Sunday, March 04, 2007

It All Comes Down to Rocks!

I have been interested in all the revelations about linage, genealogy, and ancestry that have popped up in the news this past week. It seems that Mitt Romney’s ancestors were polygamists; that Strom Thurmond’s ancestors owned the ancestors of Al Sharpton, and most recently that Barack Obama’s white ancestors owned black slaves.

If we are to cast stones at others for the behavior of their ancestors we would indeed be presented with some interesting ironies. First, note that Al Sharpton’s last name is the name of the slave master who owned his enslaved ancestors. Check out Alex Haley’s account of the conception of his ancestor Chicken George and it becomes perfectly logical to assume that Al Sharpton’s own ancestors owned Al Sharpton’s ancestors.

Even if that is not the case – realize that many black Africans were eagerly involved in rounding up other black Africans for the slave market. Europeans – even Arab slave traders very seldom dared or needed to go into “Black Africa” to get slaves, black slavers delivered them conveniently to the cost. As terrible as the Middle passage of the Triangular Trade must have been, try to imagine the atrocities committed by those black slavers as they rounded up their neighbors to trade for pots and pans, muskets and shot, and strips of calico cloth and jugs of rum. It is particularly ironic when we consider that the cotton in that cloth and the sugar in that rum were produced by the labor of slaves. Dare I demand that the people of modern Africa apologized for Slavery! I mean, look at all the evil it caused to my country!

It is the same with blaming the white man of today for the destruction of the Indian nation of yesterday, or to insist on punishing the Germans and Japanese of today for the war crimes of their fathers. It amazes me that the Chinese demand apologizes from today’s Japanese for the crimes of last century while conveniently overlooking the far greater murder of Chinese committed by Chinese in the twentieth century.

Last week the State of Virginia apologized for supporting slavery. I’m sure that made the hundreds of thousands of boys from Pennsylvania and Vermont who died to end slavery feel better.

We need to get over this “punish the children for the sins of their fathers” mentality, and the just as foolish “I inherit special privileges or blessings from God because of my fathers’ righteousness” mindset. How quickly the murder and mayhem in the Middle East could come to an end if people would just require justice of those who have done evil and quit blaming their children, and the folks who speak the same language or live on the same piece of dirt. Today’s paper reports the execution of a group of men in revenge for the alleged rape of a woman. That these men were not the rapists did not matter to the unjust lunatics who murdered them; they were related.

Before Athena taught the Greeks justice, the blood feud ruled. The Furies demanded the blood of children to cover the crimes of their fathers. But reason came, and Law, and the Furies were contained.

"When the young sons of a man who had betrayed his city to the Persians were brought to the general commanding Spartan forces after Leonidas fell at Thermopylae, he dismissed them. “They are boys,” Herodotus reports him as saying. “What part could boys have in the guilt of siding with the Persians?”" (Edith Hamilton, The Greek Way, W. W, Norton & Company, Inc, New York, 1930, pg 173)

How foolish to believe that either virtue or vice can be passed over the genes from one generation to another. It is as foolish as believing that one can inherit the blood royal and the divine right to rule. We applied some “Common Sense” to that silliness and life has been all the better for it.

The Jews of Jesus’ time operated under a similar delusion. They claimed that their ancestor had made a deal with God and that the blessings of that covenant were mystically passed by blood from one generation to the next. Jesus shot that down”

“ . . . begin not to say within yourselves. We have Abraham to our father; for I say unto you, That God is able of these stones to raise up children to Abraham.” (St. Matt. 9:3) also (St Luke 3:8)

Let’s start judging men for their own sins and not for any ancestor’s transgression. Let’s stop casting the stones of blame and realize the only stone to consider in the culpability of a child for the sins of his father is a clean slate.


blair said...

It is not surprising that Obama has slave owners in his family tree. Virtually all Americans, regardless of their race or ethnicity, have ancestors who owned slaves. Many African Americans who researched their family trees would be shocked to discover that have black as well as white ancestors who were slave owners. In the United States, free blacks as well as whites owned slaves (one of the South’s biggest slave owner was a freed black man notorious for his harsh treatment of his slaves). The percentage of free blacks who owned slaves was small, as was the percentages of whites who owned slaves, but the intricacies of the genetic pool guarantee that virtually everyone is related to them. African Americans who traced their heritage back to Africa would discover that virtually all their African ancestors were involved in the slave traded. The African tribes ran the “supply side” of the Atlantic slave trade. The ancestors of Hispanic Americans owned both black and Indian slaves. American Indian tribes practiced slavery both before and after the European discovery of America. (The Cherokee Nation, for example, voted overwhelmingly yesterday (3 March 07) to revoke the tribal citizenship of about 2,800 blacks who are descendants of Cherokee slaves.

It makes no diference which side of the Mason-Dixie line you were born in. Slavery was practiced in all the Northern states prior to the American Civil War and was still being practiced in many of the Northern states during the Civil War. That's why Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation applied only to states that had rebelled against the Union.

Lysis said...


Welcome to the Agora. I heard the story on the Cherokee today. The report, on the NPR top of the hour news, also pointed out that the Seminole made the same decision a few years ago and were willing to give up all aid from the Federal Government in order to maintain their right to kick people out of their tribe because of racism.

Sad isn’t it, that although God might be able to make decedents for Abraham out of the rocks, a hundred and fifty years of precedent, their own constitution, and reason itself, cannot make a Cherokee out of a black man, or rather cannot keep a black man who was a Cherokee yesterday one today.

As Dr. King so eloquently said, it is not reasonable to judge any man by the color of his skin; nor, I would like to add, the color of his skin by the names on his family group sheet.

Today, as your probably know, is the anniversary of “another” bloody Sunday; one relating to the civil rights movement of the 1960’s. I am force to consider how silly Martin King would find it that all kinds of people who claim to be following in his dream (where the color of one’s skin is not used to judge the character of his heart) speechifying about and capitalizing on racial differences. I would find it laughable if it were not so painfully true, that in so few years we have come from a call by King that a man not be judged by the color of his skin to Obama’s call that he be judged by nothing else.

MindMechanic said...

I think it is sad no one has had sufficient vision to put the plan in place that would help make Dr King's dream a reality. having an idea is great, having a goal is powerful, but without a plan and the will to execute the is just wishful thinking and then, after a while, the dream becomes a curse.

How much more powerful would we all be if we realized that at some time or another everyones ancestors were both conquerers and victims. Maybe we would be less likely to destroy other peoples boat if we realized first we were in it with them.

Boy said...

Brazil boy her I shortened my name

Here in Brazil nearly everyone is of mixed ancestry, and this miscegenation is obvious. People accept this and have for years. Recently however, probably following the American/European model, power seeking politicians have begun a process of separation, using ridiculous statistics like 95% of poor Brazilians are of are of African decent. Well about 95% of Brazilians are of some African decent, so it makes no difference. It’s interesting to see the impact this movement has on the communities, people choose a race like they choose a soccer team, and then root for it.

Most people see the silliness of all this, but there are two obviously dangerous manifestations of this growing prejudice, first of the entertainment industry is fixating itself of the “Blond American,” image of beauty. No doubt wanting to sell hair smoothing creams, blond hair die, and blue contact lenses to a mostly Moreno population. More dangerously there is a growing black pride movement, mostly organized around Ragae music, (which is neither African no Brazilian.) Five years ago I was impressed with the average Brazilian’s colorblindness, today I am worried where this new trend could lead, especially because I’ve seen how violent Brazilians can get if you insult their Soccer team.

Reach Upward said...

Shelby Steele argues in his book White Guilt that we as a nation have failed to capture the promise of the civil rights era. He asserts that "calls for diversity and programs of affirmative action serve only to stigmatize minorities, portraying them not as capable individuals but as people defined by their membership in a group for which exceptions must be made." I suppose the opposite is also true for those that feel group superiority.

Steele pins our inability to convincingly win a war on the same roots that have made multicultralism pervasive in our society. (See here and here.) He describes the dichotomy we face in Iraq:

"The collapse of white supremacy--and the resulting white guilt--introduced a new mechanism of power into the world: stigmatization with the evil of the Western past. And this stigmatization is power because it affects the terms of legitimacy for Western nations and for their actions in the world. In Iraq, America is fighting as much for the legitimacy of its war effort as for victory in war. In fact, legitimacy may be the more important goal. If a military victory makes us look like an imperialist nation bent on occupying and raping the resources of a poor brown nation, then victory would mean less because it would have no legitimacy. Europe would scorn. Conversely, if America suffered a military loss in Iraq but in so doing dispelled the imperialist stigma, the loss would be seen as a necessary sacrifice made to restore our nation's legitimacy. Europe's halls of internationalism would suddenly open to us."

Steele laments, "Possibly white guilt's worst effect is that it does not permit whites--and nonwhites--to appreciate something extraordinary: the fact that whites in America, and even elsewhere in the West, have achieved a truly remarkable moral transformation. One is forbidden to speak thus, but it is simply true." He dismisses the odd white supremicist nutcake as an outlier.

