Thursday, March 08, 2007

From Manifest Destiny to Manifest Stupidity

Ann Coulter; Not a straight shooter.I've been around the block a few times, advocating for ethical outcomes and reality-based approaches to the world and it's problems for years and years now.

The more I go 'round and round the issues, the more I realize that for whatever form of understanding or tolerance I advocate - be it autistic persons, be it multiple personalities, be it survivors of sexual and/or religious abuse, the same sort of people, probably a lot OF the same people, are the ones screaming and gibbering that it's lies, all lies! And It's an Evil Plot to Seduce our Children and Pollute our Precious Bodily Fluids to boot. Any delusions of being different - multiple personality, homosexuality, persistent, corrosive expressions of individuality and social justice such as feminism, liberalism or ecological consciousness will All Go Away when you take a Magic Jesus Pill and submit to the Correction of Proper Authorities.

Really. Just ask Ted Haggard and Oral Roberts! (Both are more than willing to sell you the Magic Jesus Pills they didn't personally need in their Miraculous Recoveries from Sin.)

Not to put too fine a point on it, the people who are out there on the other side, against all forms of choice, all forms of individual expressions that don't involve praising a plastic glow-in-the-dark god onna stick idol, that don't involve white, heteronormative authoritarian submission to Duly Constituted Authority are some of the most willfully ignorant, morally bankrupt and hypocritical mouth-breathing morons I have ever had the pleasure to cluebyfour.

I have passed many, many pleasant hours fighting in my way for individual liberties, freedom of expression, personal dignity and the mutual respect, tolerance and common decency required of any free and civilized society.

In doing so, I've tried to grit my teeth and be respectful of views and beliefs that cannot thrive in the presence of critical thought or evidence, but I can no longer muster any tolerance for the increasingly obvious fear and hatred this roughly 30% of the electorate represents.

As FDR said, "we have nothing to fear but fear itself." He was right - fear is the handmaiden of fascism and theocracy.

The unreasoning xenophobia and the very real possibility of violence from the right toward everyone who's views or indeed, existence contradicts their hateful, thoughtless ideologies and demented dogmas has caused many - including myself - to be over-cautious about calling them on their shit.

No more. The marketers of fear, these panderers of panic must be forced to partake of the poison they have peddled. They are either willfully evil, or so blind to the evil of their cheerleaders and exploiters that there can be no useful distinction. Either way, we must no longer harbor them within the "big tents" of our political and social compacts - we must reclaim our school boards, our state houses and our congress from those stupid enough to think either that "The Bible Says It, I believe it, That Settles It" or "I'm right because I'm Right."

It's not a conflict between respectable and debatable political viewpoints - it's really and genuinely now a matter of informed concience and reason in opposition to willful stupidity and the evil that festers in it's presence.

We have reaped the whirlwind by respecting the mindless idolotry of the unforgiving Strict Father ideal as a legitimate, defensable viewpoint compatable with our Constitution and the unabashedly Liberal values of our forebears. The mainstream churches have been complicit in their unwillingness to condemn it for the evil that it is, whether or not it claims the privilege of faith, though knowing well for themselves of permitting any church any degree of temporal power.

Anyone who thinks it's a good idea to trigger Armageddon just so they can meet Jesus while enjoying and mocking the suffering of the "unsaved" from a safe vantage-point needs to be gently restrained from any weapons of destruction available to them - and if this is intuitively true of a ranting street preacher waving a bent butter knife, it's even more true of someone with access to nuclear release codes.

If your religion calls for you to destroy the world, or even to rule it in the name of "cleansing it for Christ's Return", I'm unwilling to sacrifice my own selfish survival in the name of tolerating your "diversity."

Neither Civilization nor the Constitution are a suicide pact. As much as I believe in diversity, no ethical system or social compact that permits the extinction of it's supporters in wholesale lots is very useful. (cc: Moderate Islam - you got some shit to deal with too. And yes, I do consider all Radical religious movements to be as literally and figuratively as unclean as a dog deep-fried in pork-fat with a sauce of caramelized camel feces.)

