Churchgoing and tolerance

For decades, liberals have called the Christian right intolerant. When conservatives disengage from organized religion, however, they don’t become more tolerant. They become intolerant in different ways. Research shows that evangelicals who don’t regularly attend church are less hostile to gay people than those who do. But they’re more hostile to African Americans, Latinos, and Muslims. In 2008, the University of Iowa’s Benjamin Knoll noted that among Catholics, mainline Protestants, and born-again Protestants, the less you attended church, the more anti-immigration you were. (This may be true in Europe as well. A recent thesis at Sweden’s Uppsala University, by an undergraduate named Ludvig Broomé, compared supporters of the far-right Swedish Democrats with people who voted for mainstream candidates. The former were less likely to attend church, or belong to any other community organization.)

That is from Peter Beinart, more of interest at the link.


Hypothesis: it's not the churchgoing that is affecting these outcomes.

My reaction to the story as well. Notice the set up: Conservatives who disengage from you start with conservatives as the set, not with evangelicals as the set. Then, it switches from from conservatives to evangelicals as the set, which is divided into church attending and non-attending. Then it shifts again to mainline Protestants etc. as the set, and goes from there.

All in all, a rather confusing piece.

Word pudding.

Actually, coastal elites made fun of one of their own (his hair, his gaudy tastes, his language) in a different way than they make fun of all the dumb yokels living in flyover land.

==> "Word Pudding"

Quite correct, but its value here is as BlogBait.

Logic, facts and details are unimportant so long as the subject matter and point of view seem interesting. Several of these vacuous type "Research Shows..." postings routinely appear here weekly. Most MR commenters neither notice nor care-- they seek entertainment here not enlightenment... so perhaps BlogBait is a rational MR consumer product offering.

I read the whole thing. It does not spare the left, BLM, either.

It paints a pretty dark picture. It might be a little off in organization .. but something is going on. Americans did not leave religion for a common and productive social identity. confirm my point.

And if you 'read it all' ... just how did you determine it was true?

Your numerous posts today do indicate this is entertainment; many here share your hobby.

When I started this morning everyone else in the house was asleep, even the dog. Now you are right, I should get moving.

But he really isn't 'one of their own'. Yes, he has money and is from New York. But virtually everything else about him sets him apart from the coastal elite (his gold-plated buildings, his reality show, his beauty contests, his casinos) -- all things that a lot of yokels like and the elite find laughably ridiculous.

"Trump did not despise them" makes less sense now than ever. Every single policy is designed for rich man pockets.

Trump is just one of them in another sense. The guy can sit in a golden apartment, watch tv, and let Fox news shape his resentment. A rich, white, angry old man.

That is how you end up with:

That shows neither churchgoing nor even proper self-interest. A resentment so strong it hurts self.

That shows neither churchgoing nor even proper self-interest. A resentment so strong it hurts self.

You're talking about who?

Black voters in their civic mode of thought put worthless quondam lawyers, quondam social workers, and quondam school administrators in office. With the exception of Anthony Williams and Robert Bowers, you'd be hard put to locate a black politician who accomplished more than did Carl Stokes - i.e. orderly management of decline. Not a few (e.g. Coleman Young and Marion Berry) were frankly destructive. What's in it for Baltimore's blacks having Marilyn Mosby and Stephanie Rawlings Blake in office? Why are inner city zones a kakistocracy?

Outside of the realm of local government, black voters will give 90% of their ballots to the Democratic Party. Black voting patterns were not like that 60 years ago and if one conceptualizes voting as an expression of material interests, it makes no sense.

"That shows neither churchgoing nor even proper self-interest. A resentment so strong it hurts self."

Perhaps in the next election, the yokels will stop trying to decide what their own interests and concerns are and let their betters advise them on what they should be.

Art, I talk about Trump and his voters self-harming .. and your answer is "yeah, but black people!"

This moment in American history in two posts.

Slocum, look at what you just wrote. You did not explain how Trump was actually going to help his voters, or a broader swath of Americans.

You responded with resentment.

I see intellectuals approaching this in two ways. Some do the Hillbilly Elegy thing and say "that justifies it."

In my opinion, no. It explains it. It does not justify it. Voters are responsible for the messes they leave.

*all things that a lot of yokels like and the elite find laughably ridiculous.*

So, how does Paris Hilton fit into this? Her family owns a lot of properties including casinos, she did something like a reality TV show, etc.

And when checking on the family's background concerning casinos, I ran across this in her wiki article (yes, it isn't Sunday, but the coincidence is just too much) - 'Paris Whitney Hilton (born February 17, 1981) is an American businesswoman, socialite, television and media personality, model, actress, singer, DJ, and author. She is the great-granddaughter of Conrad Hilton, the founder of Hilton Hotels. Born in New York City and raised there and in Beverly Hills, California, Hilton began her modeling career as a teenager when she signed with New York based modelling development agency, Trump Model Management.'

Yes, that Trump. The coastal elites are far more entwined than most people are willing to accept, even if in this case coincidence is what led to highlighting it. Hilton hotels, Trump hotels - the coastal elites are those making the money, while those in 'flyover land' are paying for the rooms. One can try to claim that a self-proclaimed billionaire that went to the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, a university which just happens, again ever so coincidentally, to be part of the Ivy League, is not really a member of that elite, but then, we live in a post truth world apparently.

Art, I talk about Trump and his voters self-harming .. and your answer is “yeah, but black people!”

No, you fancy they're self-harming. There's a big honking real example of collective self-harming right in front of you, which you hardly notice because you're just not that perspicacious.

