Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Shorter Facebook Terms of Service

"We're your good buddy & we want to know everything about you. We want to go through all your e-mail and all your files, so we can know everything about you. Since we're your good buddy, it's OK. Just give us your passwords and everything will be fine." Krawk!

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

The Last Step: On the Murder of Dr. George Tiller

Perhaps he had also always known, somewhere in the deepest recesses of his mind, that he would indeed eventually take that last step into Satanism, but if so, he had very successfully suppressed it.*

In the stunned shock that followed the murder of Dr. George Tiller, I found myself reflecting on Christian morals. Jesus, it is said, died for our sins, and since that was first said his followers have taken willing self-sacrifice as one of their models of virtue. To go from the willingness to give up one's own life, if that is what is needed, to the willingness to kill, is a complete inversion of a core tenet of Christian belief. It is as if, somehow, the murderer (apparently a violent psychotic) had decided that god's love and god's law were not powerful enough, and so turned to Satan. He is not alone, of course: he took seriously the claims of the various radical sects that Dr. Tiller was a mass murderer and so he believed that he was doing god's will. But the Christian teaching has always been self-sacrifice, not violence against others. It was that which, finally, won Christianity its moral authority.

I've said in other places that I think Christianity--and many other religions--has fallen out of touch with our world. Apparently its more radical followers think so, too, and so they are turning to what they call evil. There is even one church, in repudiation of another Christian tenet, that is advocating weapons ownership. If they give up their ancient sources of moral authority, what is left to them?

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Let's Found a New Party...

...and replace some conservative Senators.

Well, why not? The Republicans are a rump party--they're not willing to move to the left, and the right's discredited itself. They're so far out of power, they're never coming back. So lets move in on the left side of their turf!

Moving the Overton Window

Progressives talk about the "Overton window"--the intuitive political spectrum that emerges as a result of public discourse. Obama is expanding the Overton window in the progressive direction, even if he does nothing else. Even if Obama is not changing anything--yet--he's putting progressive ideas back into public discourse, and this may be more important and effective, in the long term, than specific dramatic acts, which are likely to rebound on him, especially in the Senate. I croak the virtue of rhetoric!