Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Ron Paul and His Publications

There's a lot to like about Ron Paul. When he was a full-time medical practicioner, he provided free and reduced-price medical services to the needy. He does not think that America's strength lies primarily in its military power, as so many of his colleagues do. He champions religious liberty for Americans of all persuasions, including Muslims. And I'm just getting started.

But today I must profess that I, like James Kirchick, am deeply troubled that Paul issued, under his name, terrible racist propaganda in the 1990s. Paul disclaimed the abusive statements in 2008, saying that he had not paid sufficient attention to the Ron Paul Political Report that was written and edited by others. But I am not reassured for two reasons:

  1. During his 1998 campaign for Congress, Paul did claim responsibility for the statements, but contended that they had been "taken out of context." (So what was the context for claiming that the Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr. was a "world-class philanderer who beat up his paramours...and seduced underage girls and boys"? )
  2. Even after his 2008 disclaimer, Paul has continued to spin astonishing conspiracy theories. For example, Paul has continued to make appearances on the radio program of Alex Jones, a conspiracy theorist run amok. (Jones has claimed that the US government is adding chemicals to the nation's water to turn everyone homosexual so they don't have children, and that the government blew up the space shuttle Columbia as a "textbook psychological warfare operation.")  In March 2009 Jones asked for Paul's thoughts on the alleged conspiracy by NORTHCOM, the U.S. military command for North America, to take over the country. Paul responded that "the average member of Congress probably isn't a participant in the grand conspiracy." Note that Paul did not say that the "grand conspiracy" does not exist! And Paul claimed in a 2010 speech that the CIA had implemented a coup and seized effective control of the U.S. government and military (see it on YouTube here).
Even if we put the best possible interpretation on Paul's troubling newsletters by accepting Paul's disclaimers, I still think they disqualify him from the office of chief executive and commander-in-chief. Here's why:

  • First, to accept his 2008 disclaimer I must also accept that he lied in 1998 when he did take responsibility for the newsletters.  
  • Second, and most importantly, his utter inattention to newsletters that were going out under his name betrays an inability to act as a trustworthy manager of a political enterprise. How am I supposed to trust him to manage a cabinet and federal agencies, when his utter detachment from a small staff that reported directly to him allowed bitter and reprehensible propaganda to stream forth under his name for a decade?


oiysdfjkhsacjhwef said...


As to Alex Jones, what a fallacy to interpret (even Mr. Kirchick's own interpretation of) Ron Paul's response to the NORTHCOM question as anything other than a "polite non-response". It seems obvious. Again, I see people in the media make this fallacy all the time with politicians I loathe, yet I will defend that politician against the baseless attack in spite of my misgivings. And here, there is simply no way to divine that his response was anything beyond a polite non-response.

Re: "to accept his 2008 disclaimer I must also accept that he lied in 1998 when he did take responsibility for the newsletters." Although you may have figured this already by the time you read this based on the fact that Ron Paul had retired without intention of returning to politics at the time of the incident, I will say that it is not a contradiction to take responsibility for not paying better attention to a newsletter that continued after his time in Congress while at the same time not taking responsibility for something, as far as anyone can tell, he did not write. And that obviously makes the last paragraph of your blog null as well.

I will say that I do not think Ron Paul is infallible and I do not agree with him on everything. But where I do disagree with him, I feel he would accomplish little to nothing as president because the president does have to contend with the Congress and such. I don't need someone who personally represents my vision or who I identify with in terms of political labels or who lands in the same place on the left-right political spectrum as I do. I can think of plenty of politicians who represent me on all those levels but in the end are just another war-mongering corporate whore in spite of their rhetoric and such. And that is something I despise. I am more grounded in realism and am not desperate to make things conform to my worldview and demonize politicians outside of my preferred spot on the left-right spectrum and contort myself to make excuses for politicians who do fall near my preferred spot on the left-right spectrum. I could go on.

Be careful who you trust, nameless blogger. May I suggest associatedpress.com? It is there that you can find out things like the fact that we are in 7 wars currently (not including Iraq) instead of the 2 or 3 that is popularly believed, or that the federal reserve made $16 Trillion in secret loans to foreign banks last year, and I could go on. You wouldn't refer to the Associated Press as "conspiracy theory" just because it does not conform to your world view, would you?

I'll leave you with this thought:

Noam Chomsky wrote, "The smart way to keep people passive and obedient is to STRICTLY LIMIT the spectrum of acceptable opinion, but allow very lively debate within that spectrum - even encourage the more critical and dissident views. That gives people the sense that there's free thinking going on, while all the time the presuppositions of the system are being reinforced by the limits put on the range of the debate." [added emphasis] In the US, the spectrum of acceptable opinion is limited to the corporatist agenda. That is, the public debate of "socialism" vs. "capitalism" is actually a debate of crony socialism vs. crony capitalism so that no matter which side wins, the corporatist agenda wins. An effective public conversation that would actually make a difference on the outcome is populism vs. corporatism, but populism is far outside of the limited spectrum of acceptable opinion. Altered misleading Orwellian lip service is often given to populism to prevent the public from seeing what it truly is. Even many of the more free thinking individuals in our society do not see with clarity that true capitalism and true socialism are 100x closer to each other than they are to their corporatist counterparts, and likewise that crony socialism and crony capitalism are 100x closer to each other than they are to their populist counterparts.

oiysdfjkhsacjhwef said...

trouble with commenting. My second comment was posted while my first wasn't. Blogger.com, why you no make sense?!

oiysdfjkhsacjhwef said...

