Democrats & Liberals Archives

Arguing Politics vs. Defending Reality

In order to have an intelligent discussion about politics, or anything else, all parties have consent to certain facts that are beyond argument (a.k.a., reality). Although I usually enjoy discussions on Watchblog, this consensual sense of reality is often missing. For example, I am never again going to waste time trying to convince anyone that the Bush administration told the American people that we were in immediate danger from Saddam Hussein. This is so amply documented (not to mention that we all should REMEMBER it), that no source I could cite would convince remaining doubters.

Similarly, I am not going to argue with anyone about whether Valerie Plame was a CIA agent. Take it up with the Wall Street Journal, not with me.

Too often discussions on this blog go like the following--

Poster A: George Bush firmly denied that the Earth resolves around the Sun. He is either a liar or a moron.

Poster B: I don't believe it. You probably found that story on some looney left-wing website.

A: It was on CNN and in the Washington Post.

B: Ha, the liberal media! I bet DAN RATHER gave them that story.

A: Fine then -- can we at least agree that, assuming Bush said it, he must be either a liar or a moron?

B: It says here in the Drudge Report that John Kerry said the same thing in 1988. I bet CNN didn't tell you that!

A: That's probably because it isn't true. Even Drudge himself only claims to be 80% accurate.

B: At least he is HONEST about being inaccurate!

A: Fine, maybe Kerry said it, too. Just answer my question -- can we agree that anyone who says that is a liar or a moron?

B: No, because it depends on your point of view. From the Earth, it looks like the Sun is going around the Earth.

A: So now you are a relativist. Reality depends on your point of view. If Bill Clinton didn't think he had sex, he didn't have sex.

B: No, relativism is abhorrent to me.

A: So we can agree on some basic facts, then. For example, when NASA sends things into space, they have to account for the Earth's motion around the Sun.

B: Why do you hate George Bush so much? I can see the foam coming from your mouth…

Obviously I am making my point in a partisan way, and I am sure that readers from the Right side of the page can also cite examples of liberals being obtuse. As we learn about the Fitzgerald investigation, let’s all try to avoid the dual dangers of jumping to conclusions and willfully ignoring documented facts.


P.S. I have been wanting to write something about the hypocrisy of the conservative position on judicial nominations (namely that the President should get whomever he wants -- as long as the person is conservative enough!). EJ Dionne makes the argument for me here.

Posted by Woody Mena at October 28, 2005 7:02 AM
Comments
Comment #88457

Woody:

Thanks for saying that you were making your point in a partisan manner. But simply the fact that you did shows an inherent problem. Reality is an important factor in a discussion of politics, but so too is which reality you want to accept.

Too often, people consider their own point of view as being reality, which of course then makes any other point of view something less than reality. By beginning with that position, there is no interchange of ideas, no discussion of possibilities, and no increased understanding of the viewpoints. Instead, there is simply the defense of a viewpoint that is seen as being correct.

What truly needs to happen at the beginning of a discussion is the willingness of both sides to seek to better understand the other side’s point of view and rationale in reaching it. There also needs to be the desire to NOT put strawman arguments into the other person’s commentary.

It is possible to respect and understand an opinion, even while disagreeing with it. There are those against the war who have solid reasoning behind their opinions, while there are others who are simply against anything that the current administration does. It is easier to respect the former opinion, and still very possible to disagree with that conclusion.

Personally, I think Saddam was a rabid dog on a fraying leash. The oil for food money was one of the tools he was using to break the leash of the sanctions upon him. I felt it was necessary to “shoot the dog” BEFORE it got free, rather than hope it didn’t break the leash. This is not an unrealistic position, though it perhaps is one you choose not to accept. The opposite of my position is also not unrealistic, though I choose not to reach that conclusion.

The important thing is to better understand how someone arrives at their conclusions. If they arrive there with no discernible facts, then it is a weak position. If they, on the other hand, arrive with many facts, but still reach a different conclusion than you do, then they certainly deserve to have their opinion respected.

