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What do you believe?

Discussion in 'Issues Around the World' started by Steve, Jan 22, 2003.

  1. Steve

    Steve Is that it, then?

    I agree pretty much with all of this:

    <i>We believe the American system of government, a Constitutional Republic, is the finest yet developed by man.

    We believe the traditional moral values of our Judeo-Christian heritage form the cornerstone of Western Civilization, and that the family is the basic and most vital unit of society.

    We believe the free market system, competitive capitalism, and private enterprise afford the widest opportunity and highest standard of living for all.

    We believe in the dignity of the individual. The Society welcomes and enjoys the participation in its ranks of individuals from every walk of life and from all ethnic, racial, and religious backgrounds. Judging others only by character and ability -- as we wish to be judged ourselves -- our common bond is a love for liberty and our rejection of totalitarianism under any label.

    We believe that the rights of the individual are endowed by his Creator, not by governments; that the proper function of government should be limited to the protection of the rights to life, liberty, and property; and that individual rights are inseparably linked to individual responsibility.

    We believe in patriotism based on principle, not on pragmatism, personality, or partisan politics. </i>

    So why, exactly, does the John Birch Society give me the heebie-jeebies? How can seemingly reasonable precepts give way to such radical, right-wing rhetoric?

    What is it about the things people believe that can sound so rational, yet turn out so wrong when applied?
  2. Misu

    Misu Hey, I saw that.

    Perhaps its the religious undertones? Or overtones, now that I reread the quote.
  3. Stiofan

    Stiofan Master Po

    Not all religious thought is evil you know. Many religions have fostered excellent morals and beliefs, and the same morals and beliefs are held by many who are not religious, as well. So that in of itself, is not a problem. I know there are a few here who are athiest or agnostic, but let's not always bash religion, please.

    As far as the JBS, I believe it's a case of espousing one point of view, but acting in another contrary way. Louis Farrikhan does the same thing, and I wouldn't trust him or his followers too much.
  4. mikeky

    mikeky Member

    The bane of many a cause, whether be it political or religious: hypocrisy.
  5. ShinyTop

    ShinyTop I know what is right or wrong!

    With your posts about the stated beliefs of the JBC I thought I would go to the ACLU site and get their beliefs. I went to their home page and looked around for maybe 20 minutes and I never found a statement of their beliefs. Every page had a link to the sign up page but no link to their beliefs.

    I know I side with them sometimes and against them sometimes but I have to say it gives one pause when you cannot find out what you are signing up for. If anybody else can find it on their official page please post a link. I expected to find similarly high sounding statements that are similarly applied as it deems fit.
  6. Stiofan

    Stiofan Master Po

    Did you not see this page linked at the top <a href="http://www.aclu.org/about/aboutmain.cfm">About the ACLU</a>?
  7. ShinyTop

    ShinyTop I know what is right or wrong!

    Just put it down to a brain spasm and thank you. I saw that but was looking for something more distinctive. This is part of a page of their history but okay.

    So this is the "creed" of the ACLU. Note that it would be just as difficult to find fault with these beliefs as with the JBS yet the chance of one person belonging to both is pretty slim.

  8. ethics

    ethics Pomp-Dumpster Staff Member

    Worth being repeated.
  9. yazdzik

    yazdzik Veteran Member

    Dear Friends,

    JBS is a bunch of religious bigots, who believe that the creator gives rights. This is in direct conflict with our constitution, and the early USSC rulings which state that the rights exist within the power of the sovereign individual to contract them.

    Civil rights proceed not from the government, as I have said as often as the JBS has, but the government is limited by the "Supreme Law." Marshall is not referring to the law of god, but of the document. If people would use the internet to read Marbury, etc, and keep the literal wording of the constitution in their minds, the rubbish that fringe groups publish would disappear with education.

    As it is, it seems that people would rather read such nonsense, that has nothing to do with the constitution and everything to do with how many people "feel," than make any mental effort whatsoever.

