Wednesday, March 05, 2014

BRINGING A KNIFE TO A SHOTGUN WEDDING.

Shorter Dennis Prager on bringing together social and fiscal conservatives:




Money shot:
The entire American experiment in smaller government — and even in secular government — was based on the presumption that Americans individually would be actively religious. Unlike Europeans of the Enlightenment era — and unlike the Left today — the Founders understood that people are not basically good. That is a defining belief of Judaism as well as of Christianity. Therefore, to be good, the great majority of people need moral religion and belief in accountability to a morally judging God. In other words, you will have either the big God of Judaism and Christianity or the big state of the Left.
Which is why Europe went up in flames and to this day is used exclusively for guano farming -- oh, wait, no, actually they get two months of vacations a year, socialized medicine, and Gothic cathedrals, and make us look like shit.

The thing is: Prager's probably addressing this appeal (if that's the word for it) to bullshit libertarians like David French who already don't give a shit about any freedoms that don't apply directly to themselves and their employers, and whose libertarianism is a Jedi mind trick that only works on people like Dennis Prager. And if it won't make any difference to them, try and imagine how it will be read by normal people who only seem to be hanging in with the Democrats because they're afraid the Republicans will destroy all safety nets and do away all public positions except Witchfinder General, Corporation Bagman in Chief, and Keeper of the Rapestick. It's like Prager is saying, "Everything you hate about us? That's the part that's non-negotiable!"

215 comments:

  1. gocart mozart3:02 PM

    Shorter shorter Prager: Give me Sharia or give me death

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  2. ChrisV823:04 PM

    "the Founders understood that people are not basically good. That is a defining belief of Judaism as well as of Christianity. Therefore, to be good, the great majority of people need moral religion and belief in accountability to a morally judging God."

    Yes, that is why the devoutly religious never commit any crimes or do anything morally wrong.

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  3. whetstone3:06 PM

    "In order to save the Constitution, we need to get rid of the First Amendment. Besides, there's nothing in there saying they're ranked in order of importance."

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  4. So I had to read this one a few times, because Dennis Prager isn't a terribly clear writer. I wasn't really sure what the thesis was (other than "liberals are evil," which is the thesis of everything he writes). But, after studying some of the comments, I've figured it out:


    Dennis Prager is attempting to synthesize Confucianism and Daoism.


    On the one hand, we have a philosophy based around traditional sources of authority and order created through moral correction. On the other hand, we have a philosophy that maintains that attempts to establish order through external action are futile and people can only be good in the absence of restraints. What Prager is trying to do is find a middle ground - taking the Confucian concept of moral education and the Daoist concept of freedom from laws, using the former to bootstrap the latter. Of course, even if he succeeds, Prager still needs to contend with the fact that these were philosophies designed with much smaller groups in mind, and may not be compatible with an urbanized, globalized world. It may entail artificially dividing society into smaller units, which is oddly utopian for a guy like him, but hell - to each his own.


    I realize that some of you may feel that this doesn't make any sense. I contend that it makes more sense than anything Dennis Prager has ever said.

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  5. Don't you see? His argument is based on the fact that excessive societal restraint makes people turn bad. The Big Bad Ebil Gubmit forces out the innate moral compass of the devout individual.


    I'm telling you guys, Prager is a Daoist. It's the only way any of this makes sense.

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  6. DocAmazing3:25 PM

    Praeger likes the Invisible Hand if it's at the end of the Arm of the Lord, without too much play in the wrist joint.

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  7. StringOnAStick3:30 PM

    Huh. The last guy I heard trying the "humans are basically evil and only God's grace can save them" line was also trying to talk the waitress into a quickie in the shower while his wife was out shopping.

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  8. redoubtagain3:34 PM

    The Left and its political party will always create social issues and tout them in divisive terms that make Republicans and conservatives look “reactionary.”


    Dude. That's because you are reactionary. All I have to do is look at your archive. "Redefining Marriage." "The President Who Has Done The Most Damage (Obama, of course)." "Yes, We Are The World's Policeman." (And that just within the last six months.)

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  9. tigrismus3:34 PM

    Only a liar or an ignoramus would claim the founders would prefer a nation guided by religion to one guided reason.

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  10. chuckling3:34 PM

    "...oh, wait, no, actually they get two months of vacations a year, socialized medicine, and Gothic cathedrals, and make us look like shit."



    Yep.

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  11. redoubtagain3:41 PM

    Since there were no Muslims among the "founders" (that we know of), he figures he's on ignorant safe ground.

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  12. satch3:41 PM

    "One frequently hears this political self-identification: “I’m socially liberal, but fiscally conservative.”... “It’s too bad the Christian Right dominates
    the Republican party. I would vote for the Republicans on fiscal issues,
    but I can’t stand the religious Right.”

    Jeezus, Dennis... I can't remember the last time I heard that one from someone who wasn't rolling his eyes and wondering: "Hmm... I wonder if the folks I'm talking to are really stupid enough to believe this?" The problem is that the last "Fiscally Conservative Socially Moderate" Pug in the country was revealed to be a complete sham two minutes after Mitt Romney was elected governor of Massachusetts.

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  13. MRC2103:50 PM

    Dennis Prager, May 2012: "You can't give adults free stuff and expect them to become better people in the long-run. ... There is no substitute for charity that you personally provide to other people."

    Dennis Prager, March 2014: "[T] the Founders understood that people are not basically good."

    So, charity should come from the individual, not the state, but individuals aren't basically charitable, is that it? Screwed either way!

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  14. satch3:51 PM

    Yep. I also loved this:



    "Today it is same-sex marriage, the next day it is the Republican “war on
    women,” and soon it will be ending the objective male-female
    designation of Americans (including at birth, because children should
    have the “right” to determine their gender and not have their parents
    and their genitalia determine it). Or it will be animal rights,
    race-based affirmative action, or an environmentalist issue."


