David Shane Not your main point but - I'm rather amused that, while the national polls have shown an effective tie for weeks now with very little movement at all, we still find ourselves reading story after story about how the Romney campaign is "floundering", or being destroyed by gaffes, or about how the latest thing Romney just did (whatever that was) has really lost the election for him, or whatever. Makes you wonder - media, are you reporting the news, or trying to make it?
David Shane I visited a gelateria over lunch today, and noticed that they were advertising their acceptance of food stamps. This is a place that literally sells nothing except expensive ice cream. So Romney, about that entitlement culture... It would be great if, because of this comment, we actually got to have a discussion as a nation about just how many benefits government really ought to provide to people. Unfortunately that is clearly not where the media would like to take the story. Romney should try to force it in that direction anyway.
David Shane ""No matter what Mitt Romney wanted this week to be about, it's clear that it's going to be about one thing: A campaign that is off message and in disarray." I just love reading that kind of story from ABC. Of course the media can tell us what the week is going to be about, because they decide what the week is going to be about! There is clearly no shortage of more important stories to report, but since their main concern at the moment is painting a picture of a troubled Romney campaign - why yes, that is what the week will be about. This is probably why I don't have a television.
David Shane I also thought Allahpundit's take was interesting - almost nobody thinks of *themselves* as a freeloader. Criticize "freeloaders" all you want, most people will figure you're talking about someone else. There is some truth in that, I think.
David Shane Can we restrict the use of the word "gaffe" to statements that politicians actually express regret for? Because several times recently I've seen the word applied to comments Romney made that I thought were just fine. It's like the media is so out of touch with conservatism that when Romney says something really conservative they think, "oh, he must have misspoken". No, he just said something you disagree with, silly people. That's not a gaffe.
David Shane Judicial review is discussed in Federalist No. 78 - so the same people involved in writing the Constitution expected the judiciary to take those role. They didn't exactly make it up themselves in 1803.
David Shane Our own church is about to move to a new building because we've outgrown the old - our pews aren't empty. And we sit adjacent to a university. Liberal Christianity is clearly on the decline, but evangelical churches are doing fine numerically. People are looking for answers and not finding them in our culture - even educated people, even people "in control" of their lives. I do agree that crises, when we lose control, often drive people to faith - but that's because crises open our eyes to the truth. Our sense of control was always an illusion, and many of the things we live our lives for are revealed to be so much dust and vanity.
David Shane If you really want to get a sense of where I'm coming from, I'd recommend C.S. Lewis book "Mere Christianity", and the slightly lesser known work "Orthodoxy" by G.K. Chesterton: http://www.goodreads.com/work/quotes/1807543-orthodoxy . Both are stupendous writers. A great modern work with less literary flourish is "The Reason for God" by Tim Keller.
David Shane Well, you know I'm a physicist, so obviously I see no problem in being both a scientist and a Christian. (In fact, if anything Christianity makes science makes sense, since it gives us reasons to believe the universe should be ordered, and reasons to believe that our own reason is trustworthy. If you go read the writings of some of the early modern scientists - Newton, Pascal, Hooke - it's amazing how explicitly theological they were.) But it's difficult to answer "how it does a better job" in such a brief space, because it isn't a matter of "one thing", it's a matter of everything - as C.S. Lewis said, "I believe in Christianity as I believe that the sun has risen, not only because I see it, but because by it I see everything else."
David Shane "the evidence speaking to the legitimacy of them all is approximately the same: zero." Thus the great mass of Christian apologetic literature is dismissed in a single breath. But even the Bible, you know, says that Christianity will appear to be foolishness to the world. Savior god-men don't get killed on crosses, silly! But it happened. The problem is really your premises. Start from atheistic premises, and I'm not surprised that Christianity looks implausible. But start from Christian premises and atheism looks just as ridiculous. Christianity-as-philosophy does a better job at explaining the world I encounter than any other belief system I'm aware of - I couldn't not believe in it.
David Shane Unless, ignoring the title for a moment, your point was not "Ryan is anti-women" but simply "Ryan is an extremist". But even then I still disagree. "Extremist" is almost a useless word in politics anyway - it means whatever you want it to mean, and just about everyone gets called it eventually. Your article itself makes it clear that plenty of people support these same positions. Ryan isn't extremist to them.
David Shane You'll have to explain to me how. Being anti-abortion is pro-women, and pro-men (all fetuses are actually not male, thanks Gary). While rape is obviously terrible, it surely isn't an excuse to kill a resultant child who had no participation in the crime that conceived him. And being in favor of small government is not the same thing as being in favor of anarchy - there are some legitimate roles of government. Surely one of those roles is to preserve life. So there is nothing contradictory about being anti-abortion and pro-small-government. I'll tack on one of my favorite arguments against abortion: http://bit.ly/OYT1jj
David Shane I'm also tired of all this hyperbole - "extremist", "radical", "put you back in chains", etc. We could cite 100 examples, and that's just the problem. Language that is supposed to be reserved for the exceptional is now applied to anyone you don't like. I just tune it out and turn it off, and I think more and more people are beginning to feel the same way.
David Shane Being against abortion and (non-adult) stem cell research makes you "anti-women"? I've got a few female friends you might want to talk to! (Really, though - dig up the photos of just about any pro-life march, and who will you see on the frontlines? Mostly women.)
David Shane Yeah. I personally don't like stories like this. When "your side" gets a bunch of donations, you write an article about the outpouring of public support for your cause. When the "other side" gets a bunch of donations, you accuse them of being bought and paid for. Whatever. Lets talk about ideas and not worry too much about what money is going where. Wealth is neither a guarantor of wisdom, nor of greed and vice, after all.
David Shane "Democrats for change; Republicans for conservation" A little bit of truth in that statement, but not nearly as much as people usually think. Quick example - Republicans led the charge to reform/change welfare in the 90s, Obama just rolled those changes back. (There are a TON of things most Republicans want to change, believe you me.) I think a more accurate statement would be - Democrats think societies naturally improve with time unless people stand in the way, Republicans think societies naturally decay with time unless people prevent it. The actions that result from these beliefs ~sort of~ make your statement true.
David Shane Warning - pop psychology follows. -- And I think the reason liberals and conservatives react differently is because they see government differently. Conservatives expect government to be screwed up, so when you make fun of Republicans for being full of flaws, conservatives can nod their heads. It's no surprise. Liberals, by contrast, are much more likely to look to government as the answer to our problems and as a bit of a savior. (There is much more political hero-worship coming from liberals, in my opinion. The "Obamamessiah" joke came from somewhere.) So if you then go point out how flawed those saviors are, it's a much more personal affront.
David Shane Democrats say plenty of things you could make fun of - just ask the Onion: http://onion.com/MlhmCR I think one reason we see less mockery of Democrats is because of stuff like this, "Lovitz Says Obama Mockery Drew Death Threats": http://bit.ly/OWMMyE OK, you're not going to get a death threat every time, but I do think that the Left is a lot less tolerant of "their people" being made fun of than the right is. And comedians know this - make fun of Bush, you get laughs. Make fun of Obama, you get less laughs and the press will go after you and if you're really unlucky that night, a couple crazies might threaten to kill you. So...