A Good Sign for Iraq

When journalist Muntadhar al-Zeidi threw shoes at President Bush during a visit to Iraq last year there was reason to be concerned with the fledgling nation’s response to his actions.

I was concerned at what seemed an overly heavy-handed three-year sentance a few months ago. Al-Zeidi's shoe-throwing, while it would have been considered an assault even here in the U.S., was an expression of discontent with a legitimate cultural context. People in the Arab world do in fact throw shoes as an insult. OK, it's what we would call "fighting words" in a U.S. court, so it's not what we would recognized as a protected form of speech, but it is something Arabs do to express themselves.

On the other hand reason demands that the civilized world should discourage physical assaults on foreign heads of state. Where is a balanced middle ground between freedom of expression and the maintenance of physical safety for visiting dignitaries? I think the Iraqi Supreme Court made a balanced, independent, and well considered choice in handing down a reduction of al-Zeidi's sentance to one year.

This result was a surprise for people in Iraq.

The news came as a surprise to al-Zeidi's family, who called it "a victory for the Iraqi people."
"We did not expect that my brother would be released before the three years," al-Zeidi's brother, Dargham, told The AP.
Middle Eastern courts are not known for having the independence to stand up to the desires of the executive branches of their governments. It bodes well for Iraq and its many minorities that they could do so in this instance. If the country is to survive this kind of separation of powers must be recognized by its people as the norm.

Posted by Lee Emmerich Jamison at April 7, 2009 11:19 AM
Comments
Comment #279698

Fighting words in the US for practical purposes no longer exist. Although a few idiot cops from time to time still arrest people for offensive language, the 1942 ruling continues to be narrowed in the courts.

Throwing a shoe would be assault at the very least, and battery if one landed.

That said, I think the guy is a local and international hero, but one must expect to pay a cost for doing what so many wanted to do, but were afraid to do.

Throwing the shoe was the good sign.

Posted by: gergle at April 7, 2009 2:54 PM
Comment #279711

gergle:

Perhaps you would feel the same way if a newsperson threw a shoe at BHO when he asked european countries to send fighting troops to Afghan. Something that is completely unpopular in europe. I’m sure there were many in europe who felt like doing it.

as an added thought, the English tabloids accused BHO of being a boring speaker, off Teleprompter it was duh-uh-duh-uh.

Posted by: Oldguy at April 7, 2009 5:16 PM
Comment #279726

OldGuy,

For the time being there is too much psychic (or psychotic) energy invested in Obama for large percentages to admit that he is fallible in the U.S. We will have to watch his coverage in the rest of the world where his policies will eventually begin to make the folks feel like they’re supporting a battleship’s anchor with a dinghy.

Then we will see if Europeans throw shoes, or do something that embarrassed our intelligentsia even more once they felt some of it was sticking to them: tell genuinely funny jokes about him.

Posted by: Lee Jamison at April 7, 2009 9:28 PM
Comment #279734

Lee I agree with the thrust of your article. 3 years for throwing a shoe was a but drastic, I for one can agree with the more appropriate 1 year sentence. It shows Iraqi justice is capable of handling itself well. The whole thing was blown out of proportion IMHO as both the reporter and GWB impressed me with their actions at the time of the incident. The reporter for his arm, perhaps after his time is served a major league team will get a contract on him, and GWB for his prowess behind the lecturn while avoiding the thrown shoe.

Posted by: j2t2 at April 7, 2009 11:11 PM
Comment #279735

Good analogy Lee.

I have been a student of the Bible for almost 40 years and I am amazed at the similarities between BHO and the anti-Christ. That is not to say that he is the anti-Christ, but he has the charisma and the speech.

Revelation 13:4-6, “and they worshipped the beast, saying, Who [is] like unto the beast? who is able to make war with him? And there was given unto him a mouth speaking great things and blasphemies; and power was given unto him to continue forty [and] two months. And he opened his mouth in blasphemy against God, to blaspheme his name, and his tabernacle, and them that dwell in heaven”.

The left sees no fault in anything he does, he is their messiah, he will solve all the problems of the world. It is truly fascinating, exciting, and scary.

I hope I haven’t violated any of SD’s copyright laws.

Posted by: Oldguy at April 7, 2009 11:21 PM
Comment #279737

Oldguy, you may be on to something. While I’m sure the atheist and “enlightened” among us will agree with Obama. I wonder what the few Christians left think of Mr. Barak Obama’s view of this country and her foundation.

2009: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QIVd7YT0oWA

2006: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hi-V_ilJu0w

Oh well just getting

Posted by: mike at April 8, 2009 12:56 AM
Comment #279738

mike, Obama is right we are not a Christian nation nor a Jewish nation nor a Muslim nation as he says. This is a simple known fact, and it is refreshing to have a president in the white house that has an understanding of our constitution, what a change after the past 8 years.

Posted by: j2t2 at April 8, 2009 1:05 AM
Comment #279741

Yes, what a change after the past 233 years indeed.

Posted by: mike at April 8, 2009 1:39 AM
Comment #279745

Lee,
It amases me at how easy you allow Muntadhar al-Zeidi off the hook. For why I can understand his outrage, putting the life of everyone in the room in mortal danger should be met with more than a slap on the hand IMHO. Because what if the shoe would have been a bomb, were was the security to stop him as he reached for his shoe?

Yes, the act of throwing a shoe may be just an expression between you and me. but when you throw something at Elected Officials in a place known for bombs the meaning takes on a whole new role. So why Iraq Court may have gave the gentleman a break, I do believe that as a matter of Principles the man should have lost his journalists position and placed on probation for the next 10 years.

Since IMHO the man should have been shot the first time he went to throw the shoe or at least the second time. Because why he may have not had a bomb in his shoe, what should be done by security the next time a man wants to express his outrage by throwing a shoe bomb instead.

Posted by: Henry Schlatman at April 8, 2009 2:31 AM
Comment #279746

Are we reading the revisionist history books again mike? Can you show me in the constitution where we are a Christian nation, a Jewish nation or a Muslim nation? You might want to stop and listen to what Obama says in the video you linked to. It is really very clear and hard to misinterpret unless you really want to.

“Although we have a lot of Christians in our nation we are not a Christian nation.” Amen to that.

Theocracies have never worked mike it is part of what we are fighting against in Afghanistan.

Posted by: j2t2 at April 8, 2009 2:38 AM
Comment #279754

Lee, Bingo! I couldn’t have said it better. It was a pleasure to read the acknowledgment of the bigger picture context surrounding the Court’s ruling, the separation of powers, and sense of balanced justice where the punishment fits the crime, not the political objectives of those in government.

You nailed this one. Well done!

