The Smallest Minority on earth is the individual. Those who deny individual rights cannot claim to be defenders of minorities. - Ayn Rand
This post hits it out of the park!
Well said, and well done.
Realize of course how MANY people think they know what it best for everyone. Markadelphia just repeated that dud over in his own sandbox, and I repeat my response here...
Hubris does not do this justice. Even the gods on Olympus didn't have such an inflated sense of self.
When you are so serenely self-absorbed that you truly believe you know what is better for me than I do, well, not much short of a 2x4 repeatedly applied to your skull is likely to stop you and make you reconsider. This is as true for a conservative know-it-all as it is for a liberal/progressive. Without such reconsideration, those folk are completely confident that treating everyone else - particularly those who disagree with their near-divine wisdom - like a wayward child isn't just appropriate, it is absolutely necessary.
I stand by what I said back when the Dems started the whole "Party of No" meme: Of course we're the party of No, someone has to be the grownup, and it obviously isn't going to be Democrats.
I wrote a little something about Uncle Sam a while ago.
" Uncle Sam is a perfect symbol of what our country should be. Notice it isn't Daddy or Mommy Sam, it is Uncle Sam. Uncles are great. They can take an interest in you, help you out on rare occasions, but in the end both you and they know, they are not responsible for you."
I'll throw in one of my favorite Heinlein quotes on trying to divide people into easy-to-identify groups:
“Political tags—such as royalist, communist, democrat, populist, fascist, liberal conservative, and so forth—are never basic criteria. The human race divides politically into those who want people to be controlled and those who have no such desire. The former are idealists acting from highest motives for the greatest good of the greatest number. The latter are surly curmudgeons, suspicious and lacking in altruism. But they are more comfortable neighbors than the other sort.”
They are far more comfortable neighbors simply because they don't initiate the use of force or fraud, or the threat thereof, in an attempt to make you do what they want you to.
I'm stealing that Heinlein quote for my QotD. Just so's ya know.
John Adams, like most all the founding fathers, was very intelligent and had a tremendous command of the language. As they all did, he chose his words carefully and deliberately.
To make the connection between what he said and meant, and the problem that we see today; note that one of the greatest enemies of the Left is the Judeo-Christian religion. The values of freedom, self-government, responsibility, etc., that are embodied in believers of the God of Israel are anathema to those who wish to bring about a totalitarian utopian Animal Farm.
"Israel" means "he struggles with God." Islam means "submission." It is no wonder that the left is either quiet about, or defends Islam, because while it may be ostensibly religious, it is much more aligned with their statist goals than Judeo-Christian religion.
Judeo-Christian values call for the individual to practice self-governance, and the belief that one should do nothing hateful to his neighbor, even a neighbor you don't like. Live and let live, so to speak. Islam demands that the whole world be subjugated to the dictates of Quran as interpreted by a few Imams in power. Leftist Statism demands total submission to the enlightened, anointed class to tell all of us how to live because we are too stupid to know better.
John Adams lived in an age and place where it was unthinkable that well educated men would choose to live in a society wherein other men did not believe in or believe themselves accountable to a just and Holy God. He and the other founders understood the consequences of such a society. They knew all about the French Revolution. Charles Dickens wrote "A Tale of Two Cities" for the express purpose of contrasting the two world views. The American Revolution was based on a righteous understanding of human freedom as granted by God. The French Revolution was an excersize in anarchy, overthrowing all authority and especially the church. (And yes, I understand that the church was corrupt.)
Indeed, let us be adults, rather than mere grown-ups. But I have no illusions that secularists and atheists who claim allegiance to conservatism, but who also feel no constraints of an ultimate transcendant authority, can do less damage and evil as the statists on the left. If religious leadership can delude itself into thinking that whatever it dictates is good, even while believing in ultimate accountability in the hereafter, how much more can evil can be perpetrated by those who believe that there is no higher authority?
John Adams meant exactly what he said. He is still right.
Moshe, I can't disagree with anything you state, but my point still stands - for John Adams "moral and religious" means what "adult" ought to mean today - responsible, dutiful, respectful, and resolved.
As for "secularists and atheists who claim allegiance to conservatism, but who also feel no constraints of an ultimate transcendant authority" who are capable of doing as much or more damage as the statists on the Left, again, no disagreement there, but since I am one, I will note that neither is it inherent in our makeup.
