Class Warfare Blog

September 29, 2020

Trump-Supporting Evangelicals Make More Sense Now

Filed under: Culture — Steve Ruis @ 10:23 am
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I have been reading Pascal Boyer’s book, Religion Explained, and he makes the point that one should think of religious groups more along the lines of coalitions than of groups of people bonded by common beliefs. Clearly Christians fight amongst themselves more than they fight people of non-Christian beliefs (in the U.S.). So, they form a coalition amongst a few people within their religion, which is based upon a cost-benefit analysis. (They figure the cost of leaving vs. the benefits of staying. Coalitions serve prosaic purposes.)

Fundamentalists often respond with violence when their “cultural norms” are challenged . . . or at least that’s what it seems. But Boyer states:

“We can get a better sense of fundamentalist reactions if we describe more precisely what is so scandalous about modern influence in a religious milieu and if we take into account that the reaction is a matter of coalitional processes (My emphasis here. S). The message from the modern world is not just that other ways of living are possible, that some people many not believe, or believe differently, or feel unconstrained by religious morality, or (in the case of women) make their own decisions without male supervision. The message is also that people can do that without paying a heavy price. Nonbelievers and believers in another faith are not ostracized; those who break free of religious morality, as long as the abide by the laws, still have a normal social position; and women who dispense with male chaperones do not visibly suffer as a consequence. This “message” may seem so obvious to us that we fail to realize how seriously it threatens a social interaction that is based upon coalitional thinking. Seen from the point of view of a religious coalition, the fact that many choices are made in modern conditions without paying a heavy price means that defection is not costly and is therefore very likely.” (All emphases, other than the one noted as being mine, are Boyer’s.)

So, evangelicals support Trump, not because he is like them, but because he is punishing the transgressors; making those gays and queers, and illegals pay a price for their “decisions” . . . because if there isn’t a heavy price to pay for violating their norms (whatever the heck they might be), people will defect from their coalition in increasing numbers.

This is why fundamentalists can’t wait for you to get your comeuppance in the after life. They need to have you punished in the here and now to show the benefit of staying in their particular coalition.

At least this makes some sense.

The bullshit of trying to make Mr. Trump into a Christ-like figure just makes no sense at all, so the root of “he shares our beliefs” also makes so sense, but this does. In essence: he hates the people we hate and is punishing them for their bad decisions, which supports our coalition by making it harder to conceive of defecting from it.

September 28, 2020

When it was ’54 …

Republicans are often characterized as wishing our country would be restored to what it was like in 1954.

So do I.

 

September 27, 2020

Should Amy Barrett’s Faith Be Part of Her Qualifications?

An op-ed in today’s The Guardian is entitled “Amy Coney Barrett should be judged on her ability, not her faith” (by Kenan Malik) The article could have been written identically for any of the other recent nomination processes.

This article and this attitude misses the point, however.

The point is not just her qualifications but the court’s qualifications to judge legal issues. If seated on the court, the court would be made up of six Catholics, two Jews, and one half Episcopalian-half Catholic. Is this representative of this country? Is this a court that can decide political issues that have religious undertones, fairly and in accord with precedent’s, etc.?

The question is not “Should her faith be part of her qualifications?” but “Should the court be packed with members of minority religions?”

There are more protestants than Catholics, yet not a single one of those could be found who is qualified to sit on that court?

Trump, Master of Distractions

Filed under: Politics,Religion — Steve Ruis @ 8:18 am
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Upon what criteria would Mr. Trump base a nomination for a new associate justice of the Supreme Court of the United States? I believe there was exactly one. Create a ruckus, a distraction that, if possible, makes his opposition look bad. (“See, they can’t even support another women on the bench.”) The Ruckus distracts from the real failings of the President. He has fulfilled his duty in this matter (nominating a person to fill a vacancy on that court) and now he is done. The rest of us get to whirl around the distraction for weeks when we should be concentrating on getting rid of his sorry ass.

And, another Catholic? He couldn’t find a qualified Evangelical, or even a Protestant? (Repeat after me. Repeat after me. Rinse and repeat.)

September 23, 2020

We Are Oh-So-Kind . . . to Ourselves

I was reading an article about some Native American archaeology and came to this statement “In the 1800’s, European settlers drove ancestral Wichita people from their native lands, leading to the destruction of their villages and communal traditions.”

I have made this point before but am still struck by the terminology.

