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Conserva-bible

May 13th, 2007

I can’t resist following Conservapedia, the Tlön version of Wikipedia, in which the liberal, anti-American bias of the Earth version is replaced with virtue and apple pie. But where did this bias come from, and how is it so deeply rooted in our culture? The answer, it turns out is the Bible, not of course the true version held in the vaults of Uqbar, but the liberal Earth Bible known by such as names as the King James and Revised Versions.

In the Uqbar version, as explained at Conservapedia, all sorts of politically correct liberalism is eliminated or glossed out of existence. Uqbar scholars have discovered that the soft-on-crime John 8:7 ‘”If any one of you is without sin, let him be the first to throw a stone” was inserted by time-travelling liberals some time around the 4th century. Naturally, Conservapedia says, Wikipedia sticks to the Earth version, though a check of the actual site suggests that the annoying liberal habit of looking at all the evidence is at work here as well.

Conservapedia has able assistance from other conservative sources. All that class warfare stuff about the rich not getting into heaven (Matthew 19:21-24) turns out to mean that if you want money, you should cut God (or his earthly representatives) a good share in advance. Other kinds of warfare are fine with the Prince of Peace, though. As for turning the other cheek ((Luke 6:27-31), it’s No More Christian Nice Guy.

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  1. May 13th, 2007 at 21:08 | #1

    How amusing. The bible does seem to need a good tidy up.

    Let me digress completely and recommend a great book. It’s called:-

    “In the Beginning: The Story of the King James Bible and How It Changed a Nation, a Language, and a Culture”

    It’s not a religious book but rather a real treat for anybody interested in political history.

    http://tinyurl.com/ypduqt

  2. May 13th, 2007 at 23:06 | #2

    The entry on haemorrhoids,while short, is informative:

    Hemorrhoids are often caused by straining to move a stool, or sometimes by pregnancy, aging, chronic constipation or diarrhea, and anal intercourse. Because of this, many hemorrhoid sufferers are homosexuals.

    Because, as we all know, only homosexuals get pregnant, or age, or suffer chronic constipation.

  3. wilful
    May 14th, 2007 at 10:07 | #3

    Because, as we all know, only homosexuals get pregnant, or age, or suffer chronic constipation.

    or engage in anal sex.

  4. Stephen L
    May 14th, 2007 at 12:35 | #4

    I wonder if Conservative haemorrhoid sufferers worldwide are suddenly wondering if they have latent homosexual tendencies, and that this might be why God has wrought such suffering upon them.

  5. Andrew
    May 14th, 2007 at 13:25 | #5

    I’ve always been intrigued at the reason why conservatism and religion get linked. It’s not obvious to me that they should be. I’m conservative, but agnostic (I can’t claim to be athiest – not that passionate!). It strikes me that the typical free market over state-controlled and individual over social thinking that characterises most conservatives (myself included) is actually completely opposite to fundamental religious values.

  6. May 14th, 2007 at 14:02 | #6

    In Australia when I’ve encountered people with strong religious convictions they tended to be left leaning in their politics. The characture of american christians seems to be the opposite. Rudd seems more devout than Howard although maybe not as devout as Abbott.

  7. jstrocch
    May 15th, 2007 at 20:40 | #7

    Andrew Says: May 14th, 2007 at 1:25 pm

    I’ve always been intrigued at the reason why conservatism and religion get linked. It’s not obvious to me that they should be. I’m conservative, but agnostic (I can’t claim to be athiest – not that passionate!). It strikes me that the typical free market over state-controlled and individual over social thinking that characterises most conservatives (myself included) is actually completely opposite to fundamental religious values.

    Andrew, I have news for you. You are not a conservative. You are a libertarian.

    You are quite right that “the typical free market over state-controlled and individual over social thinking that characterises most conservatives (myself included) is actually completely opposite to fundamental religious values.”

    That is because libertarians are not conservative, whilst institutional authoritarians invariably are.

    A conservative is a person who is averse to rapid social change. He prefers to maintain identity.

    A constructivist is a person who is avid for rapid social change. He prefers to make over identity.

    Libertarians are avid for change at a personal rather than political scale. So libertarians are constructivists.

    Conservatives wish to moderate change to protect the institutional foundation of individual identity. The core conservative insitutions consolidating a persons identity are family, church and state. These are the pillars of the folk establishment.

    The identification of conservatism with particular ideologies is a category mistake. Conservatives are not necessarily Right wing or Left wing. It depends on the way the times are a changing. If the longstanding institutional arrangements favour the low-status then conservative are Left wing. If longstanding institutional arrangements favour the high-status then conservatives are Right-wing.

    Conservative institutions longevity depend on altruistic self-sacrifice and keeping in-step, not a thing that libertarians are much keen on doing.

