalization of defacing it, all while debasing and polluting the land from which it sprouts.

    The United States for All Americans

    by TakeSake on Mon Feb 17, 2014 at 09:51:05 AM PST

    •  I remember during the 2008 campaign, someone (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      SuWho, raincrow

      (I think it was in a YouTube chat or a YouTube submission to a cable TV interview) asked then-Senator Obama, "Do you believe in the American flag?"

      My response to that was, "What does that even mean?"

    •  This is a trait of rigid personalities (0+ / 0-)

      It's a lot easier for someone to be certain about what a symbol is than what it stands for means. If one can't tolerate uncertainty, one can compensate by assigning more importance to the literal symbol than to its meaning.

      There have been several studies showing that the more rigidly religious someone is, the less likely they are to be able to recognize Bible verses from a non-King James translation.

      Unfortunately when smart and educated people get crazy ideas they can come up with plausibly truthy arguments. -- Andrew F Cockburn

      by ebohlman on Mon Feb 17, 2014 at 05:45:33 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Marriage exclusivists false morality. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    SuWho, belinda ridgewood, ebohlman

    Marriage exclusivists argue "morality," but in actuality want state control over religion. It came out in Minnesota, which is what swayed traditionally "anti-gay" people like muslims and hindus to vote for marriage equality. Maybe it's just because MN is more progressive, but in our debates it came out that around 12 sects of Christianity were already marrying gays in their churches (3 or 4 had been doing so for over 3 decades.)

    In the debates it came down to a Catholic and a Baptist arguing that a Christ based marriage solely for procreating should be the only valid marriages in the state. Talking with friends who are not Christian, this scared many and they saw the debate for what it was: some sects of Christianity trying to control and legislate what other sects and non-Christian churches could do. (not to mention legislate what non-religious could do.)

    I wish people would see it in the reality it is. All Christians are not against marriage equality, only some churches are for exclusivity, and they are trying to push this on all citizens.

    •  Thanks for your first comment, JLinMN. (0+ / 0-)

      You're right; "Christians" in general get a bad name because of the jerks who do and say hateful things in their name. The difference gets blurred out in the news headlines.

      Welcome from the DK Partners & Mentors Team. If you have any questions about how to participate here, you can learn more at the Knowledge Base or from the New Diarists Resources Diaries. Diaries labeled "Open Thread" are also great places to ask. We look forward to your contributions.


      Shop Kos Katalogue ❧ Help Okiciyap at Cheyenne River reservation.

      by belinda ridgewood on Mon Feb 17, 2014 at 01:00:03 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Precisely (0+ / 0-)

      The main reason the Founders decided to separate church and state was that they knew that if they didn't, conflicts between states with different official religions would quickly turn into a civil war.

      BTW, while it's often incorrectly assumed that the Founders were mostly Deists, they were actually all over the map in terms of religion; that's why they saw the separation issue as so important.

      Unfortunately when smart and educated people get crazy ideas they can come up with plausibly truthy arguments. -- Andrew F Cockburn

      by ebohlman on Mon Feb 17, 2014 at 05:51:19 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Thoughtful diary. NT (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    SuWho, raincrow

    Republicans are like alligators. All mouth and no ears.

    by Ohiodem1 on Mon Feb 17, 2014 at 10:11:37 AM PST

  •  ...and pride goeth before a fall (eom) (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    SuWho

    When I cannot sing my heart. I can only speak my mind.

    by Unbozo on Mon Feb 17, 2014 at 10:20:48 AM PST

  •  Republicans and their special status (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    post rational, belinda ridgewood

    It really is no more complicated than "ego" which the Buddha talked about at length and discoursed on the very harmful effects of it.  

  •  Empathy (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    raincrow, post rational

    Without reading the many responses to this diary, in answer to the ultimate question, I think those on the left are motivated by an abundance of empathy, and possibly too much so at times. We see other people who are suffering and ask what can be done to alleviate that suffering? What can be done to prevent or alleviate the suffering of people around the world? As long as people suffer due to circumstances beyond their control, we feel motivated to do something, anything in our power to fix it. Both sides sometimes go too far, we have to admit. But honestly, I would prefer to be on the side of empathy than the side of individual specialness.

  •  Even more concise? (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    jodylanec, belinda ridgewood

    If I may, I think an even more concise characterization of the individuals/group described in this article is dichotomous thinking: Everything is black/white. Either humans are 'special' and design so by a deity, or they're worthless. Either specific political persuasions are 'good' or their 'bad'. There's no room, ever, for 'gray areas' with this type of mindset.

