Economic & Social Justice Reality Report
Diverse Set of Thinkers to Ponder Ethics, Science, Secularism, and the Human Future at ISHV’s 2013 Columbia University Symposium
Written by: Nathan Bupp
Some philosophers belittle man by asking him to look at the immensities without; others belittle him by asking him to look at the perversities and selfishness within. Humanism denies nothing about the world or human beings which one truly finds in them, but is sees in us humans something which is at once more wonderful and more terrible than anything else in the universe: the power to make ourselves and the world around us better or worse. – Sidney Hook
I am writing this piece to let everyone know about an upcoming special event for which I have had the privilege and pleasure of playing the lead role in organizing and planning. The theme of the event was conceived by Paul Kurtz. In fact, this was the last major project undertaken by Paul before his sudden death last year on October 20th at the age of 86. I am saddened by the fact that he didn’t live long enough to attend this event — as he was really looking forward to it and was especially pleased with the preeminent cast of speakers we have secured and the scope of the topics to be addressed — but heartened to announce that the proceedings will be dedicated to his memory. I speak of the third annual Institute for Science and Human Values (ISHV) Symposium, which will convene this year at Columbia University in New York City on April 12-13, 2013. The theme of this year’s event is “The Human Prospect and the Fate of Our Planetary Civilization: Science, Humanism, Ethics, and the Task Before Us.” Featured prominently will be Dr. Philip Kitcher, author of Living with Darwin and John Dewey Professor of Philosophy at Columbia, who will be fresh from delivering the prestigious 2013 Terry Lectures at Yale University on the topic of “Secular Humanism.” We will also take the opportunity to launch Paul Kurtz’s final manuscript The Turbulent Universe (published by Prometheus Books), poignantly befitting, as Columbia was his alma mater.”
Many of the issues to be examined at this symposium occupy a special urgency for secularists and humanists. That’s why I humbly suggest that this gathering is of paramount importance for our movement. The scientists, scholars, and authors that we have assembled will take an interdisciplinary approach to concerns at the forefront of humanism and society today. Discussions will center on how organized secular humanism can be translated into an effective public philosophy of pragmatic action and persuasion.
Along with the aforementioned Kitcher, the powerful roster of speakers will include,
- Rebecca Goldstein
- Ronald Aronson
- Susan Jacoby
- James Giordano
- Lindsay Beyerstein
- John Shook
- Toni Van Pelt
- Terry O’Neill
- Dr. Ron Miller
- Bob Bindschadler
- Stuart Jordan
- Nel Noddings
- Larry Hickman
- Jacques Berlinerblau
- Barry Kosmin
- Anthony Pinn
- Linda LaScola.
Full bios can be found at, http://instituteforscienceandhumanvalues.net/articles/symposiums-conferences/symposium-speakers.htm
Topics to be addressed include:
- Advancing political secularism
- Humanism and the religiously unaffiliated; reaching out to the “Nones”
- The Non-Believing Clergy Research Project
- Secular Humanism beyond unbelief; ethics as a human project
- Making Science and Humanism better bedfellows
- The intersection of Humanism and Feminism
- Keeping our laws and our ethics in pace with rapid technological change and growth
- The ethical imperative of responding to climate change
- Humanism and Progressivism
The full symposium program can be viewed online at, http://instituteforscienceandhumanvalues.net/articles/symposiums-conferences/symposium-programs.htm
Registration is $175 for the general public and $60 for students (valid student ID required at door and limited to 25 students). The symposium will commence on Friday evening, April 12 and run from 6:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. The all-day Saturday session on April 13 will begin at 8:30 a.m. and conclude at 6:00 p.m.
In a nutshell:
What: ISHV Third Annual Symposium: “The Human Prospect and the Fate of Our Planetary Civilization.”
Where: Columbia University, Faculty House, 64 Morningside Drive, New York, NY 10027
When: April 12-13, 2013
Registration and more information: http://instituteforscienceandhumanvalues.net/articles/symposiums-conferences/symposium-columbia.htm
Nathan Bupp is the editor of Meaning and Value in a Secular Age: Why Eupraxsophy Matters—The Writings of Paul Kurtz (Prometheus Books). He is director of communications for the Institute for Science and Human Values (ISHV) and senior editor of “The Human Prospect,” published by ISHV.
What the Newtown Gun Disaster Really Tells Us – Guns Are THE Problem
Written by Greg Paul
“There’s no reason why on the street today a citizen should be carrying loaded weapons”. – Governor Ronald Reagan
If Americans really, actually want to dramatically bring down the sky high rates of general murder and mass shootings down to the much lower levels that other prosperous democracies enjoy, then it is going to have to bite the bullet as it were, and do what the other 1st world countries have done. Tightly control and restrict access to fast repeating firearms, rifles and especially pistols. That’s it.
As I have pointed out elsewhere (http://www.rationalpatriotismfoundation.com/index.php/the-great-gun-lobbyindustrial-conspiracy), as traumatizing and horrifically brutal as they are, mass shootings are not the real American problem. Even in the unusually active 2012, about four dozen Americans were killed in the four shooting sprees. The chance that a given school, workplace or theater will be targeted is correspondingly miniscule – the standard line remains true; a student is at far more risk of injury or worse walking or driving to school than being inside it (facts that should be used to reassure frightened children). It is the everyday killings that are the really, really big problem. About 11,000 Americans are currently murdered by gun in a year. Each day that’s about as many as died at Sandy Hook Elementary. The total killed in American mass shootings over the decades in the hundreds. Since the last World War over a million have been gunned down in ones, twos and threes, about twice as many American military personnel killed in combat. It follows that our obsession with mass killings is somewhat misplaced. Also poorly understood by many is the central reason why the United States is a Land of Murder.
American homicide is not primarily due to a depraved culture, media violence, mental illness and the like. Nor are Newtown and the growing wave of mass shootings in the US a sign of moral decay in a nation gone amoral. People have been murdering one another on a regular basis as far back as the paleoanthropological record goes. The famed Iceman of the Alps has an arrowhead in his back. Ancient graves sometimes contain the remains of adults and children who died by violence. A thousand years ago Christian Europe was a killing ground with sky high homicide rates. We still don’t know who Jack the Ripper was. Levels of homicide have always been above the western norm in the US. Murder rates have dropped dramatically even in America in recent decades. Most important is how homicide has become remarkably rare in the rest of the advanced democracies, probably to a degree never seen before in societies.
The vast majority of murderers are not mentally ill. In particular, the outstanding number of America killers are not mentally defective compared to the much smaller homicidal cohort in other advanced democracies. And of the millions of mentally disturbed, just a tiny fraction of a percent are seriously violent, and the likelihood that any one of them will commit one of the rare mass killings is miniscule. Nor are the vast majority of disgruntled workers who occasionally engage in mass shootings mentally ill, and only a tiny fraction of the discontented go postal. Who will kill is the proverbial needle in a haystack (outside of gangster culture). Even a massive effort, funded with billions of taxpayers’ dollars, will successfully detect and abrogate only small percentage of killers (again outside organized criminal organizations). For the gun industry and its lobby to drop the problem of American murder in to the laps of those who are already hard pressed to treat mental illness is a perversion. And a carefully crafted diversion from the real problem. There is an urgent general need to boost investment and effort in improving mental health care in general, and to better prevent those who are ill from acquiring weaponry, and doing these things will suppress shootings to a degree. But even if the mental health community somehow managed to identify, track and prevent every single mentally ill person from killing, it would hardly affect the general murder rate, and would not bring a total halt to mass slaughters.
(Ironically, mental illness may have played a critical role in establishing the twisted tradition of mass shootings. The event that set the modern precedent was the clock tower shooting at the University of Texas in 1966. The young shooter experienced a series of disturbing personality changes in the months before he went ballistic, and an autopsy found a deadly tumor that was probably critical to his becoming lethally depraved. If not for that growth, it is possible that school shootings at least would not have entered the consciousness of the nation in way that set a trend.)
(There are critical practical issues with mental illness and gun ownership. Currently only those who have committed actions that have gotten them into the legal process are placed into government records and banned from owning firearms. Expanding the list will require government registration of people merely for being mentally ill in a manner that professionals guesstimate put them at risk of being violent. The danger is that it will discourage folks from seeking help, violate patient confidentiality, violate civil and legal rights to the point of being unConstitutional, result in massive legal hassles, and immerse professionals in massive paperwork and legal disputes. It will be a procedural and human rights nightmare – yet would do little to solve the problem. New York mental caregivers are raising alarms about the bill just passed in their state.)
Ann Coulter is as always trying to blame the mental illness issue entirely on liberals, who in their ungodly and callous foolishness deinstitutionalized the mentally ill, leaving the violent among them free to assault crowds. She is pulling our legs. If conservative Republicans had been running the country the last few decades, their antigovernment ways would mean that the mentally ill would have been deinstitutionalized – keeping people even in Cuckoo Nest level establishments is fabulously expensive — leaving the violent among them free to assault crowds.
Nor can the media and entertainment violence that the gun obsessed are blaming for the American calamity be a key factor. That’s because such violence pervades the prosperous democracies to about the same degree, yet only the US is afflicted by high levels of murder. The Japanese, Aussies, Canuks, French, Brits, Swedes, Spanish have the same media technologies and much the same legal access to faux violence, but they do not slay one another at nearly the same rate we do. There has not been a decline in media violence of late — it may well be increasing — that corresponds to the decline in homicide in the western countries. The effort by the gun complex to fob American murder onto Hollywood and company is another cynical, perverse campaign of distraction away from what and who is really at fault.
To emphasize how two faced the NRA is, the museum at their headquarters has of late featured an exhibit titled Hollywood Guns! There you could see the shotgun used by Keith Ledger in The Dark Knight! The exhibit makes sick sense in that the gun industry — as they well know — is highly dependent upon the glorification of guns and their use in the media to egg on guys to purchase yet more weaponry that they don’t need. So does the release in association with NRA of a video game on gun shooting. The gun lobby adores entertainment violence featuring guns because it is massive promotion and advertising that don’t have to pay a red cent for. It’s the same with toy guns and boys’ games of war, cowboy versus native American, and so forth. The gun maker and sellers have to push guns as hard as can be done because they have a bad business model – guns last a long time, so folks rarely need replacements for the weapons they regularly use for practical purposes such as hunting. This is unlike another amoral industry that parallels the gun makers in using deceptive arguments to push deadly products to shrinking markets. Cigarettes and other tobacco products that are used only once. The poor gun industry has to get each of the dwindling cohort of gunphiles to build up bigger and bigger arsenals of vanity guns. Because the number of households sporting guns is in long term decline for demographic reasons that cannot be reversed, the only hope of the heater industry is get the firearm aficionados that are leftover to collect as many weapons as they can cough up cash and credit for. (The boom and bust rushes in gun sales after mass shootings driven by fear of gun control is not the best thing for the industry in the long run. Eventually the dwindling number of gun owners will be saturated with weaponry to the point that even they will not be willing to purchase more masses of heaters, and gun sales will belly out.) The big star of media violence is the Glock, the grim looking, Austrian created machine pistol that has become America’s handgun of choice. the If not for the media, for its own mercantile purposes, making guns seem desirable to have from childhood on, the firearms industry would implode.
That means that cutting down on media violence would contribute to suppressing lethal crime – but not in the gun friendly way the NRA wants us to be naïve enough to think it would. Assume that the audience for media and game violence dwindled to the point that it was no longer sufficiently profitable to produce and distribute the product enmasse. That would reduce interest in owning guns, wrecking the firearms industry. With fewer guns in the population, homicide would become less common. But this is hardly likely to happen. Lots of folks like their faux violence – much as many seek the manufactured thrills of intense theme park rides – and as long as the market is there, there are capitalists who will maximize their sales by producing entertainment violence, their right to do so ensured by the Bill of Rights. If we want to tame homicide by the necessary step of getting rid of most guns, it will take legal action.
Also not primarily to blame is a slack judicial system. The rates at which liberty loving America imprisons its citizens is vastly higher than in the rest of the democracies, or even autocracies – the USA has more people in jail than all of China. Mass shooters tend to be suicidal in any case, they fear not punishment.
Ann Coulter is claiming that the problem is demographics. That American murder is largely a problem of minorities. But some other 1st world countries have more population diversity than the US, yet do not suffer close to the level of murder we do. Wrong again Ann.
What about America’s frontier past leaving us with a violent heritage? Canada, Australia and New Zealand have frontiers, and a fraction of the deadly violence.
The core problem is that America has way too many guns for its own good, which is the fault of the gun manufacturing industry that is trying to push its product to maximize profits like the tobacco industry. One reason we know that firearms are the main problem is because private gun possession correlates strongly with homicides. With 5% of the world’s population, the US has about half the privately owned guns. No other country has as many firearms per person (almost one for each of the latter), and no other advanced democracy has nearly as many heaters per citizen (http://www.en.Wikipedia.org/wiki/Number_of_guns_per_capita_by_country). (Don’t swallow claims that Israel is gun rich — to keep weapons out of the hands of Arab citizens the laws are very strict, so ownership is a dozen times lower than in the US – and even in more gun friendly countries like Switzerland gun regulation is not as loose as in America.) In quantitative terms, the Pearson Correlation between guns and homicide in the 19 most prosperous democracies is 0.747; with 0 being no correlation and 10 a perfect correspondence, the actual result is abut as strong as they get in real world sociological terms. The relationship is so patent that it is amazing how many ignore it, and swallow the NRA et al. line that it makes no difference how many heaters pervade a population, while they point to the mental health and media communities as being at fault for American murder.
The reality is that no nation with a high level of gun ownership does not have a high homicide rate. And all nations with low rates of gun ownership enjoy low murder rates. Nothing surprising about that – to those who are objective. It is not hard to figure out why there is a correlation between private gun ownership and homicides. More guns around and about, more murders. That’s because guns help people kill people. That statement is literally true. In contrast the gun fanatic’s proclamation that “guns don’t kill people, people do” is one of those clever propaganda lines that is carefully designed to deceive. Denying that guns kill folks is like denying that automobiles kill people. A person who is running full tilt from home to work is not a lethal machine. The chance that a person who collides with a runner will end up dead is near zero. A car that is being driven from home to work is a killing device if it hits someone. Cars kill people, tens of thousands in the US every year. That the car is not morally responsible for running over a person is not the critical factor. It does not matter to the dead person whether or not the automobile was steered by a human, or a robot as many of them soon will be. The major danger factor imposed by autos – they are a leading case of death among the young — is a reason they are highly regulated from design to usage. By the logic of the NRA, bombs and missiles don’t kill people either. Actually, military equipment can be so lethal that is may be labeled weapons of mass destruction. That the weapons are inert unless someone fires or launches them does not mean they are not killing machines. Ergo, guns are a form of killing machine. When pistols and rifles are fast firing, high capacity firearms able to target and kill a couple of dozen in a few moments without reloading, they qualify as weapons of mass destruction.
(Firearms fans use terms like protecting “gun rights,” even though that indicates that guns themselves have rights they can be denied. So if guns have rights, are they not responsible for who they kill? To be consistent with their position gun advocates should say “gun owners’ rights.” A guns’ right group just sent me an email titled “Stop Obamas [sic] Assault on Guns,” which also implies that guns are entities that can be victimized.)
The problem with the rapid fire guns that are so numerous in America is that they are force multipliers for those dysfunctional enough to kill spontaneously or by design — if the weapons did not exist or were effectively banned those who plot mass killings would have to resort to explosives. But intense government regulations seriously hinder access to explosives. You can’t just go to a store or an explosive show and buy lots of dynamite, and even the ingredients of explosives are controlled. Making bombs can literally blow up in one’s face, and it is hard for a teen to whip up a patch without the folks noticing, while the same folks may be the source of guns. Nor are explosives as efficient as rapid-fire weapons, and they don’t have that satisfying mow down the screaming terrified victims with a spray of bullets cache your typical mass murderer is looking for. It is not an accident that almost all mass killings are executed with semi-automatics, it’s the easy and hip way to do it. If not for rapid fire machines massacres would be almost nonexistent. And as long as high performance guns are common there will be mass shootings every year. That’s because in any national population there are always a very few (mostly young males) who have gone over the edge into lethality. In most nations these persons have been kept from doing lots of damage. Until recently this was easy to do because the powerful killing devices needed for a run of the mill civilian to kill enmasse did not exist. We now live in an industrial world able to cheaply produce precision machinery enmasse, including the force multipliers that allow ordinary citizens to kill dozens of people in a few minutes. In all advanced democracies dangerous persons are constrained kept from doing lots of lethal damage with explosives via extensive regulations that make them hard to acquire. In all but one advanced democracy the killers in waiting are further hindered in their designs to wreck havoc by extensive regulations that make rapid fire guns too scarce for most criminals to get their hands on them.
So America does the most to allow the tiny percentage who do kill to do so on a large scale. Shootings mass and otherwise are all too frequent these days in America because we have allowed the development of a toxic combination of killer young males with ready access to weapons of mass destruction in the form of semi-automatic, high capacity magazine machine pistols and assault rifles originally designed to kill masses of soldiers on battlefields. When a society is saturated with such weapons of mass destruction, criminals will have little trouble getting a hold of a portion of them one way or another.
The theory, such as it is, of the gun makers’ lobby is that yet more guns are the solution. That theory can be correct only if the nation with the most guns per person – ours – has a very low rate of murder, while those with few guns have lots of people being victims of intentional homicide. Despite the opposite being true, in firearm advocates’ bubble of unreality arming all law abiding citizens with weapons of mass destruction will reduce gun violence. They imagine that law breakers will either be deterred from their nefarious deeds – which they won’t be when the illicit shooter is self destructive – or will be gunned down by the righteous shooter before they can do more damage. I have detailed why this is a dubious to point of dumb hypothesis for multiple reasons (http://www.rationalpatriotismfoundation.com/index.php/the-great-gun-lobbyindustrial-conspiracy). Those who are armed and/or protected by armed personal get shot all the time – police, guards, politicians, gangsters, gang members, so on. The Sandy Hook event makes the absurdity yet more crystal clear. It is questionable enough to have college students armed and ready to shoot in classrooms the way the NRA wants them to be. But are we going to arm elementary school kids? Of course not. Having the school staff pack heat has its own risks. As per when some students get their hands on one of the guns and an accident or worse ensues. The way to avoid that awkward problem, according to some weapons advocates, is for teachers to have their machine pistol in a holster on their person every moment they are at school. Never mind how uncomfortable wearing heat for hours at a stretch is.
Some of the gun obsessed decry that the adults at Sandy Hook did not have their own assault rifles to stop the shooter before he got to the children. This parallels the demand that all schools sport armed security guards that may be to distant from the mass shooting to intervene as per Columbine, or may be the additional victim of the well armed and armored shooter. Rest assured, if the NRA gets its way and puts armed guards in every school, or arms teachers and older students, the policies will be discredited as mass shootings continue to afflict schools. And schools are already very safe locations. There are also social problems with making schools into minipolice stations. It can change the culture from nurturing to punitive. A new report finds that doing so in Mississippi has resulted in overdisciplining students for minor infractions to their detriment. Nor will armed school guards will do nothing about the gun deaths on the homes, streets and noneducational public spaces.