If someone invaded your community and forcefully ejected you from your homes and farms, killing many of you in the process, would you refer to them as settlers . . . or invaders? Was not this land already “settled?” In this instance they are talking about a “city” of possibly 40,000 Native American inhabitants.

But European “settlers” “drove” the people off. It sounds like they are referring to cattle or buffalo which could be “driven” to another location.

By what right were these things done? Oh, God told them it was okay for the Europeans to make war on the indigenous peoples they encountered, in order to bring Christianity to the natives. Gee, you’d think this was an educational mission instead of a land grab.

At the time, Europe had recovered from the repeated decimation of the population of Europe due to the Black Plague and other plagues and was overpopulated. The “European settlers” were searching for land, land that could be tilled, land that could be mined, land that could make them rich. They came as soldier-farmers. They didn’t work in their fields without their guns nearby, because the people they stole the land from wanted it back.

These were not settlers. They were an army of invaders. And we are descended from them.

And President Trump wants our schools to teach that we did nothing wrong. Sure we took their land, but we gave them the Bible. From Mr. Trump’s perspective, this was a great deal, and American deal, an exceptional deal.

And the winners of the deal get to write and re-write the history any way they want. Mr. Trump’s way is what we will get if he is re-elected.

 

 

Will Trump’s SCOTUS Nominee Be Another Catholic?

Filed under: Politics,Religion,The Law — Steve Ruis @ 11:14 am
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Before Ruth Bader Ginsberg died, the current SCOTUS contained five Catholic justices, three Jewish justices, and Brett Cavanaugh who was raised Catholic but claims to be Episcopalian now (Episcopalians have been described as wannabe Catholics, so we will count him as half of a Catholic).

In the history of the Supreme Court there have been 114 Justices, only 13 of which have been Catholic, about 11 per cent. Catholics currently make up 22% of Americans but that is counting newborn babies, children, etc. An estimate of the percentage of adults is “about one fifth.” This seems an over estimate as currently 78% of Americans are adults and any large sub group would probably have this same proportion of adults. So, a 22% total count translates into a 17% adult count, so “about a fifth” is an exaggeration.

So, a proportional number of Supreme Court Justices would be about 1.5, so 1-2, but we currently have five (and a half) and are considering six (and a half) if Mr. Trump’s favorite is nominated.

The religions supporting Mr. Trump bigly are the Evangelical Protestants. Many of these people do not believe that Catholics are even Christians, let alone correct believing Christians.

So, why wouldn’t his base howl if he didn’t nominate an Evangelical Christian?

Currently there are no Protestants on the court, certainly no Evangelicals. Historically 80% of Justices have been Protestant of some stripe. Currently there are none.

Pass the word, our evangelical brothers and sisters need to know that Mr. Trump is selling us all to the Papist Cult!

September 16, 2020

So . . . Why?

A recent statement issued by the editors at Scientific American include this comment: “It wasn’t just a testing problem: if almost everyone in the U.S. wore masks in public, it could save about 66,000 lives by the beginning of December, according to projections from the University of Washington School of Medicine. Such a strategy would hurt no one. It would close no business. It would cost next to nothing. But Trump and his vice president flouted local mask rules, making it a point not to wear masks themselves in public appearances. Trump has openly supported people who ignored governors in Michigan and California and elsewhere as they tried to impose social distancing and restrict public activities to control the virus. He encouraged governors in Florida, Arizona and Texas who resisted these public health measures, saying in April—again, falsely—that ‘the worst days of the pandemic are behind us’ and ignoring infectious disease experts who warned at the time of a dangerous rebound if safety measures were loosened.”

So, my question is this: what did Mr. Trump have to gain by taking this path?

Letting a pandemic ravage the working class is certainly no aid to business and it stresses what’s left of our social safety net. What possible advantage to Mr. Trump could there be?

The only sensible interpretation I could come up with that takes into account Mr. Trump’s and his base’s characteristics is this: he is poking a finger in the eyes of the coastal elites. (Take that Libtards!) The oh-so-smart “experts” who always know what the right thing to do is, while at the same time looking down their noses at the people living in the “fly over states.”

Mr. Trump has said that he downplayed the pandemic because he didn’t want to create panic. Some have spun this by saying that he didn’t want to cause a panic in the stock market. This, of course, makes no sense whatsoever. By downplaying the problem, he in essence, gave over any control over the problem he had, leaving him a situation that would play out as it would rather than as he or anyone else would have it. And, having this disease wreak havoc on crowded workplaces in the various businesses represented on the stock markets surely is not a recipe to avoid panic in the stock market. So, this “explanation” holds no water.