Posted by: David R. Remer at April 8, 2009 5:10 AM
Comment #279758

Oldguy

Perhaps you would feel the same way if a newsperson threw a shoe at BHO when he asked european countries to send fighting troops to Afghan. Something that is completely unpopular in europe. I’m sure there were many in europe who felt like doing it.

I guess in fantasy land I might be a giraffe, too.

Posted by: gergle at April 8, 2009 7:13 AM
Comment #279762

gergle

So what part is the fantasy?

You feeling the same way about a shoe being thrown at BHO?

The Europeans supoporting the war in Afghan?

Our involvement in the middle-east being unpopular in Europe?

Posted by: Oldguy at April 8, 2009 8:35 AM
Comment #279765

Oldguy-

If we’re in chapter 13 of Revelation I think you and I are in trouble…..

Posted by: George at April 8, 2009 9:12 AM
Comment #279775

Are we a Christian nation?
We are not a theocracy, true enough. When I look at all the avowedly atheist nations ever to have existed, though, I see governments that were driven by ideology, deeply and brutally intolerant of dissent, and every bit as dogmatic as a Sharia theocracy.

Our tolerance is a teaching of Jesus. It is a teaching of his disciples. It was delivered to Peter in a vision he acknoweledged as being directly from God.

Those who preach to us about sacrifice being the hallmark of Christianity, while saying we are not a Christian nation, and seek to embarrass us with our lack thereof, demand not that we all share in sacrifice, but that we conveniently hand up our neighbors for sacrifice.
They tell us we will not be taxed and then trick the foolish into paying deeply regressive taxes by taxing the companies that make our daily needs.
They export our jobs by demanding our companies live by one set of standards and then not imposing those same standards on our trading partners.

We are not a theocracy, but it is only because we ARE a Christian nation that this is, for the time being, so.

God help us should we realize too late how vague the line between theocracy and atheocracy is.

Posted by: Lee Jamison at April 8, 2009 10:45 AM
Comment #279777

While the left is correct, our government, constitution, and bill of rights had no ties with organized religion, we still can’t get away from the fact that our founding fathers recognized a creator who endowed us with certain inalienable rights. There are Christian principles found throughout the constitution, bill of rights, and the federalist papers. Why else would we open house and senate proceedings with prayer? Why would our money say, “In God We Trust? I realize the left hates these things to be said because Godly, Christian principles are the basis for morality and personal responsibility.

Lee, we are fast loosing these Christian principles.

Hosea 4:6, “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge: because thou hast rejected knowledge, I will also reject thee, that thou shalt be no priest to me: seeing thou hast forgotten the law of thy God, I will also forget thy children”.

Posted by: Oldguy at April 8, 2009 11:08 AM
Comment #279778

George

We are not in Revelation 13 yet, but the day is fast approaching.

Posted by: Oldguy at April 8, 2009 11:09 AM
Comment #279783

This is not a Christian nation. There are Christians in it and many of the founding fathers were Christians, but it does not translate into the US being a Christian nation.

I have seen much of the same tired old rhetoric in these comments that I hear quite often from christians who think that they are better than anyone else because of the teachings of Jesus as if being a christian is the only way that someone can have empathy towards others. And I have already written about this on this site http://www.watchblog.com/thirdparty/archives/005675.html.

The argument that I hear, though, is that in order to be moral you have to have religion or believe in god. That if the country isn’t founded on religious values there is nothing keeping us from tearing each other apart for purely selfish gains. Well, while that may seem silly to some it is a persistent argument that those wishing to force their views onto others just can’t let go. Which is why I was refreshed when I heard the Dali Lama speak recently.

First, the Dali Lama is a great man I think we can all agree. I am not a Buddhist by any means but that doesn’t prevent someone from acknowledging that a man who has dedicated his live to the single idea, the simple notion, that we can all live in peace, is someone that deserve respect. But he is just a man, as he will freely admit.

During his talk he moved onto the subject of morality without religion or god. He pointed out that when he was three years old he had no interest in god or religion. He was not the Dali Lama then, he had not been chosen yet. So he says he was not religious at all. But he knew that killing another person was wrong, that stealing from another person was wrong, that harming another person was wrong. But how? Why, he learned these concepts from his mother. Not in a religious context, but in a simple, factual, this is how civilized people act way.

He went on to explain that there is a wrong connotation with the word ‘secular’. It does NOT mean ‘anti-god’, just an absence of god. In other words, there is nothing wrong with admitting a secular morality exists and we all accept and live by it while still believing in god and accepting a religious morality as well. And that is what we need to be making sure exists, a secular ethics.

We don’t need to interject a religious morality into our government to ensure that people don’t break down and kill each other, devolving society in to a hedonistic free-for-all. All we need is to ensure that individual rights are protected and let each individual make up their own mind as to how they choose to believe in an after-life, a supreme being and an additional set of ethos that they choose to live by.

After all, once you politicize religion, how can you be sure that YOUR religion is going to be the one allowed to exist? How long before you have to hide what you believe and pretend to live a different way? We should all work hard to ensure that not only OUR right to live free continues to exist but that our NEIGHBORS’ same right to live free, as they determine is best for them, also continues to exist as well, and that our churches remain a place where we can freely assemble, unafraid of government intrusion.

Posted by: Rhinehold at April 8, 2009 1:05 PM
Comment #279784

BTW, if you had spent more than 4 years studying the bible, as I have, you might find that “armageddon’ was not an event but a place.

And no, we are not in ‘Revelations’ nor is BHO the ‘anti-christ’.

Posted by: Rhinehold at April 8, 2009 1:09 PM
Comment #279790

My bad, I meant ‘40’, not 4. I misread your previous comment.

Posted by: Rhinehold at April 8, 2009 1:42 PM
Comment #279793

I never said america was a christian nation, I believe I said it was founded upon christian principles and it was.

Concerning morality, I do not believe you have to be a christian to be a moral person. I know a lot of people who are good moral people and yet are not christians.

Now, concerning knowing right from wrong. The Bible says “we do by nature, those things contained in the law”. The Law is refering to the Mosaic Law given to Israel, but God said we (gentiles) do by nature the things contained in the law. Romans 2 goes on to say “our conscience bearing witness”, meaning God gave to every person a conscience which determines right from wrong. Now what you do with the conscience is up to each individual. In another place it says, “their conscience is seared with a hot iron”, meaning the conscience is burnt out.

These are things that the left hates to hear, because they think they are their own man and answer to no one.

Armageddon is a place, but the battle of Armageddon is an event. Yes we are in Revelations (somewhere in the first 3 chapters) and no BHO is not the anti-christ. He’s too dumb. But he is a type of anti-christ, simply because he claimes to have all the answers and the left blindly follows him.

And no, I don’t think christians believe they are any better than anyone else. Normally, anyone who has such loathing for christians, has usually had a bad experience in their lifetime.