And gosh golly, I remember a time when grade schools were open access to the public at large, armed guards and armored entrances not to be seen. Thanks to the obsession by a large minority of Americans with the heaters they have saturated the society with, those better days are past.
Around the turn of the century I felt pretty good as an American when in Mexico City I saw street police carrying assault rifles. Typical 2nd world country. Unlike the 1st world USA. Since 9/11 America has used megagovernment to spent hundreds of billions to wage wars and operations that have killed thousands of Americans, and abrogated legal rights, to deal with the loss of a few thousand Americans. Americans killed by guns has piled up to the six figures since those days, but the response has been to scream legal rights while doing nothing.
One way or another the gun advocates envision a country in which every school, workplace, public institution and most homes would be equipped with military hardware. The strategy has been financially brilliant and morally depraved. Having caused the problem in the first place by saturating the nation with their products, the gun industrial complex would be the beneficiaries by producing more guns.
Make no mistake. The campaign by the gun merchants, their lobby, and many of their citizen supporters is not about pragmatic policy making. The gun war is an integral part of the greater culture war in which archconservatives are working to remake American society into what they want it to be, at the effective point of the gun.
These United States are to be a more socially Darwinian, more 2nd world society in which those who best know how to use their guns are to be the safest, rather than having citizens relying as a collective on the police for their primary protection. In other words, the same religious right that claims to be opposed to the amorality of Darwinian bioevolution are claiming the God favors we all be armed to the teeth so society can be ruled by the law of the jungle. (Liberal Christians are aghast at this concept of the warrior god — but most children have died while kids without any god intervening, the Biblical God kills people on a regular basis, orders genocide of entire nations down the last suckling child, endorses brutal punishment of slaves as does Jesus who fashions a whip to assault people in at a place of worship, allows his entourage to be armed with swords, and explicitly denies being an entity of peace.)
It would be a culture of the gun, where all would be compelled to be lethal gunphiles whether they like it or not, ready to kill the killers if they like it or not. To put it another way, guns would essentially run the culture, rather than the people deciding to limit firearms as they do in all other developed nations. American would be a primitive, tribal society where guns are the primary security such as it is, more like Somalia and Yemen than the sensible civilized democracies where the law and police provide most protection. A main aim. Sell more guns.
The NRA’s claim that only a good guy can stop a bad guy with a gun is another clever propaganda line carefully designed to deceive — obviously the best way to stop a bad guy from easily killing one or a dozen or more is to keep the ne’er-do-well from getting a gun in the first place, rendering the righteous shooter superfluous. Everyone knows, or should know, that preventing as much as possible bad things from going down – such as cancer, auto accidents, people being shot at — is better than letting the situation get so out of hand that all that can be done is to minimize the damage when things go south.
It is tragically ironic how the Newtown slaughter illustrates particular defects of the gun lobby theory that the more guns that law abiding folks have the better. So much so that it is a public relations disaster for the NRA and friends. Think about it. The mother of the shooter was exactly what the NRA wants all law abiding Americans to be. A law abiding gun enthusiast. For purposes of self protection and sport, she accumulated an arsenal of weapons of mass destruction. She then did what the NRA recommends. She was a responsible owner who became familiar with her heaters by firing them under professional guidance at gun ranges. She knew her stuff. Also in accord with NRA advice she taught her son to shoot. That maximized safety in terms of preventing accidents, and the mother protecting herself if the need arose. That was the theory. So what did she get for her love of the gun? The dreadful reality was that her son used some of her weapons to slaughter her, and all those terrified students and instructors as they struggled to survive and pleaded for their lives. So much for the safety of the mother and society. That she had seen to it that her son was well trained in firearm use only served to increase his ability to rapidly take out over two dozen human beings. So much for the wise advice of the NRA.
Another example of the danger of the law-abiding-citizen-until-things-go-south is the gunning down of the super sniper/war hero Chris Kyle. Profoundly concerned about those suffering from combat induced post traumatic injuries, Kyle was trying to help out a troubled fellow vet. Kyle thought taking his colleague to a shooting range was a good way to better the other vet’s condition. Instead the latter, who was legally able to handle rapid fire weapons, shot Kyle and another to death. As a gun range where there were plenty of armed people on hand to stop the shooter. That did not work because the shooter enjoyed the element that so often do, of surprise. Had the up to then law abiding citizen had no weapons there probably would have been fist-i-cuffs and at most misdemeanor assault charges. Had he had a knife the survival chances of the victims would have been much better. It was a force multiplying weapon of mass destruction that made it easy for one to liquidate two.
It was all too predictable. Those opposed to the common possession of weapons of mass destruction have long warned that guns purchased for protection are all too easily repurposed for destruction. Either by the original owner who starts out with good intentions but goes rogue, or by being taken or stolen by a person with ill intent. And of course countless firearms are acquired for criminal reasons from the get go.
The gun lobby has been playing a risky game. By pushing rapid fire guns they ensured that mass shootings would continue to be frequent, and would eventually become so grotesque that eventually most Americans would cry “enough.” Their theory has inevitably blown up in their face. They should have figured that it would, but their ideology blinded them to the coming backlash.
And the gun lobby has not doing nearly as well as it would like to. Despite their many legal victories electoral, legislative and judicial, the surveys continue to show that households with guns are declining rapidly due to demographic forces too powerful for the heater lovers to overcome (aging population, shift from rural to urban populations that have decreased hunting, more women in charge of households – demographic changes similar to those that are making American more progressive and Democratic to the distress of the right (http://www.opednews.com/articles/Why-the-Republican-Permane-by-Gregory-Paul-121108-838.html). The decline in the lateral distribution of guns may be part of the reason for the drop in American homicides; certainly it has not hurt the situation. (So don’t be fooled by the gunphiles claim that since gun sales are up while homicides are down shows that guns suppress lethal crime. That the number of guns in the hands of the shrinking set of heaters owners is going up is not as dangerous as wider distribution of guns, because a criminal shooter can deploy a couple of firearms in a given crime, the rest of his guns are superfluous.) (Another reason for the decline in gun deaths is continuing improvements in trauma care, the docs are getting better at patching up gun victims if they get to the hospital alive.)
Currently, regulations on the weapons hunters use are stricter than the weapons that be carried amidst the public in most of the country. Its partly a matter of safety – allowing hunters to blaze away with multiple rounds would send stray bullets zipping about the woods – and of sportsmanship. We are doing a better job of protecting animals that are being legally shot at, than we are caring about our human citizens.
A gun adorer lie is that banning assault weapons is not sensible, because many nonmilitary rifles can be used in semi-automatic mode. But assault rifles are specifically configured to maximize the ability to kill many as quickly as possible. They are short and light so they can be swiftly and easily redirected to new targets in interior spaces. The pistol grip aids ease of handling. In more conventional guns the stock that is held against the shoulder angles downwards from the line of the main barrel. That makes it easier to carefully aim the gun at a bulls-eye, or a deer. But because the recoil along the line of the barrel is higher than the anchor point of the stock on the shoulder, the gun kicks up when fired, requiring that it be reaimed every shot, slowing down the shooter. The stocks of assault rifles are in line with the barrel, making it easier to keep on target during a continuous series of shots. Some assault guns have eliminated most of the stock, making the weapons even shorter and easier to maneuver and aim. Flash suppressers allow the shooter to better see and aim in the dark, as per the Aurora theater massacre. The size of the rounds is smaller than in high power rifles to increase the amount of ammo the shooter can carry, and keep the recoil low enough so the gun can be kept on target during rapid fire (but are more lethal than the even smaller pistol bullets used in submachine guns). Assault weapons are a force multiplier compared to nonmilitary semi-automatics. They are particularly easier for smaller bodied teens to handle than regular rifles, facilitating school age shooters (and the enslavement of children as foot soldiers.
Another gunphile deception that is coming out to counter the move to ban assault rifles has it that the most common civilian owned assault rifle, the AR-15 Bushmaster (basically the military M-4 and M-16 without the automatic mode) is not really all that lethal after all. You see, the AR-15 is actually just a .22 caliber gun (specifically .223 of an inch). It just puts a wee little quarter inch whole into people its little rounds hit. That’s the lie. The truth is that while the slug is slender for the reasons discussed in the prior paragraph, it is very long, and is propelled by a far bigger powder charge than a kid’s 22 at three times the speed of sound. When the slug hits flesh, it is too fast and too elongated to remain stable so it tumbles, creating a horrendous rip in muscles and organs, while the intense shock waves radiate into surrounding tissue. Video shows that AR-15 rounds send large blocks of ballistic gel bouncing on the table. I have seen a section of wood hit by an AR-15 round, the slug went in a whole foot. The results of the larger round from the popular AK-47 are even worse. And that’s just one hit, with semi-autos a dozen hits can be scored in seconds – as happened to some of the kids at Newtown.
But the truth remains that assault rifles are not the great American killer. They are hardly ever used in street and domestic murders — that’s the killing realm of the semi-automatic handgun. The use of assault weapons is pretty much limited to the occasional spectaculars – Wild West style shoot outs and mass shootings. Same applies to the big ammo magazines. Their elimination is important to cutting down on the slaughters in places of education, entertainment and work, but that will do little to ensure that America is no longer the Land of Daily Murder. That demands dramatically reducing the number and availability of the fasting operating handguns that do the vast majority of the killing.
Doing that is complicated by the claim that the 2nd Amendment protects the individual right to bear arms, which is bogus (as detailed at http://www.opednews.com/articles/What-the-Majority-of-Found-by-Gregory-Paul-120727-26.html). The provision is actually a defense of states rights, one that requires government regulation of firearms. The clause says so very plainly; “A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.” The original states were worried that the new Federal government might go tyrannical one day. So states were given the right to maintain militias if they wanted to, to keep the fascist/communist/ic Feds at bay if the need arose. If the amendment were about individual rights it would not be the only one to be predicated by a government need, and would simply read “The right of persons to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.” Or it would explicitly include the right to self-defense and so on, like some state constitutional gun right clauses have done.
Ardent defenders of gun rights claim that the 2nd Amendment is the most important because it makes the others, including the 1st, possible – it’s only the guns that keep the tyrants at bay and all that. Plus they go on and on about how they are against Big Government. It is that “principle” that supposedly compels them to keep the Feds from tracking gun ownership. Yet the gun hypocrites are doing what they can to suppress the 1st Amendment in order to defend the 2nd – it’s like destroying the village to save it. And they are all for Big Government when it serves their purposes. So they want BG to provide armed protection for all schools – a massive project consisting of 100,000 guards that will tax the taxpayers already hard pressed to pay for education to cough up big bucks to expand police forces by at least 10% over what they currently are. The same people want BG to keep closer tabs on identifying and tracking the mentally ill so they cannot access weapons of mass destruction. Cynical hypocrisy, anyone?
The heater lovers who pretend to love the Bill of Rights and oppose Big Government want to see the part of freedom of speech that involves the production and distribution of violent imagery that may encourage lethal acts suppressed, in order to maintain the freedom to own weapons of mass destruction that definitely do facilitate killing people. Florida actually passed a law intended to deter health care providers from asking their patients about their possession of guns in terms of their health and safety. So much for the free speech rights of medical personal of all people. The first court review has already done constitutional eye rolls over that one. In exchange for keeping quiet about the Affordable Health Care act, the NRA tucked in a little noticed provision that keeps physicians from gathering data concerning their patients gun usage, a slap at the face of academic freedom.
The effort to keep the health care community from doing its job and researching and advising on the obvious health consequences of possessing and using firearms is underway not because the gun lobby objects to such projects per se, but because the research has tended to find that having guns around the house and about does more harm to persons’ persons than it does good. For a gun to be an effective way to deal with home invaders pt has to be loaded and unlocked so it can be used on a moments notice. But a gun ready to go is a danger to those in the home; they facilitate severe and lethal accidents (especially among kids), domestic homicides, and suicides. A Center for Disease Control study conducted over the 80s and 90s found that people who kept guns in their homes faced a nearly 3 fold increase in homicides, and nearly 5 fold rise in suicides, than those who went firearms free. Since those sort of results contradict the heater lovers’ ideology and bubble of unreality, and is correspondingly inconvenient to their belief in the inviolate right of all to pack heat, they are trying to halt the pesky science (as conservatives are wont to do with global warming, bioevolution, that rape often leads to pregnancy, and so on). With all gun deaths combined on the way to exceeding traffic deaths, which are researched to death as it were, the need for the science of firearms is painfully obvious. But the gun manufacturers’ allies have cracked down on the National Institute of Health’s research after they recently dared put out a report linking gun violence to alcoholism (much the same as how automobile accidents are often driven by alcohol are well researched). Obama has instructed government agencies to renew research of gun violence via executive order.
Even so, the NRA’s war against the 1st amendment the 2nd has been winning. You can’t egregiously yell fire in a theater crowded with potential victims. In many places you can legally carry a weapon of mass destruction into one.
The American gun mercantile lobby that is called the NRA has recklessly strived to encourage civilians to acquire by the hundreds of millions the semi-automatics that are killing machines without first seeing if objective research shows that this is a good idea.
Here are America’s choices.
If American does what the gun crowd wants, and puts weapons of mass destruction into the hands of pretty much all mentally and physically capable and competent adults, and police and guards to protect schools, then it is highly probable that homicide levels will remain well above western norms, and may well be even worse than if the nation maintains the status quo. The US will be at risk of becoming even more like underdeveloped nations packed with rapid fire guns, like Somalia and Yemen. Expanding tracking of the mentally ill and tamping down media violence will not markedly improve the situation.
If America does what it is doing now, and maintains pretty much the status quo, then it is nearly certain that homicide levels will remain well above westerns norms.
If America enacts the modest gun safety controls Obama has proposed – banning the sale of assault rifles and extra large magazines to a greater or lesser degree, expanding background checks to gun shows, etc., improving tracking of the mentally ill – should not hurt and may produce some improvement, but is not going to drive homicide levels down to western norms.
Only if America adopts strong gun safety controls like those in other advanced democracies will the nation be likely to enjoy the low levels of lethal mayhem seen in the rest of the west. Australia, for instance, suffered from a series of mass shootings until the public could not stand it any more, and they banned major categories of firearms including those already in circulation via an enforced buyout. There have been no such slaughters since, and the general murder rate dropped by half. Great Britain has also seen less murder in the wake of strong controls. That so many do not recognize the obvious efficacy of gun limitations is another conservative bubble of denial.
The above is an analysis of what needs to be done to achieve certain results. It is not an analysis of what is and is not politically achievable now and in the future. If the last and best option – including an enormous enforced gun buyback to bring the ratio of firearms to people down to 1st world norms — is not achievable at this time or ever, then the US is doomed to continue to suffer from the high levels of homicide that have afflicted the nation since its beginning. If, as the gun fanatics contend, the nation must be loaded for bear in order to prevent the tyranny that is always just around the corner, or because the founders really did enshrine mass gun possession in the Constitution, then the cost is that America remains the Land of Murder. When the gunphiles pretend that we can have lots of tyranny preventing, constitutionally endorsed firearms on the one hand, and low homicide rates at the other, they are lying whether they know it or not. It is a juvenile have your cake and eat it too fantasy. The gunphile theory that if America goes gunless it is doomed to go the way of Nazis Germany, is pushing us to continue our real world disaster of being a nation where gun homicides are killing a lot more civilians than military combat is killing soldiers and sailors.
But do not despair. In the long term the development of an increasingly progressive population may allow the country to go down the normal western path of the sensible and serious gun regs that minimize murder. And Newtown and the grotesque response of the gun industrial complex may be another American tipping point towards the progressive side of sociopolitics. Perhaps the decline in homicide of late had contributed to a feeling of complacency even though America remains horrifically homicidal. But the mass shootings have become too common, accelerating one sickening event after another throughout every year, and with little kids being slaughtered in their classrooms, for the American majority to continue to go along with the firearm fanatics line that we need more guns to solve the murder problem. The press conference by the Looney Tunes NRA head the week after Sandy Hook — designed to reinforce the position of the gun manufacturer’s among the shrinking minority of angry white males (membership has soared in recent weeks) horrified many a centrist mother who does not want HER kids going to a school where the teachers and principles and hired security are packing heat. Rick Perry says the solution to the homicide problem is to be found in prayer rather than making it hard to get guns. The heater lobby had its post Newtown chance to come across as chastened and reasonable as some thought and hoped they might during their first week of silence. But they are incapable of doing that, all the more so because it would risk their income. Many more now understand that the gun lobby is run by right wing idiots doing the manufacturers and sellers crass bidding.
Lawrence O’Donnell Tells the Truth About the Unholy Bible
Something fairly extraordinary happened on MSNBC the evening of 1/10/13. It was what Lawrence O’Donnell said on his The Last Word.
He stated that the scriptures that many albeit not all Jews and Christians revere is a very, very bad book, so much so that it is not appropriate for the President to be sworn into office with his hand on the morally defective Holy Bible (christiannews.net/2013/01/12/msnbc-host-lawrence-odonnell-blasts-use-of-bible-at-inauguration-no-one-believes-the-bible).
It all started with the forced withdrawal of Louie Giglio from giving the benediction at Obama’s second inauguration. That happened when it was exposed that the pastor said some harsh things about homosexuals in the last century. That sort of thing was passable back in 09 when Rick Warren — who has objected to gay ways in various ways — did the let’s-all-get-along prayer gig at the first Obama inauguration. What with objections to bigotry against gays climbing like an F-22 on afterburners (richarddawkins.net/articles/568418-the-gays-are-winning-%E2%80%93-and-the-religious-right-is-losing-what-nontheists-can-learn-from-the-success-of-the-homosexual-rights-movement), gay bashing is longer an item that can be brushed aside at Democratic bashes.
What O’Donnell – who seems to much be more familiar with what is actually in the Bible than are most — did was take matters to their logical conclusion. He broke through the pretense. I do not know what the religious views of O’Donnell are, but he told a truth that many atheists like myself have been pointing out. Of course it does not take guts for atheists to do that. It’s expected of us. It does for the host of a mainstream media show.
The conventional, theopolitically correct view these days — the opinion held by liberal and centrist Jews and Christians — is that pastor Giglio was being unJudeoChristian in bashing homosexuals. That the creator of the universe is friendly towards the gays he in his wisdom created. The problem with this modernist JudeoChristian view, a grave defect that O’Donnell went to considerable things to tell his listening and viewing audience, is that is it a lie.
The reason it is a lie to opine that the JudeoChristian God is tolerant of homosexuality is that doing so is literally unBiblical. It is outright heresy and blasphemy. The Holy Bible that according to JudeoChristian doctrine is the Word of God – it is all that we have if Judaism and/or Christianity is correct about the existence and nature of their Biblical creator – is definitely antigay. It is, as O’Donnell established, opposed to the sinful abomination of nonheterosexuality in both the Jewish and Christian testaments. Which is to be expected because the volume was produced in an ancient culture that denounced sexuality outside of tight tribal constraints. At no location is the Word of God progay.
