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Occam Bandage's Journal - Archives
Posted by Occam Bandage in General Discussion (1/22-2007 thru 12/14/2010)
Fri Jan 30th 2009, 02:02 PM
Mythological belief does not have anything to do with fact. No fundamentalist Christian cares whether Genesis is historically inaccurate. No alien conspiracy theorist cares whether their evidence of alien-made crop circles has been debunked. No government conspiracy theorist cares whether their belief in CIA control of everything is plausible. No anti-Semite cares whether the Protocols of the Elders of Zion have been debunked.

They believe not because facts are on their side, but because their source texts tell them a "truth" about the world that they do not want to abandon. The fundamentalist Christian does not believe in Genesis because he thinks the evidence proves it occurred, he believes because he fears meaningless chaos and wants to believe in a world that has been ordered by a benevolent power for his benefit. The conspiracy theorist does not believe because he thinks the evidence proves that aliens have abducted people or that the government actively watches everyone at all times, he believes because he fears meaningless isolation and wants to believe in a world where all are meticulously observed and watched by an inscrutable, distant authority. An anti-Semite does not believe because he thinks the evidence proves Jews control everything, he believes because he fears his lot in life is due to his own failings, and wants to believe in a world where he is victim of a cabal of secretive, malignant people preventing him and others like him from succeeding.

They find, cherry-pick, inflate, manufacture and spin facts because our society demands facts to justify beliefs. However, you need to realize that those are purely post-hoc justifications, and have nothing to do with the reasons for belief.
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Posted by Occam Bandage in General Discussion (1/22-2007 thru 12/14/2010)
Fri Jan 30th 2009, 12:43 PM
driven by the geometric acceleration of technological and economic innovation, and with many friction points from World Wars to culture wars.

Before the latter half of the 20th century, the last major fundamentalist upheaval in America was in the middle of the 19th century, as the country converted from an agricultural to an industrial urban society, and fought a major civil war over the ensuing societal and political changes. This is when "in God we trust" was added to currency, and this is when soldiers sang songs of "the Glory of the coming of the Lord" as they marched to war. As America adapted to this new world, however, the fundamentalist spirit waned, and religious fervor subsided.

Before that, the previous major fundamentalist upheaval occurred around the time of the American Revolution, as mercantile colonialism gave way to independent capitalism. Before that, the previous major fundamentalist upheaval occurred as the American colonies began to take on a stable identity and build a new culture out of the rough and hostile land.

We are in a world now in which we may never become truly native. Moore's law still holds, and each decade brings greater changes than the decade before it. Paradigms are built in one year and shattered four years later. Cultures continue to merge and blend, and economies open as jobs, goods, languages, and values hop international flights and end up on the other side of the world. The world spins faster and faster, along newer and stranger axes.

Meanwhile, more and more people turn to the solid groundings of the Bible, the Torah, and the Koran, as new and innovative fundamentalist sects offer claims of reassurance and shared fiery anger at the endlessly changing world.

So long as the world exists, there will be religions to react to it. So long as the world changes, there will be fundamentalists to shake their fists at it. I doubt fundamentalism is going away any time soon.
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that were on
the DU

and which
were probably planning
on complaining
about something

forgive me
they are annoying
so shrill
and so lame
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Posted by Occam Bandage in General Discussion (1/22-2007 thru 12/14/2010)
Mon Jan 12th 2009, 05:37 PM
you can lose your head when all about you
Are losing theirs, and blaming it on the DLC,
If you can doubt Dems when all men trust them
And make no allowance for their trusting too,
If you can complain and not be tired by complaining,
Or being replied to, deal in hyperbole,
Or being flamed, give way to flaming.
And yet don't write too well, nor too wise:

If you can dream--and then make dreams your master,
If you can think--and then make thoughts your aim;
If you can meet with Trolls and Centrists,
And treat those two impostors just the same;
If you can bear to see the words you've written
quote-replied by knaves to make a trap for stupid sods,
Or watch the things you've posted quickly locked,
with "flamebait" as the judgement of the mods,

If you can make one heap of all your complaints
And then post "K&R if you agree,"
And hit the greatest page within an hour,
Then copy paste the whole thing the next week,
If you can force your clicks, your keys, and fingers
To type in outrage though of outrage you're sore,
And so complain when there is nothing in you
Except that which says to you: "don't stop, type more!"

If you can talk with tinfoilers and keep your brains in,
Or serve as a mod, but not lose that common touch,
If you can argue for hours, always saying the same thing,
If all men K&R you, but none too much,
If you can fill the unforgiving message box
With a huge, unreadable wall of text
Then never mind the tombstones and the threadlocks,
For you'll be a DUer like all the rest!

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Posted by Occam Bandage in General Discussion (1/22-2007 thru 12/14/2010)
Mon Jan 12th 2009, 04:45 PM
In order to pass anything through Congress that would not already have the full support of both parties, he must first bring that issue to the public and ensure that the public gets behind the initiative to such an extent that a Congressman voting against the bill would be, to some extent, imperiling his career. That is how influential Presidents, from FDR (for good) to Reagan (for evil) pass legislation. In order to do this, a President must place the trust, respect, and command that he possesses on the line. These are collectively known as "political capital," which is gained through elections, re-elections, crises, and successes in office, which is spent in pushes for new legislation, and which is lost through failures in office.

Initiating a prosecution would require a significant expenditure of political capital. He must first convince the nation that taking the completely unprecedented step of prosecuting the a previous President for the decisions he made in office is a valuable thing for the country to do. This will be difficult (but not impossible); many Americans will ask why he is not spending every minute he has trying to fix the economy, and he will have to lay his credibility on the line in his answer. Sustaining a prosecution will bleed political capital and will make it almost impossible for Obama to launch any new initiatives as long as the investigation and the trial continue, which will very likely be years. Each night in which a news broadcast revolves not around the President's pleas to the nation about health care, but rather around the previous President's defenses for his national security actions, is a night in which Obama's agenda is stalled. Any trial of Bush will lead to many, many such nights. And if it comes to pass that the evidence is not strong enough for a criminal conviction (as it might well not be, for Bushies have a way with covering their tracks and destroying the evidence), then Obama will have almost no credibility to speak of, and the President in 2013 will almost certainly be a Republican.

As for your question in the body text? Forget "flouting." Any law Obama passes can and will be outright changed by the next President and Congress, regardless of whether Bush is prosecuted, as long as the public can be convinced to either support or ignore such an endeavor.
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