Posted by: Oldguy at April 8, 2009 1:56 PM
Comment #279798
And no, I don’t think christians believe they are any better than anyone else.

This single statement just bears repeating. I wonder how many non-christians feel that way? Perhaps it is hard for a christian to see how they appear to ‘anyone else’?

but the battle of Armageddon is an event.

Only if you misinterpret the bible and believe that John had the ability to see the future.

Yes we are in Revelations (somewhere in the first 3 chapters)

Why is that? I have heard similar prognostications in the past and have yet to see any of them be correct. Didn’t god say that we would not know the end date, so by inferrence if someone is thinking that they do know we are getting close to it then they must be right, correct?

Posted by: Rhinehold at April 8, 2009 2:26 PM
Comment #279801

Err, I mean ‘they must be wrong, correct?’ in that last sentence. Sorry for any confusion.

Posted by: Rhinehold at April 8, 2009 2:38 PM
Comment #279806

Rhinehold:

Perhaps non-christians are the ones who think Christians are better, simply because the christians have a relationship with God? I don’t think I am any better than anyone else, just a sinner “saved by grace”.

You don’t believe John was able to see what would happen in the future?

Why did Jesus tell him,

“The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave unto him, to shew unto his servants things which must shortly come to pass; and he sent and signified [it] by his angel unto his servant John: Who bare record of the word of God, and of the testimony of Jesus Christ, and of all things that he saw. Blessed [is] he that readeth, and they that hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written therein: for the time [is] at hand” Revelation 1:1-3

Or, “After this I looked, and, behold, a door [was] opened in heaven: and the first voice which I heard [was] as it were of a trumpet talking with me; which said, Come up hither, and I will shew thee things which must be hereafter.” Revelation 4:1?

I didn’t set a date. I said we were somewhere in the first 3 chapters of Revelation. Actually chapters 2 and 3 deal with the church age, in which we live. The last days are considered to be any time from the ministry of Christ until His return.

Posted by: Oldguy at April 8, 2009 2:51 PM
Comment #279808
You don’t believe John was able to see what would happen in the future?.

Nope, considering that if the future is already decided we don’t have free will, and if we don’t have free will then ‘god’ is just lying and screwing with us…

Why did Jesus tell him,

You mean, John told us that Jesus told him. Actually, someone else some 40 years later is telling us that John told them that Jesus told him. That’s not the same thing as being able to say that Jesus told him.

And John was doing some pretty good drugs about that time, what PROOF do you have that this conversation took place? None? Then I’m sorry but you’ll have to find some actual proof to convince others of this being a fact. Until then, it is nothing but a belief you have, with nothing to back it up, and certainly not worth introducing into a political discussion.

Posted by: Rhinehold at April 8, 2009 2:59 PM
Comment #279809

No sense discussing this anymore. You don’t believe God’s Word and I do.

Posted by: Oldguy at April 8, 2009 3:07 PM
Comment #279810

Well, the sense is that you are interjecting your personal views of a god and rule of the bible into politics. It does not belong. If you agree to that then great, we can move on and have discussions on the merits of those ideas without any hocus pocus included in them. Like ‘we can’t allow gays to marry because it’s against god’s law’ or some other nonsense like that.

If we are all in agreement of that then great!

Posted by: Rhinehold at April 8, 2009 3:14 PM
Comment #279814

43 Persons as President and 44 elected terms, Grover Cleveland was no 22 and 24. http://www.historyplace.com/specials/portraits/presidents/index.html

Posted by: Rodney Brown at April 8, 2009 4:09 PM
Comment #279817

Rhinehold writes; “Didn’t god say that we would not know the end date, so by inferrence if someone is thinking that they do know we are getting close to it then they must be right, correct?”

Yes, correct. However, Jesus talked about the “signs” of the last days. He talked about being prepared and not be taken unaware, and thus, signs would be given.

When I am driving and I see a sign that says Dallas…50 miles, it is a sign that I am approaching Dallas but not yet there.

Because Jesus commanded those who follow him to spread his word we do. He didn’t command us to use force against anyone…merely to expose them to God’s love and salvation thru Christ. Love God first and also love your neighbor. Christians consider it an act of love to expose the world to this simple message. I don’t know what motivates atheists to spread their message…do you?

Posted by: Jim M at April 8, 2009 4:55 PM
Comment #279823

The message that atheists spread is about love and meaning. If you give something because you feel empathy for someone, that is noble. If you do it because you are scared of going to hell? Well, that’s just self-serving. And if you only care about your fellow man because an omni-present invisible man in the sky tells you to, well, that’s a little sad IMO.

Only when we embrace that we have a short time to live (not an eternity) and we are truly free to be what we want to be and THEN choose to be caring, loving individuals can we ascend to something more noble.

Otherwise we are just following a bunch of words in a book cobbled together a few centuries ago to keep the oppressed in their place and giving up our free will to a concept that doesn’t exist.

Posted by: Rhinehold at April 8, 2009 5:58 PM
Comment #279824
He didn’t command us to use force against anyone

His dad sure did, didn’t he?

But ok, so answer me this. Why are so many republicans, who claim to be christians, wanting to force their views on others? For example, allowing gays to marry. Why do you wish to force your christian views onto others?

Heck, I can’t purchase alcohol in Indiana on Sunday, why not? I can’t sign a contract on Sunday, why not? Aren’t these nothing but forcing christian views onto those that aren’t?

I find this view that christians don’t want to force their views onto others lacking.

Posted by: Rhinehold at April 8, 2009 6:06 PM
Comment #279825

Rhinehold,

I made a journey through atheism and departed from it on complex logical grounds. I won’t elaborate now. That journey left me with a deep respect for people believing such things as the moral atheism of someone like an Albert Camus, or the theism without a promise of the Sadducees.

The person who is giving without any expectation of reward and who respects the need others feel for the comfort of their particular faith is, in fact, living some of the most fundamental aspects of the faith of Jesus.

Where we run ito trouble is when atheism becomes EVANGELISTIC, as in the ideology of the old Soviet union, or that of Communist China. The atheism of the state is in no way less onerous than theocracy. It is something to be greatly feared, even by people who are true philosophical atheists.

Posted by: Lee Jamison at April 8, 2009 6:27 PM
Comment #279844

We were founded as a slavery nation, too. Doesn’t mean it is appropriate for our nation 230+ years later.

We are a religiously free nation in our Constitution and laws, (for the most part), meaning we are free individually to participate in, or not participate in, any of the world’s great religions. A religiously free nation under law, of course, creates legal gray areas wherein, protecting religious freedom can and will cross arguments with religious practice in the public square which forces the public to yield to or attend the public religious practice.

Welcome to the world of reality, wherein, purism in the law is about as hard to find as an ice cube in Hades.