But Lawrence did not stop there. He went on to discuss how it is a very strange thing that the first black President is swearing the presidential oath on Bibles, being held by his wife of slave descent, when the Good Book goes on, and on, and on, about how slavery is acceptable and normal. To a far greater degree that it is into gay bashing. In the Old Testaments there are extended descriptions of how Jews are to keep non-Jewish slaves, including forcing female slaves into marriage, and severe punishments for those who fail to obey their righteous master’s legitimate orders. Passages take delight in clearly describing how the Israelites take humans as booty before and during the conquest of the Promised Land. The only commentary on slavery by Jesus is an allegory involving how the scale of punishment of slaves rises with their increasing disloyalty to bloody violence. In the New Testaments slaves are repeatedly warned to fear and obey their masters as they would Jesus. A whole chapter is about Paul returning a slave to his rightful master as an example of how Christians should demonstrate the positive nature of their faith by being loyal, and obedient to the social order. (For the many Biblical extracts that detail the numerous moral failings of the Holy Bible check out rationalpatriotismfoundation.com/index.php/the-bibles-many-dark-obtuse-sides).
It has been one of the great con jobs of the modern era that the Christian industry has managed to convince most that Jesus and his faith are anti-slavery. Because slavery is now seen as perverted, Christians have had to go to tremendous lengths to hide the pro-slavery stance of the Bible, and to persuade folks that Christianity played the critical role in ending the evil institution. Never mind that it took millennia For Christianity to get around to addressing the issue. That even northern churches were reluctant to denounce human bondage for fear of offending their southern brethren who went ahead and set up denominations explicitly designed to support their peculiar institution, such as the Southern Baptists. That southern Christians were driven to fury by how Christians who were abolitionists never could actually show how the Holy Bible denounced slavery because it obviously does not. That only Christian America had to wage a war of mass carnage to end slavery, when more secular Europe did so without fuss and bother. That the Pope issued a statement in favor of slavery in the late 1860s – that’s after the American Civil War. And never mind that it was really the onset of modern industrial-corporate-consumer capitalism that is incompatible with slave economics that forced the delegitimization of the practice – it’s not a coincidence that just as modern economics were coming to the fore in the early 1800 the slavery that had been normal since the dawn of civilization suddenly became passé.
As O’Donnell observes, virtually no one these days, even the most hard core Jews and Christians, actually believes in the entire Bible. Aside from the slavery thing, Moses and Joshua righteously order the Israelite shock troops to commit outright genocide against pagan tribes and nations, including slaughtering entire populations down to the infants and pregnant women. There is no ambiguity about it, it is described at self congratulatory length during the entirely unprovoked war to ethnically cleanse the Promised Land for the Chosen People. And don’t think God objected, it was his holy idea. And there’s lots of other stuff, like how those who disobey their parents are to be executed, as are those who commit adultery (there are some dominionist Christians who want to bring that back, and truth be told a few think slavery was OK – after all it’s in the Bible).
While we are at it, don’t think the perfidy of socialism enforced by death was something atheists thought up for all Bible believing Christians to denounce as unGodly. According to the Bible it is a JudeoChristian invention (www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/guest-voices/post/from-jesus-socialism-to-capitalistic-christianity/2011/08/12/gIQAziaQBJ_blog.html). Marx stole the idea from the theists.
And don’t swallow the line, emitted by countless people all who should know better – even the occasional atheist such as Bill Maher slips up on this one – that for all the bad stuff of the Bible it is really a wonderful book because it’s main character was a man-god of peace. It boggles the mind that folks really imagine this is true, since everyone knows it is not. As you recall, Jesus had a beef against the moneychangers in the Temple. Did the Son of God do what real men of peace like Gandhi and King would do? Send a petition to the authorities? No. Organize a sit down strike? No. Organize a demonstration with folks yelling “down with the money changers?” No. He fashions a whip and commits an unprovoked criminal surprise assault. These enlightened days that’s called a hate crime. Jesus does not even claim to be a person of peace. Instead he explicitly denies having come to bring peace, saying he has come to bring division, the sword (he allows his entourage to purchase some of those), and fire. To turn dad against son, mom against daughter, and mother in law against daughter in law. The Jesus of the Bible was a religious zealot who demanded total conformity with his dominion over humanity, not a man of let’s all get along tolerance.
Of course many Christians and Jews, conservatives most of all, are ticked off at O’Donnell for daring to point out that their beloved scriptures are not worthy of presidential events. But of course if a Muslim president tried to use the Koran for the swearing in ceremony there would be an uproar, especially from conservatives. Or if an atheist president used Origin of the Species. Or if an atheist president used no book at all (www.gregspaul.webs.com/WPoped.pdf).
What JudeoChristians are not doing is showing how O’Donnell is specifically wrong. Because they can’t. The believers don’t have thoughtful arguments. They have unthinking outrage on their side. They are cynically and lazily counting on the tendency of most to go into knee jerk you-can’t-say-that-about-my-sister mode, to demand the automatic deference to JudeoChristianity we are all supposed to adhere to out of a sense of theological correctness, and to avoid upsetting the delicate sensibilities of believers whose supernaturalism is supposed to be beyond direct criticism. The theocommunity gets away with this diversionary song and dance because most Christians are seriously ignorant about the Bible they think they adore. Surveys show that the great majority of believers have never actually read the archaic book. As one who has waded through the entire thing the failure of most to do so is understandable, But unacceptable. And hypocritical. If you believe in a faith you really ought to read the book it is based upon for Christ’s sake. Most Christians have little idea how depraved the Biblical god is, because they have not found out themselves, and their clergies are not about to tell them. In fact, the churches depend upon their flocks not getting around to carefully read the entire scriptures. Seriously. It is quite common for believers to abandon the faith when they find out the extent they have been lied to. I know a lot of people who had that experience. The book is so morally defective that a recent study found that the god-ordained violence in the Bible has the same tendency to promote violence as do violence packed video games (sitemaker.umich.edu/brad.bushman/files/BRDKB07.pdf).
That brings us to the belief that is as common as it is bogus, the delusion that the gods are good for societies. All the research is showing that the opposite is true. The more atheistic 1st world countries are, the more socioeconomically successful they are (www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/guest-voices/post/is-religion-good-for-society/2011/10/17/gIQA9HutrL_blog.html). It is the irreligious democracies that enjoy low rates of murder, incarceration, juvenile and adult mortality, obesity, STD infections, teen pregnancies, abortions, corruption, mental illness, and high upwards social mobility, income growth, leisure/family time (www.epjournal.net/filestore/EP07398441_c.pdf). It is the most godly parts of America that suffer the most from lethal crime, juvenile mortality and short lifespans driven in part by obesity, adverse consequences of sexual activity, and poverty enforced by class rigidity. The very idea of a good God is abjectly false. If there is one, the creator is responsible for the little planet we are stuck on being such a death trap that diseases have killed and denied the free will of 50 billion kids, a disaster that at best proves the designer’s gross incompetence, or criminal guilt (gregspaul.webs.com/Philosophy&Theology.pdf); rationalpatriotismfoundation.com/index.php/there-cannot-be-a-creator-god-who-cares-about-the-victims-of-mass-shootings-or-of-the-deaths-of-children). Liberal believers contend that we should all somehow understand that God is not the dark brute of the Bible, but they are just making that up. The state of the planet proves there cannot be a good God.
George Washington blew it. He could have made the taking of the oath the secular affair it should be, like our Constitution. Instead he initiated the tradition of being sworn in on the JudeoChristian propaganda tract. It was a bad thing. Think about it. A slave owner was exploiting the PR value of a text that endorsed his keeping fellow human beings in bondage against their will. Amazing how most brush that truth aside. And neglect how using the same set of scriptures inauguration after inauguration is constitutionally dubious. It would be very good if Obama did not use supernaturalistic items to help justify his rule over a nation in which atheism is the fastest growing thought system (www.scienceandreligiontoday.com/2012/05/30/is-atheism-increasing-at-the-expense-of-theism). Not that that will happen.
But at least O’Donnell has made it a little easier for Americans to express their freedom to take on the religious trade that wants to control the debate on their self-aggrandizing terms. The wall of theological correctness that stands in the way of open, honest and fair discussion getting lower and lower.
There cannot be a Creator God Who Cares About the Victims of Mass Shootings, or of the Deaths of Children
Written by: Greg Paul
The human being is a machine. An automatic machine. It is composed of thousands of complex and delicate mechanisms, which perform their functions harmoniously…. For each one of these thousands of mechanisms the Creator has planned an enemy whose job it is to harass it, pester it, persecute it, damage it, afflict it with pains, and miseries, and ultimate destruction. Not one has been overlooked…. It is the Creator’s Grand Army, and he is the Commander-in-Chief. Along its battlefront its grisly banners wave their legends in the face of the sun: Disaster, Diseases and the rest…. It is wonderful the thorough and comprehensive study which the Creator devoted to the great work of making man miserable…. All of the Creator’s specially deadly disease-producers are invisible. It is an ingenious idea. For thousands of years it kept man from getting to the root of his maladies, and defeated his attempts to master them. It is only recently that science has succeeded in exposing some of these treacheries.
Mark Twain, Letters From the Earth
The blunt truth is that there is no way that there can be a powerful, moral creator that gives a whit about the death of the children at Newtown or anywhere else. But before we get to why that is so, and why that matters to modern societies, we need to discuss the rank bigotry against atheists that these tragedies expose.
Every time this sort of disaster happens there is a long line of clerics and lay believers who go on, and on, and on, and on about how yes Virginia there is a loving God who is prolife and pro human freedom, and that it mourns the death of the little children the deity will be bringing into heaven and so forth. Where the patent bigotry comes in is how only believers are solicited for their opinions on these matters. Think about it. When was the last time you were watching or listening to a mainstream or even a progressive talk TV or radio program in the wake of a calamity man made or natural, and there was a known atheist included on the discussion panel, or in a stand alone interview, to offer the nonsupernaturalists’ opinion on why bad things happen? I have not seen a single example this time around. Instead, one theist after another is invited to offer yet again the same set of tired clichés and platitudes about how a speculative being of immense power and moral perfection could allow horrors to afflict there human creations, including the little tykes. It is not like we haven’t heard it all before ad nauseam. It is an insidious form of casual bigotry in which most interview schedulers and program hosts don’t even think of finding out what the atheists think, and automatically turn to the supernaturalists, even though they never have anything new (i.e. newsworthy) to say (www.gregspaul.webs.com/WPoped.pdf). This when recent survey data is indicating that about a fifth of Americans are at least marginal atheists (www.scienceandreligiontoday.com/2012/05/30/is-atheism-increasing-at-the-expense-of-theism), and well over a third are nonreligious (redcresearch.ie/wp-content/uploads/2012/08/RED-C-press-release-Religion-and-Atheism-25-7-12.pdf).
Another form of tacit, exclusionary bigotry against nontheists is interfaith gatherings to mourn the victims of mass shootings and other catastrophes. Again, think about it. Say you are an atheist. Say you are sitting in a meeting where the speakers are offering that the God of Love exists and cares, etc. Being an atheist you are aware that the possibility that such a being exists is minimal at best, so you are listening to an paranormalist lie. Worse, you are listening to a proposal that the deity cares about humans, when the violent deaths are in obvious contradiction to this amazingly common conceit. One reason many people are atheists is because they consider it outrageous to contend that a good god can allow such repulsive horrors to happen. To most atheists the belief that a benign creator has created a planet of death is obscene. So an atheist at an interfaith conclave is hearing depraved lies. And if an atheist dares get up and mention that the belief in a God good or otherwise is delusional they will be denounced for daring point out the obvious. Atheists are excluded yet again, even though it is the nonsupernaturalists who are correct.
What has yet to be fully appreciated is the absolute degree to which the atheist rejection of a moral creator is accurate. That is because far too few persons, even atheists, know the pertinent facts that render to existence of an ethical God of extreme power literally impossible. Much of the following discussion is based on an analysis I published in Philosophy and Theology, please refer to the PDF at gregspaul.webs.com/Philosophy&Theology.pdf (and www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/guest-voices/post/a-loving-god-a-world-of-suffering/2011/09/26/gIQAaT1S0K_blog.html).
Before we continue, please imagine the following. You are in an audience. The speaker asks you to raise your hand if think it is it acceptable for homicide, either by neglect or premeditation, to be committed on a mass basis against children? I assume you would not raise your hand. I wouldn’t. Instead, you probably would agree that it must be the top priority of all caretakers of children to do all they can to ensure the comfort, safety and lives of children. Right? Hold those thoughts.
The first fact that all need to know is that somewhere in the area of 100 billion Homo sapiens have been born (www.prb.org/Articles/2002/HowManyPeoplehaveEverLivedonEarth.aspx and wvaughan.org/howmanypeople.html). The second and dreadful fact is a figure that should have become common knowledge long ago, but I was the first to bother to calculate. About 50 billion children have been tortured to death by diseases, plus other nonhuman causes. For thousands of years tens of thousands of children have died every single day. The Holocaust of the Children is the greatest catastrophe in human history, one that has gone inappropriately under appreciated because it has usually been a story of personal and familial tragedies and grief, rather than the spectacular disasters that garner attention. One reason that children have died like flies is because they lack adequate immune systems. Because a higher juvenile mortality rate would crash the population, the suffering and death has been maximal.
Just a few moments ago you (hopefully) agreed that there are no circumstances that justify to mass homicide of children, and that those responsible for the circumstances that kids live within must strive to optimize them. According to Abrahamism, the one God created the universe, our planet, and all living things. It follows that if a being of immense power created a tiny planet so packed with diseases that they agonizingly terminate the lives of half the children, then it is cannot be the priority of the creator to come anywhere near close to properly caring for the earthly welfare and lives of children. Instead, the creator has committed maximal mass homicide – at best negligent, at worst premeditated – against children. It further follows that it is not possible for a creator of our world to be moral and loving.
It cannot be overemphasized that there is no cogent counter argument. Theodicy is the desperate effort by theists to justify believing in a perfectly good God in a world of dire imperfection. Their core argument is that God gives humans the gift of free will so we can all decide whether or not we want to dwell with Him for eternity in His paradise. As John Polkinghorne contends, the “suffering of the world is such that we might be tempted to think that less freedom would be a worthwhile cost to pay for less pain. But do we really wish we had been automata?” (Belief in God in an Age of Science, 1998). In this theory the supposed creator cannot interfere in worldly events lest he risk aborting the free will of humans, and ends up being robotically worshipped by human souls that did not decide they wanted to do so. This is in accord with the common Christian claim that the only way to achieve heaven is to deliberately accept the grace of Christ.
The free will argument is blazingly stupid. Really, what are the theodists thinking? Because they lack mature free will, children are barred from signing contracts, etc., and are under the guardianship of adults. Obviously, the free will hypothesis can work only if every single human grows up to sufficient mental maturity and health to make a well-informed decision about their eternal fate. Instead, half of humanity has died as kids. Or in the womb, since at least half of conceptions (perhaps up the three quarters), fail to come to term because the human reproductive system is so badly designed. And a percentage of adults are seriously mentally disabled. It follows that if there is an ubercreator, then it does not care all that much about the free will of humans. And if those who die before they become adults get a free ticket to heaven, then paradise is largely inhabited by exactly the kind of automata that theologians deny that God wants, and that denies humans their freedom to choose who if anything they wish to worship for all time.
As I pointed out in the Journal of Medical Ethics (www.gregspaul.webs.com/remoteprayers.pdf) petitioning God with prayer to heal and save lives has been entirely ineffective, and there is no evidence that any god has done anything to alleviate the suffering and death of children (like providing them with effective immune systems, and informing adults about the need for sanitation). Who really cares about kids are the adult humans who have busted their butts to come up with the scientific means to save the children, driving juvenile mortality to wonderfully low levels in the last century. It is one of the pertinacious scams of our time that most humans still thank a god for what people should be given full and sole credit for.
Theism is wrapped up in the greatest bubble of denial of reality that there is. The obvious truth is that there cannot be a moral, loving supernatural creator that is prolife, or pro the freedom of humans. If there is a creator, it has perpetrated the greatest crime against humanity – vastly exceeding those by the great human dictators — and should be put on trial for the felony. Ergo, the still wildly popular belief that there is a God who truly cares about the earthly lives and ultimate freedom of kids is pretty much the biggest lie that there is. So no creator being cares all that much about the children gunned down in Newtown, and those who claim there is such an entity are grievously mendacious.
And the theistic denial runs deep. In the Philosophy and Theology paper I detail how theologians over the ages have long bent over backwards to avoid addressing the problem of the childrens’ holocaust. The premature death of kids just does not come up in their wordy tracts. It is literally true that some theodists have paid far more attention to the suffering of animals than that of children. I’m not making that up, check out their books. It is not hard to figure out why theists run away from the slaughter of the kids. It’s because they have not a clue how to explain it away, it being undeniable that all the dead children means that any creator is not ensuring that most much less all humans have free will. The evasion continues. I sent a PDF of the P&T paper to every theodist theologian I could think of when it came out in 2009 (as well as some prominent theists such as Francis Collins). So far there has not been a single reply in to my academic publication in the literature or elsewhere. None. Because they don’t know how to rebut it. Not that they will do the right thing and admit that their perfect God is made up.
Not that the P&T paper is not having a major impact. Theologians appear to be quietly abandoning the free will hypothesis that theism has been relying on for centuries without acknowledging it, and without coming up with a viable alternative (which does not exist). John Haught was a prominent proponent of free will theory; lately he has been proposing that God gave us the “gift of being” without explaining how this justifies the terrible suffering of the children. In his new Where the Conflict Really Lies: Science, Religion, and Naturalism Plantinga tries to wave off the problem with; “Suppose God does have a good reason for permitting sin and evil, pain and suffering: why think we would be the first to know what it is?” That is a cynical no answer from a leading theist who has no valid apology on hand. And it is moral abrogation, accommodation and relativism of the highest order. It is the ethical duty of all mentally capable adults to examine moral questions in detail and make careful decisions about them. To instead trust in some speculative being to properly handle situations is a juvenile dodge of mature ethical responsibility, all the more so when it is part of a deal for expected supernatural favors in return. It is morally slack.
Most monotheists propose – often vehemently — that societies that fail to believe in a supernatural creator that alone can provide absolute morality are doomed to mayhem and murder. It’s pretty much the position of the Republican Party. But this cannot be correct since there cannot be a moral god in the first place. And the stats bear this out. The US is the most religious 1st world country, and it suffers by far the highest rate of common murder among the advanced democracies, including exceptional rates of mass shootings (I examine the reasons for this pattern at www.epjournal.net/filestore/EP07398441_c.pdf, and www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/guest-voices/post/is-religion-good-for-society/2011/10/17/gIQA9HutrL_blog.html). The most atheistic democracies enjoy the lowest levels of homicide seen in human history. There is even a study that shows that exposure to the extensive creator ordained violence in the Bible can increase propensity towards violence (sitemaker.umich.edu/brad.bushman/files/BRDKB07.pdf). The claim that the good god is good for societies is another great big lie that stems from the theistic bubble of denial.
The nonsupernaturalists are, of course, right. There is no god of any type. Much less one that is good and cares about the welfare of children on earth. Worship of the gods does not suppress murder. If anything the opposite is true. So what do atheists get for knowing the facts? They are effectively banned by the mainstream media for pointing out these real truths, while the theist majority continues to dwell in the great supernaturalistic refusal to face reality.