But the so-called “coastal elites” are seen as the architects of the demise of the middle class and poor by many people. The economists, the politicians, the corporation executives, the “experts” who speak in gobbledygook while dressed in many thousand dollar suits, who claim to know what is best for the rest of us. These are the people who are scorned by the “deplorables” who voted Mr. Trump in, and honestly have really failed at their jobs economically, having sold their services to the very wealthy or to become one of the very wealthy. (The “new rich” are almost all corporate executives.)

But in a classic “throwing the baby out with the bath water” move, this disdain for the politicians and economists and scientists has been spread out over public health officials who have not failed in the same way. Painting with a broad brush is at the core of politics, but in this case, there are possibly 100,000 Americans now dead because of that attitude alone.

Mr. Trump is merely reinforcing a “see, they aren’t so smart” attitude that he and many of his followers hold. Some will pay for that attitude with their lives (some already have) and some will pay with their careers. It is hoped that our ship of state can be righted. I have little hope that the Democrats can do this if given power, but right now they are the only chance we have because they are the only ones who seem to want to do that. It is terribly hard to bail the water out of the boat when others are drilling holes in the bottom, chanting “Sink the ship! Sink the ship!”

I will vote for Biden and work to get a much better president to succeed him. The problem we have is the uber-wealthy are spending gobs of money to make sure that we do not have the chance of electing someone not already in their pocket. We have to learn how to counter the power of their money.

September 15, 2020

They Say They Are Against Wealth Redistribution

Filed under: Economics,Politics — Steve Ruis @ 8:40 am
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The Fat Cats of America say they are against income redistribution and wealth redistribution but once again, it is only one particular type of that: they are arguing against taxing wealthy people to provide of the rest of us (social safety net, universal health care, etc.). They are not opposed to wealth redistribution when they are doing it, however.

As I have mentioned over and over that the very wealthy in this country have been gaming the system for the past roughly 50 years to redistribute wealth out of your pocket (the many) into theirs (the few). This has been now documented in a new economic study and according to Time magazine (link) the amount of wealth transferred is staggering. Here is an excerpt of that article. (Note that they are talking trillions of dollars, not just billions . . . thousands of billions!)

“This is not some back-of-the-napkin approximation. According to a groundbreaking new working paper by Carter C. Price and Kathryn Edwards of the RAND Corporation, had the more equitable income distributions of the three decades following World War II (1945 through 1974) merely held steady, the aggregate annual income of Americans earning below the 90th percentile would have been $2.5 trillion higher in the year 2018 alone. That is an amount equal to nearly 12 percent of GDP—enough to more than double median income—enough to pay every single working American in the bottom nine deciles an additional $1,144 a month. Every month. Every single year.

“Price and Edwards calculate that the cumulative tab for our four-decade-long experiment in radical inequality had grown to over $47 trillion from 1975 through 2018. At a recent pace of about $2.5 trillion a year, that number we estimate crossed the $50 trillion mark by early 2020. That’s $50 trillion that would have gone into the paychecks of working Americans had inequality held constant—$50 trillion that would have built a far larger and more prosperous economy—$50 trillion that would have enabled the vast majority of Americans to enter this pandemic far more healthy, resilient, and financially secure.”

They have stolen enough money that had it flowed instead to the rest of us, it would have been “enough to more than double median income—enough to pay every single working American in the bottom nine deciles an additional $1,144 a month. Every month. Every single year.” That’s the bottom 90% of U.S. society were talking about, including you and me.

These are the same people who are against regulation of the markets . . . unless they are doing the manipulating themselves. Against all kinds of other things . . . for other people, but okay for themselves.

Wake up people, your house is being robbed . . . right now. Wake up and stop the robbery. They are stealing your retirement. They are stealing your kid’s futures. It doesn’t have to be this way.

The Time article’s bottom line? “We chose to cut taxes on billionaires and to deregulate the financial industry. We chose to allow CEOs to manipulate share prices through stock buybacks, and to lavishly reward themselves with the proceeds. We chose to permit giant corporations, through mergers and acquisitions, to accumulate the vast monopoly power necessary to dictate both prices charged and wages paid. We chose to erode the minimum wage and the overtime threshold and the bargaining power of labor. For four decades, we chose to elect political leaders who put the material interests of the rich and powerful above those of the American people.”

