In which a group of graying eternal amateurs discuss their passions, interests and obsessions, among them: movies, art, politics, evolutionary biology, taxes, writing, computers, these kids these days, and lousy educations.

E-Mail Donald
Demographer, recovering sociologist, and arts buff

E-Mail Fenster
College administrator and arts buff

E-Mail Francis
Architectural historian and arts buff

E-Mail Friedrich
Entrepreneur and arts buff
E-Mail Michael
Media flunky and arts buff


We assume it's OK to quote emailers by name.







Try Advanced Search


  1. Seattle Squeeze: New Urban Living
  2. Checking In
  3. Ben Aronson's Representational Abstractions
  4. Rock is ... Forever?
  5. We Need the Arts: A Sob Story
  6. Form Following (Commercial) Function
  7. Two Humorous Items from the Financial Crisis
  8. Ken Auster of the Kute Kaptions
  9. What Might Representational Painters Paint?
  10. In The Times ...


CultureBlogs
Sasha Castel
AC Douglas
Out of Lascaux
The Ambler
PhilosoBlog
Modern Art Notes
Cranky Professor
Mike Snider on Poetry
Silliman on Poetry
Felix Salmon
Gregdotorg
BookSlut
Polly Frost
Polly and Ray's Forum
Cronaca
Plep
Stumbling Tongue
Brian's Culture Blog
Banana Oil
Scourge of Modernism
Visible Darkness
Seablogger
Thomas Hobbs
Blog Lodge
Leibman Theory
Goliard Dream
Third Level Digression
Here Inside
My Stupid Dog
W.J. Duquette


Politics, Education, and Economics Blogs
Andrew Sullivan
The Corner at National Review
Steve Sailer
Samizdata
Junius
Joanne Jacobs
CalPundit
Natalie Solent
A Libertarian Parent in the Countryside
Rational Parenting
Public Interest.co.uk
Colby Cosh
View from the Right
Pejman Pundit
Spleenville
God of the Machine
One Good Turn
CinderellaBloggerfella
Liberty Log
Daily Pundit
InstaPundit
MindFloss
Catallaxy Files
Greatest Jeneration
Glenn Frazier
Jane Galt
Jim Miller
Limbic Nutrition
Innocents Abroad
Chicago Boyz
James Lileks
Cybrarian at Large
Hello Bloggy!
Setting the World to Rights
Travelling Shoes


Miscellaneous
Redwood Dragon
IMAO
The Invisible Hand
ScrappleFace
Daze Reader
Lynn Sislo
The Fat Guy
Jon Walz

Links


Our Last 50 Referrers







« Diet Books | Main | Provincial Gallery Scene (1): Kal Gajoum »

June 01, 2006

Puzzle for the Day

Michael Blowhard writes:

Dear Blowhards --

According to happiness guru Richard Layard, research shows that a belief in God is one of the six factors most closely linked to happiness. People who believe in God are far more likely to be happy than people who don't. (Layard is a progressive social democrat, by the way -- anything but a theocrat or a fundamentalist.) It also seems pretty well-established that the more ethnically diverse a neighborhood or region is, the less trusting and more tense it's likely to be. Yet doesn't it seem that one of the main thrusts of liberal society is to get its members to give up their belief in God and invest their hopes in diversity instead? I assume that's done in the interest of liberation. But liberation from what? Happiness?

Best,

Michael

posted by Michael at June 1, 2006




Comments

Duh. Why is belief in God and diversity mutually exclusive? I can't see that at all. And doesn't happiness involve necessary tensions?
Roger
http://viewfromarizona.typepad.com/citrus/

Posted by: citrus on June 1, 2006 8:12 PM



I see no problem with mixing people who believe in God in different ways so long as one group doesn't try to use their version as a way to put down everyone else. Even an atheist who uses atheism as a way to oppress and put down others is disruptive. And much as he appears to expect it, I decline to worship George W. Bush or any other bush, burning or not.

Anyway, I get really disgusted with always defining religious confidence in terms of "God." There are plenty of fine religions that never trouble themselves at all about the nature of the theos and they get along just fine.

It is people who have a comfortable fit with their deepest understanding of what life is about and use it to guide their daily actions who are "happy."