But things are changing. Religion has long been imploding in all 1st world countries, and recent surveys show dramatic signs that the shrinkage of theism is accelerating to astonishing levels in the US as youth gives up on supernaturalism in a digital age. Far from leading to societal disaster, homicide rates have dropped in parallel. As time goes on it will become increasingly known that the death of 50 billion children disproves the existence of a good god, and that only atheistic democracies can achieve the highest levels of societal success. Combined with the powerful socioeconomic processes that are suppressing popular religiosity, fewer and fewer will be turning to a mythical God of Love when bad things happen.
It just may be that the Newtown horror is one of those tipping points that will boost the rise of atheism. It is so blatant, it is such an exposure of the perversion that is free will theory — the sick idea that there is a “loving god.” A perfect supermind that sits by while terrorized first graders are mowed down by gun, so that a mentally troubled young man can express his free will such as it is, when the very same act denies the children their free will. This in a world where the deity does not lift a finger to prevent billions and billions of children from being deprived of their freedom as they are cruelly liquidated by malaria, smallpox (the two biggest kid killers) and a long host of ruthless microbes that the intelligent designer either deliberately crafted to kill people (according the IDers such as Michael Behe as quoted below – this qualifies as premeditated homicide by the creator), or were allowed to evolve (according to evolutionary theists like John Haught, Ken Miller, Francis Collins – this is godly negligent homicide at best). Are we really supposed to abandon moral commonsense and common decency to believe the ethical absurdities that theists from professional to on the street demand we accept on what they grandly label faith, in base exchange for a ticket to some paradise to worship a power that has been OK with the deaths of so many children? Are we really not allowed as thinking adults to decide what is and is not moral and decent when it comes to the activities of the gods the believers cannot even show actually exist? Are we really not allowed to be outraged that people are still worshipping the homicidal deity in an age when science and reason should predominate? The theist pretense is too much for a large and fast expanding cohort of rationalists to swallow on sensible and moral grounds. Atheists realize that this just does not make moral sense, and never will. Horrors happen obviously because there is no one in charge of the evolutionary show.
For theists who think it inappropriate to use the Newtown tragedy to make these points, who do you think you are to criticize, when theists proudly proclaim the Loving God in the wake of these events it could have stopped if it has the power attributed to it? It is the opposite that is true. It makes no sense that the rational thinking is being ignored, when theists unable to explain things get all the attention. For theism to be taken seriously, believers must present a logical case that directly explains how a loving creator has overseen the liquidation of 50 billion children. It is safe to predict it will never happen.
Sam Clemens who loathed theism and its deity had it right. Religion is not merely errant, it is moral depravity to worship a being that has overseen the homicide of tens of billions of children, all the more so when it stems from a nonaltruistic search for boons from the deity. It is time for humanity to grow up, acknowledge that the supernatural does not exist, and to get on with the hard work of saving the children that no god gives a damn about.
At long last let’s listen to the reality based wisdom of the godless.
Here’s something to ponder long and hard. Malaria was intentionally designed. The molecular machinery with which the parasite invades red blood cells is an exquisitely purposeful arrangement of parts. [A mother’s] children died in her arms partly because an intelligent agent [God] deliberately made malaria.
Catholic Intelligent Design proponent Michael Behe, The Edge of Evolution
The Bible’s Many Dark and Obtuse Sides
Written by: Greg Paul
The Old and New Testament God’s Support for and practice of Murder, Child Murder, Human Sacrifice, Genocide, Ethnic Cleansing, Discrimination, Slavery, Rape, Adultery, Dividing Families, Child Abuse, Anti-Semitism, Vigilantism, Theft, Deception, Autocracy and Abrogation of Free Will
Mass murder, ethnic cleansing & plundering committed by God or his obedient followers in the Old Testament
Genesis 7: 21-22: The great Flood. “And all flesh died that moved upon the earth….and every man. All in whose nostrils was the breath of life, of all that was in the dry land, died.” (Biblical accounting indicates the death toll would have been in the many hundreds of millions or low billions, at least a third of which would have been children of which none survived the disaster.)
Genesis 19: 24-25: “Then the Lord rained upon Sodom and Gomorrah brimstone and fire from the Lord out of heaven. And he overthrew those cities, and all the plain, and all the inhabitants of the cities, and that which grew upon the ground.”
Genesis 12: For his safety Abraham tells his wife Sarah to pretend she is his sister. “When Abraham was come into Egypt, the Egyptians beheld [Sarah] that she was very fair…. And [Sarah] was taken into Pharaoh’s house [as a wife].” Pharaoh makes Abraham very wealthy. “And the Lord plagued Pharaoh and his house with great plagues because of Sarah, Abraham’s wife. And Pharaoh called Abraham, and said, “What is this that thou hast done unto me? Why didst thou not tell me she was they wife?’”
Job 1: God’s angel Satan points out that his righteous follower Job may be so devout because his life is so easy, so God tasks Satan with testing Job. 15 The Sabeans attacked and put Job’s “‘servants to the sword. 16 The fire of God fell from the sky and burned up the sheep and the servants….’” 17 The Chaldeans “‘put the servants to the sword.’” 18 His sons and daughters were having a party “‘when suddenly a mighty wind swept in from the desert and struck the four corners of the house. It collapsed on them and they are dead.’”
Exodus: God encourages part of Israel to settle in Egypt and the Hebrews are eventually enslaved. “2: 11-12: “[Moses] spied an Egyptian smiting an Hebrew, one of his brethren. And he looked this way and that way, and when there was no msn, he slew the Egyptian, and hid him in the sand. 3: 21 And I will give [the Israelites] favor in the sight of the Egyptians: and it shall come to pass, that, when ye go, ye shall not go empty: 22 But every woman shall borrow of her that sojourneth in her house, jewels of silver, and jewels of gold, and raiment: and ye shall put them upon your sons, and upon your daughters; and ye shall spoil [plunder] the Egyptians. 4: 21 And the Lord said unto Moses, when thou goest to return into Egypt, see that thou do all those wonders before Pharaoh, which I have put in thine hand: but I will harden his heart, that he shall not let the people go. 24-25: And it came to pass by the way to the inn, that the Lord met [Moses], and sought to kill him (God spares Moses after his son is finally circumcised). 7.3 And I will harden Pharaoh’s heart, 4 But Pharaoh shall not hearken unto you, that I may lay my signs and my wonders in the land of Egypt. 9.11 The boil was…upon all the Egyptians. 12 And the Lord hardened the heart of Pharaoh, and he hearkened not unto them, as the Lord had spoken unto Moses. 16 And in the very deed for this cause have I raised thee up, for to show in thee my power; and that my name may be declared throughout all the earth. 25 And the hail smote throughout all the land of Egypt all that was in the field, both man [including slaves] and beast: and the hail smote every herb of the field, and brake every tree of the field. 27 And Pharaoh…said…I have sinned this time, the Lord if righteous, and I and my people are wicked. 10.1 And the Lord said unto Moses, go in unto Pharaoh, for I have hardened his heart and the heart of his servants, that I may show these signs before him. 2 And that thou mayest tell in the ears of they son, and of thy son’s son, what things I have wrought in Egypt, and my signs which I have done among theml that ye may know I am the lord. 15 [Locusts] did eat every herb of the land, and all the fruit in the trees….and there remained not any green thing in the trees, or in the herbs in the field. 16 Then Pharaoh….said I have sinned against the Lord your God, and against you. 17 Now therefore forgive, I pray thee, my sin only this once,, and intreat the Lord your God, that he may take away from me this death only. 20 But the Lord hardened Pharaoh’s heart, so that he would not let the children of Israel go. 24 And Pharaoh…said….go ye, serve the Lord; only let your flocks and your herds be stayed: let your little ones also go with you. 25 And Moses said, thou must give us also sacrifices and burnt offerings. 27 But the Lord hardened Pharaoh’s heart, and he would not let them go. 11.9 And the Lord said unto Moses, Pharaoh shall not hearken unto you, that my wonders may be multiplied in the land of Egypt. 10 And the Lord hardened Pharaoh’s heart, so that he would not let the children of Israel out of his land. 12.27 It is the sacrifice of the Lord’s Passover, who passed over the houses of the children of Israel in Egypt, when he smote the Egyptians, and delivered our houses. 29 And it came to pass, that at midnight the Lord smote all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, from the firstborn of Pharaoh that sat on his throne unto the firstborn of the captive that was in the dungeon. 30 There was a great cry in Egypt; for there was not a house where there was not one dead.” (Considering the very large population of ancient Egypt, the death toll would have been in the hundreds of thousands, including many children.)
Exodus 14: “4 And I will harden Pharaoh’s heart, that he shall follow after them and I will be honored upon Pharaoh, and upon all his host; that the Egyptians may know that I am the Lord. 8 And the Lord hardened the heart Pharaoh King of Egypt, and he pursued after the Children of Israel [leading to the destruction of the entire army].”
Exodus 23: God tells the wandering Israelites “23 My angel [possibly Jesus] will go ahead of you and bring you into the land of the Amorites, Hittittes, Perizzites, Canaanites, Hevites and Jebusites, and I will wipe them out. 27 I will send my terror ahead of you and throw into confusion every nation you encounter.”
Exodus 32: The response of God and Moses to the Israelites religious right of conversion involving sacrificing animals to the Golden Calf while Moses was receiving the commandments including the ban on murder. “27 Thus saith the Lord God of Israel, put every man his sword by his side, and go forth from gate to gate throughout the camp, and slay every man his brother, and every man his neighbor. 28 And the children of Levi did according to the word of Moses: and there fell of the people that day about three thousand men. 29 For Moses said, consecrate yourselves to day to the Lord, even every man upon his son, and upon his brother, and upon his brother; that he may bestow upon you a blessing this day. 35 And the Lord plagued the people, because they made the calf.”
Numbers 11: 33: “And while the [quail] flesh was yet between [the Israelites] teeth, ere it was chewed, the wrath of the Lord was kindled against the people, and the Lord smote the people against a great plague.”
Numbers 16: After more trouble with a group of his Chosen People “32 the earth opened her mouth, and swallowed them up, and their houses [including wives and children]…. 33 down alive into the pit…. And they perished from among the congregation. 35 And there came out a fire from the Lord, and consumed the 250 men that offered incense. 47 and behold, the plague was begun among the people…. 49 Now they that died in the plague were fourteen thousand and seven hundred.”
Numbers 21: After the Israelites disrespect God yet again “6 And the Lord sent fiery serpents among the people, and they bit the people; and much people of Israel died.”
Numbers 25: The Israelites are having unsanctioned sex with the Moabites, so “4 the Lord said unto Moses, take all the heads of the people, and hang them up before the Lord against the sun…. 5 And Moses said unto the judges of Israel, Slay ye every one his men that were joined unto Baal peor.” When an Israelite brings a sinning Midianite woman in the sight of Moses and others Phinehas “7 took a javelin in his hand; 8 And he went after the man of Israel into the tent, and thrust both of them through, the man of Israel, and the woman through her belly. So the plague was stayed from the children of Israel. 9 And those that died in the plague were twenty and four thousand…. 12 Wherefore say, Behold, I [God] give unto [Phinehas] my covenant of peace: 13 And he shall have it, and his seed after him, even the covenant of an everlasting priesthood, because he was zealous for his God.”
Numbers 21: 3: “And the Lord hearkened to the voice of Israel, and delivered up the Canaanites; and they utterly destroyed them and their cities.”
Numbers 31: 17: The orders of God and Moses to the Israelite warriors after their assault upon the Midianites (among whom Moses had earlier been given refuge) in response to their corrupting influence. “Now therefore kill every male among the little ones, and kill every woman that hath known man by lying with him.” (Also see below.)
Deuteronomy 2: 34-35: As part of a plan to promote their conquest, God hardens the heart of the Heshbon king so that he refuses the Israelite demand to pass by. “And we took all his cities at that time, and utterly destroyed the men, and the women, and the little ones, of every city, we left none to remain. Only the cattle we took for a prey unto ourselves, and the spoil of the cities which we took.”
Deuteronomy 3: 6-7: God orders the Israelites to conquer the sixty Bashan cities. “And we utterly destroyed them, ……utterly destroying the men, women, and children, of every city. But all the cattle, and the spoil of the cities, we took for prey to ourselves.”
Deuteronomy 7: Through Moses God details the way in which the Chosen People should treat the Hittites, Girgashites, Amorites, Canaanites, Perizzites, Hivites and Jebusites as they conquer the Promised Land. “2 And when the Lord thy God shall deliver them before thee, thou shalt smite them, and utterly destroy them, thou shalt make no covenant with them, nor show mercy unto them. 16 And thou shalt consume all the people which the Lord thy God shall deliver thee; thine eye shall have no pity upon them.” (According to Biblical accounts of population at the time, estimated number of dead during the conquest were a few million.)
Deuteronomy 20: “13 And when the Lord thy God hath delivered [a city] into thine hands, thou shalt smite every male thereof with the edge of the sword: 14…. And thou shalt eat the spoil of thine enemies, which the Lord thy god hath given thee. [and] 16 thou shalt save alive nothing that breatheth: 17 But thou shalt utterly destroy them; namely, the Hittites, and the Amorites, the Canaanites, and the Perizzites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites; as the Lord thy God hath commanded thee.”
Joshua 6: 21: As the ethnic cleansing conquest continues the Israelites enter Jericho after the blowing of the trumpets and “utterly destroyed all that was in the city, both man and woman, young and old…. with the edge of the sword.”
Joshua 8: The Chosen People move upon Ai. “1 And the Lord said unto Joshua…..take all the people of war with thee, and arise, go up to Ai: see I have given into thy hand the king of Ai, and his people, and his city, and his land. 2 And thou shalt do to Ai and her king: only the spoil thereof, and the cattle thereof, shall ye take for a prey unto yourselves: lay thee an ambush for the city behind it. 8 And it shall be that when ye have taken the city, that ye shall set the city on fire: according to the commandment of the Lord shall ye do so. 24 And it came to pass when Israel had made an end of slaying all the inhabitants of Ai in the field, in the wilderness wherein they chased them, and when they were all fallen on the edge of the sword, until they were consumed, that all the Israelites returned unto Ai and smote it with the edge of the sword. 25 And so it was, that all that fell that day, both of men and women, were twelve thousand…… 26 For Joshua drew not his hand back, where-with he stretched out the spear, until he had utterly destroyed all the inhabitants of Ai. 29 And the king of Ai he hanged on a tree”
Joshua 10: “11: And it came to pass, as they fled from before Israel, and were going down in Bethhoron, that the Lord cast down great stones from heaven upon them unto Azekah, and they died: they were much more which died with hailstones than they whom the children of Israel slew with the sword.” After God stops the sun so the Israelites and their allies can continue to their unprovoked conquest the mass slaughter continues. 28 After the five kings were captured “Joshua smote them, and slew them, and hanged them on five tree. 28 And that day Joshua took Makkedah, and smote it with the edge of the sword……and all the souls that were therein; he let none remain. 30 And the Lord delivered [Libnah], and he smote it with the edge of the sword, and all the souls that were therein; he let none remain in it. 32 And the Lord delivered Lachish into the hand of Israel…..and smote it with the edge of the sword, and all the souls that were therein. 33 Then Horam king of Gezer came up to help Lachish; and Joshua smote him and his people, until he had left him none remaining. 35 And they took [Eglon] on that day, and smote it with the edge of the sword, and all the souls that were therein he utterly destroyed. 37 and they took [Hebron], and smote it with the edge of the sword…. destroyed it utterly, and all the souls that were therein. 39 And [Joshua] took [Debir] and utterly destroyed all the souls that were therein; he left none remaining. 40 So Joshua smote all the country of the hills….the south…..the vale…..the springs….he left none remaining, but utterly destroyed all that breathed, as the Lord God of Israel commanded. 41 And Joshua smote them from Kadeshbarnea even unto Gaza, and all the country of Goshen, even unto Gibeon.”
Joshua 11: Joshua continues God’s work. “11 And they smote all the souls that were [in Hazor] with the edge of the sword, utterly destroying them: there was not any left to breathe: and he burnt Hazor with fire. 12 And all the cities of those kings….did Joshua take, and smote them with the edge of the sword, and he utterly destroyed them, as Moses the servant of the Lord commanded. 14 And all the spoil of these cities, and the cattle, the children of Israel took for a prey unto themselves; but every man they smote with the edge of the sword, until they had destroyed them, neither left they any to breathe. 15 As the Lord commanded Moses his servant, so did Moses command Joshua, and so did Joshua. 16 So Joshua took all….the south country…..the land of Goshen…..(and) Israel. 18 Joshua made war a long time with all those kings. 19 There was not a city that made peace with the children of Israel, (all) they took in battle. 20 For it was of the Lord to harden their [the Israelites enemies] hearts, that they should come against Israel in battle, that he might destroy them utterly.”
Judges 1: 17: “And Judah went with Simeon his brother, and they slew the Canaanites that inhabited Zephath, and utterly destroyed it.
Judges 9: “45 And Abimelech fought against the city all that day; and he took the city, and slew the people that was therein.” The Israelite leader than organizes his warriors to deal with the enemy trapped in a tower by setting “fire upon them; so that all the men of the tower of Shechem died also, about a thousand men and women.”
Judges 11: “29 Then the spirit of the Lord came upon Jephthah. 32 So Jephthah passed over unto the children of Ammon…..and the Lord delivered them into his hands. 33 And he smote them…even twenty cities…with great slaughter.”
Judges 13-16: “And the children of Israel did evil again in the sight of the Lord; and the Lord delivered them into the hand of the Philistines.” To punish the Philistines for doing his will and enslaving his Chosen People God arranges for the birth of Sampson. After losing a riddle game “the spirit of the Lord came upon him, and he went down to Ashkelon, and slew thirty men of them, and took their spoil.” Later “the spirit of the Lord came mightily upon him…. and he found a new jawbone of an ass…. and slew a thousand men therewith.” In the end Sampson called upon the Lord for strength and asked “’Let me die with the Philistines. And he bowed himself with all his might; and the house fell upon the lads, and upon all the people that were therein. So the dead which he slew at his death were more than they which he slew in his life.”
I Samuel 6: After God removes his favor from Israel the ark of the covenant is captured by the Philistines. But they suffer so much from its presence – including the growth of tumors on the men’s secret parts – that the Philistines decided to give it back to the Israelite city of Bethshemesh, which was exulted by ark’s return until they made a mistake “19 And (God) smote the men of Bethshemesh, because they had looked upon the ark of the Lord, even he smote of the people fifty thousand and threescore and ten men: and the people lamented, because the Lord had smitten many of the people with a great slaughter.”
I Samuel 15: During their time in the Wilderness the Israelites had been attacked by the
Amaleks, and in Exodus 17:16 Moses said that “the Lord hath sworn that the Lord will have war with Amalek from generation to generation.” Later, in I S. 15.2 “Thus saith the Lord of the hosts, I remember that which Amalek did to Israel. 3 Now go and smite Amalek, and utterly destroy all that they have, and spare them not; but slay both man and woman, infant and suckling. 8 And [Saul and his army] utterly destroyed all the people with the edge of the sword. 33 And Samuel hewed Agag [Amalek king] in pieces before the Lord.”
