Pages

Monday, April 30, 2007

Every remark subsequent to my original one either insulted, attacked, or sought to shut down any discussion

40 Responses to “Yet Another Annoying Discussion of Religion: Updated”
YET AGAIN you are simply begging the question and assuming that Christianity is absolutely nothing but fundamentalism — and implicitly calling us all Nazis in the process. I’m so, so sorry I offended your delicate sensibilities by telling you to “shut the fuck up.” You’re obviously interested in open discussion. Adam Kotsko said this on April 29th, 2007 at 4:57 pm
Adam, you really should examine your own use of language and review the posts over at An und fur sich. Every remark subsequent to my original one either insulted, attacked, or sought to shut down any discussion. I do believe that we can often end up supporting the very opposite of what we advocate, hence the comparison to Heidegger. I made the same observation regarding high political theory. larvalsubjects said this on April 29th, 2007 at 5:00 pm
... If you can’t accept that calling us Nazi’s and all the other vitrol that your are writig constitutes a form of the ad hom, then I don’t see what the point in talking with you ever again is. It’s rude and telling. Anthony Paul Smith said this on April 29th, 2007 at 6:33 pm
When the fucking hell did I deny the existence of the religious right?! I was raised in a conservative evangelical church. My own father is pretty much on the religious right!
Talking to you is a waste of time. Anthony is free to unblock you if he wants, but I’ll delete anything you write on my posts. Adam Kotsko said this on April 29th, 2007 at 6:33 pm
And you are not banned at AUFS. I will ask you, as you do from time to time here, to stop participating in threads if I think you are being unhelpful and willfully stubborn. Since you rarely comment there, I don’t think this will be the case. Anthony Paul Smith said this on April 29th, 2007 at 6:36 pm
Anthony, thank you for the explanation. Let’s be very clear here. I did not call you or anyone else a Nazi and I’d appreciate it if you stopped suggesting that I did. I drew an analogy. I said that Heidegger got caught up in sophisticated reasoning that allowed him to endorse the Nazi party as something more than it was. The analogy would be that a theologian can get caught up in sophisticated reasoning that allows them to endorse religious movements that aren’t in line with what they believe. I think the status of this remark as an analogy should be obvious as I also said that political theorists, myself included, can get caught up in very nuanced reasoning and can become so caught up in academic debates that they’re not doing anything at all, thereby allowing the very things they wish to change to persist in the public sphere. This would include me as well. larvalsubjects said this on April 29th, 2007 at 6:38 pm
Adam, whenever we discuss these issues you speak about the religious right as being a fringe minority that has no real power and change the topic of conversation. That’s all I mean. Perhaps some residual affection for your upbringing explains why you respond so forcefully whenever those movements are criticized and why you confuse criticism and concern with these movements with criticism and concern over religion tout court. larvalsubjects said this on April 29th, 2007 at 6:41 pm
Let’s return to the very first post that started a lot of these discussions:
http://larvalsubjects.wordpress.com/2006/12/16/why-i-get-frustrated-with-the-religious-turn-in-theory/
In that post I was criticizing a strain of Christianity that is supportive of rampant militarism, tribalism, and very often outrightly hostile to other ethnic groups and different sexual orientations. Anthony, Adam, neither of you advocate any of this do you? At least, I haven’t seen you write anything that would lead me to think you do. Yet in the discussion that ensued I was told that these groups are a fringe minority that doesn’t really exist or have any power and that I’m painting all religion with the brush of these types of groups. Given the article the post links to, why would you assume that I think all Christianity is this way? For the most part I have no beef with other Christian groups. I’m glad to have them as my neighbors and friends. It is these groups that worry and terrify me. How many times can I say that? How many times must I repeat it? When I suggest, Adam, that you’re an enabler, it’s not because I believe you endorse these things, but because you get so worked up whenever I talk about them as if you think I shouldn’t talk about them at all. Stop doing that and I think we’d have very little to disagree about at all. I’m not even sure we’d have much to talk about. I have no problem with you pursuing your theology, even if I don’t share those ontological and metaphysical positions. I’m perpetually baffled by the way in which the two of you respond when rightwing Christian groups are criticized. It’s as if you are looking to be insulted or attacked. Chances are I’m not going to agree with your metaphysics, but the fact that you have a different metaphysics doesn’t entail that I somehow despise you or wish to destroy you. That’s par for the course in philosophy. I really don’t understand why you seem to feel the need to defend anything at all in response to these issues. You and those you love are not the target. larvalsubjects said this on April 29th, 2007 at 6:51 pm
Again, this is just dishonest. You are acting as if that first discussion hasn’t been, you know, discussed. Seriously, I’m done here. You’re not banned, but you are so supremely unhelpful that I just don’t see the point in spending any time trying to talk to you. I don’t even want to do this, because I think you’ll just use it to further insulate yourself from anything different from your views, but I want to be honest about how I feel and what I see. Anthony Paul Smith said this on April 29th, 2007 at 6:59 pm