You know, you can pursue and define the nature of "happiness" a lot of different ways as well. I used to have a friend who pushed the idea that happiness came from causing yourself the least trouble. I, on the other hand, felt that the best happiness came from attempting and achieving something difficult.

Prairie Mary

Posted by: Mary Scriver on June 1, 2006 8:57 PM



Roger -- You're of course right that an individual can mix a love of diversity with belief in God. I'm trying to zero on something different: the way that liberal society actively promotes diversity (which seems to lead to unhappiness), while either not-promoting or actively dissing belief in God. What's the point of that? To make people unhappy? Actually, I suspect that someone's idea of a Greater Happiness is what's being held out. But why should we buy that?

Mary -- I'm like you, I think happiness comes in all kinds of ways, most of them surprising. I also take happiness studies with a huge grain of salt. Still, it's fun to take expertise and research (which liberal society tends to revere) and turn it back on liberal society ...

Posted by: Michael Blowhard on June 1, 2006 9:31 PM



I live in a neighborhood that is quite diverse ethnically - originally largely Italian, but now a good many Asians (two giant Asian shopping centers), and recently lots of Mexicans and an influx middle class professionals and artist types. If there's any tension here, I don't feel it. I'm a believer and a churchgoer and I think that does contribute to my happiness because it provides an intriguing story line for reality.

Posted by: Frank Wilson on June 1, 2006 10:20 PM



"Yet doesn't it seem that one of the main thrusts of liberal society is to get its members to give up their belief in God and invest their hopes in diversity instead?"

No. And I am not quite sure I see how you get there.

Can you offer any examples of how (historically) this has happned. I think that liberal (i.e. secular, I assume?) society merely wants to draw a line between private belief and public affairs. I don't see how that discourages private belief, unless private belief depends on continual external reinforcement, in which case it is a shallow belief from the start.

And the term "diversity" is of such recent vintage (the last 25 years?) that I don't see what connection it would have to the Enlightenment.

People give up religion not because of external encouragement but simply because they lose their private faith.

Posted by: David Sucher on June 1, 2006 10:21 PM



David,
I think what Michael was getting to was that a person who was interested in living in a diverse community would be praised by your average liberal whereas a person interested in living in a white (or someother racail group) community would be blasted for being racist.

That is my interpretation of what he said.

And about the God issue, again I think that our old values and our old religions were supposed to be replaced with this new PC-Religion.

This is something you tend to see amongst those on the (far) left: Marxists, Dworkin-like feminists, ELF environmentalists, etc.

Again, that was my interpretation.

Posted by: Ian Lewis on June 1, 2006 11:08 PM



Frank -- I live in a hugely diverse nabe myself, and like it a lot. Glad to hear yours is a peaceful one. Mine is too, but in part thanks to doormen, multiple locks on doors, police cruisers, etc. I don't even know my neighbors, while in the vanilla small-town neighborhood where I grew up doors were often left unlocked, and everyone knew everyone else. There have been a couple of studies recently demonstrating that trust levels tend to be less high in racially diverse areas, and higher in monocultures. I'll see if I can dig up a link or two.

David -- LIberalism at its Enlightenment origin was pointedly anti-clerical, and anti-established church. Its official stance towards religion these days is hands-off, but in actual fact it's often (at the least) extremely wary of religion -- viz the feelings of liberals towards school vouchers. Nice quote from John Gray:

"The liberal insistence on religious toleration is, I think, largely based on the belief that, as modernization proceeds, religion becomes less important. In other words, it’s connected with the thesis, which liberals accepted from J.S. Mill in the nineteenth century, that with intellectual progress all societies would become secular. Liberals generally have accepted this view and so they are, whatever they may say, shaken and left in a situation of acute cognitive dissonance when they’re confronted by the persistent intensity of religious belief and practice, not just in the
Middle East, but also in America."

Diversity is an extension of positive-rights liberalism, the same force that led to affirmative action and partyline feminism. It has become (like "tolerance") a kind of replacement religion for the secular. Peter Wood does a good job explaining the history of diversity as an ideology.

So, sure: liberalism is at the very least neutral towards religion (not-so-secretly semi-expecting it to die off), while actively promoting diversity.

