No commies here

Mark Sanford is not a communistSanford_state_2
By Brad Warthen
Editorial Page Editor
‘I DON’T want people to lose sight of who they’re talking to, and I sound like a half communist by the time I’ve laid out all these different options,” said Gov. Mark Sanford at a pre-speech briefing on his State of the State address Wednesday.
    “… which I’m obviously not,” he added with an easy laugh, the same laugh he uses when he calls me a “socialist,” which he does with some frequency.
    I should add some context.
    First, the governor isn’t any kind of communist — half, quarter or full. Nor am I a socialist; he just says that because he’s such a thoroughgoing libertarian, and I’m not. I’m sort of in the middle on the whole small-government-versus-big-government thing. Government should be as big or small as we the people, acting through our elected representatives, decide it should be, and whether taxes rise or fall should depend upon the situation.
    The governor was mock-concerned about being perceived as a demi-Marxist because in his speech, he was actually taking a more pragmatic view of the whole tax-and-spend thing. While insisting that if lawmakers swap a sales tax increase for a property tax reduction it must be revenue-neutral or even an overall decrease, he went on to speak about the need to consider other aspects of our overall tax system. In other words, he was to an extent embracing our position that tax reform must be comprehensive.
    He spoke positively of impact fees to transfer the cost of growth to new development, and proposed to “take the opportunity to look at (sales tax) exemptions that are not serving their purpose.”
    Mr. Sanford tiptoed repeatedly around the question of whether he considers property tax relief — which conventional wisdom holds is Job One in this election year — really needs to happen in 2006.
His fancy footwork on that went over the heads of many legislators — the first time they interrupted him with applause for a policy statement was on page 21 of a 24-page speech, when he said, “We think this can be the year of property tax relief….”
    The solons clapped like crazy, and I had to wonder why.
    Can be? Not will be? What did he mean by that? Back at that luncheon briefing with editorial page editors, Charleston Post and Courier Editor Barbara Williams tried for several minutes to pin him down on that. Finally, with a somewhat exasperated tone, she said: “Are you pushing for it this year? This is what I’m asking. Are you going to be one of those who says we’ve got to absolutely do something this year?”
    “Do you see that written in here?” the governor asked.
    “No,” she said.
    After a grunt that sort of sounds like “Yeah” on my recording, he concluded, “But that’s as much as I’m going to say.”
    But even though he refuses to declare himself clearly as part of this headlong rush to placate angry homeowners before November, the governor need not fear that anyone will erect a bust of him alongside Lenin’s (assuming anyone still has a bust of Lenin).
    Never mind that he has stopped saying overtly dismissive things about public education. Nor should you attach much importance to the fact that he keeps saying things like, “This is not about some philosophical jihad that says government is bad and the private sector is good.”
    Make no mistake: Mark Sanford is still a libertarian to his core. It’s hard-wired into his reflexive responses, even while he’s trying to reach out to folks to the “left” of him by repeatedly citing Thomas Friedman.
    Check out the one most radical proposal in his speech.
    This is a man who ran for office on a plan to restructure South Carolina’s government so that each branch can exercise its separate, enumerated powers, with proper checks and balances. So you’d think he’d understand the way the system should work.
    And yet, he proposes to undermine the central deliberative principle underlying the republican form of government devised by our nation’s Founders. He would do this by asking voters to approve a change in the state constitution that would set a specific formula for future spending growth, regardless of what future needs might be.
    Does that sound good to you? Well, fortunately, George Washington and James Madison and Ben Franklin and Alexander Hamilton et al. realized that you couldn’t conduct the complex business of running a government — even one firmly rooted in the consent of the governed — through simple, up-or-down plebiscites. They knew that we would need to delegate the business of deciding what needed to be done through government, how much it would cost, and how to pay for it. And that if we didn’t like the decisions delegates made, we could elect somebody else.
    If you ask most people, without context, whether they want to limit government spending — yes or no, no in-between — they will of course say “yes.” If you ask me that, I’ll say yes, and mean it.
    But if you ask me whether I think this state is adequately meeting its duty to, for instance, keep our highways safe, I’ll say “no.” And if you ask me whether insufficient funds might be a factor in that failure, I’ll say “yes.” And if you ask me whether I have the slightest idea what percentage of our state economy the General Assembly would need to devote to that purpose to get the job done in future years, I’d have to say, “Of course not.”
    And yet that is the kind of arbitrary judgment that the governor would have us make this fall — and lock into our constitution — with his proposed “Taxpayer Empowerment Amendment” plebiscite.
So never fear: Mark Sanford is still Mark Sanford, and he’s certainly no commie.
    If Mark Sanford were not still the supply-side, privatizing, anti-tax, anti-spending guy we’ve all come to know over the past four years, I’d be disappointed in him. I’ve always res
pected his honesty and consistency. And those are definitely still intact.

