Thursday, October 18, 2007

More Amazing Proclamations from Planet Prager

If Ann Coulter's comment on Jews wasn't enough to send all intelligent people running for cover, here comes Dennis Prager's article to add his defiances of reason to the mix. Some of it has to be seen to believe this man occupies the same planet as the rest of us. Consider this blinkered comparison:

"What is wrong with a person believing that it would be better if another person adopted their faith? Is there one liberal who doesn't believe that a conservative would be better -- 'perfected,' if you will -- by embracing liberal beliefs and values?"

It is interesting to note that so many religious righters like Prager feel compelled to imply or outright argue that positions with which they disagree are somehow "religious", implying they are therefore flawed in some way. Thus, evolution deniers refer to modern evolutionary theory as the religion of "Darwinism", and "liberalism" is decried as a religion, by non other than her Arian Greatness herself. Yet these are the very people that think religion is such a terrific thing.

This reveals two things about them. First they only like THEIR religion. Despite all their lip service to tolerance, give them a religion that runs contrary to their views, and that all goes out the window.

Second, they can't really conceive of a worldview that isn't religious. The idea of an intellectual arena dealing in sincere criticism and objective data is anathema to their worldview. To them, all is mere opinion, supported by authority. Ironically, they are as postmodernist as the liberals they so decry for their moral relativism. This is why they have such a difficult time dealing with science in general, and particularly troubling (to them) scientific findings. To them, there is no such thing as an intellectual consensus, thus any consensus, especially one that runs counter to their religious truth, must be some sort of conspiracy.

Thus, a person who desires to change another's mind because of some objective evidence is lumped by Prager into the same category as Coulter, who proclaims one group of people less perfect than another, based on nothing but blind faith to flawed texts and their biased ministrations. So yes Mr. Prager, there are plenty of liberals, and conservatives as well, who do NOT see others as less perfect by virtue of differing beliefs and values. Those of us who base our views on reason and evidence, rather than faith, recognize our own fallibility, and the necessity to change our views from time to time, as more evidence becomes available. Thus, we see value in tolerance of dissenting views, and have the modesty to understand that we might be the mistaken ones.

"Why is it laudable for a liberal to hope that conservatives convert to liberalism, but dangerous and hate-filled when a Christian hopes that Jews or anyone else will go to heaven (that is, after all, Ann Coulter's and most other Christians' primary concern) by believing in Jesus?"

That's like asking how one can think it is laudable to give one's child a disciplinary swat on the behind for lying, but dangerous and hate-filled to murder the child for it. Liberalism and conservatism are political ideologies, philosophies about what rights people have and the proper mores for interaction, at their loftiest, and the side to which one allies ones self every few years at elections at its basest. Prager wishes to compare being believed wrong on such things to a belief that one is going to burn in a painful lake of fire for all eternity, and deservedly so?

Further, even the most closed-minded political opinion has more of an evidenciary basis than the most liberal religion. After all, at least we know politicians and elections exist. And even the most extreme difference in political opinion doesn't approach, by orders of magnitude, the difference between Heaven and Hell.

Prager then wastes a lot of time on a comparison of Jimmy Carter and Ann Coulter, as if any two data points of any two sets can be used in such a fashion to prove some difference between the two. I wish someone would explain to all these people like Prager that to prove an unfair bias against conservatives in the media, or anywhere else for that matter, one must examine ALL of the data, not mere cherry picked subsets. Using the same technique as Prager, I could prove NBA referees were biased against any player you care to name. I'll just examine only the plays where the referees ruled against him.

In an irony unmatched, Prager asks:

"How does one respond to irrationality?"

I'm trying Dennis, really I am. But how does one deal with inanities like this coming from a supposedly intelligent person:

"Liberals not only believe that conservatives are philosophically imperfect, but they often believe that conservatives are bad human beings.(something in no way implied by Coulter about Jews)."

No, she just thinks they are going to burn in Hell for all eternity, and deservedly so, for failing to agree with her views of the infinitely unknowable. But calling them philosophically imperfect? That would have been over the line.

And I've got a news flash for you Dennis. Go read the papers and the blogs and look at what is being said by some of the conservatives who believe that liberals are bad human beings for having different opinions on wars, health care systems, science, and systems of taxation. Hell, Christian conservatives frequently claim we atheists are incapable of having moral systems for JC's sake!

And of course, what would a Religious Right diatribe be without a heaping helping of Making Shit Up:

"Liberals yearn for a world without conservatives at least as much as most believing Christians want a world without non-Christians."

Uh, OK Dennis, I can't speak for Planet Prager, but here on earth, there are large groups of believing Christians, and even larger groups among some other Abrahamic religions, who believe it is OK to murder those who disagree with them, such as abortion doctors for some anti-abortionists, and nonMuslims for many Muslims. There are Christians who believe that those who disagree with them cannot be citizens and patriots. I know of no mainstream liberal groups who hold views anywhere near that level, and those outliers who do are tiny (PETA), or had far more logical cause for such views than Christians do (The Black Panthers). Can you get any more absurd?

"The difference is many liberals are immeasurably more likely to impose their views on others than Christian Americans are. Liberal judges impose their views -- e.g., on same-sex marriage -- on society."

Um, OK, you can. This is a good example of how many religionists have had society so biased in their favor for so long that anything that prevents them from imposing their will on others is interpreted by them as oppression. Thus, the extreme liberal position that whoever wants an abortion should be allowed to get one is interpreted as exactly as oppressive as the extreme conservative position that all abortions be outlawed. Ditto for all the laws conservatives try to pass to prevent people from gambling, having sex with certain people, or in certain positions, or ingesting certain substances. Liberals aren't nearly as interested in that sort of control. That is, in large measure, what makes them liberals in the first place.

To hear Prager tell it, one would think that the gay marriage movement intended to force everyone into a gay marriage. Now THAT would be oppression on the level of what conservatives call for.

As for Ann Coulter, I'll give her all the attention she deserves. She has become the barometer of rationality. If you support her, you fail. That's an "F" Mr. Prager.

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