"You did not explain how Trump was actually going to help his voters"

I don't know if he really will or not, but you have to keep in mind who these folks are. First of all, they're not generally poor. They're also not public-sector workers who depend on a government paycheck. Instead, they depend on having viable private employers in their communities (or *being* viable private employers). If Trump follows through with his promises for reducing regulation, that actually may help. For example, U.S. auto companies have been historically most successful in selling trucks and SUVs. Trump is working to roll back Obama's 54.5 MPG CAFE standards. The autoworkers here in Michigan seem to like that. Are they crazy to think lower CAFE standards would increase their chances of keeping their jobs? Or consider the Obama administration's 'Waters of The United States' (WOTUS) rules that asserted Federal EPA authority over virtually puddle, creek and drainage ditch in the country. Do you think farmers and ranchers are crazy to think Trump's actions to roll back these rules may benefit them? Similarly, there are folks in the oil patch happy about the Keystone and Dakota Access Pipelines -- are they working against their own interests, too?

This appears to be an intolerant hit piece on religion and conservatives. First of all I reject the assumption in the piece that those who are anti-religion and/or left wing are either tolerant or not prejudice. To the left "intolerance" is anything that the right does which they don't agree with. That is rather an intolerant position, don't you think?

It was talking about conservatives who stopped going to church, not anti-religious people.

If you change the subject and the facts, things would seem rather different than they are.

However, certainly some anti-theists can be at least as obnoxiously as various forms of theists.

Slocum, I read that 11:32 comment carefully, three times.

My generous reduction of it would be that mainstream conservative policies would benefit commerce. That's fair. CAFE had an environmental and strategic goal, and was not put there to sell cars. (It always should have been a gas tax, rather than a mandate, something that becomes more obvious as the mandate becomes more complicated.)

My less generous reduction is that Trump's policies will benefit those who have jobs, have insurance, have security, and just want less burden. Fine work if you can get it.

But we have moved to a funny space. You are using the plans that "elites" always had, to justify a dangerous revolution that was supposed to be against "liberals and elites."

We get a President who skulks like a 4 year old when asked to shake hands with the German Prime Minister *and* we get the same old "conservative elite" economic policies.

Where are you, Marco Rubio .. I bet you can handle a photo ok without national embarrassment.

You did not explain how Trump was actually going to help his voters, or a broader swath of Americans.

He cannot help anyone. The political system is characterized by utter sclerosis at the federal level. Congress and the President cannot balance the books or even assemble a proper set of appropriations bills. Nothing much has changed in more than four decades, bar those things which are initiatives of a conspiracy between the public interest bar and our appalling judiciary playing bull in the china shop. The Senate majority leader is a worthless prat who cares about 'regular order' - i.e. the conduits by which Senators play footsie with each other and toss bon bons to clients. As for the Speaker of the House, it's hard to tell if he's worse when he's being principled than he is when he's wheeling and dealing. As for the opposition, take an inventory of what Messrs. Schumer, Hoyer, and Pelosi have done with their adult life and you'll see what they're good for.

"Where are you, Marco Rubio .. I bet you can handle a photo ok without national embarrassment."

My best explanation of why Trump and not Rubio (or Romney or Jeb or ... ) is that Trump voters saw them as being too polite and polished and deferential and, therefore, not really committed. They might talk about cutting regulations, for example, but in the end would care too much about elite good opinion to actually push through and do it. They would wither under the barrage of criticism. Trump's demonstrated willingness to be despised, to be impolitic, to be rude and not care or back down is a costly signal. Is it really a mystery to you that NASCAR pit crews and backhoe operators would prefer Trump over Rubio? Do you think A) they share your embarrassment over the press conference with Merkel, or B) are amused by your embarrassment (if they're paying attention at all -- which they're probably not)?

That too seems a contradiction. The Trump supporters used to be such experts on body language, dominance.

In response to a woman asking if he would like to shake hands, Trump leans away a little, avoids eye contact, shrinks in on himself.

Will a NASCAR Republican pretend not to see that? If the tribalism is strong enough, she was too mean, too strong, her fault. MAGA indeed.

1.Hillary was not the alturnative in the primaries and Trump won plurality in them. 2. A more conventional Republican would have been more likely to win and secure the seat on the court. 3. The Coastal elites pay higher taxes to support programs in Trump states so if the Republicans succeed in returning them to state funding like Ryan wants the yokels will have said FU to themselves.


"Outside of the realm of local government, black voters will give 90% of their ballots to the Democratic Party. Black voting patterns were not like that 60 years ago and if one conceptualizes voting as an expression of material interests, it makes no sense."
Neither were Southern voting patterns. Did something happened in the 60s?

Neither were Southern voting patterns. Did something happened in the 60s?

The war and 700+ riots. Neither offer an explanation of why 9/10ths of black voters cast ballots for Democrats no matter who is running against them and no matter what the social condition of their communities is. There were disputes over anti-discrimination law as well, but these disputes played out within the Democratic Party, so that does not explain changes in voting patterns, either.

It is hard to believe Southern Whites are still fighting Stokely Carmichael and Magnificent Montague. Let's be honest, the word here is "racism".

Southern whites are giving no thought to Stokely Carmichael. He was a figure of transient interest, and, in any case, he died nearly 20 years ago. White 'Racism' does not explain why blacks give 90% of their ballots to the party which enacted and implemented Jim Crow laws.

Anon, why don't you stick to one handle, you hack? Don't run from your dishonesty; you are your dishonesty.