1 Samuel 27: “8 And David and his men went up, and invaded the Gechurites, and the Amalekites…. 9 And David smote the land, and left neither man or woman alive, and took away the sheep, and the oxen, and the asses, and the camels, and the apparel.”
2 Samuel 8: “1 In the course of time David defeated the Philistines and subdued them…. 2 David also defeated the Moabites. He made them lie down on the ground and measured them off with a length of cord. Every two lengths of them were put to death…. So the Moabites became subject to David and brought tribute. 3 Moreover, David fought…. Zobah. 5 When the Arameans of Damascus came to help…. Zobah, David struck down 22,000 of them, and the Arameans became subject to him and brought tribute. The Lord gave David victory wherever he went. 7 David took the gold shields that belonged to the officers of Hadadezer and brought them to Jerusalem. From Tebah and Berothal…. King David took a great quantity of bronze. 13 And David became famous after he returned from striking down 18,000 Edomites. 14…. The Lord gave David victory wherever he went.
2 Samuel 24: “1 Again the anger of the Lord burned against Israel, and he incited David against them, saying, ‘Go and take a census of Israel and Judah.’” The great king wishes to repent after this dire sin so God allows him to pick among three punishments, David decides this one is the least odious. “15 So the Lord sent a plague on Israel from that morning until the end of [three days], and seventy thousand of the people from Dan to Beersheba died.”
1 Kings 18: 40: “Then Elijah commanded them, ‘Seize the 450 prophets of Baal. Don’t let anyone get away!’ They seized them and Elijah had them brought down to the Kishon Valley and slaughtered there.”
2 Kings 1: 9-12: “Then the king of Israel sent to Elijah a captain with his company of fifty men. The captain went up to Elijah, who was sitting on the top of a hill, and said to him, “man of God, the king says, ‘Come down!’ Elijah answered the captain, ‘If I am a man of God, may fire come down from heaven and consume you and your fifty men!’ Then fire fell from heaven and consumed the captain and his men, At this the king sent to Elijah another captain and his fifty men. The captain said to him, ‘Man of God, this is what the king says, ‘Come down at once!’’ “If I am a man of God,’ Elijah replied, ‘may fire come down from heaven and consume you and your fifty men!’ Then the fire of God fell from heaven and consumed him and his fifty men.”
2 Kings 3: 18 The Lord will “hand Moab over to you. 19 You will overthrow every fortified city and every major town. You will cut down every good tree, stop up all the springs, and ruin every good field with stones. 24…. the Israelites invaded the land and slaughtered the Moabites, 25 They destroyed the towns…. They stopped up all the springs and cut down every good tree.”
2 Kings 10: After God anoints Jehu King he sends instructions to the guardians of the sons of the sinful late King Ahab. “7 When the letter arrived, these men took the princes and slaughtered all seventy of them. They put their heads in baskets and sent them to Jehu. 11 So Jehu killed everyone in Jezreel who remained of the house of Ahab…. leaving no survivor.” When Jehu meets the relatives of Ahaziah he orders that he instructs his escort who “14….took them alive and slaughtered them…. Forty two men. He left no survivor. 17 When he came to Samaria, he killed all there who were left there of Ahab’s family; he destroyed them according to the word of the Lord spoken to Elijah.” Jehu invites all the worshippers of Baal to an assembly to worship Baal. 25 Jehu “ordered the guards and the officers: ‘Go in and kill them; let no one escape.’ So they cut them down with sword. 30 The Lord said to Jehu, “Because you have done well in accomplishing what is right in my eyes and have done to the house of Ahab all I has in mind to do, your descendents will sit on the throne of Israel to the fourth generation.”
Esther 9: The Persian King Xerxes allows the Jews in his empire to deal with their enemies. “5 The Jews struck down all their enemies with the sword, killing and destroying them, and they did what they pleased with those who hated them. 16…. They killed 75,000 of them.”
Psalms 137: 8-9: “Daughter of Babylon, doomed to destruction, happy is he who repays you for what you have done to us – he who seizes your infants and dashes them against rocks.”
Human sacrifices ordained by God
Judges 11: “30 And Jephthah vowed a vow unto the Lord, and said, If though shalt without fail deliver the children of Ammon into mine hands. 31 Then it shall be, that whatsoever cometh forth of the doors of my house to meet me, when I return in peace from the children of Ammon, shall surely be the Lord’s, and I will offer it up for a burnt offering. (See above extracts) 34 And Jephthah came to Mizpeh unto his house, and behold, his daughter came out to meet him with timbrels and with dances. 35 And [Jephthah] rent his clothes, and said, alas my daughter thou hast brought me very low, and thou art one of them that trouble me, for I have opened my mouth unto the Lord, and I cannot go back. 36 And she said unto him, My father, if thou hast opened thy mouth unto the Lord, do to me according to that which hath proceeded out of thy mouth; forasmuch as the Lord hath taken vengeance for thee of thine enemies. 38 And [she went] away for two months: and she went with her companions and bewailed her virginity upon the mountains. 39 And it came to pass at the end of two months, that she returned unto her father, who did with her according to his vow which he had vowed: and she knew no man, And it was a custom in Israel.” (Note that the girl’s name is never given, she being the mere property of her father by Hebrew law.) (The procedure involved in a burnt offering is detailed in Leviticus 1. “4 And he shall put his hand upon the head of the burnt offering; and it shall be accepted for him to make atonement for him. 5 And he shall kill the bullock before the Lord: and the priests….shall…..sprinkle the blood round about upon the altar. 6 And he shall flay the burnt offering, and cut it into his pieces. 8 And the priests….shall lay the parts, and the head, and the fat, in order upon the wood that is on the fire which is upon the altar: 9 But his inwards and his legs shall he wash in water: and the priest shall burn all on the altar, to be a burnt offering made by fire, of a sweet savour to the Lord.”)
2 Samuel 21: 5-9: “They answered the king, ‘As for the man who destroyed us and plotted against us so that we have been decimated and have no place anywhere in Israel, let seven of his male descendents be given to us to be killed and exposed before the Lord at Gibeah of Saul – the Lord’s chosen one.’ So the King said “I will give them to you”…. The King took Armoni and Mephibosheth, the two sons of Aiah’s daughter Rizpah….together with the five sons of Saul’s daughter Merab…. He handed them over to Gibeonites, who killed and exposed them on a hill before the Lord. All seven of them fell together; they were put to death during the first days of the harvest, just as the barley harvest was beginning.”
1 Kings 13: 2: “He cried out against the altar by the word of the Lord: ’O altar, altar! This is what the Lord says: ‘A son named Josiah will be born to the house of David. On you he will sacrifice the priests of the high places who now make offerings here, and human bones will be burned upon you.’”
2 Kings 23: 20: “Josiah slaughtered all the priests of those high places on the altars and burned human bones on them.”
The disobedient & their kin: murdering, stoning, & burning them alive, & lions and bears
Exodus 21: 17: “Anyone who curses his father or mother must be put to death.”
Exodus 22: 18-20: “Do not allow a sorceress to live.
Anyone who has sexual relations with an animal must be put to death.
Whoever sacrifices to any God other than the Lord must be destroyed.”
Leviticus 20: 27: “A man or woman who is a medium or spiritist among you must be put to death. You are to stone them; there blood will be on their own hands.”
Leviticus 20: 9-16: “If anyone curses his father or mother, he must be put to death. He has cursed his cursed his father or his mother, and his blood will be on his own head.
If a man commits adultery with another man’s wife both the adulterer and the adulteress must be put to death.
If a man sleeps with his father’s wife, he has dishonored his father. Both the man and the woman must be put to death; their blood will be on their own heads.
If a man sleeps with his daughter-in-law, both of them must be put to death. What they have done is a perversion; their blood will be on their own heads,
If a man lies with a man as one lies with a woman, both of them have done what is detestable. Hey must be put to death; their blood will be on their own heads.
If a man marries both a woman and her mother, it is wicked, Both he and they must be burned in the fire, so that no wickedness will be among you.
If a man has sexual relations with an animal, he must be put to death, and you must kill the animal.
If a woman approaches an animal to have sexual relations with it, kill both the woman and the animal. They must be put to death, their blood will be on their own heads.”
Leviticus 21: 9: “If a priest’s daughter defiles herself by becoming a prostitute, she disgraces her father; she must be burned in the fire.”
Deuteronomy 22: If a man is found sleeping with another man’s wife, both the man who slept with her and the woman must die. If a man happens to meet in a town a virgin pledged to be married and he sleeps with her, you shall take both of them to the gate of that town and stone them to death – the girl because she was in town and did not scream for help, and the man because he violated another man’s wife. 28 If a man happens to meet a virgin who is not pledged to be married and rapes her and they are discovered, 29…. He must marry the girl, for he has violated her.
Leviticus 24: 13-16: “Then the Lord said to Moses: ‘Take the blasphemer outside the camp. All those who heard him are to lay their hands on his head, and the entire assembly is to stone him. Say to the Israelites: If anyone curses his God, he will be held responsible: anyone who blasphemes the name of the Lord must be put to death. The entire assembly must stone him. Whether an alien or native-born, when he blasphemes the Name, he must be put to death.”
Deuteronomy 13: Instructions for punishing apostates. “5 That prophet or dreamer must be put to death. 8 Show him no pity. Do not spare him or shield him. 9 You must certainly put him to death. Your hand must be the first in putting him to death, and then the hands of all the people. 10 Stone him to death, because he tried to turn you away from the Lord your God. 15 Destroy it [town of apostates] completely, both its people and its livestock.”
Deuteronomy 17: More on dealing with apostates. “5 Take the man or woman who has done this evil deed to your city gate and stone that person to death.”
Numbers 15: “32 A man was found gathering wood on the Sabbath day. 35 Then the Lord said to Moses, ‘The man must die. The whole assembly must stone him outside the camp.’ 36 So the assembly took him outside the camp and stones him to death, as the Lord commanded Moses.”
Joshua 7: 24-25 An Israelite violates God’s command to not plunder Jericho, as His punishment they “took Achan…. His sons and daughters…. Then all Israel stoned him, and after they stoned the rest, they burned them.”
2 Samuel: 11: King David who already has many wives and concubines sees the beautiful Bathsheba wife of Uriah bathing on a nearby roof and he invites her to her palace and either rapes her or she commits adultery and she gets pregnant. So the great Israelite king sends to Uriah to war in a scheme designed to get him killed by the enemy which succeeds. 12: God does not approve so the “15 Lord struck the child that Uriah’s wife had borne to David, and he became ill. 18 On the seventh day the child died.”
1 King: God had cursed Israel due to the sins of Solomon so following kings are sinful. Because it was correspondingly errant God says “14: 10 I am going to bring disaster on the house of Jeroboam, I will cut off from Jeroboam every last male in Israel – slave or free. I will burn up the house of Jeroboam as one burns dung until it is all gone. 11 Dogs will eat those belonging to Jeroboam who die in the city, and the birds of the air will feed on those who die in the country. The Lord has spoken! 17 Then Jeroboam’s wife got up and left and went to Tirzah. As soon as she stepped over the threshold of the house the boy died.” When Baasha becomes king of Israel “15: 29 he killed [the late] Jeroboam’s whole family…. according to the word of the Lord.” Baasha is also a sinner so God says “16: 3 and I will make your house like that of Jeroboam…. 4 Dogs will eat those belonging to Baasha who die in the city, and the birds of the air will feed on those who die in the country.” After Baasha dies a new king “12 Zimri destroyed the whole family of Baasha, in accordance with the word of the Lord.”
1 Kings 13: 23: “When the man of God had finished eating and drinking, the prophet who had brought him back saddled his donkey for him. As he went his way, a lion met him on the road and killed him [while leaving the donkey untouched]. 26: When the prophet who had brought him back from his journey had heard of it, he said, ‘It is the man of God who defied the word of the Lord [after being duped by a false prophet into eating and drinking at the wrong place]. The Lord has given him over to the lion, which has mauled him and killed him, as the word of the Lord has warned him.’”
1 Kings 20: 35-36: “By the word of the Lord one of the sons of the prophets said to his companion, ‘Strike me with your weapon,’ but the man refused. So the prophet said ‘Because you have not obeyed the Lord, as soon as you leave me a lion will kill you.’ And after he went away, a lion found him and killed him.”
2 Kings 2: 23-24: “And the prophet Elijah went up unto Bethel: and as he was going up by the way, there came forth young lads out of the city, and mocked him, and said unto him, Go up thou bald head; go up thou bald head. And he turned back, and looked on them, and cursed them in the name of the Lord. And there came forth two she bears out of the wood, and mauled forty and two of the lads.”
2 Kings 17: 25: Because Israel is so sinful God allows the Assyrians to take it over and repopulate it with nonHebrews who have no clue about the existence of the Biblical creator. “When they first lived here, they did not worship the Lord; so he sent lions among them and they killed some of the people.”
Threats, promises & examples of God/Christ’s violence and anti-Semitism in the New Testament
Matthew 5: 29-30 (Sermon on the Mount): If your right eye causes you to sin, gouge it out and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to be thrown into hell. And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away.
Matthew 10: 12-15: Jesus says “As you enter the home, give it your greeting. If the home is deserving, let your peace rest on it; if it is not, let your peace return to you. If anyone will not welcome you or listen to your words, shake the dust off your feet when you leave that home or town. I tell you the truth, it will be more bearable for Sodom and Gomorrah on the day of judgment than for that town.”
Matthew 11: 20-24: “Then Jesus began to denounce the cities in which most of his miracles had been performed. ‘Woe to you, Korazin! Woe to you Bethsaida!… I tell you, it will be more bearable for Tyre and Sidon on the day of judgment than for you. And you, Capernaum, will you be lifted up to the skies? No, you will go down to the depths…. I tell you that it will be more bearable for Sodom on the day of judgment than for you.”
Matthew 10: 34-36: Jesus says “Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. 35 For I have come to turn a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law. 36 A man’s enemies will be the members of his own household.”
Matthew 22: 1-14: Parable by Jesus; “The kingdom of heaven is like a king who prepared a wedding banquet for his son.” After various troubles with the original invitees the king ends up inviting people off the street to the banquet; “But when the King came in to see the guests he noticed a man there who was not wearing wedding clothes. ‘Friend,’ he asked, ‘how did you get in here without wedding clothes?’ The man was speechless. Then the king told the attendants, ‘Tie him hand and foot and throw him outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’” Jesus says “For many are invited, but few are chosen.”
Luke 12: 49, 51-53: Jesus says “I have come to bring fire on the earth, and I wish it were already kindled!… Do you think I came to bring peace on earth? No, I tell you, but division. From now on there will be five in one family divided against each other, three against two and two against three. They will be divided, father against so and son against father, mother against daughter and daughter against mother, mother-in-law against daughter-in-law and daughter-in-law against mother-in-law.”
Luke 14: 26: Jesus says no one can be his disciple unless they “hate [their own] father and mother, his wife and children, his brothers and sisters.”
Luke 19: 27: Jesus cites the just action of an earthly king against an enemy as an example of how he as The Lord must be feared and obeyed, or else; “….those enemies of mine who did not want me to be king over them – bring them here and kill them in front of me.”
Luke 22: 35-38: “Then Jesus asked them, ‘When I sent you without purse, bag or sandals, did you lack anything?’ ‘Nothing,’ they answered. He said to them, ‘But now if you have a purse, take it, and also a bag; and if you don’t have a sword, sell your cloak and buy one.’ The disciples said, ‘See, Lord, here are two swords.’ ‘That is enough,’ he replied.”
John 2: 15: “So he made a whip out of cords, and drove all from the temple area, both sheep and cattle; he scattered the coins of the money changers and overturned their tables.” (qualifies as a premeditated, violent, anti-Semitic hate crime in a place of worship that was being run in accord with Jewish practices, rather than a peaceful protest or petition).”
John 8: 44: Jesus says to a group of Jews “You belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your father’s desire.”
Revelation: 4 In heaven the Lord sits upon his throne surrounded by 24 elders and 4 six winged chimeras (lion, ox, man, eagle) covered with eyes all round who sing His praises day and night and throughout the following events. 5 God gives a scroll to the Lamb, who breaks the seven seals of wrathful judgment. 7 Four angels of disaster are ordered by God to wait until he gives protection to 144,000 male virgin Hebrews. 8-11 An angel casts storms and an earthquake upon the Earth. Seven angels then herald the following: a hail of fire mixed with blood burns a third of the earth and trees and all the grass, a blazing mountain impacts the sea and a third of its creatures and ships are destroyed, a blazing star – Wormwood – falls onto a third of the springs and rivers poisoning many people, human faced locusts sting all the rest of humanity for five months. The four horseman kill a third of humanity. An earthquake kills many people. 15-16 Seven angels sing praises to God, and then release plagues: a poison that kills all sea life, a substance that poisons freshwater, the sun scorches people with fire, a superearthquake collapses the cities of the nations, and huge hailstones. 19 In the Second Coming God leaves his throne and followed by the armies of heaven Jesus uses a sharp sword coming out of his mouth to strike down the nations that he will rule with “an iron scepter”. An angel invites the birds of the sky to “gather together for the great supper of God, so that you may eat the flesh of kings, generals, and mighty men, of horses and their riders, and the flesh of all people, free and slave, small and great.” Only the 144,000 protected survive.
Christians invent communism enforced by death and terror
Acts: Description of the first and ideal Christian churches. 2: 44-45: “All the believers were together and had everything in common. Selling their possessions and goods, they gave to anyone as he had need.” 4: 32-37: No one claimed that any of his possessions was his own, but they shared everything they had…. There were no needy persons among them. From time to time those who owned lands or houses sold them, brought the money from the sales and put it at the apostles feet, and it was distributed to anyone as he had need. Joseph… sold a field he owned and brought the money and put it at the apostles’ feet. 5: When a church member fails to turn over all his property to the church “he fell down and died,” when his wife later did the same “she fell down… and died… Great fear seized the whole church and all who heard about these events.” This is the first description of socialism, including that enforced by lethal punishment.
Slaves: keeping, beating, murdering & raping them, plus adultery & more theft
Exodus 20: 17: “Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor’s house, thou shalt not covet thy neighbor’s wife, nor his manservant [slave], nor his maidservant [slave], nor his ox, nor his ass, nor anything that is thy neighbor’s.”
Exodus 12: 44: “Any slave you [a Hebrew] have bought may eat of it [Passover meal] after you have circumcised him.”
Job 1: “1 In the land of Uz there lived a man whose name was Job. This man was blameless and upright; he feared God and shunned evil…. 2 He had…. a large number of servants [slaves]. He was the greatest man among all the people of the East.
Genesis 16: “Now Sarah, Abraham’s wife, had borne him no children. But she had an Egyptian maidservant [slave] named Hagar, so she said to Abraham, ‘The Lord has kept me from having children. Go sleep with my maidservant; perhaps I can build a family through her’…. Sarah.… took her maidservant and gave her to her husband to be his wife. He slept with Hagar and she conceived. When she knew she was pregnant, she began to despise her mistress. Then Sarah said to Abraham, ‘You are responsible for the wrong I am suffering. I put my servant in your arms, and now that she knows she is pregnant, she despises me. May the Lord judge between you and me. ‘Your servant is in your hands,’ Abraham said. ‘Do with her whatever you think best.’ Then Sarah mistreated Hagar, so she fled from her…. Then the angel of the Lord told her, ‘Go back to your mistress and submit to her.’ The angel added, ‘I will so increase your descendents that they will be too numerous to count.’” (God later allowed the elderly Sarah to become pregnant.)