1st comment, take 2...

Dear unnamed blogger,

Even cursory independent research reveals that Ron Paul's story from square one has been that Lew Rockwell ghost wrote much of that newsletter at a time when Ron Paul had returned to his medical practice with no intention of returning to Capitol Hill. It seems that your cursory research though was not independent but rather very dependent - entirely dependent on one James Kirchick.

His article is the very first mainstream media attack piece I know of in my life to make an issue of who a politician permits interviews. To my knowledge, until now, this fallacy has been strictly in the realm of hardly read blogs plus a handful (not all) of these left or right leaning, partisan-to-the-100th-degree, so-called "fact checking" websites which weave a fine tapestry of truth with half-truths, lies, propaganda and wishful thinking. Many baseless hit pieces attack politicians who could easily be blown out of the water on substantial material but instead decide for the baseless divisive accusations so as to add gasoline to the fire which is unfortunately a good bottom-line business decision as far as editorials go. It seems that Mr. Kirchick's baseless hit piece falls into that category.

As to discussion of the CIA being in the drug business being labeled a "conspiracy theory" would require one to label the likes of ABC and CBS News as conspiracy theorists as well. It is clear Mr. Kirchick is wishfully thinking that this puts Ron Paul on the fringe.

Of course, it is quite clear that this sort of cognitive dissonance concerning un-preferred candidates is the norm among mainstream media and crony corporatist politicians (for instance, statements that if Ron Paul gets 2nd or 3rd in Iowa it still doesn't make him a top-tier candidate, then turning around and stating that if he wins Iowa, then what's important is who gets 2nd and 3rd place. See progressive Cenk Uygur's analysis: http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=endscreen&NR=1&v=R8EwKLAuSyw ).

Back to Lew Rockwell - at first, Paul tried to be gentlemanly and avoid naming him (as is consistent with the many irresistible opportunities RP passed up in this campaign to lambast his pathetic opponents). Paul fired Lew Rockwell immediately, but has not shut him out of his political sphere. Me personally, I would shut him out completely, but again this is consistent with his actions, I have to admire Ron Paul's bravery sometimes in seeing the many varied audiences he is willing to court without changing his message. For instance, how in the world does he speak at a Southern Baptist, Muslim hating, moral majority type of convention and get people to applaud his foreign policy? I seriously don't have the kind of openness or guts that he has, and I am saying this as someone who is 20x more open with who I associate than your average Joe. And contrary to Mr. Kirchick's baseless assertion, "to anyone who bothers to look into Ron Paul’s record, that claim is simply" very very credible.

Chris Falter said...

Hi oiysdfjkhsacjhwef -

I'm not sure why you think I'm a nameless blogger, when the URL of my blog is christopherfalter.blogspot.com. Oh, and I think you misspelled your name: shouldn't it be spelled oiysdfjkhsacjhwer instead? That's the common anglicization of your name, which is Serbian in origin--correct me if I'm wrong. Yeah, it's easy to type an 'f' in place of an 'r', but don't worry, I've got your back. ;)

As for Ron Paul firing Lew Rockwell immediately...only if "immediately" is defined as "more than 4 years later." The newsletters were a big controversy (at the state level) in Paul's 1998 campaign, so would you agree with me that Paul really did know enough about the newsletters in 1998 to go ahead and fire Rockwell "immediately" at that point? And if so, why was Rockwell a paid consultant to the 2002 Paul congressional campaign? Quite an odd way to fire someone in 1998, that.

I agree that Paul showed great courage in sticking up for the right of Muslims to build mosques. I would dispute the characterization of Southern Baptists as Muslim haters, though. That's quite a broad brush to paint with.

"Most congressmen are not participating in the great conspiracy that you just mentioned" seems like an odd way to give a polite non-response to a question. Just sayin'. Please note that I am not making an issue of who Paul granted an interview to; I'm just concerned about how he responded to some of the interviewer's questions. The reason I cited Jones' odd beliefs was because Paul could not claim to be caught by surprise by Jones' questions regarding a grand conspiracy. I probably didn't make that clear enough in my original post, so I thank you for giving me the opportunity to clarify the point.

As for the contradiction between the 2008 disclaimer and the 1998 taking of responsibility, it has to do with the way he took responsibility in 1998. He didn't say in 1998, "I didn't write it, but I should have read it and stopped the nonsense earlier." Instead, he stated that his statements were "taken out of context" by his 1998 political opponents. So that's why I'm not able to square the two. If you could dig up some Ron Paul quotes from 1998 that in fact say what he's saying now, by all means supply some links.

With regard to the "CIA conspiracy" theme, I think that there is a very sharp distinction between what Paul stated and what other news sources stated. Others stated that the CIA has possibly been a participant in the illegal drug trade in order to raise some extra funds. Paul stated that the CIA had staged a coup and taken over the federal government. Doesn't that sound a little different to you? "Effective coup over the entire federal government" vs. "illegal drug marketing" point in different directions, as far as I can tell.

As for the "lamestream" media...sure, we have to take everything with a grain of salt. But no one in the Paul campaign has said that any of the documents that Kirchik has cited are not authentic, so I think I am justified in relying on those documents.