Steele says that we are uncomfortable with our role as the world's only true super power because of the responsibility it entails. "And this fear of responsibility is what makes us ambivalent toward the idea of victory." Also, "Today America is a danger to the world in its own right, not because we are a powerful bully but because we don't fully accept who we are."

Steele asks, "Could it be that our enemies are really paper tigers made formidable by our unceasing ambivalence? And could it be that the greater good is in both the idea and the reality of American victory?"

I do not mean to use Steele simply as a mask for my own opinions. I disagree with him on a number of issues, perhaps more in degree rather than in substance. But I think Steele's opinion is a worthwhile one to consider.

Boy said...

Oh and I don't get the picture


Lysis said...


The picture is of the Goddess Athena, goddess of Justice. She represents the end of the “blood feud; the power of the Furies”. Athena set up court of justice on the Hill of Ares were Law and the “State” took accountability for holding individuals responsible for their own crimes and sins, and for protecting the rights of the innocent. As long as a people act in justice, the Furies are kept in check, but when we begin to act in bigotry and prejudice, justice is lost and the Furies return.

In some, sadly many parts of the world, they have never been contained. If Americans refuse to behave justly; to honor Athena, – if they seek special privileges based on race, not on individual achievement, they tempt the return on the blood grudge.

Anonymous said...

Racial memory, genetic guilt -- some have pondered if "haunted" atavistic tendences exist in human beings as well as geese, swallows and mallards.

Loren Eisley's story, "The Last Neandrethal" is the short story of a young Anthropologist "in situ
and the strange young daughter of a rancher he meets.

Some people feel that predecessors have a great deal to say about reality -- the old saw, about the NUT not falling far from the TREE seems to communicate something about who "WE" are -- my father, "my future and my doom" is both a poetic sense and a biological necessity.

RealFruitBeverage said...

I can agree in general with the idea of the post but I do have a few issues.

The biggest thing for me, Lysis taking issue with an institution making an apology for past actions. When these events happen I think it has less to do with making a blood payment for things done in the past and more to do with the ideological mind set of the current institution. For instance if government X says hey we are sorry for actions Y back in the day, it means we think actions Y are wrong. It does not mean that the current society is guilty and accountable for actions Y.

One way to relate to this is Arabic culture. In Arabic culture it is customary to say you are sorry for events even if you are not at fault. To the Arab saying you are sorry doesn't mean hey I'm the bad guy it means I realize something bad happened and I am showing some kind of empathy.

So when the Common Wealth of Virgina said hey I'm sorry I think it shows more to the empathetic feelings of that society at large. An inferance we can gather from that is when another society asks for an apology they aren't asking for some kind of blood payment, they are asking for some cultural understanding.

Here is an example that is completely made up. Lets say the US's history books for highschools are nationalized. Let's say that in all the text books slavery was taught as a positive thing and made no mention of the horrors of it. Now if an affected country asked for an apology and we refused we could seem like a bunch of jackasses. But if we apologized it might be seen as a good faith step by our society that we really don't think slavery was all that great.

We can relate the example above with the whole China Japan issue Lysis mentioned. Also Korea has made those same complaints to Japan. Which brings me to another point, you don't have to be perfect or even right to ask someone/something to admit that something is wrong. It sure helps your position a bit but it is not necessary. For instance saying yeah but my spouse cheated on me, so I did, isn't really a winner.

The next issue I have with the post is one of scriptural interpitation. While I think Lysis provides a valid reading of of Luke 3:8 and Mat 9:3, I have a differing view. If you continue to read on till Luke 3:9 you get a fuller view. "And now also the axe is laid unto the root of the trees: every tree therefore which bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire." I think what Jesus was saying is that yes you do have a covenat passed from your fathers down to you. But don't let that great blessing shake you from the responsibilities of those blessings and form the obligations you have just by being human. This intrepetation is given a bit more strength as Jesus then goes on to how one should behave based upon one's obligations due to position. Also Jesus uses the example of a tree, and what the roots do definately effect what the branches do. So the lesson? No matter how much your parents (generations before you) have set you up for sucess you need to do the work that you are asigned. I think this reading is very similar to Lysis but has a couple of finer points when it comes to understanding it in the context of certian religions, namely mine. It is sort of nit picky, but I tend to get that way when you start quoting Jesus.

Last point. Now applying my view of what Jesus stated we can see and shouldn't forget that the actions of parents can and do effect their children. Likewise the actions of past generations can also effect the present generation. How this effects responsiblity and guilt; well that is a more complicated answer that requires an evaluation on a case by case basis.

Once again just a couple of points I think that post should consider.

Lysis said...


I agree “I’m sorry” can mean different things to different people. Some people feel that “I sorry means” I have empathy. Others think it means “it was my fault and I am feeling guilty and confessing that I hurt you”. For example, I might say, “gee, I’m sorry you’re sick”. I guess that’s alright, because surly I can’t be blamed for your illness. It’s a rather imprecise way of saying I hope you get better. But if you require me to say, “Gee, I’m sorry, I take the blame, for X, (over whom I had no control,) having given you the plague; then what is the point? How does my apologizing for their evil make you feel any better, or even show empathy for your suffering? How does my “taking the blame” do anything but create a false revenge buzz for you?

Let’s go a little further, you don’t have the plague, you’ve never had it, nor are you likely to get it, but we find out that one of your ancestors died of the Black Death back in the 1300’s. What value is there in demanding the people of the Crimean apologize to you for shipping rats to Genoa? They never hurt you; in fact you are as closely related to the rat shippers as those folk, what possible good can it do for them to apologize? If it makes you feel better then there is something wrong with you.

Now to Jesus - As for chopping trees down because they have bad fruit; the consequences on the tree are the result of the now living tree’s behavior. When Jesus argues that having good roots does not guarantee that a tree will bring forth good fruit, He is reiterating His point that who your fathers are has nothing to do with your worthiness. Thus the fact that Abraham was the root does not insure that the blighted branches will be maintained. It is the present tree; the now existent organism, which is held responsible for its fruit, what its root may have been is irrelevant. Jesus is just reiterating his point that anyone can receive the “blessing” of Abraham – there is no birthright if it isn’t earned, it is open to anyone who applies.

As for parents shaping their children- the actions of parents do affect their children, but in the end how we behave, for good or ill, is really our own choice. For every bad apple that didn’t fall far from its rotten tree, I can show you plenty of very good ones that grew out of seemingly impossible circumstances. And for every wholesome root I can show you all kinds of kids that go terribly wrong. I like to point to the scriptural reality that 1) God had a son that went wrong – he used to go by Lucifer. 2) Adam, the father of all living, had on bad boy that killed his brother. 3) Mormons will recognize that in the case of Lehi, the same parents produced all kinds of apples. It is our ability to recognize and choose the right that makes us human. I’m not buying “the Devil made me do it,” and I’m not buying that my sins are my parents fault, nor would I want my children to suffer for mine.

This cuts to the very heart of my claim. It is unjust to assign the actions of any individual to any other. To hate, or despise, or kill, or oppress, any person for the actions of another is injustice. It can be recognized and when we see it. It is evident in the murder bombings of the terrorists and in the specious demands of the victim-hood exploitation camp. It is the same evil and is equally open for criticism.

I was just wondering how long the world will have to wait for the Hungarians to get around to apologizing for the fall of Rome. I wonder how long I will have to suffer before the State of Mass. to apologize to me for the Irish Potato Famine. Those Puritans weren’t they? So was Cromwell! It’s all the Calvinist’s fault! And I sure it will make me feel better to know they empathize with my misery at having been forced to be born in America!

Lysis said...


Another book of interest on this subject is among my favorites, *Dune*. However, as much as I enjoy the book, and find it full of important truths and important ideas, I accept that the sandworms, the water of life, and the memory encoded into our genes are fictional elements. Even if they were not, it was the Abomination that succumbed to the power of the past. Now there is a truth worth considering.

Reach Upward said...

Every time I read in the BoM about people having their knickers in a twist about something Nephi did five centuries earlier (for example Mosiah 10:11-17), I can't help but think, "Get over it folks! That was 500 years ago!"

We greatly err when we encourage living in a world where people can't move on from past mistakes. Mistakes occur. Evil occurs. We should always oppose evil. We should study history so that we can recognize evil today. But making past evils part of our definition of self is not the pathway to success.

Today's Standard Examiner includes a letter to the editor with advice to a man whose identity is rooted in offensive actions someone took 22 years ago (see here). The letter's author writes, "I have my strong religious beliefs and convictions, but at the same time I have enjoyed the friendships of family members and people from numerous cultures and religions. Humphrey should put down the poison pens, put away his condescending demeanor and reach out in friendship to his neighbors. It's actually quite rewarding!"

That's good advice for all of us.

MindMechanic said...


The problem is...far too often people dont WANT the healing to begin. The LIKE the martyrs role. And in the instance of race relations, why, thers GOLD in them thar hills. The politics of pity and hatred are big business. If people were to heal, to forgive, to move forward, who would continue bolster up the hate mongers? Who would they have to 'lead'?

heck...they might even have to get JOBS.

Lysis said...