    I'm sure that Prager had an even longer list of hypothetical horribles, like "The government should provide equal time in public schools for Satan worshippers"; or: "Free blood and virgins for mandatory Pagan fertility rites." I guess he just ran out of space.

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  15. LittlePig3:56 PM

    Prager believes that humanity is inherently evil...and proves it by being so.

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  16. satch3:57 PM

    Prager's main problem is that his "Morally Judging God" is powerless without the human hired help to carry out the scourging of the sinners, and after a while, they inevitably get carried away because scourging is just so much damn FUN...

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  17. LittlePig3:57 PM

    Dennis Prager isn't a terribly clear writer


    Congratulations! You've won today's grand prize on Understatement Theater!

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  18. eohippus3:57 PM

    Thus pointing out the unspoken-but-ever-present coda: "I got mine, fuck those people."

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  19. dstatton3:58 PM

    "...you will have either the big God of Judaism and Christianity or the big state of the Left."



    I'm reminded of Hitchens's comparison of heaven to North Korea, spending eternity groveling.

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  20. LittlePig4:09 PM

    The funny thing about that Original Sin bit...

    Adam and Eve ate from the Tree of Knowledge, and came to know good from evil (aka the development of bicameral consciousness in genus Homo).

    This was really bad in Big Daddy's eyes.So Big Daddy cursed all women to have painful childbirth. Which human females have much more so than other primates. Why? Because of our big old brains, which we developed as part of that good and evil bit, that is, being able to categorize and eventually to communicate with language.

    It's true on a deeper level. It is not meant to taken literally, it's myth (just like the 12 tribes of the Levant that joined into a state-of-sorts developed the myth about the old boy with the 12 sons). They just can't get that through their heads.

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  21. eohippus4:12 PM

    To be fair to Prager "people are not basically good" "individuals aren't basically charitable." I'm sure Dennis would say that we are all fallen, but the capacity for charity exists in enough humble sinners to feed the poor, if only the government would quit burdening them with legislation. See, their time is so taken up with mandatory gay wedding cake creation that they just can't get around to feeding ALL the poor people, but just you wait until Rick Santorum is President.

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  22. BigHank534:13 PM

    I used to use that line, and follow it up with a profane rant about how many people could get a college degree for what we blew on a fuckin' strategic bomber. Since then the so-called fiscal conservatives have given the lie away more times than I can be bothered to count, and anyone who still uses it is being dumb on purpose. Sell them bitcoins.

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  23. eohippus4:15 PM

    Ok, so I noticed it -did- say "...and Christianity" which means pork, seafood and circumcision need no longer weigh in the balance. Hmmm. What do you have to give up to be a Christian, besides good entertainment?

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  24. GlockPalin4:15 PM

    I realize that some of you may feel that this doesn't make any sense. I
    contend that it makes more sense than anything Dennis Prager has ever
    said.

    Talk about setting a low bar.

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  25. tigrismus4:17 PM

    If he needs to believe in "accountability to a morally judging God" even to be as good as he is, how much worse does he think he would be without it? I'd be curious what he acknowledges himself to be capable of, what he feels the world is currently protected from.

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  26. eohippus4:17 PM

    Oops, shoulda been a "does not equal" between the two quoted sentences up dere.

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  27. GlockPalin4:18 PM

    In other words, you will have either the big God of Judaism and Christianity or the big state of the Left.

    Interesting theory, save for the fact that the "big God of [insert religion]" tends to manifest as a big state.

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  28. KatWillow4:30 PM

    SOME people, like, say conservatives, are basically BAD.

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  29. TGuerrant4:40 PM

    You've brought to mind my grandmother's description of relatives my parents were always careful to avoid:


    The Bible says you will be judged by the judgments you pronounce and they just don't want God to think they're slackers when it comes to pronouncing.

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  30. FMguru4:41 PM

    "Fiscally Conservative Socially Moderate" means the same thing as "Libertarian" and (my favorite) "Classical Liberal" - namely, a shitsack conservative who supports the GOP 100% but finds it useful to publicly distance himself from the more declasse elements of social conservatism.

    The Ole Perfesser is a classic example, as anyone who observed how his "Libertarian" beliefs about the state torturing people and invading sovereign countries on trumped-up evidence survived Bush's first term can attest.

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  31. Spaghetti Lee4:47 PM

    In my experience, those people do exist, but the more they immerse themselves in the right-wing economics stuff, the crankier they get on social issues, because surprise, surprise, you can't constantly tell yourself that the government is the most evil thing ever without eventually building up some resentment for the people it helps.

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  32. Spaghetti Lee4:50 PM

    "Yes, We Are The World's Policeman."


    Oh, is National Greatness Conservatism in vogue again? Geez, I'm getting sick of overhauling my wardrobe every six months. (Calls up Crazy Al's Flightsuit Emporium with a stack of coupons in hand.)

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  33. Howlin Wolfe4:52 PM

    That's some mighty powerful reading between the lines by Prager. His proposition somehow never seemed to find its way into the FF's founding documents. It must have found its way into DP's ass, however.

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  34. Spaghetti Lee4:52 PM

    Keeper of the Rapestick

    Man, Terry Goodkind writes some weird shit these days.

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  35. tigrismus4:53 PM

    Hey, if Prager looks inward and sees only depravity, who are we to argue?

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  36. Spaghetti Lee4:53 PM

    Have they considered trying the 'fewer judgments' angle instead of the 'more pronouncements' one?

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  37. If you break it down, Prager's argument is "If people were all good and moral, then we wouldn't need all this government." Well...Yeah, I suppose, but that's a big "if" there, champ. On a related note, if it weren't for gravity we wouldn't have to spend money on all these handrails.

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  38. Howlin Wolfe4:58 PM

    I'm sure he believes that he himself is exempt from that generalization.

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  39. liberalrob5:12 PM

    Shhh! Don't tell them that their whole religion is based on just-so stories told by bored Middle Eastern shepherds to pass the time!