Posted by: Michael Blowhard on June 1, 2006 11:16 PM



Maybe it's the idea of "liberal" that needs redefining. To a lot of people it means "laissez faire," which is only another way of saying "devil take the hindmost."

I'm living in quite a conservative little village where people are careless about locking doors and I occasionally leave my wallet (accidentally) on the car seat with the window rolled down overnight -- never any bad results. Most people are church-going. I tend to be eclectic but my most subversive left-wing thoughts are simply invisible to most folks around here. What they get upset over is the infrequency with which I mow my lawn. Conservative often seems to hinge on appearances.

Sort of by accident, the last Netflic I got was the first season of "Cracker," the British cop/psych series. Cracker is a disgrace: not only does he drink, smoke, gamble and neglect his family, his attempts to enter the minds of criminals expose the slime sides of us all, and he's an active atheist. In this first episode he is confronted with a ghastly murderer of innocent young women who has totally lost his memory. And he's oddly non-conforming: no wrist-watch, no knowledge of sports or politics, etc. Cracker, fat and obsessive, hammers away at this clean, naive, blue-eyed man with a working man's calluses through the whole story line. The man simply takes it, protesting but never losing his poise. Of course, he turns out to be innocent -- he's a monk! I would love to talk to the screenwriter who, I think, was trying to personify the two sides of an old argument.

The bottom line is that the Cistercian monk (a tough order founded to reclaim Europe after the Plague) is very glad to get back to his monastery, where he is happy. But he never denies God, even in the worst and most unjust circumstances. His last line is "I'll pray for you, Fitz." Fitz, the "cracker," is totally unreformed. His religion is iconoclasm. In a weird way, it makes him happy.

Prairie Mary

Posted by: Mary Scriver on June 2, 2006 12:02 AM



Dear Mr. Blowhard,

I would have to agree that you are correct. Forcing someone to stop believing in God for the sake of "diversity" leads to the opposite of happiness. Wasn't this already tried in the Soviet Union - only instead of replacing God with diversity, God was replaced by the State. I think happiness in religion is routed in an individual's ability to choose, to exercise free will. This is particular and unique for each person. If you take this away, people are not happy.
Freedom = happiness.

Sincerely, Dreamer

Posted by: Heroic Dreamer on June 2, 2006 12:11 AM



Well I guess I just don't really think in abstract terms so it's really tough for me to track this stuff.

But let me ask two questions, and I mean them seriously and truly as questions:

1. Is there anything stopping you from becoming religious beyond your own way of looking at the world? (Assuming you are not now religious and are 'outside looking in.,' which may be untrue.)

2. Is you did become religious, would you therefore become bigotted and intolerant etc?

I suspect the answer is "No" (Liberal society is not stopping you.) and "No" (Religion and tolerance of diversity can co-exist within one person.) So in my own simple-minded way, my own question is "So what's the problem?"

If those two questions are too personal, I apologize and withdraw them.

Posted by: David Sucher on June 2, 2006 12:31 AM



Why is belief in God and diversity mutually exclusive? I can't see that at all.

Indeed, if you're in a truly diverse** neighborhood you're going to be praying quite a bit!

**Diverse with "underrepresented minorities", of course, not Asians, who don't count for such purposes as we are always told by the great and the good.

Posted by: blah on June 2, 2006 2:01 AM



As a long ago resident of that quaint bit of real estate previously known as Yugoslavia, artificially put back together by France and Britain, I can certainly vouch for your statement, "seems pretty well-established that the more ethnically diverse a neighborhood or region is, the less trusting and more tense it's likely to be." The religion thing comes in handy as an ingredient of happiness when economics and politics seem to be working in tandem to increase your misery quotient.

Then there's always the Lennon line, "Happiness is a warm gun."

Bang Bang
Woo Woo

Posted by: DarkoV on June 2, 2006 7:48 AM



The fact that a believer is happier than a skeptic is no more to the point than the fact that a drunken man is happier than a sober one. The happiness of credulity is a cheap and dangerous quality.
-George Bernard Shaw

Posted by: JewishAtheist on June 2, 2006 7:59 AM



"Liberal society is not stopping you."

Hi David, I think that the answer might be "yes". In many modern liberal societies, Religion and Religiousness is almost a sin. Most of my family live in Europe and they are well aware of the public disdain for devout Christianity, and to a lesser degree, devout Judaism, Islam, etc.