Posted by: David R. Remer at April 8, 2009 9:35 PM
Comment #279850

Lee said:

“Where we run ito trouble is when atheism becomes EVANGELISTIC, as in the ideology of the old Soviet union, or that of Communist China. The atheism of the state is in no way less onerous than theocracy. It is something to be greatly feared, even by people who are true philosophical atheists.”

I will tell you what is even more “greatly feared”. Substitute “Global Warming” or “Secular Humanism” or “Socialism” for the word “Atheism”. We now have a religion that is being promoted by the government, univesities, and public schools. It is not Christianity that should be feared, it is the evangelism of these pillars of the progressive movement. And yet we never hear the liberals cry about the promotion of these religions. In fact there is a deafening silence.

Posted by: Oldguy at April 8, 2009 11:13 PM
Comment #279855

Religion depends upon a belief in the supernatural.

Socialism is broad term for a political and economic philosophy. It has nothing to do with anything religious or supernatural.

Global Warming is a physical phenomenon which can be proven- or disproven- by scientific evidence. Because religion depends upon the supernatural, it cannot be refuted with facts and evidence.

Secular Humanism pretty much a made-up term. Pastafarians are equally as made-up, but more humorous and logically devastating for illogical religious arguments.

Middle Eastern Tribal religions depend upon evangelicism because the supernatural beliefs have no correspondence in nature. Support cannot be found in nature, nor experience, nor any repeatable, verifiable and independent means.

No culture has ever independently developed any of the Middle Eastern Tribal religions. These religions spread by being imposed upon other cultures, through evangelism, sometimes violently, and sometimes non-violently.

Posted by: phx8 at April 9, 2009 1:30 AM
Comment #279865

Boy this has taken a strange turn.

The argument of Christians “forcing” their views on others can be made against any law passed by govenment, regardless of the ideology behind it Rhinehold. An Anarchist at least would say that.

“We are a religiously free nation in our Constitution and laws, (for the most part).” For no part David. We are filled with religion in our laws because we are a Representative Republic representing very religious people. As such moral and religious beliefs are “reflected” in all of our laws. And since the majority of the population is Christian it is not surprising that a majority of laws reflect Christian values.

Why did we pass prohibition, create the ATF, and go on a very unsuccessful war on drugs? I’m sure the legislators that voted for such things didn’t check their religion at the door before they raised their hand.


Posted by: George at April 9, 2009 9:16 AM
Comment #279866

George, Rhinehold, David,

In a sense we ARE becoming ever and ever more pressed to freely express our religious views. The simple fact that government is becoming a larger and larger part of the economy means more people’s free expression of their religious views whenever and wherever they like is being eliminated. Where government was once a tiny part of the economy manned largely by part-timers it is now a full-time occupation of upwards of four in ten working Americans. Those people want to be free to express themselves but they aren’t because a tiny minority conflate such expressions as the expression of the government itself.

Essentially the same thing is also descending on other large organizations, even in private enterprise. The bigger an organization is the less it tolerates individual expression.

As more and more of our economy becomes the property of the government and of the large organizations government prefers this shroud of supression will only expand.

The threats of religious supression are only a symptom of this larger, more insiduous, aversion to individuality.

Posted by: Lee Jamison at April 9, 2009 10:01 AM
Comment #279867

Interesting arguments here. Pastafarian reference made me hungry:)

When people tell me the “Bible says”, I always ask which bible are they referring to?

Posted by: gergle at April 9, 2009 10:02 AM
Comment #279870

Lee said: “The simple fact that government is becoming a larger and larger part of the economy means more people’s free expression of their religious views whenever and wherever they like is being eliminated.”

Now, you lost me entirely. Religious practices are not impeded by our government at all, as long as one does not attempt to force one’s religious practices upon others. Didn’t Christ say render unto Ceasar that which is Ceasar’s (taxes)? Money was not of God’s making nor had it any value in the kingdom of God. Christ recognized the value of organized and regulated society in which education and labor and consumerism could provide for the masses’ corporeal needs. No conflict with religion for Christ.

Our government in fact exempts religious property and organizations from taxation, dramatically increasing the proliferation of religious meeting centers for religious observances and fellowship entirely beyond the influence of government.

Your view quoted above lacks any empirical basis as far as I can see.

Posted by: David R. Remer at April 9, 2009 10:22 AM
Comment #279871

David,

In private workplaces my experience has been that people were free to express their religious convictions. That is not true in government workplaces, and it becomes less true by the year.

Posted by: Lee Jamison at April 9, 2009 10:38 AM
Comment #279873

George, I recommend to you a course in the world’s religions. From it one can learn the world’s major religions have essentially the same teachings regarding ethics and recommended social behavior, reflecting a universality of ethics across religions and cultures, which precedes religious tenets, and from which religions acquired their ethical and moral social behavioral prescriptions. What, you think the Jews had no prohibitions against murder, lying, and stealing before the 10 Commandments were handed to Moses? (Or however many were on the original tablets which Moses broke asunder finding his rabble unworthy of God’s commandments - Odd story that one).

Human beings lived in social groups and communities long before the major religions arrived, and those millenia of experience with what works and disrupts social order and community safety became moral and ethic prescriptions long before they were set down on tablets of stone by the Jews, or in the New Testaments of Christians. Prescriptions against killing, stealing, bearing false witness, are found in all the world’s major religions, and predate those religions in earlier societies.

Even native American and Inuit tribes with oral traditions had essentially the same prescriptions for responsible social interaction including prohibitions against murder, adultery, lying, and stealing amongst their own in their society.

Of course, if one is led to believe that the world began with the commandments of Yaweh, one has no use for archeology and paleoanthropology as human endeavors or science. Rejecting the world of empirical knowledge and history however, does not stop human cultural evolution.

Religions have for decades faced the challenge in the modern world to hold fast to pre-industrial mass secular educational traditions, or adapt their religious messages to incorporate the post industrial world of secular education and cultural evolution renewing the moral edicts and their applicability for modern society. Polling indicates religious institutions are failing to keep pace with the cultural evolution in a post industrial world anchored in sciences and engineering mathematics.

But the failure is not that of the religious teachings, but, of the religious teacher’s ability to adapt to make relevant to modern times the teachings of religious tradition.

Ethics however, has no unquestioning tradition to impair its growth and adaptability to modern times, making it a very widespread part of modern education, and commanding greater specialists in the field at higher wages in a growing number of specializations of labor from industry to government to education.

The stoning of prostitutes is so far removed from modern history and times, as to make the Old and New Testaments appear archaic. And in an information age when news carries an ever higher premium, archaic works will recede somewhat as the primary source of ethical teaching, except in Sunday schools for children and seminaries for education of the clergy.