    Whether or not Christianity is the cornerstone of western civilisation, it has nothing whatsoever to do with our laws. That many of the founders may have coincidentally been christian, bears not a whit upon the document itself.

    Think about the limited powers of the government, even the will of the majority is limited by the constitution and Marbury, and those who by diminished mental capacity, or the unbelievable low quality of education cannot read the most important documents of our law, yet wish a voice in determining the basis thereof.

    This is the danger of the klan, the political parties, the Birchers, &c. Instead of people reading what is in front of their noses, they are told what to think. If every minister in the land proclaims god's law, it alters not a word of Marshall's decisions.

    Anyone with half the brains god gave a goat would google Marbury, but, it is better to feel good. If liberal, bash Bush; if conservative, state the supremacy of god and family.

    Only a person so lazy as to be unreasonable would take the word, in the day of broadband, of his cultural upbringing over the texts themselves.

    One would think that with the rise of the internet, the JBS and such lunatic groups would cease to exist before the light of reason, but, apparently, the availibility on line of the classic, and all recent USSC decisions have made no dent in the bigotry of those who would prefer a government constituted by god's law than one by contract among free men.

    At some point, I am sure that most Americans purposely and wilfully make sure that their kids cannot read, because, if they did, they would know so much more than mom and dad, and the authority of parents would fall.

    No one wants to say, "We go to church, and the law of god is supreme," and have his kid go to Harvard Law School, and be told the truth, that, while this may be true in an absolute, or eternal sense, it is unrelated to secular law. So, we make damn sure by underfunding our schools, supporting anti-intellectualism, promoting puritanism and prejudice in every possible way, that there is no hope for a less polarised, less partisan society.

    If we educate our children, make certain that those who are head smart are well-read, and those that are academically less gifted are valued for their tolerance and forbearance, open-mindedness and compassion, none of the social strife we see today would happen. No rich man would be arrogant because of his wealth, no smart man, because of his acumen, no religious man because of his god, but each would tolerate each, and kindness, the result of real education would be the hallmark of our land. Not god's law, but the best man can devise.

    We instead prefer to assert that some are right, that we are a certain culture, a certain background, a certain colour, a certain comfort level, and a certain mindset. This will always mean that the ideals of the constitution, whether or not the ideals of any specific founder, will never allow us to be the land we could become. We seem mired in the mud of preference of wealth to kindness, believing a harsh rectitude to be better for our egos than an sweet mercy.

    It will not be the unworkability of the constitution that lets us fall prey to the Caesars, but the inability to see that, while the agrarian ideals were not possible in the industrial age, they are precisely those which will work in the internet age. Kindly, educated, compassionate and tolerant people, living in communities of open-mindedness. Howso? The tools of education once reserved the well-to-do are available to the masses as they once were to the elite.

    As it is, most people would rather have their kids dumbed down and own a nice house, an SUV, and tell them, "Daddy is the head of the house."

    Like hell.

    If daddy were an animal, not the image of god, the argument loses efficacy rather immediately, does it not? Thus, we better not send out kids to MIT, or they will know.......

    In a land where the regulation of the minutiae of every transaction is normal, none dare assume that our failure to value education above all is happenstance.

    An educated person allows reason, not power to sway behaviour, and kindness, not cultism, to create mores. That means, in relation to the topic of government at hand, the minimal rules our basic law requires govern very limited aspects of behaviour, and many other aspects, religion, gun ownership, location, self-incrimination, over-indebtedness, are not to be touched by the state.

    The days of the Birchers are numbered; the knowledge of the sages is too easily obtained on the internet, as long a we do not foolishly allow it to die of the DMCA and Patriot Acts, to allow for old fashioned closed mindedness.

    The agrarian values can return, not through all of us living on farms, sadly, but by keeping the wisdom of those who did alive, not alone for those who have the luxury time and money to read, but for everyone with a pc and connexion.