Posted by: joebagodonuts at October 28, 2005 7:50 AM
Comment #88460

Joe-
He was a rabid chipmunk with arthritis who we could have stomped the instant he looked at us wrong. Unless he had WMDs, he was not that big a threat. The proof is in how we kicked his ass not just once, but twice.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at October 28, 2005 8:15 AM
Comment #88461

joebagodonuts,

While I disagree with your position on the war, I agree whole heartedly with your statements about facts and conclusions.

As long as you understand that I’m right and you’re wrong;)

Posted by: Andre M. Hernandez at October 28, 2005 8:20 AM
Comment #88463

Andre:

I’f very glad to accept you as being right. All along, I’ve thought of you as being on the left (and therefore not as right as you claim to be). Welcome to the right! :)

Stephen:

As you know, we disagree on our assessment of Hussein. I agree, however, that he didn’t yet have the capacity to harm us directly. By subverting the Oil for Food program and by weakening support for sanctions, he was breaking the leash. Once the leash is broken, it is much harder to deal with the rabid dog.

Back to the point: We both have cogent rationales for our particular viewpoint, even though the viewpoints are quite different. I can respect your viewpoint even while disagreeing with it. The reason I can do so is that you do a good job of assembling facts to support your case, as I hope you think I do as well. It is quite possible to come to different conclusions even with the same set of facts. Facts can be like the black and white image of an optical illusion—different people can see different things from the picture.

Posted by: joebagodonuts at October 28, 2005 9:17 AM
Comment #88465
Facts can be like the black and white image of an optical illusion—different people can see different things from the picture.

Not different but perfectly opposite two things.
Like in every binary system.

Posted by: Philippe Houdoin at October 28, 2005 9:47 AM
Comment #88466

Joe,

I am absolutely agree with you about facts and conclusions. You are perfectly entitled to believe that Hussein was a “rabid dog on a leash” who needed to be shot. (Actually I kind of like the rabid dog analogy, including the leash…) As the cliche goes we are all, entitled to our own opinions, but not our own facts.

Posted by: Woody Mena at October 28, 2005 9:52 AM
Comment #88471


Just curious, do you remember 1984 or read it lately? Remember “doublethink” and “newspeak”? Think “Ministry of Truth” = Fox News, et. al. ?

Then you too can look forward to the thought police, the Ministry of Love and Room 101.

Posted by: Dave at October 28, 2005 10:23 AM
Comment #88473

The problem with facts is that they often are not.

If something really is a fact, most people agree. Math is like that. Physics yes but less so. The list goes on from the hardest science, until we get to one of the softest - politics. We you get to politics facts depend on interpretation. That is why we have politics. When most people can agree, we just have laws or tradition.

A lot of people said a lot of things before the war with Iraq. My belief is that the facts show that the intelligence was flawed, but that the President didn’t lie about it. My fact is backed up by factcheck.org. http://www.factcheck.org/article349.html. But there is room for disagreement.

I also point to the State of the Union speech where President Bush called Iraq a gathering danger that had to be addressed before it became imminent. It is a lot like Joe’s more poetic formulation of the rapid dog on the fraying leash.

Woody, we don’t usually agree. I don’t think that you are stupid or misguided when you disagree with me. Much of our disagreement comes from our values. Our values determine which facts we consider important. Many times when talking to liberals I am honestly surprised by our different emphasis. I can sometimes understand your points, but they just don’t matter as much to me.

For example, we talked a lot about voting. To me voting is statistical. I want to be reasonably certain that the person who got the most votes actually wins, but I really don’t think it is important that we account for EVERY vote, as long as the error is distributed in an unbiased (statistically speaking, not the way we usually use the word)way. When you are counting millions of anything, you are unlikely to come up with an exact total that will not change the next time you count. You can only have a reasonable count. Liberals don’t seem to believe in the statistical approach and seek an absolute standard. I understand their point of view, but don’t believe it is possible or even particularly helpful. We see the same facts. We believe the same facts. We just don’t value them the same way.

Posted by: Jack at October 28, 2005 10:27 AM
Comment #88474

Jack,

The popular claim that “Bush lied” is a great example of something that is an opinion or interpretation rather than a fact. To know whether someone lied you have to know about their state of mind, and unless Bush flat out admits that he lied we are probably never really going to know. (As a last resort, he can always invoke the defense that he was just a ventriloquist’s dummy who said what he was told to say.)