    (warning/irony: link is to a Christian essay)

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  40. liberalrob5:15 PM

    Rational thought, apparently. It seems to vary in degree depending on who you are talking to, but faith is ultimately irrational.

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  41. Ellis_Weiner5:16 PM

    Check the expiration date on those coupons. Al may be crazy, but he's not stupid.

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  42. Jaime Oria5:18 PM

    The Dao, eh?
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1pXXWd_CIYY

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  43. liberalrob5:19 PM

    "To be fair to Prager"

    Your first mistake.

    "I'm sure Dennis would say that we are all fallen, but the capacity for charity exists in enough humble sinners to feed the poor, if only the government would quit burdening them with legislation."


    Whatcha wanna bet that list of humble charitable sinners won't include Dennis Prager.

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  44. realinterrobang5:29 PM

    Prager's also totally wrong about Judaism. IANActuallyAJ, but last night I was reading a book on Judaism (To Be a Jew, Hayim Halevy Donin) and Donin says that the meaning of "created in G-d's image" is that human beings have the capacity for compassion, empathy, and mercy, and otherwise makes a pretty compelling argument that human beings have an intrinsically good nature.

    Of course, Jews also acknowledge that human beings have what they call an "evil impulse," but they also say that even the evil impulse can be used for good, if channelled correctly. Like that if it weren't for the evil impulse, nobody would have a family or build anything, and so on.

    In this case, I'm gonna go with the actual Jewish guys who have done some studying on what Judaism actually believes than some random right-wing internet skree dude with political motives to make Judaism a sub-sect of Christianity, somehow.

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  45. I'm in kind of a jocular mood today, so I'm going to address Prager's argument with a degree of seriousness that it doesn't warrant. What he's describing could be termed "Christian anarchism." That's hardly a contradiction - classical anarchist theory requires that people develop an internal code in the absence of formal laws. The problem is that Prager hasn't thought this through beyond the initial "no government and everyone's religious - awesome!" phase.



    The first problem is that theocons like Prager are not trying to use moral education as a substitute for government. The postmillenial dominionist doctrine tries to use theology to enhance laws, not replace them. Evangelicals (let's face it - Prager ain't thinking about mainline Protestants when he talks about "Christians") already use moral instruction to curb abortion, homosexuality, and whatever else within their own communities. The problem is that they're trying to change the laws to force the rest of us to live the same way. That's big government, son - raising taxes a few points on top earners ain't close.


    And even an idealized, non-coercive version wouldn't work as well as Prager thinks. What he's describing is a right-communitarian philosophy, akin to Confucianism which is why I used it above. The problem is that right-communitarianism doesn't scale up very well. Social pressures built around traditional sources of authority work great in isolated societies of a few hundred people, but try running it in a city of a million people, or across an entire nation or empire. Most of the Chinese dynasties were nominally Confucian, but under the hood they all ran on the principles of Legalism (i.e. Big Bad Ebil Gubment) because that's what worked.


    And even then, all of this really only addresses criminal law. Prager seems to think that it would also fix social issues, but I can't see how. Of course, he's running off the "marriage leads to prosperity" nonsense, but I don't see how. Two poor people get married, they're still poor. Poverty is a systemic problem, and it's not like it can be easily fixed through charity (clearly what he's assuming). All of this makes me wonder what Prager's system would do for civil disputes, particularly land and business disagreements. All the morality in the world won't help decide who owns what. Really, the only way Christian anarchism would work is if the end goal was communism, and that sure as hell doesn't sound like Prager, does it?


    It's almost as though, for all the pretense, Prager didn't really think this through. It's almost like his vision didn't go beyond ending food stamps and giving the former recipients a Bible and a husband. But that can't be, right?

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  46. coozledad5:32 PM

    Do they understand how few people even want a part of their heaven?


    I'd already rather silently rot in a box than have dinner with my relatives.

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  47. make Judaism a sub-sect of Christianity, somehow.


    Pretty much this. I think Prager is Jewish (at least in the Pam Gellar sense), but he's still doing what evangelical pundits always do - awkwardly cramming Jews into the conservative Christian philosophy so that the clubhouse will look bigger. It's a tough sell given how little Judaism has in common with any branch of Protestantism, but it's not like anyone really believes it - it's a dodge.

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  48. Spaghetti Lee5:38 PM

    Consider how odd, from a historical perspective, the political marriage of conservative evangelical Protestants with conservative Jews is. It just weirds me out sometimes.

    What also weirds me out: considering that Jewish-Americans as a whole are pretty left-wing, why are there so many right-wing Jewish commentators, from the big-timers (Kristol, Goldberg, Podhoretz) to the random-fuck-with-a-website variety (Godlstein, Schlussel, Geller)? It just seems...odd, from a demographic perspective.

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  49. satch5:40 PM

    "Poverty is a systemic problem, and it's not like it can be easily fixed through charity (clearly what he's assuming)."


    Guys like Prager have no interest in using charity to fix anything. He only wants just enough charity to muffle the grumbling stomachs of the poor and starving so they don't interfere with his beauty rest.

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  50. TGuerrant5:51 PM

    Protestant work ethic

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  51. Prager and his ilk have no ethical (or moral, if you will) backbone. They absolutely NEED to have an external structure (e.g. religion, totalitarian government, giant robots from space, etc.) to keep them upright. Kinda like molluscs.

    They are incapable of understanding how modern people, who have evolved internal ethical skeletons that allow us to move about freely, make individual choices, and stand on our own, can safely navigate the dangers of the world intact with no visible means of support.

    This makes their gelatin quiver.

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  52. Suffern ACE5:57 PM

    Yes. People are basically good. That's not exactly the way I remember Christianity being taught.

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  53. smut clyde5:57 PM

    The entire American experiment in smaller government
    Was this experiment ever officially announced?

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  54. Get out!


    Next you're gonna tell me that Jesus wasn't a white guy who believed in tax cuts and deregulation.
    ~

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  55. smut clyde5:59 PM

    the development of bicameral consciousness in genus Homo
    You are Julian Jayne and I claim my five pounds.