  •  Several observations (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    SuWho, post rational, jodylanec

    1) There's a technical term for the combination of self-congratulation and resentment: narcissism. In the case of some of the 1%ers, we're probably talking about full-blown Narcissistic Personality Disorder with psychopathic features; modern corporate hierarchies seem to actually select for this (as the old saying goes, a hierarchy is like a septic tank: the biggest pieces of shit rise to the top).

    2) "Marriage exclusivists" is a wonderful term and I'm going to start using it.

    3)

    He was arguing the virtues of marriage as a justification for marriage, not exclusivity.
    This is a classic form of intellectually lazy (to the point of being intellectually dishonest) argument: when confronted with a difficult question, offer an answer to a much easier question and pretend you've answered the hard one. It's a variant of the straw-man fallacy. We need to watch out for this one in our own arguments, too.

    4) Going back to the 1%ers, they argue that they should be rewarded for their success. But what does "success" mean to them? If you can get them to answer honestly, they'll admit it means "having lots of money". So in essence they're saying "we deserve even more money because we have lots of money". The last five words of that sentence are superfluous and they're using a form of "argument" commonly ascribed to toddlers.

    One should also note that this attitude fails to distinguish between success and the trappings of success. This is very similar to the "Paris Hilton" phenomenon in which one is "famous for being famous". I guess you can call it "postmodern success".

    Unfortunately when smart and educated people get crazy ideas they can come up with plausibly truthy arguments. -- Andrew F Cockburn

    by ebohlman on Mon Feb 17, 2014 at 10:34:21 AM PST

  •  American conservatism is motivated (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    SuWho

    by its lack of empathy and admiration for fascism.

  •  Read or Rec? (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    SuWho, jodylanec

    I was just going to read DK, not having time at the moment to think too much about news items or diaries, and therefore not planning to comment on anything.

    But this is so good I had to sign in, just to rec it and add my appreciation.

    Understanding the seemingly bizarre positions of the right-wing isn't always easy. They often lie, are illogical, and see the world as a Fox News created fantasy, so good analysis like this is very useful.

    Thanks for the insights.

    A Southerner in Yankeeland

    To save your life and our country, read "Pity The Billionaire" by Thomas Frank, and "Winner-Take-All-Politics" by Jacob S. Hacker and Paul Pierson. Then read more books.

    by A Southerner in Yankeeland on Mon Feb 17, 2014 at 10:41:12 AM PST

  •  People misunderstand the idea of equality (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ebohlman

    Rather than realizing that the notion of equality recognizes them as a being worthy of being treated as an end in themselves [per Kant's language], they see it as an assault on their uniqueness - as if to say - we are all the same.

    I run into this problem all of the time when I talk to friends about basic anarchist socio-economic principles - even friends who are decidedly left leaning.

    The notion of universal equality is not one that reduces humanity to sameness, but rather one that recognizes our uniqueness and attempts to codify in law and social praxis a 'kingdom of ends', i.e. one in which every individual has the support needed for self-determination and self-actualization.

    “It takes no compromise to give people their rights...it takes no money to respect the individual. It takes no political deal to give people freedom. It takes no survey to remove repression.” ― Harvey Milk

    by lucid on Mon Feb 17, 2014 at 11:25:13 AM PST

    •  Yep, equality in the social/legal sense (0+ / 0-)

      doesn't mean sameness; it means that nobody has to justify their existence in terms of how it serves someone else's interest.

      Unfortunately when smart and educated people get crazy ideas they can come up with plausibly truthy arguments. -- Andrew F Cockburn

      by ebohlman on Mon Feb 17, 2014 at 05:53:38 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  they should read Stephenson... (0+ / 0-)
    “Like every other creature on the face of the earth, Godfrey was, by birthright, a stupendous badass, albeit in the somewhat narrow technical sense that he could trace his ancestry back up a long line of slightly less highly evolved stupendous badasses to that first self-replicating gizmo---which, given the number and variety of its descendants, might justifiably be described as the most stupendous badass of all time. Everyone and everything that wasn't a stupendous badass was dead.”

    war is god's way of teaching americans geography. -ambrose bierce

    by sillyalicia on Mon Feb 17, 2014 at 12:04:54 PM PST

  •  Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for (0+ / 0-)

    Justice. That's us on the left.

    "Mit der Dummheit kämpfen Götter selbst vergebens," -Friedrich Schiller "Against Stupidity, the Gods themselves contend in Vain"

    by pengiep on Mon Feb 17, 2014 at 12:09:27 PM PST

  •  Wow (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Kasoru
    Characterizing guns as property or as consumer products, merely thinking about them that way, implies that guns are about sales and profits, not Liberty and Freedom. It makes those who take such great pride in owning and using guns feel like nothing more than ordinary retail consumers. It tells them that owning guns doesn't make them heroes, doesn't make them "unique" or "special." It tells them, or seems from their perspective to tell them, that their pride is unjustified.
    Much Projection. Very misunderstand. Wow.
  •  found many Christians who cannot hear that (0+ / 0-)

    dolphins might be sentient aware beings like us for example, I get a violent reaction and found many hostile to animal rights because it threatens humans Specialness.