    By the sound of things you are both a right-wing financial libertarian and a left-wing cultural libertarian. Libertarians are notoriously hostile to core conservative institutions such as the family, church and state.

    The combination of capital liberties and cultural diversities is probably the most explosive mixture of social forces imaginable. The libertarian revolutions of the past generation or so have knocked the stuffing out of traditional families, churches and states.

    The free-market, as its most capable social analysts observed, is an agent of constant global revolution. (K. Marx “All that is solid melts to air”, J. Schumpeter “Creative Destruction”)

    Likewise the uninhibited culture of free expression has thrown up all manner of monstrosities and unfortunate lab accidents in our family structures. (J. S. Mill’s “experiments in living”)

    The welfare state and public utilities are political institutions of long-standing heritage. Libertarians wish to break it up and sell it off to Maquarie Bank or some such. This is constructivism, not conservatism.

    The nation state requires subscription to the common culture of modernity, largely an Anglomorphic production. Multiculturalists wish to rip it up and replace it with a global free-for-all of open borders and tribal patches.

    A proper conservative tends to favour old-style religion because older churches tend to be custodians and transimitters of traditional morality. Good moral rules take a long time to evolve and should not be picked up and disposed of like fashion accessories or gadgets.

    Most modern religions tend to be conservative authoritarians in both financial and cultural matters. They tend to support the welfare state. And they tend to be family valuers. Not coincidentally these institutions evolved to protect the weak and vulnerable from the vicissitudes of rapid change. (“Haven in a heartless world”)

    All this radical change may be good, or not. But it is not conservative.

  8. May 15th, 2007 at 23:35 | #8

    Libertarians are notoriously hostile to core conservative institutions such as the family, church and state.

    This statement does not stack up. I am frequently refered to as a libertarian and I self identify as a libertarian but I’m also happily married with three small children and I quite enjoy church even though I’m agnostic and I only generally go at christmas. I hang around blogs (and sometimes pubs and cafes) with lots of libertarians and I have never noticed any pattern of hostility towards family as a fundamental and basic institutions of civil society.

  9. jstrocch
    May 16th, 2007 at 05:58 | #9

    Terje (say tay-a) Says: May 15th, 2007 at 11:35 pm

    im frequently refered to as a libertarian and I self identify as a libertarian but I’m also happily married with three small children and I quite enjoy church even though I’m agnostic and I only generally go at christmas.

    Terje you seem like the saner kind of libertarians. But most libertarians are much saner in real life than in pixel.

    I will concede that many libertarians enjoy big happy families. But they tend to sign off on legal changes which make such organizations much harder to run eg liberalising laws constraining drug abuse and deviant sexual behaviour.

    Libertarians are definitely hostile to the state and and tend to distrust the church.

    They are also cool about constructivist social change “let the market rip”, “let a hundred flowers bloom”, “borderless world”. anarchy, that sort of thing.

    Libertarians tend toward elitism. Financial elitism which favours right wing. And cultural elitism which favours left wing. Libertarians therefore distrust populists.

    Conservatism is anti-ideological. It is not necesssarily well disposed towards parties, movements or “wings”.

    These things may be good. Or not. But they are not conservative.

  10. Andrew
    May 16th, 2007 at 08:19 | #10

    Thanks Jack -you’ve just saved me a fortune in therapy ;-)

    No really – that was actually a really good summary of my views. So I’m Libertarian not conservative….. I guess that explains why I vote for the Coalition as the lessor evil of all the political parties!

    It also highlights why labels such as ‘conservative’, ‘left-wing’, ‘Libertarian’ are actually not all that useful. We are all individuals, and our views cover a broad spectrum over many topics. For example, it is possible to believe the following –
    1) The Iraq war was a giant mistake and Bush is one of the worst US presidents ever to hold office
    2) Climate change is real but probably exaggerated
    3) Bob Brown is a fruitcake
    4) All Unions do in current times is entrench mediocracy in the workplace – AWAs good, collective bargaining bad.
    5) The Howard goverment has dropped the ball big time in the past 10 years on infrastructure spending and has ridden on the back of a commodity boom without grasping the huge opportunity that should have created.
    6) Beazley/Crean/Latham and now Rudd would have done no better and perhaps worse.
    7) Religion creates more problems than it solves, but wouldn’t the world be a nicer place if everyone actually lived their life according to the basic religious tenets (which I think boils down to a simple personal philosophy of ‘be nice’)

    The problem with debate on blogs like these is that if I made any one of those statements in isolation I would quickly be pigeonholed as either a left wing nutter (the Bush comment) or a right wing maniac (the Brown comment). I’m neither.