Read Upward;

It is interesting that using victim–hood to excuse misbehavior is condemned by the B of M. As for the poison pen gentleman, his problem relates to bigotry at its most basic level. If the Mormon Church is attacking him, he is perfectly justified to point it out in any way available, but if he is generalizing an individual bad experience to a multi-million person membership he is indeed off base.

Isn’t it interesting to observe some people’s self-contradictory indignation? The word fagot, much in the news of late, interests me. There was a time when it applied to a bundle of sticks used either for burning witches or for filling in Roman trenches on one’s way to attack their fortifications. Then it long referred to a cigarette; the bundling and burning theme seem to have carried on. Now it means Homosexual.

Lately, Ann Coulter, a brilliant woman who makes her living saying less than brilliant things, call John Edwards a faggot. The circumstances for her using this term demonstrate two things, 1), the power of the PC machine when it is given opportunity to attack someone they hate, and 2) that she understood the dangers of that monster when she taunted it.

However what amasses me most is the double standard of that same PC position. Americans have come to realize that there is nothing wrong with being a homosexual; therefore calling someone a faggot should not be an insult. In spite of this supposed PC fact, Edwards in enraged at being call a Faggot, and the entire liberal media fiend has stirred to action to condemn Coulter.

Why is this? If there is nothing negative about being gay, why is calling someone gay considered and insult by the very people who insist that it should not be? The answer is, of course, that it has nothing to do with homosexuality and everything to do with vilifying an outspoken conservative. Again, Coulter is too smart to have fallen into this trap, especially while she was describing it to her listeners at the time she put her head in it. It is like the policeman who shoots himself while giving a lecture on gun safety; poor Ann. But shame on the liberal hypocrites who suddenly abandon their long pretended support of homosexuals by viciously implying that the very word is hurtful.

Lysis said...


And it is of course the long imagined and exploited differences in religion that fan the flames of murder through out the world, not because God is at all supportive of holy war, but because people can be driven to support the most ridiculous causes if they can be convinced that they are avenging past wrongs perpetrated against their jealous and “so easily offended” god. Thus tyrants exploit religious bigotry, justice is abandoned and the Furies rule.

MindMechanic said...

i dont think Ann Coulter does ANYTHING by accident. When i first heard the comment I was left shaking my head. Then I heard the explanation...chess match...thinking two and three moves ahead...setting up the attack on Edwards for being hurt about this comment but defending his bloggers for their assault on Christianity.

I dont know...this one is hard to dress up...definitely a mistake IMO.

Silver Lining said...


First I should say that I really enjoyed this post. It has been one of my favorites in recent weeks, not that that should matter. I do disagree with you about the Ann Coulter thing though.

You are correct in saying she was, in her comments, criticizing the "PC machine". If you will endulge me, what she was specifically refering to (in case there is someone who doesn't know) is the fact that after assaulting a fellow cast member and referring to another (who was gay but not "out") as a faggot, Isaiah Washington, a star of the show Grey's Anatomy found himself in some hot water. The issue was dying down until Washington denied making the remark and again used the word faggot as he was speaking. Isaiah Washington has since issued a rather silly statement (ala Mel Gibson) and is (ala Mel Gibson) in "rehab."

Though Coulter's remarks were more about the ridiculousness that can ensue from the PCing of our nation, she did, at the same time, call John Edwards a faggot. You say that he shouldn't be insulted. I don't think I will convince you otherwise, though I will continue to state my case. Even if faggot simply implied homosexuality, Edwards has every right to refute the claim as he isn't. No, there is nothing wrong with being gay, but describing Edwards in that way is an implication others have made about his being effeminate and other such things. Edwards has every right to refute such charges and to be over the top and silly in his response, especially because they aren't true. Furthermore, they amount to what you talked about it your post titled something to the effect of your mother wears combat boots.

Now, you talk about the varying meanings of faggot. Yes, it is interesting how the meanings of words change. Zit was once a hickey (something not so terrible to receive). It is now something different and fairly universally unwelcome. Faggot does not simply mean gay. It is a pejorative in our society. It is a word whose strict meaning is homosexual but which also carries the heavy context of intolerance and hate. If it simply meant being gay, then gay (a word whose meaning has also changed and come to mean many things) wouldn't be the polite term of choice. Saying that faggot only means one is homosexual is the same as saying gook only means someone is Asian or that nigger only means one is black. I will openly admit to you, fully expecting a less than civil charge to be levied at my door, that typing those words bothered me let alone using them in regular speech.

Ann Coulter is free to use whatever terminology she wishes. That is freedom of speech. That does not mean, however, that she should use such words. I know that we have differing viewpoints on social civility. I will say that by her poor poor choice of words, Ann Coulter was not only uncivil but unclassy and yes, hateful. Many are fine with this I am not.

My 2 main reasons are:

1. You have often told the camp staff, of which I was apart for a few years, that we make an impact for better or for worse by what we do when we wear the uniform of the Boy Scouts of America. If we litter in the national forest while wearing that uniform, it reflects poorly upon the organization as a whole. If we carve into trees with knives, it reflects poorly on the organization as a whole. Likewise, when great service is done in that uniform, it reinforces the greatness of the organization. Because of who Ann Coulter is and because she spoke these comments at the CPAC convention, her comments, unfortunately, speak poorly of conservatives as a whole. It is no surprise to me that she is being criticized not only by the liberal media but by many conservative bloggers and pundits as well. Furthermore, it doesn't surprise me that every major Republican candidate for President has criticized and distanced himself from her remarks.

2. Speech such as that, even if not offensive in itself, does nothing to further the instruction of truth and right. It is school yard taunting at its worst. It is language such as this that I find leading me not to listen to the likes of Sean Hannity etc. It does nothing to further the discussion and is mean.

I will note that words have meaning. The use of the word flaccid here gives a very specific picture. I imagine that is why you picked it.

Finally, I will note that the PC movement is an example of something well meaning getting taken to extremes. At its root it is seeking tolerance and kindness in society. There is nothing wrong with civility and kindness. Indeed, those are positive traits. The problem with the PC machine is that it has gotten ridiculously out of hand. In this case, however, I think we are back to the roots of it.

I have copied and pasted a brief comment from Ed Morrissey (a popular conservative blogger) below. He is much more eloquent than I. Below that is a website. I am sorry I don't have the talent and knowledge of Reach Upward or I would make it a link you could click on. As it is, you will have to copy and paste it. It is there to show that it is not only the liberal media that is criticizing the ugly remarks of Ann Coulter

"Readers of this blog have enthusiastically cheered when I criticized the Left for their incivility. For almost a solid week, we debated the Edwards blogger scandal, where Edwards hired two women who routinely used hateful epithets in describing Christians ("Christofascists" and "Godbags", as I recall), and people wanted his hide for it. I blasted Howard Dean for his announcement that he hated Republicans and everything for which we stand. This blog has spent the last 42 months taking on that kind of rhetoric, with thousands of posts and thousands of hours of my time.
That takes little courage, however. How brave is it to criticize those who hate and attack me?
It isn't enough to scold your opponents for their incivility; one has to have the courage to criticize their allies for it as well. That takes more fortitude, because it means alienating those who one presumes have become friends. It means weathering with some grace the kind of comments that people have thrown at me since Friday afternoon. Some may not want to generate that kind of storm, and after today, I don't blame them a bit.
If one wants to change the tone of political discourse, then one has to start with one's self, and hold one's own side accountable for their incivility." - Ed Morrissey

Anonymous said...

"Americans have come to realize that there is nothing wrong with being gay (black); therefore calling someone faggot (Nigger) should NOT be an insult." -Lysis (parentheticals added for emphasis)

If Lysis were to address a homosexual student, another teacher, parent or administrator as "faggot" then whatever slight would ONLY be in THEIR mind and they should NOT be insulted????

For Unlawful Carnal Knowledge and the acronym ascribed to THESE words is ALSO harmless because the acronym has some "harmless" etymology' therefore modern usages, slang, and connotations are irrelevant -- use the term however you want because all you mean is some observation about the legal status of carnal knowledge.

Lysis irresponsibly writes this drivel, but I wonder what the consequences would be if HE actually were to PRACTICE what he PREACHES -- let's follow THAT bouncing ball as it is bashed by all those so called "abusive PC nitwits" and that "mean-spirited" liberal media . . . and, no doubt, MANY, MANY others!!!!

Lysis said...


I think that Ann Coulter’s comment has done far more harm that it will do good. Mainly because the Liberals are more that willing to excuse anti-Christian rhetoric, whether it is highlighted or no, while both liberals and conservatives will condemn Coulter for her remarks – see Silver Linings post below.

I believe this brings even sharper focus on my original point. Poor dead Strom Thurman will be pilloried and attacked because some ancient aunt was married into the Sharpton clan, while Al will be commiserated with in his outrage against people who had no more to do with enslaving his family than he does himself.

Silver Lining;

I am afraid we are going to have to AGREE on this one. My original comment on Coulter above began: “Lately, Ann Coulter, a brilliant woman who makes her living saying less than brilliant things, call John Edwards a faggot.” By this I meant she was stupid to say it. She deserves the criticism of the left and the right, and she will get it. What is telling is that when some late-night comic calls for the death of the Vice President; when Al Sharpton implies that Republicans are racists, (in my opinion a far more pejorative term that nigger, even as homophobe is more hurtful than faggot), when Al Gore lies about the motivations of the administration in not supporting the Kyoto foolishness, no one in their “camp” condemns them what so ever.