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  56. Unlike Europeans of the Enlightenment era — and unlike the Left today —
    the Founders understood that people are not basically good.


    The fuck? The Founders were Europeans of the Enlightenment era.

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  57. TGuerrant6:07 PM

    She who turned Swiss right in front of us and then pretended all her yodels have always been for America

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  58. TGuerrant6:08 PM

    But Malthus was from South Carolina and brought Thomas Jefferson to Jesus!

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  59. TGuerrant6:11 PM

    Next you'll demand bivalves be allowed to marry.

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  60. waspuppet6:16 PM

    Once again, I wonder why conservatives are having trouble with younger voters. After all, being a conservative sounds like SUCH FUN!

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  61. Shorter every wingnut: we need religion because without it we can't keep the proles in line.

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  62. the Founders understood that people are not basically good.
    -------------------
    Which is why righties hate the n-CLANG!

    Note: they're all celebrating this today, the vicious rat-bastards.

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/post-partisan/wp/2014/03/05/why-the-senate-vote-against-obamas-civil-rights-nominee-was-bad/
    ~

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  63. Tricksy B^4 will not fool the wingnut Gollums!
    ~

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  64. Yeah yeah, Simels. I KNEW you would say that!
    ~

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  65. Perhaps you would be interested in my mussels propagation pamphlet?
    ~

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  66. Once you Quahog, you never go...


    yeah, let me come in again.

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  67. Jaime Oria7:23 PM

    Civil disputes? Perhaps he's planning to go totally old-school Judeo-Christian and make with the Solomonic sword-swinging and baby-bisecting.

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  68. Jaime Oria7:29 PM

    I'll just leave this here -

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  69. mgmonklewis7:41 PM

    Wait, wait, wait — liberals don't understand that "people aren't basically good"? Oh right. What with stolen elections, curtailed civil liberties, trumped-up wars, bigotry, corporate rapine, people at political conventions cheering that uninsured people should die — I could go on ad nauseumliberals are dewy-eyed polyannas who can't fathom that people aren't basically good?

    To the dismay of some on the left, we realize quite clearly that plenty of people are weak, selfish, or just plain sociopaths.

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  70. bourbaki7:47 PM

    Speaking as a member of the tribe, I think its just because a lot of us are loudmouths.

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  71. StringOnAStick8:04 PM

    Having married into the tribe, yes, most Jewish-Americans are pretty left wing. Jewish-American-Zionists, not so much, and they are playing with crazy evangelical fire in order to cage some Israel support from the "all the Jews must burn to bring back Jesus" types.

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  72. Derelict8:07 PM

    I would marry any oyster
    For nothing's slicker, nothing's moister.

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  73. AGoodQuestion8:07 PM

    Got off the boat, and now I need to go buy new shoes. "Bad faith" isn't just an expression when Prager is around.


    One thing I noticed is that for all of Prager's talk about "the God of Judaism and Christianity" he never finds the time to mention that this is the same God Muslims know as Allah. Just an oversight, I'm sure.

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  74. AGoodQuestion8:14 PM

    Beauty rest? How can he sleep with the rumblings of his own colon always in his ear?

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  75. AGoodQuestion8:16 PM

    Oh Thunder, that's Precious.

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  76. tigrismus8:22 PM

    You can't beat a mussel
    for a good bedroom tussle

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  77. AGoodQuestion8:26 PM

    His wife (number whatever) left him so we kind of know what her thoughts on the subject were.
    At the very least it proves that everyone reaches their limit sooner or later.

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  78. Odder8:32 PM

    I once had a limpet,
    'twas easy to pimp it.

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  79. Odder8:33 PM

    (Ain't going near cockles, though)

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  80. DocAmazing8:40 PM

    How can you slander molluscs like that?

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  81. Ellen Smith8:47 PM

    Weren't the Articles of Confederation the American experiment in smaller government? See how well that worked out.

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  82. Smarter than Your Average Bear8:54 PM

    When Reading Prager

    Tom Servo: [in a straining voice as Kalgon grimaces] Come on, skull, pop out of my skin!

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  83. montag28:57 PM

    Or, just ran out of gas. Hey, the guy isn't Jonah G., y'know.

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  84. TGuerrant9:04 PM

    He must have missed one of the memos. Weren't we going to let the trannies fend for themselves a while longer while we got bisexuals the right to cast two ballots in every election?

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  85. TGuerrant9:13 PM

    Is amazing. How'd Python know what Edroso was going to be having on his site in 2014? What if we're not just making this shit up on the fly? What if we're... programmed?

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  86. montag29:28 PM

    Would that be Crazy Al Haig's outfit?

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  87. Christopher Hazell9:34 PM

    Therefore, to be good, the great majority of people need moral religion and belief in accountability to a morally judging God. In other words, you will have either the big God of Judaism and Christianity or the big state of the Left.

    This also explains why, in North America before Columbus, where such a big, judgmental god was lacking, most societies took the form of sprawling, rigidly hierarchical mega-states.

    Oh, wait.

    Noah Millman wrote an excellent antidote to exactly this kind of blockheaded just so story, wonderfully titled Did Islam Give Us Gay Marriage?" although he wasn't talking about this particular column.

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  88. ...alive, alive, Oh!

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  89. montag29:36 PM

    The phrase has always stuck in my craw, because, as Gore Vidal repeatedly harped, legislatures' principal task is spending money, so, if you're socially moderate, your spending ought to reflect that, and being "fiscally conservative" is the negation of social spending. On that basis, if one is a politician, and one is dedicated to fiscal conservatism, hey, asshole, you're nothing but a conservative.

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  90. Christopher Hazell9:36 PM

    And on a wholly unrelated note:

    If there were as many “fiscal conservatives” as there are people who claim to be, it is hard to see how Republicans would lose as many elections as they do.



    Oh, it's actually quite easy to see how they would do it: Republicans aren't fiscally conservative.

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  91. brandonrg9:43 PM

    Apparently the founders were Calvinists.

