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The Phobia(s) That May Destroy America

 

I am continually dismayed by the level of fear, contempt, and anger that many educated/urban/upper-middle-class people demonstrate toward Christians and rural people (especially southerners). This complex of negative emotions often greatly exceeds anything that these same people feel toward radical Islamists or dangerous rogue-state governments. I’m not a Christian myself, but I’d think that one would be a lot more worried about people who want to cut your head off, blow you up, or at a bare minimum shut down your freedom of speech than about people who want to talk to you about Jesus (or Nascar!)

It seems that there are quite a few people who vote Democratic, even when their domestic and foreign-policy views are not closely aligned with those of the Democratic Party, because they view the Republican Party and its candidates as being dominated by Christians and “rednecks.” This phenomenon has become even more noticeable of late, with the vitriolic attitude of certain prominent “conservatives” toward Trump supporters as a class.

What is the origin of this anti-Christian anti-“redneck” feeling? Some have suggested that it’s a matter of oikophobia … the aversion to the familiar, or “the repudiation of inheritance and home,” as philosopher Roger Scruton uses the term. I think this is doubtless true in some cases: the kid who grew up in a rural Christian home and wants to make a clean break with his family heritage, or the individual who grew up in an oppressively conformist Bible Belt community. But I think such cases represent a relatively small part of the category of people I’m talking about here. A fervently anti-Christian, anti-Southern individual who grew up in New York or Boston or San Francisco is unlikely to be motivated by oikophobia. Indeed, far from being excessively familiar, Christians and Southern people are likely as exotic to him as the most remote tribes of New Guinea.

Equally exotic, but much safer to sneer at. And here, I think, we have the explanation for much, though not all, of the anti-Christian, anti-Southern bigotry. It is a safe outlet for the unfortunately-common human tendency to look down on members of an out group. Safer socially than bigotry against Black people or gays or those New Guinea tribesmen; much less likely to earn you the disapproval of authority figures in school or work or of your neighbors. Safer physically than saying anything negative about Muslims, as you’re much less likely to face violent retaliation.

There are some other factors which I think motivate some people toward the anti-Christian anti-Southern mindset. One is the fear that Christians, especially Southern Christians, are anti-science, and that Republican electoral victories will reduce Federal support for science or even lead to restrictions on scientific research. And indeed, some conservatives/Republicans have been known to make some pretty strange statements, such as Rep. Paul Broun’s recent assertion, “All that stuff I was taught about evolution, embryology, the Big Bang theory, all that is lies straight from the pit of hell.”

But in realistic terms, there is far more threat to US science from “animal rights” terrorists – the vast majority of whom are politically on the Left – than from anti-evolutionists. Also, there are certainly significant pressures on allowable and non-allowable topics for university research emanating from the “politically correct” Left. And numerous followers of “progressivism” are believers in various forms of mysticism, such as magical crystals and a conscious Gaia, which are at least as inconsistent with pure scientific materialism as are the Biblical miracles. At the level of practical technology, the irrational hostility toward nuclear power, genetically-modified crops, etc., comes almost entirely from the Left.

Another factor is sex. Many seem to fear that conservatives/Republicans are anti-sex “Puritans” and will force women into metaphorical (or maybe not so metaphorical!) chastity belts. Democratic Party operatives have done their best to conflate opposition to forcing institutions to pay for birth control with opposition to birth control itself. In reality, no serious Republican national-level politician is remotely proposing the banning of birth control or, for that matter, the banning of homosexuality. And, speaking of “Puritanism,” we should note that the anti-male hostility emanating from certain radical feminists, who are almost entirely creatures of the Left, has done much to poison the relationship between the sexes, especially on college campuses.

Yet another factor involved in fear/hostility toward Christians is historical: it is indeed true that Christianity has often been used as an excuse for religious persecutions. Mary Antin, a Jewish immigrant who came to the US from Russia in the early 1900s, wrote that pogroms in her home country had sometimes been led by priests carrying crucifixes and it took her several years to get past an instinctual aversive reaction when passing by a Christian church. (She later became acquainted with several American priests and came to respect them for the work they were doing among the poor.) The Holocaust was perpetrated largely by people who represented themselves as Protestants or Catholics. But in today’s world, hostility toward Israel, which more than occasionally shades off into outright anti-Semitism, is mainly generated by the “progressive” Left. Surely one is far more likely to encounter anti-Semitism among the members of the church that Barack Obama attended for 20 years than among the members of your typical Southern Baptist church or Catholic parish.