25 thoughts on “No commies here

  1. Mark Whittington

    OK Brad,

    I posted the following last night in another section, but I’m taking the liberty of re-posting it here because of its relevance to your piece. I strenuously object to your linking of a right wing interpretation of the word “socialism”. The Wikipedia piece is full of mistakes and misrepresentations. Democratic Socialism (or Social Democracy) is the polar opposite of both Authoritarian Socialism (so called “Scientific Socialism”) and Fascism (Authoritarian Capitalism). Socialism existed long before Marx or Giovanni Gentile (the father of fascism) -all the way back to Jesus Himself, and then later with Wycliffe and the Lollards, and then later still with religious and secular Humanists during the Renaissance. The threat of Communism is essentially dead, yet nascent Fascism is growing by leaps and bounds through Globalization. Fascism is a right wing economic theory that tries to ameliorate class differences by creating a “Corporate State” that stresses one leader, one state, one people (i.e., “The New World Order”). The Nazis co-opted the world “socialism” (supposed national socialism) to copy socialists in Europe in order to give Nazism a revolutionary appeal. In reality however, in both Italy and Germany, the fascists were funded by corporations, and in Germany, the Nazis took economic fascist theory and made it racist to use against the Jews. Once the fascists came to power, the immediately set about to crush Liberals, labor unions, cooperatives, Jews, Social Democrats, and of course-the Communists.

    It disturbs me how right wing historians and editors have distorted fascism to somehow make it a left wing movement. Men such as my father in WWII knew that not only were they fighting a totalitarian system, but that they were specifically fighting a right wing fascist economic/social threat-a threat so menacing in fact that the American and British governments made an alliance with Soviet Communists to defeat it.

    There are two viable democratic philosophies in the center today: Liberal Democracy (in the US) and Social Democracy (in Northern Europe). Both forms of democratic government are under attack from corporatism. We should beware of the ongoing process of privatization-the same process that both Germany and Italy went through before fascism took hold. On the other hand, we have many servants in American and British history to look to for guidance. Here are a few:

    Frederick Denison Maurice
    Charles Kingsley
    Washington Gladden
    Richard Theodore Ely
    Francis Bellamy
    Jimmy Carter
    Martin Luther King


    Once again you are right. I was talking about both the good ole U.S. of A. with its Social Democratic tradition in conjunction with Social Democratic tradition the world over. The New Deal was heavily influenced by Social Democracy, as was just about every positive advance in the US for the past two hundred years. MLK and a host of Protestant reformers preached the Social Gospel until the end of the heyday of the civil rights movement. Granted, Liberals have historically made great contributions for the people, but real Social Democrats (not the free market “Third Way” people who have stolen the moniker “Social Democrat”) put the teeth into liberal economic reform. Liberals, liberal Christians, and Social Democrats are responsible for the abolition of child labor, the 40 hour workweek, the weekend, paid vacation, sick days, paid holidays, pensions, company sponsored health insurance, trade unions, civil rights, Social Security, the equality of women, the preservation of the first and fourth Amendments, etc, etc. The list could go on and on.