"the party which inacted and implemented Jim Crow laws"

Oh jfc give it a rest. Jesse Helms and Strom Thurmond switched parties for a reason. Reagan announced his campaign in Mississippi for a reason. Blacks didn't start voting overwhelmingly democratic until the sixties.

I grew up in the rural south when it was transitioning from solidly Democrat to solidly Republican. I have many friends and family who still live there. BS non sequiturs like this are part of the reason I left.

Like most conservatives, you spend a lot more time projecting what coastal elites think about you than coastal elites actually spend thinking about you, if they think about you at all.

Oh jfc give it a rest. Jesse Helms and Strom Thurmond switched parties for a reason. Reagan announced his campaign in Mississippi for a reason. Blacks didn’t start voting overwhelmingly democratic until the sixties.

Blacks started voting en bloc for the Democratic Party in 1964. During the period running from 1932 to 1964 about a quarter of the black vote went to the Republican Party as a rule, a share not too different from that of other urban ethnics.

You seem to fancy that Strom Thurmond and Jesse Helms switched parties in defense of segregation. If that was the reason, they got gypped. You've had 28 years worth of Republican administrations and 18 years worth of Republican Congresses and segregationists got not one bloody thing out of them.. There were some maneuvers during the Reagan Administration to compel institutions to follow anti-discrimination law as written rather than re-imagining it to permit or require patronage programs for Democratic Party clients. About the most outre thing ever done was a tentative plan during the Reagan years to end the targeted harassment of Bob Jones University.

Reagan campaigned in Mississippi. Strange as it may seem to you, there are voting citizens in Mississippi whose ballots working politicians value. Insufferable twits in coastal cities may fancy people in Mississippi should be treated as a class of untouchables, but politicians campaigning for office don't see it that way.

To the people who are talking about Paris Hilton, or the Trump politics who supposedly benefit the riches - "coastal elite" does not means "rich people", it means "egghead"/"pointy-headed intellectual"/etc. - journalists, pundits, teachers, academics and some movie stars (only if they do mainly "drama" roles - Meryl Streep counts, Chuck Norris don't).

Yes. If society was different, a different set of people would be attending church.

In the American South (region with which I'm most familiar), the phrase "I'm a Christian" signals far more than whether the person attends church or is even religious.

And it usually doesn't include a lot Christians, Catholics for example.

And the word Evangelical is worse. Outside of the South it usually means a protestant who goes to church a lot, or at least aspires to, and it also means that whatever denomination they are they are low church. But in the Upper Midwest and places with lots of Lutherans it can also mean they are Lutherans who go to church at Christmas and Easter.

In the South however it has political meaning, since except for Catholics and the old Episcopalian elites, it means they are normal white Southerners. And unless they have a silly little beard and are burning with the spirit while telling you about their church planting activities, it means they are normal right wing protestant white southerners, just like everyone else. Church attendance has almost nothing to do with it, especially with the white male portion of the populous.

I read a half humorous article once about the least godly counties in Alabama, as measured by number of churches, availability of alcohol, porn, bait shops, etc... and I noticed back in March that those were the same counties that went the most Trump.

'Evangelical' has multiple meanings. It is (a) a formal term for Lutheran (almost never used in this fashion outside Lutheran bodies or in historical writings, (b) indicative of a protestantism which incorporates a certain sensibility which is at home in (but not exclusive to) certain denominations and congregational types, or (c) (more infrequently), a non-liturgical protestant of orthodox disposition. By 'orthodox disposition', I mean conceives of the Christian faith as something received and learned, not something reconceptualized according to fad.

In the South however it has political meaning, since except for Catholics and the old Episcopalian elites, it means they are normal white Southerners.

No, it doesn't. Jimmy Carter is a thoroughly evangelical figure in sense (b) (not really in sense (c), though you could have called him that at one time).

Question: Why African Americans, Latinos, and Muslims? And not Asians, Indians, or Christian Arabs? I wonder what could be the difference between these two sets here?

I'd suspect disengaging White American Conservatives from Christianity probably leads them to frame the actions of African Americans, Latinos and Muslims differently; they stop giving them a pass for being god fearing people who may give in to sin (as White Americans Christian Conservatives probably do), and in fact these ethnics groups' theism may make them look worse - intolerant to gays, irrational, creationist.

Likewise, I wouldn't be too surprised if churchgoing Christian Conservatives were actually less well disposed to East Asians, and possibly Hindus than secular Conservatives. Theory being that Christian Conservatives are disposed towards see God as necessary for morality, and the godless as somehow amoral, and that this tarnishes the otherwise generally clean conduct of these migrant groups in the USA.

A prediction I'd make here is that White American Conservatives who disengage from Christianity probably also have a less positive view of White Christian Evangelical sinners as well. That differentiates from secular Conservatives just having an uptick on in group bias. In this model it's all mediated by the attitude of the religious towards other religious.

Conservatives are pro immigration for people who are going to assimilate and anti-immigration towards people who think it's American whites who have to change.

It's much simpler. They are pro to those who follow the law, and anti to those who do not.

Seriously? They are actually "pro to those who follow the law" and just can't handle the math? SAD!

When conservatives are intolerant they say people are stupid or are going to hell. Or they wont sell people cakes because of some their behavior.

When liberals are intolerant they call for loss of your job, income, home, hope/try to take your children away and ultimately call for your death. If you get just a concussion or a broken nose from having a different idea with liberals, call yourself lucky.