    "The poor can never be made to suffer enough." Jimmy Breslin

    by merrywidow on Mon Feb 17, 2014 at 12:55:09 PM PST

  •  When you've done nothing in life to actually BE (0+ / 0-)

    proud of, then you cling (to borrow Obama's infamous term) to all the other inane and infantile crap the diarist dutifully churns thru. It doesnt matter that its all lies and fantasy and none of its true, as long as it lets you feel validated/vindicated/powerful in your tiny non-special existence.

    I always think the truest epitaph for future historians (if any) to remember our culture by is just a big neon sign -

     "POOR WONDERFUL US"

  •  Yes, the real entitlements (0+ / 0-)

    They believe they are entitled to everything they have.  Their God has chosen them.  This is seen at its most ridiculous when they claim the right to keep and bear arms was given to them by God.  Say what!

  •  Yup that explains the appeal (0+ / 0-)

    to the fundamental Christians (the "You're not going to heaven but we are" type) and to the white male patriarchy who are used to being top of the food chain.

  •  Great diary... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    paradise50, Glen The Plumber

    Thank you GrafZeppelin127.

    A deeply thoughtful and revealing diary.

    I agree. I've spent many hours preoccupied, obsessed over this subject.  What is it in certain personalities that drive them to such extraordinary, unrepentant egoism?

    I believe I have the source for my first diary.

    "There is a special place in hell for women who do not help other women." ~Madeleine K. Albright

    by jodylanec on Mon Feb 17, 2014 at 03:46:57 PM PST

  •  The 1% ARE special...after all-- (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ebohlman

    1% kid: 1-on-1 nanny from birth, expensive exclusive pre-school (with waiting list), private prep school, private college education, inside track to the jobs that start on the 20th rung of the 'success' ladder--for the 1% kid, it's all free. Going to class and doing the homework is all the "earning" involved. This is called "genetic superiority."

    99% kid--parents both work 2 jobs, crowded day care from birth (fed & diapered is about the best they can expect), no preschool, public school education (in poor areas, not so hot). If/when all these obstacles are overcome, MAYBE a Pell grant (with exemplary grades and proof of parental poverty), but more likely, enough student loans to buy a house, working waitress/pizza delivery jobs to make ends meet, and if by some miracle this results in a good GPA and a degree, an opportunity to get in line behind the 1% kids for the 2nd-or-3rd-tier jobs (behind the 1%ers who didn't quite make the Dean's list, and got kicked out of 3 prep schools along the way).  

    These kids are told, "buddy, there's no such thing as a free lunch--you're going to have to EARN that first job in the mail room, and 'prove' yourself."  Translation: you weren't born "special," so you don't get the benefit of the doubt--that's reserved for those with "superior breeding."  

    The top %.001 percent never seem to include luck in the equation, even though it's a major factor (that, or cheating, which they re-define as "making your own luck").  Nope, it's all "I worked harder than you did."  It seems that believing your own bullshit is also a requisite for major wealth.  So the "Nazi" comments aren't all that surprising.

    •  This isn't helped by (0+ / 0-)

      some ill-informed commentary that claims that rich people don't really work hard. In reality, most rich people do work very hard. The problem is that for every one of them, there are many people who work just as hard but aren't rich or even middle-class.

      The 1%ers go wrong by sliding from the (mostly correct) assumption that hard work is a necessary condition for success to the (unwarranted) conclusion that it's also a sufficient condition. You can't make bread if you don't have flour, but you also can't make bread if flour is all you have.

      Unfortunately when smart and educated people get crazy ideas they can come up with plausibly truthy arguments. -- Andrew F Cockburn

      by ebohlman on Mon Feb 17, 2014 at 06:19:16 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Marriage Exclusivists (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ebohlman, belinda ridgewood

    You make a very valid point here.  I call it the Velvet Rope Syndrome. Things are only exclusive when less deserving types are excluded. The Marriage, Evolution, and Gun Control debates are not about morality, humanity or liberty. They are about fear of being marginalized in a society that only grants marriage rights to certain people.  Guns make people feel empowered; gun control makes people feel marginalized.  Creationism placed man on a pedestal which Evolution is knocking him off...again fear of being marginalized.  

    "We see people threatened by ideas that undermine their pride. They see people doing everything they can to undermine that pride. Are we both right?"

    The answer to your question is no, they aren't right.  The answer to facing your fear of being marginalized shouldn't be to marginalize others.  Those on the left are attempting to correct injustice and antiquated thinking.  The right is doing everything it can to preserve those very things.