It’s important to understand history, but it’s also very dangerous to identify one’s friends and enemies based entirely on historical considerations while ignoring current realities. In the Polish town of Eishyshok at the time of the German invasion in 1941, many of the local Jews viewed the coming of the German troops with equanimity. The town had been occupied during the earlier war, and the German officers and troops of that time had been very well-behaved and even helpful, and those residents who had been POWs in Germany during WWI spoke highly of their good treatment. Too many of the town’s Jews failed to realize that “German soldier” meant something different in 1941 than it had in 1914. Analogously, “Democratic politician” means something very different in 2018 than it did in 1960.

The primary factor behind anti-Christian/anti-“redneck” feelings is, almost certainly, the fact that these groups offer a convenient target for in-group solidarity and feelings of superiority at the expense of the “other.” To the extent that people not motivated by this factor are considering a vote for “progressive” Democrats based on concerns about Christians and “rednecks,” they are prioritizing fears which are largely imaginary over dangers which are all too real.

These anti-Christian, anti-“redneck” phobias have been key contributors to the spread of the “progressive” ideology that threatens virtually all aspects of American life, from freedom of speech to national security to economic well-being.

This is an edited version of a post that I published at Chicago Boyz in 2012 and again in 2015. There are good discussion threads at both earlier posts.

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There are 43 comments.

  1. 1
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  1. Lincoln

    You can go back 80 years in pop culture and see a certain amount of mocking of the rubes out in the hinterlands. But it normally had a counter-balance to where you’d see movies or TV shows that were based on the idea that the smart urbanites weren’t as smart as they thought they were (TV would never green-light a show today like “Green Acres”, where the ‘rube’ turned out to be the lawyer from New York City).

    But over the last 50 years the former more gentle mocking of rural people has been combined with a disdain for religion, due to the decline of church-goers and believers in urban areas. That’s allowed the two to be tied together to where the attitude from the 1930s-60s pop culture era has curdled into open contempt, to the point that in states where the beliefs of the urban areas are now lined up with the beliefs of a majority of people in the suburbs, they don’t simply look at rural areas and rural Christians with contempt, they take action to punish them.

    They actively use the laws of their states to cause those areas to die, as with the current situations between the New York City area and Upstate New York, Coastal California and that state’s inland region other than Palm Springs or Sacramento, and a number of other Blue States where the urban centers and their suburbs have passed virtue-signaling policies designed to make themselves feel good, but are toxic to the rural areas and the people who in their minds aren’t worth helping. Compare that to the programs targeting rural areas that were part of the New Deal — you may not have liked the big-government attitude of those programs, but the farm or electrification efforts were part of an overall effort to target the entire U.S. population. Today’s big government types only target their core special interest groups, and none of those live outside the cities or suburbs.

    • #1
    • September 1, 2018 at 10:10 am
    • 12 likes
  2. Member

    David Foster: It’s important to understand history, but it’s also very dangerous to identify one’s friends and enemies based entirely on historical considerations while ignoring current realities. In the Polish town of Eishyshok at the time of the German invasion in 1941, many of the local Jews viewed the coming of the German troops with equanimity. The town had been occupied during the earlier war, and the German officers and troops of that time had been very well-behaved and even helpful, and those residents who had been POWs in Germany during WWI spoke highly of their good treatment. Too many of the town’s Jews failed to realize that “German soldier” meant something different in 1941 than it had in 1914. Analogously, “Democratic politician” means something very different in 2018 than it did in 1960.

    This is an important and underemphasized point.

    • #2
    • September 1, 2018 at 10:53 am
    • 10 likes
  3. Member

    Jon1979 (View Comment):
    (TV would never green-light a show today like “Green Acres”, where the ‘rube’ turned out to be the lawyer from New York City).

    President Trump might say ‘you can say that again’. Trump may not play the ‘rube’, but he has certainly gained the ire of those ‘smart urbanites’. Angelo Codevilla has written extensively on this idea and Trump moved on that idea to the White House. As I see it, and I think Trump does as well, the modern urban progressive attitude and approach attempts to convert all to that global urban European elite mindset. It doesn’t sell in flyover country.