NYtimes headlines: Conservative hatemonger wont sell gays cake. Activists burn store down and beat store owner. Justice done.

People with leftist sentiments are despicable. We need to get rid of them.

(Un)intentionally ironic.

When these people consistently demonstrate that they will not accept the peaceful coexistence option, getting rid of them becomes the only sensible position. Oh well. We could have just learned to get along, but here's to hoping the dark age that follows the next war won't be too long.

You are 100% correct Hypatius.

A chainsaw to their faces, am I right?!

No that is cruel and unusual. A traitor deserves a traitor's death, death by hanging.

Seriously though, violence should be avoided at all costs. I'd prefer to see the Academies (except for basic and scientific research) and much of the public sector defunded for starters.

We could start by dressing in all black and assaulting people at liberal marches. Then we could physically block people from entertering abortion clinics, professorial offices, and public radio buildings. Surely the left will write in continued support of the American tradition of protest*.

*which now apparently include assault and physically restricting ingress and egress.

You aren't hypocrites are you?

Quebec, Kansas City and Settle minorities, as usual, were lucky enough to just not receive cakes after dealing with confrontational, yet peaceful conservatives. Lucky for them they didnt encounter violent liberals.

Uh ... ever heard of prison for victimless "crimes"?

Conservatives agitate for extended prison sentences for activities that hurt no one. Compared to someone calling for you to get canned ,litereally locking you up is at least an order of magnitude or two worse.

And anyways, as for those who want to take people's children away ... isn't it these same busy body conservatives, often on the same basis as throwing the godless parents in prison if/when they can?

It's as though supporting funding to help pick up the pieces after mommy is carted away or the child taken away should be faulted, whereas it is the act of removing the child or throwing the parent in prison that necessitates the further actions leading to budget expenditures that someone has to pick up the tab for.

"Victimless crime" is a cheesy bit of rhetorical slight of hand.

I gather you have yourself convinced?

This is a disappointing article, leading us on with the subtitle "The culture war over religious morality has faded; in its place is something much worse" into thinking it was going to be an examination of why the two sides of American politics are so antagonistic.

Beinhart claims that members of the alt-right "see themselves as proponents of white nationalism", when clearly they don't. That's how the left sees the and wants to see them. Watch the film "Hating Breitbart" and you will see how little "white" rhetoric remains in the right; how the left actively seeks to tar them with false allegations; and how what is called by the left white supremacy is actually pretty much bog standard "we like out culture and we want to keep it". There are a lot of good reasons to disagree with this, but Beinhart hasn't tried to do this.

The article talks about Trump's "bleak vision", but his supporters seem to be extremely optimistic and positive. Yes, his inaugural speech was pretty negative, but it is fair to ask a journalist to look at more than that. And if you want bleak, what about the left, who seem to think that the US is the most evil country on earth and that hate is the dominant emotion of half the population.

Finally, I don't know how anyone can discuss secular ideology today without referring to political correctness and the brutal intolerance for opposing thought shown on the left. It is my view that the left is now the ideological party and the right the practical one.

His tired reference to Richard Spencer is disingenuous at best. Spencer is a tiny irrelevant figure who would have passed forgotten into the fringes of a pathetic and meaningless darkness, except that the left is obsessed with him. There is no reason to bring him up, except to try to slander the right.

I think Trump is dangerous, disagree with almost everything Pence says and would love to see a reinvigorated left. But rather than looking at how ti win future elections, the Democrats are obsessively fighting the enemy they wish they had, not dealing with the situation they face. Where they should be applying introspection, self-examination and a program of reform, they are in a long-term bout of angry denial, which isn't going to help them or the country.

Beinhart claims that members of the alt-right “see themselves as proponents of white nationalism”, when clearly they don’t. That’s how the left sees the and wants to see them.

Bienart's been known in recent years as a detractor of Israel, and, like all such (including John Kerry and Barack Obama), can never acknowledge that Israel has no interlocutor because the Arab politicians and public on the West Bank and Gaza simply do not want those things that Bienart fancies they want. It's not been very clear whether Bienart is a poseur (marketing himself by promoting jumping from fashion to fashion) or just a blockhead. He is, however, inconsequential for those not trying to fill idle column inches.

This is good:


"...fighting the enemy they wish they had..."

Perfect! I'm going to use that one.

Life is hard when people call you racist for holding negative prejudice on the basis of things like skin colour.

If you would put down the dog whistle and say exactly what you mean, I fear you might face much free speech in opposition to hateful ideas that could make things much worse for almost all people.

But maybe I'm wrong.

Why not start a bagpipes club in town and start actively living an ongoing promotion of European cultures.

If haggis isn't your thing, the dozens of other European cultures should provide plenty of fodder for your cultural celebration oriented plans. (Outside of the south, I don't think there are many on the planet who consider driving around with guns and confederacy flags to represent anything other than hick-ish racism. But most would have few qualms about being proven wrong!)

It would appear that you have the dog whistle. Everything you don't agree with must be racist because, well you don't agree with it, right? Your own racism drips off you.

I have no use for dog whistles.

If you would put yours down, there would be an opportunity to have a discussion which may lead to you disovering the sources of your ignorance.

No one ever calls me racist

Is this really that surprising? Christianity is a universalist religion of forgiveness. No matter your original creed, sins, race or origin it espouses that you too may find Jesus, salvation, and membership in an organization that is habitually viewed as familial by its members if only you repent and believe.

