This is Epth Nation

Epth is a state of mind, not a place. Reading this will give you a virtual drivers license in that state, but you'll still need to be 21 to purchase alcohol. And you can't get any there anyway, so stop asking.

Wednesday, March 30, 2005

The Post I Meant to Post Yesterday

This morning Blogger wouldn't let me into the start page. Hopefully, this will post...

The thing this post is about
Paul Krugman of the high-toned and up-until-this-moment kind of respected NY Times is a champion of tolerance. He obviously believes that tolerance is a value that must be upheld in the face of constant pressure from those of the "Religious Right". He also obviously believes that if something is not done about the "Religious Right", they may kill us all. Wait. I mean, we might kill them all. Does he mean me? How wide is the spray of his sawed-off shotgun of hate shooting? It's hard to tell. Does he mean to supress the views of wackos? Of all Christians? Of anyone who believes strongly and intolerantly about anything? One thing is clear: he believes his audience knows who he is talking about, and that's good enough for him. Allow me to summarize it for you in case you don't want to go through the New York Times registration process, or have a weak stomach:

He starts out ominously: "Democratic societies have a hard time dealing with extremists in their midst." Ok, he's talking about extremism: people who blow crap up because God told them to, people who think animals should have more rights than people, etc. He finishes the first paragraph even more ominously: "Nobody wants to talk about the threat posed by those whose beliefs include contempt for democracy itself." Ooo. Fear-monger much, Paul? One might ask at this point, "Who are these people you speak of, and how can we destroy them?"

He doesn't tell us right away, and the suspense builds through paragraph, where we are informed that the Netherlands tried ignoring Islamic Militants, and that led to murderous killing (of one guy -- a famous director, and then the backlash happened). Those saps. If only they would have had their own Paul Krugman to sound the Big Bell of intolerance, er, tolerance. What are we talking about here again? Christians? People who murder abortion doctors? Aren’t they one and the same? Should believing in Jesus -- and not wanting, for example, boobs on TV -- make you a prime candidate for a terrorist watch list?

What he is talking about is of course the Schaivo case, and this editorial is a prime example of the overwinded generalizing that people on both sides of the issue are engaging in. They are using this woman's plight to make broad-brushed political points on issues they have (in the case of Paul Krugman, anyway) no handle on whatsoever. Some Republicans made great pronouncements about God and Terry Schaivo that were supposed to "appease" the “Religious Right”, as if Terry Schaivo's condition were a political issue. It was supposed to mobilize them to (I guess) vote more or contribute more money. If this whole congressional and Bushite grandstanding on the issue is only a political strategy of appeasement, that's just sad. That Paul Krugman can't see the Schaivo issue in anything except purely political terms is his first mistake. He goes on to make another as he misinterprets opinion polls as a "backlash" against the "Religious Right" meddling in people's affairs and "legislating morality" (a phrase Mr. Krugman doesn't use, but that's probably because he didn't think of it). Are people really that upset that some Republicans tried to save this woman's life? Maybe they are, and maybe that will come out in some sort of anti-Christian sentiment. If Paul Krugman has his way, that sentiment will start right now. I personally think the polls reflect the unease most Americans have with the Congress meddling in their personal affairs, especially when the media has gone to great lengths to frame the debate as an issue of “Who has the right to make a decision about life or death in this case,” rather than, “What state of mind is Terry Schaivo actually in.” Of course nobody wants Congress involved in these personal decisions.

Some of the things Krugman brings up in order to make the reader scared of the "Religous Right" are -- Randall Terry, who "hasn't killed anyone but one of his friends did."; pressure to teach what he calls "Creationism" in the schools, which could possibly make our children dumb, drooling, intolerant, and brainwashed members of some evangelical church, because "Creationism" is all about surpressing science (I'm admittedly reading between the lines here -- his purpose is to scare, and why should teaching differing views on a subject be scary unless there is some insidious purpose behind one side?); Walking Zombie Religious Right Doctors and Pharmacists who will make you go to a different Walgreens to get your morning-after pill because they're just so bat-crap crazy; and, the "big step", which is to pack the courts with as many God-loving, you-hating, gun-toting, sheep-sheearingly religious justices as possible. If this is allowed to happen, every politician who does not agree with the "Religious Right" is in danger of being assassinated -- legally, I guess. I don't know. I'm still not following.