    • #3
    • September 1, 2018 at 11:40 am
    • 7 likes
  4. Lincoln

    Bob Thompson (View Comment):

    Jon1979 (View Comment):
    (TV would never green-light a show today like “Green Acres”, where the ‘rube’ turned out to be the lawyer from New York City).

    President Trump might say ‘you can say that again’. Trump may not play the ‘rube’, but he has certainly gained the ire of those ‘smart urbanites’. Angelo Codevilla has written extensively on this idea and Trump moved on that idea to the White House. As I see it, and I think Trump does as well, the modern urban progressive attitude and approach attempts to convert all to that global urban European elite mindset. It doesn’t sell in flyover country.

    That kind off plays to how Trump became a celebrity in the first place back in the late 1970s. He first hit the media with his Grand Hyatt project in the spring of 1977, which was tied to Jacqueline Kennedy’s efforts to save Grand Central Terminal from demolition — you really can’t get more elite than being linked to Jackie. But he kept his name in the spotlight by essentially becoming the Page 1 voice of Rupert Murdoch in his newly-purchased New York Post, to say the populist/conservative things about New York City and its politicians that Murdoch and his columnists were saying inside the paper.

    That populist tone did not play with the Manhattan elites and the liberals in NYC in general. Who it did play to were the people in New York’s own version of ‘flyover country’ — the bridge-and-tunnel crowd in Queens, southwest Brooklyn and Staten Island who were looked on with disdain by the Manhattan elites in the same way the national elites today disdain the rural parts of the U.S. (and Trump had his own family reasons for hating the elites, since they refused to allow his dad entry into the Manhattan building market — the Trumps lost their bid in the mid-1970s to develop the Javits Center, which ironically was where Hillary Clinton was to have staged her victory party on 11/8/2016. Karma indeed).

    • #4
    • September 1, 2018 at 11:51 am
    • 6 likes
  5. Coolidge

    David Foster: I’m not a Christian myself, but I’d think that one would be a lot more worried about people who want to cut your head off, blow you up, or at a bare minimum shut down your freedom of speech than about people who want to talk to you about Jesus (or Nascar!)

    You are missing the fundamental difference between a physical threat and a moral threat.

    The Muslim terrorist or illegal alien gang member is a physical threat. Physical threats are probabalistic. To a secular intellectual leftist, there is only a slight chance that they will be killed if we admit thousands such physical threats to our country.

    Moral threats are not probabalistic. They are not attenuated by remoteness. One Christian, doing Christian things like turning the other cheek and obeying the ten commandments a thousand miles away is a total moral threat to the leftist and must be destroyed (even if that Christian is a Jew like Dennis Prager).

     

    • #5
    • September 1, 2018 at 11:57 am
    • 13 likes
  6. Member

    I almost feel bad going this simple after the good stuff above me (O/P included), but Christianity=moral judgments (as with other religions). The culture, as driven by the left, is certainly against judgments, and wants to dictate morality. The clash is inevitable, and the inclusion of those in rural areas is just a subset of the whole.

    • #6
    • September 1, 2018 at 12:12 pm
    • 7 likes
  7. Member

    David Foster: And, of course, the Holocaust was perpetrated largely by people who represented themselves as Protestants or Catholics.

    Um… what?

    • #7
    • September 1, 2018 at 12:31 pm
    • 3 likes
  8. Member

    Bob Thompson (View Comment):

    Jon1979 (View Comment):
    (TV would never green-light a show today like “Green Acres”, where the ‘rube’ turned out to be the lawyer from New York City).

    President Trump might say ‘you can say that again’. Trump may not play the ‘rube’, but he has certainly gained the ire of those ‘smart urbanites’. 

    • #8
    • September 1, 2018 at 12:39 pm
    • 6 likes
  9. Member
    David Foster Post author

    Dr. Bastiat (View Comment):

    David Foster: And, of course, the Holocaust was perpetrated largely by people who represented themselves as Protestants or Catholics.

    Um… what?

    Why is this confusing? What % of those Germans who voted Nazi, and those who were directly involved in the machinery of the Holocaust, were *not* members of a mainline Christian denomination? Surely at least 90% for the first category and 70% for the second.

    • #9
    • September 1, 2018 at 1:02 pm
    • 1 like
  10. Member

    David Foster (View Comment):

    Dr. Bastiat (View Comment):

    David Foster: And, of course, the Holocaust was perpetrated largely by people who represented themselves as Protestants or Catholics.