Individuals who take this religion seriously should be expected to be less exclusive and rejecting than those who merely pick up the culture (particularly those whose understanding of their own culture is mostly shaped by media portrayal). It has been my experience that most serious Christian adherents really do "love the sinner, hate the sin". Yes they demand change of habits and beliefs, but I routinely see Pentecostals, Catholics, and many other devout adherents working with my most difficult patients (e.g. paranoid schizophrenics, HIV positive homeless prostitutes).

When it comes to my own institution, it is by far the fundamentalists who are the most accepting. Our agnostic liberals have far more trouble working with devout refugees or creationists (in an area that is at least 60% creationist) than I have ever seen from the fundamentalists working with atheists or Muslims.

Looking with a wider lens, in the course of human history we have exceedingly few societies that have ever managed to accept even 10% of society being "foreign", but equal members of society. Virtually all cosmopolitan Muslim states still required Dhimmi laws, Japan remains highly xenophobic with any strong attachment to religious dogma, and even Thailand and Maratha purged religious minorities at time. The atheist states of China and the USSR routinely engaged in purges of class enemies. The historical acceptance of "others" has been pretty poor all around, but many of the biggest gains for tolerance have historically come from the highly devout (e.g. the abolition of slavery being lead by British Evangelicals, the Civil Rights Movement being lead by the Black Church leadership, and even religious toleration being lead by Roger Williams).

"the Civil Rights Movement being lead by the Black Church leadership,"
Meanwhile, Governor Wallace thought it a vote-winner to promissed fearful White Christians that the state would keep segregated schools, universities and churches.

Yet Governor Wallace changed his tune less than two decades later and sounded much like his exact opposite. His sincerity is not the issue, but that he felt the need to do so says a lot. While I have little love of the denominations that predominate in Alabama I suspect that white churches were a moderating influence on white reaction.

I don't have the reference, but years ago I read a study of the demographics of KKK membership and regular church attendance was less common than in the white population as a whole.

"I suspect that white churches were a moderating influence on white reaction."
They may have been - in fact, even putting ethical considerations aside, churches tend to be "more conservative" in temperament and not lend themselves to be a garden for rabble-rousers, either for restotation or revolution. Activist churches seem to be the exception (see English Evangelicals and the fight against slavery in England mentioned above) rather than the rule.
I think Wallace and many of his supporters, religious or secular, simply admited that, as MacArthur once said, "there is no turning back". Two decades after defeat, to keep dreaming about the good old times would split the White vote and do little good, it would make as much sense as dreaming about the Confederation. My point is, lots of White Christians saw no contradiction between Segregation and Christianism (it does not mean they were right, but it must be taken in account when talking about the influence of the Churches on "tolerance", I think).

Yes, and?

We have seem many different types of people throughout human history. For the vast bulk of it we considered it perfectly normal to enslave those different than us (often "trivially" so), to prohibit many different people from having remotely similar civil rights, and the regularly purge those who were different violently.

Governor Wallace's stand is remarkable in that he actually had to make it. When slavery and segregation are so thoroughly embedded in a culture, they need no defenders. It is remarkable that in Wallace's grandfather's day these injustices needed no defense. Comparing Wallace to say his contemporaries in Stalinist Russia, Nationalist China, or Tojo's China and Wallace is much more tolerant.

Moving from -10 to -7 is still increasing tolerance and I strongly suspect that even Wallace had the worst of his bigotry tamped down by the Christian culture in which he lived.

"Moving from -10 to -7 is still increasing tolerance and I strongly suspect that even Wallace had the worst of his bigotry tamped down by the Christian culture in which he lived."

Maybe, but the South and the USA are many things besides Christian, figuring out which is the magical tolerance ingredient is hard. I don't think Jewish culture is inherently bad, but the Jewish leadership persecuted early Christians as the Bible says.

"Comparing Wallace to say his contemporaries in Stalinist Russia, Nationalist China, or Tojo’s China and Wallace is much more tolerant."
Do you mean Tojo's Japan or Japanese-ruled China? What you mean is that Wallace Christians (as opposed to Stalinist Socialists of Tojo Nationalists) were not strong enough to kill or terrorize the non-Wallace Christians and non-Wallace non-Christians. Stalin killed leaders who theorically could have been less interested in seeking one-man rule (Lenin, as despotically as the Party was when he was in power, never made Soviet rule an one-man show, he had problems to approve the Brest-Litovsky peace for instance). I doubt Christianity, as good as it may be for the society, is the key item preventing Wallace from taking the power and terrorizing his White enemies (the Confederacy was as Christian as the Union or more and was even described as the "last stand of Christianism" by a Christian, opnion I disagree with, by the way). Or take anti-Protestant persecution under Louis XIV. Saying Wallace, in America, didn't reach the depth of modern totalitarism is damming America with faint praise (also, I doubt most German Christians - or German Whatevers, by the way - cared about what was happening to the Jews).

"Christianity is a universalist religion of forgiveness."

That's why the US is not a Christian country. Forgiveness is completely absent in the philosophy of the US nation/state. The exploration of the limits of behavior in society are universally most tested by young males. In the US their overreaching is punished by a lifetime relationship with the coercion apparatus of the state that in the same manner as the 17th century Puritans embraces predestination and ignores the possibility of change over time in the human personality.


Interesting. Studies by moral psychologist Jonathan Haidt demonstrate that conservatives are better at thinking like a liberal than the liberals are at thinking like a conservative when asked to role play. The difference is striking - liberals really do believe that conservatives are hateful monsters.

