Post-primary postmodernism

Wherein a few loose ends are explored.
(Updated to clarify meaning of terms.)

1. The GOP has a bigotry problem. Those who are genuinely trying to combat it have my sympathy, if not my confidence. A commenter at TC who goes by Muslim Conservative has been patiently doing a lot of heavy lifting in that regard, and has managed to dislodge some damaging admissions, to wit: Former Republican candidate for Sheriff Greg Ahlemann has stated once again that he categorically does not “vote for or support candidates who support or practice Islam.” He also stated that he would never vote for or support “a homosexual.”

That statement might surprise those who read my interview with him on Equality Loudoun back in 2007, in which he talked about Muslim friends and gay friends in a way clearly intended to dispel the rumor that he harbors bigotry. What might also surprise you is that his views haven’t changed since then, and that he doesn’t see any contradiction. He genuinely believes, I think, that these statements do not constitute bigotry, and he is not alone in this view.

The argument goes like this: Greg is just saying that he votes according to his faith, and that a “conservative Christian” candidate who shares his beliefs will always be more likely to take policy positions that are consistent with those beliefs. What’s wrong with that, he wants to know. That’s not bigotry.

He’s right. Nothing is wrong with that. Everyone votes according to whether they think a candidate will take positions that are consistent with our beliefs beliefs and values. What else would you base voting on? The problem is that one of these things is not like the other.

The behavior that was identified as bigotry is not the straw man “voting on the basis of shared values beliefs and values.” No, what was correctly identified as bigotry is the sentiment that any member of a particular group, simply by virtue of being a member of that group, is unqualified to hold public office. If you state that you would categorically never vote for a [fill in the blank], you are stating that, to your mind, no member of that group should be able to participate in governance. You are stating that all members of that group should be relegated, by virtue of being a [fill in the blank], to a status of second-class citizenship. That is what bigotry is. The kerfuffle over there of trying to conflate the straw man with the actual position I just described is an interesting window into the problems of people who want to hold on to their prejudices without being thought of as prejudiced.

Anyway, it’s clear that David Ramadan’s woes with regard to the “Anti-Shariah Task Force” crowd did not end with the defeat of his primary opponent. With these sentiments being treated as reasonable, and with promises of an impending mind-blowing exposé on the so-called “Ground Zero Mosque” (again, people: Not at Ground Zero, and not a mosque) coming from within his own party, his troubles are just beginning.

Advantage: Mike Kondratick, a well-qualified and engaging candidate who is neither the target nor the perpetrator of this self-inflicted mess.

2. We hear often that the primary process favors the radical and extremist “on both sides.” If true, it looks pretty one-sided from here. In the 13th (if you believe the spin), the vote was not split between PW-based FitzSimmonds and Stirrup, handing the victory to Black, but instead the radical extremist vote was split between FitzSimmonds and Black. Republicans in the newly drawn district, excepting limited parts of Prince William, clearly are not interested in having a “moderate” candidate – if that’s even what Mr. Stirrup was. It’s hard to see any daylight between his positions and those of his opponents; my guess is that he failed to express an adequately visceral opposition to “female liberty” (a disturbing phrase with no analogue, for which I give credit to our commenter who goes by the handle “Republican”). In any case, the arguments in favor of Mr. Stirrup were of the classic postmodern variety, being that what made him a superior candidate was not his positions (by most accounts just as radical as Black’s), but that he hides them from the general electorate better. I’m still waiting for a reality-based Republican with the courage to say that those positions are actually wrong, and not just damaging to the illusion of moderation when one expresses them too openly.

Advantage: Shawn Mitchell, whose mainstream, moderate appeal does not need to be constructed. It’s actually based on his positions.

3. Finally, I wish I could say that I respect my colleague Barbara Munsey for invoking Pastor Niemöller in the defense of her friend David Ramadan; it’s certainly justified in light of the unreconstructed bigotry he’s been subjected to (and will continue to be, from the looks of things described above). Unfortunately, what we are getting is an object lesson in situational ethics. When the target of vile rhetoric is someone she supports, Ms. Munsey invokes Niemöller. When the perpetrator of vile rhetoric is someone she supports, however: Sound of crickets.