    Um… what?

    Why is this confusing? What % of those Germans who voted Nazi, and those who were directly involved in the machinery of the Holocaust, were *not* members of a mainline Christian denomination? Surely at least 90% for the first category and 70% for the second.

    But Hitler and his inner circle were against Christianity and were for a pre-Christian paganism. He kept this quiet because Germany was at least nominally Christian.

    • #10
    • September 1, 2018 at 1:23 pm
    • 4 likes
  11. Member
    David Foster Post author

    Richard Easton (View Comment):
    But Hitler and his inner circle were against Christianity and were for a pre-Christian paganism. He kept this quiet because Germany was at least nominally Christian.

    True….that’s why I used the phrasing “people who *represented themselves* as Protestants or Catholics” rather than “people who *were* Protestants or Catholics.” Not sure how deep the penetration of the pagan belief system was below the top levels. Didn’t do the Christian ‘brand’ any good, in any event.

    • #11
    • September 1, 2018 at 1:59 pm
    • 1 like
  12. Member

    David Foster (View Comment):
    Why is this confusing? What % of those Germans who voted Nazi, and those who were directly involved in the machinery of the Holocaust, were *not* members of a mainline Christian denomination? Surely at least 90% for the first category and 70% for the second.

    The height of Nazi ballot outcomes was July 1932 and they only got 37%, they tried a snap election November but lost seats—and that was when Hitler ordered the Reichstag fire. I don’t know if there is any demographic data that remains from that election but the Nazis came to power when Christianity was waning in Germany because of the Kaiser Reich collapse with World War 1, Berlin was the only city in Europe where one could be openly homosexual.

    Remember also that in 1932 the Nazis and Communists got 50% of the vote while the only explicitly Christian party, Centrum (the Catholic Party), got around 13% of the vote (it rises to 16% if you count the Bavarian branch). Christianity for all intents and purposes was not something many identified with or acted upon. The Nazis were confident enough in this they even attempted to push party members to drop their religious affiliations, it was called Kirchenaustritt (leaving the church; they started it in 1936). 

    I would also be willing to bet that the majority of the death camp and work camp workers and administrators were Nazi fanatics. Most probably did not have a religious affiliation or upbringing.

    • #12
    • September 1, 2018 at 2:26 pm
    • 3 likes
  13. Member
    David Foster Post author

    Hoyacon (View Comment):
    The culture, as driven by the left, is certainly against judgments, and wants to dictate morality.

    Not sure how one can be against judgments and also want to dictate morality…more likely, I think, the non-judgmentalism is a mere tactic to undercut judgments that they don’t like, to be dropped quickly as the judgments they *do* like come into operation.

    • #13
    • September 1, 2018 at 2:55 pm
    • 5 likes
  14. Coolidge

    David Foster (View Comment):

    Dr. Bastiat (View Comment):

    David Foster: And, of course, the Holocaust was perpetrated largely by people who represented themselves as Protestants or Catholics.

    Um… what?

    Why is this confusing? What % of those Germans who voted Nazi, and those who were directly involved in the machinery of the Holocaust, were *not* members of a mainline Christian denomination? Surely at least 90% for the first category and 70% for the second.

    To enter anywhere near the upper echelon of the Nazi Party, a German citizen had to distance themselves from church and religion of any kind. And the Nazi Party leaders made sure that there was widespread use of indigenous Germanic pagan imagery rather than anything relating to more Christian images.

    To reach those Germans who were more reluctant to abandon their religion, the Nazi leadership supported the German Christian movement, a group of Protestants who wanted to combine Christianity and National Socialism into a movement “that would exclude all those deemed impure and embrace all ‘true Germans’ in a spiritual homeland for the Third Reich.”

    The Third Reich demanded a great deal of one’s time and energy. There were continual rallies, and most citizens lived for the day when Hitler would arrive in their neighborhood. One of the first friends I made when I moved to Calif was an older man who worked at the VA Hospital in Palo Alto. His grandmother was the one who raised him in Nazi Germany, and she fervently believed that Hitler’s rule would improve everyone’s lot in life.

    He still had vivid memories of rallies he attended as a three and four year old. And his grandmother had extreme devotion to Hitler despite her being Jewish. He once remarked that it was good she had her heart attack in early 1937, as she would never have believed in it being necessary to flee the country to save him and herself.

