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InvisibleXlea321
Stranger
Registered: 02/26/01
Posts: 9,134
Bonkers and in power
    #2606018 - 04/27/04 12:05 PM (13 years, 2 months ago)

Amusing how these lunatics seems to share an awful lot of the views of the self-proclaimed "libertarians" on the board...

Their beliefs are bonkers, but they are at the heart of power

US Christian fundamentalists are driving Bush's Middle East policy

George Monbiot
Tuesday April 20, 2004
The Guardian

To understand what is happening in the Middle East, you must first understand what is happening in Texas. To understand what is happening there, you should read the resolutions passed at the state's Republican party conventions last month. Take a look, for example, at the decisions made in Harris County, which covers much of Houston.

The delegates began by nodding through a few uncontroversial matters: homosexuality is contrary to the truths ordained by God; "any mechanism to process, license, record, register or monitor the ownership of guns" should be repealed; income tax, inheritance tax, capital gains tax and corporation tax should be abolished; and immigrants should be deterred by electric fences. Thus fortified, they turned to the real issue: the affairs of a small state 7,000 miles away. It was then, according to a participant, that the "screaming and near fist fights" began.

I don't know what the original motion said, but apparently it was "watered down significantly" as a result of the shouting match. The motion they adopted stated that Israel has an undivided claim to Jerusalem and the West Bank, that Arab states should be "pressured" to absorb refugees from Palestine, and that Israel should do whatever it wishes in seeking to eliminate terrorism. Good to see that the extremists didn't prevail then.

But why should all this be of such pressing interest to the people of a state which is seldom celebrated for its fascination with foreign affairs? The explanation is slowly becoming familiar to us, but we still have some difficulty in taking it seriously.

In the United States, several million people have succumbed to an extraordinary delusion. In the 19th century, two immigrant preachers cobbled together a series of unrelated passages from the Bible to create what appears to be a consistent narrative: Jesus will return to Earth when certain preconditions have been met. The first of these was the establishment of a state of Israel. The next involves Israel's occupation of the rest of its "biblical lands" (most of the Middle East), and the rebuilding of the Third Temple on the site now occupied by the Dome of the Rock and al-Aqsa mosques. The legions of the antichrist will then be deployed against Israel, and their war will lead to a final showdown in the valley of Armageddon. The Jews will either burn or convert to Christianity, and the Messiah will return to Earth.

The true believers are now seeking to bring all this about. This means staging confrontations at the old temple site (in 2000, three US Christians were deported for trying to blow up the mosques there), sponsoring Jewish settlements in the occupied territories, demanding ever more US support for Israel, and seeking to provoke a final battle with the Muslim world/Axis of Evil/United Nations/ European Union/France or whoever the legions of the antichrist turn out to be.

The believers are convinced that they will soon be rewarded for their efforts. The antichrist is apparently walking among us, in the guise of Kofi Annan, Javier Solana, Yasser Arafat or, more plausibly, Silvio Berlusconi. The Wal-Mart corporation is also a candidate (in my view a very good one), because it wants to radio-tag its stock, thereby exposing humankind to the Mark of the Beast.

We can laugh at these people, but we should not dismiss them. That their beliefs are bonkers does not mean they are marginal. American pollsters believe that 15-18% of US voters belong to churches or movements which subscribe to these teachings. A survey in 1999 suggested that this figure included 33% of Republicans. The best-selling contemporary books in the US are the 12 volumes of the Left Behind series, which provide what is usually described as a "fictionalised" account of the Rapture (this, apparently, distinguishes it from the other one), with plenty of dripping details about what will happen to the rest of us. The people who believe all this don't believe it just a little; for them it is a matter of life eternal and death.

And among them are some of the most powerful men in America. John Ashcroft, the attorney general, is a true believer, so are several prominent senators and the House majority leader, Tom DeLay. Mr DeLay (who is also the co-author of the marvellously named DeLay-Doolittle Amendment, postponing campaign finance reforms) travelled to Israel last year to tell the Knesset that "there is no middle ground, no moderate position worth taking".

So here we have a major political constituency - representing much of the current president's core vote - in the most powerful nation on Earth, which is actively seeking to provoke a new world war. Its members see the invasion of Iraq as a warm-up act, as Revelation (9:14-15) maintains that four angels "which are bound in the great river Euphrates" will be released "to slay the third part of men". They batter down the doors of the White House as soon as its support for Israel wavers: when Bush asked Ariel Sharon to pull his tanks out of Jenin in 2002, he received 100,000 angry emails from Christian fundamentalists, and never mentioned the matter again.

The electoral calculation, crazy as it appears, works like this. Governments stand or fall on domestic issues. For 85% of the US electorate, the Middle East is a foreign issue, and therefore of secondary interest when they enter the polling booth. For 15% of the electorate, the Middle East is not just a domestic matter, it's a personal one: if the president fails to start a conflagration there, his core voters don't get to sit at the right hand of God. Bush, in other words, stands to lose fewer votes by encouraging Israeli aggression than he stands to lose by restraining it. He would be mad to listen to these people. He would also be mad not to.


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OfflineAncalagon
AgnosticLibertarian

Registered: 07/30/02
Posts: 1,364
Last seen: 8 years, 5 months
Re: Bonkers and in power [Re: Xlea321]
    #2606733 - 04/27/04 03:55 PM (13 years, 2 months ago)

Quote:

Amusing how these lunatics seems to share an awful lot of the views of the self-proclaimed "libertarians" on the board...




The "Neocons" in the whitehouse continue to support welfare, social security, socialized healthcare, etc. amusing how those lunatics share an awful lot with socialists. If you follow your own string of logic, I believe your politics have just been severly discredited.


