Thursday, October 23, 2008

Principled & Productive National Discourse, or a Culture of Grievance-Mongering?

Here we have another profile in sleaze from the Atheist Ethicist. Today the object of his ire is a column by the American Spectator’s Melanie Phillips, who argues:
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I see this financial breakdown, moreover, as being not merely a moral crisis but the monetary expression of the broader degradation of our values – the erosion of duty and responsibility to others in favour of instant gratification, unlimited demands repackaged as 'rights' and the loss of self-discipline. And the root cause of that erosion is 'militant atheism' which, in junking religion, has destroyed our sense of anything beyond our material selves and the here and now and, through such hyper-individualism, paved the way for the onslaught on bedrock moral values expressed through such things as family breakdown and mass fatherlessness, educational collapse, widespread incivility, unprecedented levels of near psychopathic violent crime, epidemic drunkenness and drug abuse, the repudiation of all authority, the moral inversion of victim culture, the destruction of truth and objectivity and a corresponding rise in credulousness in the face of lies and propaganda -- and intimidation and bullying to drive this agenda into public policy.
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Alonzo, in his Herculean struggle against “anti-atheist bigotry,”
responds with an analogy to scapegoating Jews for society’s problems, which “had some very ugly consequences” (I seem to recall a term for this sort of thing—I guess it only applies to them there pro-life yahoos…), a claim that Phillips’ words are “trying to promote hatred and bigotry of” atheists (predictably, he doesn’t bother to actually assemble a case that her words constitute anything of the sort; he just assumes it as a given), and whiny outrage that she isn’t “fighting for her job.”
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Once again we see that our hero’s casual acquaintance with truth (or just sloppy reading skills; take your pick) strikes again. Look back at Phillips’ column, and you’ll see she talks specifically about “militant atheism” (geez, she even put it in quotes), and goes on to explain what she means by that—a specific mindset, a specific strain of atheism. As I’ve said before, public consideration of atheism’s (or any religion’s, for that matter) intellectual and moral merits is not bigotry, because religious belief and lack thereof are prisms through which we see the world, with ramifications relevant to society. Clearly, Phillips was not blaming the average skeptic for the financial breakdown; she was making the point that the expansion of a particular mentality in society has had a detrimental effect.
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Right or wrong, it’s not bigotry, but a debatable sociological proposition based on her worldview and observations. Any punk with a keyboard and an Internet connection can call those with whom he disagrees names, or wish their careers were in jeopardy. It takes another kind of man entirely to engage an argument head-on.
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But the Atheist Ethicist, it would seem, is interested in no such thing. He’s not interested in what Melanie Phillips actually said, but in grievance-mongering. According to the Alonzo Fyfe standard, it’s apparently not possible to criticize any aspect of atheism, any sub-group or sub-mindset within atheism, and not have it seen as bigotry against the entire atheist community. The state of public discourse in this country is already abysmal; the last thing we need is this sort of thing corrupting it further still.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Major Bush Mistake Endorses Obama

Former Secretary of State Colin Powell has endorsed Barack Obama for president. Michelle Malkin’s got a great post on just how much Powell’s “thoughtful, independent-minded” decision is worth, to which I would just add one thing: Mr. Powell, Obama claims the White House you worked for “misled” the nation into the Iraq War. Presumably this includes the case you personally presented before the United Nations. How can you, in good conscience, support a man for the presidency who demeans you, your colleagues, and the president you served, especially when you were there, and know better?

Monday, October 6, 2008

Around the Web

Yes, thanks to the ol' college grindstone, blogging has been, and will probably continue to be, a little on the light side. But I'll still try to update every now and then.
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It would appear Barack Obama has executive experience after all—an 8-year stint as director of the Joyce Foundation. David Hardy dissects the organization’s attacks on the Second Amendment during Obama’s tenure.
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The vile Alan Colmes (who received
a well-deserved berating at the hands of Dick Morris the other night) has stumbled across the story of Greg Howard, a Florida middle-school teacher who told his students that Obama’s “Change” tagline was an acronym for “Can you Help a N***** Get Elected.” Howard has betrayed the public trust, is unfit to educate the community’s children, and should be fired. Period. Not that the Left will recognize intellectual consistency, or abandon their double-standards on public-school propagandists.
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More evidence that Michelle Obama is going to be just a terrific First Lady.
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Peggy Noonan
isn’t sure who she’s voting for. Sorry, Peggy. We’ll have to ask you to turn in your Vast Right-Wing Conspiracy ™ membership card and decoder ring.
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The UW Madison Marching Band “
has been suspended while allegations of hazing, alcohol abuse and sexual misconduct are investigated.” I did competitive marching band in high school, and almost went to Madison. While I miss marching, I’m gladder than ever that I chose Hillsdale instead.
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Guess the Obamas
knew Bill Ayers a little better than they claimed (just don’t tell anyone about it. What are you, a racist?).
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