    Social Democracy has existed since Jesus (of course Jesus did not call it Social Democracy) taught its precepts two thousand years ago. From time to time, it makes resurgence against capitalism, oligarchy, fascism, aristocracy, monarchy, communism, slavery, and every other kind of undemocratic despotism/political economy.

    The CDU mentality (and its corresponding “centrist” philosophy in the U.S.) never works because it is based on a faulty premise ab initio-that equality of opportunity is only necessary for a just society, despite the mountains of empirical evidence that suggest otherwise. Today, we can prove that unregulated capitalism is inherently unfair and damaging to most people using stochastic economic models. Using democratically determined divisions of labor in conjunction with re-distributive taxation, we could solve most of our problems, but unfortunately, that’s probably not going to happen given the corporate control of the entire culture (including the editorial pages).

    Look at The State for example; Brad always gives plenty of room to the Chamber of Commerce (Brad is the mouthpiece of the Chamber) and to his investment buddies (every once in a while he’ll give the Libertarians and the reactionaries some space), but you won’t see any Social Democratic theory on the Editorial Page of The State.

  2. Dave

    I agree the gov. is a libertarian at heart and by definition. As such, he saw the mandatory seatbelt law as yet another intrusion of the nanny state into our lives, so he didn’t sign the bill. I predicted that the Black Caucus would not take long, even though they helped pass this law, to begin complaining about racial profiling in regard to these new “revenue-generating” tickets. So, we made it until Jan. 22nd and there it is in the State paper. So, the big government supporters pass laws to babysit the populace, then question the results of the laws they created. Now my next prediction is a nice grant funded by the state to study whether the law is anti-black or racist. More tax money wasted on self imposed liberal nonsense. Does anyone else see a pattern here? Secondarily, would anyone in their right mind want to be a policeman in this race-baited atmosphere?

  3. Herb

    Mark, it wasn’t just the liberal Christians. Give us evangelicals credit where credit is due. After all, we’ve been involved in starting a lot of things: think about abolition (William Wilberforce) and the Salvation Army, right down to the present day and Habitat for Humanity.
    And though it may be naïve to think they can eradicate poverty and disease, Rick Warren and his mega-church, Saddleback in California, is out to tackle AIDS, and moving forward to do it. You may not like Franklin Graham, but Samaritan’s Purse is doing a lot, both in this country and abroad.
    My conviction is: liberal Christianity has accomplished a lot, but it gradually loses its energy, because it does not believe in the miraculous Christ, and therefore has lost its heart. Evangelicals have tremendous energy, because the miraculous presence of Christ is in them, but the tendency (common to human nature) is to turn this energy in on themselves, either in infighting, or in providing for their own comfort. If evangelicals let Christ’s energy out, good things come.

  4. Capital A

    I’m sure the entire continent of Africa would debate that point, Herbert. That is, if its inhabitants weren’t so busy living with what comes of evangelical “good intentions”.
    Like Bush-baby and the millions of evangelicals in America who voted for him, you mean well when you meddle in internationial affairs, but never do you accept the fact that your way is not the way of all. It’s a twisted geo-political hand of Pokemon you play.
    Historically, Africa. Currently, Iraq.
    Gotta save/screw ’em all!