I am a bit perturbed that I am accused of simply parroting other media sources, as if I have not checked documentation and read Paul's rebuttals before drawing my conclusions. The fact that I disagree with Paul on this issue does not constitute evidence that I did not give his view careful consideration.

Thanks for stopping by, and I've found the conversation interesting so far. I hope you have too, oiysdfjkhsacjhwer. Please stop by again and continue the conversation.

Best regards,

oiysdfjkhsacjhwef said...

Oive! You can really split some hairs over teeny tiny details AND SO THAT IS WHAT MAKES YOU THINK HE ISN'T FIT TO BE A PRESIDENT?????? Hahaha! "Technically all my details are in some sort of way correct. There's a big difference between saying it this way and the fraction of a sentence quoted that says it that way". And in all the minutia you completely lost track of the purpose of your blog post. How was he racist again? That is truly desperate. Hahahaha! Obviously you are going to think that anyone who runs against the war mongering corporate whore you voted for in 2008 is unfit to be a president, no matter what. You will will find ANY excuse! Your pride is far too great to see things with balance. That lame obscure attack piece in the media is the closest excuse you could come up with to an actual reason to be against Ron Paul. And you make it sound so reasonable, too. "He's really good for many reasons, but..." Hahaha!

Yep! You're right! Ron Paul must be a racist who is unfit to be a president! HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!!



Chris Falter said...

Oiy -

Re-reading my comment, I see that I indulged in some unsuitably glib rhetoric when I used the phrases "quite an odd way to fire someone..." and "Just sayin'." I apologize for the unwarranted tone.

I share Paul's concern that U.S. foreign policy has been far too hawkish, and it's a serious problem. I'm glad that you and I agree about that.

I do acknowledge that I looked past some serious flaws when I voted for Obama in 2008. It is the nature of voting for any politician, I suppose, that you have to take some chaff with the wheat when you pull the voting lever. I would definitely vote for Huntsman over Obama, and I would quite possibly vote for Paul over Obama in spite of my serious concern about how Paul handled the newsletter issue from 1998 to 2002. At this point I'm not so sure about the rest of the GOP field, though.

Easter Bunny said...

Hurrah! Thank you for getting to the crux, Christopher J. Falter. On a serious note, I know you haven't believed in me for a long time, but I need someone with your hare-splitting abilities to prove my existence in court. It will be the greatest case since the miracle on 34th St. All these skeptical adults never buy any carrots for their their children to leave me. And then they raise a generation of greedy, unappreciative little boogers who leave out Easter baskets expecting my candy. They leave milk and cookies for Santa Clause but WHAT DOES THE EASTER BUNNY GET?! NOTHING! I need you to take my case, Chris, then the world can treat me with a little more respect :)

oiysdfjkhsacjhwef said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
oiysdfjkhsacjhwef said...

I don't know where Mr. Kirchick gets the dates 1998-2002 from. The date of the incident was in 1990 I believe. The statement MOST LIKELY (but never proven to be) written by Lew Rockwell was written in response to the LA riots and then a few years after that he was fired. 1998 to 2002 (or whatever is being claimed, there's lots of numbers being thrown around) is way off. Not that it matters much...

Chris Falter said...

@Easter Bunny - Unfortunately, I am not able to vote for our all-time favorite presidential candidate: Truman

@Oiy - The point is that Rockwell's statements in the Ron Paul Report (and related publications under Paul's name) came to light in 1998...yet as of four years later Ron Paul was still employing Rockwell as a paid consultant to his campaign. In my opinion that demonstrated extremely poor judgment by Paul with regard to displaying basic respect for Americans of all ethnicities, not to mention civil rights--which are an important function of the federal government under the 14th and 15th amendments to our constitution.

Chris Falter said...

And btw that's my point, not Kirchik's, fwiw. :)

oiysdfjkhsacjhwef said...

Something like that. True enough. It's somewhat muddled. Ron Paul is very open with who he associates in the way that Jesus wined and dined with tax collectors and prostitutes, or heck, parallels can even be drawn to the X-Men with all their character flaws.

Again, I'd avoid the Lew Rockwell like the plague personally but Ron Paul employed him for his skills and connections in a setting in which his racism could play no part. Me personally, I wouldn't do it, but if that's all the dirt we can dig up on the guy (and the establishment is EXTRAORDINARILY DESPERATE to do so) I think he gets an "A" on his background check and I'm glad it was brought into question.

There were many people who called Obama's character into question for associating with that undoubtedly crazy pastor for years and years. And there were other associations that Obama kept even as president which could be called into question for similar reasons, but honestly that was something I was never concerned about. And even though I knew Obama was pro-war before he was even elected, I was always telling others who brought up the pastor that that was a really poor erroneous reason to disapprove of Barack Obama. But of course, partisan is as partisan does. No good reason is necessary.

Chris Falter said...

I'm still wishing I could vote for Hare-y Truman.

Jeff Thomas said...

Dear random blogger who shows signs of classic intelligence but has the reasoning of a 4-year-old,

It is quite hilarious to read through these comments and watch each of the supporting arguments for your irrational fear of someone with an "R" next to his name be obliterated and then watch you scramble desperately to reformulate so you can continue to justify your brainwashed biases. Especially funny was how after the last thread you were hanging onto was cut, you came up with the idea that not throwing someone under the bus when nobody had any idea who ghost wrote the newsletter was somehow "un-presidential". Yes. The "presidential" thing to do is to make someone's head roll whenever the media amplifies rumors. Yes, very "presidential". Rather, there's nothing wrong with the media probing it but that doesn't mean any action was necessary.