The effect of some of the clergy exploiting children in their care, with the organization of the Church’s failures to stop it, and indeed to further it by hiding it from it public view, doesn’t help either. The advent of religious organizations establishing universities to produce politicians and business leaders, based on traditional religious perspectives of the world centuries ago, is an exercise in futility as well, as such politicians and leaders, in greater numbers come exemplify the Peter Principle in managing real world complex secular issues.

The world’s religions were founded and carried forward as a means of influencing the illiterate, amongst other objectives. In a literate world, religions will lose the credible authority to teach the same lessons designed for an illiterate and uneducated populace. It is an inevitability.

To the extent that religious teachers can revise the lesson plans for moral education into a relevant and modern context of literate and secularly educated participants, a religion can retain its important socially cohesive community and common base of knowledge reference in that community. The vast majority of the best and brightest to potentially assume the role as religious teachers, however, will be drawn to more lucrative and appealing pedagogic occupations, however. And that does not bode well for religious education in the decades to come, I suspect.

Posted by: David R. Remer at April 9, 2009 11:17 AM
Comment #279909

Christopher Hitchens and Ken Blackwell argued a similar point on Hardball yesterday.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8ISylK4g6UM

Unfortunately Blackwell shows he really doesn’t know US history very well, especially when arguing with a Jefferson biographer.

Posted by: gergle at April 9, 2009 5:51 PM
Comment #279923

David,

The vast majority of the best and brightest to potentially assume the role as religious teachers, however, will be drawn to more lucrative and appealing pedagogic occupations, however. And that does not bode well for religious education in the decades to come, I suspect.
Now, see, that is a facinating statement. I’m not sure what you mean by “the best and brightest” in this context. because it sounds like you’re talking about people who don’t really care very much about WHAT they study so long as it pays well. I suppose you mean,”bright greedy people”. Frankly religion is too much aflicted with that sort now. Then again, so is the academic community.

As to your comments on the abuses of the young by priests, I suppose a quick Google search of pedophilia among, say, educators would necessarily be a dry run on my part? In as much as I see a story on that subject break, on average, once a week JUST IN TEXAS one might think you’d find I had an embarrassment of riches.

Your assertiona about “influencing the illiterate” are worse than unfounded. They are ignorant. As I have already shown in numerous posts dogma is the province of political hegemony, not faith. Friar Gregor Mendel didn’t do his studies of genetics to conform to dogmatic rigidity, nor did Charles Darwin write Origin of Species to attack faith. Neither foreswore faith. Indeed, it takes a considerable foundation of real faith that things are well as they are (rather than being fearful that the order of one’s own fantasy about reality might be overthrown by the revelations of humble scientific or philosophical exploration) to step into that exploration FAITHFULLY.

It is also far more satisfying to know that the order in the univese is deep enough that questions well asked will be well answered than it would be to find the world a sham held up like stage scenics by wires and hidden artifices. Whatever the Creator may be is not capricious.

More than anything, though, to get back to the first point, the idea of what we call religion is to give access at whatever level a given person can access it to a picture of a hopeful reality. Will that always be deep? Of course not, especially in the world of education you seem to so admire, a world in which more than four of ten adult Americans under forty did not read even ONE book of any kind last year. Where my generation was touted as the “most sophisticated generation in history’ this generation is dumber than sod. That makes them particularly shallow connoisseurs of both religion and atheism. They can’t discern a good argument from a bad one on either count.

So, when you point to ethics can we see the deep appeal of ethicists to the powerful. Does Ethics make Harry Reid’s land deals less corrupt? Does the mysticism of your Ethics make the fact that the best federal property to come available in fifty years in San Fransisco fell, by Nanci Peolosi’s machinations into the hands of people who could do such as the following-

In effect, Pelosi has created a private-sector libertarian Wild West in progressive San Francisco, a place where big operators such as George Lucas can avoid taxes and, if they choose, skirt California labor laws, San Francisco’s minimum-wage and health-insurance requirements, and a long list of other workplace protections.
There’s powerful Ethics for you.

For people who do run a little deeper, though, religion also runs deeper. It is an exploration, not into dogma, but into the confluence of the explorations of both reality and meaning. Where clever but shallow moderns disdain the intellects of the past it is possible for the open mind to see the ancients being guided by a light that transcends the limits of our ignorance, a rather steady light, as you say, which in no way inveighs against the validity of the creator’s outreach to the creation, but is invisible to the self-consciously godless state.

We can look around today and see people impervious to this light reaching out to call people like the mass murderer and vast plantation owner Castro a friend, as their intellectual kin reached out in the past to the butchers Stalin and Mao. Such is atheism’s ethic. Such is its wisdom. Such is its promise for the betterment of all mankind.

Posted by: Lee Jamison at April 9, 2009 8:41 PM
Comment #279934

Lee said: “Now, see, that is a facinating statement. I’m not sure what you mean by “the best and brightest” in this context. because it sounds like you’re talking about people who don’t really care very much about WHAT they study so long as it pays well.”

Curious reply, Lee. I was of course referring to free market principles of supply and demand and reward for investment. All principles Republicans say they believe in. But, your reply appears to discount such principles applying to vocations where religious teacher vs. some other form of teaching, compete for labor and educational investment.

Posted by: David R. Remer at April 10, 2009 12:37 AM
Comment #279936

Lee said: “As to your comments on the abuses of the young by priests, I suppose a quick Google search of pedophilia among, say, educators would necessarily be a dry run on my part? In as much as I see a story on that subject break, on average, once a week JUST IN TEXAS one might think you’d find I had an embarrassment of riches.”

Straw Man, reply, Lee. I did not even imply that other vocations were absent pedophilia. My assertion was that religious organization’s exposed cover-ups of pedophilia may have impacted the decline of religious followers in America now evident in polling research.

Lee replied: “Your assertiona about “influencing the illiterate” are worse than unfounded. They are ignorant.”

Another straw man reply. My exact quote was:
“The world’s religions were founded and carried forward as a means of influencing the illiterate, amongst other objectives.” This is absolutely a true statement. Literacy and education were not widely available to the masses of peoples congregating around the religious teachers when those religions were founded. Literacy and education did not become widespread until after the invention of the printing press. How did your reply manage to overlook that glaring and monumental shift in history dating back only a few hundred years, vs. the founding of the world’s great religions predating this technological change by hundreds to thousands of years?

I would refer you to Adam Smith for one very in depth treatise on ethics, The Theory of Moral Sentiments, which has nothing to do with religious moral sentiments whatsoever, but psychology and sociology, two centuries ahead of Adam Smith’s time. Which is one of the reasons Adam Smith is still read and studied today. The man was one of the greatest genius’ of his day.

Lee said: “It is an exploration, not into dogma, but into the confluence of the explorations of both reality and meaning.”