I’m pretty sure that Ms. Munsey doesn’t give a rat’s ass whether I find her moral line in the sand credible or consistent – and boy is that a good thing.

42 thoughts on “Post-primary postmodernism

  1. Epluribusunum Post author

    The moral depravity of naming any group of people less-than-human is what it is. The act is always, as it is in the case of Mr. Delgaudio, very, chillingly, specific. You cannot explain it away or diminish its importance with contemptuous pettiness. Human rights are not a “general issue set,” they are a moral absolute.

    You have no argument, and no credibility. You are done wasting my time.

  2. Barbara Munsey

    David, it appears you are conflating the general and the specific at will, as needed.

    Your demand that I publicly attack on a general issue of your preference, and thus framing the lack as defending a specific, has nothing to do with whether defending specific individual David Ramadan from specific attacks is right or wrong.

    I think we could both probably agree that the specific unfounded and bigoted attacks against that specific individual were wrong.

    “Non-negotiably” wrong, perhaps, in your lexicon.

    That does not change.

    Nothing YOU have said, or could say, changes that, but yet you attempt to do so by attaching that specific incident to your own preferred number one issue, and negating it (or desperately attempting to do so) by demanding agreement and approved direct activism on your preferred general issue set.

    Interesting new post on the single issue voter, and how activists can widen the chasm of discussion by their actions; you have provided a good example, I think, and not only specific to this (specific) case and your (general) beliefs, but how the country ever ended up spending the money in a congessional hearing to discuss the meaning of “is”.

  3. Epluribusunum Post author

    If you choose to publicly defend indefensible, immoral behavior, be prepared for someone to say you can’t be taken seriously as a moral voice. That’s all this is about – a simple, universal, non-negotiable standard of behavior. Nothing you have said, or could say, changes that. And your behavior is entirely your choice. No one can dictate or elicit your actions. You could have chosen to ignore this post and any comments on it, just as I often ignore things said about me.

  4. Barbara Munsey

    I said I was prepared to accept quibbling (the double standard must be maintained–lol) about the difference between CALLING someone something, or merely making a comparison, or claiming they support or defend it, or have sympathy for it, or conflate a belief in it with actually possessing a value (as defined by you, for them).

    I read your blog posts David, and they appeared to me, in my opinion, to be more attacks on Republicans than defense of David the specific individual.

    And again, that’s fine–your blog, your world, your kingdom.

    Now, let’s go out in the larger world (where you need to be if you want to dictate what I support or choose not to support, with which precise words, when and how high): your double standards are very off-putting. There might be a variety of things in which I COULD support your wishes in advocacy, but have learned over the years that your own situational behavior means that there’s really little mutual benefit to it, and it devolves from those double standards and seeming need for validation and control on your part.

    If it were possible for you, for example, to defend the right of Christians to public expression in the courthouse issue (only at a location of YOUR suggestion, and not at the courthouse), and not to turn a blind eye to Jonathan’s near-uniform attack on Christians in that situation (through either “Christianist” rants, or initimations that he defines Christianity since he studies the Bible, and so on), I’d be more open to the possibility.

    But it has not proved possible, to date.

    If it were possible for you to acknowledge that Jonathan compared a woman with a son on active duty to a communist on the local news pages, and admit that his words were perhaps hurtful and inappropriate even while acknowledging his right to disagree with her, it might be possible.

    If, when Jonathan made overtly sexual suggestions to Donny Ferguson here in a thread Liz had to wipe clean and temporarily moderate his postings, you had responded with more than a fond “behave”, it would be something to discuss.

    But as long as the double standard and one way street remains the only street and standard on which you demand to meet the world, be prepared to be lonely on the picket line.

  5. Epluribusunum Post author

    Both false and irrelevant. You have not merely failed to condemn Mr. Delgaudio’s behavior, which is bad enough, you have consistently defended it. I’ve stated already what the issue is. See above.

    False because I personally authored two posts on this blog about the disgusting Islamophobic attacks on Ramadan, in spite of the fact that I am not aligned with him politically. Irrelevant for reasons already stated.

    But I will address the issue of lying. It is a serious accusation, and I don’t take it lightly. I know for a fact that Pariahdog has not and would not call you a “Christian Nationalist,” because he doesn’t believe you are one. If this had not been addressed before (over and over) it could be attributed to a misunderstanding, but I’ve seen you make this same assertion in a variety of venues. Simply put, you know better.