Oh btw, it wasn't Lew Rockwell anyway. http://www.fox19.com/story/16458700/reality-check-the-name-of-a-mystery-writer-of-one-of-ron-pauls-racist-newsletters?autostart=true
Well. Maybe there's still a thread of a chance that is was Lew and you can still hang onto that thread. Ha. Yeah. Sorry to take your concession prize away.

Jeff Thomas said...

Neat idea about Jesus, btw.

Chris Falter said...

Hi Jeff,

Thanks for stopping by! I'm glad you liked the article about the resurrected Jesus and quantum tunneling. I plan to do some more blogging about religion and science in the near future, so please keep stopping by and leaving comments.

As for the Ron Paul question: I raised the issue because I want our president to be passionate about justice, particularly in concern for the poor and disadvantaged. Not that everyone who is poor should be given a chalet, but they should be given a chance.

As for the details, Lew Rockwell was 100% responsible for publishing the various newsletters that went out under Paul's name. Whether he authored the articles or not is irrelevant; Rockwell was responsible for determining whether content should be included, edited, or omitted. He exercised the judgment, so he ought to bear appropriate consequences.

I'm not suggesting that Paul should have called Rockwell nasty names, or crossed the street to avoid meeting him. I continue to suggest, however, that Paul should have stopped employing Rockwell as a consultant in political campaigns once Rockwell's responsibility for racist rants became clear.

Terminating someone's employment is not necessarily throwing him under the bus; if I chose to quote (with approval) the racist portions of Paul's early 90s newsletters, I would expect my employer to terminate my employment at the earliest opportunity. I would have to accept appropriate consequences for such colossally bad judgment.

Enjoy the rest of this Lord's day, Jeff, and I hope to hear from you again soon!

Jeff Thomas said...

You just turned your last thread of fear and bias around into a faux victory. Congratulations?

If your concern was for the "president to be passionate about justice, particularly in concern for the poor and disadvantaged" then this should have caught your eye.
But closed minds create closed eyes. If it was truly your concern, then you would know how pointless the blog entry was. Rather, your concern is not for the truth in the big picture, but to turn around certain truths you find under a microscope into faux victories to justify your biases and irrational fears. Perhaps you shouldn't view politics the same way you win at chess.

If your concern was for the "president to be passionate about justice, particularly in concern for the poor and disadvantaged" then why does it seem you voted for Barack Obama? Some nonsense about having "no choice" and pulling the lever? Is that the explanation you would give to someone from Afghanistan?

You are not concerned about the truth ultimately. Rather, you are concerned about who wins or loses. Attitudes like yours make everybody lose. You are what's wrong with America. You could have voted with what I assume are your principles (against war, drug war, abortion, for justice, humanity, etc.) but instead voted with your bias and irrational fear (and blogged proudly about it). At least the person you had bias in favor of won, so you can at least have a faux victory in your mind. Hurray.

Chris Falter said...

Hi Jeff,

When I filter out all the ad hominem stuff you just wrote, I think that you're trying to say:

* Ron Paul has opined that we should never think about race and only about individuals, so he is not a racist.

* The Obama administration's conduct in Afghanistan has not been just.

Am I reading that correctly?

oiysdfjkhsacjhwef said...

Oiy vey, my inbox says this started back up. Chris, you are about 1000 times more compassionate than Hitler ... but about 1000 times more closed minded if "Ron Paul has opined that we should never think about race and only about individuals, so he is not a racist" is all you got from those videos. Just .... wow. That is truly a remarkable feat of human self deception. If self deception were an Olympic event, you would surely medal. I'm guessing at some point in your life, this remarkable ability of yours saved your neck, and that is why you continue with it. If so, it is probably time to revisit that time of your life so you can release it and set yourself free.

I don't know why Jeff didn't point out that you were merely rehashing the same argument that I settled already, your argument that Ron Paul's political associations probably make him bad. Let's try this. If you had blogged about Obama's Rev. Jeremiah Wright, the racist preacher who shouted, "Don't say 'God bless America' say, 'God damn America, God damn America!' " and who helps him establish important political connections, then you would at least be consistent if not a little paranoid. I've never been concerned about the cooky reverend and even defended Obama against republicans who harped on that and maybe that's why I see this blog post as an expression of paranoia of republicans (who I hate too, but not at the expense of loving their equally bad rivals.)

According to your own standards, hahahaha this is funny, that would bring Barack Obama into serious question as to whether he may be racist. Really? Nah. He may be incredibly evil and not an ordinary everyday guy as most of us assume but he is not racist.

This failure to blog about Jeremiah Wright of course makes you incredibly hypocritical and biased (along with almost everything you've written) but that is not such an alarming thing. That is what makes you an ordinary, normal, everyday guy.