Ahh, so according to you, navel gazing on LSD qualifies as religious exploration. Sorry, the world’s great religions are founded on dogma, such as the god making the world in 6 days, and having become fatigued (a concept having meaning only for corporeal beings), chose the 7th to rest from his labors. Note the word ‘his’, as if god has a schlong between his other physical universe limbs.

Sorry, dogma, as passed down in the oral traditions of the great religions only to be written down later, is the root of the world’s great religions, and to assert otherwise is really quite amazing. Your reply appears to fail to appreciate the definition of the word dogma: “a doctrine or system of doctrines proclaimed by authority as true”. Are God, Siddhartha, Shiva, or Muhammed not authorities proclaiming the truth via doctrines established in their story telling and recounts of understanding and epiphany via metaphors and allegories?


Posted by: David R. Remer at April 10, 2009 1:02 AM
Comment #279945

David,

My assertion was that religious organization’s exposed cover-ups of pedophilia may have impacted the decline of religious followers in America now evident in polling research.
…and my assertion perhaps explains why one in seven students in Texas is educated in private schools and many more would be if we could afford it. Besides, it is hardly a straw man to point out the hypocrisy in media’s dogmatic coverage of the secular church’s sacred institution of the public school versus the coverage given to Christian institutions.

Another straw man reply. My exact quote was: “The world’s religions were founded and carried forward as a means of influencing the illiterate, amongst other objectives.”
True enough, this was half the paragraph. The other half, however, was-
In a literate world, religions will lose the credible authority to teach the same lessons designed for an illiterate and uneducated populace. It is an inevitability.
That is only true to the extent religions resist the validity of science as a means of revealing the intent of the Creator. If a religion posits an omnipotent God, and then denies the power of God to make the world unfold as he thinks it should (as many who insist on a Satan character, in essence, do) they have embraced either a preposterous conundrum or a capricious or damaged deity. Absolutely, such a deity cannot stand enlightenment.

In any event you are attacking idols, images of a god established by people for the sake of controlling people. Modern “liberals” have established such a thing themselves in the image of good government as an entity inherently better than private companies. They also establish this idol to aid them in manipulating ignorant and (given that they DON’T read, whether they are capable of it or not) illiterate people. Believe me, there is no shortage of ignorant people today. Half of the population remains stubbornly below average, and exploiting and increasing the numbers of those people will be the domain of dogmatists both religious and secular for as long as people rule people.


Modern socialists like to say good socialism has never been tried when they are forced to respond to the plethora of ways in which socialism has gone wrong (as though “good” socialism would have a mechanism for overcoming human failings rather than just being a tool for exploiting them for the sake of the powerful). This is not true of religion, which seeks, among other things, to surmount individual failings for the individual’s sake. Christians can point to myriad examples of faith going right, especially in the lives of imprisoned criminals, in the recovery of damaged families, and in individual lives given a profound sense of meaning. That gives an indication of where both socialist dogma and religious dogma go wrong. Done badly, both seek to define the place and meaning of the individual in the context of a whole people in order to contain and control the unwelcome dynamism of the individual.

In this respect beneficial religous faith and honorable atheism are on the same page. They are both inherently individualistic. Religion ultimately recognizes the primacy of the interface between Creator and the individual. Clearheaded atheism must recognize the sheer folly of the notion of a collective extentialism.

So, David, you are railing against idols. So am I. My religious training trains me to see those idols presented by religions- and then to recognize, as well, the idols put forth by the secularists for the sociological levers they really are.

Sadly, your secular training has given you no such tools for dealing with idolatrous manipulaitons by secular dogmatists.

Posted by: Lee Jamison at April 10, 2009 8:32 AM
Comment #279946

David,

Curious reply, Lee. I was of course referring to free market principles of supply and demand and reward for investment. All principles Republicans say they believe in. But, your reply appears to discount such principles applying to vocations where religious teacher vs. some other form of teaching, compete for labor and educational investment.
Conservatives recognize he difference between individual calling and conviction and the use of market mechanisms as a lever for magnifying the societal benefits of self-interest (greed). Liberals, on the other hand, like to pretend in public discourse that greed is inherently bad and that conservatives must have no personal convictions because they support a system that does not condemn greed (self-interest).

Posted by: Lee Jamison at April 10, 2009 8:44 AM
Comment #279951

David,

Ahh, so according to you, navel gazing on LSD qualifies as religious exploration.

There’s a difference?

Posted by: gergle at April 10, 2009 10:54 AM
Comment #279955

Lee,
You might be curious… In Buddhism, greed is inherently bad, and self-interest is at the heart of the most basic problem. A person can be an atheist or they can believe in God at the same time they are a Buddhist, because in Buddhism, salvation has nothing to do with a relationship with God or the lack thereof. Salvation is about salvation. It is personal. It is about you, and no one and nothing will do it for you.

In political & economic terms, that translates into public policy which depends upon compassion and kindness. The basic moral tenets are pretty much the same as Christianity or any other religion.

You might condemn compassion and kindness as impractical, and extol greed and self-interest and capitalism and free markets as practical and worthwhile, but do you really think fulfilling greed and pursuing self-interest at the expense of others will make anyone happy?

Posted by: phx8 at April 10, 2009 11:33 AM
Comment #279980

“Our tolerance is a teaching of Jesus”, and I wonder where he got his ideas from.

Paraphrasing from 1001 Days That Shaped History:

527 BCE Prince Siddhartha attained enlightenment after seven weeks of meditation beside a bodhi tree, and preaches the new philosophical movement of Buddhism.

510 BCE Tarquinus Superbus fled Rome, the Republic was established, with consuls and a senate

507 BCE Cleisthenes introduced an early form of democratic government to Athens which he called isonomia, equal rights for all.

497 BCE Kong Fuzi (Confucius) spread the message of good government.

Then people got dumber again, and nothing much good happened until the 16th century.

Revelation was written about contemporary and past events in the 1st century CE.

Posted by: ohrealy at April 10, 2009 7:31 PM
Comment #279981

phx8,

You might condemn compassion and kindness as impractical, and extol greed and self-interest and capitalism and free markets as practical and worthwhile, but do you really think fulfilling greed and pursuing self-interest at the expense of others will make anyone happy?
WHAAAAT?

Where do you get that I, or any conservative “condemn kindness and compassion as impractical”? And where to you get that fulfilling greed and pursuing self-interest necessarily involves doing so at the “expense of others”? These are false rhetorical attributions applied to a foe in an effort to ascribe to him evil intent. (“Look, adults! This immature person has condenmed and forsworn normal human size!)

Rather than trying to misdirect an argument down stupid rabbit holes with rhetorical trickery be clear and argue your point straight up.

In fact, I MIGHT NOT condemn either compassion or kindness as impractical. But I am neither foolish nor avaricious enough to think it is compassion or kindness to give my neighbors goods to massage my conscience. The time I think it compassionale to give is MY time. The money I think it compassionate to give is MY money.