     

     

    • #14
    • September 2, 2018 at 1:21 am
    • 9 likes
  15. Reagan

    I think you have blindly felt the elephant’s trunk and declared the elephant to be like a snake. The malady you diagnose is but part of a larger whole.

    • #15
    • September 2, 2018 at 5:16 am
    • Like
  16. Member

    I really hate to nitpick, but the Germans invaded Poland in 1939.

    • #16
    • September 2, 2018 at 5:28 am
    • Like
  17. Member
    David Foster Post author

    The Great Adventure! (View Comment):
    I really hate to nitpick, but the Germans invaded Poland in 1939.

    This part of Poland was occupied by the Soviets until the Germans invaded Russia in 1941.

    • #17
    • September 2, 2018 at 5:37 am
    • 1 like
  18. Member

    David Foster (View Comment):

    The Great Adventure! (View Comment):
    I really hate to nitpick, but the Germans invaded Poland in 1939.

    This part of Poland was occupied by the Soviets until the Germans invaded Russia in 1941.

    Ah, okay. I failed to dig out my obscure Polish towns map. But I would bet I’m not the only one who chafed on that point. 

    • #18
    • September 2, 2018 at 5:46 am
    • Like
  19. Coolidge

    I know many people who aren’t necessarily affiliated with “the Left,” but have a negative attitude towards some elements on “the Right.”

    For example, one acquaintance of mine who is a die hard Trump supporter and was pro-Trump even during the GOP primaries, told me that he wishes the Republican party would stop being so anti-homosexual and anti-abortion. And his wife said, “Abortion should not be a political issue,” meaning that abortion should be legal.

    He mentioned a lesbian couple who are friends of his and then mentioned “right-wing bigots” who are want to make life difficult for them.

    But he was 100 percent pro-Trump in 2015 and 2016.

    Trump represents the wing of the GOP that this person would like to see more of, a Republican party that doesn’t have a problem with “modern sexuality,” but just wants to get down to the business of keeping Americans safe from criminals and terrorists and people who want to raise their taxes. Trump’s having slept with a porn star probably makes Trump more, not less, popular in some circles.

    This is the William Weld-Rudy Guiliani wing of the GOP that he seems more comfortable with. However, this acquaintance of mine said he doesn’t like the GOP because the GOP is “against entitlements.” So, what’s the solution? Bankruptcy?

    • #19
    • September 2, 2018 at 5:47 am
    • 2 likes
  20. Member
    David Foster Post author

    Jon1979 (View Comment):
    They actively use the laws of their states to cause those areas to die, as with the current situations between the New York City area and Upstate New York, Coastal California and that state’s inland region other than Palm Springs or Sacramento, and a number of other Blue States where the urban centers and their suburbs have passed virtue-signaling policies designed to make themselves feel good, but are toxic to the rural areas and the people who in their minds aren’t worth helping. Compare that to the programs targeting rural areas that were part of the New Deal — you may not have liked the big-government attitude of those programs, but the farm or electrification efforts were part of an overall effort to target the entire U.S. population. Today’s big government types only target their core special interest groups, and none of those live outside the cities or suburbs.

    The current ‘progressives’ tend to be engaging in Horizontal rather than Vertical class warfare.

    And people who are pretty badly-off economically, such as starving part-time professors with little realistic possibility of promotion, tend to identify more with their Horizontal slice (academia) than with other groups on the same Vertical economic level.

    • #20
    • September 2, 2018 at 5:58 am
    • Like
  21. Member
    David Foster Post author

    Jon1979 (View Comment):
    the farm or electrification efforts were part of an overall effort to target the entire U.S. population

    There is an interesting contrast between the old Left and the modern Progs regarding energy/electricity. Both the New Deal and the Russian Communists viewed the building of hydroelectric dams as a signature accomplishment…a lot of today’s Progs want to tear them down.

    In 1928, the Fabian socialists Beatrice and Sidney Webb wrote about the contributions of what they called the Machine Age in improving the lives of those people who had been lifelong “hewers of wood and drawers of water.” I excerpted some of their comments here. It is a perspective that you won’t find very much of among today’s Left.

    • #21
    • September 2, 2018 at 6:04 am
    • 1 like
  22. Coolidge

    Jon1979 (View Comment):

    You can go back 80 years in pop culture and see a certain amount of mocking of the rubes out in the hinterlands. But it normally had a counter-balance to where you’d see movies or TV shows that were based on the idea that the smart urbanites weren’t as smart as they thought they were (TV would never green-light a show today like “Green Acres”, where the ‘rube’ turned out to be the lawyer from New York City).