I do stand by what I wrote about the immediate danger. Even if the intelligence was flawed, that doesn’t negate the facts that the statements were made (although it does bear on whether they were lies).

Posted by: Woody Mena at October 28, 2005 11:07 AM
Comment #88475

jack,

I think you’re almost right when you say : “Much of our disagreement comes from our values.” But, I think it would be more accurate to replace the word “values” with “priorities”

For example; neither of us believes that abortion is a good thing. The difference is that you would prioritize the fetus (possibly since you believe life begins at conception) whereas I prioritize the women’s right (and by extension all our rights) to control over our own bodies. To me the fetus is not alive until it is born and takes it’s first breath. You likely think the woman gave up her right when she got pregnant, and the argument continues ad infinitum. But, it’s priorities still the same.

As for “facts.” I think JBOD is correct. When two people see the same event, they often remember two different things.

Posted by: Dave at October 28, 2005 11:10 AM
Comment #88477

Joe,
The trouble with your rabid dog anology is that there are quite a number of rabid dogs in the world, North Korea, Iran, and various countries in Africa.
Should we then invade all of these? I think that the majority of Americans would not agree with this policy.

Posted by: Warren Dace at October 28, 2005 11:30 AM
Comment #88480

Warren,

That argument doesn’t necessarily follow.

Did N. Korea use Chemical Weapons on anyone ever? Has N. Korea use terrorist groups, including attempted an attempted assassination of a former president, plan attacks on the US in 2002/2003 and the use of covert agents IN the US to silence former N. Korean citizens? Did N. Korea violate several Chapter 7 UN Resolutions? Has N. Korea given aid, training and safe haven to terrorists? Did N. Korea provide financial support to terrorist families? Has N. Korea routinely shot at US warplanes?

I could continue but I hope you see my point.

Posted by: Rhinehold at October 28, 2005 11:44 AM
Comment #88481

Dave

I agree that we could probably use priorities rather than values in many situations.

But you must not have read what I write on abortion. I believe that a woman should have the right to choose with some restrictions and I believe that the people of the states should decide on what those should be through a democratic process. Abortion is not one of my big issues. I just believe it was wrongly decided by the court. The outcome is not my problem. It is the process.

As for priorities between the fetus and the woman, it depends on the situation. In early term, most people would not have too much of a problem. I think most (not all) can agree in cases where the woman’s life is threatened. We have problems in the late term and when the choice is made for poor reasons. We will disagree about what that means too.

But we should be consistent when possible. If you believe in abortion on demand, you can’t get upset if somebody selectively aborts girls or handicapped babies. When you bring up these cases, you sometimes find a lot more people against abortion on demand.

Posted by: Jack at October 28, 2005 11:46 AM
Comment #88487

Warren:

You are correct that there are many rabid dogs out there. But the one named Hussein already bit someone (Kuwait), which is why he was tied up to the leash (sanctions and resolutions).

Its not as stark a picture as you describe though. I suppose you could invade every country that poses a danger, but that wouldnt be prudent nor would it get support from Americans or others, and it would also not be achievable. On the other hand, you can take the policy that since you aren’t going after ALL the rabid dogs, you shouldn’t deal with ANY of the rabid dogs.

That argument doesn’t make much sense either. What does make sense is to deal with the problems, not ignore them. Hussein had been a problem for 12 years, so he was not ignored, but neither was he contained ( ie, the leash WAS breaking).

However, my point was not to discuss Iraq, but rather to use it as an example of how the facts can be known, but people can still arrive at very divergent conclusions.

Posted by: joebagodonuts at October 28, 2005 12:28 PM
Comment #88488

jack,

You’re right, either I haven’t read your abortion posts or have forgotten or misapplied them. In either case, our differences on Roe v Wade would seem to rest on Federalism vs. States Rights. As far as “choice(s) … made for poor reasons,” I don’t ‘prioritize’ reasons. It’s none of our business in a private matter. As far as ‘selectivity’ and resultant ‘discrimination,’ I might have issue if it were intentional incentive as a matter of gov’t policy, but otherwise, it’s still none of our business. However, to be clear, I’d be against it, it would bother me, it’s just none of our business to legislate its control.