I appreciate your referencing the need for camp staffers going above and beyond in following the course of rectitude. Camp staffers and conservative talking heads need to understand that they are not given the same leeway as Sierra Clubbers or liberal comedians. I only want to reiterate that it is the unjust double standard that American politics allows.

Years ago the Sierra Club trashed Gross Venture campground in Teton National Park. The story was barley reported and their transgressions immediately forgiven by the community and the Park Service. There are no nasty lectures given to Sierra Clubbers when ever they seek to enter the Park, they are not held collectively liable for the decades ago transgressions by miscreants from their organization.

While I would never encourage Boy Scouts to act in the same way, it is worth while to point to the double standard. I in no way excuses the lack of training that cost the life of a Scout in Shoshone Lake in 1976 – but the fact that my guides are still lectured on that incident after thirty years and no Sierra Clubber has ever been chastised for their far more recent mess in the Teton Park is vexing.

As to the work faggot; what makes it a pejorative? Is it that it implies something about gayness that is especially demeaning, or is it homosexual activity itself is considered evil? Would you be offended if I called you a nigger? Edwards “hurt” was not outrage against Coulters demeaning a group of men who have homosexual lifestyles by calling them a dirty word; his outrage was over being included in that group. I might find the “N word” offensive, but I would never be offended to be included in the group of people it represents.

MindMechanic said...


Strom is dead and he doesnt have to worry about sitting and listening to Sharpton at the family reunions...he wins this round!

Lysis said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Lysis said...


I’m glad I went back and caught your post. As is often the case, your unconsidered attack provides the perfect proof for my position. As I said to Silver Lining above, I would not be insulted to be called a nigger because I would not be offended to be included in the group to which that name implies.

Unfortunately we live in a world of people far less open minded, or perhaps I am forced of mindless people. Being faced with an unjust accusation For Unlawful Carnal Knowledge is, in my opinion, something that implies a real evil, and to call someone by that acronym is therefore to give them a true insult, because to be included in that group would be something I would find offensive. But why should Edwards be so upset about being referred to as a homosexual unless he finds being included in that group somehow evil? What his ire revels is his own bigotry.

Because we live in a world of people who cannot make these distinctions it is wise, as Silver Lining and the gentleman she quotes point out, to avoid saying such things. But for the person who is so labeled to take such offence and for the Coulter haters of the country to attack her so virulently says much more about their bigotry and the pretence of their open-mindedness than about Coulters stupidity.

All this of course applies to you limp rantings.

Silver Lining said...

Would I be offended if someone called me a nigger? You answered that yourself when you said that the word might offend you but being included in the group wouldn't. The word is offensive and a pajoritive not because it references the color of a person's skin but because it includes in that meaning a tone and context that is hateful and demeaning. Faggot is a pajoritive in the same way. It isn't the homosexual behavior that makes it so. It is a word that means homosexual but carries a conotation of hate, intolerance, and disprespect. Ann Coulter knows this; it is witnessed by her reaction to Isaiah Washington's scandal.

Yes there is a huge double standard. Yes it is vexing. No, it is unlikely to get better any time soon. Yes, we should speak out about at all possible times, but (as you said) that never excuses poor behavior. Pointing it out if fine, but I have found in my readings of late that far too many are using it as an excuse for Miss Coulter's behaviour.

Should John Edwards have been so offended? Of course not. However, even in calling John Edwards gay (if she didn't use a hateful word), Ann Coulter herself implied that it was a criticism. It is Ann Coulter and her language that implies that being a part of the group itself is a bad thing.

Lysis said...

Silver Lining

I did say, “I might find the “N word” offensive, but I would never be offended to be included in the group of people it represents.” But as my explanation to Flaccid clarifies, it comes down to why. All the hate and the anger which you claim is carried in the word, although I have some gay friends who do not find the word demeaning, might make it an offensive thing to say, but Edwards anger was not with Coulter for using the word, it was for being called a faggot, for being included in the group. As I say this incident demonstrates several things. First that Coulter is a stupid. Secondly that Edwards is a bigot, and finally that there is a silly double standard by which liberals pick and choose when words are hurtful and when they are not based not on the words or how they are uses, but on who uses them.

Once again, I agree with you on Coulters stupidity and lack of judgment in using this term, secondly I point out Edwards bigotry for being offended by being included in a group he pretends to support but finds being included in an insult.

It all goes back to the premise of the original post. People choose to be angered by things that should not anger them; people choose to be offended in order to become victims because of the power it brings.

Silver Lining said...

I am not saying anything different than you regarding Edwards bigotry. I simply added to it that the fact that Coulter would choose to call John Edwards a homosexual in any way as a specific criticism of him shows that she is not only stupid but equally bigoted as well.

I am glad that you have gay friends who do not mind the term. I myself would choose not to use it.

MindMechanic said...

When you get past the obviously uncomfortable aspects of the there any doubt that this man was doing some advance recon work to see if next time they could maybe secretly sneak a bomb onto the plane?

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - An Iraqi national wearing wires and concealing a magnet inside his rectum triggered a security scare at Los Angeles International Airport on Tuesday but officials said he posed no apparent threat.

The man, identified by law enforcement officials as Fadhel al-Maliki, 35, set off an alarm during passenger screening at the airport early on Tuesday morning.

A police bomb squad was called to examine what was deemed a suspicious item found during a body cavity search of the man. Local media reports said a magnet was found in his rectum.

"He was secreting these items in a body cavity and that was a great concern because there were also some electric wires associated with that body cavity," Larry Fetters, security director for the Transportation Security Administration at the airport, told reporters.

Reuters Pictures

Editors Choice: Best pictures
from the last 24 hours.
View Slideshow

Maliki, 35, who lives in Atlantic City, New Jersey, was preparing to board a US Airways flight from Los Angeles to Philadelphia.

The flight left without Maliki but with his luggage aboard. It made an unscheduled landing in Las Vegas, where the plane was thoroughly searched but nothing was found, officials said.

Passengers were not evacuated and no flights were disrupted by the incident at Terminal One at Los Angeles airport.

"There never was a threat," Fetter said.

He said police and the FBI were called in from "an abundance of caution" because Maliki was "so bizarre in his behavior."

Maliki, who had a U.S. green card, was being questioned by immigration officials about his immigration status.

© Reuters 2007. All Rights Reserved.

Dan Simpson said...

PC silliness aside. Ann Coulter is a buffoon. I do NOT agree that she is brilliant, she is sometimes interesting in her arguments, but usually they fall apart as without depth upon further investigation.

She is cut from the same cloth as the Sean Hannitys, and Rush Limbaughs. Some may find them entertaining, but they are crass, abrasive, and for every interesting or thought provoking statement they make, there are three or four asinine, ridiculous, hateful, or harmful statements made.

One of my closest friends loves to say "one of the best things about being a republican is never having to sit in a room with Al Sharpton and pretend to take him seriously."

These people are the conservative's Sharptons. They are ridiculous, and they are the kind of people that when they chime in to help defend the same position I hold, I bang my head against a wall and say PLEASE DO NOT AGREE WITH ME, it cheapens my position.

Anonymous said...

Boy here

The idea that the word fuck is an acronym is just a rumor fuck is an actual anglo-saxon verb meaning to beat against. It was of common useage, until among the lower classes of English speaking Europe. Origionally it was only concidered profane because it was the common language, (rather than Latin or French spoken by the upper classes.) Today it is only a ``bad word`` because of the conotation that it has.

In fact all words are simply sounds with conotation. Like I said before the important thing is what we say, i.e. what we mean that is important not which words we use. Faggot litterally means a bundle of sticks. If by calling calling someone a faggot you mean that someone is a sexual deviant, and there by flawed, then you are being offensive and the pearson has a right to feel offended.
If George Bush calls Obama articulate and means that he is suprised to see a black man who can speak well because all black people are stupuid than the black comunity has a right to be offended. If he means that Obama speaks well and expresses himself clearly than there should be not offense taken.
I find it interesting that people in general and many in the Agora fixate so much on words and not on meaning, so much `ah but you said...which means now your changing you possition.`
Does anyone else find it strange when one person makes a statement like I think art is beatiful and someone else comes on and says, `So you´re saying we should all go to war and kill children.`
I think this world and the agora for that matter would be a much better place if we could get past all these words, and really start comunicating.

Anonymous said...

"I would not be insulted to be called a nigger . . ." -Lysis

How generous of you, Lysis -- does this happen often?

Would Lysis' white, hispanic, black or dark skinned students be so "open minded"? -- should they????

If a student or another person were to address Lysis this way, what would be meant? Would Lysis BELIEVE that some kind of INSULT had been intended -- could some kind of insult actually HAVE been intended?

In the REAL WORLD would Lysis demand a full accounting and explanation? WHY?

Those who have been in class or camp with Lysis should be able to answer honestly FOR Lysis. I can -- I doubt he will!!!!

Anonymous said...