    But over the last 50 years the former more gentle mocking of rural people has been combined with a disdain for religion, due to the decline of church-goers and believers in urban areas. That’s allowed the two to be tied together to where the attitude from the 1930s-60s pop culture era has curdled into open contempt, to the point that in states where the beliefs of the urban areas are now lined up with the beliefs of a majority of people in the suburbs, they don’t simply look at rural areas and rural Christians with contempt, they take action to punish them.

    They actively use the laws of their states to cause those areas to die, as with the current situations between the New York City area and Upstate New York, Coastal California and that state’s inland region other than Palm Springs or Sacramento, and a number of other Blue States where the urban centers and their suburbs have passed virtue-signaling policies designed to make themselves feel good, but are toxic to the rural areas and the people who in their minds aren’t worth helping. Compare that to the programs targeting rural areas that were part of the New Deal — you may not have liked the big-government attitude of those programs, but the farm or electrification efforts were part of an overall effort to target the entire U.S. population. Today’s big government types only target their core special interest groups, and none of those live outside the cities or suburbs.

    A lot of the above, and the OP, describes even states as a microcosm. Vermont is much this way, with progressives having had political control of the state’s biggest city, Burlington, since the early 1980’s (helped in no small part by the University of Vermont being located in the city, and students can vote). Outside of Burlington, and the state’s capital of Montpelier, Vermont is largely rural – where the “rednecks” live. In Vermont, we call ’em woodchucks, but with affinity, because everybody knows the woodchucks actively work for a living, unlike the people in suits or, more likely, in hemp t-shirts and Crocs, who largely work in either of those cities. The woodchucks literally chuck wood, in this regard. They are carpenters, farmers, builders. Hunters. Drive trucks, for a reason, because they need them for work and to get up the dirt road to their homes on the side of a green mountain.

    The purest clash of Progressivism and the Woodchuck is found in the oldest of Vermont traditions, the town meeting. Insert your cliche’ here. Progressives are typically well educated, and are more comfortable speaking in public. Woodchucks are less formally educated, and are less comfortable speaking in public. Progressives put items on the warning that create change (frequently to the Progressives’ benefit and no one else’s); woodchucks want to eyeball the budget and keep spending low, because their property taxes are insane and incomes can vary annually. Progressives want to limit spaces where woodchucks can hunt, or target shoot. Woodchucks are quite capable of firing their weapons safely, yet now have to plead a case if a local firing range gets targeted by Progressives.

    You get the idea. It’s the marginalization of the disdained, courtesy of that party of inclusion: The Democrats.

     

    • #22
    • September 2, 2018 at 6:55 am
    • 4 likes
  23. Thatcher

    ctlaw (View Comment):

    David Foster: I’m not a Christian myself, but I’d think that one would be a lot more worried about people who want to cut your head off, blow you up, or at a bare minimum shut down your freedom of speech than about people who want to talk to you about Jesus (or Nascar!)

    You are missing the fundamental difference between a physical threat and a moral threat.

    The Muslim terrorist or illegal alien gang member is a physical threat. Physical threats are probabalistic. To a secular intellectual leftist, there is only a slight chance that they will be killed if we admit thousands such physical threats to our country.

    Moral threats are not probabalistic. They are not attenuated by remoteness. One Christian, doing Christian things like turning the other cheek and obeying the ten commandments a thousand miles away is a total moral threat to the leftist and must be destroyed (even if that Christian is a Jew like Dennis Prager).

    Wow. You are totally on to something here. Great point.

     

    • #23
    • September 2, 2018 at 7:24 am
    • 2 likes
  24. Member

    Bruce Caward (View Comment):

    ctlaw (View Comment):

    David Foster: I’m not a Christian myself, but I’d think that one would be a lot more worried about people who want to cut your head off, blow you up, or at a bare minimum shut down your freedom of speech than about people who want to talk to you about Jesus (or Nascar!)

    You are missing the fundamental difference between a physical threat and a moral threat.

    The Muslim terrorist or illegal alien gang member is a physical threat. Physical threats are probabalistic. To a secular intellectual leftist, there is only a slight chance that they will be killed if we admit thousands such physical threats to our country.