  5. Herb

    So, Capital A, what’s your suggestion? Leave them in their natural state? To be preyed upon by the free market bozos out to make a buck and sell them fire water and cigarettes? I won’t say that missionaries have done everything right, far from it. When they have allied themselves with political systems, a lot worse. But they have learned a lot, too. Some of them are the best anthropologists we have.
    Those who want to leave the peoples of the world in their “pristine” state are as naive as they come. Nobody is going to leave them alone. History proves that if missionaries don’t get there first, somebody else will. Go see “The End of the Spear.” You won’t like it, but it won’t hurt you. Good thing the missionaries got to those people, though, before the big boys exterminated them.
    And to what extent are African problems the result of evangelicals anyway? You fail to separate politics from religion. Politicians use religion; they always have. Jesus got caught in the crossfire of contrary political interests, but He didn’t tell His disciples just to roll over and die because of it. He assumed they would get caught in the same human self-interest.
    He still sent them out. So William Carey went to India, and did a lot of good, despite the fact that the East India Company didn’t want him there and tried to mess up his work.
    One thing is for sure, leaving the world to rot is no alternative.
    And what’s with Iraq? Are you shoving Bush’s foreign policies at the feet of evangelicals? There isn’t anything evangelical about it. It’s a right-wing administration’s foreign policy; it has nothing to do with evanagelicals, except that Bush just happens to claim to be one. I know of no thinking evangelical who knows the Middle East well who supported the invasion of Iraq. I’m sure there are a few, I just don’t know of any, and I know quite a few.
    Don’t put evangelicals in the same bed with politicians. Maybe you should look at “The Mission”, too. It was religious politicians who destroyed that culture, not the Jesuit missionaries (whose anthropology was off-base, but as I say, we’ve learned a lot in the meantime).
    I am being defensive I guess, but it gets my dander up when people use Christians as scapegoats. It shouldn’t bother me, I guess, since it has been that way for a long time. No wonder Peter told us to keep our cool.

  6. Mark Whittington

    Herb and Capital A,

    Herb, you definitely have some points-especially about the left losing energy over the lack of a miraculous Christ. In my opinion, the abandonment of the Social Gospel and the miraculous Christ in favor of a secularized, Jesus Seminar type of Jesus, was not only bad scholarship, but it robbed Liberal Christianity of its most potent force-the authority of Jesus Himself. I’m still not quite sure why this happened, but it did, and it’s time for Liberal Christians who agree with this view to stand up for the Gospels. Of course Evangelicals have made significant contributions-I’m just trying to get a word in edgewise.

    Capital A, hordes of people left the church based on what you are talking about, yet Herb is a reasonable person and he is tolerant of other people’s religious beliefs. I wonder how many other Evangelicals feel the same way as does Herb. I wonder how many Liberal Christians would agree with me, or how many folks would agree with your view (I believe you view Jesus as the greatest teacher-a view I suspect that neither I nor Herb would oppose). I think much of the problem has to do with a corporate media that plays groups against one another in order to perpetuate commercialism and the almighty buck. Perhaps Herb and Capital A feel just like I do: left out of the debate-on purpose.

  7. I. M. Free

    I don’t believe you know what true libertarian ideals are, in the first place, but I think it’s funny how you folks at The State newspaper are constantly searching for ways to associate the word “libertarian” with “bad,” “radical” or “wrong”–or “Sanford.” I know you State Newspaper folks are catching hell from the Libertarian radio guys in Columbia, so maybe you are just engaging in mind games to combat your dwindling socialist influence in state politics.
    I am a registered Libertarian and I can say without a doubt that Mark Sanford is not a libertarian. He has some good liberty-minded ideas–and he is a better governor than anyone we’ve had in many, many years–but I would not call all of his ideas “libertarian.”
    If you want to hear REAL Libertarian ideas, tune into the “Unauthorized Access” show on WIS 1320 AM, Saturday mornings from 7:00 – 10:00.
    While your newspaper subscriptions are going down, the Libertarian radio show’s ratings are increasing. They are #2 in the entire market, with their target audience (mature voters), according to the ratings results.
    Sorry to disappoint you, but it sounds to me like the voters are looking for a return to the ideals–libertarian ideals–upon which this country was founded.