Posted by: Dave at October 28, 2005 12:29 PM
Comment #88493

Woody

Hilarious post.

Bravo.

You hit the nail on the head.

Then again,does the nail have a head?

And is it really a nail?

Anyway,great piece.

This conservative tips his hat.

Posted by: sicilianeagle at October 28, 2005 12:45 PM
Comment #88494

Woody,
I just want to tell you that I throughly enjoyed your letter. If one replaced Bush with Karry one would have the same results, in reverse. Humour is a wonderful thing.

One thing we must all remember about facts: it is the victors who write history - with much
hind-site. And frequently it takes many years to get all the infomation.

Posted by: Linda H. at October 28, 2005 12:48 PM
Comment #88498

Dave

We probably agree about the none of our business thing. I always tell my kids that there are two types of things: a big one that is none of your business and a little one that is.

I noticed people who take care of their own business are usually more effective and nicer people, but the others get credit for a lot more.

Posted by: Jack at October 28, 2005 1:12 PM
Comment #88500
When you are counting millions of anything, you are unlikely to come up with an exact total that will not change the next time you count.

Jack, tell that to the banking industry. Why are your standards so low? The ATM example has been used many times, and for good reason. The banking industry conducts millions of transactions daily through ATMs that involve billions of dollars with pretty much 99.99% accuracy. Why should it be so difficult for our votes to be handled in a similarly effective fashion?

Hussein had been a problem for 12 years, so he was not ignored, but neither was he contained ( ie, the leash WAS breaking).

Well, there you go JBOD. That’s actually an opinion, not a fact. I would say that Hussein profiting from Oil for Food was a problem for his own people but did not make him more of a threat to the U.S. In fact, I can point out much more evidence that says that Hussein was as weak as he had ever been and was getting weaker.

The point of view from the left is not to leave all rabid dogs alone, but to go after the most dangerous first. Hussein and Iraq does not fit that description. Even the neo-cons who pushed for this war didn’t think they were the most dangerous. They simply thought it would be the easiest country to go after first, and therein lies the rub.

Posted by: Burt at October 28, 2005 1:16 PM
Comment #88501

Any person that voted for a TRAITOR OF HIS COUNTRY, AS FAR AS I AM CONCENED IS A TRAITOR. JOHN KERRY CANNOT LEGALLY HOLD A OFFICE IN THE USA BECASUSE HE GAVE AID AND COMFORT TO THE ENEMY WHILE WE WERE AT WAR, UNLESS THE SENATE GIVES HIM A 3/4TH VOTE MAJORITY TO DO SO AND THERE IS NO RECORD THAT THEY EVER DID THAT.

I AM A OLD TIME DEMOCRAT, THE ROOSEVELT KIND, NOT THE PRESENT COMUNIST KIND THAT CATER TO THE ACLU, GO AGAINST RELIGION AND EVERYTHING THAT IS GOOD.

THANK GOD THAT BOTH BUSHS HAD THE GUTS TO DO SOMETHING ABOUT THE RADICALS. NO DEMOCRAT DID.

Posted by: walter flatt at October 28, 2005 1:20 PM
Comment #88507

Jack

You said: “Abortion is not one of my big issues. I just believe it was wrongly decided by the court. The outcome is not my problem. It is the process.”

How so? Have you read Griswold? What do you disagree with in that case? Have you read Roe? What do you disagree with in that case? Have you read Casey? What do you disagree with in that case? How can we have a basic understandings of the “facts” if you haven’t read that material?

If you have then you are among the .00001% of the people critical Roe that has actually read the case work. Most people disagree with the Supreme Court rulings because that’s what they are told to believe. They just accept as “fact” that the Supreme Court is an “activist” court that decides cases using a flawed process. They are told Roe and Griswold and Casey and Kelo and other high profile cases were wrongly decided using the flawed process and that becomes a “fact.” The real flawed process is the one we use in determining what our “facts” are. We’re all guilty of it.

