Via iq2hi4uok, a terrific article on the truth about liberals and conservatives.  A great read for anyone who desires to understand where the other side is really coming from.

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  1. why is it that in all of this shit, religion, being a big debate and what not with the bush administration, that no one ever brings up the constituion ammendment of the seperation of church and state?

    1. Are you suggesting that such an ammendment be made to the constitution?

      1. i always thought that it was in the constituion, or bill of rights, or something, and that is why the ten commandments was forced to be taken out of the courthouse in gorgia. that the state and church must be seperate. am i wrong that this is not in our core foundation of our government?

        1. Surprisingly, it’s in none of our founding documents. The famous statement about the separation of Church and State comes from a letter written by Thomas Jefferson. That letter, and the principle behind it, has strongly influenced American jurisprudence in interpreting the First Ammendment; but strictly speaking, the only thing our constitution has to say about religion is that “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof”. It’s really more of a prohibition against government getting involved in religion, not vice-versa.

          1. ah, ok then, so, if that is the case, how does that work around the same sex marriage as being illeagal?

          2. Not necessairly. Note the first part: “…respecting an establishment of religion…”

            Secondly, nice article. Unfortunately for me, I don’t get much of a balanced opinion, just a lot of annoying references to “Christian Founders,” “the Kingdom of God” and how “we need a return of the Puritians” and stuff about the “moral majority of our nation who cannot be silenced.”

            I know most conservatives aren’t that crazy, but that knowledge doen’t get much chance to sink in when you’re surrounded and your media input is 100% controlled and filtered by the few who *do* think that way.

            In a sad way, if it wasn’t for the internet, I probably would have jumped out a window by now.

  2. reasonable article…

    I think he could have gone on with even more examples.. but he did cover a bunch of the basics… In any case.. I wanted to ask.. what is ‘s foundational ideas… Is it just a meeting place? I poked around a bit–but couldn’t find a faq or any such things…

    also.. and this might just be becaus I’m rather a hard-core secular atheist.. (thus, I have a definitely non-objective perceptual matrix when it comes to these things).. what is the real background of the writer… I clicked on his name–and it said he was one of the founders of and used to work for US World report (or some such magazine).. but what struck me while reading his points was how certain viewpoints ne noted received almost no further analysis… I think the two points that really struck me on this were the “Conservatives feel under assault” and the “Conservatives feel like American culture is an insult to god” …

    Here.. while I can admit that these points are probably true–in that conservatives do feel these things–I still feel that the basis of these beliefs is extremely problematic. Specifically.. that the conservatives feel under assault– just because they don’t control absolutely every form and source of cultural and political power may be true.. but then how are liberals supposed to feel??? I mean.. it’s not that liberals totally control TV culture..but more that they are a majority there still.. while in terms of politics, they are almost totally powerless..
    getting to the point here… this belief seems to be founded on a viewpoint that any divergence from your own viewpoint is an attack on you.. i.e. their cannot be debate.. nor can there be pluralism.. And this foundation seems entirely against what the founding fathers intended for this country.. (yes.. this fits in with his viewpoint about liberals promoting tolerance–but isn’t there something fundamentally tolerant in a political system where people get the choice to debate about and vote on stuff? )

    second point.. The conservatives feel that liberal american culture is an insult to god.. while this may be true.. I have to say.. as a liberal secular atheist who has a grand respect for the original teachings of Jesus (but not Paul, etc..), I find much of what is espoused by self-proclaimed conservatives to be an insult to Jesus–it goes against his message of love for one anther and against the idea of reserving judgement.. but this point isn’t raised at all..

    anyway.. it’s not that I don’t think this is a great article.. i think it is wonderful.. but I would see it as a starting off point.. On that score.. are there any things that you think that he posits under the “truths about liberals” that you think obscure bigger points… you being a self-proclaimed Libertarian with conservative origins?

    Let’s engage in constructive conversation here.. 🙂

    1. Re: reasonable article…

      Re beliefnet: I’ve been peripherally aware of beliefnet for some time now; I’ve never spend a signifigant amount of time there, but I’ve read various articles referenced from other sites, gone there to research certain religions, etc. And occasionaly I hear people from Beliefnet participating on NPR shows. As far as I’ve seen are a bunch who are very sincerely committed to fostering greater understanding between people of various religious beliefs.

      I swear, the more I hear these red/blue debates, the stronger the urge grows to just start muttering “federalism… federalism…” under my breath until someone hits me with a brick. Conservatives feel under attack because they largely belong to a faith in which mental hygiene is as important as physical. They feel it is impossible to participate in society at all without being tainted by it. And they are right – because our society has been smeared out into a vast, uniform grey goo of a popular culture which is neither conservative nor liberal, and which is more the same than different no matter whether you live in San Francisco or in BF Arkansas. Television is supposed to be goverened by “community standards”, but is in fact defined by an uneasy standoff between Holywood and the regulators at the FCC in DC – neither of which takes much notice of the thousands of miles of flyover country in between. If you’re not rich you send your kids to public school, where the curriculum is defined more by the Dept. of Education, the latest presidential education initiative, the supreme court, and an educational philosophy intended for an earlier age, than by any ordinary parent’s idea of what kids should be taught.