  8. Capital A

    Herb and Mark (mostly, you two):
    By no means am I attacking either of you or Christ. I am attacking the doctrine of saving people through one narrow-minded view of what religion is…or what religion is warped into becoming. Honestly, my take on it (in the historical sense) is that honest, well-meaning folks like you (or how I imagine you based on your ‘posts’ personality) were basically duped into supporting or being a part of a larger machine that usually was willing to cash in your naivete'(due to your beliefs)and the lives of natives for big bucks. Isn’t that the tale of history? You were the landing party to soften them up and then help them deal with any lingereing trama after mass annihilation.
    Now, were all missionaries well-meaning? Spanish Inquisition ring a bell? Salem witch trials ring a cowbell? Bull Run sound a horn? Missionaries and evangelicals have been breaking down cultures and then smoothing over their “transition” since the invention of religion. They are the icing and the lower layer of the cake once “heathens” have been adequately baked to perfection between. And then, the power-that-is can sink in its thumb and pull out as many plumbs and pieces as prepared…
    What does Bush and his policies have to do with evangelicals? I think Mr. Bush’s religious beliefs and his view of his own “place in history” are well documented. This iron chef isn’t invading Iraq for just money; surely, he’s savin’ souls with his tasty tidbits, as well. You ordered the Daisy Cutter du jour?
    Christianity is a left-handed utensil when in the hands of evangelicals, zealots and politicians. These three are often reading the same recipe but expecting different results to rise or, at least, have their differing reasons for preparation participation. God help us all when this cabal of cooks is in the kitchen.

  9. Capital A

    Mark, you said it perfectly–left out of the debate on purpose. That crystallized my thoughts exactly. Thank you for that.
    I believe the majority of my fellow humans is smart enough to see all the complex sides of this issue. Why are we left out on purpose, and why am I constantly disappointed with who gains the power in this world?
    It’s not like it takes a genius to see some of these basic truths we are all espousing. I’ll submit myself as Exhibit A for that argument.
    But, maybe I’m digressing toward a slightly tangential topic…

  10. Brad Warthen

    To “I.M Free:” I was wondering what in the world you were talking about when you initially mentioned The State “catching hell” on the radio. Then you said it was on AM.
    Oh. Now I see why I missed it. I’ve pretty much only listened to FM since the 1970s. The only time I hear AM is when I drive my father’s car for one reason or other (I think he listens to ball games on some of those channels). But it only takes a few seconds for me to find the button that switches to FM.
    Maybe when I’m my Dad’s age I’ll be one of those “mature voters” you refer to. How much can I be expected to understand at the callow age of 52?
    I mean, here’s how silly and out of it I am: Having been the father of five teenagers, I tend to associate a libertarian worldview with adolescence (or to go further back, the “terrible twos”). The reaction of a typical 15-year-old to any authority outside him- or herself is pure libertarianism. It is to be hoped that people would outgrow that attitude, but many do not.

  11. I. M. Free

    Like I said, you don’t get it. In typical liberal fashion, you want to take jabs at the messenger instead of dealing with the message.
    Maybe you’re just confusing anarchists with Libertarians. Either way, you’re off base.
    In the future, take the time to actually learn about these things.

  12. Brad Warthen

    You mean "in typical conservative fashion," don’t you? Libertarianism is by definition a liberal philosophy. Look it up. Or for that matter, take a look at the word, and meditate on the fact that roots generally have meanings.

    That’s why The Economist correctly calls itself a "liberal" publication, even though it’s strongly free-market, small government and anti-welfare state — points of view that Americans mistakenly label as "conservative."

    We should take a cue from the folks across the pond who invented the bloody language, and use it properly. But we don’t do that over here, which is one reason I refuse to embrace either the "conservative" or "liberal" label. As they are currently used in American political parlance, they are pretty much nonsensical.

    So why did I just say you should say "in typical conservative fashion" in reference to me? I was just trying to illustrate the absurdity of you, a libertarian, calling me a liberal. Truth is, I’m neither, the way the terms are generally used these days.

    In America today, a so-called "liberal" is just as likely to hold libertarian views (on abortion, pornography, etc.) as is a so-called "conservative" (on taxes, welfare, etc.).

  13. Brad Warthen

    One other point: Note that you keep writing “Libertarian,” (with a capital L), while I refer to “libertarians.” This indicates we may be talking about different things.
    The overwhelming majority of libertarians in this country are either Republicans or Democrats — or unaligned. Very, very few claim allegiance to the Libertarian Party.
    If libertarianism were confined to the Libertarian Party, I wouldn’t bother writing about it, because it wouldn’t be worth the trouble.

