America is exceptional. It was the first nation founded on science, separating church and state and social contract theory. These ideals, while not actualized at first, allowed Americans to mature and grow. These ideals provided a pathway to building Modern America with its large middle class and diverse population living in peace.
Today’s conservatives fear and hate Modern America. They want to return to the failed polices of the past. They reject science as “just a theory” or simply “punt” when confronted directly with “tough questions.” They insist that politicians, teachers and coaches control and lead prayer. Conservatives reject the notion that We, the People of the United States of America, can expand liberty beyond traditional, divinely inspired limitations.
We must reclaim, proclaim and protect American Exceptionalism if we are to promote life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. We must insist on real history that teaches the successes of science, separating church and state and social contract theory as well as teaching the pain and suffering that steams from superstition, theocracy and blind obedience to tradition. American exceptionalism means rejecting these mind numbingly, short sighted, anti-intellectual politicians who mean to tear down Modern America and replace it with a dystopian fantasy.
At a certain point moderate conservatives must step forward. Will they? Will they in time? How much damage will be done before they say enough?
Fifty-one percentage of America has already made the choice. Our Federal system and Electoral College, however, has placed great power in the hands of the far right. It is up to the moderate conservatives to make a choice. Destroy Modern America? Embrace American Exceptionalism?
The Savory region of France is world renowned for its “savory” cheese. The mountainous landscape provided few opportunities for cereal production but was ideal for dairy farming.
In Chamonix I bought a Beaufort (€ 17.75) at a local grocery store and used it to make a white wine cheese sauce. It served as a side for pork chops and peas one night as well as sausages, zucchini and tomatoes another. Later in the week I added slices of it to sandwiches.
Pope Francis has a fully developed pro-life message to the world’s secular leaders. It is a message about improving and securing all our lives,liberty and happiness but especially the world’s poor. Such a refreshing break from the money changers who have for too long invoked the name of Christ to support greed. We can, and must, address poverty, reckless business practices, climate change and public investments. Being pro-life means making life better.
Pope Francis said there is a “fundamental imperative of creating dignified and stable employment for all. This will call for improvement in the quality of public spending and investment, the promotion of private investment, a fair and adequate system of taxation, concerted effort to combat tax evasion and a regulation of the financial sector which ensures honesty, security and transparency….”
“Throughout the world, the G20 countries included, there are far too many women and men suffering from severe malnutrition, a rise in the number of the unemployed, an extremely high percentage of young people without work and an increase in social exclusion which can lead to criminal activity and even the recruitment of terrorists. In addition, there are constant assaults on the natural environment, the result of unbridled consumerism, and this will have serious consequences for the world economy….”
“I express these hopes in light of the post-2015 Development Agenda to be approved by the current session of the United Nations Assembly, which ought to include the vital issues of decent work for all and climate change….”
“It should also lead to eliminating the root causes of terrorism, which has reached proportions hitherto unimaginable; these include poverty, underdevelopment and exclusion. It has become more and more evident that the solution to this grave problem cannot be a purely military one, but must also focus on those who in one way or another encourage terrorist groups through political support, the illegal oil trade or the provision of arms and technology. There is also a need for education and a heightened awareness that religion may not be exploited as a means of justifying violence….”
“The international community, and in particular the G20 Member States, should also give thought to the need to protect citizens of all countries from forms of aggression that are less evident but equally real and serious. I am referring specifically to abuses in the financial system such as those transactions that led to the 2008 crisis, and more generally, to speculation lacking political or juridical constraints and the mentality that maximization of profits is the final criterion of all economic activity. A mindset in which individuals are ultimately discarded will never achieve peace or justice. Responsibility for the poor and the marginalized must therefore be an essential element of any political decision, whether on the national or the international level.”
Retired Lt. General Daniel P. Bolger does a commendable job launching a preemptive strike against the push for more “boots on the ground.” He makes the case that “The surge in Iraq did not ‘win’ anything.” He explains the allure of myth making around the failed surge.
“As veterans, we tell ourselves it was all worth it. The grim butchery of war hovers out of sight and out of mind, an unwelcome guest at the dignified ceremonies. Instead, we talk of devotion to duty and noble sacrifice. We salute the soldiers at Omaha Beach, the sailors at Leyte Gulf, the airmen in the skies over Berlin and the Marines at the Chosin Reservoir, and we’re not wrong to do so. The military thrives on tales of valor. In our volunteer armed forces, such stirring examples keep bringing young men and women through the recruiters’ door. As we used to say in the First Cavalry Division, they want to ‘live the legend.’ In the military, we love our legends.”