    •  Their fallacy is treating everying good as a (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      belinda ridgewood

      zero-sum quantity whose value increases with its scarcity (like rare minerals). Marriage, however, is a positive-sum quantity; making it more available doesn't increase or decrease its value to anyone who already has it, though it does increase the general benefit to society.

      Some quantities are exponential-sum; they become more valuable to those who already have them as others gain them. Access to a communication network is an example: if you're the only one who has it, it's completely worthless to you. The more people there for you to communicate worth, the more valuable it gets.

      Unfortunately when smart and educated people get crazy ideas they can come up with plausibly truthy arguments. -- Andrew F Cockburn

      by ebohlman on Mon Feb 17, 2014 at 06:27:21 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Thanks for your first comment, Usefuleater. (0+ / 0-)

      This:

      The answer to facing your fear of being marginalized shouldn't be to marginalize others.
      I think that's the crux of it.
      Welcome from the DK Partners & Mentors Team. If you have any questions about how to participate here, you can learn more at the Knowledge Base or from the New Diarists Resources Diaries. Diaries labeled "Open Thread" are also great places to ask. We look forward to your contributions.


      Shop Kos Katalogue ❧ Help Okiciyap at Cheyenne River reservation.

      by belinda ridgewood on Mon Feb 17, 2014 at 09:33:29 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Status Anxiety (0+ / 0-)

    It is well to point out that this exact sense of specialness underlies the persistence of white supremacy and its corollary, racism.  Liberal politics grows not out of envy, but of John Locke's axiom, that all persons are equal, which is also a founding axiom of the United States as a polity.

    Bill Turner Left Hand Copy http://lefthandcopy.com/

    by wbtphdjd on Mon Feb 17, 2014 at 06:34:14 PM PST

  •  Me versus Them (0+ / 0-)

    I like this posting because it explains what I have for some time thought is the real core of conservatism. It is not the economics, or the patriotism, or the love of traditional values. It is a really desperate core belief that there must be something about "me" which is different from and superior to those seven billion "thems", and the desire of the "mes" to to have all of us "thems" acknowledge and respect that unique and special difference.

    I would add that religious fanaticism fits perfectly into this pathology. To believe what it obvious and provable isn't unique and special. But to believe what is at odds with the evidence around one is to have some sort of special knowledge of reality unavailable to those common and inferior "thems". To believe that one has a special connection to some sort of deity or superior belief, and that others just are incapable of seeing that special truth is what religion is really all about. It doesn't just rescue you from eventual death, but also from the here-and-now-Hell or being nothing special.

  •  I think you've nailed it (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    a gilas girl

    To sum  up what I think you're saying, the right-wing/conservative/Tea Party/Republican mind has a belief that "I am unique and special", the sense of superiority that comes with that belief, its fear of anything that might undermine that belief, and resentment of anyone who challenges or threatens it.

    My answer to your question at the end is that the left-wing/liberal/progressive/Democratic mind is not trying to undermine that pride and sense of uniqueness.  Rather, we have a fundamentally different (or perhaps larger) mindset - the belief that "Everyone is unique and special", the sense of equality that comes with that belief, and anger at anyone who debases or threatens it.

    "Males ae biologically driven to go out and hunt giraffes." - Newt Gingrich "Some folks you don't have to satirize, you just quote 'em." - Tom Paxton

    by rsf1967 on Tue Feb 18, 2014 at 10:18:16 AM PST

  •  Even in Genesis... (0+ / 0-)

    [not created by God separately and distinctly from all other living things,]

    Interestingly, even in Genesis, man is created on the same day as all the other land animals, and clearly viewed as one.

  •  2nd Amendment origin actually says.... (0+ / 0-)

    If we look at the true origins of the 2nd amendment, suddenly the idea of "I'm special" comes into much clearer focus.  Why is the amendment there?  Most people assume it goes back to the Minutemen movement and the early battles of the revolutionary war, but that's not the case.

    The new Constitution said that only the Federal Government could field an army.  That meant State militias would be no more, but it wasn't about fighting a foreign enemy.  In the slave states, the "militia" would often gather at regular intervals and ride through the slave quarters, making certain that the slaves weren't preparing to revolt or gathering arms, which were considered illegal in the hands of a slave.  Many, including Patrick Henry, were worried that the Constitution would effectively outlaw this practice, so they argued for the 2nd amendment.  That first clause about the need for a "well-regulated militia" explains that firearms were considered necessary so the white folks could keep the black folks under proper control.