  14. Herb

    Now, were all missionaries well-meaning? Spanish Inquisition ring a bell? Salem witch trials ring a cowbell? Bull Run sound a horn? Missionaries and evangelicals have been breaking down cultures and then smoothing over their “transition” since the invention of religion.

    Huh? Capital A, where did you get your history lessons from? I won’t go very far into this, as it doesn’t sound like you are interested in a balanced view of things. In case you are, you need to read some on the other side, like Mark Noll or Nathan Hatch. The Spanish Inquisition? A perfect example of the rape of religion for political purposes. The Salem Witch trials? Let me quote another historian, John Hannah, from his lectures on American Christianity (can’t find it on the web, so no link here):

    The Salem witch trials, sometimes called the mania of ’92. Scholars who want to denigrate revealed religion have blown out of proportion the death of 19 individuals and 2 dogs, there were also several hundred people who were jailed.

    Truly no high point in the history of Protestant Christianity. So should we evaluate your apparent atheism on the basis of the behavior of Joseph Stalin?
    And on the subject of missionaries and culture, if you are willing to do it, take anthropologist Robert Priest’s article in Current Anthropology Volume 42, Number 1, February 2001, pp. 37-46 and read it. Allow me a couple of quotes:

    . . . postmodernism requires its own defined limits and categories if it is not to dissolve into chaos. As such, it required taking a missionary position. In their postmodernist ext on social psychology Rogers et al. (1995) argue that modernist social psychologists are missionary but fail to admit it. They acknowledge that they themselves are not neutral – that they have a “missionary agenda” . . .

    Missionaries were present in colonial settings, but their activity was often less straightforwardly colonial than modernist myths would suggest and modernism itself more aggressively colonial. In Positioning the Missionary Christophers (1998) contrasts British secular (modernist) colonial discourses, which employed a grammar of “race,” “time,” and “space” to construct a fixed hierarchical relationship grounded in immutable and asymmetrical differences, with that of Anglican missionaries in British Columbia, who rejected this modernist grammar and the secular colonial agenda. While some colonial governments accepted interracial sexual contact, interracial marriage was seen as a threat to fixed hierarchies (p. 61). These Anglican missionaries, in contrast criticized concubinage out of moral concern; they encouraged European men to marry the native women with whom they were cohabiting. Their sexual morality “transcended ‘race’ and space.” . . . . “Few other colonists had Native welfare in mind, still fewer made it the kernel of their calling” (p. 95). Missionary rhetoric stressed “transformation rather than subjugation” (p. 21) and called for a community of faith in which hierarchies of space, time, and race would disappear.

    Before I close this discussion, which looks to be hopeless (though I hope it isn’t, but your rhetoric doesn’t give me much hope), I would be interested who the Christ is that you are referring to. I don’t think you mean the Christ of the New Testament documents, but if you do, you seem to have sanitized the New Testament to a point in which there is no Christ left. Christ called to radical discipleship, with its effects all over the place, and you are determined not to let this happen.
    Oh, and before I end this, what is this supposed to mean?

    What does Bush and his policies have to do with evangelicals? I think Mr. Bush’s religious beliefs and his view of his own “place in history” are well documented. This iron chef isn’t invading Iraq for just money; surely, he’s savin’ souls with his tasty tidbits, as well. You ordered the Daisy Cutter du jour?

    “Savin’ souls with his tasty tidbits”??? Please provide links. But be assured that, even if you can prove that Bush is on a religious crusade in Iraq (oh, yea, it is Bush’s fault isn’t it, Mike said so!), you have proved that for one person. And if that is what he is doing, which I very much doubt, he is by definition not a follower of Christ, and therefore not evangelical, no matter who puts him in that camp.