We attend a former Baptist church, now renamed and repositioned due to the disdain for fundamentalism of the '90s, that openly acknowledges the agnostic and atheist beliefs of many of it's members, often referring to the dogma as the "supernatural stuff", all in good humor. That said, many in the congregation are true believers. I am an atheist. There are many good reasons - latent functions - to attend services, not including virtue signaling.

Our church is very active sponsoring Syrian refugees. There is much more charity than evangelising. There are even liberals there - I know them - they go there for the benefit of their children.

I guess some people don't want to bowl alone.

The purges you refer to were orchestrated by political figures of regimes known for particular brutality.

I'm not sure that this can be taken as a general reflection on human nature, or what people are like for practical purposes in most situations.

In a time where most people never went further than a couple villages away, a political capital drawing from only a few hundred miles could easily represent what would have seemed like quite a lot of diversity to the people involved. Different accents, mannerisms, etc.

And also, this lack of mobility for almost all people meant that it's not really practical to compare. Most places never would have plausibly had a situation to add more than a very few people locally, with the exception of periods of conflict and population movements often caused by it. (In which case, if you're trying to draw a picture of what one might naturally expect from humans, that would also be a bad sample to look at, because in war situations, presumably people are already somewaht primed for brutality, or at least more suspicion and less cooperative attitudes towards those you do not know.

We have plenty of examples of people living in close quarters who massacred the "others" without it being a specific political program. For instance, in Grenada in 1066 there was an unplanned popular Jewish massacre. This in spite of Jews having been residents and loyal subjects for generations in that precise local.

Where exactly did this not happen? Shaka Zulu massacred perhaps a million outsiders. The Japanese were terrible to the Ainu. The Hamidian massacres were undertaken against Christian minorities who had been Dhimmi subjects of the Ottomans for centuries. Frankly it was routine for the populace to be more blood thirsty than the administration. And let us remember that when the military dictatorship in Japan decided not get nuked again, the attempted coup to prolong the war and attrition away as many non-Japanese as possible was lead not by the murderous men at the top, but by the rank and file.

More importantly than massacres though is the concept of equality. This basically existed nowhere in world history until it began to flourish in the West. Pretty much only in places with long Christian histories did slavery die out. Pretty much only in areas with long Christian histories did the hereditary aristocracy atrophy away. Pretty much only in areas with long Christian histories were minority religious followings granted equality under the law.

Suppose Wallace had won and restored the glory days of his youth in the 1920s. That would have been terrible for African Americans, but it would be better than living as a minority in Ataturk's Turkey, in KMT China, in newly forming Saudi Arabia, etc. The window of possibility for Wallace was much more circumscribed by his society than pretty much anywhere else from his formative years. Yes, Wallace's America is a horrific place, but the barbarism of the rest of human history is far worse.

Is Christianity sufficient to overcome the historical tendency toward xenophobia, suppression, and expulsion? Obviously not. Is it necessary? Likely not, but there are exceedingly few non-Christian societies that ever managed to approach modern equality without heavy prodding by the dominant Christian states.

I especially like the part where massacres are mentioned in the context of trashing the idea of equality before the law.

If by "here" you mean wherever you are.

Beinart: "[W]hen cultural conservatives disengage from organized religion, they tend to redraw the boundaries of identity, de-emphasizing morality and religion and emphasizing race and nation." But it's not just a right-leaning phenomenon. Beinart: "Sanders, like Trump, appealed to secular voters because he reflected their discontent. White Democrats who are disconnected from organized religion are substantially more likely than other white Democrats to call the American dream a myth. Secularism may not be the cause of this dissatisfaction, of course: It’s possible that losing faith in America’s political and economic system leads one to lose faith in organized religion. But either way, in 2016, the least religiously affiliated white Democrats—like the least religiously affiliated white Republicans—were the ones most likely to back candidates promising revolutionary change." It's the identity, stupid! In his book, The Evolution of God, Robert Wright observed that the simultaneous spread of Christianity and the growth in trade wasn't coincidental: those with a common religion shared an identity and with it a bond that provided the trust necessary to engage in trade.

My view is somewhat different. Not all evangelicals are alike. In my community, evangelicals in mainline churches (e.g., Baptist) are far more inclusive than those in the independent "community church". Those who have studied the New Testament and the early history of Christianity will know just how sectarian it was, those not accepting the prevailing orthodoxy facing likely death at the stake or at least rejection by the community of like believers. Read Matthew, Mark, and Luke, and then read the Gospel of John and, especially, the Letters of John and one can see the sectarian evolution of the faith. Today's independent Christian churches tend to be highly sectarian, those not members treated as living apart from members, and in ways far beyond just matters of faith. The identity is with fellow members of the church, not Christians generally. Like I said, it's the identity, stupid!

Community (identity) among Christians ebbs and flows. Jesus and His small group of followers were all Jews, in his lifetime Jesus taught only Jews, and Jesus and His disciples worshiped in the Temple. Before His crucifixion and death, however, He instructed His disciples to "go therefore and make disciples of all nations. . . ." Paul took the faith to the Gentiles, while the leaders in Jerusalem, Peter, James, and John, promoted a Jewish faith lead by a Jewish Messiah. Paul's vision prevailed. After Paul and before the canon, followers of Jesus developed disparate and conflicting views of the faith, reflected in the highly sectarian vision of the Gospel of John (the last of the four canonical Gospels) and, especially, the Letters of John. The first council of Nicaea settled much of the conflict, the growth and acceptance of the papacy imposing order among the faithful. Fast forward to the Reformation, then the split among the Protestants into denominations, and finally, today, into "independent" community churches. From one to many to one for each. Yes, one for each, that's the ultimate sectarian religion, each with his own beliefs, with his own identity.