    So...looking at the article, the 2nd is indeed just another case of the "I'm special" mentality.  The untermensch slaves certainly couldn't be controlled without proper arms and the amendment passed.  Those around at the time knew exactly what they were saying...and they knew why.  Today that original meaning has been lost, or at least perverted, and a whole new meaning has arisen.  Too bad it's just more of that "I'm special" mentality.

  •  All of American politics (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Arkenstark

    is based, at least partly, on resentment.  The only way to keep a movement alive is by tapping into something subconscious and negative.

    Hatred is great for a few elections, but it really doesn't have the staying power.  Greed is always good, but it requires a stronger short-term reward.  Wrath and anger are too non-focused to really form political movements.  That leaves jealousy and resentment as the basis for long-term politics.

  •  Not all creationists are conservative (0+ / 0-)

    or right win.  I've met very liberal people who are horrified a the thought of descending from a more primitive being.  But in all fairness the majority of creationist are fundamentalist right wing conservatives.  

  •  Special man (0+ / 0-)

    I think Republicans are a failed experiment by the lizard aliens.

  •  Why Christians need God to create humans (0+ / 0-)

    If God did not create humans and endow them with free will, there would be no original sin.  If there is no original sin, Christ would not be necessary to redeem the humans.  If there is no need for Christ, there is no need for Christianity.  So Charles Darwin's theory must be blocked at all costs.

  •  Plain As Dirt (0+ / 0-)

    I find it endlessly amusing that the same people who are shocked and offended by the notion that we are related genetically to every other living thing on this planet are just as vehemently insistent that we were made from a pile of dirt.

    There is much more wonder and dignity in the former than the latter.

  •  REALLY? (0+ / 0-)

    The one thing I simply can't understand is that if humans coexisted with the dinosaurs why is there nothing written about it and why are there no human remains found with dinosaur remains? Of course, there's also basic physics, the speed of light, etc, etc, etc, but I digress.

    •  Something else that occurred to me while watching (0+ / 0-)

      "Questioning Darwin" is that no human being was ever even aware that dinosaurs existed until the 1800's. Certainly not during biblical times. We didn't learn about dinosaurs until the Industrial Revolution when we started digging up the earth to build tunnels and railroads and canals and skyscraper foundations, and started finding fossils.

  •  Winners and losers (0+ / 0-)

    My own theory is that what all of these Conservative people have in common is a belief that the world is made of winners and losers.  They can't imagine a win-win world in which everyone is a winner.  They want to feel like winners, and they can only do that if they believe that they are better than someone else. Fundamentally, their self esteem is founded on sadism.  They have to hurt some class of people in order to feel a sense of power and self-esteem.  If this sounds sick, you're right.  It is sick.

    Warren/Grayson 2016! Yes We Can!

    by BenFranklin99 on Tue Feb 18, 2014 at 06:13:47 PM PST

  •  Why are some Thinkers while others just Belivers? (0+ / 0-)

    Are parents to blame?  Do they answer "Because" too often when a child asks why?  Is school to blame?  Is the teacher always right?  Is it religion that teaches that one dare not challenge their teaching for fear of God's wrath?  What other environmental charities suppress challenging thought in so many?  Is this the fundamental defining characteristic of conservatism?

    In order for progressives to succeed in regaining control of the government in a way that allows recovering from the harmful austerity measures that have been forced upon us we must make the believers understand that they are victims of this austerity even if they do not realize it.  And they are enablers of their problems if they, regardless of party, do not get involved enough to vote out the radical conservatives.  Because grandpa chose our party for the family, because the politicians are all crooks, because I just won’t vote.... these are all ways hurt  themselves, and the rest of us too.

  •  While I embrace the diarist's overall standpoint (0+ / 0-)

    of evolution in that humans are animals I must object to the idea that we are not "special." How would we have come to dominate the planet in the way we do if there were nothing special about our species?

  •  Entitlement (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    crewoldt

    The one thread these people have in common is that they are beyond entitled! To believe they are better than anyone else alive is a joke! People like that are more pathetic than anyone! They need to be shipped to another country and given a does of reality, it would either wake them up or get rid of them, either way would benefit society!

  •  Isn't that what makes us so special? (0+ / 0-)

    They are going to be awfully disappointed if they are seeking adulation from us.

  •  People of weak character (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    elenacarlena

    need to tell themselves they are more than what they are, AND that others are less, just so they can secretly feel EQUAL.  Most can't even admit it to themselves.

    The worship of a book, or money as a personal god, or an ideology that 'ranks' people according to their social or life status, are all crutches for crippled characters.

    Whether you buy into the idea of a Supreme Being of some sort or not, there is a basic truth that is the same: ALL people are born equally worthy of life, and the chance to live it.  IMO, the only time they LOSE that is when they actively pursue a course of actions designed to violate that first principle.

    The "American Exceptionalism" expression is in the same category, and quite frankly, I'm ready for that phrase and idea to die.