Boy . . .
Although I am in almost complete agreement with your post -- thanks for the added etymology of the word -- it makes my case even stronger.

However, I wonder about how people "might get past all the words" and still communicate?

Hand gestures would be necessary --"V" for victory, thumb and pointer finger for "OK", middle finger or hand into the crook of the elbow for . . NOT "OK" -- seems to be all Lysis needs!!!!

Does hands grabbing privates mean flaccid????

I'll need to know that.

Lysis said...


You have hit on my point exactly. It’s all words. “Your” ancestors were salve owners! So what – its only words, “you” are not a slave holder, “you” do not support slavery, what culpability do you have for centuries old crimes of other people.

We can all call names here in the Agora all we want – “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me!” applies to name calling and aspersions. When words do matter is when they revel the truth about the people who speak them.

The truth reveled by the “faggot outrage” is that the people who pretend there is no deviance in homosexuality and then claim they have been accused of deviance when they are call faggots, are really the bigots they pretend to hate.

You say:

“If by calling calling someone a faggot you mean that someone is a sexual deviant, and there by flawed, then you are being offensive and the pearson has a right to feel offended.”

I say that the person would only have the right to be offended if they bought in to your insult.

Flaccid provided a perfect example of this in rant against me and my supposed outrage at being called names. In his mind words are in themselves evil, the can hurt, but since his words revel no truth they have no bite.

You say:

“If George Bush calls Obama articulate and means that he is surprised to see a black man who can speak well because all black people are stupuid than the black comunity has a right to be offended.”

The black community could only force that interpretation of the word articulate if they actually believe themselves to be stupid. Those who exploit black people and their anger constantly concoct such insults to keep themselves on the gravy train. Since black people are the same as any other people, a position I and Thurgood Marshall share, then there are stupid and smart blacks and the smart ones are no doubt pleased to be recognized as articulate. The rage the victim exploitation industry manufactures over this is a manipulation of the black community in order to create anger over empty words. To buy into that really would be stupid.


I never listen to Ann Coulter except when she is thrust on me as a talking head on some “news” program. She wrote a book which I read that displayed all kinds of brilliance. Once you have read it I would be delighted to talk to you about it.

I do listen to Russ Limbaugh regularly and disagree with your assessment of him. Some times the truth is abrasive to those who face its scouring power, but I would like some examples of, “asinine, ridiculous, hateful, or harmful statements made,” by him. It has been my experience that people who have the opinion of Limbaugh you express are listening to his enemies and not to him.

I also listen to Shaun Hannity from time to time – less now than I once did - I do find that he is often “over the top” but I find that he has often exposed the truth that would otherwise have reminded buried by the main stream media.

I find the anchors and reporters on NBC, CBS, ABC, and particularly NPR and PBS far more asinine, ridiculous, hateful, and harmful than Hannity. And what I find most offensive in the “mainstream medias” biased and hateful spew is the hypocrisy, the pretended neutrality. It is as phony as Edwards pretended support for homosexuals; which is immediately belied by his offense at being considered one of them. This is the ludicrous nature of the “mainstream media” their pretended shock at Coulters use of the word faggot while they spew hate and deception with their every report. A recent example would be their attempt to tar Mitt Romney as a polygamist and anti-Christian, or their effort to gin up sympathy for Al Sharpton by trumpeting his outrage that someone he has no real tie to was owned by someone else that no one living can possibly have any connection with.

Lysis said...

By the way;

Note the two day running mainstream media obscenity as they try to tar the President with the Libby’s perjury conviction. The misinformation and biased conjecture, the completely non related, unfounded, and endless recrimination dumped out by the NPR and the morning network “chat” shows on this is truly hurtful. First because it attacks the truth and secondly because such lies give real support to the enemies of America who are killing our soldiers with real bullets in the real battle for freedom.

Anonymous said...

Boy posts . . .
"The idea that the word fuck is an acronym is just a rumor fuck is an actual Anglo-saxon verb . . .

When we are throwing out all the WORDS, let's throw out the PUNCTUATION TOO!!!!

Death to all modifiers and commas and certainly ALL "rumors" of such.

Anonymous said...

I have been patiently waiting for Lysis to blame Clinton and neolibs for the embarrassing and despicable conditions that despereate wounded soldiers, returning from Iraq, have faced at Walter Reed Hospital and other "care" facilities.

Wounded soldiers are no less "heroes" than dead soldiers --even though the costs and planning for their care has been NEGLECTED and betrayed, we CAN pay for the much more "noble" mission of allocating billions to Halliburton for "re-building Iraq" and preserving its Democracy -- no neglect THERE!!!!

Reach Upward said...

Words have meanings. Meanings frequently change over time. Just because a word meant something in England 400 years ago doesn't necessarily imply that our culture perceives it the same way today. And words can mean different things in different situations and with different cultural subgroups.

What does the word stake mean to most people in Utah? To most people in Michigan? The term Christian was originally a pejorative, but most Christians today cherish the term. The terms idiot and moron were once scientific designations for persons with specific IQ levels. Due to change of common usage, today they are pejoratives.

We can quibble about a word's dictionary definition, but the point is that words mean what they mean today, as informed by their context (including intended audience, vocal cues, body language, etc). Some words have evolved to become insults regardless of their usage.

Lysis said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Lysis said...


Isn’t it fun to know you have beaten Flaccid so soundly in your first tilt with him? You can always tell when Flaccid has realized he has argument has collapsed. He will go to attacking your spelling or grammar, anything but the power of your point, or he will try to change the subject.

Note the two posts above. In the one to you, an attack on your punctuation; in the second he drops the Edwards comment and makes up an argument for me to present, on which he thinks he can hold his own on.

Talk about none verbal signals; it is quite clear Flaccid has grabbed at something flat.

Boy said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Boy said...

Anonymous provides a perfect example of both of my points he doesn’t just confuse my meaning with the words I use but completely ignores what I said and fixates on the punctuation.

Also by saying that I said we should do away with words entirely, he provides a wonderful example of the `so you’re saying we should go to war and kill children` argument.´ He ignores my meaning fixates on the manner in which I wrote and then creates his own meaning and places it on my words.

I agree completely with reach upward fuck is an offensive word today because of the connotation we give it. A person has the right to get offended when someone means to offend but the word its self is not offensive. For example it is not vulgar to say don’t prick your finger but it is vulgar to say don’t finger your -----. The words are exactly the same only the connotation changes. If we are to be offended by words themselves we must start saying words like Heckacopter, or beaver dang. Words carry connotation that is their only function, Words in themselves are just vibrating air, or in our case digitized light.

Dan Simpson said...

"Wounded soldiers are no less "heroes" than dead soldiers --even though the costs and planning for their care has been NEGLECTED and betrayed, we CAN pay for the much more "noble" mission of allocating billions to Halliburton for "re-building Iraq" and preserving its Democracy -- no neglect THERE!!!!"

I am curious, do you actually believe that Halliburton having a contract, and Walter Reed being run down are in any way related?

Or are you purposefully trying to obfuscate the issue?

Honestly awaiting your reply.

P.S. I know what Lysis' answer to the above question is, I am actually only interested in if anonymous will answer.

MindMechanic said...

I apologize for straying...hard to get into this topic...

One of the local radio stations reported that the UofU is spending on the order of $60,000.00 (state of Utah-make that Utah citizens tax dollars) for Carbon Credits to ofest their pollution contributions.

You now...I'd be OK with the Global Warming movement if they just cited the need for cleaner air and pollution controls and got off this lunacy.

Anonymous said...

"Words mean what they mean today."

Words don't mean what they meant yesterday?
Last month?
Last year?
--- it seems a little late, but perhaps we should start TODAY'S update of Constitution words -- tomorrow we'll work on the Bible, but we'll have to leave the Getterysburg Address to Sunday next -- that "Four score" bunk has got to go!
If words only mean "what they mean today", then it must be true that "every generation creates its own history", and it's recycling every twenty four hours.

Only SOME, VERY, VERY FEW, words have acquired new or different meaning TODAY!!!!

Take the spoken or written words out our history and what's left?

I agreed with your posting.

However, the idea of communicating without words seemed haphazzard at best -- you didn't say HOW, so I made a few suggestions.
Didn't like my suggestions of how to communicate without words? Enlighten us with alternatives.

The absence of a comma between "rumor" and "fuck" change the noun you intended into a verb modified by rumor; ie, "rumor fuck" something I don't think you intended, but THAT error became an example for me of how dependent we are on words, contexts, connotations, syntax, usages and even PUNCTUATION for meaning -- I pay particularly close attention to where the commas and decimals go on my pay-check too. I have learned that punctuation THERE has very important meaning!!!!

Boy, I had no idea we were at "tilt" -- EVERYTHING in Lysis' world "tilts", so I don't know if his point of view's all that reliable.

Anonymous said...

I believe it is priorities, pure and simple.

If you believe the wounded soldier's obvious neglect of care reflects a LOW priority, then the obvious HIGH priority that billions of dollars squandered to rebuild Iraq and its Democracy OVER and ABOVE the needs and care of war torn servicemen, has to be an insult and injustice to those men and their families!!!!