This smorgasbord article brings to mind the stages of grief: denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance. It seems the Left is trying to move on from denial (he didn't win the popular vote...) and anger (Impeach him! Let's hold a protest march!), but not with any coherent message. From my perspective, they continue to try to pound that square peg into a round hole. In the 2016 Presidential election, the meaning of the terms Democrat and Republican evolved away from either party's core concepts. Their re-triangulation is on-going. (Whether the new coordinate system(s) will be long-lasting or not is another question)

Maybe "stop telling lies and ruining our alliances" is enough of a start for The Left? I think a lot of people could get behind that.

If you hadn't noticed that was a consistent theme on the right during the Obama years

There are two levels to this. There were people sophisticated enough to have a coherent political (and integrated economic) philosophy. There were also tribalists for whom "philosophies" were just tokens.

Somehow the tribalists got the upper hand on one side, and then managed to win the national.

The tragi-comic-drama since January 20 has all been about how you actually need a coherent political (and integrated economic) philosophy to help your voters, and get things done.

I think the lesson for 2020 is very EASY for both parties. Nominate someone who can do a coherent paragraph on political economy, and not something like this:

Look, having nuclear—my uncle was a great professor and scientist and engineer, Dr. John Trump at MIT; good genes, very good genes, OK, very smart, the Wharton School of Finance, very good, very smart—you know, if you’re a conservative Republican, if I were a liberal, if, like, OK, if I ran as a liberal Democrat, they would say I'm one of the smartest people anywhere in the world—it’s true!—but when you're a conservative Republican they try—oh, do they do a number—that’s why I always start off: Went to Wharton, was a good student, went there, went there, did this, built a fortune—you know I have to give my like credentials all the time, because we’re a little disadvantaged—but you look at the nuclear deal, the thing that really bothers me—it would have been so easy, and it’s not as important as these lives are (nuclear is powerful; my uncle explained that to me many, many years ago, the power and that was 35 years ago; he would explain the power of what's going to happen and he was right—who would have thought?), but when you look at what's going on with the four prisoners—now it used to be three, now it’s four—but when it was three and even now, I would have said it's all in the messenger; fellas, and it is fellas because, you know, they don't, they haven’t figured that the women are smarter right now than the men, so, you know, it’s gonna take them about another 150 years—but the Persians are great negotiators, the Iranians are great negotiators, so, and they, they just killed, they just killed us.

Liberals were like "can you believe that?" and conservatives were "we don't care!"

Next time, care.

Next time, care.

Next time, consult John Roche. He said he was handed a transcript of the first press conference he'd given while employed at Lyndon Johnson's White House. He said he couldn't recognize his own words. As a rule, people look incoherent when they're on the fly remarks are put in cold print, even the Dean of the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy.

When I was at Rice U. in 1979, the Houston Chronicle ran a front page story about my College Bowl quiz team qualifying for the national tournament. The reporter who interviewed me over the phone did a funny thing: he quoted me verbatim without cleaning up my quotes for me. So I looked like an idiot.

But that was fair.

More like conservative were like "you left us no choice" I find it amazing liberals take no responsibility for the way the election went.

We know what this really means. "We have a cultural hatred of the left, and even the urban, that is so deep that we had no choice."

55% of trump supporters (in 2015) thought it was "best if most people lived outside of cities."

Because they remember what you pricks did to America's cities.

By far the most infuriating commenter here is the above, Anon, who continually changes names but remains obvious. He is infuriating because he is the perfect enemy of Trumpism. He is a condescending, hate-filled, dishonest wealthy white man living in a mostly segregated northern city, sure of his own superiority in every facet, despite his deep failing in every facet. Just an absolite scumbag and the face of Donald Trump's presidency.

Trump can only hope that people like Anon will continue to broadcast their deep hatred for and, sense of superiority over, the working class.

a) he did not receive the largest amount of votes, although there is not question that he wont according to the rules that are established.

b) Peaceful protests are a normal part of a healthy democracy.

Churchgoing and tolerance

Which, of course, Tyler Cowen and the author at The Atlantic define (without giving it any thought) as indulgent toward a menu of prog client groups. The person who told me (via Facebook) "get the f*** out of my life" (for casting a ballot for the current President) is, by this understanding, not 'intolerant'. You expect better from an academic, and they disappoint almost without fail.

"F*ck your feelings"

You are quoting whom?

"You expect better from an academic', not really. Not since the 60s when the left took a stranglehold on academia.

Academia has lost its way. We need to help them by stopping all funding to liberal arts schools. No public loans, zero dollars. Hopefully, this will convince those in the liberal arts departments to get jobs in the private sector. Maybe they will learn, as dr Raymond Stantz did that "they expect results".

Soon, our puppet masters will have robots to do all the thinking for us, so we will have no further need of liberal arts, liberty, or even the concept of freedom itself.

Cognitive liberty: the freedom to control one's own mental processes.

You must be Christian. I can tell because of your tolerance.

I'll take a moral lesson in tolerance from a liberal when they stop nominating people for the presidency who want to get rid of the first amendment.

Until then you can go to hell.

Stanley Rothman's research (nearly 50 years ago) demonstrated that leftoid college students were tolerant of those things that did not bother them, and expected the same disposition of others. Rothman's respondents are retirement age as we speak, but succeeding generations of professionals (e.g. school administrators) are, if anything, worse in these respects.

The self-concept of the left is comprehensively erroneous.