  15. Capital A

    So, I’m an atheist because I rebel against how certain sects of mankind have twisted Christ’s vision? Ok, atheist it is, then. I’ll advise Funk and Wagnall. Talk about twisting… 2 plus 2 is 5, eh? Sorry to keep banging that drum slowly; it’s just that this is my initiation into that sort of logic.
    I like the old, unassuming guy who was rallying for the cause of supposedly shunned, lesser-conferenced teams. Really, I expected more from you, Herbert. You’re becoming a shark asking me to jet.
    The tasty tidbits comment? It’s called an extended metaphor. I’m guilty of attempting to dole small amounts of art to go with this more matter that you prefer. I even did it in this post with my multiple references to gang culture. Some readers may hate me for being so blunt as a broken-off beer bottle.
    Since you (despite and in the face of countless articles of historical evidence to the contrary) refuse to accept the fact that perverted forms of Christianity (in the hands of man) have historically done much more harm than good for your fellow man, let’s move on to the matter of Mr. Bush and the gang.
    Isn’t he a self proclaimed evangelical? Isn’t that his supreme voting base and the means by which he secured two elections? Well, except for that little matter down in Florida… And we have the nerve to laugh at the electoral processes in banana republics! Who needs the mob?
    Isn’t the ultimate role of an evangelical to get to savin’ souls at the cost of culture? Shed what you were and are so you can be what we are, so that you’re just so much more digestible? Sell the unenlightened on a drug they never had before, yet can never do without henceforth?
    I ask all this to ask yet another question: Is Bush serving “his God” or his country…or is it all just an oil grab? Is he a pimp or a pusher?
    I’d prefer to think the he’s engaging in the lesser of those cynical, yet limited options. Maybe we should just file it all under the old copout of “God’s Will” which is what is usually done when a suitable scapegoat isn’t easily available. Maybe I should just shut up, take my beating and earn my stripes which is what seemed implicit in your last post…
    Herb, Socrates had a lot of questions, but I don’t remember any links he ever posted for how do you link to the common sense of human experience gained from simple observation? His lieutenants seemed to do well without them, anyway. He pointed and their enlightenment clicked.
    I wish other good soldiers (as you seem to be) would stop playing nice with the evangelicals who lack your (lately absent)open-mindedness and help stand up against this whitewashed, brainwashed version of Christianity that stalks the streets today.
    Warriors, come out and play!

  16. Capital A

    This quote, from Herb’s last post, almost knocked me from my recliner:
    “The Salem witch trials, sometimes called the mania of ’92. Scholars who want to denigrate revealed religion have blown out of proportion the death of 19 individuals and 2 dogs, there were also several hundred people who were jailed.”
    Blown out of proportion?!?! A MERE 19 undeserved deaths is all. The author of that text surely could have worked in the Nixon or Bush-baby administrations.
    Jesus must weep at that irony. Of course, He was just one death. But I’m blowing that out of proportion…

  17. Herb

    . . . refuse to accept the fact that perverted forms of Christianity (in the hands of man) have historically done much more harm than good for your fellow man . . .

    I never refused to accept this. I do refuse to use this as a label for all or even most of Christianity. I would also wager that any ideology or system of thought you can come up with has some enormous skeletons in its closet. And I would, of course, contend that the skeletons here are due to a perverted understanding or a perversion in action of the grace of the Founder.

    sn’t the ultimate role of an evangelical to get to savin’ souls at the cost of culture?

    No. It is not.

    The death of anyone is tragic. But surely you must admit that the death of 19 pales in comparison to the millions of people killed in the name of other ideologies. I never contended that Christians were perfect, or even close to it. Only Christ is perfect, and His death was not “tragic” — it was purposeful. It is repeated over and over in the Gospels that He came for that purpose.
    I do not profess to know whom Bush is serving, because I do not profess to know what he is thinking. I do not have the resources to know that. You apparently do. I’ll leave that at that. I have not been appointed as Bush’s judge, or anyone elses for that matter.
    I rest my case, as I don’t think this is going anywhere.