Like Woody said in the first post in this thread, “In order to have an intelligent discussion about politics, or anything else, all parties have consent to certain facts that are beyond argument (a.k.a., reality).” If everyone took a few steps back and opened up their mind to the possibility that some of their “facts” are flawed we might just get everyone to agree that there really is a right to privacy.

Posted by: RMD at October 28, 2005 1:42 PM
Comment #88509

Walter Flatt,

Take a deep breath and relax.

Posted by: Andre M. Hernandez at October 28, 2005 1:46 PM
Comment #88513

I am not a big thinker like most of you are. However, when speaking of when a person is telling the truth vs. not telling the truth is not to difficult.

I will hold judgement on Bush or anyone else for that matter until the facts come out. But I don’t have to have Bush or anyone else for that matter have to admit to liying before I will believe they did.

If Bush took the intelligence information and used all of it as his backing for going to war, then he didn’t lie to the American people…

If I have information about Iraq that I believe they are a threat to America and I say as Bush and his administration has said from day one, “Irag is a threat to America do to it’s WMD’s and it’s attempt to purchase Uranium form S. Africa.” Bush said this as a fact. He didn’t leave any room for the possibility that this could not be so. Therefor Bush lied.

With what we know already, the CIA and Wilson, had doubt as to the validity of what Saddam had done or tried to do. So even our own gov’t sources didn’t agree.

If Bush came to the American people with all the facts as we know he had, he should have spoken like this. “We believe that Saddam Hussain has tried to purchase Uranium from S. Africa.” “We believe Saddam still has weapons of mass distruction.” “We believe Saddam helped with the attacts on the World Trade Center.” If Bush speaks in those terms he leaves the possibility that he could be worng and therefore he didn’t lie, he simply was mistaken.

However, we no Bush didn’t say it in those terms and that he spoke in absolutes. Therefore taking into consideration that he knew there was information out there that was contidictory to his own words, the conclusion has to be he lied.

As most of you in these postings have been writing you have to look at all the evidence or information. In Bush’s case for war he didn’t follow that example. He spoke in absolutes, knowing all along it was possible the information he was telling us had a chance of being wrong. This is why I believe he lied. I’m sure I will get tourched on this post as I am not a great writer. But I love to read all of your posts as they keep me informed and well intertained…

By the way, a lot of people say, “even Clinton thought there were WMD’s.” This is true, Clinton did believe Saddam has these weapons. However, the difference is in how he say’s it. Bush says, “Saddam Hussain has WMD’s, and he tried to by Uranium from S. Africa.” Clinton said on CNN in 2003 just before the war, “I believe Saddam Hussain has WMD’s.” I don’t know if Bush spoke the way Clinton did if he could muster the support for war.

Posted by: Rusty at October 28, 2005 2:04 PM
Comment #88515

Rusty,

Mind if I clear up a few things?

“Irag is a threat to America do to it’s WMD’s and it’s attempt to purchase Uranium form S. Africa.” Bush said this as a fact. He didn’t leave any room for the possibility that this could not be so. Therefor Bush lied.

No, let’s look at what he said: “The British Government has learned that Saddam Hussein recently sought significant quantities of uranium from Africa .” This is a true statement, and has been backed up by factcheck.org. It was also supported by both the Butler Report and the Senate Committee.

No lie.

With what we know already, the CIA and Wilson, had doubt as to the validity of what Saddam had done or tried to do. So even our own gov’t sources didn’t agree.

Yes, there were those in the CIA that didn’t agree, there were others that did. Are you looking for 100% agreement on something before we act upon it? I doubt you’ll find much of anything getting done…

And remember, Wilson’s trip actually BOLSTERED the arguement that Iraq tried to obtain nuclear material from Niger. There was no sale, but Iraq did contact Niger in a conversation that Joe Wilson agrees the Niger government believed was an attempt to purchase nuclear material and they refused the sale for a variety of reasons.

At the time that the ‘sixteen words’ were spoken, there was solid basis for them.