Genesis 30: Then [Rachel] said, “Here is Bilhah, my maidservant [=slave]. Sleep with her so that she can bear children for me and that through her I can bear build a family.” So she gave him her servant Bilhah as a wife. Jacob slept with her, and she became pregnant and bore him a son. Then Rachel said, “God has vindicated me; he has listened to me and given me a son.” (Jacob has numerous illegitimate children with God’s approval who then allows Rachel to get pregnant too.)
Leviticus 19: “20 If a man sleeps with a woman who is a slave girl promised to another man but who has not been ransomed or given her freedom, there must be due punishment. Yet they are not to be put to death, because she had not been freed. 21 The man, however, must bring a ram to the entrance to the Tent of Meeting for a guilt offering to the Lord.”
Leviticus 25: 44-46: “However, you may purchase male or female slaves from among the foreigners who live among you. You may also purchase the children of such resident foreigners, including those who have been born in your land. You may treat them as your property, passing them on to your children as a permanent inheritance. You must treat your slaves like this, but the people of Israel, your relatives, must never be treated this way.”
Exodus 21: 2-11: “If you buy a Hebrew servant, he is to serve you for six years. But in the seventh year, he shall go free, without paying anything. If he comes alone, he is to go free alone; but if he has a wife when he comes, she is to go with him. If his master gives him a wife and she bears him sons or daughters, the woman and her children shall belong to her master, and only the man shall go free. But if the servant declares, ‘I love my master and my wife and children and do not want to go free,’ then his master must take him to the door or the doorpost and pierce his ear with an awl. Then he must be his servant for life. (Note affirmation that servant means slave.) When a man sells his daughter as a slave, she will not be freed at the end of six years as the men are. If she does not please the man who bought her, he may allow her to be bought back again. But he is not allowed to sell her to foreigners, since he is the one who broke the contract with her. And if the slave girl’s owner arranges for her to marry his son he may no longer treat her as a slave girl, but he must treat her as his daughter. If he himself marries her and then takes another wife, he may not reduce her food or clothing or fail to sleep with her as his wife. If he fails in any of these three ways, she may leave as a free woman without making a payment.”
Exodus 21: 20-21: “If a man strikes his male or female slave with a rod and he dies under his hand he shall be punished. If, however, he survives a day or two, no vengeance shall be taken, for he is his property.”
Exodus 21: 26-27: “If a man hits a manservant or maidservant in the eye and destroys it, he must let the servant go free to compensate for the eye. And if he knocks out the tooth of a manservant or maidservant, he must let the servant go free to compensate for the tooth.” (Note that the freeing of “servants” confirms that they are slaves.) 32: If the bull gores a male or female slave, the owner must pay thirty shekels of silver to the master of the slave, and the bull must be stoned.”
Exodus 21: 29-30: “If, however, the bull has had the habit of goring and the owner has been warned but has not kept it penned up and it kills a man or a woman, the bull must be stoned and the owner must also be put to death. However, if payment us demanded of him, he may redeem his life by paying whatever is demanded.”
Numbers 31: The instructions from Moses on how to treat the Midianite virgins not slaughtered along with the rest of the population. “But all the women children, that have not known a man by lying with him, keep alive for yourselves…. You and Eleazar the priest and family heads of the community are to count all the people and animals that were captured. Divide the spoils between the soldiers who took part in the battle and the rest of the community. From the soldiers who fought in the battle, set apart as tribute for the Lord one out of every five hundred, whether persons, cattle, donkeys, sheep or goats. Take this tribute from their half share and give it to Eleazer the priest as the Lord’s part. From the Israelites’ half, select one out of every fifty, whether persons, cattle, donkeys, sheep, goats or other animals. Give them to the Levites, who are responsible for the care of the Lord’s tabernacle. So Moses and Eleazar the priest did as the Lord commanded Moses. The plunder remaining from the spoils that the soldiers took was 675,000 sheep, 72,000 cattle, 61,000 donkeys and 32,000 women who had never slept with a man (italics added).”
Deuteronomy 20: “10 When you march up to attack a city, make its people an offer of peace. 11 If they accept and open their gates, all the people in it shall be subject to forced labor and shall work for you. 12 If they refuse to make peace and they engage you in battle, lay siege to that city…. 14 As for the women, the children, the children, the livestock and everything else in the city, you may take these as plunder for yourselves.”
Deuteronomy 21: 10: “When you go to war against your enemies and the Lord your God delivers them into your hands and you take captives, if you notice among the captives a beautiful woman and are attracted to her, you may take her as your wife. Bring her into your home and have her shave her head, trim her nails and put aside the clothes she was wearing when captured. After she has lived in your house and mourned her father and mother for a full month, then you may go to her and be her husband and she shall be your wife. If you are not pleased with her, let her go wherever she wishes. You must not sell her or treat her as a slave, since you have dishonored her.”
2 Samuel 12: “29 So David mustered the entire army and went to Rabbah, and attacked and captured it. 30…. He took a great quantity of plunder from the city and brought out the people who were there, consigning them to labor with saws and with iron picks and axes, and he made them work at brickmaking [like the enslaved Israelites in Egypt]. He did this to all the Ammonite towns.”
1 Kings 4: 6: Wise King Solomon had many chief officials, including “Adoniram son of Abda – in charge of forced labor.”
I Kings 9: “20 All the people left from the Amorites, Hittites, Perizzites, Hivetes and Jebusites, 21 that is, their descendants remaining in the land, whom the Israelites could not exterminate – these Solomon conscripted for his slave labor force.” (God objected to this, he had given the orders in Duet 7 & 20 that these peoples be entirely exterminated.)
1 Chronicles 5: The Israelites “19 waged war against the Hagrites, Jetur, Napish and Nodab. 20 and God handed the Hagrites and all their allies over to them…. 21 They seized the livestock of the Hagrites – 50,000 camels, 250,000 sheep and 2000 donkeys. They also took 100,000 people captive.”
Luke 12: 46-48: Jesus says “But suppose the servant [slave] says to himself, ‘my master is taking a long time in coming,’ and he then begins to beat the menservants and maidservants and to eat and drink and get drunk. The Master of that servant will come on a day when he does not expect him and at an hour he is not aware of. He will cut him to pieces and assign him a place with the unbelievers. That servant who knows his master’s will and does not get ready or does not do what his master wants will be beaten with many blows. But the one who does not know and does things deserving punishment will be beaten with few blows.”
Matthew 14: 66: “While Peter was below in the court yard, one of the servant girls [slave] of the high priest came by.”
Galatians 3: 28: “There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male or female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.”
1 Corinthians 12: 13: “For we were all baptized by one Spirit into one body – whether Jews or Greeks, slave or free.”
Colossians 3: 11: “Here there is no Greek or Jew, circumcised or uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave or free, but Christ is all, and is in all.”
Colossians 3: 22: “Slaves, obey your earthly masters in everything and do it, not only when their eye is on you and to win their favor, but with sincerity of heart and reverence for the Lord.”
Colossians 4: 1: “Masters, provide your slaves with what is right and fair, because you also know you have a master in heaven.”
Ephesians 6: 5: “Slaves, obey your earthly masters with deep respect and fear. Serve them sincerely as you would serve Christ.”
1 Timothy 6: 1-2: “Christians who are slaves should give their masters full respect so that the name of God and his teaching will not be shamed. If your master is a Christian that is no excuse for being disrespectful. You should work all the harder because you are helping another believer by your efforts. Teach these truths, Timothy, and encourage everyone to obey them.”
Philemon: The entire chapter is about Paul returning a Christian slave to his rightful master.
Divorce & child abandonment
Ezra 10: Many Hebrews married nonHebrews in violation of God’s earlier instructions. It was therefore decided that “3 Now let us make a covenant before our God to send away all these women and their children, in accordance with the counsel of my Lord and of those who fear the commands of our God. 10 Then Ezra the priest stood up and said to them, ‘You have been unfaithful, you have married foreign women, adding to Israel’s guilt. 11 Now make confession to the Lord, the God of your fathers, and do his will. Separate yourselves from the peoples around you and from your foreign wives.’”
2012 elections, Democratic majority, Republican minority, Obama, Romney, Karl Rove, electoral demographics
Written by: Greg Paul
Why Demographics and Toxic Doctrine Mean the Republican Permanent Majority Can Never Be, So Hail the Democratic Permanent Majority
As you may recall, once upon a time – it was called the end of the 20th century – a famed Republican strategist named Karl Rove had a marvelous scheme to make the Grand Old Party the majority political organization going well into the 21st century. And he had the perfect presidential candidate to make his dream of a conservative Republican leaning “ownership society” come true.
How is that project working out?
In 2002 I was driving cross country when All Things Considered ran a 10/13 story about a then new book by Democratic strategists Judis and Texeira called The Emerging Democratic Majority that predicted that overwhelming demographic trends would inevitably give the Democratic Party a decades long lock on the electoral majority.
How is that prediction working out?
Now that the results of the 2012 campaign are in, with a Democrat winning reelection for the second time since the world war (might have been three reelections had Kennedy not been killed), with liberals whipping Republican butt, and the New Deal remaining a major part of the American landscape, we can come to a solid conclusion.
Every major election cycle there are claims that the losing party is in really big trouble and unlikely to recover for years, all the more so when they lose big. Every major election cycle there are counterclaims that the claims that the losing party is in really big trouble are exaggerated. And that has been generally true.
But the days when the two parties were roughly equivalent are, as Judis and Texeira predicted, coming to and end as population demographics and the dysfunctions inherent to the party of Lincoln combine to drive the GOP to permanent minority status. That means the US is on its way to become a less exceptional, less conservolibertarian nation as it becomes a more normal, progressive — and hopefully successful — 1st world country.
Republicans should be afraid, very afraid.
This is how bad things are for the political right. The GOP has lost the popular vote in five of the last six presidential elections (the only win was with an incumbent during an economic bubble and a war on terror) — if not for the electoral college, we might have had a straight series of Democratic presidents since 1992. In that electoral college the Republicans used to have the big advantage. From 1968 to 1988 the Republicans averaged 417, Democrats a wee 113. That was then, this is now. The Democrat has averaged 327 in the last six elections with a range of 251-379, the Republican a pathetic 210 with a 159-286 range, the last value being dangerously close to the 270 needed to become president. Both parties have been shrinking to the favor of independents, but the party of the left persists in being larger than that of the right. Matters promise to only get worse for the Grand Old Party.
Getting back to Karl. His scheme was to make the American majority into “owners,” of real estate and stocks. Being part of the moneyed class they would now be fiscal conservatives prone to vote Republican. Seniors would be bought off with assistance in paying for their drugs, while the first steps to privatize Medicare and Social Security into stock investment schemes would begin.
Karl to his credit knew the demographic facts. Because Hispanics are fast expanding as a major part of the population, a large minority or even better a majority of Latinos had to be brought into the GOP fold. The last thing the Republicans needed was a repeat of the Pete Wilson debacle when the California governor so offended the enormous Latino electorate of the state with a GOP white base boosting anti-immigration stance that the Great Bear State was rendered permanently Democratic.
What grand strategist Rove needed was a vehicle with which to carry out his splendid plan. That would be a Republican politician who was playing on the national stage, who was proLatino — and who was sufficiently malleable. Who might that be? Why George Bush Jr. of course. One reason Bush was ideal was because he had carefully courted the Hispanic electorate when he was governor of Texas. Even better, Bush was not a man driven to be president the way most top tier candidates are. In their search for the White House typical presidential aspirants are willing to drop their aides if that is necessary to achieve their consuming goal of the presidency. That would not serve Karl’s purposes, so the more dependent Bush would do fine.
As it was, Karl’s dream almost failed from the get-go as Bush lost the popular vote, and only squeaked into 1600 Penn. Ave. based on the problematic mess in Florida and the GOP dominated Supreme Court. One reason Bush was a mediocre president was because he was more the vehicle of Rove than his own man. That had the ironic effect of weakening Rove’s internally defective plan. And the Republican base committed sabotage against itself by denying Bush the immigration reform his party so desperately needed.
Desperately, because the Republican Party was already well on its way to becoming a political club of white southern baby boomers in a country were minorities were 12% when Reagan was elected and 29% when Obama was solidly reelected. The shocking racioethnic state of the allegedly 21st century GOP was on display at their Tampa convention when the audience looked a lot like a reunion of the sons and daughters of the Confederacy. Which it is, with 92% of Repubs being white, and half from the south. One can make the case that a reason the Republican conclave did not give Romney a post convention bounce was because lots of American’s rolled their eyes at the amazing lack of diversity. This is the 21st century, not the 20th the fossiliferous GOP languishes in.
As minorities fast approach a third of the population on their way to half, it is simply not possible for a national party to be as big or bigger than the other one and therefore win most elections unless it includes a large contingent of minorities. Many Republicans know this. Many Republicans talk a lot about how the party needs to recruit lots of minorities. The problem is that they have no mechanism for developing a major minority cohort.
One reason they can’t is because a good chunk of the core Republican base is anti-immigration. That this may represent opposition to illegal immigration does not matter electoral demographics wise. One way or another most Latinos are really ticked off at the party that they perceive puts them down, and won’t vote GOP. And the anti-immigration base is not going elsewhere, the Republican Party will always be their refuge. So the GOP can kiss off the Hispanic vote.
And a good chunk of the GOP base is bigoted against blacks, as I detail at americanmoralspublicreality.org/index.php/shocking-news-anne-coulter-lies-about-number-ameroracists. Because the Republican Party is the right wing ideological party it cannot bring in voters by finding out what is their thinking and then trying to work that into the party line. Instead it is the lecturing and hectoring party that spends its time telling everyone that dares disagree with their conservolibertarian line — which is the great majority of blacks — that they are wrong, that they need to recognize that they are wrong, and that they must then become right thinking Republicans in order to be true blue Americans. That works just great. They are slapping blacks across their faces.
The GOP is the southern white party because that’s the strategy they opted for back in the 1960s. LBJ lamented that getting the Civil Rights Act of 1964 passed turned over the south the Republicans. But in the end it is not the gift to the opposition Democrats feared. It is more like a delayed action mine. The southern strategy worked well enough to keep the Republican party in contention as long as southern whites made up a big enough portion of the electorate. But they no longer do, and blacks resent the Repub southern strategy, the GOP’s being the refuge of racists, and being told that their progressive opinions are errant. So the GOP can kiss off the black vote.
And there is the atheism vote. It’s growing. Fast. God believing theists still make up 80% of the population, but only a minority of them are dedicated church going theoconservatives (www.scienceandreligiontoday.com/2012/05/30/is-atheism-increasing-at-the-expense-of-theism). The mainline churches have long been withering, nowadays so are the conservative sects as they prove unable to recruit sufficient youth who are increasingly irreligious and atheistic. Atheists have expanded fourfold since the 1960s, far outpacing the growth of Mormons. Perhaps a quarter of atheists are Ayn Randian libertarians, but even some of them won’t vote GOP because of the party’s being in bed with the religious right. The great majority of atheists are progressives who won’t vote GOP for both religious and socioeconomic reasons (www.pewforum.org/Unaffiliated/nones-on-the-rise.aspx). This problem is only going to get worse for the Republicans as the country secularizes like the rest of the west.
Then there are your singles. There are more of them, and the never married tend to be more Democratic than the married. The Democratic Party is the modern Rainbow party of the still new century.
The GOP is running on demographic fumes without a station to pull into to tank up – kind of like many living in the post-Sandy fuel shortage that helped out the Obama campaign (note that climate change boosted the Democratic victory). But by no means is the great Republican problem just demographic. Their toxic doctrine is also poisoning their prospects. The GOP has gone way too far into right wing land for the American majority. They have become the radical party of a Bizarro World amalgam of social Darwinist, Ayn (uberatheist) Randian little government individualism on the economics hand (www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/guest-voices/post/from-jesus-socialism-to-capitalistic-christianity/2011/08/12/gIQAziaQBJ_blog.html), and Biblical Godly social values imposed by big government on the cultural hand.
It’s a recipe for electoral minority status because most Americans are either social and economic progressives, or moderate centrists. As David Brooks is pointing out to his fellow conservatives, Hispanics, blacks, Asians, Indians and so forth tend to be culturally more attuned to collectivist economics than whites on the right. The chronic belief of those on the far right that the American silent majority is really a collection of conservatives who will someday vote to make a new Reagan president and the Senate and House solidly and perpetually GOP if only the “liberal” lamestream media will stop deceiving the nation — and they can find the right candidate to entrance the voters — is sheer delusion. It is a misapprehension that repeatedly blows back on the Republicans.
In that hardline Repub fantasy land, all true Americans that they hope and dream are the majority want lots of economic liberty with little in the way of government business or environmental regs or socialism, tiny taxes especially for the wealthy “job creators,” a minimal safety net so those in distress can rely on private charities, free market health care in which the insurance industry charges what it can and excludes those with preexisting conditions, culminating in an end to Medicare sooner or later, plus ultimate elimination of social security, combined with the government making abortion murder, and teaching youth abstinence until marriage while suppressing use of contraceptives. And the godly masses will all flock to church on Sabbath mornings while rejecting Darwin’s diabolical theory, and the sly secular scientist’s global warming scam.
Actually, those on the hard right are conflicted about what they want America to do, versus what they sense Americans will go for especially in the near term. That is why conservative pols often run as “stealth” candidates. A libertarian Republican runs for higher-level office who talks about “reforming” social security, rather than outright saying they want to liquidate the socialist Roosevelt’s scheme. Or a creationist runs for a school board talking all about traditional family values while not mentioning that one of their priorities is to get the creator into and evolution out of the classroom. Then there is the project to impose “regulations” on abortion clinics that are actually designed to exclude the constitutional right to the procedure in whole states.
Romney proved to be the stealth candidate exemplar. After running hard right in the Tea Party dominated primaries, picking a TP running mate, and continuing to be pretty darn conservative for weeks after the convention, he suddenly went Etch-A-Sketch centrist in the debates (with such a straight face that he came across as the psychopath he may well be www.opednews.com/articles/Is-CEO-LDS-Romney-a-Succes-by-Gregory-Paul-121009-20.html), flummoxing Obama in the first one (knowing that the demographics ensured his reelection is another possible reason Obama did not pay due attention to his initial debate performance). By the last TV contest Romney had evolved into Mr. Dove who could hardly agree more with the foreign policy of the man he wanted to replace.
Fortunately for the Democrats, hard-line Republicans can keep their true wants and intents in check only so much and or so long. Many right wing candidates and especially office holders believe in their theories and doctrines so ardently, and live in conservobubbles that prevent them from realizing that most think their opinions creepy to scary, that at some point they cannot help torpedoing themselves by saying or doing something that reveals their actual desires and designs.