  18. I. M. Free

    Brad, I am fully aware of the origins of libertarianism (“classical liberalism”). The reality is, as you alluded to, terms sometimes change meaning, such as the modern definition of “liberal”–and I feel that the term suits you, quite well.
    Conservatism has just as much to do with libertarianism as liberalism, because libertarianism takes the best of both of those worlds and combines them to make a superior alternative.
    Liberals typically support social freedom (while wanting to redistribute your money), and conservatives typically want economic freedom (while wanting to legislate morality). Libertarians want folks to have both their social freedom and their economic freedom. We don’t believe you can be truly free if you have to choose between the two options.
    As for your earlier comments about submitting to authority, Libertarians understand authority; we voluntarily submit to it, everyday, whether on the job, in club meetings, on someone else’s property, etc.
    With authority, the only issue is force. We don’t oppose authority, we simply oppose things that we disagree with being forced upon us.
    Libertarians are very Jeffersonian:
    “I would rather be exposed to the inconveniencies attending too much liberty than to those attending too small a degree of it.”
    “To compel a man to furnish funds for the propagation of ideas he disbelieves and abhors is sinful and tyrannical.”
    “The legitimate powers of government extend to such acts only as are injurious to others.”
    “Congress has not unlimited powers to provide for the general welfare but only those specifically enumerated.”
    “[A] wise and frugal government…shall restrain men from injuring one another, shall leave them otherwise free to regulate their own pursuits of industry and improvement, and shall not take from the mouth of labor the bread it has earned. This is the sum of good government.”
    Hopefully, my comments will shed some light on this situation for you. Either way, I’ve said all I care to say.

  19. Brad Warthen

    I’m more of a John Adams kind of guy. Jefferson thought the French Revolution was pretty cool. He was more than a little detached from the real world. He could write, though. That’s why Adams picked him to write the Declaration after Adams had led the charge in the full body to decide upon independence (while Jefferson said not a word), and he and Franklin and Jefferson, as a committee, had come up with the general outline of what it should say.

  20. Brad Warthen

    … and yet the way libertarians on the right and left quote Jefferson, you’d think he invented the whole idea of America. Hamilton, as obnoxious as he was, had a clearer idea of the kind of country we would become — economically and otherwise — than Jefferson, with his romantic notion of a nation of autonomous yeoman farmers.

  21. Capital A

    Herb, you highlight my point and most major criticism of the form to which Christianity degraded. Heaven forbid we actually judge somebody or call someone out, especially if it might save lives.
    Jesus was not a whitebread wuss, the emasculated Loury’s lurker or even the Southern dandy who might sit in the pew next to you who takes the family to Maurice’s for good grub after service.
    O, say can you Pharisees?

  22. Herb

    “To compel a man to furnish funds for the propagation of ideas he disbelieves and abhors is sinful and tyrannical.”

    This statement I really don’t like. If every Hans and Gretel decides that they don’t like what the government is spending on, they don’t have to pay taxes? We would have pure chaos if we kept to this.
    Sorry for mentioning the New Testament again, but Christians Romans 13:7 were told to pay taxes at a time when Nero was emperor; I’m sure that they weren’t always in agreement with the way it was spent. So at least they should be loyal citizens, which I think includes supporting the public schools.

  23. Lee

    Modern illiberals and other authoritarians attempt to mislabel themselves, and redefine their beliefs to diassociate themselves from the human wreckage of liberalism, Progressivism, Socialism, Fascism and Communism – all forms of socialism.
    Brad Warthen is a socialist, to the extent which he advocates socialist approaches to human interactions:
    * government schools
    * government pensions
    * government medical care
    * government utilities
    * government trains and busses
    Socialist intolerance and oppression is the natural result of majority rule, unless it the subjects open to votes and appropriations of tax monies are sharply limited by a strong constitution, and by the belief of political leaders and judges in such a constitution.

  24. Lee

    John Adams was an elitist, who used people like Paul Revere, whom he considered to be socially inferior to himself.

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