If you truly want to prove your brilliance, I challenge to to explain WHY this is such a normal behavior indulged in by an incredibly overwhelming majority of humans. It is explainable why we lie to ourselves when we have something to gain from it. But why do we lie to ourselves when it only cuts off our own feet? We vote for people who we have told ourselves explicitly that we don't like "but at least he's not as bad as ____". We vote for people we hate and then complain that we hate the corruption in Washington. SRSLY??????? And then we say "if you don't vote, you don't have the right to complain". How about, "if you vote for what you hate, don't complain that you hate it"? This is unexplainable from the evolutionary psychology perspective. Prove your brilliance, Christopher J. Falter, and explain what I can not. I can not suggest where the best place is to start pondering and/or researching, but I do imagine it would be great at some point to read up on the Milgram Experiment.

oiysdfjkhsacjhwef said...

As to Hitler comments ... he lied to others, not to himself. You lie to yourself, not to others. Hence, more closed minded. It didn't make much sense to say it the way I did.

Chris Falter said...

Hi oiy -

Thanks for stopping by, I always appreciate comments. In the interest of obeying Galatians 4:6, I will simply note that

(1) Obama never claimed that Rev. Wright's odious statements were really okay and that criticism of them was merely political opportunism taking them out of context.

(2) Obama very strongly disassociated himself with Rev. Wright and his comments on April 29, 2008:

The person that I saw yesterday was not the person that I met 20 years ago. His comments were not only divisive and destructive, but I believe that they end up giving comfort to those who prey on hate, and I believe that they do not portray accurately the perspective of the black church. They certainly don't portray accurately my values and beliefs. And if Reverend Wright thinks that that's political posturing, as he put it, then he doesn't know me very well. And based on his remarks yesterday, well, I may not know him as well as I thought either.... What became clear to me is that he was presenting a world view that contradicts who I am and what I stand for, and what I think particularly angered me was his suggestion somehow that my previous denunciation of his remarks were somehow political posturing. Anybody who knows me and anybody who knows what I'm about knows that I am about trying to bridge gaps and I see the commonality in all people. ...

May you enjoy God's abundant blessings, oiy. Have a great day!

oiysdfjkhsacjhwef said...

Hip hip hooray! After a huge long string of failures, an infinitesimal point went Chris' way. Way to go Chris!!!!!@! Of course that still leaves the fact that Obama has compassionate words while Ron Paul .... Whatever. It's just some trivial argument between us that isn't important. As always, you completely miss the heart of what is going on and get distracted with unimportant details and words.

So I will present you with what I feel is important. If you truly have a desire in your heart to understand, then hopefully this time you will FINALLY get the point of what is going on here. If not, then it does not matter if you are Einstein. Literally.

So, what about what I wrote in the last comment?

"If you truly want to prove your brilliance, I challenge to to explain WHY this is such a normal behavior indulged in by an incredibly overwhelming majority of humans. It is explainable why we lie to ourselves when we have something to gain from it. But why do we lie to ourselves when it only cuts off our own feet? We vote for people who we have told ourselves explicitly that we don't like "but at least he's not as bad as ____". We vote for people we hate and then complain that we hate the corruption in Washington. SRSLY??????? And then we say "if you don't vote, you don't have the right to complain". How about, "if you vote for what you hate, don't complain that you hate it"? This is unexplainable from the evolutionary psychology perspective. Prove your brilliance, Christopher J. Falter, and explain what I can not. I can not suggest where the best place is to start pondering and/or researching, but I do imagine it would be great at some point to read up on the Milgram Experiment.

That is what is important.

If you do not care about that, then your embarrassing hypocrisy will never end when you speak of politics. You will continue to get the last word every time you speak of politics while everybody rolls their eyes behind you because of how you pretend to listen (and seem to fool yourself into believing that you listen well) but do the exact opposite.

If you do not care about that, then you will keep voting for people you hate, and then continue to complain that you hate the state of politics and blame all the corruption on only (or mostly) the other half of the politicians engaging in it and live in a state of psychopathic denial about politics as you support one half of the psychopaths that We the People vote for, etc. I have a hard time imagining that closed mindedness like yours doesn't affect your relationships at least a little bit in a bad way.

Seriously, if your perception that "Ron Paul has opined that we should never think about race and only about individuals, so he is not a racist" is all you got from Jeff Thomas' videos, then you have a seriously bad, Olympic medal placing level of closed mindedness. Is this not important to you? That you are so closed minded that you can't even understand the simplest things when they are inconvenient to your political bias?

I will finish by reiterating another important point I stated previously. "If self deception were an Olympic event, you would surely medal. I'm guessing at some point in your life, this remarkable ability of yours saved your neck, and that is why you continue with it. If so, it is probably time to revisit that time of your life so you can release it and set yourself free."

oiysdfjkhsacjhwef said...

God heave his abundant blessings upon you.

oiysdfjkhsacjhwef said...

Oh I forgot something. Another possibility: It could also be because you believe that there was an event in your life where, had you been closed minded enough, things wouldn't have turned out so bad. You should revisit that and give it up to God so you can let go of it and set yourself free.

oiysdfjkhsacjhwef said...

That is, in said event, if it exists, you believe you were not closed minded enough.

Jeff Thomas said...

You came across kind of scattered brained this last round. Not a surprise as you were trying to explain color to a blind person. It's a monumental undertaking.
I like what you said about what can not be explained about people. There was a brilliant statement made by [name intentionally left out so as not to get Christopher off topic]. He said the voting public is "like an abused woman who believes her husband or boyfriend every time he promises to stop drinking." He still doesn't explain the problem. Abused women keep going to abusive men because they are reliving old abuse hoping to handle it right and make up for the past. The voting public does not have that motivation that I can see. Quite a quandary you brought up. Do you know a lot about evolutionary psychology???

oiysdfjkhsacjhwef said...