So I guess I’m confused with the notion that Bush spoke in aboslutes when the apparently most damning statement that has been brought up, the ‘sixteen words’ was not an absolute statement…

Posted by: Rhinehold at October 28, 2005 2:20 PM
Comment #88516

Woody:

I don’t think it’s a question of reality vs. fantasy. In order to have an argument both sides must first agree on some idea or principle. If not, the two sides will be continually talking past each other.

If both a Republican and a Democrat agree that they both are interested in the welfare of each American, then they may argue how best to achieve it.

This is why it’s important to ferret areas of agreement before starting a debate.

Also, each debater must assume that his or her antagonist is as sincere as he or she is.

As Watchblog says, “Critique the message, not the messenger.”

Posted by: Paul Siegel at October 28, 2005 2:20 PM
Comment #88521

RMD

I rely on people I respect for most of what I know. As do all of us about most of the things we know. Reasonable people can come up with different results. Even judges. If liberals were not afraid of that happening, they wouldn’t care about who the President appointed to the court as long as he/she was qualified in the technical sense. The same goes for conservatives.

I have read the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence. In fact, I can recite some from memory. They are short documents meant to be read by every reasonably competent citizen of our Democracy. It is incumbent upon the learned in a democracy to be able to convince ordinary citizens of the righteousness of their cause or at least create enough trust that the citizens accept it. Unless you believe in divine revelation, all legitimate law and government is derived from the consent of the governed.

I am not easily intimidated by experts and never cowed by the brandishing of learned texts. If you are right, why is that there is so much dispute even among others who have also studied the same texts? And if you are right, why does it feel wrong to so many people? And if it feels wrong to most of the people for a long enough time, in a democracy it can’t be the law, unless you believe in divine revelation. I can’t speak to that.

But speaking of experts and the divine, in 1774, Leonhard Euler that he could prove the existence of God, he beat his opponent, Denis Diderot, with the following challenge: (a + bn)/n = x, hence God exists. Diderot didn’t know alegrbra, so he lost the argument. I have worked it out a variety of ways and could not make it come out to what Euler said. But I am not an expert.

Posted by: Jack at October 28, 2005 2:31 PM
Comment #88547

Jack,

I think we agree on quite a bit. I would, however make a distinction between what I know to be true and what I think may be true because it was provided by someone I respect.

You ask “If you are right, why is that there is so much dispute even among others who have also studied the same texts? And if you are right, why does it feel wrong to so many people?” I cannot speak as to why it (the right of privacy?) is disputed by so many people, but I think it may be because they have simply relied on those they respect to do their thinking for them.

I believe that the ninth amendment provides evidence that one cannot simply say that the constitution does not contain a right to privacy, but one must look elsewhere in the constitution to find where it is. Griswold and Roe do just that. Read them, you may agree.

Posted by: RMD at October 28, 2005 4:08 PM
Comment #88663

“The Constitution does not specifically mention a right to privacy. However, Supreme Court decisions over the years have established that the right to privacy is a basic human right, and as such is protected by virtue of the 9th Amendment. The right to privacy has come to the public’s attention via several controversial Supreme Court rulings, including several dealing with contraception (the Griswold and Eisenstadt cases), interracial marriage (the Loving case), and abortion (the well-known Roe v. Wade case). In addition, it is said that a right to privacy is inherent in many of the amendments in the Bill of Rights, such as the 3rd, the 4th’s search and seizure limits, and the 5th’s self- incrimination limit.” from usconstitution.net

Posted by: Dave at October 28, 2005 10:48 PM
Comment #88720

Dave

I have an expertise problem. I believe I understand the direction of our founding documents, but I believe that for ideal reason, not logic. I believe that they were written for people like me to understand and when people tell me that we don’t, I think that is sophistry.

But of course I know that I can’t understand some of the details and nuances. Even if I read all the legal opinions, I won’t understand them in the context. I don’t have the education or even the temperament for it.

I have been able to learn some things that most people don’t know. I have come to understand that there is no way I can explain these things to others who have not had the same experience and education, so I don’t try any more. I recognize that there are other people who have learned things that I don’t know and that they can’t explain it to me. SO my only option is to identify the experts, judge them on the overall result and let them handle the details.