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  92. In other words, you will have either the big God of Judaism and Christianity or the big state of the Left.

    He seems to be leaving something out... I just can't figure out what it is. Oh, well, in the absence of the big state of the Left, a society with the big God should have a motto like "God is great!" or "There is no God but God!"

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  93. And Ben Franklin dragged him right back into the brothel.

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  94. BigHank5310:32 PM

    devoutly religious never commit any crimes

    Google "pastor arrested". Thirty-six million goddamn hits.

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  95. JennOfArk10:40 PM

    Funny how people can't be moral without the iron fist of religion, but businesses will be just fine freed from all regulation.

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  96. BigHank5310:41 PM

    Being nice to the wrong people, I guess. I know I don't have the time or energy to keep up with their villains-of-the-hour.

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  97. BigHank5310:42 PM

    People interested in advanced study can examine the Confederate States of America. They couldn't even manage to standardize their railroad gauges.

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  98. DocAmazing10:56 PM

    Dao Jones, maybe...

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  99. JennOfArk10:57 PM

    Well, too, it's also true on a deeper level in Freudian terms. What happens after they eat the fruit? They become ashamed of their nakedness (sexual awareness). Who tempts Eve in the first place? The appropriately phallic snake. What are the punishments? Basically, adulthood (well, pain in childbirth too). God's not going to have them screwing around under HIS roof, so out they go. It's such a naked analogy of the adolescent passage - interest in the opposite sex, the sex that eventually arises from it, the fruits of sex - not just pain in childbirth, but the children themselves which require being responsible. Adam and Eve fucked up by doing it, and the punishment for all of us is that we have to be responsible.


    So, basically, a fairy tale with the shittiest ending EVER.

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  100. Hell, it's the same God Arab-speaking Christians know as Allah ... not that you'd know they even exist from listening to fundigelicals.

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  101. Speaking of "Good God!" and big states of the Left, BBBB, I see your good friend Rob Astorino wants to run for governor, because then he'll be able to do something about high property taxes. Anti-choice, pro-fracking, anti-tax on rich people ... yet (1) he's going to offer a bipartisan alternative to an incumbent who's already anti-tax on rich people; and (2) he's been elected freakin' county executive of freakin' Westchester ... twice. Hey, Dennis: I'm on the Left (to the dismay of some of the others over there), and not only do I not think people are basically good, I think far too many of them are fucking morons.

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  102. JennOfArk11:13 PM

    He's on number 3 now - has she left him, too?

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  103. Thanks, Obama!

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  104. smut clyde11:35 PM

    Thirty-six million goddamn hits
    Still not enough.

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  105. BadExampleMan11:37 PM

    No, Prager is a Doodooist. He's only making (bad) scents.

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  106. TomParmenter11:47 PM

    ram a clam

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  107. "...Founders understood that people are not basically good. That is a defining belief of Judaism..."

    I can refute this quote with Genesis 1:31...my goodness Prager is an idiot. If Jews still excommunicated people regularly, I'd vote for him...Ugh.

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  108. Daniel Björkman12:24 AM

    In other words, you will have either the big God of Judaism and Christianity or the big state of the Left.

    Quite right. And I vote for the big state of the Left. When it completely fails to turn people good by its very existence, it can actually do something about it.

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  109. "Which is why Europe went up in flames and to this day is used exclusively for guano farming"



    Not to (ever, ever) defend Prager but our friends on the continent did spend a good portion of the first half of the 20th century attempting to make their countries into smoldering, bombed out guano farms.


    Godless liberal vegetarian fascists, all of them!

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  110. philadelphialawyer12:27 AM

    The Founding Fathers, if by that we mean the conservative leaning group that wrote the Constitution, "understood" not so much that people are "not basically good," but that, in a big, heterogeneous polity, people would form factions of one kind or another (geographic, religious, economic, etc.) and would try to turn the central government into an instrument to promote themselves and do harm to those outside their faction.
    Hence the elaborate system of checks and balances, of Federalism, of separation of powers, of super majority requirements, and the attempt to cultivate and promote an enlightened, altruistic, national elite generally, through large legislative districts, the indirect election of Senators and the President, and the lifetime appointment of Federal judges.
    While conservative, these founding chaps were actually much, much more sophisticated than folks who subscribe to the "we need God to keep us good" mentality. Many of them were deists, and there were very, very few religious zealots in the bunch. They refused to establish an official religion, and expressly prohibited any religious test for Federal officeholders (quite a radical move at the time, which did not pass unnoticed, and which some States to this day, IIRC North Carolina, for one, have still not managed to replicate). In other words, the Founders actually contemplated the notion of Jews, maybe Muslims too, or even non Abrahamic religious folks, or atheists, holding Federal office. And, of course, many of them were on board when the First Congress passed and the States ratified the First Amendment, which made the establishment of a Federal religion completely impossible.
    The Founders, by and large, as I see it, did not think that people were perfectible. Improvable, perhaps. But they did not see them as fundamentally evil, either. Just self interested and likely to abuse power, if it were available in an unchecked form. And their answer was to make unchecked power unavailable through the structure of government, not through tying the government to religion, neither a particular religion or religion generally..
    Of course, none of that is an endorsement of "big government," per se, but it does bear noting that the Fed set up by the Founders was consciously designed to be bigger, and more effective, and more powerful, than the Articles of Confederation government that preceded it. And it should also be understood that "conservatism" in the 18th Century had none (as in zero) of the libertarian about it. The term "libertarian" had not even been invented (it is more of a mid to late 19th century concept) and, to most Founders, it would have sounded more like "licentiousness" than anything else. And while the Fed created by the Founders was indeed still "limited" in its powers, the States (remember the BofR did not apply to them, and there was no 14th Amendment) had almost unlimited powers, pretty much with the Founders' blessing. States could regulate wages and prices, hell, States could still pass sumptuary laws (telling people what clothes they could and couldn't wear). Pretty much, the States, unless they outright confiscated private property (a big concern of the Founders), could do any damn thing they pleased, under the new Constitution as much as before it was ratified.
    Man, I hate it when jerkoffs like this Prager guy start spouting off about the Founders and American history generally. Stupid twits that don't their asses from their elbows in the here and now think they can just make up any old nonsense about the past and that no one will call them on it.