Also, a liberal society (by modern definition) leans towards socialism and statism. So, soon enough, the State is determining what can be taught to children (and what can't) where this used to be the domain of parents.

And this is why we had the Culture Wars. Many people understood the power of influence and culture.

For the record, I am not religious, nor is my family.

Posted by: Ian Lewis on June 2, 2006 10:08 AM



The slabbering idiots in lunatics asylum are probably the happiest people on Earth...the more you're capable of critical thinking the more unhappy you became.
Your choice, not society's.

Posted by: Tatyana on June 2, 2006 10:24 AM



Gotta love Shaw.

"Happiness" for many is really just reassurance. Reassurance that their choices are correct in that they can see them mirrored in the choices of those around them. That's fine, I guess, and really, "liberals" aren't forcing anybody to do anything differently, and couldn't if "they" wanted to. And I should add, people on all sides of the political spectrum are reassured by like-minded company.

Diversity isn't easy. Period. Homogenous neighborhoods are easier to maintain, and hence, less stressful. I'm not sure I'd automatically equate less stressful (or fewer hassles) with happiness, but sure, it can go that way. I've lived in some very diverse neighborhoods, which were highly interesting and vital. And today, I live in a predominantly white (with a good showing of Hispanic) neighborhood. It's, uh, nice. And I don't mean that sarcastically, there's just no other way to describe it.

I've lost my train of thought here.

Posted by: the patriarch on June 2, 2006 10:24 AM



P. Mary -- Sounds like a good episode. Are you a fan? I have friends who are real "Cracker" addicts, but I've never taken a look myself ...

Dreamer -- It's a funny little quirk, isn't it? Part of the rationale for positive liberalism (not just letting people do their own thing, but actively encouraging certain policies -- equality, diversity, whatever) is that people are too miserable otherwise. Yet here's a "positive" program (running down religious belief and encouraging diversity) that seems demonstrably to make people less happy. So the liberal agenda in this case seems to be violating its own goals and principles ...

David - I'm not registering a personal complaint, I'm just having fun with political philosophy. There are classic "how to rule" dilemmas -- how to police the police, how to judge the judges, how to regulate the regulators. And there are some classic dilemmas in liberal governing. One cropped up on 9/11: If you value and promote tolerance, what happens when you encounter not just intolerance, but an intolerance that wants to destroy you? If you tolerate it, you get destroyed, if you don't tolerate it, then maybe you no longer get to say you're tolerant. I'm trying to contribute another minor dilemma of liberal rule: if the rationale for positive liberalism is that it'll make people happier, and happiness is a valid goal, then what becomes of positive liberal programs if they can be proven (using the best scientific/rationalist methods, which the liberal approves of) to create less happiness rather than more? I assume dilemmas of this sort crop up in all regimes, btw. Fun to take note of them.

Blah -- Did you ever read Henry Louis Gates' "Colored People"? It's pretty interesting. Gates is as PC/civil-rightsy as they come, but he's very honest in this book. It's about growing up black pre-civil rights, and Gates is very eloquent about how it wasn't all awful. Segregation was an awful policy, of course. But life in all-black neighborhoods had a lot going for it -- familiarity, shared understandings, mutual recognition, etc. A tough thing many people find about a more cosmopolitan, "diverse" life is how much everything needs to be negotiated, and how littel can be taken for granted. Nothing ever just seems to happen in a pleasant sort of way. One consequence is often short tempers, anger, misunderstandings, etc ... It can be great, but as Gates writes in his book, it can be hard too. He'd never go back to segregation, of course, but there are things he misses about the life he once had.

DarkoV -- You write "The religion thing comes in handy as an ingredient of happiness when economics and politics seem to be working in tandem to increase your misery quotient." That's as good as Lennon's line. I'd love to hear more about what life was like back in the old country, er, patchwork, er, whatever Yugoslovia was.

JA -- Yet happiness is taken by many to be the object of life. Hmmm. Another dilemma.