When I go to the doctor, I trust him to know more than I do. If I take his advice and I get better, I figure he is doing his job right. If I get worse, I might suspect him. It is not a perfect system, but I don’t have the time, money or (frankly) intelligence to learn enough to judge him on a technical basis.

Bringing this finally around, I trust the judgment of some people more than I trust my own. I can set my direction and I can identify my values, but I have to leave the analysis to those who can do it. It is like the old question, “who should sing tenor in the choir?” The one who can, which might not be me.

Posted by: Jack at October 29, 2005 10:53 AM
Comment #88721

Dave,

“However, Supreme Court decisions over the years have established that the right to privacy is a basic human right, and as such is protected by virtue of the 9th Amendment.”

Yeah, but those were probably “activist” judges.

Posted by: Rocky at October 29, 2005 11:06 AM
Comment #88731

Jack… Rocky,
I would like to just to throw an idea in this debate for you to think about. Yes the Constitution is deep and technical. But in some sense this is not rocket science. Privacy can be seen as a basic human right because in nature people as well as all living things have the ability to conceal themselves.

To put it another way, even in the Christian creation myth, God allowed Adam and Eve to cover themselves with fig leaves - and the cover up was not the original sin. The original sin was the eating from the tree of knowledge. In the biblical creation myth God never blames them for wanting privacy. Therefore, privacy could be seen as a God given right - one of the very first God given rights in fact - therefore one of the most basic. Of course, I can see other possible ways of interpreting the “so called” “literal” truth of the Christian creation myth and it could be argued that the first God or nature given right is the right to life and that, that is the most fundamental right. So, I believe that the right to privacy is in the constitution but so is the right to life. I am pro-choice in large part because of the reasonable moral uncertainty about when independant life begins, but I can understand how others might see it otherwise.

This relates to this thread in that: Facts do not necessarily need to be agreed upon in order to be facts. Also, there is a place in political discussion for opinion and belief, preferably well thought out opinion and belief. Ideally we will not confuse the two - but we often do.

Posted by: Ray G. at October 29, 2005 12:33 PM
Comment #88735

Ray, are you saying that the ‘original sin’ was humans wanting to think for themselves and aquire knowledge instead of being blissfully beholden to their creator?

Posted by: Rhinehold at October 29, 2005 12:45 PM
Comment #88746

Fact: Republicans/conservatives have pulled all the levers of government for the past five years.

Fact: This country is falling deeper into the crapper every day for the past five years. Unless you’re a Grover Norquist sycophant, this is painfully obvious.

Fact: Republicans/conservative troglodytes are solely to blame for the country falling into the crapper. No amount of Limbaugh/O’Reilly/Dobson/Rove BS can change this.

Hopefully soon-to-be-fact: Americans will wake up and realize this. Democrats/liberals, should they grow a spine in the next ten months, will capitalize and hopefully make America great again before it is too late.

We need to stop bothering to try to answer the tired old whines, obfuscations and outright lies of the right-wing media machine and just ignore them like we used to when reason ruled the day (pre-Reagan) and America really was the greatest country on the face of the earth. It’s nice that right-wing posters in this debate try to sugar-coat their crap with false pretensions of “honest debate”, but with their track record, they need to be ignored nonetheless.

Posted by: roger at October 29, 2005 1:48 PM
Comment #88763

Roger, let me guess.

You’re under the age of 30, right?

Because your statement about the US being great pre-Reagan shows that you really can’t recall what life was like pre-Reagan…

Reagan and the Democratically controlled congress did some good things and some bad things. But all in all this country was far better off in 1984 than it was in 1978, this I am sure of.

As for you ‘facts’, I can only suggest that when you go gobble the bait of the partisan talking points like you have that your vision about what is reality and what isn’t can get a little cloudy…

Posted by: Rhinehold at October 29, 2005 2:48 PM
Comment #88768

…Nope, I’m an Eisenhower baby. But thanks for taking those years off me though. I sure could use ‘em back.

As for Reagan, as corrupt and horrible as his administration was, I’d take him over the current White House fool, his soulless VP and the other nation-pillaging minions any day.