"Trump threatens to weaken First Amendment protections for reporters"

Dishonest, crooked Associated Press!

The '1st Amendment protections' they cherish consist of the license to libel people and get away with it, something not incorporated into the 1st Amendment until about 1967.

Trump wants to take down reporters who tell the truth about his multitudes of lies. If you're against the first amendment, Art, that's fine. Don't say that you simply want to "reinterpret it". If you don't favor first amendment protections, you can find a more suitable environment in the UK. But you'll have to put up with the

Trump wants to take down reporters who tell the truth about his multitudes of lies. I

If fiction helps you feel better, fine.

Well, since you have the time to write, maybe you can spend some time reading first -

Well, since you have the time to write, maybe you can spend some time reading first –

I knew a woman who ran a temp agency. She told me that any resume she received longer than one page was tossed out unread ("not worth my time"). You get my attention for one line of text only.

Wow, you're a real skeptic! With Trump's preferred changes maybe even Obama could sue Don for repeatedly lying about him wiretapping our POTUS.

'You get my attention for one line of text only.'

Good, because on my tiny 21 inch screen, that is one line of text - enjoy your time reading.

As opposed to Clinton who thought it ahould be illegal for private citizens to get together and fund a commercial aboit her. Get a clue, Jan.

Oh please. When Trump sues someone during an election campaign for criticising him let me know.

What would he sue for anyway? Trump is the one telling and then doubling down on lies about his political opponents daily.

I guess you're of the opinion that what the president of the most powerful country in the world says doesn't matter. For mysterious reasons our allies are still freaked the hell out every time he opens his mouth. (Especially Europe, but even including your Canada).


Change the subject won't you. Defend Clinton trying to change the constitution so that no one could criticize her.

Haha. Your answer is that he didn't sue anybody? That's precisely because we have the laws and protections of speech he hates. He wants to _change_ the law so he can sue anyone who hurts his man baby feelings, or perhaps even throw then in jail. Do you not understand that?

But please, keep defending him. You can tell your grandkids about it.


Trump is a buffoon and a national embarrassment. I did not vote for him and would not given almost any other option. So: loyalty oath complete.

That being said I lay 90% of the blame at the feet of the establishment politicians. It was clear that they were moving too fast and furious and never once thought of themselves as marketing a concept and selling it to citizens.

Establishment decided that it didn't need votes anymore outside of the cities. And god forbid we accept federalism. No, everything needs to apply to all 300 plus million people and it needs to be whatever New York and San Francisco want.

This is utter madness. We used to have a shared set of principles. Now MAYBE there's 50% of citizens that share a set of core values. and I'm not sure what that venn diagram looks like.

There's a lot of people (me) that support open borders and dismantling Medicaid. This might be 4% of the population. There's maybe 50% that support increased immigration from everywhere , regardless if they work or even attempt to work. These people also want full benefits for immigrants. That's the democrat party.

If you had to pick one of the two presidential candidates which very explcitly and clearly took a position that threatened free speech, for example with respect to free press, would you say that it was Clinton or Trump?

I do recall that Trump wants to make it easier to sue newspapers who criticize him.

Did Clinton do or say something that legitimizes the view that Trump would not be the greater threat to free speech among the two?

Did Clinton do or say something that legitimizes the view that Trump would not be the greater threat to free speech among the two?

See the legal controversy at issue re Citizens United.

And I'd devote some thought to the machinations of the "Human Rights Tribunals" in your own non-country before fixing your attention on Trump.

Aside from diverting with an answer barely related to the question and going out of your way to cause wounds and rub salt at the same time ... did you have anything constructive to offer?

This quip makes me think of "conic sections" where you take a 3-D cone and make 2-D sections getting everything from a point to a circle or ellipse to a parabola. In analyzing an N-dimensional problem in N-X dimensions, you can get anything you want.

This is just another case of social science BS where you design your study to get the answer you want. You can slice and dice social information along racial lines (racist), religious lines, cultural lines, class lines, etc. and get different views, supporting your agenda.

Yes, can we get some information on Muslim views toward homosexuals and infidels? Nope, that would be racist, islamophobic, and frankly shouldn't be legal (Jan, this is your party's position on the 1st).

It would be easier to have that discussion if it weren't for people who would use it as an excuse to promote hateful or even genocidal thoughts towards them.

On the matter of infidels, "Allah will decide" works for most Muslims, in addition to a pretty transparent understanding that it's not exactly fair for Allah to send people to hell when their main fault was simply being born in the "wrong culture". I find that Muslims tend to be much more understanding about the unfairness implicit in this sort of situation than Christians are. (Although the second group might be on average more open to the "I dunno, maybe God will find a way to be reasonable if they are decent people" sort of thing.)

Christianity contains within it a morality of radical egalitarianism and all-embracing tolerance, though of course the extent to which this is and has been the focus of the faith varies (it works better when not trying to hold political power, for instance), and it gets caught up on being obsessed with certain sins.

The predominant morality of atheists and agnostics in the Western world is a Godless form of this same Christian morality.

Rejecting that religion can come in the form of rejecting its supernatural aspects, or rejecting both the supernatural aspects and the morality that the supernatural was provided as justification for. Someone who just rejects the supernatural part becomes a standard left-leaning atheist/agnostic. Someone who rejects both may become one form or another of what I think is being called "alt-right."

To the extent what is being discussed in the quoted bit is real, I think it is a manifestation of this: those on the "right" who have rejected Christianity may tend to reject both its supernatural and its moral aspect.

Comments for this post are closed