Ian -- Nifty observations and thoughts, thanks. It's a really good point, too: one of the challenges of secular rule is that people and rulers seem to find it hard to stay hands-off. They get ambitious and driven in an almost religious way, despite the supposed secularism of their cause. So socialism, or "diversity," or equality, or civil rights, or globalization, or whatever take on a crusading/religious tone. Gotta have a cause! But once a liberal cause becomes a crusade, it starts functioning as a surrogate religion ... Balance can be hard to find!


Posted by: Michael Blowhard on June 2, 2006 10:28 AM



"Cracker" is always a good exploration of the iconoclast transgressing the given order for the good of the whole. When this is done with an intelligent script, excellent actors, and those intriguing English locations (plus the railroads), it is wonderful.

When it is done carelessly or for the sake of the shock value, it's just American. Reference "The Shield."

I was a while into "Cracker" before I realized that this (harking back to generations and so on) is shot in the period when I was imprinted fashion-wise. Bright colors, big earrings, interior citrus colors. I love the ancient bits of stone and timber mixed with stained glass and lever door handles. Lots more fun than the recent somber Pottery Barn stuff.

Prairie Mary

Posted by: Mary Scriver on June 2, 2006 10:46 AM



Another bit of liberal hypocrisy on religion is how they love Darwinism and like to rub it in the face of fundamentalists because it contradicts the creation story in the Bible, but they fight it like hell in the real world with race quotas to promote their Potempkin Village of Equality. Equal and Ideal Man is the liberal god. A foolish hope in the perfectiblity of mankind, and a foolish hope that we are all really equal. Nobody wants to be equal. We all want to better, not just in relation to our neighbor, but also in relation to the people we are now or were yesterday. In fact, that desire is what has led to so much human progress. Liberal fools.

I live in a big city with lots of diversity. At first, I liked it. Now, I hate it. I would love to live in a boring white bread community. And I suspect most others would too. Its less that I dislike the Other than that I just want to be around those more like myself. And in a (supposedly) free country, I should be allowed to do so. Equal rights, fine. Gerrymandering supposedly "equal" results, tyranny.

By the way, most liberals only like "diversity" when they are still in the dominant group. They like it much less when they are the minority. And the proof of this is that you won't see any living in all black or hispanic areas.

Posted by: Q on June 2, 2006 10:56 AM



Depends on what is meant by "diversity." Ethnic diversity, diversity of opinions, diversity of ages and sexes are all good (IMO). The kind of diversity that is not so good is the one where a lot of disfunctional people (criminals, head cases, etc.) are mixed in with the functional population. I think that's the big reason why people like suburbs: most of the people who live in them function more or less successfully, and if you live in a suburb you can have a reasonable expectation that you and your family can live life without getting dragged down by losers who can't be avoided. (Not that suburbs are perfect or that there aren't noncity areas with pathologies too.)

Posted by: Jonathan on June 2, 2006 12:16 PM



Jonathan makes an exellent point about suburbs. Where I am now (Sacramento area), it's racially homogenous, but the suburb I lived in the Bay Area was very racially diverse, yet ecomomically homogenous, which resulted in a very stable, diverse neighborhood. It really is all about money, ultimately.

Posted by: the patriarch on June 2, 2006 12:53 PM



Diversity creates tension, but I believe the idea is that that tension comes from unfamiliarity. In other words, it ought to disappear once it becomes normal to be surrounded by people who are different than us. This makes plenty of intuitive sense: it's not only ethnic or religious "diversity" that makes us uncomfortable, we're tense in most situations where we have to meet new people, until we talk a bit and find some common ground. I suspect that's what's being observed in studies that find tension in ethnically diverse neighborhoods.

You'd expect this observed tension to decrease over time, and anecdotally, isn't that what's been happening in American cities (with some significant aberrations, cf. Rodney King) over the last century?

If we get over that initial discomfort, there are plenty of other arguments for diversity: for one, it's been shown that diverse groups make better decisions overall when compared to homogeneous ones. Another argment is that we'd better get "good" at diversity, because it's not like to go away any time soon.

Posted by: Scrapironjaw on June 2, 2006 2:35 PM



The studies that concluded that the more diverse a neighborhood the more tense and less trusting it was were focusing on racial/ethnic diversity. And, as we all know, when the experts and elites use "diversity," they're talking race, sex, and sexual orientation, not about brains, good looks, talent, height, wheaver. They may all think alike at Harvard, but by god they're "diverse." I like diversity of the rainbow-colors sort myself, but I have no trouble understanding why some people wouldn't.