    As for defending Christian Nationalism, that’s a description of observed behavior. I think you do it when it suits your argument, and don’t when it doesn’t. I observe that when it was the JoAnn Chase campaign appealing to voters with the same ideas I have exposed elsewhere as dangerous and un-American – for which you have repeatedly tried to imply that I’m somehow opposed to religious freedom and people of faith – you suddenly became very critical of those ideas. I do take note of the fact that your criticisms (at least those that I saw) were limited to the postmodern concern of how those ideas would impact the outcome of the general election, not whether they are actually good, constitutional, reality-based, etc.

    Again, I think this is a case of situational ethics.

  6. Barbara Munsey

    David, I debated with myself long and hard on whether to point out to you how very (inconsistently) powerful YOU seem to think I am, in that the absence of direct attack on my part is somehow an unassailable defense. Why do you two seem to feel the need to attack me by name in your post, and then discuss what you claim are my values and beliefs in somewhat anal detail? Clank those pony beer bottles, in your tagged territory!

    I repeat, where were YOU when specific human being David Ramadan was the victim of a campaign based entirely on attacking his ethnicity?

    Why, nowhere, because he is a Republican, and therefore guilty of a long laundry list of faults defined by you.

    Your double standards are showing yet again.

    You may correct, rearrange, redefine and attack at will–it’s your blog.

    Out in the larger world, be prepared for others to not necessarily obey your constructs, or in fact even be aware that they are subject to them anywhere other than in your word kingdom.

  7. Epluribusunum Post author

    Barbara, you have consistently defended your (what he is to you, I cannot say) Eugene’s behavior, no matter what he does. In January, he engaged in a behavior that is indefensible and intolerable, and that renders him, without question, morally unfit to hold office. You continued, and continue, to defend him. That is the choice you made, and that is the issue, period. I have been perfectly fair, consistent and clear about this since January. I will not argue about it with you, because there is nothing to argue about.

    The only thing about this post I need to correct is that you apparently care a great deal about what I think.

  8. Barbara Munsey

    Yes, I did.

    I defended David in a campaign based entirely on his ethnicity.

    Where were you, other than sniping from the sidelines that all Republicans are still bigots?

    Your behavior, and Jonathan’s, are not always the best advertisement for your issues, in that among equals, others must first grant you the right to dictate their beliefs, values, opinions, actions, activism, and approved words.

    There may not be enough hours in anyone’s day to not only do that, but provide personal validation for your need for control in the process.

    Lots if issues, much less time.

  9. Barbara Munsey

    Yes, words do matter. That is why you play with attempting to control them FOR OTHERS.

    David, you image the absence of total agreement with you as an active defense of what you wish me to attack.

    Not attacking is not the same as defending.

    And I understand that in the careful world of assumed lexicon control, you understand that but won’t admit it BECAUSE of the double standards inherent in the game.

  10. Barbara Munsey

    David, and you hold proprietary rights to the works of Neimoller since when?

    There is a long list in the piece in question, with the pastor confessing the many groups he ignored in a litany of regret. He ordered the groups in his litany, as do we all.

    Your choice FOR me may be number one on your list, but again, you can’t dictate either total meaning for others, or the order of their own lists. You may wish, from up there in Catoctin, to dictate not only that I GO and campaign in Sterling but how you prefer me to do so.

    The best way for you to have an effect on Delgaudio’s campaign would be to move to Sterling. I don’t plan to, and I doubt you guys do either.

  11. Epluribusunum Post author

    Words matter. I think you know that.

    None of your parsing, slicing and dicing changes what you have correctly identified as the crux of the matter: Your defense of absolutely indefensible, immoral behavior.

  12. Barbara Munsey

    David, please see the guest post “Vote in the Republican primary on August 23”, to find the following:

    Pariahdog says:
    18.08.11 at 20:15

    If you spent 1/100th of your energy defending American values rather than “Christian” Nationalism, I might re-evauluate the very negative opinion that I have of your behavior.

