Sunday, December 16, 2007

A leftist's idea of "enlightened"

In the Forum section of today's Sacramento Bee, there is a column written by Eugene Robinson entitled How scary is Huckabee?. I'm not too enthused about the idea of Mike Huckabee as president either, but that is not why I am writing this post.

What caught my eye was what Mr. Robinson thinks about certain issues of the day. While comparitively speaking of the good and bad of Rudy Giuliani, Robinson says,
But at least Giuliani, when pressed, admits harboring fairly cosmopolitan and enlightened views on domestic issues such as abortion, immigration, and gun control...
So, dismembering and sucking out the brain of an unborn child is "enlightened"? Allowing people to enter our country in violation of our immigration laws, thereby increasing crime and government spending, and lowering wages is "enlightened"? Stopping people from being able to defend themselves and leaving them to the mercy (or lack thereof) of criminal predators is "enlightened"? What a presumptive and elitist term for Robinson to use.

That wasn't Robinson's only tongue-cluck-inducing tidbit from his column. Referring to a statement from Mitt Romney, Robinson states,

And down at Monticello, Thomas Jefferson - who famously distrusted organized religion - must have been whirring like a turbine at Romney's declaration that "freedom requires religion"...

Way to cherry-pick your founding fathers, Mr. Robinson. First of all, Romney didn't say "organized religion", he said "religion", and on that note, I wholeheartedly agree with Governor Romney. Here is what another founding father, George Washington (you might have heard of him) had to say about religion and freedom:
And let us with caution indulge the supposition, that morality can be maintained without religion. Whatever may be conceded to the influence of refined education on minds of peculiar structure, reason and experience both forbid us to expect, that national morality can prevail in exclusion of religious principle.
But wait! You might say, Washington only speaks of religion and its relationship to morality, not freedom. Good point, but do you really think that an immoral nation is a free nation?

Luckily, we have the wise words of yet another founding father to clear up any confusion on this issue. John Adams had this to say about morality and its relationship to freedom:
We have no government armed in power capable of contending with human passions unbridled by morality and religion. Our Constitution was made only for a religious and moral people. It is wholly inadequate for the government of any other.
Adams knew that if people didn't have the power to govern themselves, then an oppressive government would have to control them instead. Naturally, the more control the government has over you, the less freedom you have. Hence, you cannot have freedom without morality, and from where does morality spring? Religion. So when Mitt Romney says that freedom requires religion, he is most certainly correct.

There is one more point Robinson makes, on which I must take him to task. While addressing Huckabee's religiosity, Robinson pulls out one of the most tired and inane arguments in the left's rusted arsenal of tired and inane arguments. See if you recognize this oldie/goodie:
...as governor of Arkansas, Huckabee didn't behave like the theocrat he makes himself out to be. His absolute reverence for human life didn't stop him from enforcing the death penalty, for example....
Like I always ask a lefty who compares abortion to the death penalty, am I assuming correctly that you are comparing an innocent child to a ruthless murderer? This comparison is a textbook example of the left's proclivity for moral equivalence. It's the same reason that for the left, "War is not the answer." It doesn't matter if you are killing the bad guys - for the left, it is bad that you are killing someone, no matter who it is. Except, unborn babies don't count, since the left sees them as a blob of tissue or something along those lines.

Again, I write this post not to stick up for any of the Republican presidential candidates; I freely admit that I don't want Huckabee, Giuliani, or Romney as president. I do write this post to address the same tired canards that the left brings up again and again, hoping that the bigger is the lie, the more people will hopefully believe it.

Good Day to You, Sir

20 comments:

Don, American said...

I'm DEFINITELY not a lefty, but I believe a dead human being is a dead human being, whether it be an unborn baby or a adult evildoer. I can't condone killing either of them. In the case of criminals, it is a harder call, but I think it's consistent.

Don, American said...

Correction: "an" evildoer. (Wake up, Fluffy.)

Donalbain said...

Excellent! Now, not only am I not free, but I am amoral I am glad you are here to explain these things to me. I was under the impression that I had a well developed set of morals that i base mainly on the idea of empathy and the desire to live in a world filled with more happiness than sadness. But thankfully, you and a couple of dead guys are there to state that I was wrong. Phew!

PS, you do know that argument from authority is a logical fallacy don't you?

shesright.org said...

I saw this column in the Burlington (VT) Free Press this morning. I had the same reaction to the "enlightened views" comment you did. Presumptive and elitist? You are being far too nice!

Chanman said...

donalbain -

"A couple of dead guys", you call them. That is all I need to know from you.

Of course, you being a Brit and all, you are probably a bit biased against the founding fathers of the United States. Too bad we beat ya twice!

Donalbain said...

You KEEP coming up with opinions of mine without asking me what they are. Thats a very strange technique. I have no opinion about the founding fathers what so ever. They are just some dead people who had some opinions about some things. Just because they are "founding" doesn't mean they are right about anything. And acting as if a quote from one of them somehow shuts down an argument is a poor debating tactic. Indeed, it is the argument from authority that I mentioned before. To give my favourite example, Einstein was one of the greatest scientists who ever lived, but giving a quote from him expressing doubt on quantum mechanics would be silly, since he was wrong. And in this case, the founding fathers were wrong. It is entirely possible to be a moral person without any religious beliefs. I am a living example of that, since I am an atheist, but I have a well developed set of morals. Indeed, so do many, many atheists.