So we had Todd Akin, bless him, casually telling the world that because women who are really raped rarely if ever get pregnant banning all abortions is not a problem for women of true virtue (www.opednews.com/articles/The-Theocon-War-on-MAINSTR-by-Gregory-Paul-120902-646.html). Followed by Richard Mourdock who allowed that sure, raped women do get pregnant, but it is a gift from God so banning abortions is not a problem for women of true faith – and those who are not. The two guys ended whatever chances the GOP had of gaining the Senate while helping alert the nation that a major chunk of the right holds views of women inherited from the Victorians and shared to some extent with the Taliban. This when two thirds of Americans consider nonadulterous nonmarital sex acceptable, and even more do it. Also giving the nation a better idea of what many on the right really think was serial divorce Rush Limbaugh who denounced the all American Sandra Fluke for being a slut for daring to defend the contraceptives most Americans support the use of in front of a congressional panel. Meanwhile Grand Old Party governors and state legislatures have been passing a host of regulations to hinder access to abortion when most voters think Democrats handle the abortion issue than Republicans. So Virginia becomes the state of the vaginal probe, aiding Obama’s electoral college win while sending a Democrat to the Senate.
Social security and Medicare remain the thirds rails that give those naïve enough to touch them a nasty electoral shock – one that Romney got when he selected the known privatizer Ryan for his running mate and tossed away Florida. The conserves prattle on about closing the FDA, EPA and drill, baby, drill when most folks care a lot about safe food, clean air and water, furry wolves and great whales, and realize that the nation has to get off its addiction to fossil fuels for a host of reasons. Nor does Republican talk of shutting down the Department of Education go over well when the US is losing ground teaching wise to other nations with more extensive central government effort in education than exists here.
And most Americans gasp in eye rolling revulsion at how much of the right actually takes seriously the fringe socioeconomics contained in bad novels like Atlas Shrugged. We have an entire nation to run here, it’s not a college bull session on arm chair philosophical economics (www.opednews.com/articles/Debate-Advice-For-Joe-Bide-by-Gregory-Paul-121007-370.html). It is not surprising that most Americans being middle class favor the moderate-progressive policies that favor their cohort over the 1%. Only ideologues believe that that the 99% can be remade to be so ardently pro-upper crust that they want to bend over backwards to give the rich all the breaks on the speculation that that the aptly named trickle down scheme works (in mirror of the communist dream of remaking men into egalitarians). The possibility that the US will become a full blown libertarian country is about the same as its going communist. Zero.
But the biggest exposure of all political time of what the Repub upper crust really thinks was Mitt’s being caught at waving away about half of the nation as income tax free moochers not to be considered worthy of his class’s attention – never mind that much of his class does all it can to minimize their taxes by one means or another. Much but not all of the right has been trying to explain away the statement, but it is clear enough. It is not so much that Romney may believe what he said, or was pandering to his elite donors, what is important is that the truth is out and can never be effectively denied. The deceit that it is the liberal elites that for some reason have it in for the ordinary American has been permanently counterbalanced by the now well documented knowledge that a lot of the “job makers” are in it for themselves, and create jobs only by accident if then (www.americanmoralspublicreality.org/index.php/romneys-and-the-republicans-job-creation-snow-job-and-how-mitt-rubbed-out-lots-of-small-business-owners). The Boca Raton recording did in seconds what those like Thomas Frank have been trying to tell the nation for years. And it will never go away – just replay the video.
The beauty of all this is how the Republican-turn-off-the-American-majority-machine is the gift that will never stop giving the electoral edge to the Democrats. There will always be plenty of right wing Republicans who cannot keep themselves from saying or legislating what they think and want. This used to be the Democrat’s problem, in that the liberal wing had so much influence on the party that it turned off the American center in the 70s and 80s, until the Clinton led centrist program corrected the predicament. The Dems could do that because they are the party of governance, the party that understands that compromise is necessary to run a democracy. So progressives have proven willing to swallow some of their greater desires as part of a longer term project to make America into a more socioeconomically successful, normal 1st world country. Now it’s the Republican’s big problem in the opposite direction. But unlike the compromise friendly Democrats, there is no apparent means by which the more ideological GOP can tame its oversized right wing and tack to the center.
That brings us to the under appreciated irony of how FoxNews is damaging the Republican brand without really trying. Superficially it seems that FN – which gets a bigger audience than centrist CNN and progressive MSNBC combined — is the best thing to happen to the GOP since Reagan. So much so that it is often called the media organ of the party. But this is grossly incorrect. FN could be the mouthpiece of the GOP only if the latter directly controlled its content and operations. But the owner and operator is Rupert Murdoch, a man of immense wealth and influence and desire for more wealth and influence who never does what he is told by others. To him FN is a cash cow that has the nice side effect of allowing him to push his conservatism across the land. The Roger Ailes who often gets blamed for what’s on Fox is merely Murdoch’s employee whose job depends upon doing what the latter wants. So FN is about what Rupert desires, not what the Republican establishment such as it is needs. Things are so out of control for the GOP that FN is to a great extent setting the agenda for the Grand Old Party, rather than the reverse as it should be for the long term prospects of the party. So Republicans who try to go centrist are sure to be shot down by the FN pundits and correspondents who, along with their talk radio allies led by Rush, can turn the fury of millions of listeners against the compromising deviants. The result is that the party is even less able to undergo the moderating reform it needs to get more of the minority and centrist vote. It does not help when on 9/7 a stricken FoxNews Bill O’Reilly and company go on to further slander the 47% now 51% of the country as Democratic voting slackers. By doing that they tacitly acknowledge that they have lost the country. Limbaugh and Coulter have explicitly said so (with Coulter noting that the loss was not attributable to Romney’s mistakes). He and she are correct.
And there is how some guy with no credentials like Grover Norquist has bent most of what is supposed to be a national party to his will by scaring them into signing his no new taxes pledge, in violation of the oath of office which must not be subsumed to other oaths that constrict the independence office holders need to defend the Constitution and serve the public as needed. Not the best idea when most Americans want the 1% to cough up more dough to help run the country. Which begs the question of who is in charge of the Grand Old Party?
Back in the day Will Rogers would get a big laugh with the line “I am not a member of an organized political party. I’m a Democrat.” But these days, having long ago shed the virulent southern white racist wing and tamped down the near future dreams of progressive, the Dems have got their act pretty much together. You could see it at their convention which was run like a tight yet happy ship. Nowadays the old joke applies best to the GOP, which is hardly a national party, and has spun out of the control of what is left of its establishment. You could see the disarray at their convention where many of the speakers – seeing a loser – hardly mentioned Romney to their own benefit. It was kind of like watching events on the captainless Costa Concordia as it rolled like a sick elephant onto its side, never to recover. And the grass roots Democrats have a far superior get out the vote machine, one that the more elitist Republicans can never match.
And there is the simple fact that the Republicans don’t want to run the government they love to loath as the main source of the nation’s problems. That’s a huge quandary. For a party to be successful it has to convince a majority of voters that they are doing a good job of running the ship of state. Because the Republicans want to get rid of much of the government rather than run it well, they hope the resulting demonstration of government incompetence will convince the citizenry that government does not work and needs further trimming. But that’s a double edged sword because lots of Americans see what’s going on and get ticked off at how the Republicans are running the government that no modern country can do without into the ground. So the mishandling of Andrew and Katrina by the Bush’s and their incompetent FEMAs were disasters for the Repubs, while the positive handling of hurricanes by Clinton’s and Obama’s competent FEMA’s were good for the Dems. The same applies to the uncompromising, my way or the highway hyperpartisanship that seems to sabotage the Democrats, but in the process blows back on the Republicans. In the long run it’s a losing strategy.
In 2012 the Democrats relied on the demographics that are fast shifting in their favor – markedly more so than even in 2008 – and general GOP foolishness to win despite a mediocre economy. With the economy as it is and all the PAC money that flowed their way, the 2012 election should have been a walk on the park for the Republicans (conversely, had the economy been further along towards recovery, then the Republican candidate would have been going through the motions against an unassailable Obama). And it would have been for Romney, had he been able to run from the get go as the moderate conservative from MA. Any other of the Tea Party pleasing primary contenders somehow been nominated the Repubs very probably would have done worse. Ayn Rand fan Ryan would have gone down in flames and is likely to do so if the party gets crazy enough to ever nominate him or any one similar. The primary problem was not the candidate – who proved more capable than many thought in at least the first debates – it’s the party.
The Tea Party has been badly defeated. They won the 2010 election via a combination of reactionary no compromise tactics, a weak response from progressives dispirited by their high expectations not being met by Obama, and by pretending to be all about economics when they are also a lot about hyper social conservatism that inevitably came to the fore. The Tea Party’s pushing extreme candidates into general elections increased the Democratic lead in the Senate. Even if Romney had won, the TP would still have lost because Mitt would have won by going all middle of the road at the end, there not being nearly enough TPers to elect a president. Occupiers are not dancing in the streets, but they made what may be a vital contribution – the terms 99% and 1% are permanent parts of the language – to a victory that is closer to their longer term goals than the alternative would be.
Also a loser was the obstructionist, no compromise, constant campaigning, do everything to defeat the Democrats GOP/TP strategy. This bugged the electoral majority enough that they went for the Dems who, because they sincerely want to run the government, are more prone to compromise to keep the public sector humming along.
Voter suppression? A marginal tactic that can work only as long as there are still enough GOP white voters to make it worth the backlash that gets lots of angry Democrats to the polls in revenge. Parties that are not desperate do not resort to trying to hinder the right to vote.
And one wonders if the right wing wealthy will be willing to pour so much of what they have acquired into future GOP presidential and senatorial candidates if all they are going to get is electoral bupkis. Rove, in his desperate effort to revive something of his Permanent Republican Majority, ran an lavishly funded Super Pac complex that was victorious in zero cases. The billion or so spent by outside funders did not bring them the White House, and lost them ground in the Senate and maybe the House. The fat cats might find they are better off putting their money into lower level campaigns. And the lavish funding of the right can blow back. By pumping money into the supposedly grass roots Tea Party starting in 2009, the GOP elites thought they were doing themselves a favor. But the ginned up movement fooled those who helped invent it into thinking the country really was going conservolibertarian, hiding the reality that the demographic shift was gutting the Republican Party. The exceptional conservative propensity towards reality denial is so entrenched that it tripped them up in election. Lots of them including Rove actually thought that the mainline pre-election surveys were understating the probability of a Romney victory, leaving them stunned the evening of 11/6. Exemplified by the meltdown on FoxNews as Rove, watching the last dregs of his GOP majority run down the drain, went into hyper denial about Ohio. Meanwhile progressives were accurately prepped for victory by Nate Silver’s most excellent scientific analysis.
The great Republican affliction is that it is not possible to run a majority national party centered on angry white baby boomer males, but it certainly is possible to run a minority regional party centered on angry white baby boomer males, and there is not much that the more centrist wing of such a party can do to gain the upper hand over those angry white baby boomer males plus females who dominate the organizational and electoral caucuses, primaries, etc. So a fair number of Republicans who realize the trap their party has gotten into know what needs to be done – moderation of the party religiously, ideologically and politically, more immigrant-Hispanic friendly policies, less racism – but they have little practical idea how to do it, and it is doubtful it can be done. It’s the theme of centrist Republican Margaret Hoover’s American Individualism that even argues that the right must embrace gay rights if conservatism is to have a chance at future relevance. But where are the anti-abortionists, creationists, climate deniers, and libertarians going to go? If they set up one or more new parties that only further shrinks the GOP while further disorganizing the right. Only if the angry white males and females — the main component of the religious right that emerged from political reclusion in the 1970s and could isolate themselves — get discouraged by their growing inability to get the nation back, and drop out of electoral activity will that part of the GOP problem be alleviated, but that too shrinks the party. The religious right that makes up so much of the Republican Party cannot be the dominant confession in a nation where gaydom is accepted as normal. And if the GOP does accommodate homosexual rights, abortion rights, middle of the road immigration reform, modest tax increases, more collaboration between public and private sector, and so forth, then it becomes a me-too party, a pale shadow of the Democratic organization. If immigration reform is enacted it is Obama and the Democrats who will get the main credit from Hispanics, not the Republicans few of whom will vote for it. And the GOP has very long been and always will be the party of the self focused part of the wealthy elite, so its appeal to the masses will always be constrained. Karl Rove was correspondingly and notably naïve. Demographics and ideology preclude the GOP from becoming a permanent majority. It’s remarkable what they have been able to do for so long. Big money does have power.
We can expect that as the nation becomes more minority and atheist oriented that it will become increasingly progressive and proscience. This is a reason that many perceptive Republicans are dismayed at the loss of this election. It was a receding opportunity lost. Making Obama’s reelection all the worse for the right is that Obamneycare will now become firmly entrenched, bringing the US closer to the 1st world progressive norm of universal health care. With four states including my Maryland (I’m so proud) having broken the string of anti-gay marriage election victories what was a useful GOP wedge issue is turning into a Democratic wedge issue for getting youth voters to show up the polls (www.dailykos.com/story/2009/702089/-The-Gays-Are-Winning:-Why-Thats-Big-Trouble- for-the-Religious-Right). The right is even losing on guns because households that possess heaters is actually dwindling fast due to the demographics of an increasingly older, female run, nonrural/nonhunter population (www.americanmoralspublicreality.org/index.php/the-great-gun-lobbyindustrial-conspiracy). So for the left the future is not going to one of desperately battling with an ascendant right, progressives should have a substantial edge.
It is rare for the member of a party to succeed a previous president from the same party via a normal election. Last happened to the Democrats in 1857, the Republicans in 1929. What makes matter’s interesting is the very real possibility that the demographics and GOP incompetence will for the first time in history favor a string of Democratic successions. A Democratic victory is a real possibility in 2016 if the economy is on the upswing as it is may well be (but see americanmoralspublicreality.org/index.php/the-great-looming-job-crisis-that-libertarians-have-no-clue-how-solve-and-challenges-progressives-as-well), and that incumbent cold have the edge in 2020. This promises to be a further disaster for an increasingly dismayed right because it is likely that the Supreme Court will shift towards being a more progressive institution. If so then a laundry list of progressive preferences will be legally protected and even reinforced regarding reproductive rights, gay rights, election financing, gun control, business regulations and so forth. We will be more like the rest of the modern advanced democracies (which as I have explained elsewhere is a good thing www.opednews.com/articles/Libertarian-World-Economic-by-Gregory-Paul-120906-138.html).
So if you conservatives and libertarians are not panicking yet – you should be.
Shocking News – Anne Coulter Lies About Number of Ameroracists!
Written by: Greg Paul
Yes, I know. How could it be? How could the darling of the hard right, Ann Coulter, publish a lie? Surely I must be mistaken you think.
I first picked up on her latest whooper while she was promoting her newest book, Mugged: Racial Demagoguery From the Seventies to Obama, on Real Time. She said something about their being more child pornographers than racists in these United States. Says the same – a “nation with more child pornographers than racists” — on her website blurb for her latest book (www.anncoulter.com/columns/2012-09-26.html). In he book on p. 14 she specifically says that by “1970, there were more child pornographers in the country than racists.” Did not read the entire book – am not sufficiently masochistic to do that – but could not spot a similar statement elsewhere in the book, nor any footnotes documenting the odd claim.
Coulter is trying to minimize racism by making it seem so scarce these days that it is no longer an acute problem for blacks who really should get over their victim hood, and become the conservative Republicans all true Americans should and must be. That way the Grand Old Party will no longer the over 90% white political club that it is (when whites make up just 60% of the general population). And she is trying to absolve the white community, specifically the conservatives, of the sin of racism. The attitude never having been common among conservocaucasians in the first place according to her historical analysis such as it is. Like every other problem that has ever occurred, its all the fault of liberals in Ann’s world, right wingers never being guilty of anything in her world-view. Also on the Coulter agenda is portraying any defeat of Obama as due entirely to his being the most extreme liberal ever nominated (never mind FDR, Truman, Stevenson, LBJ, Humphrey, McGovern, Carter, Mondale, Dukakis, Kerry), rather than right wing racism.
If it cannot be shown that there actually are more child porn makers out there than racists, then Coulter is lying to at least some degree. She is lying through her teeth if it can be shown that there are more bigots than youth oriented perverts. Fortunately these questions can be answered.
First let’s take a look at how many child pornographers there are. This is hard to pin down — no one calls folks up and asks them if they are producing such perversion as part of scientific surveys. The best data source I could dig up was a study published by the US Department of Justice (www.ncjrs.gov/pdffiles1/ojjdp/204911.pdf). Unable to give absolute figures, they note that about 3000 child porn cases arise in a given year, or about 0.03 percent of crimes. This is an understatement of the crimes that actually occur, but total sex crimes against children amount to about a quarter million yearly, of which a minority involve production of porn. So we can say that child pornographers amount to many thousands (also see antipaedo.lip6.fr/Current_situation.pdf). Those who utilize child porn must be greater, perhaps in the hundreds of thousands, maybe the low millions.
Getting a handle on how many racists there are is much easier. That’s because there are survey’s that sample this item.
A person who refuses to vote for a black person is automatically a racist. Maybe not a go out and lynch a colored fellow this weekend, KKK style racist. But a racist nonetheless. Gallup has been asking folks if they would vote for an African American for a good while (www.gallup.com/poll/155285/atheists-muslims-bias-presidential-candidates.aspx). Now, this is a little tricky demographics wise, because many racists are reluctant to admit that they are so to pollsters, so the below values are probably lower than the reality. To get some absolute numbers we take the reported percentage who did not respond yes to being willing to help elect a black president and multiply that by the population at the time. Because the years around 1970 were not sampled the value is estimated by bracketing it between earlier and later surveys. Here are the results.
Population % won’t vote for Number of electoral racists
in millions a black president in millions
1958 175 62+ 110+
1970 205 ~45+ 90+
1978 220 33+ 75+
1999 280 5+ 14+
2012 315 4+ 13+
So these days there are around 15 million or more who are racist enough to not vote for blacks, perhaps substantially more. The number exceeds that of Jews and Mormons combined. Back in 1970 it was some 100 million ballot bigots. No way there were more child pornographers – that would be about half the population — when Nixon was president as Coulter claims in Mugged, and even today the electoral racists strongly outnumber the perverts according to the data on hand.
But wait, there’s more Ameroracism. Literally. An Associated Press survey (hosted.ap.org/dynamic/stories/U/US_AP_POLL_RACIAL_ATTITUDES?SITE=AP&SECTION=HOME&TEMPLATE=DEFAULT) fresh from the pollsters finds that just over half of Americans are explicit racists, with implicit racists adding a few percent. And while the bias is not entirely partisan, Repub racists outnumber Dem bigots two to one. No two ways about it. Racism remains a serious affliction for blacks, and an important national problem and embarrassment.
Whether Ann made up her claims, or knows the actual numbers, she is lying. Big time. The liar is trivializing and insulting blacks by pretending that racism has been so reduced that it is no longer a vital issue for those of African extraction when they of course know that it is. Coulter is so out there in right field that she actually defends the late ban on interracial dating at Bob Jones U as being the result of the protests of an Asian set of parents so what’s the problem – it’s so Bizarro World that one wonders if Ann is seeing what BS her readers will swallow while giving the rest of us a little tell that she doesn’t really mean it. For that matter her going on about there being more kid porn producers than bigots has the odor of an over the top joke on her gullible fans. After all, to actually believe there are not a lot of bigots about one has to be dumb ass. It’s no secret that a good chunk of the white population won’t marry a black person and are not particularly happy when relations and others do.