    I am willing to quibble that Jonathan only accused me of “defending” it, rather than practicing it (an easy out, much like when he compares someone’s beliefs or statements to communist or nazi sentiments, but never actually CALLS them a communist or a nazi, and you can then call anyone who points out the rudeness, poor taste, and yes, passive aggression a “liar” and whatever else you choose), but as this is entirely his projection of my beliefs or defense of someone else’s, I would think you might be a bit more objective in tossing around “lie” so very strongly, as you recommend on one of the BSA threads.

    But I understand that in your world (the one you construct for others out of extremely finely parsed malleable words) it’s different.

    The crux of the matter here is probably found in the following, from you on this thread:

    Epluribusunum says:
    29.08.11 at 08:24
    Your credibility on the question of moral fitness for office is now zero.

    The real point is that I must be “established” as someone who, since they won’t shut up, is negated in other ways.

    Unfortunately, the world is larger than the boundaries you try to enforce.

  13. Epluribusunum Post author

    I’m afraid that trying to explain why one’s situational ethics are okay is not an effective refutation of the charge of situational ethics.

    This is a very simple truth. One does not need to have friends who were called “it” by Mr. Delgaudio in order to understand that marking any group of people as less than human is an absolutely unacceptable behavior that must be condemned. Barbara failed to understand it.

    The point of Pastor Niemöller’s statement is that our moral responsibility is universal, and is explicitly not limited to our “friends.” It does not end with “and then they came for me…my bad, I didn’t have the right friends.” So by all means, go ahead and invoke the statement, and continue demonstrating that you don’t understand it at all. I’m not going anywhere.

  14. Epluribusunum Post author

    I’m afraid I don’t see (again) where you have been called a “Christian Nationalist.” Please point it out. I guess it must be in the same place where you were accused of hitting your husband and dog, so it’s actually appropriate that you’ve grouped those lies together.

  15. Barbara Munsey

    David, that was a nice long attack (oh gosh, I’m so sorry–there I go again–was it really engagement, dialogue, or simply another pronouncement? whatever.).

    Sorry, but in all of the window dressing over values, beliefs, etc, if you wish to have some credence yourself, you need to at least go through the motions of entertaining the possibility that no one but the two of you have concluded that you are masters of the concepts, and arbiters of same.

    How funny that you would devote a paragraph to criticizing me by name in the main post, in order to somehow negate the fact that I stood up for my naturalized citizen friend (that’s your job, durn it! Where’s my keffeiyah?), claim I don’t give a rat’s patootie, and now claim you don’t either.

    Call this anything you like, and attack at will. It’s a word game for both of you, and little more.

    Have a nice day dissecting this with more attack.


  16. Barbara Munsey

    (And I neither hit my husband, nor my dog.)

    (and I don’t go to church nor do I talk about my personal beliefs much, so it’s really really hard to try to remember not to call me a Christian Nationalist, so nobody bothers trying to remember)

  17. Barbara Munsey

    Colleague, what you’re missing is that I’m not defending him here.

    I’m defending myself from the charge that my defense of David Ramadan was hypocritical since I have not attacked Delgaudio.

    See the difference?

  18. BlackOut

    Barbara, I get a little irked at folks trying to defend Delgaudio when he has consistently, frequently, and publicly exposed his life driven calling. He’s a bigoted and hateful. Proven. End of story.

    He does not deserve the benefit of the doubt, and he certainly is indefensible. The letter I referred to was absolutely disgusting. Add to that he smirked about it and laughed with his supporters about how “clever” it was.

    Maybe he can go to a “special” religious care center to be cured of his disease.

  19. Epluribusunum Post author

    BlackOut, you are being more charitable than I am inclined to be at this point. Someone who follows local politics so closely that she collects screenshots of blog threads and creates false internet “research” on private citizens cannot expect to be believed when she claims to be innocent of knowing things like this. Especially when she is the first to jump to his defense no matter what he does.

    Yes, Randy Minchew is guilty of winking and nodding at Eugene’s behavior in 2003 (including the insinuation that his children were somehow endangered), and I told him so at the time.

    As gross and unprofessional as that behavior was, it’s within the parameters that Loudoun residents have come to expect of Eugene (exactly because he has not been sanctioned for it), just ordinary bigotry and campaign dirty tricks. Especially in light of the last primary, he’s not even alone in that level of bigotry and unprofessional behavior. You would think that behavior like this would cross the line into unfit-for-office territory, but there’s a measure of how far our standards have slipped.