I have seen an obscene amount of "mouth honor" at the Agora paid to the living, dead and injured soldiers of Iraq -- but, when it comes down to FINANCING and providing an HONORABLE degree of care for these "heroes" and veterans we quibble and glibly turn our attention to more "sexy" partisan policy panaceas!!!!

Lysis said...


Your comment on the waste of tax money to appease those taken in by the Global Warming Myth is very much to the point. It revels a mafia at work. I don’t know which is worse pretended outrage (Sharpton’s manufactured anger at the wrongs of 18th century slave holders), or pretended outrages (the concocted disaster of man caused climate change).

It’s a scam; it is creating false outrages and then blaming them on people you don’t like.

I am dismayed at those who assume that an Oscar award makes true the “liquid sunshine” that Al Gore went pumping with his movie. I have watched Gore’s folly, which is something I am confident the majority of “academy members” did not do, and it is devoid of any reasonable argument or empirical proof; every claim a trick.

It is the same with the day’s long attempt to spin the Libby conviction into an attack on the President. Today the NPR talkers were on insisting that Bush and Cheney were at the root of IT. What IT? The amazing thing that all the liberal spewers are willing to overlook is that no crime was committed by anyone until Libby lied to a grand jury. (We know how that crime offends the Clinton crowd. I mean when Clinton deceived a grand jury, the Federal Judge, and the American people, Carvil and company got on the media spin machine and screamed it wasn’t the people’s business until the real crimes of a perjured President were dropped from exhaustion.)

But I digress, I have no qualm with Libby’s conviction; if he lied then he should pay the price for his attack on the Law, but to pretend, hour after hour, on talk and news show after “news” show and now in the halls of Congress, that there was any other crime committed and that there is any other blame to spread is par for the trickster course.

Unable to find real enemies of civil rights in the Republican Party, the media selectively indicts dead ancestors, unable to point to truly suffering minorities, the media digs up long dead slaves and polygamist wives to use as levers to push their party into power. Unsatisfied with the severity of real natural disasters (they are still disappointed that 20,000 didn’t die in New Orleans), the power grubbers concoct a global warming, declare it un-measurable and un-definable and blame it on America. Unable to find a flaw in the Bush Administration’s record in office they concoct an imaginary one, call it IT, so they won’t have to explain, and shake their heads demanding justice. Words, just words, and sadly so many people who accept them without question or thought,

Meanwhile anyone who point to the unfounded nature of their disinformation is labeled with angry words and mocked with snide remarks, while no evidence is ever demanded; no proof presented, no reason ever applied.

And for fear of this bogus chastisement my state forks out $60,000 dollars of precious treasure. In acquiescence to these phony charges concerning the dead, the reputations of living patriots are besmirched. In unthinking rush to jump on the false band wagon of outrage American’s question their President and Vice president for some accusation that doesn’t exist out side the media hype, What a mess.

Anonymous said...

Today Lysis has put on his "Mr. Wizzard" lab coat and instructs the Agora that "there is NO EMPIRICAL evidence for global warming", or the "fall-back" position, "that there is NO EMPIRACLE evidence that human beings have contributed to whatever global warming there is, or might be -- but probably isn't."

The essence of Empirical knowledge is that it has to be OBSERVABLE; ie, verifieable by the senses.

It is possible to collect scientific data and evidence to support a HYPOTHESIS about what WILL happen in the future -- If I heat water sufficiently I can predict with reliability that it will boil at 100 C at sea level -- it is called a controled experiment.

What is being controled are the important variables that COULD influence the data, so that, consequently, the data will reveal a "certain" reliability and probablity for predicting future scenarios -- NOTHING for science is 100% predictable or reliable.

Science is constantly projecting what WILL happen in the future based upon what HAS happened in the past. The phenomenae of "global warming" and its causes is particularly DIFFICULT to research because the theatre of research is so immense, the controls are so very limited, and VERIFICATION is haphazzard at best.

Scientists are very clever people, however, and SOME SOME, SOME empirical evidence has indicated LIMITED SCIENTIFIC evidence for "global warming" and has attributed "possible" human causes to the phenomena amongst MOST scientists.

Gore references these evidences as a warning to people and as a way to try to turn the tide. I don't think his conclusions are necessarily scientific -- I don't think they need to be.

Claiming that there is EMPIRICAL EVIDENCE that something WILL NOT HAPPEN, however, is simply ignorant, absurd, and OUTSIDE the balliwik of science and empirical knowledge!!!!

I shy from hysteria on ALL sides --but, the impact that man has had on this planet, and will continue to have, is not a face to paint as a CLOWN and bash into oblivion like Punch and Judy!!!!

Dan Simpson said...

Two points.

First, in response to anonymous. Thank you for your answer.

I agree that the corruption and complete lack of competency on the part of those in charge of the out patient portion of Walter Reed (and their superiors who were informed, or should have known) is unexcusable. I would argue that any who knew should be fired, and like is being done, questioned about the affair. I do, however, think the man everyone is blaming (the one who was only in charge a matter of months), is being used as a scapegoat.

Where we differ is that I don't think it is a partisan issue. Of course everyone can jump on the wagon of being incensed now. Walter Reed, however, is less than ten miles from congress. How many congressmen went to visit before? Do we expect them to? If yes, then it must be laid at the feet of all congressmen regardless of party. If we say no, then who do we hold responsible?

Surely the men and women directly supervising the facility. Surely their superiors who did, or should have, known of the problems.

There are even those who may have had no reason to know of it that because of their job description, and because they MUST take responsibility for lapses that take place beneath them, should be held to account.

However, this does not mean that everyone, everywhere up that chain of command had personal responsibilty, nor does it mean that there were despicable motives on the part of those who, while they must take responsibility for the actions of underlings, did not have any reason to believe that such problems were taking place.

I am all for investigations to find out how high the information was/should have been known. And appropriate action taken against any and all involved.

But, just because beaurocrats were derelict in their duties does not necessarily mean that a) there is a lack of funding or b) funds that would have otherwise gone to them are being spent in Iraq. That, I believe, is where your logic is flawed.

We should be able to agree that this corruption was horrible, and that people need to be held to account. With a budget as huge and complex as our country's, however, it does not need to follow that the CAUSE of this corrupt incompetence, is the war in Iraq, and that the supporters of said war, are obviously to blame for these circumstances.

Second point to follow

Dan Simpson said...

On global warming.

It is interesting, this is an area where one can read very scholarly pieces written by people who know a lot more than me, that have COMPLETELY different viewpoints.

It is confusing. I personally beleive that:

1) it is likely that the earths temp is rising (most stats I have seen agree on this)

2) while there is no agreed upon evidence as to the cause, it is necessary for man to be responsible re our impact on the planet: I don't think we are doing a very good job. (The idea of Capitalism is no excuse for irresponsible behavior).

3) The recent article in National Geographic that points to the increased temps on Mars seem to point to outside forces at work (at the very least in part if not in whole) on our climate.

4)My final conclusion is that I don't know what is causing what seems to me to be fairly solid evidence of temp increases. But, to me it doesn't matter, because even if we are not the cause, we are also not doing very good i.e. what I believe our responsibilities are.

And to top it off, the worst situation is what we have, two sides, angry and shrill screaming at each other, unable and unwilling to discuss any sort of middle ground.

(when I say two sides I do not refer to the Agora, I refer to the world as a whole.)

Lysis said...


Once again your attack was 100% predictable and true to form. Above I pointed out the disingenuous nature of those who concoct words for political power. I referenced Gore’s bogus movie, Sharpton’s phony outrage over dead slavers, and the media’s manufactured scandal concerning Joe Wilson. You have shown the devious nature of such claims as I predicted you would. I said:

“Meanwhile anyone who points to the unfounded nature of their disinformation is labeled with angry words and mocked with snide remarks, while no evidence is ever demanded; no proof presented, no reason ever applied.”

Flaccid, you, immediately begin the snide and mocking angry words: “Today Lysis has put on his "Mr. Wizzard" lab coat. . .” and NO facts

Unable or unwilling to challenge what I really said, you concoct a position on your own – then attack it. You claim I said, "there is NO EMPIRICAL evidence for global warming", or the "fall-back" position, "that there is NO EMPIRACLE evidence that human beings have contributed to whatever global warming there is, or might be -- but probably isn't." You even put YOUR WORDS in quotation marks to imply that you are directly quoting my comment, but you are not. What I wrote was:

“I have watched Gore’s folly, which is something I am confident the majority of “Academy Members” did not do, and it is devoid of any reasonable argument or empirical proof; every claim a trick.”

You have obviously never seen Gore’s movie or you would be forced to agree with me. You give no evidence, present no proof, apply no reason. For relativists it is always easier to make up things to be as they wish they were.

Rather than a column of angry words and self-constructed definitions, why not present one iota of evidence to human caused climate change. Don’t waste time defining the term “empirical evidence”, provide some. Instead of claiming that there is “SOME SOME, SOME empirical evidence has indicated LIMITED SCIENTIFIC evidence for "global warming. . .”; just give it.

