Blue Red Conversation

A Facebook conversation worth repeating. The context is that I’m trying to understand why almost everyone I grew up with in Georgia, which I left 16 years ago and to which I have not returned, has gone way far to the right since I left. I went to college with the <Anonymous Conservative> in the early 90s.

<Anonymous Conservative> is very disapointed that the democrats are not going for a debt level of 100% GDP…
CBO report: Debt will rise to 90% of GDP – Washington Times
www.washingtontimes.com
President Obama’s fiscal 2011 budget will generate nearly $10 trillion in cumulative budget deficits over the next 10 years, $1.2 trillion more than the administration projected, and raise the federal debt to 90 percent of the nation’s economic output.
Sat at 8:49am · Comment · LikeUnlike · Share

<Me>
When the CBO reports that the current Health Care bill is budget neutral, it gets ignored, downplayed, or said to be “voodoo”, but when the CBO says that a proposed budget would balloon our debt more than Obama’s accountants think it would, then it’s news.

(Democrats don’t want to expand the debt either. They’re the ones in power so they have to … See Moretake responsibility for cleaning up the mess that W left him, while all the Republicans have to do is oppose everything, convince us that W wasn’t really a Republican, and blame the debt on the Democrats).
Sat at 10:16am ·

<Anonymous Conservative>
You will not find me defending W…I thought he was too much of a big spender…I blame him as well as all democrats for spending that is out of control…as a platform issue Republicans tend to favor smaller government; whereas Dem’s do not…
Sat at 11:28am

<Me>
Our government is representative of our people. Looking at the national debt data, what most struck me is that private debt is even more out of control. We need to fix the system, just my reading of history is that peole/corporations left to their own devices act beneficently for themselves but not for society.
Sat at 12:04pm ·

<Anonymous Conservative>
That’s where Christianity come in…
Sat at 3:34pm

<Me>
Yeah. Another lesson is that societies built on a prescribed ideology only survive through fear. I don’t want to live there – my wife grew up in one.
Sat at 7:34pm ·

<Me>
It sounded like you were suggesting chistianity come in in regulatory manner, rather than moral compass in civil society…
Sat at 8:19pm ·

<Anonymous Conservative>
ummm…how about both?
Sat at 10:46pm

<Me>
I’d much prefer the latter, and would refer you to Tehran or Riyadh for reasons to stay away from the former.
Sat at 11:45pm ·

<Anonymous Conservative>
True Christianity is tolerant of other religions because they (we) do not fear ungodly religions. So I would prefer to live in the U.S. which was founded as a Christian nation…Christianity cannot be compared to any flavor of Mohammadism…
Yesterday at 9:03am

<Me>
Then the problem must be that “True Christianity” is hidden somewhere, because the “Christianity” that is associated with conservatism, Republicans, and the Tea Party Movement is more motivated by fear than any political movement to come through America in a long long time.

Fear of the white middle class losing its dominance because of going bankrupt helping nonwhite people with unearned handouts.

Fear of the United States losing its dominance because of showing too much humility and giving the terrorists room to recoup and attack again…. See More

Fear of the so-called “liberal media” because of their increased likelihood to call a spade a spade. (Although this one has always baffled me, because liberals avoid mainstream media just as much if not more because of its rightward bias.)

Fear of intellectuals and preference for a leader they can talk football and converse with on a personal level, regardless of their fitness for running a country or even serving their real social and economic interests.

I’d have to turn it around and say that today’s fundamentalist uprising is almost entirely about fear.

Second, the point I was trying to make was that once you legislate religious law, you open yourself up to the panoply of questions you find in Islam. Which Christiniaity is the True flavor? Which laws do you pick, the ones that seem fair in 2010 or all of them? Will the Catholics get 40% of the choice, or will the Congregationalists and Unitarians have any say at all? Once you start making these choices and forcing the everybody else to get in line, you’re relying on coercion and “if you want to feed your family you will do this” rather than the true belief and liberation you were hoping to foster in the first place.

Lastly, Christianity can be compared to your pick of flavors of “Mohammedism”. Societies don’t operate in isolation from each other and according to different rules of social dynamics. People respond to the same pressures and respond within the coordinates of their individual culture.
Yesterday at 9:56am ·

<Anonymous Conservative>
Not buying that Republicans are the only ones that are motivated by fear. How about “Republicans want you to die quickly?” by demo. Grayson from FL…ummm sounds like fear to me…

As a conservative, I am to motivated by fear as much as expressing concern. The US Government has increased in size proportionally to the population since the founding…T or F?

Rightward bias in the media? Are you kidding me? Name the right leaning newspapers and cable channels and the left leaning ones? … See More

As far as “fear of intellectuals”, are you putting Obama in this category? I believe that leadership is a better quality…I do not put much faith in a man who speaks to elementary students using a teleprompter…

What’s wrong with football?