It is my experience that religious people can be moral, they can be immoral. Same with non religious people. Of course, not everyone will have the same moral ideas, that is only to be expected given how many human beings there are, and how many societies we live in BUT being WITHOUT morals is exceptionally rare and I have never met anyone who is truly amoral, and I have no idea how the state correlates to religious belief.

Chanman said...

If you are going to address issues on an individual basis, you can always find an exception to the rule, e.g., of course there are immoral religious people out there. However, when dealing with millions of people in a country, you have to deal with things on a general basis. GENERALLY, religious people tend to be more moral than non-religious people. Are there moral non-religious people? Of course; that goes back to my individual vs. general argument.

You say Washington and Adams are wrong, I say they are right. So where does that leave us? It leaves us with me saying that you are wrong, and I am right.

There, that was easy!

Donalbain said...

OK. You say that in general, religious people are more moral than atheist people. That leaves us with you making a claim that you have utterly failed to support. You are a history teacher you say?

As it happens, I seem to recall some data that suggests that in the prison population of the USA, atheists are actually UNDER represented. Now, I know that simply saying that is not the same as showing the data, but I will now have a quick google and see what I can come up with. If you would care to present any data that shows your claim to be correct, then I would be FASCINATED to see it.

Chanman said...

Soviet Union, Nazi Germany, China, Cuba, Cambodia, North Korea: All atheist.

Death toll from these atheist countries: Well over 100 million dead and counting.

Donalbain said...

Excellent. Well done. I knew you would come up with those. And as it happens,most people in Cuba are not atheist. It is a strongly Catholic country. Nazi Germany was not an atheist country either. The Soviet Union had a majority population of Russian Orthodox worshipers. But congratulations on coming up with the same old incorrect claims that insecure theists always have to make when they feel that people cant be moral without a big guy in the sky telling them what to do.

Chanman said...

Individual people in those countries may have been religious, but the official ideology and the people in charge - you know, the ones who did the killing - were atheist.

These religious people in Cuba and the Soviet Union of which you speak were the ones who were often persecuted, jailed, and killed. Remember your Marx: "Religion is the opiate of the masses".

I know it sucks to be on the wrong side of history, but it is just something you are going to have to live with.

Donalbain said...

Oh. So, when you SAID were talking about atheist in general and making general claims, you were instead talking about a very small number of people. Thank you for your consistency.
And since I am not on "the side" of the regimes of Cuba, Nazi Germany (the leadership of which was NOT atheist by the way) or any of the others, how am I on the wrong side of history?

Why dont you try again and show some EVIDENCE that an atheist is more likely to be immoral than a religious person

Chanman said...

No, my argument stands. Generally, countries run on atheistic principles tend to be murderous as hell.

Evidence? I would start with peoples' feet. The United States was founded on and somewhat continues to abide by Judeo-Christian principles, and people around the world are beating down the door in an attempt to live here.

What was and what is the immigration rate for countries founded on atheistic principles? There aren't a lot of people turning the roof of their house into a boat in order to move to North Korea.

Donalbain said...

My word, you DO love to shift your arguments around when they don't stand up, don't you?
We went from religion is NECESSARY for morality to more people move to the USA than to North Korea in just 6 or 7 easy moves.

If you ever find some evidence that "GENERALLY, religious people tend to be more moral than non-religious people." then let me know. OK?

Chanman said...

You asked me for evidence, I gave you evidence. Sounds like you are the one doing the shifting.

More evidence? How about over 100 million graves - marked and unmarked - of people killed in the name of Godless communism. Of course you disagree with that, but of course you do - it blows your argument out of the water.

Donalbain said...

OK. I will ask ONCE more and then, if you come up with an irrelevant point again, I will leave it be.

Please provide some evidence that an atheist is more likely to be immoral than a theist.

Some handy hints to help you out.

1) The actions of a small or unknown number of atheists tell us nothing about atheists in general. Just as the actions of Osama, Hitler or Torequemada tell us nothing about theists in general.

2) The USA has a constitution based on secular principles. There is nothing in it that refers to Christianity or Judaism

Now, give it one more try... I am sure you can do better than your last couple of throws of the dice.

Chanman said...

Here is an example of what it is like to debate Donalbain:

D: What color is the sky?
C: Blue
D: Ha! You're wrong! Some days its gray with clouds, or orange when the sun sets!
C: True enough, but generally, it's blue.
D: Do you have any evidence of this?
C: Well, mostly, when I walk out the door in the morning, its blue.
D: My word, you do love to shift your arguments! I asked you for evidence that the sky is blue, and you are talking to me about walking out your door in the morning.

Merry Christmas, Donalbain

The Vegas Art Guy said...

Wow, I'd say the teacher was right and the student wrong again....

Donalbain said...

Fair enough. You failed to show ANY evidence that an atheist is more likely to be a murderer than a theist.
What you have shown is that a small number of atheists were murderers. However, that says NOTHING about atheists in general. Any more than the fact that Hitler, Torquemada, Osama and others were murderers says nothing about how likely a theist is to be moral or not. It really is very basic statistics that we are talking about.

Still, if you are so insecure in your own moral sense that you imagine that others who dont believe in a god won't have one, then I feel a little sorry for you and I draw this conversation to a close. Have a nice Christmas!

Chanman said...

Donalbain,
Thank you for proving my point.

Merry Christmas