    Moral threats are not probabalistic. They are not attenuated by remoteness. One Christian, doing Christian things like turning the other cheek and obeying the ten commandments a thousand miles away is a total moral threat to the leftist and must be destroyed (even if that Christian is a Jew like Dennis Prager).

    Wow. You are totally on to something here. Great point.

     

    I second that. Great point.

    • #24
    • September 2, 2018 at 8:01 am
    • Like
  25. Member
    David Foster Post author

    Bruce Caward (View Comment):
    The Muslim terrorist or illegal alien gang member is a physical threat. Physical threats are probabalistic. To a secular intellectual leftist, there is only a slight chance that they will be killed if we admit thousands such physical threats to our country.

    Indeed, the argument is often made that you are less likely to get killed by a terrorist than to die by slipping in the shower. But this is a bad use of statistical reasoning. Probabilities don’t always remain static. You could have concluded in 1916 that your odds of dying from flu were pretty low…things looked very different 2 years later. You might look at a fleet or cars or airplanes that were all 1-2 years old and conclude that there were very few accidents caused by metal fatigue…but, again, things might be very different with more age and cycles.

    And even now, with relatively low death and injury rates from Islamic terrorism, it already exerts a strong negative influence on freedom of speech. There is an American cartoonist who has actually been *in hiding* for several years, evidently on the advice of the FBI, because she ‘offended’ some radical Muslims.

    • #25
    • September 2, 2018 at 8:10 am
    • 3 likes
  26. Coolidge

    David Foster (View Comment):

    Bruce Caward (View Comment):
    The Muslim terrorist or illegal alien gang member is a physical threat. Physical threats are probabalistic. To a secular intellectual leftist, there is only a slight chance that they will be killed if we admit thousands such physical threats to our country.

    Indeed, the argument is often made that you are less likely to get killed by a terrorist than to die by slipping in the shower. But this is a bad use of statistical reasoning. Probabilities don’t always remain static. You could have concluded in 1916 that your odds of dying from flu were pretty low…things looked very different 2 years later. You might look at a fleet or cars or airplanes that were all 1-2 years old and conclude that there were very few accidents caused by metal fatigue…but, again, things might be very different with more age and cycles.

    And even now, with relatively low death and injury rates from Islamic terrorism, it already exerts a strong negative influence on freedom of speech. There is an American cartoonist who has actually been *in hiding* for several years, evidently on the advice of the FBI, because she ‘offended’ some radical Muslims.

    This is the part that the progressive uses to bat away other arguments – the “statistical probability”. Well, no kidding it’s low, otherwise I’d be in a bunker eating bark and pooping in a hole in the ground.

    The fact that there’s a new threat means our lives have changed, everywhere. At the airport. At malls. In parking garages. In sports stadiums. In immigration policy. In the Coast Guard. In border towns.

    And speech, something even most progressives would understand the value of, if they weren’t so busy trying to silence speech they disagree with, except for hate speech originating from Muslim fanatics.

    • #26
    • September 2, 2018 at 8:15 am
    • 2 likes
  27. Inactive

    Dr. Bastiat (View Comment):

    David Foster: And, of course, the Holocaust was perpetrated largely by people who represented themselves as Protestants or Catholics.

    Um… what?

    This:

    Though each of the survivors owed his or her life to friendly Poles, each of them had close relatives, friends, and neighbors who had been betrayed and murdered by Poles. Most painful of all was the fact that many of the Poles who had turned against them – even to the point of the most savage kind of murder… – had been trusted family friends.

    Yaffa Eliach

    There Once was a World p 679

    Eliach wrote about her home town in Lithuania (or Poland, depending on the year.)

    This reality was not limited to Poles, or non-communicants or the equivalent in their religions, though she does note that Jews found Lithuania more comfortable in the two centuries or so between the first Jews’ arrival in Lithuania and its official conversion to Christianity in 1387. In WWII, enthusiasm for the extermination of European Jewry’s Christ killers went as high in the Catholic Church – despite Pius XIII’s own actions – as a Papal nuncio. That is as true as the fact that other Poles, Lithuanians, Frenchmen and others in occupied Europe risked their own and their families’ lives to save Jews.