I am not in favor of legislative religious law…but most of our founding laws were based on Christian principles…no? The US survived just fine up to the 1950’s and 60’s with Christian principles until the breakdown in our morality i.e. Roe vs. Wade, so-called Women’s Movement, NAMBA, Jimmy Carter, double stuff oreo’s…

Depending on the government for more and more of your needs will yield less and less freedom…remember the ole hammer and sickle?
Yesterday at 9:26pm

<Me>
I would agree that there is a lot of fear all around. On the left, the fear that this is really our last chance to act on a host of pressing issues before calamity strikes, and that republicans not only don’t see it but also push in the opposite direction.

I would answer true to your question about government increasing in size, yes it has vastly increased in size proportionately to the population since 1776. However it is still half the size of your average industrialized nation. At #144 in terms of government spending as portion of GDP, we’ve got a long long way to go before we start to qualify as having a “big government”.

Re: media bias. Fox? I’d put NPR toward the left but you have to listen to stuff like Democracy Now or PRI before you’re really on the left…. See More

“Republicans want you to die quickly” is pretty minor compared to the flood of Republican fearmongering in the health care “debate”. “You lie!” “death panels” “Obama wants to kill grandma” etc etc etc.

Re: fear of intellectuals, yes Obama is in that category. If you think the teleprompters were there so Obama could speak to elementary school students, you are either very gullible or disingenuous.

Nothing is wrong with football. I was suggesting that the ability or desire to discuss it with you over beer is a poor criterion for selecting a leader.

I think we found out with W where leadership takes you when not combined with intellect. (Although I also think he played dumb so he could appeal to the same folks who like Palin today, meanwhile alienating the half of the country that wants a visibly intelligent leader.)

Our “founding laws” were not based on “Christian principles” as such. They were a marriage of English common law with Enlightenment principles, which were historically as much a reaction to traditional Christianity as “based on Christian principles”. The Founding Fathers were personally Deists and freemasons not “Christians” the way you think of it.

Moreover, I don’t think anyone doubts Jimmy Carter’s Christian principles, during his Presidency or otherwise. How is he responsible for a breakdown in morality? He took over a bum economy after a lost war and Watergate.

Maybe the “US survived just fine until the 50s and 60s on Christian values” statement is over the top? Do black people belong at the back of the bus, and women at home with the kids? (You mockingly refer to Roe v Wade and the “so-called Women’s Movement” after stating that we need to go back to the 50s…)

If Christian morality helps prevent social breakdown without causing oppression, go for it. I just don’t think you can count on it as a regulatory force if it isn’t law, and law it cannot be.

I do remember the ole hammer and sickle quite well. My wife grew up under it. I’ve spent quality time in a post communist country. However the idea that “more government” leads to the Soviet Union or even to 1950s and 1960s Great Britain is preposterous. Why do so many Americans think “more government” has to go that way, instead of, say, Germany or Canada?

And I am always puzzled about that in relation to health care. What American doesn’t look forward to when they qualify for Medicare? If you have health insurance, how much choice did you have in selecting it? You take what your company offers you, if they offer it. Where does the freedom lie?
10 hours ago ·

<Anonymous Conservative>
http://www.nowpublic.com/world/addressing-elementary-school-children-obama-uses-teleprompter
3 hours ago

<Anonymous Conservative>
Well I see that we see this country differently; I will not change your mind nor will you change mine…fun debate however…I strongly disagree with you that the founding fathers were not Christians…one can pull writing after writing about their referrence to God and Christ personal and professional…

Here’s a poll taken about media bias as viewed by viewers: http://www.mrc.org/biasalert/2009/20091005025345.aspx

Enjoy your Monday …
3 hours ago

<Me>
Everyone saw the stories about the teleprompter, I was saying that afterward the right wing blogosphere became excited about it, it became clear that they were not there because of the students, but for a talk to reporters afterward. Then the jeering switched to why he needed a teleprompter to talk to reporters. As to how that makes Obama unintelligent or a mindless automaton, I’m not sure. I’d say it’s more a case of confirmation bias.

On the next point, I wasn’t saying that the founding fathers weren’t Christians, but that they were not Christians in the sense that Christianity means to you. The Enlightenment and English common law were more important for the founding laws, and the idea that they were forming a nation founded on self-evidently rational *law* that didn’t require some mystical-mythical-religious or personal-as-in-king-george basis to uphold or justify it. That’s one of the reasons it is so durable.

It became clear quite some time ago that we see the country differently, and that it isn’t about changing minds. That is unlikely to happen in a Facebook convo after 15 years. … See More

I’m trying to figure out why almost everyone I know from Georgia has become way more right wing and religious than they were when I last lived there in 1994, and at least understand where you guys are coming from.

In any case, enjoy your Monday. It is Monday for all of us.

March 29, 2010 in Life