RANGER AGAINST WAR: From His Mouth to God's Ear <

Sunday, May 04, 2008

From His Mouth to God's Ear

A celibate clergy is an especially good idea,

because it tends to suppress any hereditary

propensity toward fanaticism.

-- Carl Sagan

"...freedom is not less endangered if attacked
in the name of anti-Fascism than in that of
outright Fascism.

The battlefield is also accordingly here --

within ourselves and our institutions."

--Escape from Freedom
, Erich Fromm

But he's never told a lie in his life.
Well, he's making up for it now.

--Waking Ned Devine

Sundry addenda to last Sunday's Sermon,"God the Father, God the Son," which pontificated upon George Bush's intention to deliver freedom to man, a gift which he also said God has bestowed upon man. A tautology, or something like that.

First, God does not want you to be free, because then He would not be top dog. It is St. Anslem's ontological argument for the a priori existence of God. God is the greatest being I can imagine; if I can conceive of one better, than that being become God. But there is always a best, which is be definition, God.

You are free to worship either the God of the Marketplace or the God of the Altar, or both, though there may be a conflict for literalists who see serving Mammon and God as contradictory. But worship you must, and this compulsion is not freedom.

Second, how did George Bush become the exegete of scripture for the masses? Did he read The Idiot's Guide to Theology? If Mr. Bush can divine God's will, then it is a mighty weak-willed God.

Last, freedom is not President Bush's to give, nor the military's, nor God's. The impulse to freedom is a spontaneous urge upwelling from the people themselves. Freedom is a phenomenon lived within and against a culture which imposes hierarchies and obedience.

It is not the easiest route to live a life, so it is not always the preferred choice.
It is perhaps the unnatural impulse among men, but it is the only system which allows for absolute self-determination.

And it is a lie that the U.S. is in Iraq to gift them with freedom.

--Jim and Lisa

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Blogger Old Bogus said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

Sunday, May 4, 2008 at 7:40:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger Old Bogus said...

Actually, my experience is that the "freedom" everyone wants is just to be left alone and safe. Absolute freedom is anarchy and, libertarians to the contrary, is not a fun thing. In fact, I suspect that most people don't care about democracy, especially in light of recent history. What/whoever will promise/provide them food, shelter, security, and some kind of disposable income for other stuff is OK for the majority of humans.

Without having to spend much time evaluating the choices; they'll leave that up to us political wonks and candidates for office. Right now there is more interest than normal in politics because their lack of attention has blown up in their cost of living but it won't last. Once someone gets elected and things improve (whether it was related to their being elected is irrelevant), most voters will quit paying attention and just vote for the same party/person/junta which "solved" the problems.

And, yeah, I'm cynical.

(This is almost the same post as I deleted but with some refinement.)

Sunday, May 4, 2008 at 7:43:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger Lisa said...

old bogus,

I don't think these views are cynical. People care about their comfort and survival. When their pocketbooks are pinched they get angry, and suddenly "participate" in the candidate selection process.

That usually means whoever was in when they felt the pinch now must go. Voters like soothing words and hearing that their interests are first and foremost in so-and-so's platform. People like their palliatives.

It would be a great day if voters decided to reject the palaver and tell the candidates they don't care to hear about moral regulation or condemnation. That they were done with guilt, both receiving and imposing it. That would require they first be free of religious indoctrination.

That is why Erich Fromm said man chooses to escape from his existential freedom, because that is quite a responsibility. It need not be anarchy though, if a social contract remains binding.

Sunday, May 4, 2008 at 8:02:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger The Minstrel Boy said...

i heard upon his dry dung heap
that man cry out who cannot sleep

if god is god
he is not good
if god is good
he is not god

take the even
take the odd
i would not sleep here
if i could

i would not sleep here
if i could
except for little green leaves
in the wood

and the wind
upon the water

archibald macleish (from the play JB)

Sunday, May 4, 2008 at 9:10:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger Lisa said...


How apropos.

And from Whitman:

"When I, sitting, heard the astronomer, where he lectured with much applause in the lecture-room,
"How soon, unaccountable, I became tired and sick;
Till rising and gliding out, I wander’d off by myself,
In the mystical moist night-air, and from time to time,
Look’d up in perfect silence at the stars."

Your great blue heron today provided you the same fortification.