--------------------
?When Alexander the Great visted the philosopher Diogenes and asked whether he could do anything for him, Diogenes is said to have replied: 'Yes, stand a little less between me and the sun.' It is what every citizen is entitled to ask of his government.?
-Henry Hazlitt in 'Economics in One Lesson'


Edited by Ancalagon (04/27/04 04:03 PM)


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InvisibleXlea321
Stranger
Registered: 02/26/01
Posts: 9,134
Re: Bonkers and in power [Re: Ancalagon]
    #2606801 - 04/27/04 04:08 PM (13 years, 2 months ago)

Don't confuse "supporting" something with "knowing if we dismantle it we'll be voted out of power".


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Anonymous

Re: Bonkers and in power [Re: Xlea321]
    #2606900 - 04/27/04 04:34 PM (13 years, 2 months ago)

i'm a vegetarian. so was adolph hitler.

i like psychedelic drugs. so did charles manson.

i oppose gun control and taxes. so do some christian fundamentalists.

weak.  :thumbdown:


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InvisibleXlea321
Stranger
Registered: 02/26/01
Posts: 9,134
Re: Bonkers and in power [Re: ]
    #2606928 - 04/27/04 04:43 PM (13 years, 2 months ago)

Are personal decisions like taking drugs and vegetarianism really comparable to issues like the right to gun ownership and taxation? 

Are taking drugs and vegetarianism pushed as official policies that everyone should follow?

Very weak and ill-thought out reply  :thumbdown:


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Anonymous

Re: Bonkers and in power [Re: Xlea321]
    #2606946 - 04/27/04 04:47 PM (13 years, 2 months ago)

so some christian fundamentalists have some libertarian leanings on 2 issues.

what's the point?


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Offlinegermin8tionn8ion
enthusiast
Registered: 04/14/04
Posts: 399
Last seen: 13 years, 23 days
Re: Bonkers and in power [Re: Xlea321]
    #2607020 - 04/27/04 05:05 PM (13 years, 2 months ago)

Quote:

Alex123 said:
Are personal decisions like taking drugs and vegetarianism really comparable to issues like the right to gun ownership and taxation?




I thought that you enjoyed talking about the rights of the people. Should the people not have the right to own guns? Giving someone a "Right" doesn't necessarily mean that you are left or right leaning. A number of right-leaning associates of mine are in support of the government acknowleding the right that the citizenry has to alter their own state of mind.

Far be it for you to make a post that doesn't use broad strokes and generalizations to cause a commotion, then get offended when people use the same tactics in response.


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InvisibleXlea321
Stranger
Registered: 02/26/01
Posts: 9,134
Re: Bonkers and in power [Re: ]
    #2607319 - 04/27/04 06:25 PM (13 years, 2 months ago)

2 issues.

Nah, the fundamentalists share a lot more than that. Are they going to be for welfare and socialised healthcare for example? Privatisation?

what's the point?

That you call yourself a "libertarian" and yet share the bulk of your beliefs with groups as oppressive as fundamentalist christians?


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InvisibleEvolving
Resident Cynic

Registered: 10/01/02
Posts: 5,385
Loc: Apt #6, The Village
Re: Bonkers and in power [Re: Xlea321]
    #2607378 - 04/27/04 06:43 PM (13 years, 2 months ago)

As usual, your assertions are asinine and your thought processes appear to be pathological.


--------------------
To call humans 'rational beings' does injustice to the term, 'rational.'  Humans are capable of rational thought, but it is not their essence.  Humans are animals, beasts with complex brains.  Humans, more often than not, utilize their cerebrum to rationalize what their primal instincts, their preconceived notions, and their emotional desires have presented as goals - humans are rationalizing beings.


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OfflineDivided_Sky
Ten ThousandThings

Registered: 11/02/03
Posts: 3,171
Loc: The Shining Void
Last seen: 9 years, 1 month
Re: Bonkers and in power [Re: Evolving]
    #2607645 - 04/27/04 07:38 PM (13 years, 2 months ago)

Is it just me, or do alot of Alex's posts come from the Gaurdian?
I find it troubling that so many Gaurdian articles posted on here have an obsessed preocupation with America's religious tendancies.Jeeze, imagine seeing a New York Times article about how evil the Anglican Church is corrupts the minds of the barbaric English people.


--------------------
1. "After an hour I wasn't feeling anything so I decided to take another..."
2. "We were feeling pretty good so we decided to smoke a few bowls..."
3. "I had to be real quiet because my parents were asleep upstairs..."


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Invisibleafoaf
CEO DBK?
 User Gallery

Registered: 11/08/02
Posts: 32,665
Loc: Ripple's Heart
Re: Bonkers and in power [Re: Divided_Sky]
    #2607971 - 04/27/04 08:38 PM (13 years, 2 months ago)

fortunately for us, the New York times has only
slightly better things to write about.


--------------------
All I know is The Growery is a place where losers who get banned here go.


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Offlinephi1618
old hand

Registered: 02/14/04
Posts: 4,102
Last seen: 7 years, 2 months
Re: Bonkers and in power [Re: Divided_Sky]
    #2607987 - 04/27/04 08:42 PM (13 years, 2 months ago)

Interestingly, the largest English religion in terms of regular attendance is now Islam (though it may be that more people would identify themselves as Christian/Anglican if asked). I read it in the Economist - a fiscally conservative English weekly - but don't have a url on hand.

In my view, religious wackos are too influential in the US. On the other hand, agreeing with a religious wacko on some issue doesn't make you a religious wacko, unless that issue is something like "sinners deserve to die in a horrible manner and suffer eternal torment" or "blowing up Americans is good".


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