Jeff .... no :( haha. I don't know too much about evolutionary psychology. I just know what I learn from pop science (which gets cooler everyday but I'm wary of pop psychology which can still be pretty corny). And now that I think of it, those in the know would probably* just amount it to tribalism (my best guess) ... which to me, would still not be a very satisfactory explanation.

I do think ego/identity may have something to do with it. I also think addictive behavior patterns may have something to do with it. Being from South Carolina, I got perhaps the best view of this addictive behavior.

Many, many people would announce in person or on facebook that Barack Obama is a bad president but that the other guy was even worse so they'd vote for BO anyways. I sometimes would point out that for as long as we've known, a minimum of 3/5ths (and often 2/3rds) of SC votes go to whoever the republican candidate is, no matter how bad he is, and the winner of the state takes EVERY electoral college point.... So if they're are going to vote for someone who will get ZERO electoral points from their vote, then why not vote for someone they would like (such as Jill Stein of the Green party) instead of someone they hate? The answer I always got back was something to the nature of, "hmmm, okay... you know, you're right ... but ... I ... I just can't help it". It sounds exactly like what cigarette smokers often say. They know cigarettes are bad for them but they "just can't help it". Something else to ponder.

Thanks for jumping in, Jeff. This thread has gone from OCD to interesting.

Jeff Thomas said...

Where did the Chris Falter guy go to?

oiysdfjkhsacjhwef said...

I'm afraid that Chris despises meaningful discussions when it comes to politics. In a discussion, all sides can learn from each other. In a discussion, ideas open up. In a discussion, there are not super egos, "winners" or "losers", or any such deconstructive things.

Chris much rather prefers debates. I don't know why.

In a debate, both sides are trying their absolute hardest to "win" as if there is such a thing. It is a phantom that they seek. They try their hardest to persuade the other person to change their bias to the other person's bias (as if that would be an improvement). This of course never happens and both sides lose miserably. However, both sides do not realize this because both sides are very very delusional in that they always redefine their victory terms as: not having their bias budged an inch by their opponent. And VOILA! The odds of "winning" are about 99.9999%!!! Why give a hair off your back about reality or philosophy when you can "win" so easily? WHERE'S MY GOLD MEDAL?! I DEMAND A GOLD MEDAL!

Chris Falter said...

Gentlemen -

This week has been very busy for me. but I do want to join the discussion you have started about a very interesting question: Why do some people vote for a candidate they dislike to try to keep someone they perceive as worse out of office, and then complain about the person they voted for?

First, a caveat: we are talking about a minority of American voters, if I have understood the public opinion polls and the people I have spoken with personally. I want to clarify this point so that if a friend stumbles across this thread, he or she will not think that I have lumped my friend into a great herd of like-thinking folks who vote based on fear rather than conviction. Voting is a very complex behavior, so I hesitate to generalize to the entire American populace. On the other hand, oiy, you are right that too many vote based the calculation of the least worst, so the question is worth pondering.

Why would someone vote based primarily on fear of something or someone terrible? This does look like voters are identifying with a tribe (as you have surmised, oiy--nice insight), so evolutionary psychology might shed some light. In the Pleistocene era, recognizing and fearing outsiders was vital to survival. Outsiders, after all, might steal your possessions, your family, or even your life. Evolutionary psychology posits that fear must be a major factor in the interaction between groups that consider each other outsiders. So it is not surprising that tribalism and fear play a big role in the quintessentially group-oriented exercise we call politics.

Sadly, the fear of outsiders has been a very strong force in politics everywhere, including the U.S. of A. Looking backwards, we see the "Know-Nothing" movement and Jim Crow. Today, we still see a strong anti-immigrant fervor in some quarters, and the major political parties raise the most funds when they urge their supporters to "stop the threat posed by ___________" (fill in the blank). My inbox is cluttered with such fund-raising emails.

Since fear plays such a important role in politics, then, it is not surprising that many voters cast their ballot in order to block someone or something they really dislike, rather than for a third-party candidate who might represent their interests better. Perhaps it even explains the strong, even addictive, pull that many of your friends have displayed with respect to major party candidates, oiy.

Personally, I have no reservation in casting my vote for third-party candidates. I voted for John Anderson back in '80, and I have voted for the Green Party candidate in the '04. The major reason I voted for Huntsman (who, let's face it, was a rather unconventional Republican) in the 2012 SC primary rather than Paul was that I preferred Huntsman's vision over Paul's. For example, I agree with the mission of the EPA and the Department of Education. I have every confidence that Ron Paul is compassionate to his neighbors and his patients, but his vision of government is so limited that a Paul presidency would, in my opinion, hamstring governmental efforts that lay the groundwork for upward mobility for the poor.

You evidently disagree with my evaluation of Paul, which is fine. Intelligent, well-intentioned people need not agree about everything.

As to the question of why people complain, I would suggest that people don't like being presented with a choice between bad and worse. Choosing the bad rather than the worse doesn't necessarily contradict complaining about the bad, in my opinion. Better to light a candle, though.

Chris Falter said...