Not that it matters much, but I may not have been clear enough about the use of "liberal" here, which I meant in a very general sense, as in modern /scientific /rational/ individualistic. In poli-philosophy terms, America is a "liberal" society, with Dems being "welfare liberals" and Repubs being "market liberals." We have very few real socialists, and very few real conservatives -- most of the quarreling that goes on is between varieties of liberals. So, fun though it can be to crack dry jokes at the expense of Dems, I was really hoping to tweak liberal society in a more general sense.

Posted by: Michael Blowhard on June 2, 2006 2:42 PM



Actually, tension comes from familiarity. Think of families. People are more likely to be socially "nice" and polite to people they don't know, yet be distant. The more familiar, the more real emotion comes out, both positive and negative. I'm not buying that one.

Tensions haven't decreased in cities. They are just undergound. Among some groups, they are out in the open, such as hispanics and blacks. Tensions also run high among those who plan to live for a long time in a neighborhood, as opposed the the transitory young, who live in the cities for a while before marrying and booking out to the suburbs. I'm not buying that one either.

If such diverse populations make such great decisions, please name one. I just see pople jockeying for control to eliminate "diversity" in decision-making for more narrow interests, mainly their own.

This third-world-ising of America is Bad. And it will get worse. Maybe we should get used to that too, and grow to love decline.

Posted by: Q on June 2, 2006 5:07 PM



Wouldn't we all feel a whole lot more positive about America's future if we had, to be blunt, a white-only immigration policy, in effect most of which would be from eastrn Europe?

Posted by: hugh on June 3, 2006 8:03 AM



Wouldn't we all feel a whole lot more positive about America's future if we had, to be blunt, a white-only immigration policy, in effect most of which would be from eastrn Europe?

What do you mean by "we," pale face?

Posted by: Jonathan on June 3, 2006 9:17 AM



By "we", I mean America's core cultural and historic majority. And others, who benefit in millions of ways from the fruits of our work and ingenuity, pal.

Posted by: hugh on June 3, 2006 9:37 AM



By "we", I mean America's core cultural and historic majority. And others, who benefit in millions of ways from the fruits of our work and ingenuity, pal.

Let me rephrase my response:

No, not all of us would feel a whole lot more positive about America's future if we had a white-only immigration policy.

Posted by: Jonathan on June 3, 2006 12:29 PM



>> not all of us would feel a whole lot more positive about America's future if we had a white-only immigration policy

What would be some of the objections?

Posted by: hugh on June 3, 2006 1:00 PM



According to happiness guru Richard Layard, research shows that a belief in God is one of the six factors most closely linked to happiness. People who believe in God are far more likely to be happy than people who don't.


Without reading, "far more" is probably a lie, since all the six factors together don't add up to much:

". . . socioeconomic status, education, family income, marital status, and religious involvement account for just three per cent of the variation in wellbeing"

To say belief in God, and probably even religion, increases happiness, is misleading, if it is nested into a larger category of thinking. We could probably stack the deck a little more and say "believers in the Great Prophet Joseph Smith" are happier, if we were trying to pimp the Mormon faith instead of Christianity or monotheism. The truth is that gullible people are happier:

If we were to experience the world exactly as it is, we'd be too depressed to get out of bed in the morning," Gilbert writes. . . Interestingly, the clinically depressed seem less susceptible to these basic cognitive errors. For instance, healthy people can be deluded into greater happiness when granted the mere illusion of control over their environment; the clinically depressed recognize the illusion for what it is. All in all, it's yet more evidence that unhappy people have the more accurate view of reality — and that learning how to kid ourselves may be a key to mental health.

So we first need to compare God belief to crystal clutchers and Bigfoot chasers and horoscope readers, etc, to get our category straight (God believers? Christianity believers? Supernatural believers?), lest this becomes just more misleading religious apologetics of the winking "if it makes you happier, it must be true" variety.