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  111. FlipYrWhig12:30 AM

    The Bible totally stole that whole plot from Judd Apatow.

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  112. I just put up a post about how he'll not even be a speed bump in the path of the Cuomo juggernaut. Cuomo wants to be the first paisan president, and he's not going to let a sfaccimme like Astorino get in his way.

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  113. FlipYrWhig12:32 AM

    Geoduck.

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  114. DocAmazing12:34 AM

    The term "libertarian" meant, basically, "anarchist" until the late 1960s, when the current crew hijacked it. (In most of the world, "libertarian" still refers to anarchists and related groups.) Licentious" I sure hope so!

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  115. Daniel Björkman12:35 AM

    I was one of those people, but I went the opposite way - the more I immersed myself in left-wing social stuff, the more I felt that everyone deserved help - and that a lot of them needed help that went beyond just not actively harming them.

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  116. philadelphialawyer12:35 AM

    I think maybe you are doing something that I often fall prey to...trying in good faith to make sense and find coherence and consistency in what is just off hand, off the cuff, bar stool bullshit. I think I have been guilty of putting way too much thought and effort in trying to at least understand what these asshats are attempting to say, only to discover that they, and their intended audience, are operating at an entirely different level. And that is the level that you identified at the beginning, ie "liberals are evil."

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  117. philadelphialawyer12:39 AM

    Some of them were.

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  118. Fundegelicals have this weird story that Allah is actually some sort of moon demon, and when the poor misguided muslins try to pray to the one true christian God, the moon demon intercepts their prayers and keeps them away. Which makes the christian god sound pretty pathetic and weak if he can't even get prayers that the sender intends for him without a demon intercepting them.

    It's Levi-OOOOH-sa not LevioSAH.

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  119. Buffalo Rude1:07 AM

    Speaking as a goy who is madly in love with and dating a "member of of the tribe," this is true in my anecdotal opinion. Speaking as someone who was raised Irish Catholic, it's part of the reason I love her so.

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  120. philadelphialawyer1:13 AM

    Not to accuse you of defending Prager, but, it seems to me, that the USA, even with its wonderful religions and their Big Daddy God to be accountable to, managed to take part in the two main efforts to turn Europe into smoldering burned out guano fields that you refer to, as well as other assorted similar such efforts right here in the USA, in the Western hemisphere generally, and in Asia and the Pacific. Just sayin'!

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  121. One thing that seems to characterize the Podhoretz/Horowitz/SavageWeiner branch of the right-wing is a stated youthful dabbling in the far fringes of the Left.

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  122. PorlockJunior2:46 AM

    Hey, that was my cousin's husband's band. Lay off the intellectual property, y'hear?

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  123. smut clyde4:50 AM

    Oddly enough, I just asked my cat "What is it that can't be described?" and she replied "Dao".

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  124. smut clyde4:55 AM

    Zero degrees of Calvin.

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  125. Nothing comes between me and my calvinist.--sexy founders

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  126. This. Also they believe that when women are chaste and withhold their reproductivity from the broken marriage market the oversupply of children from poor families dissapears. So in a couple of unhappy, sexually frustrated generations, the work force comes into balance and no women have children without an income (male generated) to support them. He could get to almost the same place with better opportunities and free contraception but it wouldnt be as magical.

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  127. Reaction formation. Also i believe kristol pere was skeered by black people in his yout.

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  128. Not only that but islam rather explicitly demands a union of politics and religion--not this namby pamby stuff the "judeo christians" advocate but full on quasi theocracy. No limited givernment for them. I think hes got islam envy, actually--its ghe logical end game they dint want to admit when you have a heterodox, polyglot, society--one god or hovernment to bind them.

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  129. "It must have been State's Will."

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  130. Robert M.8:10 AM

    "Wait, someone else might treat me the way I treat women? Oh HELL NO."

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  131. Robert M.8:11 AM

    Nah. He's been writing that one since basically Day One.

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  132. teresa8:49 AM

    Shorter Prager: all the lazy bastards and all people in general must be spanked all the time by the daddies. Even the daddies need to spanked by each other in order to be truly happy and decent daddies.

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  133. redoubtagain8:50 AM

    (That's what you get when you have Mark Sanchez and Tim Tebow throwing prayers for you.)

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  134. Helmut Monotreme8:57 AM

    I'm pretty sure that is the line he uses to justify his not caring about the poor at all. The only point he sees to christian charity is to keep the pews filled on Sunday. Then he get's his full church and the smug feeling of satisfaction that that he gets when hungry people beg for his help.

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  135. Cargo9:02 AM

    I'm old enough to remember when the conservatives painted themselves as the fun ones smoking cigars and eating steaks and the liberals as humorless scolds always going on about recycling and saying "differently abled" instead of crippled. "South Park Republicans", haha.

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  136. William Miller9:08 AM

    I'd say the Roman Catholic Church has some 'splainin' to do. http://constantinessword.com/

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  137. brandonrg9:31 AM

    People being universally good and moral still doesn't preclude cooperation and collectivization. Maybe we wouldn't need states, but we'd still have government-like institutions to do things like build roads.

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  138. Tiny Hermaphrodite, Esq.9:31 AM

    OT: Roy, you magnificent bastard, you should have told us.

    For all other denizens here in the comment section: Roy is blogging CPAC at RAWSTORY. Why didn't they Tbogg, too.
    (Though I understand that they didn't send Marcotte. They would burn her as a witch)

    http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2014/03/06/raw-story-sends-roy-edroso-to-cpac/

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  139. JennOfArk9:40 AM

    Be safe, Roy. Don't get within a hundred feet of J-Load without your gas mask.

    http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2014/03/06/raw-story-sends-roy-edroso-to-cpac/

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  140. Tiny Hermaphrodite, Esq.9:42 AM

    Just to be clear: I won't be sharing the finder's fee.