I welcome your further comments, and not just on this topic (since you were interested in one of my posts about Jesus). However, I must ask you to refrain from personal invective as we continue. The readers of this blog deserve better than to see someone labeled "an incredible hypocrite" or having "the reasoning of a 4-year old." I think I have proven my willingness to host comments that disagree with me, but I ask you to express such disagreement (with me or with anyone else) in a manner that does not force me to exercise editorial discretion. I will hold myself to the same standard of respectful language, as well.

oiysdfjkhsacjhwef said...

Awesome, thoughtful, open-minded comment, Chris. Very very good. I had every confidence in your potential to do it. Otherwise, I wouldn't have badgered you into it. Indeed, it was the only way you have ever done that in the past. The more polite I get, the worse you get. This is proven. However, sometimes a person can be diplomatic by coaxing the other person be the diplomat. Since you are trying very hard to "win", when I lay out the opportunity for you to gain points as the polite person, you take it. However, getting you to take the bait to be non-partisan (i.e. open minded) is more tricky because that is like giving up cigarettes for you. It takes quite a lot of coaxing.

It's all an act. I don't like debates and you know what I think about them. But I feel as if we both reach a milestone together on the rare occasions that you open up and get honest with yourself before speaking out about politics. That is indeed a big accomplishment because you are of course partisan. You can not with a non-delusional, clear conscious say that you are not partisan. You are partisan. Everybody knows it. Partisan is biased, pretty much by definition. But like I said, that makes you a normal person. No shame!!! Or not nearly as much as you think it is ;) The problem comes with how you seemingly believe that you are somehow NOT partisan or biased and that you are above all that, which is bewildering to onlookers. At least most partisans own their problem. You however seem to go in denial of it. Just the same, most smokers admit it's bad for their health and would like to quit but occasionally you encounter someone who says it's just propaganda and cigarettes aren't bad for you. Among partisans, you come across like the latter smoker.

I surmise that if this entry and subsequent comments were written with the same kind of thoughtfulness and open-mindedness as your penultimate comment, it would not force a debate on those volunteering to be dragged into your biased political world, and it would not attract the laughter of Jeff who recognized what was really going on.

Jeff Thomas said...

I will state this in a matter of fact way. It's not personal.

The most evident trademark of someone more swayed by words/image than by substance is to vote for a candidate based on their "vision". I haven't seen it any other way. Had I the clues that Chris Falter voted based on "vision" and that he voted in the republican primary, my only guess would be that he voted for Huntsman. Huntsman has an admirable rhetorical style based on Barack Obama's. Huntsman's campaign words had many red flags of contradiction to his words and deeds of the past, no surprise. oiysdfjkhsacjhwef was right. The business about the RP newsletter is apparently a rationalization, since it is meager compared to Huntsman's skeletons.

Chris Falter said...

@Jeff - I considered saying that I voted for Huntsman because he was chairman of the Western Governer's Association; the Pew Center named Utah the #1 best-managed state during his tenure; he was a strong supporter of smart education policies as a governor and presidential candidate; he supported a market solution like cap-and-trade to the enormous problem of human-induced climate change; the Bureau of Labor Statistics rated Utah as #1 in job growth during his years as governor; and that all these accomplishments were the result of his belief that government has an indispensable role in laying the groundwork for a just and profitable society. Since the discussion I was having with oiy was only tangentially related to Huntsman, though, it was easier to say that I preferred his "vision."

You evidently disagree with my assessment of Huntsman. No problem: reasonable, well-intentioned people can disagree about these things.

As for why I made this post about the RP publications in the 90s: I already explained why in the original post and in subsequent comments, and I stand by what I said. You disagree with my evaluation, which--this is worth repeating--is not a problem. Reasonable, well-intentioned people can discuss facts and perspectives in a respectful way, and they may ultimately choose to "agree to disagree."

oiysdfjkhsacjhwef said...

Well those sure sound like good reasons. Though this post has been proven to be pointless numerous times, now the question that is begging is why point this out at all when it was small change next to Huntsman's "skeletons" as Jeff pointed out? I didn't even think of that but it's a good point because it brings up the point that it seems very much like someone seeing what they WANT to see.

That is actually a much bigger problem than it may seem (a spiritual problem). This is the norm with politics, yours and everyone else’s. At the least, you could have written an entry praising Huntsman (who by the way, has the awesomest theme song ever www.youtube.com/watch?v=vPbIiLrNGZo ...so who cares that his rhetoric is based on Obama’s when his character is based on Charlton Heston’s from Planet of The Apes =D how awesome) instead trying to bring others down by amplifying skeletons that were less than those of the candidate of your own choice. You have to admit it was an odd choice, however normal it is.

The thing is, this typical behavior is actually a spiritually dangerous habit to have. Yes, it is what nearly EVERYONE does. It is perfectly normal! And yes, it is a spiritually dangerous habit.

I'll give some well known examples of this.... During the G.W. Bush years, republicans would say that anyone against war was "on the side of the terrorists". They would also say that anyone against the violation of the 4th amendment was "on the side of the terrorists". It is BLATANTLY OBVIOUS that those statements are not true, yet they would say it anyway. They *chose to believe it. With the current administration, people often say that anyone disagreeing with Obama is "racist" which obviously makes no sense. And most democrats said that the tea party (while it existed, haha) was "dangerous" and "violent" when it was embarrassingly obvious that this was just partisan hype and cable news hype but, it was convenient to their point of view, so they lied to themselves and pretended that this noise pollution was true anyway.