Dr. Sinthome, although you know my opinion about rigid atheism and American Democratism as well, not to mention your opportunistic love of dr. Zizek, I refuse to ever talk to either Kotsko or Paul Smith if they don’t lift the ban. I’m enough of a libertarian to view this as a really repressive and unnecessary technique. parodycenter said this on April 29th, 2007 at 7:05 pm
Again, you misunderstand. I agree that the religious right exists. I agree that it’s bad. I think that its actual impact has come more in terms of voter mobilization to do things that the Republicans would have done anyway. After almost 30 years of religious-right activism, we finally have the Supreme Court outlawing a single, extremely rare form of abortion — I strongly disagree with the Court’s decision, but this is basically all the “progress” that the religious right has seen on this front. For example.
I’m much more concerned with Wolfowitz, with Cheney, with Rumsfeld, with Yoo — none of whom identify with the religious right that I know of. It’s not as though Bush/Cheney decided to implement torture because they thought that was the best way to live out their faith or something. All of these policies, with the exception of the occasional token gesture toward “social issues,” are fully grounded in secular reasoning. The Project for a New American Century is not a religious group.
Yes, the religious right came up with religious reasons to support this stuff later on, but that’s just a matter of being loyal to the Republican Party. Figuring out ways to maintain that loyalty is important to the (now apparently failed) attempt to maintain Republican hegemony, but apparently the religious right does not ask for a lot of concrete payoff in exchange for their fanatical devotion to the Republican party. And so instead of pretending that the religious right is somehow the center or the origin of the major problems in American foreign and domestic policy, I figured that maybe it would be a good idea to ground our analysis in reality and realize that (a) the religious right is stupid and/or insane and (b) apparently hasn’t noticed that they almost never get what they want.
The real goal of Republican policies is to satisfy a certain portion of the capitalist class. That’s the root of the problem, not the religious right. This is not to say that the religious right doesn’t believe and promote terrible things — they do. Certainly it’s not to suggest that they don’t exist. It’s just my attempt to address the actual facts, and this hysteria over the religious right — which you have maintained even as the Republican Party seems to be totally collapsing in on itself — strikes me as misguided and disproportionate. Adam Kotsko said this on April 29th, 2007 at 7:14 pm
“Instead of being able to think belief structures as historical, the theologians here have proven yet again how religious belief must, at some point, stop the open exchange of ideas in order to cling anxiously to the discourse of righteous faith.”
Dude, this is blog land. I find the proposition that APS and Adam are attempting to stop open exchange on any subject, they are not of the religious right and again these are the blogs. You come across like they are oppressing you, preventing your freedoms.
Lets make it clear what has occured here. In an obscure corner of the internet academic A has temporarily suspended academic B from his - wait for it - blog. A is still talking and discussing stuff with him and everything and has explained his reasons quite cogently. But what is important here is that in an obscure corner of the internet academic A has temporarily suspended academic B from his blog. Its a blog-fight. Nothing more. No one has shut down anyones open exchange. If you want to fight the battle against those who really shut down open exchange, then sort China out. Alex said this on April 29th, 2007 at 8:49 pm
“sensing the anger in these posts, I have no idea what might be posted here in my absence.”
You see thats what makes me mad. I know Anthony pretty well in real life, and Adam fairly well through his blogs and via Anthony. The idea that even when angry about intellectual issues they will flip out and do something crazy. They will go nuts or something. The idea that they would say anything regarding deletion is absurd and you know it. Regarding the whole Rich thing, I said my piece at Scott’s blog.
Its in these debates that I seem to always pop up and like a stupid Fark.com poster remind everyone that it is just the internet. Well it is, but because we are all academics we all take it (often) far too seriously. When someone on Fark.com has a 2000 page discussion on religion no one is going to say anyone is policing the discourse or shutting down open debate. This all the more adds to my thesis that real academic debate rarely happens on the internet, and hardly ever happens on comment threads, no matter how high brow the blog is. Alex said this on April 29th, 2007 at 8:56 pm
Case in point “It’s not because I believe you endorse these things, but because you get so worked up whenever I talk about them as if you think I shouldn’t talk about them at all.” Its like you think that Adam etc are the SS or something, preventing your free speech. They aren’t, they just plainly think you are ill advised in many of your statements regarding religion. And they react as scholars react, harshly, but also when your statements are so wide-ranging.
Dude, you need to actually be under a fundamentalist as Adam has and I have experienced to understand what preventing open discussion really is. And I can tell you, it certainly is nothing like someone banning you from a blog or saying something snarky. Alex said this on April 29th, 2007 at 8:59 pm
Seriously, if the Internet was a car, right now I’d be driving it off the cliff. Except Joseph Kuglemass apparently won’t let me have the keys. And the Internet isn’t a car. My whole plan just fell apart. Adam Kotsko said this on April 30th, 2007 at 3:19 am