  11. jstrocch
    May 16th, 2007 at 20:16 | #11

    Andrew Says: May 16th, 2007 at 8:19 am

    Thanks Jack -you’ve just saved me a fortune in therapy

    I dont think that libertarianism is a mental disease. It is just a cult that is suitable for well-situated or capable people who can afford to experiment. It does not make for a good public philosophy since most people do not have such good luck or good management.

    Protestants could manage economic libertarianism because they had a strict Church to act as regulator of the great unwashed. Hippies could manage cultural libertarianism because they had wealthy families or a welfare state safety net to cushion any hard landings.

    But in no society could the populus manage the temptations and rigours of libertarianism without Church or State support. Libertarianism is a philosophy for the elite.

    Andrew says:

    It also highlights why labels such as ‘conservative’, ‘left-wing’, ‘Libertarian’ are actually not all that useful

    I have been banging on about this for ages. But my attempts at conceptual clarification have mostly drawing blank stares interspersed with hoots of derision.

    These concepts are useful when counterposed correctly to their ideological polar opposite. I find it useful to lay out ideological dichotomies, just to specify the polarities for any value scale on a given dimension.

    Of course any given actor is likely to inhabit a position somewhere along the empirical continuum rather than at one of the ideological poles.

    – Conservativism (change averse) v Constructivism (change avid)

    – Right-wing (high status) v Left-wing (low status)

    – Indvidual autonomy (liberal principality) v Institutional authority (“corporal” agency)

    – Fiscal equity (progressive) v Financial propriety (regressive)

    – National unity (integrator) v Tribal diversity (differentiator)

    – Populism (public majority) v Elitism (privy minority)

    I dont argue that one polarity is always and everywhere superior to another. Just that conceptualising ideological conflict as occurring accross a number of seperate dimensions could avoid confusion.

    Andrew says:

    wouldn’t the world be a nicer place if everyone actually lived their life according to the basic religious tenets (which I think boils down to a simple personal philosophy of ‘be nice’)

    I agree entirely. “Be nice” is the best short summary of my personal philosophy. I confess that in blogs I tend to observe it in the breach.

    FTR, FWIW, I am an agnostic with leanings towards religious instituionalism. This is because religious institutions are quite useful in encouraging niceness, especially for those in whom “the flesh is weak”. Also national religions promotes social cohesion.

    The machiavellian approach to religion emerges when smart tough guys have to run large organisations with people of varying talent in troubled times.

    Napolean justifies real politic religiosity to the Pope:

    Pope Pius VII: You confuse God with religion.

    Napoléon: On the contrary, I separate them. On the one hand, a theory: God. On the other, a certitude: religion.

    It gives human society a framework. People would have no reference points without religion, we saw the results of that…during the Revolution…

    We can do without God, but not without religion.

    Tony lays down the law to Anthony Jnr who as scorned Carmellas urgings on confirmation because of a teenage existential crisis:

    AJ: God is dead…What does she know?

    Tony Soprano: She knows that even if God is dead, you’re going to kiss his ass.

    Later, when AJ is busted smoking dope:

    Carmela: What kind of animal smokes marijuana at his own confirmation?

    A.J.: I don’t know.

    Carmela: Be a good Catholic for fifteen fu*king minutes; is that so much to ask?!

    We really seem to respond better to moral messages as fairy tales delivered in ceremonial rituals. The Roman Catholics knew how to get the message accross.

    Andrew says:

    The problem with debate on blogs like these is that if I made any one of those statements in isolation I would quickly be pigeonholed as either a left wing nutter (the Bush comment) or a right wing maniac (the Brown comment). I’m neither.

    Its clear that your are neither a Left wing or Right wing party liner. You do tend towards liberal indvidualism over “corporal” communalism. In this view capital proprieties and cultural diversities have presumptive moral validity. The assumption is that any and everyone can aspire to a meritocratic elite.

    That view has a certain prima facie ideological plausibility. But human societies are invariably and inevitably status-hierarchical. Not everyone can make it to the top, especially with unequal endowments of talent. So we must find some means of consoling people who fail to win.

    Religion is one such method. Psychotherapeutic counselling appears to be more popular now. I’m not sure that this is a net gain.

    Also, one is entitled to ask whether a financial sphere run by Macquarie Bank et al and a cultural sphere run by the race & gender v porn & pokies lobbies will result in properly formed individuals. Or will it be an unholy mess?

  12. May 18th, 2007 at 10:33 | #12

    Jack,

    Most libertarians I know don’t fit the mould you indicate. Many are well off but many are not. Many are capable but many are not. Some work in trades, some in professions, some are retired and some are young students. Some are extremely charitable and some are selfish. Some are immigrants and some were born here. The only real universal quality they exhibit is a general cynacism about the utility of most government intervention and regulation. And frequently they spend time arguing against flawed government intervention even with little direct personal upside to success. They are quite altruistic in my experience generally arguing their position for the sake of the greater good.

    Regards,
    Terje.

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