These behaviors are a *betrayal of the knowledge that God gives to a person. They know for a fact that those things they say are not true and yet they make the choice (on purpose!) to lie to themselves and believe it anyway. The above are examples of things that God clearly has given most people the knowledge that it is not true, yet so many betray that knowledge. 

I hope you can intuitively see why this would be a spiritually dangerous habit to get into. Most can probably see that this is bad but would say to themselves that they would never fall into that habit with something truly important. But that is not so. The very nature of habit dictates that a person will become more and more comfortable with something they thought they wouldn’t become comfortable with, whether good or bad. The more habitual something becomes, the more blissfully ignorant one becomes of one’s own intentions. The more comfortable something becomes, the easier it is to step into further territory that one once thought was impossible for them.

For example, there were instances when some democrats had their 1st Amendment rights violated in the Bush years, and republican were pleased with it, and later instances of republicans having their 1st Amendments rights violated to the satisfaction of democrats. How did many people gradually get to that point where they are desensitized and no longer uncomfortable with behaving like that? It would be easy to assume they never became uncomfortable and just still act like mean little children, but that is probably not the case in my opinion.


oiysdfjkhsacjhwef said...

Another example.... Imagine it’s the 1990’s. Imagine the reaction that would have occurred if the government passed a law taking away anyone’s Constitutional rights who is merely accused of terrorism. Imagine the outrage. It would indeed be among the greatest of offenses that a piece of legislation can commit. Now fast forward. After years of everyone’s favorite “moderate” republicans and democrats in the Senate trying to make that a reality and years of the “war on terror” and the TSA, etc. the Obama administration pushes it through. Some have such a HABIT of just automatically defending politicians that they invested their egos in (i.e. voted for), that they would even write off the most offensive legislation since before the 13th/14th Amendment and make excuses on behalf of the offenders in Congress. Probably most republicans who took notice just liked that it was fodder against a democrat out of habit instead having genuine concern about freedom. At one point, that legislation would have been inexcusable, but after much time of gradually getting more comfortable with bad habits, that legislation passed with barely a whimper from the American public. Those who make excuses are doing something that they themselves never would have imagined themselves being able to do a long time ago. (This is also why a large, long view is the most important one when dealing with things of historical significance).

But the effects of our spiritually bad habits don’t stop with just the U.S. getting the government that it deserves. Spiritually bad habits can remove the discomfort in unexpected areas and can potentially affect people’s most personal decisions.

There is an interesting (and scary) parallel to the vote-for-what-you-hate phenomenon: single Christian adults. An obscene portion of them (perhaps even a majority in the U.S.) say that they do believe saving sex for marriage is best (even non-religious people say this often) but that they don't save it because "unfortunately there's just no way to get along/find a spouse if you do that," as many typically say. That just makes no sense to me. If everybody did what they believed in, then there would be a much, much larger pool of celibate single Christians to choose from. But instead, an alarming number of them give up and cut off their own feet in this manner and adversely affect their own lives, creating baggage and trauma for themselves.

There was a popular expression on the internet in 2012: ‘If everybody who said, “I’d vote for Ron Paul but he can’t win” voted for him, then he would win.’ This is the same situation with single Christian adults. There may be other explanations beyond just that the Devil has influence in people’s lives but whatever the explanations, people have spiritually dangerous habits, and they do things that they never thought they would do, things that they themselves believe are bad. Habits bring us gradually with comfort to territories we once avoided like the plague. It can not be predicted how betraying one’s own knowledge will translate and where it will take us in the future but it is certain that it makes us weaker and less wise.

Chris Falter said...

Hi oiy - Excellent thoughts. I agree completely with your perspective on singleness and celibacy. I am very grateful that I remained celibate until marrying my beautiful Linda, who is a true gift from God. I was only 23 when I married, so that might not seem like much compared to the lifetime of celibacy that my uncle and hero in the faith, Father John Falter, maintained in order to serve the Church as a priest...and it isn't, I'm sure! But guarding one's heart for God's purposes can never be wrong. Keep fighting the good fight for purity of heart, oiy. Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.

I have never agreed with the Patriot Act. I agree with you that in the difficult confict between spying on al-Qaeda versus the 4th Amendment right to privacy, Obama has erred too much on the spying side. But it is a difficult conflict to manage. How many of those who are complaining about the Obama administration's policies in this area are actually managing their privacy options in Facebook and Google in a manner consistent with their professed concern for privacy? I am sure that not all of them do, because I for one haven't taken a hard line in my Google profile settings! :) I doubt I am the only one.

As for the allusion to Huntsman's skeletons: I can't really say anything useful until someone brings specific details to my attention. I probably couldn't say anything useful afterwards either--the world has moved on. Maybe we should, too. :)

Chris Falter said...

I also agree with you, oiy, about the danger of growing comfortable with the violation of our Constitutional rights. It's much like the frog remaining comfortable as the water heats up...until he's boiled to death!

The greatest danger is spiritual complacency, though. I think you hit the nail on the head with your example from the world of Christian singles: too many have grown comfortable with living in rebellion against God. And they have damaged themselves (and each other) in the process. My own experience speaks of the joys and advantages of waiting until the wedding day: Linda and I have enjoyed a marvelous friendship and trust in almost 30 years of wedded bliss, but the key was laying the friendship and trust foundation (by God's help and grace) in the years we dated.