Taking from others to do what I think good, even if I can get nine of ten of my neighbors to share in the taking of it is STEALING. Stealing is not compassionate.

Hmmm, greed and self-interest…Do you give your services away? I don’t know what you do for “a living”, but I’ll bet you think you “earn” a living in doing it. But, really, couldn’t you live on less? Why don’t you give the money you make in excess of your absolute needs back? Isn’t it being “greedy” at the expense of others who could, perhaps, give the extra to the government to feed someone or provide medical care?

Why should we have retirement at all? Aren’t people being “greedy” to expect us to provide food, clothing, and shelter (and roads, etc.) for them once they are no longer producing? And why should we provide services that cost more than a lifetime of care just to give people hope in their final year? Isn’t that being greedy on their part, too?

Is it possible there is “self-interest” involved in the desires expressed above? Is it possible that when someone looks at the difficulties involved in the provision of goods or services, and knows that among the costs they will endure will be the condemnation of some bitterly resentful people, they might decide not to provide those goods or those services? Or that, even if they did provide a service, they wouldn’t hire help for doing it? That’s the choice I made.

You ask your question as though it is silly to think differently. In doing so you take EVERYTHING we have in modern American life for granted- like a child who wants to design airplanes but doesn’t want to learn how to do math, draw, or comprehend aerodynamics. When the company won’t hire you you’ll get a mob together to burn down the factory. When the workers lose their jobs you’ll lynch the managers.

It will ALWAYS be THEIR fault.

And, of course, it’s not compassionate to think the kid should have done his homework way back when.

Providing a service (and even delivering food is, after all, a service) and being paid for the service provided is not something done “at the expense” of the consumer. It is a mutual exchange. Because it is mutual there is an inherent value to the provision by each party.

Do you recall what happened when Rosa Parks was removed from a Bus? Blacks boycotted the bus service and brought it to its knees. THEN blacks could sit ANYWHERE THEY LIKED.

Mutual exchange founded in mutual respect can, indeed, produce happiness.

Posted by: Lee Jamison at April 10, 2009 7:41 PM
Comment #279985

EVERYONE,

WatchBlog is a political debate site, NOT a religious debate web site. Commentary on religion will be deleted if it does not pertain to public policy government or political policy in some direct way. If you want to debate the merits of various religions, there are other web sites whose focus will permit your commentary, just fine.

Posted by: WatchBlog Manager at April 10, 2009 8:46 PM
Comment #279986

Lee said: “Conservatives recognize he difference between individual calling and conviction and the use of market mechanisms as a lever for magnifying the societal benefits of self-interest (greed). Liberals, on the other hand, like to pretend in public discourse that greed is inherently bad and that conservatives must have no personal convictions because they support a system that does not condemn greed (self-interest).”

No! The problem with your entire commentary above is that it equates self-interest and greed. Adam Smith defined greed as self-interest fulfillment without regard for the consequences of that fulfillment, to others, or even one’s own future well being. He then defined enlightened self interest as actions which will fulfill one’s own wishes while seeking to insure no repercussive negative consequences will be returned as a result.

The problem with many elected officials regardless of whether they are liberal or conservative is their failure to observe the difference between greed (an irresponsible act) and enlightened self interest which insures the durability and net gain to oneself from the act, absent retaliation or hostile consequences from others harmed by one’s pursuit of self-interest.

Posted by: David R. Remer at April 10, 2009 8:55 PM
Comment #279987

Lee said: “In any event you are attacking idols, images of a god established by people for the sake of controlling people.”

I have no original manuscripts from God of any religion. And neither do you. All religions are established and written by people, who sought to influence other people with their written word.

It is a choice of faith and belief without evidence, that the prophets were acting as a conduit for the word of God. Those who choose not to believe in such conduits have no more evidence of the conduit’s validity than believers do.

There is absolutely no empirical basis for the religious to assume superiority over the non-religious, than the non-religious over the religious. Both make their arguments from texts and teachings of other people who a priori, had their own motives and incentives for writing what they did.

I actually experienced merging with God once. It was indescribable. Yet, even this first hand experience provides me no basis for determining whether the experience was reflective of reality and truth or not. The same applies to the author prophets of all the worlds’ great religions. And for this reason alone, if there is to be religious freedom, there can be no establishment of a national religion.

Posted by: David R. Remer at April 10, 2009 9:06 PM
Comment #279998

Our tolerance is a teaching of Jesus. It is a teaching of his disciples. It was delivered to Peter in a vision he acknoweledged as being directly from God.

The mistaken notion those who claim the US is a “Christian” nation is exemplified by the comment. It assumes that Christianity is the only source of such teaching. In fact, the enlightenment (please click the link to start your education about the source of the founding principles of the US) was much more strongly associated with the thoughts of the founders than Christianity. They specifically forbade the government from supporting any religion.

Posted by: mentalwimp at April 11, 2009 1:44 AM
Comment #280011

David,

The problem with many elected officials regardless of whether they are liberal or conservative is their failure to observe the difference between greed (an irresponsible act) and enlightened self interest which insures the durability and net gain to oneself from the act, absent retaliation or hostile consequences from others harmed by one’s pursuit of self-interest.
That is precisely the point of limiting government to the maintenance of rigorously TRANSPARENT capitalist markets. “Liberals” today have an absolute faith-based conviction that government will not act out of greed. And they seem utterly and completely blind to the vast gray area between greed and self-interest and how that gray area will appear different to different constituencies. Tyrrany is nothing more than the handing of the defining of greed to the partizans of government action.

And, as to religion. The mechanisms of religous conviction and the mechanisms of social trust are so similar that the WatchBlog editor should have to be able to show a very high standard of irrelevance before acting unilaterally to remove posts. That said, in allowing such a discussion on my string it is incumbent on me to pull the discussion back to those similarities so that they will illustrate my point. If you think I am failing in that effort please point that out before editing the string.

If we can’t reveal to each other how we see reality differently we will never be able to find a common ground among perceived realities where we can step forward together.

Posted by: Lee Jamison at April 11, 2009 10:20 AM
Comment #280047

Quite an interesting and entertaining read these last 50 or so comments. I guess it boils down to the age old conflict of reason versus faith and there can be no middle ground twixt the two. Those that believe America is a Christian nation do so out of faith and those that believe it is not a Christian nation but instead a nation of people whose religion is majority Christian do so out of reason.

Lee commented “Conservatives recognize he difference between individual calling and conviction and the use of market mechanisms as a lever for magnifying the societal benefits of self-interest (greed). Liberals, on the other hand, like to pretend in public discourse that greed is inherently bad and that conservatives must have no personal convictions because they support a system that does not condemn greed (self-interest).”