Actually the governmental representatives they bought did this all for them. We didn’t choose those things. We are only allowed to chose candidates that they have already bought. They did this, the filthy rich did this.

September 14, 2020

Black Lives Matter! . . . All Lives Matter! WTF?

Filed under: Culture,History,Politics,Race — Steve Ruis @ 10:19 am
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The Black Lives Matter . . . I guess I will call it a movement . . . is arguing that Black lives should matter more than our current society values them. They should matter at least as much as white lives and, I can argue, that because of centuries at maltreatment, maybe they should matter a little more than white lives, to make up for all of that abuse. Black people should be afforded more respect, more courtesy, and so on for say, maybe the next 100 years as partial compensation for the abhorrent abuses their families suffered from the rest of American society.

And the rejoinder to BLM “All Lives Matter?” What a farce. This isn’t even close to being true. And I will show you why. Stay with me now.

From your personal perspective, does your life matter . . . to you? I would venture to say all would answer “yes” (plus or minus a few percent).

How about the lives of your immediate family, do they matter? Again, I would suggest that most people will answer “yes.”

How about the lives of close social associates: friends, close colleagues, mentors, pastors, etc. Do their lives matter?

How about people outside of that circle: people who live in your community but who you do not know? Do their lives matter?

Do I have to keep going? On to the homeless people in cities far away? Starving children in Africa? Poor people struggling to feed their children in lands far away? I suggest that you make no effort to find out about these people and don’t give a rat’s ass whether they live or die.

I am not dissing you. I am part of the same group you are in. My point is we are a social species and the amount of care each of us has for “others” is closely related to how much we interact with them . . . socially.

So, do all lives matter? No, of course not. The idea is pathetically stupid. So, why was it advanced? It was advanced as a racist response for BLM, which is just a plea from Black people to just be treated like everyone else. Imagine opposing that!

So, every time you hear “All Lives Matter” recognize it for what it is. By using the word “all” you get included, and of course your life matters . . . to you. (It matters not a gnat’s fart to the racist scum trying to keep Black people “in their place.”) And “all” means your spouse, and kids, and . . . they matter, too. And then you stop thinking, you don’t carry your line of thought on out to all of the “deplorables” you don’t give a fig about. So “All Lives Matter” resonates with people, but do not fall for this lie. It . . . is . . . not . . . true . . . and hence cannot counter anything.

Don’t fall for the racist propaganda. And every time you have on opportunity to vote or express your opinion, stick up for your fellow citizens who are Black and being treated as if they are outcasts.

September 11, 2020

Doing the Time Warp

Filed under: Culture,Reason,Religion — Steve Ruis @ 11:07 am
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Consequences, there are consequences . . . to being a know it all.

Apparently the Christian god knows everything that has happened and will happen. This means this god already knows what you will be praying for next week, next year, and in ten years. Already knows.

Musical Interlude
Let’s do the Time Warp again
It’s so dreamy
Oh, fantasy free me
So you can’t see me
No, not at all . . .

So, if this god already has heard your prayers, why would it wait until you actually said them to respond? If your prayer sounds like a good idea, it should be implemented immediately, no? So, if the prayer was, say, to save a believer’s daughter from a deadly disease, the god could step in, prevent the child from getting the disease in the first place and thus avoid all of the pain, suffering, and anguish on the part of the child and parents . . . no?

Of course, if this god were interested in the credit for the saved little life, then waiting would make such a “miracle cure” more dramatic, no? But to whose benefit is that?

Plus, it is claimed that this god has a plan for each and every one of us. If it already knows what will come about, wouldn’t that have been worked into his plan already? This would mean that prayers would be totally useless/ineffective, which studies prove them to be, so maybe this is why. This god has already taken your prayers into account and the plan was formulated with those being known, so whatever you pray for will come up empty. What will happen has already been decided.

If, as part of your plan, you are to get deathly sick, go in hospital, almost die, but survive and recover your health. All of your Christian friends, however, will have been beavering away praying that you recover, see that you have recovered and shouts of “Praise God!” will rise up in church on Sunday. Of course, had you died, they would have said that their god had other plans for you. Either way god wins and this is less work for him and so is more likely than a working model of intercessionary prayer.

Why such a being would give a rat’s fart for what you think is also a mystery, along with why he would want you to love him. “God needs your love” says many things about that god and none of them are flattering.

But then, I guess being all-knowing is its own reward . . . and punishment. It sounds like a curse to me.

PS Bonus points for who recognizes the song the lyric was snatched from.

 

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