Posted by: Jason Malloy on June 3, 2006 7:07 PM



--By "we", I mean America's core cultural and historic majority. And others, who benefit in millions of ways from the fruits of our work and ingenuity, pal.--

I'm sitting the edge of an Indian reservation. It's worth repeating: "Whadya mean WE, Paleface?" Your "historic majority" ain't that old. Of course, the Indians DO wonder about their immigration policy. Especially when they allowed the FORCED immigration from Africa.

Prairie Mary

Posted by: Mary Scriver on June 3, 2006 11:25 PM



Prairie Mary, as far as "paleface" goes -- would you address someone as "fat-lips" or "sqinty-eyes"?

The question of "Whaddaya mean We" -- does "We the People" or simply "Americans" mean anything to you? (as a aside, I'm still amazed at how many otherwise intelligent people fancy themselves on some kind of a higher plane of being by affecting a solidarity of sorts with folks of other races. What's the psychological mechanism at work here?) You are a daughter of pioneers, aren't ya? You should know who "We" is.

None of which answers my original question: if we are to have immigration, wouldn't we all feel a whole lot more positive about America's future if we had a white-only immigration policy, in effect most of which would be from Eastern Europe?

Posted by: hugh on June 4, 2006 7:12 PM



The most effective proponents of traditional, orthodox Christianity, from C S Lewis to Rick Warren, could not be more clear: faith is not about personal happiness. Lewis wrote a biting essay about adultery committed in the name of 'finding true love' called 'We have no right to happiness'. Rick Warren's gazillion-selling 'The Purpose-driven life' starts out with the blunt statement: 'It's not about you'.

Christians are called 'believers' for a reason: they believe the whole cosmic story is *true*. If you call yourself a Christian in the name of utilitarianism or instumentality, i.e. to make yourself feel better, you're in for some hard lessons.

Posted by: mr tall on June 4, 2006 9:03 PM



In this case, "Pale face" is the punch word for an old Lone Ranger joke, so it's a line said by Tonto. I am QUOTING. It's ironic, sarcastic, maybe "campy."

As a philosophical "deep ecology" person, which means being anti-anthropocentric, I don't say "we the people" -- in fact, I don't even say "we the living things," but rather "existence," an interwoven and constantly changing flow of events in which a little phenomena like the Oregon Trail is totally subsumed and much less perturbation than the invasion of North America by Euros.

I just listened to a speech this evening about how ALL humans come from one little place in Africa. So unless you're transmitting from the Olduvai Gorge, your ancestors have pushed their way into new space all the way along. Are you now going to slam the gate and say "no more?" Everything is now officially frozen in the year 2000 and only the ancestors I choose can be here? The most we can do is shape the flow and much of that will have to be creative -- not wall building. It has been pointed out again and again that if we helped Mexico's economy, people would stay down there.

Faith must survive change. In fact, I believe in change or at least adapting to it as an inevitability. When I get a good fit, I'm happy, but I know there will be more work in the morning.

Prairie Mary

Posted by: Mary Scriver on June 4, 2006 11:37 PM



Q:

Here is one of the studies which shows diversity improves decision making. There are others, but this is probably the one I was thinking of when I made the comment.

Posted by: scrapironjaw on June 5, 2006 5:43 PM



I'm sorry, Michael, but I find the very question makes me weary. Why does a liberal attitude automatically entail the desire to crush Christianity? Yes, I've met the occasional 'politically-correct' fanatic in my day -- even been one during at least one dinner party -- but I'm the gay guy who had to watch 'my people' die while good Christian folk stood by and said that "AIDS is killing all the right people."

I've got a plenty big chip on my shoulder yet, as the cliché goes, some of my best friends are Christians. I don't share their beliefs but I respect their right to have them -- as they do likewise.

My Christian friends are not the ones campaigning to 'protect' their marriages from me or insinuating that I'm out to molest their children or any of the usual filth that pours from the communications departments of Falwell, Dobson, Robertson, etc. People like that -- the squeakiest wheels in the Christian machine -- say I'm destroying their happiness simply by existing.

Two of these straight Christian couples I'm friends with, by the way, I met through my job and through a Chinese friend -- all here in a big, diverse, liberal city. I just don't get all these 'lines in the sand' we keep drawing.

Posted by: Scott on June 6, 2006 3:33 PM






Post a comment
Name:


Email Address:


URL:


Comments:



Remember your info?