    However: The line he crossed last January is one that I won’t allow to be defended, period. Anyone who tries to defend or explain it away will get called out, period, no excuses, no discussion. I think I’ve been pretty clear about this from the beginning. A person who thinks that some of his constituents are less than human is not morally fit to represent anyone, and there is no argument to the contrary that is deserving of recognition, let alone respect.

    And there she goes again, making uninformed pronouncements about what other people think. I didn’t write this post for Barbara, and I have very little interest in whether she read it or responded to it. That’s not my concern.

  20. Barbara Munsey

    No, I don’t because I never received or saw it.

    Which could explain why I didn’t say anything about it 7 years ago.

    And I understand that I need to be absolutely punished whether I did or not, because that is how the game is played.

    In spite of how I sort of got it right in speaking up for David Ramadan but not really.

    t-tinng t-tinnng t-tinnnggg

  21. BlackOut

    Barbara, I believe you either didn’t see or have forgotten Delgaudio’s anti-gay attacks on Reimel.

    Do you not recall the “her” letter Delgaudio wrote about Reimel? Absolutely in your face attack on Reimel’s sexuality. Delgaudio should have been sanctioned for that letter but due to Delgaudio releasing it two weeks before the election the then LCRC chairman didn’t have the guts to hit Dlegaudio with what he deserved.

  22. Barbara Munsey

    See above: as usual (IMO), it is you who remain in demand mode, and again as usual (IMO) project it.

  23. Barbara Munsey

    The part you’re missing David is that I am not trying to elicit anything. It is you who is in demand mode, might I say “As usual”?

  24. Epluribusunum Post author

    And you continue to try…

    You had your chance, and you chose to defend what is indefensible. Your credibility on the question of moral fitness for office is now zero. There isn’t going to be a different statement on this matter, so you can stop trying to solicit one.

  25. Epluribusunum Post author

    “It is quite another and much more serious thing to call his constituents names like “it,” suggesting that as far as he is concerned, their lives do not have the value of a human life. A person who thinks that some of his constituents are less than human is not fit to represent anyone.”

    You had your chance, and you chose to defend what is indefensible. Your credibility on the question of moral fitness for office is now zero. There isn’t going to be a different statement on this matter, so you can stop trying to solicit one.

  26. Barbara Munsey

    David, as you had no problem whatsoever discussing my deficiencies in only defending my friend from specific attacks, rather than advocating for your issues, pardon me for saying that your attitude here seems to be the usual double standard.

    And that’s fine–it’s your blog, and Jonathan has promoted posting privilege.

    As for the clip you find offensive, consider: Luther is simply engaging in the street music of his culture, who are we to judge? Did not “Stomp” bring unusual and gritty rhythms to a wide audience, and in so doing, educate many?

    His language is only threatening if one projects one’s personal prejudices onto the simple words–he invites someone from a different group to “come and play”, with the courtesy of prefacing it with that group’s chosen name and identity.

    What could be offensive about that, if viewed without prejudice?

    (and if this rationalized alternate description sounds a little passive aggressive, with overworked constructs, welcome to my world in watching you two endlessly pick over how the world should think and talk about what you want them to focus on, and if all else fails, mention someone by name repeatedly in an attempt to force them to ENGAGE with you. T-ting t-ting t-tinnng…)

  27. Barbara Munsey

    Please do read my reply, David. Jonathan’s beliefs are his business, as mine are mine. We are each allowed our opinions on the other’s (the “scary” “Other”? lol), whether we choose to directly engage or not, and at what depth.

    I’ve not much interest in playing word games in order for Jonathan, or you, to build air castles in order to declare that whatever mine are (and have YOU asked, or are you still straw-womaning?) are wrong.

    When the post was originally crafted, I found it interesting that I am called out by name for my deficiencies in doing something you apparently agree with, but isn’t good enough because it isn’t focused in another direction that you prefer, regardless of immediate context or circumstance.