      You can say – and to a certain degree I agree – that if don’t like it they shouldn’t watch it/read it/expose their kids to it. But pop culture is, by definition, pervasive. And occasionally it even acquires the force of law to be intrusive. The choice becomes one of either walling themselves off in the style of the ultra-orthodox Jews, or of taking the fight to the streets and attempting to redefine the culture. Many conservatives may frame their fight in terms of making America a “Christian Nation”. But I gaurantee you that if they weren’t afraid of having an “evil influence” (e.g. a gay couple) move in next door, where their kids could see them every day, and not being able to do anything about it; or of their daughter getting an abortion without even being informed, let alone consenting, that they would not be nearly as militant about running the whole damn country. You and I may find them repugnantly intolerant… but I still understand where they are coming from, and why they MUST fight.

      Both conservatives and liberals have learned, some grudgingly and some happily, that if something is to be allowed anywhere, it has to be allowed everywhere. So we have this nationwide “struggle for the country’s soul”, as both groups try desperately – as well they should, their very way of life is threatened – to make their worldview the dominant one.

      1. Re: reasonable article…

        Both conservatives and liberals have learned, some grudgingly and some happily, that if something is to be allowed anywhere, it has to be allowed everywhere. So we have this nationwide “struggle for the country’s soul”, as both groups try desperately – as well they should, their very way of life is threatened – to make their worldview the dominant one.

        That’s an interesting way of looking at it.

        Someone should go paint a yin yang red and blue, and suggest it be adopted as an alternate flag… or at least mass produce it as a bumpersticker.

        Seriously, though, it’s funny. In an odd way, I guess we need both in order to keep America the way it is now. They both keep the other in check – one for those who are progressive and idealistic, and one that reminds us of “where we’ve come from,” elbow grease,(the masses of sheep like my grandm… er, patriarchy, I mean,) family and stuff like that. The friction keeps neither from getting too carried away with a) idealism without a check on the Cost of said idealism or b) paranoia. Raw. Paranoia.

        As long as they never defeat the other, there’s a haven for everyone, somewhere. In a funny way, I guess if that stereotypical Southern Baptist redneck hunter sitting with his housewife and a rifle listening to bluegrass couldn’t live in the same country as the equally stereotypical panthiest-or-athiest bisexual dominarix who has discovered unconventional uses for hardware and old computer parts as clothing items and listens to industrial music… it just wouldn’t be America.

        1. Re: reasonable article…

          True, but I’m not sure that this standoff system really ensures that.

      2. Re: reasonable article…

        My only real beef here is that there is an assymetry here that is not mentioned that much in analyses of this.. (or at least not in many of them..) That assymetry is that the conservatives, while they may be correct that they are influenced by outside society and thus desire to have an influence to change that which they consider to be evil, do not recognize that others may see their behavior as evil

        or rather.. instead of standing up for the liberties of all (I may disagree with what you say, but I will support your right to say it), they privilege their own position and proclaim that only they have liberty while others are evil and thus don’t deserve consideration..

        of course.. such things also occur on the left.. and back in the late 80’s, early 90’s, I hated such things and actually was very much more attracked to libertarian politics… but today.. the organized conservative movement–especially the religious right–has gained significantly more power than they held in the past.. (and much more power than the “politically correct” movement ever had..) and their attacks are seriously getting scary…

        so maybe what I’m really talking about after all this long ramble–is that what I see as the greatest quality about our American democracy is the inherent equality of liberty that all people are granted in this country… and when certain groups.. any groups—be they conservative or liberal–follow a system of beliefs that, by its very nature, ignores or detracts from the equality of liberty that has made this country great…

        I get very very angry.. and you wouldn’t like me when I’m angry..

        or to go back and badly paraphrase an Abe Lincoln quote.. Those who deny liberty to others, do not deserve it for themselves…

        1. Re: reasonable article…

          I could always be wrong, but I stand by my opinion that most everyone in this country, liberal and conservative alike, support equality of liberty so long as it’s not in their own backyard. There are a few who would like to impose their morality on the entire nation; and a few who genuinely don’t care what goes on in their backyard; but I really feel that a lot of the former sentiment stems from the all-or-nothing nature of politics in this country. It’s an arms race where each side realizes that if they don’t impose their will on the whole nation, the other guys will. And you’re right, neither’s vision is “anything goes”. But our system doesn’t truly allow for the conservative vision to be realized in Kansas while the Liberal vision is realized in California. You get it all or you get nothing. So instead of saying “you go play on the swings, and I’ll play on the slide”, they are both going to keep fighting for the whole goddamn playground. And those of us who just want to play are going to find ourselves in a featureless little sandpit, with boundaries that move a few inches every couple years, as the two opposing forces allow for a narrower and narrower concept of what’s “OK”.

          At least, that’s how it seems on bleaker days.

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