Coming to the support of Al Gore’s deceptive, political, video tome with no first hand knowledge of its content is, “simply ignorant, absurd, and OUTSIDE the balliwik of science and empirical knowledge!!!!” It is, rather, the political ploy of the relativists as they seek to manipulate the minds of the gullible. That USU has taken the bate to the tune of $60,000.00 in “protection” monies dished out to the mafia of the left is truly disturbing.

So once again we return to the point of this weeks post: Since only the truth can keep us from the folly of injustice, it must be the duty of all reasoning men to examine, in the light of truth, the claims of those who would deceive to gain unjust power. That way lays a world of hate, anger, revenge, and the return of the Furies. Only Wisdom and Justice, the balliwik of Athena, can keep us safe.

MindMechanic said...


its that thing you do...

Your first and last lines are inconcistent with the rest of your text. If I am understanding you correctly, you denigrate Lysis for making the comment that the man-made global warming disaster has not provided evidence of man-made contributions to global warming, then you provide a pretty decent description of the scientific discovery process, then you finish with a comment that the positions stated by the man-made global warming crowd should be taken seriously.

Do you NOT get that the man-made global warming crowd thinks YOUR entire text is ridiculous, that there should be no denial of man-made global warming, no need for research, and that anyone that disagrees with the man-made impact on global warming should be labelled heretics, burned at the stake and denied scientific accredidation? WITHOUT offering even empiracal 'evidence' (they are loaded with speculation) of the impact of man on the global warming they demand an end to debate because after all there is scientific 'concensus.' Which is of course a lie.

Is there observable 'global warming'? Perhaps...but there isnt even consensus on that. There was empiracal evidence that we were about to enter an ice age in the 70's. The scientists then examined a few years of trends, ignored the historical data, and were suggesting dumping ash on the ice caps to thaw them and warm the planet. Then, there was consensus that acid rain was going to be so bad that we would be dying by the millions by the year 2000.

IS there global warming? Perhaps. The recording trends are even inconsistent...but PERHAPS. IF we allow that there is in fact global warming then what is the cause? Man? Well...that doesnt explain the last several ice ages very well, does it? It doesnt address the impact on documented and provable increased solar impact. It doesnt address the correlated recorded warming of Mars, which by all accounts is not as industrialized as Earth is but still suffereing from the same impact of solar output.

IS there global warming? Perhaps! But the debate as to cause is far from over. Unless you believe Captain Planet and his minions.

MindMechanic said...

On to Captain Planet...

Al Gore lives in a home that uses 20 times more electricity than an average home, even though he isnt there half the year. He makes somewhere in the neighborhood of 200+ private jet trips around the globe every year. Each jet trip causes as much enviromental damage as roughly 1,000 SUVs (which means it is the equivalent of Al Gore personally driving 200,000 suvs a year). He goes to eco summits around the globe where other like minded individuals also gather using the same transportation means (instead of conference calls using the wonderful internet he invented). All so they can pat each other on the back and tell each other how much they care.

How does this global warming warrior offset his Titanic sized ecological footprint? He buys credits. He invests in companies that would benefit from the governmental provided funding the global warming groups demand. He does what all rich celebrities do...he buys his way to a clear conscience.

But does he reduce his actual ecological damage? Of course not. That is for the government and the common folk. Still polutes more than a coal factory...but he buys credits from people that dont to offset his damage. Except of course...they didnt STOP polluting to offset it...they just didnt start. So they excessive pollution is the same. But he pays for it. Or someone does.

MindMechanic said...

And before I get accused of being pro-pollution...I say invest in anti-pollution measures...absolutely! THAT should be the message and it is one that IS scientifically proven and we SHOULD all be able to agree on. What I AM opposed to is false science, denying scientific discussion and debate, forcing the US to spend huge amounts of money to pay for China and India's pollution controls, fines, etc, destroying our economy...and on and on and on. And for what exactly?

Anonymous said...

I had no idea you were so CHUMMY with ALL the "Academy Members" that you would KNOW that the majority who voted had not seen *An Inconvenient Truth*.

I predicted that you would claim something ridiculously pseudo-empirical and then not support it with even ONE FACT -- look how you fell into my trap!!!!

If you don't like my depiction of your position on global warming then please correct what I have "unfairly" quoted -- you reference something you wrote about the lack of empirical facts in Gore's documentary, but THAT was not a statement of position on global warming. I do not think my depiction of your stance is different than what you have posted previously.

Well if snide remarks and mocking insinuations are a strong indication of weak argumentation Lysis, you can count YOURSELF as NUMBER ONE GURU setting atop THAT mountain!!!!

MindMechanic said...

We are all going to die!

The impact of global cooling...isnt consensus a wonderful thing...

mostly just listening said...

Not that it would have made a difference in the voting, but only 300 members of the 5400 total members of the Academy of Motion Pictures and Sciences requested a ballot for best documentary.

MindMechanic said...

More of that famous "free speech" we hear so much about...

9th Circuit endorses censoring Christians
Ruling says 'family values' is hate speech that scares city workers
Posted: March 8, 2007
1:00 a.m. Eastern

Richard D. Ackerman, of the Pro-Family Law Center

A ruling from the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has concluded that municipal employers have the right to censor the words "natural family," "marriage" and "family values" because that is hate speech and could scare workers.

The ruling came in a case being handled by the Pro-Family Law Center, which promised an appeal of the drastic result.

"We are going to take this case right up the steps of the United States Supreme Court," said Richard D. Ackerman, who along with Scott Lively argued the case for the Pro-Family Law Center.

"We are simply unwilling to accept that Christians can be completely silenced on the issues of the day – especially on issues such as same-sex marriage, parental rights, and free speech rights," he said.

"If we fail to get U.S. Supreme Court review, however, it will be up to each individual Christian in the United States to stand up for their rights to be heard on the issues of the day. If we choose to be silent, silenced we shall be," he said.

The decision came in an unpublished "memorandum" from the court, and was in a dispute over the promotion of the homosexual lifestyle within the city offices of Oakland, Calif.

It found that municipalities have a right to dictate what form an employee's speech may take, even if it is in regard to controversial public issues.

"Public employees are permitted to curtail employee speech as long as their 'legitimate administrative interests' outweigh the employee's interest in freedom of speech," said the court's opinion by judges B. Fletcher, Clifton and Ikuta, who noted that their writings are "not appropriate for publication."

"The district court appropriately described [the Christians' speech rights] as 'vanishingly small,'" the opinion continued.

However, as the Pro-Family Law Center noted, the court "completely failed to address the concerns of the appellants with respect to the fact that the City of Oakland's Gay-Straight Employees Alliance was openly allowed to attack the Bible in widespread city e-mails, to deride Christian values as antiquated, and to refer to Bible-believing Christians as hateful. When the plaintiffs attempted to refute this blatant attack on people of faith, they were threatened with immediate termination by the City of Oakland. The Ninth Circuit did not feel that the threat of immediate termination had any effect on free speech."

The case had developed when two city employees who wanted to launch a group of people who shared their interests posted a notice on a city bulletin board – after a series of notices from homosexual activists were delivered to them via the city's e-mail system, bulletin boards and memo distribution system.

The notice said:

Good News Employee Associations is a forum for people of Faith to express their views on the contemporary issues of the day. With respect for the Natural Family, Marriage and Family values.
If you would like to be a part of preserving integrity in the Workplace call Regina Rederford @xxx- xxxx or Robin Christy @xxx-xxxx

But Robert Bobb, then city manager, and Joyce Hicks, then deputy director of the Community and Economic Development Agency, ordered their notice removed, because it contained "statements of a homophobic nature" and promoted "sexual-orientation-based harassment."

U.S. District Judge Vaughn Walker had ruled in 2005 that Oakland had a right to prevent the employees from posting that Good News Employee Association flier promoting traditional family values on the office bulletin board.

That decision was made even though homosexuals already had been using the city's e-mail, bulletin board, and written communications systems for promoting their views. In fact, one city official even used the e-mail system to declare the Bible "needs updating," but no actions were taken against those individuals.

The case was argued recently at a special session of the 9th Circuit at the Stanford University Law School.

"The city of Oakland has interpreted this district court's ruling to mean that Christianity has no place in our society and should be subject to punishment. I want to believe that our Supreme Court will ultimately decide this case on the values and instructions set forth in motion by the nations Founders," said Ackerman.

Ackerman's' firm represents the women and said the Pro-Family Law Center and Abiding Truth Ministries have helped underwrite the thousands of dollars it has cost to fight the city's aggressive promotion of the homosexual lifestyle.

Lysis said...


What a masterful trap. In one powerful stroke you have proved: that modern people are guilty of the crimes of their slave owning ancestors; if those modern people are white. You have also demonstrated the fact that because someone’s ancestors owned slaves they themselves are racial haters. You have demonstrated that human activity actually does cause global warming and that within twenty years New York City will be under water and England and Northern Europe covered by ice. Your brilliant trap has force reason to admit that Scooter Libby cause the death of numerous CIA agents in order to trick the Democrats into supporting the war in Iraq. Your clever device, so expertly employed, has demonstrated that John Edwards in proud to be gay. You have forced us all to admit that you are a brilliant debater capable of winning any point by the power of your opinion. (Flaccid – I’m sorry but I’m being sarcastic. I know the other readers will have realized that by now, but you never seem up to it.)