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  141. Halloween_Jack9:47 AM

    Talk about the belly of the beast.

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  142. William Miller9:54 AM

    Not to mention their firstborn turns out to be the cold-blooded murderer of his own brother. Shittiest First Parents EVER!

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  143. David_LloydJones10:19 AM

    Always worth remembering that the United States has one good piece of solid socialist legislation on the books -- the Earned Income Tax Credit.

    Who got it there? Ralph Reed, the choir boy of the "Christian" Coalition, who clearly identified the interests of his largely peckerwood constituency.

    The Red states are red because they are kept alive through the agricultural policies of the Eugene Debs and Norman Thomas Socialist Party. The man who put those policies into place, the later leader of the Latter Day Saints Ezra Taft Benson, identified them as "socialist," his word, at the time. President Eisenhower said "Yeah, but the family farm mumble mumble," and Benson went ahead. How were they to know that the largest family farmer would end up being the Coca Cola Company, getting paid by the government to put orange juice on our tables?

    In general there is no commonality of interest between religious conservatives and the Koch Brothers and other big time greed heads. Religious conservatives are generally working people. The Kochs are mere inheritors, and their staff keep them rich through M&A based on understanding of the tax laws and loopholes, not through actual production.

    -dlj.

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  144. David_LloydJones10:22 AM

    DJ,
    "Daoist concept of freedom from laws" is an interesting phase for the blind surrender to domination by untrammeled nature.

    -dlj.

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  145. David_LloydJones10:27 AM

    Also big on burning books.

    The good news: they only lasted seven years in power. The bad news? They were followed by four hundred years of civil war...

    -dlj.

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  146. XeckyGilchrist10:28 AM

    Coming from you, this means a lot.

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  147. XeckyGilchrist10:31 AM

    Beautifully put, and the same principle applies to all sorts of other conservative kneejerkery - e.g. replace "women" with "black people."

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  148. AngryWarthogBreath11:11 AM

    That's all I need to use to recommend that movie to people. "A Taoist priest dances to the most 80s music possible and there's underwater topless makeouts. WHY ARE YOU NOT WATCHING IT ALREADY."


    Honestly, I was incapable of liking it ironically, though. I love that movie with a full and sincere unironic... love... movie... ing.

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  149. AngryWarthogBreath11:41 AM

    Or "God with us"?


    Nah, I suppose that way you've got the big God and the big State and the big Godwin while you're there.

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  150. David_LloydJones11:41 AM

    Kristol and Podhoretz are poster-boys for my theory that Trotskyism is not a political position but an endocrine disorder. Given Midge Decter it might be autosomal recessive...

    Their utterly non-conservative "conservatism" is the same thing with a slightly, just very slightly, different set of verbal expressions, but generally similar behaviors.

    -dlj.

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  151. David_LloydJones11:44 AM

    Yeah, but 35,750,000 of them were the Kemal Ataturk folks.

    -dlj.

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  152. David_LloydJones11:49 AM

    DJ,

    "make Judaism a sub-sect of Christianity, somehow" would obviously be bass ackwards, and not just on the timing of things.

    The Book of Common Prayer is pretty much a dead straight copy of the Siddur, with the Gospel reading interpolated in the place of the Haftorah.

    If it weren't for all those Mithraic bits that Constantine took in to keep the Palace Guard happy, Xianity would be "just another Jewish cult" -- as Edward Teller said of sociology, which Enrico Fermi enthusiastically introduced him to while they were both at University of Chicago.
    As it is, Christianity is obviously totally and completely unique, because it makes Sunday, not Saturday or Friday, holy...

    -dlj.

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  153. David_LloydJones11:54 AM

    Real ?!

    Since I blame Midge Decter, below, for half of junior Podhoretz's messhugass, it's worth saying that she's also the editor of both Donin's excellent books, and also a fine poet.

    People can have utterly loony autopilot politics, and she does, and still function very well in other parts of their lives.

    -dlj.

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  154. Cuomo wants to be the first paisan president


    To the dismay of some on the left ... okay, everyone on the left. I suppose he could be the new Chris Christie and hope that the big money folks who have their hands jammed up his ass 24x7 allow him to weather a GOP primary, but I'm actually somewhat skeptical of his ability to get the Dem nomination. (Whoa, is that optimism? Now I have to go lie down for a while.)

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  155. El Manquécito12:27 PM

    If he's so good with a sword then he ought to be able to cut off that thing that's affixed to his face.

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  156. William Miller12:36 PM

    Anal sex, at a minimum.

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  157. William Miller12:37 PM

    In their defense, they were distracted.

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  158. glennisw12:46 PM

    I'm sure Tbogg is happier staying in sunny San Diego with the lovely Mrs. Tbogg and the bassets.

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  159. They want Islam without Allah, like the Holy Church of Christ without Christ from Wise Blood.

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  160. So if a poor person falls in a forest, and there is no charitable saint around to receive the benefit of helping him up, I guess he should just lie there and not call for a government sponsored wilderness rescue team?

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  161. My comment would like to burn in hell with this comment.

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  162. I see a great Young Adult novel here, frankly.

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  163. Supersesessionism.

    Supersessionism, fulfillment theology, and replacement theology are terms used in biblical interpretation for the belief that the Christian Churchsupersedes or replaces the children of Israel in God's plan, and that the New Covenant nullifies the biblical promises made to the children of Israel, including the Abrahamic Covenant, the Land Covenant, and the Davidic Covenant. However, it has no bearing[clarification needed] on the Mosaic Covenant (or Mosaic Law), which most Christian groups agree was always intended to be superseded by the New Covenant. The terms do not appear in the Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church; however, the view they cover is considered part of most traditional Christian views of the Old Covenant, viewing the Christian Church as the inheritor of the biblical promises made with the Israelites.[1][2] This view contrasts with the minority views of dual-covenant theology on the one side and abrogation of Old Covenant laws on the other.