    As to the Wehrmacht, each division had Protestant and a Catholic chaplains, and lower ranking chaplains were present as well. The individual soldier’s record identified him as Catholic or Protestant. Things were different in the Waffen SS, but even there,

    Our Waffen SS unit did not have a Pfarrer. But we did have some Roman Catholics who got passes and were encouraged to go to mass in a nearby town, or with a Wehrmacht unit stationed near town. All of us were considered “Gottesglaubich” (believers in God), although it did not specify what denomination, unless Lutheran, or as in my case “Apostolisch” as marked in the soldbuch. We had a lot of Limburgers and other southern nederlanders who were Catholic. Just my two cents. HN.

    Peter Grant, who is civilized but, as a combat veteran, expat South African anti-apartheid activist, and former prison chaplain is not at all naive, puts it like this:

    The modern name for tribalism is “identity politics”. Beware anyone trying to make you think, and act, and live in terms of “identity politics”. They’re trying to get you to be tribal, rather than national, in your outlook. They’re trying to divide and rule. Division is their strength. By exploiting divisions between groups, they come to power – and then they rule until someone else does a better job of identity politics, and takes over from them.

    Tribe can drive good things – unity, working together, a sense of community. But there are also negatives. Tribe drives hatred. Tribe drives war. Tribe drives atrocity. It’s been that way since the dawn of the human race, and it’s unlikely to change.

    • #27
    • September 2, 2018 at 9:12 am
    • 3 likes
  28. Lincoln

    David Foster (View Comment):

    Jon1979 (View Comment):
    They actively use the laws of their states to cause those areas to die, as with the current situations between the New York City area and Upstate New York, Coastal California and that state’s inland region other than Palm Springs or Sacramento, and a number of other Blue States where the urban centers and their suburbs have passed virtue-signaling policies designed to make themselves feel good, but are toxic to the rural areas and the people who in their minds aren’t worth helping. Compare that to the programs targeting rural areas that were part of the New Deal — you may not have liked the big-government attitude of those programs, but the farm or electrification efforts were part of an overall effort to target the entire U.S. population. Today’s big government types only target their core special interest groups, and none of those live outside the cities or suburbs.

    The current ‘progressives’ tend to be engaging in Horizontal rather than Vertical class warfare.

    And people who are pretty badly-off economically, such as starving part-time professors with little realistic possibility of promotion, tend to identify more with their Horizontal slice (academia) than with other groups on the same Vertical economic level.

    Growing up in New York, I knew a lot of people who at best only had contact outside of the city with other urban areas or select upper-end vacation resorts. But while they may have looked down on the rural areas they never visited, there wasn’t the desire there seems to be today to grind the people in those rural areas to dust, via legislation and regulations that stagnate rural opportunities. And people just scraping by in urban areas can go along with that as part of being in support of their tribe — starving part-time professors may hate the 1 percenters on Wall Street, but they can hate the rural people in the same economic boat as them while feeling they’re also mentally and socially superior because they live in the city.

    • #28
    • September 2, 2018 at 9:14 am
    • 2 likes
  29. Inactive

    David Foster (View Comment):
    You could have concluded in 1916 that your odds of dying from flu were pretty low…things looked very different 2 years later.

    As an average citizen of the world, you only had at worst a 5% chance of dying in the flu pandemic.

    • #29
    • September 2, 2018 at 9:31 am
    • 1 like
  30. Member
    David Foster Post author

    I believe the much of the hostility toward Manufacturing over recent decades (until the last few years, when it has been regarded more positively) was due to this sort of identity feeling among the urban highly-educated–the attitude that people who work in factories aren’t “us”, they aren’t “knowledge workers” or “creatives.” And it’s not just limited to America. About 8 years ago, manufacturing consultant Bill Waddell said:

    A guy I met in Australia a few months back who has spent his lifetime in manufacturing, mostly in engineering products and devices that bring electric power to millions of people, told me that Down Under, when he and his wife attend social events as soon as people find out he works in manufacturing, they change the subject. They don’t even ask whether he is the janitor or the CEO. Knowing that he works in manufacturing triggers either scorn or pity – but either way his career is not perceived to be something worth discussing any further.

    And in the US, someone mentioned that women surveyed about their preferences in men (on a dating website) listed “works in manufacturing” as a dealbreaker second only to “is bald.” I guess working at Starbucks is considered more class-appropriate.

    I discussed some of these issues at my post Faux Manufacturing Nostalgia.

    • #30
    • September 2, 2018 at 11:38 am
    • 3 likes
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