  28. Epluribusunum Post author

    With regard to the clip that Barbara thinks is so Very Important: As an administrator of this site, I asked myself how I would see it if it was Pariahdog (or any other commenter) posting this, with the comment that this is the way Barbara (or any other commenter) sounds to him. Without question, I would see it as a gratuitous personal attack and tell him to take it down. This sort of thing adds no value to the conversation.

    Barbara, you may want to consider how you come across when you make ad hominem attacks on other commenters – especially when the object of your attack is a character you’ve created by substituting your own words for theirs.

  29. Epluribusunum Post author

    Thanks, that makes it clearer. The example I flagged in my previous comment is exactly that – and in fact, her last comment is an affirmation that she will continue talking about your “beliefs” with no knowledge of or interest in what they actually are.

  30. Barbara Munsey

    Nor am I likely to, Jonathan, as much as that may pain you.

    They’re your business.

    Watch the clip.

  31. Pariahdog


    Regarding your question:

    I would be more cautious in thinking you can understand what someone else’s beliefs are by observing their behavior, though. I’m not sure whether that’s a good description of what you’re doing – if I’m misinterpreting I’m sure you’ll let me know – but it makes me uncomfortable.

    I’m saying that I’ve observed Barbara continually conflating my values with her beliefs about me. She doesn’t know my beliefs. She hasn’t asked.

  32. Barbara Munsey

    Watch the clip, David.

    If you can get the beam out of your eye in relation to Jonathan’s attacks on others.

  33. Epluribusunum Post author


    I hope you didn’t accidentally fall for their logical fallacy. I hope you clarified the post to highlight the conflation of two different things.

    Actually, that’s exactly what I did, on both counts. The terms have been constructed as nearly interchangeable in the course of claiming sole ownership of the whole notion of voting in accordance with one’s “values” by those with a specific set of beliefs, and they were being used interchangeably on that thread. As you point out, they are very different things.

    I would be more cautious in thinking you can understand what someone else’s beliefs are by observing their behavior, though. I’m not sure whether that’s a good description of what you’re doing – if I’m misinterpreting I’m sure you’ll let me know – but it makes me uncomfortable. It seems like the most effective way of understanding what someone believes is to ask them. Most people are pretty good at telling you.

    Like you said, speculation. My own sense is that someone with such a superior command of the English language would not be making consistent errors like this by accident or logical fallacy. Look at the one in the latest comment: The very thing that you explicitly identified as a logical fallacy (“then you must believe that the Earth is Goddess. You must “believe” in nature worship”), Barbara has treated as if it were a statement of your beliefs (“your own religious beliefs in the environment,” “the future of your chosen religion”)! Remarkable! I don’t believe for a moment that poor reading comprehension or sloppy thinking explains this. It is absolutely consistent behavior. The previous comment claims that correcting a known falsehood is the same as calling a person “a known liar.”

    Barbara, it’s despicable to attack one’s opponent in a campaign for public office by calling him “her” and by suggesting that he is a danger to one’s children – Eugene did both of those things in the 2003 campaign. It is quite another and much more serious thing to call his constituents names like “it,” suggesting that as far as he is concerned, their lives do not have the value of a human life. A person who thinks that some of his constituents are less than human is not fit to represent anyone.

  34. Barbara Munsey

    Okay, Jonathan, here I am.

    (do watch that clip, btw, as this is how you often sound to me in a symbolic representation of your methods of “dialogue”)

    First, to both you and David (e pluribus David) if you wish to discount my defense of David Ramadan as hollow because that’s what your issue requires, of course feel free.

    However, you’re running a bit of an apples to oranges situation in the perennial mission to change discussion of any issue into a discussion of your own.

    I don’t know if you guys lived here yet when Doug Reimel ran against Eugene, but had Eugene run, as his entire campaign, an attack based on Doug’s open gay status and I had not only remained silent but egged him on, you would then have a valid comparison to attack me with.

    However, the most pejorative thing Eugene ever said to me in that year was “he’s a liberal”.

    I never heard that Doug campaigned on being gay, nor did Eugene attack him for it as part (or most appropriately in the false comparison you construct) or ALL of the campaign.

    David was attacked relentlessly and personally for being a naturalized citizen (and even this was questioned) of middle eastern birth, and then accused of being a terrorist, terrorist funded, and with the agenda of inserting sharia law into our state government, and that was 90% of the campaign against him.