I would also like to add that organized religion has also historically led to collectivist actions and abuse of power. Sarah has noted, on numerous occasions, that in their short history atheistic polities have managed some really egregious carnage, but I attribute that to the power of modern technology more than anything else. As you point out, religious dictatorship can delude itself into thinking whatever it dictates is good, and history shows that they've done this since at least when we started recording it. Think what one could do with truly modern weaponry (*cough*Iran*cough*).
Steven Den Beste is as well, or at least he was when he had USS Clueless up and running.
But I have no illusions that secularists and atheists who claim allegiance to conservatism, but who also feel no constraints of an ultimate transcendant authority, can do less damage and evil as the statists on the left.
I tend to call myself agnostic rather than atheist, but I feel the need to point out something here. It would be incorrect to think I "feel no constraints of an ultimate transcendant authority". The difference is that I don't require that "ultimate transcendant authority" to exist outside of myself in order to regard its decisions as final.
Put simply, if God exists he has a whole universe to look after, my own self-respect is sufficient to deal with "local issues", eg those occurring inside my own heart and mind. This is why I can agree in principle with nearly every one of the moral rules of the Bible, and yet consistently claim not to be a Christian. If it's any comfort, I agree with nearly every one of the moral rules of Wicca too, but that doesn't make me a Wiccan.
What I see as the fundamental flaw in all forms of collectivism is that, just as religion tends to express moral authority as something outside oneself, collectivism tends to express ethics, morality, justice, fairness, and even self-respect, as something outside oneself. This is patently ridiculous, as all those things occur in the minds of human beings and nowhere else. Nonetheless, it seems to lend itself to claims of being able to divine others' thoughts and motivations.
EXACTAMUNDO! as that grown-up portrayed by that annoying leftist Henry Winkler would say.
This "homeland" shit that suddenly started up in the last couple years pisses me off. It reeks of the "fatherland" and "motherland" propaganda shit our enemies used throughout the 20th century. The Nazi regime was "father" to the German people. The Soviet regime was "mother" to the Russian people.
I was annoyed by the term for the same reasons, if (who am I kidding, they were) more in artfully expressed. My grandfather was a communist and his brother was a card carrying nazi of the hooked cross variety, so I am vigilant about excessive governmental power.
Myreputo, as an uncle of a niece and a nephew, I'm stealing that line.
"Uncles are great. They can take an interest in you, help you out on rare occasions, but in the end both you and they know, they are not responsible for you."
And I'm reading your piece as soon as I sign off here.
Problem is, Grumpy Old Fart, that, lets say you and me and a group of other people are the only ones left standing to start a whole new world. Desert Island scenario.
All you can tell me about yourself is that you don't know if there is a God. The situation is desparate and I've got a wife and daughter to worry about.
I start asking you questions. Where do you get your values? I've got a lifetime of living in a world of people who have never believed in God and I've seen where it's gotten society. Why should I trust you? I suddenly have a real LOCAL ISSUE, here and now, staring me in the face.
Do I go out and hunt and work on survival stuff while my wife and daughter are in a camp with someone who doesn't believe that SOMEONE is watching, while I'm away.
Why should I trust you?
In such a scenario, you shouldn't. So what if I claim to be a Christian? So does Jeremiah Wright. So did Ted Kennedy. Would you leave Teddy in camp with your wife and daughter?
Any fool can talk the talk. Bill Clinton claims to believe that someone is watching, but that didn't stop him from whipping it out in the Oval Office, now did it?
If asking God's advice helps you on such a judgment call, by all means ask. But if you value your family, don't even consider taking my word for it, no matter what I claim to use as an ethical/moral foundation. I'm a human, which means I'm a liar by definition.
In fairness, I do believe that someone's watching, and will judge what I do.
It's me. I can ignore God's disappointment. My experience leads me to believe that most people do on a regular basis. But when I have contempt for what I did or didn't do... I can hear that voice even in my sleep.
Hear, hear! (*slow clapping*)
Actually, and FWIW, I first heard the term "Homeland", to be precise "Defense pf the Homeland", used b planners for same at the I Corps G-2/Analysis and Control Center in the early 90s.
Didn't care for it then, either.
My big problem with any form of "Creator" theory I've heard is that they tend to proceed from assumptions I consider ridiculous. Like the idea that the same Creator that is the ultimate perfection, and therefore does perfect work, is the same guy who created PMS, Keith Olbermann and cat butts.
Call it The George Carlin Heresy if you like.