But I disagree. The threat of the mythical surge does not come from the military. It comes from the civilians sitting at home with little to lose. It has become so easy for voters to throw away “boots on the ground.” Too many voters accept the mythology of war but not the reality of war.
Honor veterans by stopping politicians from throwing more lives away for their failed mythology. Demand reality. Our veterans and our serving Armed Forces deserve no less from us. Once the flag is placed on the coffin it is too late. There is no reset button in reality.
Having read the entire “Relatio Post Disceptationem,” I am struck by its embrace of, rather than its rejection of, the Catholic tradition. It is a tradition that has shown incredible flexibility and adaptation over 2000 years. The Catholic Church is not a fundamentalist church. Over the last 40 years, fundamentalists have tried to deny that tradition, ardently fighting the reforms of Vatican II. Pope Francis is simply revitalizing a tradition that recognizes perfect often stands in the way of the better.
According to “Relatio Post Disceptationem,” the problems in today’s society are individualism and hedonism. In other words, when confronted with the question, “Am I my brother’s keeper,” too many people around the world answer “No.” While this may make Ayn Rand smile, it makes Christ weep. Families teach us that we are not alone. Our actions can either lift up or tear down those around us. Families are the first to teach us to feed the hungry, cloth the naked and care for the sick. “Relatio Post Disceptationem” makes clear that any form of family is better than the Obectivist world of Ayn Rand.
“There are levels of folly. There’s individual folly of course but there’s also the folly of a community of mankind which has the arrogance to believe that somehow we can destroy Mother Nature and maintain the quality of our own lives. And that makes me crazy.”
Zachary Richard: Le Fou
If I were the Devil, I would say
Blessed are the rich for theirs is the Kingdom of God.
Blessed are the well feed for they have worked hard.
Blessed are the comforted for they deserve every penny.
Blessed are the merciless for might makes right.
Blessed are the well dressed for they understand fashion.
Blessed are they that use government to force their religion on the weak for they are pleasing.
Woe to you who are poor for God has cast you down.
Woe to you who hungry for you are too lazy to feed yourselves.
Woe to you who are suffering for you don’t have sense enough to improve yourself.
Woe to you who are ragged for you have no eye for beauty.
Woe to you who show mercy for you are too stupid to understand power.
Woe to you how show respect to those who understand God differently for you shall rot in hell.
Come, turn your back on your neighbor and you shall have riches.
Come, turn your back on the sick and suffering and you shall have power.
Come, raise yourself up and you shall have glory.
And then there is Paul Harvey.
Adding more pain in a depressed economy is still a failure. Reducing the pain makes things better.
“”The labour market is an example of the divergent performance between the two regions,” wrote Deutsche Bank’s economists in their new House View report. “Unemployment stood at roughly the same level in mid-2009. Since then, US unemployment has edged down to 7.5% while Eurozone unemployment has risen to record highs of 12.1%”
European did what the conservatives demanded. They cut social programs, they cut pensions, and privatized public assets–workers had to pay the price for reckless bankers. Wealth redistribution from the bottom to the top at its finest.
How do you save Social Security and Medicare if you believe they are evil?
How do you save public education if you believe it is evil?
How do you save public roads and freeways from private toll roads if you believe government is evil?
You either have to step on the paint and look like an idiot to get out of the corner, or you can stay in the corner and look like a fool.
***update**** Krugman adds his words of wisdom.
This strikes me as a bigger deal than whether Rubio slurped his water; he and his party are now committed to the belief that their pre-crisis doctrine was perfect, that there are no lessons from the worst financial crisis in three generations except that we should have even less regulation. And given another shot at power, they’ll test that thesis by giving the bankers a chance to do it all over again.
Science is essential to Western Exceptionalism.
James “Hutton was, for a time, a farmer — and in that occupation, observing the process of erosion and the laying down of deposits of various materials, he realized that the landscape he saw around him could be explained by the same forces operating over immense periods of time, as long as you posited that there were other forces uplifting ancient sediments to form today’s geological features. How could he know whether this theory was right? He made predictions; in particular, that in places you would find ‘angular uncomformities’, striated bodies of sedimentary rocks from different eras that were tilted relative to each other. And sure enough, as this photo from Wikipedia Commons shows, he found them”
Creationism is not science. It is flawed theology. There is no need to prove God or God’s role in the world. Why is faith no longer good enough?