19 May 2011

That'd be a fun debate

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Exclusive - Richard Beeman Extended Interview Pt. 1
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The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
Exclusive - Richard Beeman Extended Interview Pt. 2
www.thedailyshow.com
Daily Show Full EpisodesPolitical Humor & Satire BlogThe Daily Show on Facebook


Mostly because there's a lot of people who like to ignore the 14th Amendment. On both sides of the political spectrum.

But also because discourse on constitutional history has taken on these divine tones for some, and indeed seeks actively to denigrate others (Jefferson in particular, as well as Paine, and some others to lesser extents) who seem absent from that political-religious standing from that time, and especially from the revisionist religious standing of our time. To me, if you need religion to justify and apply the legal structures of the US Constitution, I'm a little confused as to how your moral philosophy works, particularly if you are presuming that EVERYONE else should need religion to operate that system just as you seem to need to do.

I will admit it can be a problem for our collective understanding of history that ardently religious men of the age are whitewashed in their words, secularized in a way. But the flip side to that is completely rejecting these less theistic thinkers who had a great deal to do with the legal and moral structures on which the US has based its governance for the last 200 plus years. One of these acts is a much larger crime against human thought than the other in that it attempts to completely disregard entire people and the entire bodies of work they produced as opposed to merely changing the character of some efforts of what seem to be lesser men in our history.

Understanding the influence and importance of religion in American society, both now and in our past is a vital function of a proper historian. As someone who sees religion as pervasive and sometimes even invasive into our politics (for instance the impracticality and harms of vice laws or the mere existence of blue laws, as well as more tolerable intrusions like "in god we trust" on the money or Christmas as a federal holiday), I have no wish to see our collection of knowledge and the eventual understanding of this societal feature impinged. Indeed it would be better if more Christians in particular were aware of the amount of influence that they really possess, and have had in our history and that this knowledge provided them a dose of responsibility in exercising their power rather than a cudgel to wield against "evil secularists" like myself (or even against minority religious views like Catholics in our, recent, past and Muslims now). However I'd call on that thought to cut both ways, and it is a thought that these "evil secularists" have sadly a great deal of head start and advantage in their awareness. That is that "we" on average know more about a majority's religion and its history than it does, and considerably more about other faiths that most have no interest in, ie those practiced elsewhere, to say nothing of the actual studies of history outside of religion's conflicted and often tortured past and present. Human history is not made of marble and does not always conform to ready ideological dispositions. It has players from all walks of life, all manner of opinions, and all ways of application. Some of them are villains or heroes in different tales told by different peoples. Most of these will contain contradictions and hypocritical strands of thought. Perfection doesn't exist in our past anymore than it exists now. The revisionist blend of history, and by extension Constitutional "scholarship", especially that of millennial evangelicals, seems to pretend that it does, but arrives at that stage of logic by often completely ignoring more inconvenient members of society, past and present.

Speaking of debates, Stewart's repeat appearance on O'Reilly isn't all that surprising. In that he made cogent points about the phony war on rappers (Common this time) by Faux. Basically, we pretty much should just acknowledge that MOST performers are idiots and will hold prominently idiotic opinions on something (see much of Bono's work, or any quote from Sean Penn, etc). And then we should move on because MOST Americans hold prominently idiotic opinions on something.

There are legitimate bones to pick with Common's lyrics besides the stupidity of some his views, but they're not that much different from those addressed at famous rock or country lyrics (attitudes toward women for instance). Honestly, I'm surprised that there isn't a lot more common cause taken up between right-wingers and rappers sometimes. Their views on birth control, abortion, and gun rights are often pretty similar, you'd think allies of convenience would be taken more seriously.
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