Monday, October 25, 2010

Response to Ken Huber and What Has America Become

This leditor has been going around the right-wing email circuit, and I wanted to briefly address each of Mr. Huber's comments... (If this isn't big enough to read, you can see most of it in excerpt below.)





Ken Huber has some good points but his timeline seems to be confused...


"Has America become the land of special interest and home of the double standard?"


Yes, when we seceded from the union (with Britain)... We have been such ever since, regardless of who has been paying attention.


"Lets see, if we lie to the Congress, it's a felony and if the Congress lies to us its just politics."


Correct. This is because we don't require Congressmen to swear an oath every time they speak. Regular people lie all the time and it's not a felony. You're forgetting that Congressmen are just regular people going to work, and you seem to be under the impression that they were all completely truthful at one point..?


"If we dislike a black person, we're racist and if a black person dislikes whites, it's their 1st Amendment right."


Both of these things are racist and both of them are 1st amendment rights. There wouldn't be a constitution guaranteeing you the freedom to be a perfect person, this document would be unnecessary. BTW, if certain people give African Americans a pass for being racially ignorant, it's because the American double standard has shafted them historically harder than other groups, and perhaps they actually have a tiny reason to dislike us.


"The government spends millions to rehabilitate criminals and they do almost nothing for the victims."


My imagination isn't potent enough to fathom what it's like to have my life so far into the gutter that robbing a liquor store seems like a good idea... The sad truth of the matter is that we don't all share the same morals, intelligence, work ethic, education, psychological health, etc. etc. But if one of our worst hypocrisies as a nation is that we attempt to turn criminals into decent people.... I guess this doesn't enrage me as much as it should.


"In public schools you can teach that homosexuality is OK, but you better not use the word God in the process."


But we teach that God is okay. In one form or another we all learned about the religious freedom of America, we're just not allowed to tell kids they have to believe in God anymore than we tell them they have to be homosexuals. How is this inconsistent?


"You can kill an unborn child, but it is wrong to execute a mass murderer."


I don't think mass murderers have as good of a reputation as you presume. Also, unborn children are generally thought more highly of than "it's okay to kill them". But the reason it's LEGAL to kill them is one of the unfortunate results of a complicated society filled with contrasting world-views. You've had this discussion I'm sure.


"We don't burn books in America, we now rewrite them."


This is a somewhat alarming complaint, and I'm hoping it's just the poetic linguistics of a traditional-minded fellow. If not, let me address it quickly. Knowledge is a constantly evolving thing. What makes a book written in 1999 more valid than a similar book written in 2010? Because it was here first? If the most effective form of chemotherapy has changed over the last ten years, should the texts on chemo not be updated? And the reason we don't burn the old volumes is because they may be useful for reference. When it comes to knowledge, less is not more.


"We got rid of communist and socialist threats by renaming them progressive."


The claim seems to be that language is being strategically used to affect attitudes. I can do that too. Progress is being slowed down by people renaming it the Socialist Threat. Congratulations, you're a politician.


"We are unable to close our border with Mexico, but have no problem protecting the 38th parallel in Korea."


I agree that we're spending too much money on foreign defense, although I think this one has something to do with your Communist Threat.


"If you protest against President Obama's policies you're a terrorist, but if you burned an American flag or George Bush in effigy it was your 1st Amendment right."


Seriously? You got called a terrorist for peacefully protesting? That seems extreme.


"You can have pornography on TV or the internet, but you better not put a nativity scene in a public park during Christmas."


This is perfectly consistent: you can have a nativity scene at home and you can't have pornography in a public park. What's the argument here? And just a side note, there is such a thing as non-sexual pornography, and the idea of a living manger out-front the capitol building is probably certain peoples' little blue pill.


"We have eliminated all criminals in America, they are now called sick people."


Huh? I think this is more rhetorical gymnastics. If the core of this statement is that you don't like the empathy that is given to people who break the law, then I don't know what to tell ya. They still go to jail, and their lives are still probably more or less empty. If you're mad that they're still treated like human beings then I can't really help ya on this one.


"We can use a human fetus for medical research, but it is wrong to use an animal."


They're not live fetuses being used for research. Again, I can appreciate the anti-abortion sentiment, as I think many people can, but there's something not-so-sacred about incest-rape. Additionally, I don't think the average liberal American has a problem with using rats to cure cancer. Certain folks don't want animals mutated to test our style products. Don't confuse a vocal minority for a majority.


"We take money from those who work hard for it and give it to those who don't want to work"


Literally speaking, this is probably way less common than you'd expect. Do you think the average beneficiary of unemployment really WANTS to pad their resume with years of wellfare? Maybe some, but the bigger social issue here is that unexceptional people are having too many babies, creating large quantities of unexceptional citizens.