    When Eugene has a gay opponent that he attacks solely for being gay, or a black opponent that he attacks solely for being black, and so on, let’s talk about hypocrisy if I stand silent.

    Now, as for Gaia worship being logical, and therefore me being a buildermentalist, you need to also examine the false comparison you’ve set up between good and evil here.

    Unless you are advocating a drastic reduction in population, your proposed permaculture religious utopia is grossly unrealistic.

    The high density nodes of “smart” growth planning require an extensive supply chain and support system too, and one that would collapse as quickly and violently (or mose so, because of the structure of the urban settlement patterns held up as ideal) in the event of an environmental apocalypse.

    But that’s okay, right? You just believe in a different kind of rapture.

    You’re right in that I don’t often discuss my deeply held beliefs. I don’t wish to argue them with people who have their own differing ones that they have every right to hold, nor do I think religious beliefs are the end-all in a common government. They can’t be, if our structure of individual freedom is to function.

    I do salute you for admitting (which of course, now that I’ve labelled it as such, you can and no doubt will correct me for doing so) that your won religious beliefs in the environment are in fact RELIGIOUS.

    And supposedly we both have agreed on occasion that that does not belong in government.

    But there it (environmentalism as religion) is, in every level of public policy.

    Now please, if you haven’t watched that little clip, do.

    Unless you are firmly wedded to an endtimes apocalyptic struggle for the future of your chosen religion and believe that is the best way to fram any sort of discussion, you may wish to rethink your methods of “dialogue”, and take those figurative pony beer bottles off of your fingertips.

  35. Pariahdog


    Regarding #3 – Barbara Munsey, I’ve referred to her situational support of this or that prejudice as amoral, depraved, and even craven. Her behavior may be excused as partisan hackery, but none of that is postmodern.

    If I may speculate, you know that Barbara has on several occasions put words in my mouth. What if she really believes that those words are mine? It could be that she’s constructing her “opponent’s” belief system. She’s doing the reverse of Greg Ahlemann.

    Ahlemann believes in what I’ll call the myth of the Maccabees, the small group of Jewish warriors who defeated an entire Roman army and consecrated what would become the second temple. In modern American culture, the Maccabee hero myth is carried by police and firemen, soldiers, football teams, Nascar drivers and the modern state of Israel. Pious men like Joe Gibbs can be victorious in more than one sphere.

    But victory is not possible without vanquish, and if victory is moral, the vanquished must be “immoral”. Ahlemann’s beliefs lead him to hold a certain set of values that align perfectly with the values taught by two hate groups; the Family Research Council and the American Family Association.

    Barbara doesn’t reveal her deeply held beliefs. She seems to be motivated by what she values – the modern suburban utopia. She also understands the planning/design decisions and supply chains required to support this “utopia”. I apologize if I’m putting words in her mouth, but if you’ve followed her, it’s pretty obvious that she really values a certain model of suburbia, a suburbia that is sustained by economic supply chains, not by a connection to nature.

    On the other hand, if you value permaculture, you value an interworking system of human, animal, geography and nature. If you value that, then you must believe that the Earth is Goddess. You must “believe” in nature worship. That’s a logical fallacy.

    Here is where Munsey and Ahlemann join. Munsey is threatened by values that liberate people from the supply chain. Threatened may be two soft. Munsey is opposed to those values, and fights them as if Satan himself conjured them up.

  36. Pariahdog


    I appreciated the postmodernism in your strikethrough clarifications:

    candidates take positions that are consistent with our beliefs beliefs and values

    people vote on the basis of shared values beliefs and values.

    But repeating their talking points may not effectively convey the point that beliefs and values aren’t the same thing. Bob believes in the flying spaghetti monster and Joel believes the earth is 6,000 years old. Their beliefs are polar opposites but they both value integrity, loyalty, competence and hard work. Beliefs, and values exist in two separate spheres. I hope you didn’t accidentally fall for their logical fallacy. I hope you clarified the post to highlight the conflation of two different things.

    The Family Research Council’s “values voter” is a concrete representation of this postmodern construction. Candidate S shares my beliefs. She’s 100% pro-life, 100% pro-gun, 100% anti-gay, 100% anti-tax, and 100% anti-government, so vote for her to represent you in government. In actuality, candidate S shares a belief in the exceptionalism of her beliefs. Her beliefs exist in the spirit world, not the real world, and yes, the belief in the exceptionalism of belief is recursive.

