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November 03, 2004


David Weman

No, Tacitus IS Josh Trevino. Same guy. Those are his own words.


Damn. That's disappointing.


You are right -- Kos, Atrios, and a few other leftwing bloggers really worked hard. But how can you work on something like: homophobia? If the caliber of the new Senator from Oklahoma is any indication, this is the election that the Confederacy won. Alternative history buffs love to play around with the idea of the Confederacy winning -- but here's another alt idea: what if some Southern slaver had won in 1860, and tried to extend slavery to the Northern states? What if, instead of Lincoln's "New Nation", the Union cause had been about the old Adam nation, writ large?

Unfortunately, it looks like a civilized sector of the country is going to be bound, forever, with a more populous part of the country which, after having reluctantly giving up the joys of apartheid, is reconnecting to its past evangelical fervors. These are the Boers of the New World.

Given this congress and president and campaign, surely the non-hypocritical thing to do would be to take away MLK day, and make the our newest national holiday Strom Thurmond day. He is much more representative of the current state of play in a country than King.

The dream is good and dead.

R J Keefe

I'm with Roger. The issue that replaces 'slavery' is 'patriarchy,' and the first thing we who want to see an end to it have to is to acknowledge that and stop attacking Republicans for things that don't mean much to them. Patriarchy means everything to them.

To avoid civil war, we must resist the temptation to speed up social progress. Gay marriage was this election's Ralph Nader. American progressives must develop at least as clear and focused an agenda as conservatives have been shaping for fifty years.


A little history - The "Burned Over District", so called for the number of religious movements that arose there after the Civil War (including Mormonism) is Central and Western New York, not Alabama. This was the same region that gave us Susan B. Anthony and Frederick Douglas. It was also the Silicon Valley of its day.

Who knows how Oklahoma or Kansas might reshape themselves in the next twenty or fifty years?

I have no faith that anyone will hold the GOP responsible for anything that happens on their watch. Instead, any blame will be fixed on some scary other. It might be liberals, Muslims, Arabs, Europeans, Chinese or pretty much any identifiable group that will be cast as the skapegoat.

I do have faith that the republic will endure, although we may cease to be a global superpower in the process. I don't know if this will be a good thing or a bad thing. I just hope we don't lose any cities in the process of finding out.


Larry B,

Of course, Western New York was home to many fervid offshoots of the Great Awakening. The first Woman's Suffrage conventions (which occured in Western New York) occupied themselves with trying to disentangle bible passages from St. Paul about the subordination of women. And these women were from the absolute upper class of American intellectual life.

But clearly, in the case of the South, religion has operated as it operated for the Boers in South Africa -- as a template giving divine legitimation to a system of racial hatred and white privilege.

The difference, I guess, is that the Boers were smart enough to combine that with a socialism, at least for whites, while the countryfolk in the right to work states busy themselves with cooking up methamphetimine and gaybashing. When they aren't preaching abstinence, or taking care of the extraordinary high rate of teenage pregnancies that result from such teaching. One of the little noticed results of Bush's moral first term was an increase in the number of abortions. So it goes when a population deliberately choses to immiserate itself while mass-inoculating itself with either speed or the Gospel.

fred boy

Sadly I looked at the Dead right posts you had posted and had a feeling of sadness. You and I and a lot of people got snookered into believing that conservatism in the US is a philosophy. It is not. It is stage hatred, without principle, other than to perpetuate itself and make money doing so. Donner parties indeed. With the second Bush administration, when they appoint Gonzalez, the man who wrote the torture memos, to the supreme court, we'll all start feeling the hate of conservatism as philosophy. Scalia has whetted our appetite. Bush has spilled the blood, foolishly. America has just elected senators who have regenerated the old hatred of the Dixiecrats, swearing the hatred of "genetically inferior" blacks, and satanic sodomites. Thrasymachus wanted you to believe that power and competence are all that matters. So did John Kerry. But what Thrasymachus never seemed to know, medieval christianity did: the crusade is what organizes it all.

I think it's disgusting that we live in a world of george w bush's organized hate. And I think any of us who ever called hate a philosophy (as I have myself), deserve to take another trip through the spiritual cleaners. It's a failure of the critical spirit, my friend; we've been living in a dream world, and now it is all nightmarishly true.

The Weekly Standard will keep proclaiming Bush as the great Wilsonian hope, and Karl Rove will keep having his 'eggies' to encourage everyone to think that fag-bashing and Grover Nordquist are the same philosophical message, and it will be beaten into your head, and mine, and that of all the poor national guardsmen dragged to Iraq while suburban housewives in Texas scream, as they did at the republican national convention, for more killing.

John Stuart Mill ain't gonna help you with that one, I'm afraid. The American right wing's only philosophy is that of the clash of civilizations, the new crusade, and liberalism, even in its most conservative guise, has been dealt a death blow. The courts will be packed, and christian hate is on the ascendency, largely because the chattering class of the conservatives have been treated with far too much respect for their supposed views that truth is false, black is white, and God is the only thing we need to make everything right.

Maybe it will needs to get worse before it gets better, but there needs to be more fight to reason than just dignifying and making slight fun of unreason.


Russell Arben Fox

Keep reading that conservatism stuff John; it'll come in handy.

As for "dignifying and making slight fun of unreason"--it depends on the real target of such a project. Jokingly telling Tom Delay to his face that, after all, his political philosophy is nonsense: yes, that's probably not anything that will serve the cause of reason. But trying to detach conservative believers from their conviction that there is only one possible way for them to express their beliefs, helping (through humor and persuasion) turning their faith into a politics more coherent and reasonable: as one who is surrounded by such conservatives among my family and friends, I can't think of a more valuable endeavor.

More on this (too much more, actually) on my blog.


Congratulations on the reading project! Understanding how and why those who differ from you do so is critical to actually convincing them that they might be wrong.

If I may be so bold, I would recommend Milton Friedman's "Freedom to Choose" as an addition to your conservative reading list. When I started reading economics on the advice of a great-uncle, I started with Galbraith's "The Affluent Society" and Friedman's "Freedom to Choose." I still recommend those books to people who are interested in economics and politics, but unsure where to start.

W. Kiernan

No. Republicans will be held to no standards whatsoever.

Not now with their mighty fifty-one percent mandate; already they're shouting and bragging and threatening, running amok. You've read how Ashcroft is "resigning," right? They're pushing him out to install someone who's even more insane.

You're lucky to be physically clear of all this. Look away, all you'll get from watching is disgust. Those of us trapped inside it are doomed; "What has Jerusalem to do with Athens?"

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