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  164. And in their offense too.

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  165. I really don't think he can do it. He's lost that youthful glow and is looking more and more dour and sour. And he doesn't have the helpmeet that is expected of rising stars, either.

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  166. JennOfArk2:34 PM

    Actually they're ok with anal sex, as long as it's a female that's getting the high hard one up the poop chute.

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  167. Jaime Oria2:41 PM

    "Keep your mouth closed or the tongue will get in!"

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  168. StringOnAStick3:15 PM

    Our Roy is one tough dude, no doubt about it. If I had to go to that shitfest my BP would blow off the top of my head.

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  169. StringOnAStick3:18 PM

    The need for a judgmental sky daddy who sees every bad thing you do in order to keep you from doing even more bad things has always struck me as the typical cosmology of a 6 year old. Most of us grow up at some point.

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  170. Chocolate Covered Cotton4:10 PM

    So much for that whole monotheism thing.

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  171. If only Sinatra had sung it so good...."My Way"

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  172. "A bit touchy about our nuts, are we laddy?," said the priest to the choirboy

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  173. Here's one article and some video clips of the cake. It was Corn Nuts but I couldn't remember the right way to describe them--I believe they have been deep fried and puffed though, I don' tthink they are natural in any way. I used to eat them and I definitely remember that they were very much unnatural.

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  174. Meanie-meanie, tickle a person4:31 PM

    I don't see much morality in, say, the Inquisition, the Crusades, Human (or animal, for that matter) sacrifice, or knowingly allowing your church to become a haven for pedophiles. (No, Mother Church didn't do the Human sacrifice bit, far as I know, unless you count all the people who were burned at the stake, or failed the buoyancy test)...

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  175. Meanie-meanie, tickle a person4:35 PM

    the big God of Judaism

    I'm with Sir Terry, I like my gods small...

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  176. StringOnAStick4:36 PM

    Mine too. I think I'm related to Coozledad.

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  177. Helmut Monotreme5:23 PM

    Perhaps he's a perfectly clear writer, revealing the fact that he's not that great of a thinker.

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  178. LittlePig5:27 PM

    Funny thing - I picked that up from an X-Man comic (X-Factor, to be exact), where Beast was reading that book upside down hanging from the ceiling.

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  179. LittlePig5:52 PM

    Well, in the New Testament, the line is 'Judge not, lest ye be judged'. But Goddamn Republicans (but I repeat myself) are all Old Testament. Well, pieces and snatches of the Old Testament, because otherwise all the burger joints would be smoking holes for selling cheeseburgers.

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  180. LittlePig5:54 PM

    "If people were all good and moral, then we wouldn't need all this government."

    Yeah, and if my aunt had balls she'd be my uncle.

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  181. TGuerrant6:15 PM

    Gaylord on the Potomac?

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  182. J Neo Marvin6:39 PM

    Bloge.

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  183. TGuerrant6:44 PM

    Judge not, that you be not judged. For with the judgment you pronounce you will be judged, and the measure you give will be the measure you get. Why do you see the speck that is in your brother's eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, "Let me take the speck out of your eye," when there is the log in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother's eye. (Matt. 7:1-5)


    Also Luke 6:37, Luke 6:41, John 8:7, Romans 2:1, Romans 14:10, Romans 14:13, 1 Corinthians 4:5, and James 4:11. Kind of hard to avoid, really, if you're Bible banging with your eyes open.

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  184. TGuerrant6:56 PM

    He's left us alone here... with the keys to the car....

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6NvDZa8hWSs

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  185. El Manquécito6:58 PM

    If that book must be read that's as good a way as any.

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  186. Meanie-meanie, tickle a person11:19 PM

    Yeah, right. On his Obamaphone...

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  187. I'm sorry to go completely off-topic in hopes of amusing you with my own personal drama of the day.

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  188. rothbriele4:05 AM

    So I had to study this one a few periods, because Dennis Prager isn't a really obvious author. I wasn't really sure what the dissertation was (other than "liberals are wicked," which is the dissertation of everything he writes). But, after learning some of content, I've realized it out:











    Spybubble Free

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  189. Yeah, that sounds about right. Most people are neither really good nor really bad.

    I'm reminded of this quote from Stephen King's The Dead Zone: “Ninety-five percent of people who walk the earth are simply inert. One percent are saints, and one percent are assholes. The other three percent are people who do what they say they can do.”

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  190. Mooser11:39 AM

    "In other words, you will have either the big God of Judaism and Christianity or the big state of the Left."


    That is absurd! There is absolutely no comparison! Jews, like myself, have not been baptised, they have not received the blessings of the Holy Spirit, they will not be forgiven for their sins, they will not receive eternal life.
    And there is another factor: We Jews have steadfastly, obstinately, held to this peculiar position: We refuse ourselves the blessings of true, Christian religion even after seeing, for generations, the benefits it provides.

    Really, can conservatives trust people like us? Absolutely not!


    Figure it out, guys: A Jew and a Moslem, what's the difference? They both reject Christ, only we Jews do it more, and more inflexibly.

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  191. Mooser11:50 AM

    "The term "librarian" had not even been invented (it is more of a mid
    to late 19th century concept) and, to most Founders, it would have
    sounded more like "licentiousness" than anything else."



    Thanks! Now I understand a lot more about that whole "Marion" production number. I hadn't understood all the implications.

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  192. Mooser11:51 AM

    It takes a lot of guano to grow good arugula!

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  193. Mooser11:53 AM

    "Jews still excommunicated people regularly..."


    My religion has been, I'll have you know, greatly liberalized over the years. The only thing a Jew can be excommunicated for these days is anti-Zionism, a horrible religious sin.

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  194. Mooser11:57 AM

    Look, I don't mind a theology, but do we really want the people who steadfastly refuse to acknowledge Jesus involved in it?

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