    Her supernatural beliefs represent “good” and the belief in a natural world and the human ability to reason represents “bad”. It has to be that way. Otherwise the cognitive dissonance would be intolerable.

  37. Elder Berry

    What I believe we can say is that our system does not work if too many people begin to espouse the practice of voting without thinking, based on preconceptions. Facts and information need to be somewhere in the process.

    Another thing, which is a short way of summarizing this posting. Yes, we all vote in accordance with our values, our faiths, and our beliefs. The problem is that sometimes those beliefs are bigoted or racist.

  38. Epluribusunum Post author

    firefly, while writing this I mentally filled in the blanks with all kinds of things, because that’s precisely what makes the argument against the accusation of bigotry postmodern. It ignores the necessary condition that words have meaning. Following the argument to its logical conclusion, one ends up only with the meaningless and recursively defined group “everyone who doesn’t share my beliefs,” and how can that be bigotry? The person so accused is then by definition not bigoted toward any category of person (even though they’ve just named several of them), they are only opposed to being governed by people who disagree with them – and who isn’t? It’s really just a nifty rhetorical parlor trick that gives permission to openly express prejudice while complaining that one is being unfairly accused of prejudice.

    I can think of several occasions on which Republican acquaintances have, intended positively as an expression of camaraderie, said something to me like “you and me, we’re both partisan hacks,” or “I’m/you’re a staunch Republican/Democrat.” In light of your comment, I think what they meant is that they would in fact fill in those blanks with the word “Democrat,” and are projecting on me the same behavior, but I’m not that guy. I think they genuinely believe that’s a reasonable thing to do, but I agree with you – it’s a frightening way to think on any “side.” I’m a single issue voter, and the issue is human rights. Normalizing prejudice as a driver of voting behavior isn’t really consistent with that area of concern – maybe that’s the problem. Where there’s bigotry in my thinking – which I’m sure there is – my interest is in looking at it and getting rid of it, not figuring out how to explain that it’s not bigotry. I’m still trying to figure out the thinking behind this argument, versions of which I see everywhere.

  39. Liz Miller

    On the one hand, yes: it is frightening that people vote strictly on party lines without thinking about it, especially when they don’t look closely at either their party’s platform, or whether their candidate will follow that platform (anti-choice, anti-LTBG elected Dems, I’m looking at you).

    I am a person who has said in the past, I could never vote for a Republican. That statement, however, was never strictly true. It is short-hand for “I can’t see voting for a person who chooses to name themselves as anti-human-rights, anti-civil-rights, anti-worker, anti-environment, etc.”

    It also means that I wouldn’t vote for a Republican if it could mean giving a majority in a legislative body to that party.

    BUT, I would vote for a Republican if the Republican were the most progressive candidate in the race AND it wouldn’t matter for majority purposes.

    However, that rarely happens. This November will mark the first time I will be voting for a Republican, and it is not Scott York.

    This November also will mark the first time I’m not voting for a Democrat when there is one in the race.

    But I have never said, “I wouldn’t vote for a Christian (or Muslim, or whatever)”, because I know there are all kinds of ways of being Christian or Muslim or whatever. I know that Catholics for Choice have more in common with me then followers of Rabbi Schneerson.

    And if conservative Christians in this county can’t see that there is virtually no difference between their beliefs and David Ramadan’s beliefs, between how they would govern and how Ramadan would like to govern, then…well…I guess I will rejoice in the win their bigotry gives to Mike Kondratick.

  40. firefly

    Speaking directly to the statement that: “…what was correctly identified as bigotry is the sentiment that any member of a particular group, simply by virtue of being a member of that group, is unqualified to hold public office. If you state that you would categorically never vote for a [fill in the blank], you are stating that, to your mind, no member of that group should be able to participate in governance. You are stating that all members of that group should be relegated, by virtue of being a [fill in the blank], to a status of second-class citizenship.”

    While I share the sentiment, fill in those blanks with the word “Democrat” or “Republican”, and suddenly you have a very frightening picture of what voting strictly along party lines can mean.

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