  •  anthropocentrism (0+ / 0-)

     The belief in our unique spiritual, even supernatural, qualifications to chow down on the planet is firmly embedded in the Western religions derived from the middle-east.  It's a circular argument, the material universe is a dead thing, we are spiritually special creatures in a spiritually dead universe and that justifies our belief system.   So without the belief in our exceptionalism, we are nothing, we are dead material things like so many rocks, trees and stars.  It all rests on that assumption that the rest of being is a dead thing inferior to we, the  inferiors to God.  Cast out that original premise, and we could believe in a universe seething with magic, spirit and life, like many aboriginal people, whose cosmos is just such a place.  In a cosmology like that, we could derive our human dignity from our inclusion in all of nature and take our equal place in the enchanting diversity of it all.  Thoughtful scientists come from the Western tradition, yet we speak of the wonderment of nature - even the atheists among us.  That's the root source, I think, of the battles between science and (Western) religion.  

  •  Most interesting she-i she-i she-i-o thing I' read (0+ / 0-)

    One:
    Bumper Sticker; "I'm not awesome. Neither are you". This article inspired that. Consider it "free-source". You're welcome.

    Two:
    I'm intrigued by the paradox here. I've confronted this question myself. Do I truly believe that, given the same opportunities, all humans have the same, infinite, potential?

    or,

    Do I choose to think this way as a mechanism of self-defense? Is it my inability to accept that there are people out there, inherently better than me, worth millions of dollars per year or, perhaps, my envy of their accumulations?

    I will say this; we all come equipped with different potentials. This is not to discount the fact, however, no matter what potential any individual may realize, s/he still stands upon the shoulders of giants, thus our world does not owe anybody anything...

    Entitlement my ass.  

  •  I am not trying to undermine the pride of the 1% (0+ / 0-)

    I have no interest in the pride of the 1% one way or the other, and I doubt whether most of the rest of the 99% does either.  I just want enough money for me and my family to live on, with a little left over so we can save a little and have a little fun.  I want to maintain my purchasing power when I hold a job for an extended period of time.  I want to get ahead and improve my purchasing power when I study hard for a degree or finally earn that promotion.  I want my children to do a little better than their parents.  That means the 1% has to stop taking it all.  Let them compete on points instead of in dollars.  Give some of the money back.  Stop destroying America's middle class.  If they find the suggestion that they are destroying America insulting, then STOP destroying America.  Don't expect us to stop criticizing their destruction.  You keep hurting my paycheck, I'll keep hurting your feelings.

  •  Brilliant Essay (0+ / 0-)

    Thank you for posting this incredibly reasoned and valuable essay.  Opened my eyes to see more clearly who and what the "enemy" of the American ideal is.  Pride, arrogance, self interest, self conceit and definitely poor self esteem, oh and throw in silver spoons being exchanged from one end to the other.  Thanks that is about all I have.  

  •  Answer: NO (0+ / 0-)

    I don't give a ^&%*about their pride.  I care about the future and quality of life for everyone.

    I do see an innate difference between the cons & libs I know.  Many libs can tolerate disagreement, even criticism, without taking it as a personal attack.  For cons, it is ALWAYS a personal attack.  Posting facts, even with no editorial comment, is a personal attack.  Asking for clarification is usually a personal attack.  Refusing to agree is a personal attack.  Silence is a personal attack.  Answering their rhetorical questions is a personal attack. (E.g., Can anyone tell me why on earth it is wrong to ask for ID before allowing someone to cast their vote in this country?)  They don't want an answer; they want a chorus of agreement to shore up their mania.

    The basic problem is most of their dogma has a foundation of worm-eaten wood and the whole structure is built on a sand dune, they know it, and they don't want to know it.   Turbo charge the defense mechanisms.

  •  Correct (0+ / 0-)

    In answer to the question posed at the end of your piece - Yes.  As, what you have carefully described is the pathos of oppressors.  You are articulating and describing concept and/or practice of privilege.  Privilege rooted in hetero-normative euro-centric patriarchy is what you have identified and described.  The very nature of the "ruling" class - be that hetero, white, male, class or religion - is the foundation for the decimation of those (or the denial of access to the privilege). I.E., denial of access to employment or education based on race.  Those whom would reject the tenants of the oppressor (propaganda)  dearly for the temerity.  Well DONE and thank you for taking the time to share your observations!

  •  The is also (0+ / 0-)

    exclusivity and the pathological need to feel superior. There are those for whom success is not nearly as sweet without the knowledge that there are those that fail. Some even relish having a hand in that failure.

    Same applies to some of the religious. After all, what good is heaven, unless others burn in hell?