    With this will come the clarity that the ACLU and John Birch are not necessarily fighting for any thing approaching civilised reasoned government, but have agendas far removed from the extremely limited powers the government has.

    Will people use the internet for good, and read until they understand?

    Looking at the young people I see, they may not have much in the way of formal education, but their curiosity, and unwillingness to accept because I told you so gives me great hope, that when their turn comes, they will fund schools before wars. They will trade files, like the farmers before them trading whisky. They will not be told by third parties what something is, but will look for themselves.

    For the JBS, a harbinger of sunset; for America, the dawn of hope.

    All good wishes,
  10. Steve

    Steve Is that it, then?

    Martin, thank you for that. I think you've nailed down my discomfiture with the JBS.

    As an <i>ideal</i>, or abstract notion, I have no problem with the concept that our natural rights are granted us by God, and that the government should only be concerned with protecting those rights.

    As an application of practical government, the implementation of this abstract notion immediately sets into play matters of relative morals and judgment calls where the law and the legislature should be more properly concerned with a fair and impartial application of the "Supreme Law" to which Marshall refers.

    So, I could not reconcile their actions, which are contrary to what I know to be right and required, with their ideals, with which I also agree, although more in an abstract sense.

    All of which boils down to mikeky's comment:

    "The bane of many a cause, whether be it political or religious: hypocrisy."
  11. IamZed

    IamZed ...

    God told me I had the right to drink and drive, you cant take that away from me.

    Im sure when you become a member of the ACLU you get exposed to very agenda biased views. They would be a great association if they didnt recruit from PETA.
  12. Domh

    Domh Full Member

    The precepts are neither reasonable nor logical, but many years of sociocultural conditioning will lead any reasonable and intelligent individual to believe in and die for just about any cause.

    The reason the precepts give rise to radical right wing rhetoric is because they are radical and dangerous precepts, as the world is slowly learning. Again, they seem 'reasonable' to you simply because youve been told your whole life that they are 'reasonable' when in fact they are not.

    These precepts are not only inherently illogical, but empirically unreasonable, destructive and senseless.

    Most of us here are capable of stepping away, if even for a few moments, from the conditioning that has taught us to believe and act upon "... the right of our manifest destiny to over spread and to possess the whole of the continent which Providence has given us for the development of the great experiment of liberty and federaltive development of self government entrusted to us. It is right such as that of the tree to the space of air and the earth suitable for the full expansion of its principle and destiny of growth."

    Oh man, the irony.

    Pretty prose and good turn of phrase, John O'Sullivan, but now we've got a city upon a hill so great and hollow, it crumbles beneath us.

  13. yazdzik

    yazdzik Veteran Member

    "The bane of many a cause, whether be it political or religious: hypocrisy."

    Sentence of the year -

    And, yes, the ACLU is as subject to it as the klan.

  14. Stiofan

    Stiofan Master Po

    Where to start.

    Martin, your post is illuminating, as always.

    I believe JBS is taking the freedoms endowed by our creator out of context to support their own views, as is wont to happen by groups like this. Certainly the writer's of the Declaration of Independence and the constitution used much the same words. But they were arguing about a lack of <i>freedoms</i> being granted them, stating no man (a King) should have the ability to take away from us these certain freedoms. Now whether you believe that this is God's freedoms or the freedoms of the Natural Law of the Universe, it doesn't much matter.

    They set forth to craft a document to outline and codify these freedoms as best they could. These became our "rights" as set forth by these men. They then added provisions where by the will of the people <i>these rights could be added to or subtracted from</i>, again by the will of the people.

    I hope everyone understands what I'm trying to say.

    As far as why people don't read more, research more, etc. it comes down to laziness. You'd think the television network's distilled and packaged versions of the news would have passed into history with the instant internet we have. I'm afraid people are too lazy to give the easy way up even if the result on not doing so is less than satisfying.

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