See my previous post re: ignoring tired, baseless ideology for lack of any further response. Bye bye now, the adults have governing to do.

Posted by: roger at October 29, 2005 3:23 PM
Comment #88831

Roger

I was going to ask the same question but Rhinehold beat me to it. I was also born in the 1950s and by far the worst times I have lived through were the 1970s. Reagan helped get us out of it. That is why I (like more than 80% of Americans today) like Ronald Reagan.

Maybe you don’t remember stagflations. Maybe you liked the unemployment rate that was twice of what it is today. Maybe you liked the double digit inflation. In fact, the worst case scenarios that Bush critics predict look a lot like what we really lived with in the late 1970s.

Ray

You just will not get an argument from me about abortion, per se. I don’t like it and I think it is nasty. But it is not my personal business. I just believe that in the case of the same doubts you mentioned (re when life begins) what restrictions might apply should be made democratically and not by judicial fiat. I don’t like it that the debate was foreclosed by the Roe decision. I would equally oppose it if any court decided to make abortion illegal. It is a decision that belongs in the democratic process.

I feel that way about many things. I prefer the courts to be the last resort and to limit their fiat law as much as possible. We the people can be trusted to take care of ourselves more often than the elites think we can.

Posted by: Jack at October 29, 2005 8:17 PM
Comment #88917

Oh yeah, stagflation. The Nixon/Ford economy. I was pretty happy when Carter pulled us out of that.

Posted by: American Pundit at October 30, 2005 7:34 AM
Comment #89018

So you liked that double digit inflation and the high and persistent unemployment?

Carter did some good work re starting deregulation. Beyond that, he was a good man, but not a good president. He was not to blame for the bad economy of the 1970s. I believe that the president has less influence than we (or they) think. But presidents can set the tone. Carter did this wrong.

One more beyond that, economic policy, such as it is, has a lag time of at least a year and maybe more. The Carter economy stretched roughly from 1978-82. Not good times.

BTW - I voted for Carter in my first election in 1976. By 1980 I got smarter and went for Ronald Reagan.

Posted by: Jack at October 30, 2005 8:41 PM
Comment #91177

What we should be really doing is questioning the topic of politics vs. reality. Whose political agenda are we defending and whose reality are we seeing the world through?
All people of our world are born of different perceptions on what reality is and how it ought to be viewed.
How do we know that the agenda coveted by republicans has no revelence? Or even truth? How do we know that when a republican or a democrat or an independant or a Nazi decide to force their perceptions of reality on other people, they are wrong?
Now, this does not, in any way, justify any percievably negative things these parties may have done, but in order to see things as close as you can to whatever reality truly is, you must question every aspect of the beliefs around you, even your own. Failing to do this will result in the immediate destruction of your argument.

Posted by: Gerro at November 8, 2005 2:26 PM
Comment #94375

The slide in space programs may have alot to do with the fact that the NASA Executive program was moved from NASA to Lagley, CIA like how DOJ and Pentagon now report to CIA. So, alot of the time and teleportation stuff(see ‘Val’ Plame) has moved from astronauts to regular spies like the movie ‘Vanity Fair.’ Back in time instead of forward should remind everybody of George’s dad, but this is really a mistake like NSA being all military instead of regualr business people.

Posted by: anonymous at November 20, 2005 3:34 PM
Comment #267858

Ask yourselves how you look at the World.Most don’t
think in those terms.
Why because -even though the information is there.
Hardly anyone thinks about the whole world on any basis.
Tis hard when you have not sought the avaiabilty of such
information.

WE are a planet moving thru the universe.
The populas of said planet should get along , all others need to be off planet .
We are the agenda,however our voice is only on the intenet

We battle and die. And just what are you doing?

Think of our service by the armed forces.

Try to cross political lines and do what is best for the World.
You ALL claim to be that smart.

Would like to feel the U.S. of A was just that.

Please read the documents of our founding fathers.
They were required reading in my 4th grade.

What ever happen,s we will deal with it.
We are just Earthlings

Have a good day!
Capt. Kit

Posted by: Dagmar at October 22, 2008 3:01 AM
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