    Another deadly sin? Gluttony. Having more than you will ever use, but still living in terror at the thought that someone unworthy, someone inferior may benefit from something that should be rightfully yours. Some even consider that right to be divine in nature.

    When elephants fight, it's the grass that suffers. -- African Proverb

    by LouisWu on Wed Feb 19, 2014 at 12:04:18 PM PST

  •  But We ARE Unique (0+ / 0-)

    Homo sapiens is a remarkably "successful" species that has, in geographic terms, very rapidly completely dominated its global environment. There's no reason to discredit God in this observation. She probably didn't have time to single out one species for promotion but instead wound up the evolutionary clock and waited to see what happened. This action makes particular sense if you take into account the size of the universe. God has a lot of different places to oversee.

    Of course, our primate ability to overwhelm other animals has led to a LOT of unintended consequences, indicating perhaps that God isn't omnicient after all. Alternatively, She's still sitting back watching who gets the next go-round.

  •  I look at it this way... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    smileycreek, rsf1967

    Mankind is the most amazing accomplishment of DNA yet. But it didn't come easy. We mammals strived and worked hard to get where we are, sacrificing for 100,000 generations. We earned our humanity.

    Creationists on the other hand believe we were created in an instant with the wave of a magic wand with no effort at all on our part, nor even participation. Humanity was a gift -- an "entitlement" from God.

    Do they resent not having their entitlement?
    It seems oddly backwards from their usual stance.

  •  Thanks, (0+ / 0-)

    I just never quite thought of it that way. Now it makes sense. But how should we deal with such people? In my own experience, that pride is a defense against unconsciously feeling just the opposite. Sometimes it helps to build up the confidence of such people, but it usually takes a lifetime to make a small change in such attitudes.

    You asked how liberals see things. In my case, I really don't mind if some people are outrageously rich or have a lot of power. I do mind, however, when there is injustice, when such people are not simply content with their money and power, but need more to the point of deceptively taking over what token democracy we have and destroying the lives of everyone else. I mind not so much that they lie to us, but that so many people believe them. That makes me feel threatened and a bit powerless, because I know how hard it is to get people to acknowledge that they have believed lies. It is also illogical and unspiritual.

  •  All religions: we are god's chosen people. (0+ / 0-)

    Others be damned.

    Without that piece of foundational propaganda ... Where would they be?

    I exempt Quakers and of course there may be others I am not familiar with. Call it abrahamic religions and associated sects.

    Thump! Bang. Whack-boing. It's dub!

    by dadadata on Thu Feb 20, 2014 at 05:10:30 AM PST

  •  Grounded (0+ / 0-)

    I am a progressive and I know what I am grounded in. Reality. One can wish the world to be a certain all day long but it is what it is. My reality is that there are heterosexuals and homosexuals. People don't marry just to have kids. The human species is just a blip on the overall time line and some day (probably sooner than later) we will become extinct just all species will. I don't have a problem if someone wants to own a gun but some people are not mentally stable enough to do so and shouldn't be allowed. I also realize that military grade civilian guns were never really made for hunting despite what many say. I used not have an opinion on the wealthy class one way or another but now I do. Many probably did work hard for their money but many now a days probably got their money illicitly.

  •  Don't care (0+ / 0-)

    I don't care what the rich, religious bigots and Darwin denyers think. They are stupid and self serving and like all lesser animals will meet their own demise.

  •  Some Christians forget Philippians 2 (0+ / 0-)

    Most American Christians forget, or probably have never read, or have never heard preached to them, Philippians 2.5

    "Let the same mind be in you that was in Christ Jesus, 6 who, though he was in the form of God, did not regard equality with God as any big deal, 7 but emptied himself, taking the form of a slave, being born in human likeness. And being found in human form, 8 he humbled himself and became obedient to the point of death— even death on a cross. 9 Therefore God also highly exalted him and gave him the name that is above every name, 10 so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bend, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, 11 and every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is LORD, to the glory of God the Father."

    So, man was indeed created special, but God himself in Jesus sets us the example of how we should be, utterly humble. You mentioned pride: well, pride is the 'original sin,' if you will permit me a pun. Satan, the first sinner, sinned when he said to himself 'Ill go up to the mountain of God and be like God.' Pride is pure Attitude with a capital A. 'Ill do it my way.' Jesus also said "Youll know the false teachers by their fruit." None of these people bear good, sweet, nourishing fruit…

  •  Marriage (0+ / 0-)

    By this definition of marriage, wouldn't a couple who choose not to have children or suffer from infertility besmirch the "specialness" of marriage, too?