While Coulter may be pulling our legs, in doing so she is dancing a dangerous right wing jig that is damaging the conservatism she professes to promote. Specifically, she writes and talks as though there are three groups: liberals largely white and Democratic; conservatives largely Republican and nearly all white; and blacks who are an oddly detached topic of discussion between libs and conserves. Except for venomous attacks on liberal black elites like Al Sharpton, blacks just sort of float there in her book, blogs and appearances without definition. As sort of victims of them there liberals.
There’s a reason for that. In Coulter world all liberals including Democrats are fools to the point of being pernicious if not evil. She claims that liberals are only pretending to try to help out blacks to make themselves feel better. Only conservatives truly care about African Americans.
But here is the sociopolitical fatal flaw in Coulter (= right wing) land. It’s not like blacks are a bunch of clueless nonpoliticals who don’t have their own opinions, and are up for grabs by liberal versus conservative whites. The awkward reality for conservatives is that nearly all blacks are progressive Democrats who will vote enmasse for Obama. So, by the conservative theory of the liberal loathing Coulter and the right they effectively portraying nearly all blacks as pernicious fools. There is no attempt by the right, Coulter included, to ask what the black majority what they think because they are wrong, so why ask? It is they who must realize the error of their foolish ways and submit to the wisdom of the white right. It is a direct descendent of southern white paternalism. It is a slap in the face of most blacks who don’t know better than to be suckered by those white liberals. That the GOP has hardly any black members is not the fault of the GOP, it is the fault of the imprudent blacks. Which of course is why hardly any blacks vote Repub, they not being nearly docile enough to kiss the asses of those who so disrespect them and their interests.
Mugged as a whole is an angry tirade that eggs on the white GOP base by dismissing and slighting blacks and their concerns by lecturing and hectoring them that they are a bunch of idiots who should do what the nearly all white Republican party — half of whose members dwell in the old Confederacy that defended slavery, then ran a vicious apartheid state, and then embraced Nixon’s GOP southern strategy of racial resentment – tells them to because white Republicans know what is best for the minority. One can smell the anger of Coulter and her readers – how dare African Americans not realize that the Republican Way is the only true American Way? What is wrong with them? Coulter even lashes out at the supposedly excessive pensions of black workers – this from a woman rolling in the proceeds from her screeds.
And Ann engages in the standard, Bizzaro History conservative historical line that it was liberal Democrats who oppressed blacks while the Republicans were their true friends. The sincere GOP effort to aid blacks that began under Lincoln came to an end after Grant (who was later trashed by the southern reactionary white historians who pushed the myth of the noble Lost Cause). After that the party of Lincoln paid lip service to black rights without doing all that much about it because they made up such a small fraction of their membership. Of course most southern whites were not about to vote for the party of the Great Emancipator who crushed their precious slave nation, so they formed a special right wing of the Democratic Party. All the states that banned evolution from public classrooms were Jim Crow lynching states were every few weeks a black man or two was tortured to death in public spectacles. Had a white person in the crowd yelled out they believed in evolution and/or were an atheist they too would have been lynched. The south has always been the most religiously, socially, economically and politically reactionary, antiunion, procorporate section of the nation. Most blacks know this. And Ann merely further insults them by lying to them about it.
Mugged is not written for blacks many of whom do not know who the Princess of the right is. Nor does she make a sincere attempt to reach out and understand what blacks think and why and thereby try to persuade them. Because she insults the black majority, she is helping out the left by better ensuring that the GOP continues to be the amazing shrinking white political club that it has always been and always will be, in a nation fast heading towards minority majority status.
Coulter could not give a damn about nonconservative blacks whom she has no acquaintance with, and no means to bring over to her side. It is white reactionaries and the occasional right wing black she’s pandering to. Because Mugged is for her white fan base and is perniciously deceptive it is racist. As are its approving and electorally self destructive readers.
And while on the issue of racism, I was watching the end of the last presidential debate when I noticed that Mitt seemed to be sweating. He was pulling a Nixon – who had the excuse of being seriously ill when he took on Kennedy. Perhaps it was the extra insulation of his Mormon full body underwear – really, it’s a physiological possibility. Perhaps he was experiencing what the theatrical crowd calls “flop sweat” as he realized that Barack was cleaning his political clock and there was nothing he could come up with on the spot to do something about it until the debate clock ran out. Perhaps it was a combination of both. Sweating under pressure does not bode well for his ability to handle presidential crises. This contrasts with the perpetual cool of the President, an attribute that contributes to his qualifications for the office.
That so little attention has been directed towards Romney sweating on stage outside the progressive media smacks of casual racism. To understand why let’s run a thought experiment. Imagine that it was not Romney who sweated, but Obama. Had that happened there would have been a tremendous reaction among conservative whites. Not among liberal whites, or conservative blacks, but among conservative whites. The black man sweating would have been seen among the racists from hard core to marginal as confirmation that the nonCaucasian does not belong in the White House.
To believe that racism is not playing a role in 2012 national politics like Ann wants us all to imagine, requires that you be naïvely or obtusely delusional. John Sununu’s sly allegation that Colin Powell is backing Obama again because they are both black is classic casual code (see www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/10/26/lawrence-wilkerson-colin-powell-sununu_n_2027721.html?icid=maing-grid7%7Cmaing9%7Cdl1%7Csec1_lnk3%26pLid%3D226554)
– following his own logic Sununu is backing Romney because they are both white. Obama is behind Romney around 20% among white voters nationwide, only a quarter of southern whites will vote for him. The Associated Press survey calculates that the balance between electoral racism on one hand, and voting for Obama because he is black on the other will cost him 2% of the national vote, which is in rough line with the Gallup results. So if Romney wins, it will be partly due to good old, right wing, all American bigotry.
How Big Government Built America
Written by: Greg Paul
According to small government conservatives and libertarians that make up the Republican Party and its allies, big government is as unAmerican as it ineffective. They claim that America is exceptional because it enjoys the benefits of limited governance, and that the less government there is the better. The belief that big government never, ever worked is bad is built on the Great American Myth that this great nation was constructed by the efforts and struggles of individuals who struck out on their own into the wilderness to forge a country from sea to shining sea.
Here’s what really happened.
If you want to go back to a time when central government was really small in these lands try the early colonial period. The British Crown exercised little direct control over the colonists because of the distances involved. Colonial enterprises tended to be privatized affairs that worked on charters, and largely ran their own shows. The Separatists that we now call Pilgrims moved to across the pond specifically to get away from the Crown and set up their own theocracy. These resulting predemocratic experiences help explain why Americans were able to run their new nation of liberty from the get go. However, within the colonial groups government was often very big in that it strived to control social norms. Most extremely via execution of witches and heretics.
The British government become much more involved in their colonies during and after the French and Indian War, a global conflict (the Seven Years War) that was literally initiated when a young George Washington decided on his own to attack French frontier forces. The Crown went into deep dept waging the world war, and in order to try to improve their finances then attempted to tax the colonists without representation. For this and other reasons a large segment of the American colonists decided to seek independence.
The American Revolution was not a grassroots, guerilla style revolt in which plucky individuals with long rifles defeated the Brits by picking off massed Redcoats at a distance. It was a classic Big Government war effort in which the centralized Congress raised enormous sums to equip and field large armies and build and man fortifications. In doing so the US government went into deep dept, as portrayed in the HBO documentary on John Adams who ended up petitioning the Dutch for a large loan.
For a brief period the nation was run under the ideal libertarian document, the Articles of Confederation that resulted in a truly limited government. It failed spectacularly. The minimal government experiment was quickly abandoned in favor of the current Constitution. When libertarians claim to be Constitutionalists they are pulling everyone’s legs. Basically, the founders were trying to come up with a scheme that would produce the best possible combination of private capitalism with collectivist government action within the context of the times they lived in. That the new Constitution was far from a libertarian tract was confirmed by its support for passage from the likes of Alexander Hamilton, who favored a powerful central government.
Deep in debt from the revolution, the Federal government had to levy taxes on good including the lucrative alcohol trade, and when many on the frontier balked the old general Washington quickly dispatched Federal troops to put down the “Whiskey Rebellion.” Taxation with representation was not the evil that is taxation without representation.
Thomas Jefferson opposed big government. He was therefore in something of a quandary when Napoleon, needing fast cash to wage more war on England, and realizing the strategic problems of maintaining a large American colony, offered to sell a large chunk of North America at a bargain basement price. These days Congressional Republicans pretend to seek a Constitutional justification for each piece of legislation. Good thing they were not in charge back in 1804. President Jefferson did not see anything in the document that supported his spending federal money to acquire the Louisiana Territories, but he had to act quickly before Bonaparte changed his mind, and there was no way that private capital could come up with such a large sum, so he became a big government President and made the US into a continental colossus. The best land deal in history. Who says the government cannot do anything right?
The effort was split the nation was in small government affair in that the Confederacy was all about limited central government in favor of states rights, while the the United States was far more about federal power. The refusal of the southern states to better centralize their military program while the northern nation did so was a key reason that the latter in the end won. That the south was much more libertarian – and conservative Christian — than the more secular north is one reason why many conservative Americans remain sympathetic to the supposed liberty loving Lost Cause despite its dependence on slavery. The project to keep the nation united and end slavery was a big as Big Government gets. Had it failed North America would have been at risk of being afflicted by a series of wars between two or more modest sized countries. Nor would the USA be a great global power for better or worst.
It was the Feds who won the west. As per the Mexican-American War that brought the southwest and west coast into the American fold, and federal actions to secure the northwest from British encroachment. When the Czar decided that the Russo-American colony could cover financial short falls by selling it to the US the latter yet again went down the big government path by using big federal bucks to purchase “Seward’s Folly.” The next best land deal in history. More taxpayers’ dollars at work.
Before, during and after the Civil War the country was suffering from a case of the splits. Not north and south, but east and west. Traveling between the eastern states and the two on the west coast was a long, arduous and expensive journey by foot or livestock, or by sea, that took many weeks and involved high rates of mortality. Yet the technology, developed by private capital, was on hand to solve the problem. Railroad carrying steam locomotives. The problem was that the cost to lay the tracks all the way across the western territories was far beyond what private capital could cough up, all the more so since the resulting traffic would not justify the cost for decades. So Uncle Sam subsidized the transcontinental project, and by the late 1860s folks could travel from the Atlantic to the Pacific in a few days, at reasonable expense and comfort.
The west was an enormous federal development and jobs project. The government provided the troops to protect settlers. And the money for waterworks that made much of western agriculture and urbanization possible. Also funded by taxpayers was the national park system that save Yellowstone, Yosemite and the Grand Canyon from private development including resource extraction, residential complexes, and theme parks and casinos. The ultimate example of frontier subsidization by the feds is Alaska, where the anti-government, GOP dominated minority rails against Washington while their politicians make sure to keep the money flowing lest the state sink into impoverishment and loss of population.
World War II was a colossal government founded endeavor. Without massive federal funding, organization and regulation there is no way that the US could have produced the ordnance and fielded the vast forces needed to defeat the Germans, Italians and Japanese by 1945 if ever. Key to managing the home front effort was the War Production Board that redirected and shut down a lot of the private sector economy in order to switch production from consumer goods to military hardware. Had the board not taken control of the situation industry would have continued using steel, aluminum and other vital materials to produce cars and such rather than some 100 fleet, light and escort aircraft carriers in just four years, hundreds of cruisers and destroyers, over three thousand cargo ships, hundreds of thousands of aircraft, tens of thousands armored vehicles, vast quantities of ammunition, etc., etc. Rationing of critical items not only made them available for the conflict, but gave the country a sense of shared sacrifice that was vital to maintaining morale at home and especially at the fronts where soldiers and sailors serving under dreadful circumstances felt the folks back in the states were pulling their weight (unlike the Repub-libertarians urging the homeland to buy, buy, buy in response to the post 9/11 wars, further detaching the voluntary military from the general population). Also important where the price controls that kept prices from soaring as they usually do in response the large scale wars. Only the government in the form of the US Navy could provide the organization and expertise to design the big warships that were then constructed in both government and private shipyards – from this hybrid collaboration emerged the renowned Essex class carriers, excellent Fletcher class destroyers, and efficient Gato class submarines. Smaller machines such as aircraft and vehicles were left to private designers and builders.
Conservative revisionism is trying to make it as though it was Yankee free enterprise that won the war with little in the way of a governmental contribution. Among them Arthur Herman’s Freedom’s Forge” How American Business Produced Victory in World War II. On Book-TV he cited North American Aviation’s famed P-51 Mustang was the best long range fighter plane of the war, thereby defeating the Luftwaffe in the spring of 1944. But the 51 was so fast and fuel efficient A) partly because of the laminar flow wing that was devised and wing tunnel tested at the US NACA that later became NASA; and B largely because its radiator used a sort of jet effect to recover most of the drag usually created when cooling piston engines — “Meredith Effect” radiators were developed at the British government run Royal Aircraft Establishment at Farnborough. And the engine that really made the P-51 a war winner was the Rolls Royce Merlin whose development was heavily subsidized by the British government, as was the radar that the Brits and Yanks used to win the war and was then applied to a myriad of civilian uses. The Mustang, like the Allied war effort as a whole, was a good combo of public and private effort.
Take the ordinary jetliner. Surely there’s an example of capital doing what government can’t do. The ancestor, after all, of the modern airliner was Boeing’s 707, a classic product of private enterprise (unlike the earlier British government financed Comet jetliner of inferior performance and a tendency to break apart at altitude). Well, not so much. Boeing did not research and develop the aerodynamic combination of long, flexible swept wings and jet engines in external pods that mark all subsonic commercial jets. The configuration was formulated by German government subsidized aerodynamic engineers in the late 30s and early 40s. After the data was captured by the Allies after the war it was handed over to American aviation corporations, and applied by Boeing to the first high speed bombers, the B-47 and B-52 of the early 50s. Government projects all. Boeing wanted to use this technology to produce a fast airliner, but even after all the government based R&D support they did not have the capital. Fortunately the USAF needed a fast tanker jet to refuel the 47s and 52s that could hardly fly slowly enough to be refueled from slow poke piston-prop tankers, and Boeing saw how government funds could be leveraged for their commercial designs. So Boeing designed a plane that could be either a tanker or a liner. Using the KC-135 tanker sales to subsidize the passenger version, thus appeared the 707. Unlike the Comet the 707 never suffered from catastrophic metal fatigue induced breakups – because the British government kindly made the information from the Comet failures openly available. Even then Boeing never really made money on the 707 — McDonald Douglas made the bad financial decision to produce the nearly identical performing DC-8 that made both planes financial underperformers. In those times the biggest manufacturers of airliners were Boeing and McDonald Douglas. These days the second no longer exists because it never really did make much money from its airliners, and the largest producer of liners is the European government subsidized Airbus. As a whole the airlines have been money losers for decades, and if not for the massive national subsidies for the national airport complex air travel would be too expensive for most folks to use on a regular basis. And government regulation has made flying 7 miles high at nearly the speed of sound fantastically safe (www.americanmoralspublicreality.org/index.php/why-smart-government-regulations-are-good-for-business-as-well-as-americans).
Then there is space. Imagine what would have happened if not for the needs of the government. Big boosters were initially developed for military requirements. It is hardly likely commercial interests would have developed the Atlases, Titans et al. that required fantastic expense to develop only to blow up all the time until most of the bugs were worked out of the flying bombs. If not for government monies communication, weather and environmental survey satellites and GPS (itself a military program) would not exist, much less the probes to the planets and the Hubble telescope (basically a spy satellite configured to look up rather than down). What private concern would sink the tremendous funds into such things with no hope of getting their money back for decades, if ever? Even if private capital takes over space travel (but see www.opednews.com/articles/The-Death-of-Human-Space-F-by-Gregory-Paul-110721-407.html) it will be because of the foundations laid by government work.
Back on planet earth, after the war the inadequate state of the national road system in the modern era became apparent, leading the big government Republican Eisenhower, who had seen the effectiveness of government in the war, to back the federal highway system. If not for big governance we would still have to drive across the USA on a patchwork of state and private roads and highways.
After languishing for lack of private interest after their initial discovery in the late 1920s, antibiotics were at last developed during a large-scale government program for wound treatment during the last world war. Private drug companies could not afford it. These days it is increasingly difficult (as microbes develop resistance) and very costly to develop new antibiotics, and people do not use them nearly enough to justify the upfront costs, so drug corporations won’t touch them unless subsidized. That’s why going to the hospital is becoming increasingly dangerous, and getting a simple cut is returning to being the potential death threat it used to be. Free markets are not going to solve this life or death problem.
Once upon a time the human genome was largely a mystery, sequencing small segments was consumed lots of time and cash. The Feds funded the project to sequence the entire length for a pittance for the government but way beyond what capital could put up, $3.8 billion. As the end of the project approached private financing joined the race and total economic benefit so far has been in the hundreds of billions with trillions to follow.
Who were the first buyers of semiconductors in the 1950s and 1960s? The Air Force and NASA. Their priming the pump sped up the digital age a decade or so.
By no means has Big Government been close to perfect. Big mistakes have been made. The westward expansion was to the detriment of Amerindians and the environment. Many of the megawaterworks have been dubious. There was the “Bridge to Nowhere” that Sarah Palin first supported and then didn’t. NASA’s Space Shuttle was a death trap. Solyndra. But private enterprise lays big eggs all the time, is prone to downplaying safety or protecting the environment to maximize profits, and most importantly has limited development scale. Look at how big auto took decades to drive itself into a ditch of bankruptcy until big government bailed them out. Eurogovernment subsidized Airbus was taken to task for splitting up construction of its gigantic A380 among the nations who contributed to its development, resulting in serious problems and delays. Surely the hard nosed capitalists at Boeing would not make the same mistake with its fuel sipping 787 dreamliner. Whose construction has been seriously delayed because its sections are being built hither and yon from Asia to Europe (and Boeing is considering consolidating some of its manufacturing in Seattle).
Ameroconservatives are wonderfully inconsistent about their antipathy toward big government. During the 2012 campaign they have decried cutting the defense budget as a job killer. This from the people who denounce government as incapable of creating jobs. Many conservatives love pouring taxpayer dollars into nuclear power and the fossil fuels industry. And farmers who tend to vote Repub in exchange.
The fact is that if not for Big Government, the nation would not have become independent in the 1700s. If not for BG North America would likely consist of two or more competing nations rather than a unified superpower. If you are a eurowesterner then you are benefiting from a long history of BG. If not for BG we Americans would not have the liberty to get into our hybrid automobile in Maine, and travel across the highways without bothering to cross a border down the Florida, and over to California, and up to Oregon, and back to Maine. Or hop on a Boeing or Airbus to fly at cheap rates from New York to Los Angeles. Forget those robots on Mars or Titan. Or GPS. And without BG, you’re more likely to die from some nasty microbe.
So just what is your big principled problem with your tax dollars at work?