By the way: all the Members of the Academy I know flatly admit they have never watched Gore’s movie. I HYPOTHESIZE about the rest, based on the same evidence by which I confidently and correctly claimed that you have never watched the film, - they could not possibly have claimed it was worthy of any praise if they had ever really seen it.

Please watch it and then tell me on how you can possibly disagree. I am not interested in your hopes and dreams of masterful traps but in some reason, logic, or evidence.

Lysis said...


The report you post is exemplary of the need of the (for lack of a better term I will use O’Reilly’s) Social Progressives to control the words in the debate. If they allow free discussion they are doomed. Truth is not on their side, so they must shout down the voices of reason least their foolishness be reveled.

Thus, claiming to value free speech, they stick their fingers in their ears and pretend their obfuscation is a clever trap by which to magically prove their points.

Thus they embark into a world of let’s pretend victories to salve their seared consciences.

Anonymous said...

I'm sorry, but I'm being sarcastic. -Lysis

Yes . . . and . . . No.

Yes . . . you ARE sorry . . . no that's NOT sarcasm.

Sarcasm/satire does not need to be comedic, but it SHOULD, SOMEWHERE be CLEVER, or at least HUMOROUS.

To ACHIEVE sarcasm you need to parody and/or mock some tell-tale excess of the opposition. It is not possible to make a parody of something your oponent clearly NEVER said nor NEVER meant -- lying is not clever or funny --it's just dumb.

The "sting" in sarcasm and satire is the humor -- pathetic begging for crowd approval is not funny -- it's embarrassing!!!!

Anonymous said...

Lysis argues,

I have a different opinion therefore I have not . . .

*Read Moby Dick (I OFTEN have)
*Seen *An Inconvenient Truth* (Once, I like entertainment over indoctrination)
*Read Origin of Species (yes)
*Read the Homeric sagas, Platonic Dialogues and others (yes)
*Seen Apocolypto (I haven't)
*Enjoyed Picasso (often)
*Enjoyed any OTHER art than
Rockwell (I have,though I confess
other loves )
*Goosestep around, then salute, then genuflect to Lysis' absurdities (I haven't)

Lysis will testify that he TOO has read ALL these.

Yes, if you mean he's read each word that makes them up!!!!

Lysis said...


As to whether you have done any of the things you claim above, well, we have your word.

On the works of Homer, Virgil, and Melville, I recall that you cut and pasted long selections of the words of other people, but cannot recollect an original thought of your own in any of our lengthy discussions of literature. On the *Origin of the Species* all I recollect were misrepresentations culled from university lectures and a denial of Darwin’s own words regarding the existence of a Creator. As for *Apocalypto* the admitted fact that you have not seen the movie did not prevent you from spouting authoritatively against it – your accepted MO. As for Picasso – I do not doubt you think you enjoy it, as for other art, you have not even demonstrated that you know what art is.

No one has ever goose-stepped, saluted, of genuflected to Lysis absurdities, I don’t even recollect you ever actually finding one.

What you have demonstrated once again is your refusal to provide any evidence, logic or reason to support the cockamamie claims you make. You have been given an opportunity to reason about the relevance of Mitt Romney’s polygamist ancestors and show how bringing it into the presidential race is anything by bigotry. You have been offered the chance to explain why Al Sharpton is not a raciest bigot when he condemns living white people for the actions of their dead ancestors. You could have explained why Europeans are any guiltier of profiting from the slave trade than black Africans. You could have explained why it is necessary for Virginians or Japanese to apologize for the crimes of their fathers, or why Cherokee Indians are not racists for redefining tribal membership based on decent. You could have spent your time debunking my claim that similar prejudices are at the root of much of the hatred that drives the Islamic fanatics. You could have defended the Democrats and proven that their championing of unjust accusations to gain power will not bring the Furies down on America.

Instead you set impotent traps, concoct word games, manufacture definitions, call names, and falsify other people’s positions so you can ridicule your own claptrap and make empty claims about your supposed accomplishments.

Well, we have your words; how sad.

Reach Upward said...

Peggy Noonan has an article in today's Wall Street Journal about civility in public discourse that dovetails nicely with some of the discussions in this thread. Noonan contends that civility is diminished because we no longer encourage internal discipline but attempt to impose the discipline of censorship. She writes:

"I think the atmosphere of political correctness is now experienced by normal people--not people who speak on TV, but normal people--as so oppressive, so demanding of constant self-policing, that when someone says something in public that is truly not nice, not nice at all, they can't help but feel that they are witnessing a prison break.

"As long as political correctness reigns, the more antic among us will try to break out with great streams of Tourette's-like forbidden words and ideas.

"We should forbid less and demand more. We should exert less pressure from without and encourage more discipline from within. We should ask people to be dignified, hope they'll be generous, expect them to be fair. When they're not, we should correct them. But we shouldn't beat them to a pulp. Because that's not nice."

It's something to think about.

Anonymous said...

yeah? Well...I think Peggy Noonan should just shut her face!

Just kidding!!!

Be were ALL going to say it...

Silver Lining said...

Noonan is right. I am going to have to have therapy because I typed that.

We should demand more, be more dignified, and more disciplined. Likewise, we should not beat someone to a pulp but should correct them.

Interestingly enough, I have found that it is those conservatives who have criticized Ann Coulter (they have come nowhere near beating her to a pulp) that have been beaten down by other angry conservatives in this case. Just this morning, on a local conservative talk radio program, my husband and I listened as the hosts mocked anyone who felt any sort negativity towards Ann Coulter's comments. I personally believe that angry conservatives, like angry liberals, will divide their political paries of choice, but that is a discussion for another time I would say.

Lysis said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Lysis said...

Reach Upward;
I appreciate the article from the “Opinion Journal”, while I see Ms. Noonan’s point I think she as missed the point of the problem in today’s P C censored world. It’s not that words are blocked out because they are rude, it’s because more and more people are uncomfortable with the truth.

In her analysis of the reaction to Maher on V.P. Cheney and Coulter on Edwards, Ms. Noonan states: What followed was the predictable kabuki in which politically active groups and individuals feigned dismay as opposed to what many of them really felt, which was grim delight. Conservatives said they were chilled by Mr. Maher's comments, but I don't think they were. They were delighted he revealed what they believe is at the heart of modern liberalism, which is hate.

Liberals amused themselves making believe they were chilled by Ms. Coulter's remarks, but they were not. They were delighted she has revealed what they believe is at the heart of modern conservatism, which is hate.

The truth is many liberals were dismayed by Mr. Maher because he made them look bad, and many conservatives were mad at Ms. Coulter for the same reason.” (end quote)

Ms Noonen does point out the exploitation of these coments by the "sides" but, Ms. Noonen would have done greater service by pointed out who had the truth, and which side was deceptive in their exploitation of these foolish words.

It is nice to show respect to Grandma – but to dismiss academic study and even the watching of the news and the reading of book with a blanket - “it’s not nice”, seems terribly simplistic.

In spit of Noonen’s rose glass memories of the past; fifty years ago and more, many people were saying far worse things than faggot at political rallies. What we have here is a picture of what Ms. Noonen wants to remember about a world beyond her memory. It is just not true that everyone until Clinton was as nice as her grandma.

Just how polite were Brutus and Crass and the boys that 15th of March back in Rome. And by the way – it was Socrates’ habit for speaking the very impolite truth that got him in prison in the first place.

I’m all for decorum – but I am more for the truth.

Reach Upward said...

I agree. Truth is more important than niceness. However, it is good when the two can coexist. You may remember that Ezra Taft Benson, not known for being conciliatory, had a saying on his wall that read, "Be right, and then be easy to live with, if possible, but in that order."

You are also right when you talk about Ms. Noonan's rose colored glasses. The political rallies in favor of keeping schools non-integrated back in the 50s also had grandmas in attendance.

I do think, however, that Noonan has a point about self discipline and decorum.

Anonymous said...

to comment souly on the idea of apologizing to the children of the men, women and children who suffered in slavery, i think it's a rediculous idea for many reasons. the main being that it wont prove anything except that we as americans can be pushed around by small "factions" of all kinds of minorities. and maybe not minorities, but maybe clubs and associaitons such as peta, or environmentalists, etc.

while there would be no harm done in apologizing for these problems our ancestors had with each other, it would make us seem in a way weaker.

and if you give a mouse a cookie... (it's gunna to want some milk)

we're feeding the beast, every time we give into a small complaint.

to say the least, lame...

also, i would say that if we would like to rid this world of racial arguments, the best way would be to rid the media, and rid the mind of racial differences.

"your great great grandfather enslaved my great grand-dad."
"your great grandfather raped my great grandmother."

let us not bicker over who raped who... in the far away past,

rather, lets just let it go.

it's done. now let it go.

now, no one ever said to forget it. because forgeting things from the past can be a disaster in and of itself, but just simply let the issue go.

pull together, not away.

(also check my comments on the blog about the controversial hit movie, "300")

(i do think that the slavery issue was serious and it was a horrible thing, dont take my comments the wrong way.)


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