    •  Maybe, but it wouldn't undermine the notion that (0+ / 0-)

      marriage is a "special privilege" reserved for breeders only, irrespective of whether they actually breed. Remember, according to my counterpart, same-sex couples are inherently inferior to opposite-sex couples (and can never be considered equal thereto) because the former cannot procreate by itself, without the aid of a third party. An opposite-sex couple at least theoretically can, or by its mere existence give off the outward impression that it can, even if in fact it cannot.

      Remember also that a lot of this is about perception. A lot of the argument against same-sex marriage revolves only around people's subjective thoughts about What Marriage Is™, and how those thoughts might be undermined if people start to have different thoughts about marriage, family, homosexuality, and so forth. Same thing with guns; the idea of RKBA being a set of non-infringeable property rights in guns is not the least bit dangerous to gun owners and gun enthusiasts, but it makes them feel less respected, less revered, less viewed as heroes, because other people might not think that guns and gun rights are really all that special.

      Exclusivists want marriage to be revered, in the same sense that gun enthusiasts want gun rights to be revered -- the way they themselves revere it.

  •  It's Worse Than You Think (0+ / 0-)

    I was going to post a very long spiel about how this goes back to history, race, class, the very plausible threat of the KKK being proven right about an inevitable race war (i.e. the culture war that we're already fighting escalating to an all-or-nothing bloodbath), but I'll settle for just saying this much:

    These groups cling desperately to pretenses of being special and superior because imprisoned deep within their Kentucky-fried brains is an intractable ember of intelligence that knows their worst fears are true: They've wasted everything they have in the pursuit of things which are actually worthless: patriotism, faith, muscle, and money, and now they discover that, since that's all they have and all they know, they are not special or superior in any way. They. Have. Nothing.

    Recognize that while the first 3 groups mentioned are rooted in the lower class, the 1% are in the same boat - peasants and aristocracy are yin and yang. One cannot exist without the other, and they face a common enemy in the middle class. My analysis of sociology and history, past and present, has led me to the conclusion that the "middle class" is not actually a "class" at all, but actually the embryonic stage of a truly classless society, and that stratified societies, kind of like the Sith, can never truly have more than 2 layers - the emergence of any strata beyond the 2 will either be centrifuged back into binary oblivion, or grow to devour and disintegrate the class structure like the white blood cell from the end of Fantastic Voyage.

    In closing, it is clear that some people simply stand apart from and above others: Einstein, Mozart, the Wright Brothers, Mark Twain, Oppenheimer, Kurt Vonnegut, Marcus Aurelius, Chelsea Manning, Bruce Lee, Nikola Tesla, Gene Roddenberry, Leonardo da Vinci, Aleister Crowley, Jim Henson, Vincent Van Gogh, Stirling Colgate, Hedy Lamarr, the list goes on and on. To deny this because "it's not fair" is perverse, and sets the stage for the kind of "socialism" that gives people legitimate, rather than bogus, reason to fear it. This fact has always been obvious; the problem is simply that the spark of greatness is essentially random, and every rubric ever used to attempt to coherently divine the difference between greater and lesser individuals in a standardized fashion - ethnicity, creed, lifestyle, nationality, sex, and worst of all, money - has always ended in unspeakable disaster. I HIGHLY recommend the following polemic, as it says most of the things anyone who thinks they're a 21st-Century liberal needs to hear: "The Other N-Word"

  •  Awwww - - (0+ / 0-)

    Poor humans.  We have to create our own specialness - - not sit back and bask in having had it handed to us by some being that is, when you think about it, greater than we are.    Now where's the resentment about that?

    I'm waiting for the other shoe to drop when the Far Right figure out that they've handed the "greatness" to some entity other than themselves.

    The price of apathy is to be ruled by evil men - - Plato . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . We must be the change we wish to see in the world - - Mohandas Gandhi

    by twocrows1023 on Fri Feb 21, 2014 at 06:34:17 AM PST

  •  Social Darwinism is evolutionism (0+ / 0-)

    I fully agree on the authors conclusions, in fact sociologists have proven that right-wing thinkers are most often attached to a specific personality type they have termed Right Wing Authoritarianism (RWA) that is associated with fear, aversion to change, and systems that can make sense of the world.  A strongly held conviction in this typology is that conventional systems of authority and government are best, even if they do not create equity for others.  (Cohrs ,J.C.; Asbrock,Frank)
            However I depart with the author that though they say that are creationists, they are philosophically evolutionists.  Evolution is more of a philosophy than a science, as empirically demonstrated.  In reality right-wingers subscribe to evolutionism completely as their theoretical foundation is Social Darwinism through and through.

  •  Are you surprised (0+ / 0-)

    The whole lot of right wingers are egomaniacs and psychopaths.  

  •  1% NOT job creators. (0+ / 0-)

    Those who actually create the jobs are several percentage points down the scale. Those at the top are only living off the proceeds created by those the people that the real job creators hired.

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