"We all support the Constitution, but only when it supports our political ideology."


Good point, this is also nothing new.


"We still have freedom of speech, but only if we are being politically correct."


False. Politically incorrect people still have freedom of speech, they just don't like having to deal with the non-legal consequences of their words. You can lose your job for something you say, but you're forgetting that a job is a privilege, not a constitutional right.


"Parenting has been replaced with Ritalin and video games."


Once again, too many unexceptional parents.


"The land of opportunity is now the land of hand outs."


Vote.



"The similarity between Hurricane Katrina and the gulf oil spill is that neither president did anything to help."


Fair enough.


And how do we handle a major crisis today? The government appoints a committee to determine who's at fault, then threatens them, passes a law, raises our taxes; tells us the problem is solved so they can get back to their reelection campaign.


Duh.


"What has happened to the land of the free and home of the brave?"


This is from a song. There are still brave people and free people living here. But the reason those lyrics are popular in song form instead of document form is because they're intended to get you emotive about a vague concept, rather than particular about specific concepts. To ask "What has happened to the land of the free and home of the brave?" is to ask a rhetorical question for the purpose of making a broad statement: "I don't like the way my country is behaving as of late". But the hypocrisies that you're dealing with here are remarkably consistent with the hypocrisies we've always had. The only difference LATELY is that your fellow voters have been disagreeing with you about the details. You're mad at your government but the folks you should really be mad at are the voters who have a different outlook than you.


What you're probably MOST upset about, is that non-religious people have different values than the faithful. You are unable to see religious dogma as subjective truth. And I don't blame you, because what use would religion be if it WAS seen as subjective? I don't know how to help you reconcile this, other than to tell you to keep on voting and hope for the best. Progress and entropy are more or less two sides to the same coin. One of these (entropy) is inevitable by definition. If that's the idiom you subscribe to, then we're already doomed. If you see social movement as progress, then this is NOT inevitable, and there's hope for you. Only problem becomes dealing with the reality that you're rooting against progress. You can look at the public moving away from religion, towards humanism and see it as entropy or progress. But you can't call it neither. Or, shouldn't.


My friend, you're a man without a nation, and this is going to sound odd and strangely anti-American to say, but if this stuff is really important to you, you're best bet is to join the Tea Party and start planning which mesoamerican states are going to be fenced off for the REAL America to begin. Only awkward thing is that you're going to lose the name America and the songs and flags... Can you reconcile fighting for your secession (which you WILL win, because if there's one thing your Tea Party friends will have, it's lots of guns--and if there's one thing godless neo-liberals don't have, it's willingness to fight and die for anything) when after the dust settles, you'll have your perfect set of small-government laws but a less traditional flag to wave, different songs to learn, and a whole new set of patriots to start idolizing? Boy it's gonna be wistfull, but at least things will be back to the way they.... (were?)

5 comments:

Christopher said...

Booyah.

Alfonso said...

This has nothing to do with the article or response but... What the hell is "Booyah?"

Dr. Carey said...

Booyah is a colloquial response to a feat of impressive athletic success, such as a slam-dunk. In this case, a form of flattery from Christopher.

(Also, you're question has very much a lot to do with the response to the article!)

Matthew S said...

I saw this recent spam email article, and was thinking to myself much of the same things in response to the person who sent it to me. While I agree with most of what you say here, as a godless-neo liberal [but mostly somewhere in the middle depending on issue] I would whole-heartedly disagree with your statement "and if there's one thing godless neo-liberals don't have, it's willingness to fight and die for anything" -That is rather a broad, unfair, if not arguably inaccurate designation...I'm sure I could look up many, many civil rights movements alone where people gave their lives to a cause…and as a member of the military myself [part-time] I can also vouch with some authority that [though we may be out-numbered] there IS a large amount of active duty and citizen soldiers [reserves] whom also don't follow a particular religious doctrine...and yet we also die alongside our pious brethren the same- for perhaps different ideals and causes. Some misguided, and [I agree] naive, but some for the simple sake of wishing to serve to protect our citizens from danger.

The other thing I would caution on presuming is that all change and shift in values are automatically a positive “progress”. While I do see many changes as progress, change doesn’t necessarily mean it is all for the better! The rise and fall of empires are there in the books to learn from, if only humans weren’t such self-serving, forgetful creatures only concerned with the now; and the only drive- from desire to accumulate ever more material possessions and wealth.

W. Miller said...

I believe Ken H was trying to wake up America. The rebuttal of his article tells me that the person who wrote it is a " know it all" maybe even getting a hand our from our Give Away President and wants to keep thing on an even keel.