I can't take this crap anymore. I'd fire off an angry e-mail to him, but it would just confirm what he already "knows" -- I am totally nuts. And evil. Can't forget about evil.

The following are the false assumptions Paul Krugman has made in preparation for his editorial:
The Religious Right is filled with religious "extremists" who are the same as Islamic extremists (in reality, almost all of them are pleasant busy-bodies who mean well). The Religious Right opposes killing Terry Schaivo in order to get more political power (maybe a few cynical members do, but most really just want to save a life). The Religious Right includes all pro-lifers, as well as all those who believe in tradtional Christianity (in that case, it's like half the country). The Religious Right is about the majority over the minorities (they have been ostracized to the edge of society where it's fun to hate them – if that doesn’t make them a minority, nothing will). The Religious Right is a monolithic bloc of voters that threatens us all (nominate a Pro-Life Democrat for President and you'll find out pretty fast how un-monolithic (polylithic?) it actually is). The Religious Right wants people in office to be afraid of them (This is somewhat true, but isn't that the goal of every interest group out there -- to be influential? Paul's faulting them for that?). Naturalistic Evolution is a proven fact that not only all good scientists but also all good thinkers believe (it isn't). That doctors are monolithic in their diagnosis of Ms. Schiavo's condition (they aren't, even though the doctors who refer to her as a "vegetative" (now there's a loaded term) have bullied people into believing they are, because they can't be bothered with your silly questions like, “How can she be vegetative and responsive?”). That laws that allow doctors to opt out of giving people procedures for personal moral reasons will cause all doctors to be pressured and threatened by the Religious Right, and are therefore bad (even though opting out of such things is obviously a constitutional right -- Paul here seems to be advocating a pre-emptive strike against such theoretical pressure by re-writing the first amendment to exclude religious people. How F___ed up is that?)

Mr. Krugman finishes by calling for the Left and the moderates to make a "firm stand" against "religious extremism". I don't really know what he wants them to do. Publicly villify them? Call them names? Trust only doctors who disagree with the Religious Right? Take away licenses of the doctors who object to...anything on Religious or moral grounds? Supress the Right? Be intolerant of them? Dare I say it...Kill them if they don't fall into line?

With as many false assumptions as Paul Krugman makes in this editorial in the one of the most influential newspapers in the land, it's hard to know exactly what he wants done, or why we should trust what he's basing it on. I used to think Robert Smigel expressed a very isolated (and, frankly, pure evil) sentiment on "Saturday TV Funhouse" when he equated terrorist suicide bombings with the Christian kids video series Veggie Tales. It turns out people actually equate the two.

Now I’m going to explain something to you, Mr. Krugman, and all your ilk. Please read it slowly, because it’s very important that you grasp the very subtle differences between evangelical Christianity and Muslim extremism. Christians believe that you go to Heaven by believing in Jesus, who died and rose again to save all people from their sins. Muslim extremists believe you go to Heaven if you kill some people in a holy war against the infidels. I know, it's very subtle. But go back and read those two sentences until you get it, sirs.

You have made our Enemies List, Mr. Krugman. We have our Eyes on you. Security Section is watching. And if you've actually convinced yourself to be afraid of us, you're no better than people who are afraid when they see black people walking down the street. It's all based on hate. You've become the very thing you despise most: intolerant.


  • At 9:20 PM, Blogger Danny said…

    I have to admit that at times I am not sure what to think about the world. I know that at this time in my life I am trying to be open to different ideals, but at the same time I feel that many of those ideals are pushing me away from what I beleive in. It is so easy to give up on what was once right in order to accept what is now passed off as progressive and tolerant. It's a harsh reality and a difficult place to formulate an honest open feeling of understanding. Keep up the powerful insights; it means a lot to see someone not simply passing off their ideals as truth, but also explaining how and why it is true. Thank you.

  • At 4:08 PM, Blogger Mike Pape said…


    You're welcome. And thanks for the kind words.

  • At 6:08 PM, Blogger Brian said…

    "God-loving, you-hating, gun-toting, sheep-sheearingly religious" is maybe the best set of adjectives I've seen all year. I know it's only march, but I do read a lot.


Post a Comment

<< Home