As it happens, I am Christian in essentials of my faith, but I've long since abandoned it as a religion, because in it's myriad manifestations it has long since proven to be more of a disease than a cure. Far from being empowering of individual conscience, it has become the enemy of progress and justice, at times straying from callus indifference and abuse into outright lunacy.

My nature is to be concerned about justice, to look toward the facts, apply critical reasoning skills and then form an opinion, and I hold my faith and beliefs to the same tests. If a person I respect and who I know to have a well-informed opinion suggests a direction, I'm willing enough to explore it - but even so, I ask myself, Quo Bono? (Who Benefits - that I should believe this?) And, while I'm tolerant enough to let a tree grow and manifest it's fruit, if the fruit is bitter - that tree is firewood.

Speaking of faggots and firewood, It was Ann Coulter who brought this into focus for me. (Via Media Matters.)

COULTER: Right, and I suspect everyone listening to your show knows about that. I mean, I know -- well, I guess Pat is out in America now; you're primarily in New York City. I give a lot of speeches out in America, I frequently visit America, and Americans are pretty freaked out about somebody going to rehab for using a word, and that's of course what I was referring to. And I don't think there's anything offensive about any variation of faggy, faggotry, faggot, fag. It's a schoolyard taunt. It means -- it means wussy. It means, you know, Hillary giving a speech in a fake Southern drawl -- that's faggy. A trial lawyer who weeps before juries is faggy. Lifetime-type TV, faggy. Everyone understood I was not literally calling -- well, I was not calling -- well, for one thing, I wasn't calling John Edwards anything. That was the whole point. I couldn't talk about him, his life's work, his appeasement policies, his wimpiness on foreign policy, because that word is out of bounds. So, in point of fact, I called John Edwards nothing. I said I couldn't even discuss him because using any variation of that totally excellent word would send me into rehab.
Bullshit. A fucking unbelievable bit of utter twaddle unworthy of a fourth-grader, much less a veteran public speaker. Her "explanation" might possibly serve as barely plausible deniablity; enough to muddy the waters enough to keep her out of the civil dock, but what she meant to say was quite clear.

In point of fact, the only people who "think" (so to speak) that "faggot" is not a viciously offensive word is those who like using it to offend, but dislike suffering the appropriate consequences for offensive speech.

I've heard the very same excuse many times before - in excusing "coon" jokes, in regards to "physical humor" that involved pain and or humiliation for those judged worthy targets of "schoolyard taunts."

It's emblematic of Coulter that, when called on this, her response is, essentially "Can't you take a joke?"

Not if I don't have to, Ann.

Would Ms. Coulter like me to come up to her in public, grab her crotch and laughingly report my findings? After all, many people suggest she's not really female in an equally juvenile attack on her person.

Hey, if I did that in front of the right audience, LOTS of people would bust their asses laughing. Does that make it a joke, or an act of vicious humiliation? Targeting Ms. Coulter as a transsexual or transgendered person in order to discredit her is as elementally unethical as calling someone "gay" in order to ignore what they have to say about something you don't want other folks to consider. No, let's take it a step further; it's evil; it amounts to "bearing false witness" in order to gain an unfair judgment in the court of public opinion.

Anyway, As a person subject to such attacks from lefties who should know better, she has no excuse. We all know what she meant by "Faggot." She meant either actually gay, or "less than manly" in some other, equally derisive sense, and she did this in order to avoid saying anything accurate or actually funny about Edwards.

Why? Because there isn't anything valid she can say about him that her audience would appreciate hearing. In the Republican mindset, you cannot address actual policy or positions of your opponents even to disagree with them.

This is in part due to the utter incapacity of the average brain-dead Bushite to recognize a valid argument if it had teeth clamped on their most personal parts. But it's more due to the fact that the Republican leadership and providers of Cultural Conservative talking points believe the very same thing about their own rank and file.

"You can't HANDLE the truth."

Of course, that leads directly to the present situation.

You can be well-informed in matters of politics, conscience and current affairs, or you can be a Republican.

You can honor the words of Jesus who told us to feed the poor and clothe the widow and the orphan - or you can be a Conservative Christian.

If this is what Conservatism and Christianity has become, then I'll join with anyone willing to banish both to the snake-handling hinterlands. Even "godless liberals."

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