“The seven deadly sins, also known as the capital vices or cardinal sins, are a classification of the most objectionable vices that were originally used in early Christian teachings to educate and instruct followers concerning (immoral) fallen man’s tendency to sin. They are: lust, gluttony, greed, sloth, wrath, envy and pride.” (from wikipedia)

Lee it seems us liberals are in agreement with early Christian teachings on this issue. This might explain why capitalism only works for some people and is so openly admired by those willing to accept greed ad good and are thereby favored by our capitalist economic system.

It still seems to me Obama has gotten it right on his trip to Turkey.

Posted by: j2t2 at April 12, 2009 12:05 PM
Comment #280076

What a deep debate on one of the Founding Principles of America and Humanity. However, the way I see it is that the Democratic and Republican Leaders and Citizens are closer on the issues than both are willing to admit.

For why I will not explain why both Lee and Mentalwimp are Unalienable Right in their own Personal View of Knowledge and Wisdom, the fact that the Founding Fathers of America relized that a person can use the Teachings of Jesus for Self-Political Gain put some SERIOUS Roadblocks in the hands of The Elders and Powers-that-Be to deal with such unruliness.

Because limited to admitting that President Obama had the right tone on his trip to Turkey, I’ll let David explain to the likes of Newt and Rush why blowing up North Korea is still considered violent.

Posted by: Henry Sclatman at April 13, 2009 8:49 AM
Comment #280154

j2t2,

If capitalism only works for the few why is it that in our most capitalistic (and, to be perfectly honest, our most politically corrupt, period [1865-1895]) America grew by the addition of almost forty million poor immigrants? Why would people not run away in that awful time?

We do, indeed, agree that greed is a deadly sin. We don’t agree on what constitutes greed, hence my interpolations of greed and self-interest. A people who let the government define greed will make slaves of their children, only, as with the people of Cuba the slaves will not be called slaves. Neither will the slaveholders be called masters. But their supporters will be called “liberals’.

Posted by: Lee Jamison at April 14, 2009 11:06 AM
Comment #280159

“If capitalism only works for the few why is it that in our most capitalistic (and, to be perfectly honest, our most politically corrupt, period [1865-1895]) America grew by the addition of almost forty million poor immigrants? Why would people not run away in that awful time?”

Lee these people were running away from their countries of origin to the low wage nation which at the time was the USofA. Because of the excesses of the capitalist, due to lack of regulations and the financial sector becoming to powerful, the developed nations at the time were losing population because wages were higher in those countries and the capitalist moved their shops to our shores. Some of these immigrants did grab onto the golden ring but most just worked for the lower wages. Hence IMHO capitalism unfettered by regulation,corrupting our political system and powered by greed only works for the few in the long run. I am not against capitalism Lee but it must be an all encompassing system for it to remain the best economic system. As it is it primarily benefits those with money at the expense of those who labor for a living. During the golden years of our country the middle class prospered because FDR and the brain trust put unfettered capitalism in check. It worked for many more than ever before.

Lee are we playing word games here? Greed is greed no matter how you disguise it. Enlightened self interest requires the person or corporation to take into account social responsibility as they determine what their actions will be. When they choose to deny their social responsibility it is greed that is running the show not self interest.

Posted by: j2t2 at April 14, 2009 12:09 PM
Comment #280186

If “Greed and Self-Interest” is the driving force of Man than why are not all those on the Right and Left behind President Obamas’ Vision of building an electric car that is capable of allowing its owner to sell any excess electricity to the National Power Grid; thus, creating a new source of income for the American Consumer and Small Business Owner.

So, why you can debate the meaning of Greed and Self-Interest I wonder what Society is going to do when the 10-year-old children learn how to make over a million dollars a year Dad?

Posted by: Henry Schlatman at April 14, 2009 9:23 PM
Comment #280247

j2t2,

Enlightened self interest requires the person or corporation to take into account social responsibility as they determine what their actions will be. When they choose to deny their social responsibility it is greed that is running the show not self interest.
How is it not greed for government to use its power to empower itself to “solve” our problems rather than making efforts to make business more responsive to those needs and more transparent.

There was, for example, an article in the WSJ today about how the government has set up three private bonding agencies to be the determiners of securities quality. Their dependency on goernment approval for their power and on payments from those they judge dooms this system from the start. Anyone who believes in it is a fool. But because it descends from the wizards of government it will be perfection until it fails and we lynch someone from Wall Street who looks convenient.

Government’s greed is for power. They use our discomfort to lever us into giving them power for snake oils that give the illusion of being soothing. The don’t need money.

They have all of ours they want.

Posted by: Lee Jamison at April 15, 2009 4:05 PM
Comment #280259

“How is it not greed for government to use its power to empower itself to “solve” our problems rather than making efforts to make business more responsive to those needs and more transparent.”

Lee As in most other countries in the world suffering through the mini depression it is the government coming to the rescue to solve the “free market” excess. The government is acting with an enlightened self interest and to protect the people of this country from the excess caused by the financial sector.

Lee to make business more responsive to what? The only needs a corporation watches out for is it’s own needs. That is just the way it is. It was the greedy businessman that got us into the mess, why because they bought the deregulation they needed and then did their dirty work. Why did they not take it upon themselves to not get us into the mess we are in? Where are the enlightened business’s that chose to not layoff people during the economic downturn? Costco and a few others but most cut and ran. This fantasy that business will be responsive to the needs of the people is just silly Lee.

“There was, for example, an article in the WSJ today about how the government has set up three private bonding agencies to be the determiners of securities quality.”

Is this because the private sector bonding companies screwed the pooch by over rating the unregulated securities that has brought us the the brink? Seems to me greed not enlightened self interest was at work here. But what is the current administration to do once the private sector fails to such a large degree? We seen what happened when Hoover and Mellon sat on their hands waiting for the market to self correct. They were wrong then and the conservatives that want us to do the same today are wrong now.

“But because it descends from the wizards of government it will be perfection until it fails and we lynch someone from Wall Street who looks convenient.”

Isn’t it a bit soon to start the revisionist history on the cause of this mini depression, Lee? The sour grapes comments would lead one to believe that wall street was the victim here, you can’t possibly be saying that, can you?

“Government’s greed is for power. They use our discomfort to lever us into giving them power for snake oils that give the illusion of being soothing. The don’t need money.”

Discomfort Lee? I am not sure where you have been but you seem to be blaming the chickens for being eaten by the fox aren’t you?

Posted by: j2t2 at April 15, 2009 7:53 PM
Comment #280644

As much as i hate George Bush and as happy as I am to hear he was shoed, things like that cross a line. But a reasonable sentence in my mind is a thousand dollar fine and a couple of months of probation, and with perhaps a month or so in jail.

Posted by: Aaron Hughes at April 20, 2009 7:50 PM
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