But honestly, I wish that my repressive fundamentalist Sunday School teachers had told me to “shut the fuck up” instead of the manipulative passive-aggressive “kill him with kindness” idiocy that was so endemic at my church. Or confronted me directly instead of sending the new cool youth pastor to go drink coffee with me and try to straighten me out. Etc., etc. Adam Kotsko said this on April 30th, 2007 at 3:22 am
Adam, I with a good deal of what you in your most recent post. I would quibble with the thesis that PNAC is entirely secular. I tend to think that some of PNAC’s aims are bound up with a certain understanding of Revelations and apocalypse for some of the members. However, when you write the following, it’s difficult for me to agree.
Yes, the religious right came up with religious reasons to support this stuff later on, but that’s just a matter of being loyal to the Republican Party. Figuring out ways to maintain that loyalty is important to the (now apparently failed) attempt to maintain Republican hegemony, but apparently the religious right does not ask for a lot of concrete payoff in exchange for their fanatical devotion to the Republican party. And so instead of pretending that the religious right is somehow the center or the origin of the major problems in American foreign and domestic policy, I figured that maybe it would be a good idea to ground our analysis in reality and realize that (a) the religious right is stupid and/or insane and (b) apparently hasn’t noticed that they almost never get what they want.
First an obvious point: Nothing is the one cause. Were you taking me to suggest that it was the only cause? I talk about a number of things on this blog. The religious right is one that comes up from time to time. They have been a contributing factor but not the only one. I believe we should talk about all these contributing factors insofar as we can.
Second, when you talk about coming up with reasons after the fact, I’m just not sure how to respond. I believe that movements and persons are what they do, and do not make a distinction between some sublime inner essence and an outward appearance. Unlike some who believe that they can see the true nature of a person beyond their actions like the Bush supporter that says “he’s a good man” despite his actions, I can’t see into the hearts of men nor into the true inner essence of a movement. All I can do is attend to what people and groups actually say. It sounds like you believe yourself to have some inner insight into these movements and their motives.
The real goal of Republican policies is to satisfy a certain portion of the capitalist class. That’s the root of the problem, not the religious right. This is not to say that the religious right doesn’t believe and promote terrible things — they do. Certainly it’s not to suggest that they don’t exist. It’s just my attempt to address the actual facts, and this hysteria over the religious right — which you have maintained even as the Republican Party seems to be totally collapsing in on itself — strikes me as misguided and disproportionate.
In my view the religious right has become tightly bound up with what you call the capitalist class in both its own theology and its actual political involvement. This is not new. A number of religious movements have functioned as apologetics for economic and political conditions throughout history. In our current context I don’t think it’s a surprise that we’ve seen so many fundamentalist movements emerge in the United States following the decline of the great labor movements and anything like a viable and genuine emancipatory politics in the States. We might, for instance, think of the tremendous success of Rick Warren’s ministry and the so-called prosperity prayer. What I find curious in your remarks, as always, is your allusion to hysteria, the facts, and being misguided and disproportionate at the end of your post. The neocons wouldn’t be where they are today without voters. The religious right makes up a significant voting block that has enabled this to take place. Other things besides the religious right have contributed as well. One can both discuss the issues you bring up with regard to Cheney and Rumsfeld and talk about the role that these religious movements have played. You seem to deny multiple causality and suggest that because other causes are also at work, these causes should be denied and ignored. It is this kind of response that so often leads me to furrow my brow in wonder, experiecing confusion as to what motivates you and how you think about these issues. It seems to me like it’s something that you just wish to sweep under the rug or feel shouldn’t be talked about at all. If I am a hysterical alarmist that gets overly worked up by the religious right I’m also unclear why you spend so much time responding to me both now and in the past. I admit that these issues are fairly personal for me and that this might motivate a good deal of my own particular interest in them.
As I’ve intimated in the past, I saw one such movement sweep through my hometown and turn everything upside down when I was younger. They banned Orwell’s 1984 from the highschool English classes and actually burned them in a rally in front of the school, overturned safe sex education in favor of abstinance only education, and strongly pushed creationism in the biology classes. In addition to this, families were pitted against families. Similar things take place across the country, sometimes even worse such that jewish or atheist families that protest the presence of religious observances at their school are driven out of town. As a result I have a pretty vested interest in these movements. It is possible, then, that my belief that these groups have disproportionate influence and that these things are only isolated, but the data doesn’t suggest this to me. larvalsubjects said this on April 30th, 2007 at 3:24 am

No comments:

Post a Comment