Sunday, May 4, 2008 at 9:22:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger rangeragainstwar said...

Old Bogus,

I'm on board with whomever, as long as they provide me an i-Pod.

I don't believe it is cynical to state that matters will not improve regardless who is elected president. The cards are not winning for any candidate.

That misfortune is the only thing which will trickle down to the American people.

Sunday, May 4, 2008 at 11:01:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger rangeragainstwar said...


My belief is that the N.T. has foisted a false view of God upon our culture. Modern Christianity tries to portray God as meek and good, and separates off His evil/vindictive nature from this and calls it the devil.

If there is god, my view of godhead encompasses both concepts within one entity, in a view akin to the naturalist's view of nature as a disinterested participant in men's lives. But that is a big IF. . .by the time I find out, I won't be able to get back with you.

Sunday, May 4, 2008 at 11:10:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger Old Bogus said...

At the risk of flogging a dying horse . . .
"It need not be anarchy though, if a social contract remains binding."; my point was meant to be that aboslute freedom is anarchy. Every being for its self; the law of the jungle.

Lisa again:
"It would be a great day if voters decided to reject the palaver and tell the candidates they don't care to hear about moral regulation or condemnation."
Again, my paucity of verbiage failed me; they accept the "palaver" as part of the deal. If we gotta kill/ostracize/attack someone to get what I want, so be it. Just don't burden me with heavy thinking.

"I'm on board with whomever, as long as they provide me an i-Pod." No Mercedes Benz as Janis sang? :) And we know what "trickles down" on the Merkin people . . .

" . . . by the time I find out, I won't be able to get back with you."
At least in this lifetime. And if you are bad, you'll come back as Dick Cheney!

Sunday, May 4, 2008 at 11:44:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger Lisa said...


You compelled me to look it up. Anarchy: The absence of any form of political authority; the absence of government [Greek an without + arkh- leader]. So yeah, total freedom from political constraint would be anarchy.

Since humans are such a lyin' theivin' bunch, this would presumably lead to lawlessness, a bad thing as you say. So I'm all for buying into the social contract (=not being allowed to infringe upon the rights of others), but absolute freedom otherwise. No dogmas.

You're right, people don't want to/can't do heavy intellectual lifting, so buy into whatever options they are told will yield them maximum results.

I like your admonition to Ranger! Ought to keep him in line for a little while.

Monday, May 5, 2008 at 1:00:00 AM GMT-5  
Blogger Underground Carpenter said...

Hi Lisa,
Do you think anarchy, the absence of a formal government, would degenerate into savagery, or would voluntary cooperation rule the day?
Carpenter thinks that anarchy would produce a self-reliant, polite society. I've seen the results of governments of all stripes, and I care for none of them. I vote for anarchy.
Reasonable people cooperate with eachother, even without the constraints of governmental force. Unreasonable people are uncooperative no matter how many laws are passed and no matter how brutal the police state. The Internet is a perfect example of anarchy. You have Nigerian scammers and eBay'ers; pfishers and bloggers. All without "laws".
If I fleshed this out, it would probably make a boring book.


Monday, May 5, 2008 at 7:31:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger Lisa said...


Actually, I think it would be a fascinating study.

The internet is a good example of a frontier state. There are phishers and scammers, but there is also a learning curve, and most people decide they probably don't have a long-lost dearly beloved in Nigeria wanting to give them beaucoup bucks. Same with 9-11; within say an hour, passengers learned this was a new sort of hijacking, and fought back.

I believe you are correct in saying that government will not compel excellent citizenship. Per the deterrent value of criminal law, even that is debated. Most criminals think themselves more clever than the law, and feel they will circumvent it. When caught, they were invariably "framed," so some people will never take responsibility.

I would like to think the cooperative model would win out over the Mad Max model. It is religion mainly which has taught us we are sinful and wayward and must therefore rigidly adhere to proscriptions handed down from on high.

I don't buy it. If people would flex their free-thinking muscles, they could survive. That is a question, however, because every social institution has made them weak and impotent, and therefore resentful.

I think that is the fear--that given freedom, a reservoir of anger would burst the dam, and all hell would break loose. I think people mostly are dissipated.

Monday, May 5, 2008 at 8:26:00 PM GMT-5  

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