Secular atheist radical Islamists

So, the man responsible for Republican obstructionism, and confirmed adulterer, Newt Gingrich, has declared that “if we do not decisively win the struggle over the nature of America, by the time [my grandchildren are] my age they will be in a secular atheist country, potentially one dominated by radical Islamists and with no understanding of what it once meant to be an American”.

Say what? Atheists and secularists will be radical Muslims? This indicates the totally vapid nature of these terms in modern conservative debate. “Atheist” is a term of abuse that means “someone who doesn’t accept the state-acceptable religious views”. That atheists themselves think it means they simply do not believe in any god seems irrelevant. Muslims are atheists because they do not worship the state-approved deity, Jebus.

Secularism of course means that there is no state approved religion. This is why it is equivalent to atheism for these guys. That the majority of those who argued for secularism in the first place were Christians is irrelevant (since history is also only a weapon, not a factual discourse). They don’t like what I and those like me want to impose on society, so they are atheists and secularists, and of course, since the worst people in the world are Muslims, so are they. That is how Gingrich gets to equate atheism with secularism with Islam.

Of course, Gingrich doesn’t believe a word of this. He knows damned well what these terms actually mean, and why they are different ideas. He knows that Muslims believe in a God and that not all Muslims are radical. But he also knows that this won’t play with his constituents. So he lies. That seems to be the modus operandi of modern conservatism.

27 Comments

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27 Responses to Secular atheist radical Islamists

  1. Well, I do hope that he’s right that his grandchildren will have no understanding of what it once meant to be an American. Otherwise, I suspect that they will feel dreadfully embarrassed.

  2. bob koepp

    Gingrich is a vile specimen of questionable humanity. As a “professional politician,” he could be nothing else. Telling lies of convenience to play to one’s constituents has always been the standard MO of professional politicians, whether liberal, conservative or any other flavor. Press any of them on this point and they will provide immediate confirming evidence.

    • MKR

      Bob, be serious. You know perfectly well that all professional politicians are not comparable to Newt Gingrich. He attracts particular attention because his lack of integrity is so blatant and thorough. It is true that conducting a career in politics makes it impossible to practice the kind of truthfulness that is an option for, say, an academic, a journalist, or a stand-up comic. But why is that? Surely it is because a politician who does not trim and patch the truth for the expedience of himself and his cause can never gain sufficient following to be effective. And surely that reflects more on the public than it does on its leaders. In any case, there is a difference between selecting and “spinning” truths according to what promotes your aims and freely retailing falsehoods. All politicians of necessity do the first; Gingrich does the second.

      Your addition of the qualifier “professional” suggests that you think that amateur politicians are exempt from your generalization. The quality of the amateur politicians promoted by the “Tea Party” crowd inclines me to think otherwise.

      Finally, your idea that liberal and conservative politicians are equally given to the kind of moral vacuity that we behold in Gingrich is contradicted by Bob Altemeyer’s research into authoritarianism, which I recommend to you. Altemeyer evaluated populations on two scales, one for authoritarian tendencies and one for social dominance orientation. The most disturbing cases were those who scored highly on both scales, the autoritarian “double-highs.” The political orientations of those in this group had a strong tendency toward the right. Altemeyer includes Newt Gingrich on his list of double-highs in recent American politics.

    • MKR

      Correction to my just-posted comment: I wrote, “In any case, there is a difference between selecting and “spinning” truths according to what promotes your aims and freely retailing falsehoods.” I ought to have added that Gingrich shows signs that he neither knows nor cares about the distinction between truth and falsehood.

      • bob koepp

        MKR – Oh, but I am serious. If there’s evidence showing that leftist ideologues are less prone to lying (or to authoritarianism) than their rightist counterparts, I’d like to see it.

  3. George Berkeley was almost right. Berkeley said that there is no reality, there is only perception. The politicians are demonstrating that, even though there is as reality, that reality does not matter. It is only perception that matters, and so they strive to distort perception for political gain.

  4. jackd

    Note that Gingrich was speaking before a fundy whackaloon church – or at least a church run by a fundy whackaloon (John Hagee).

    I think it’s a bit of boilerplate modified for his audience. “…they will be in a [Bad Ideology] country, potentially one dominated by [Bad Other Group]“.

    For an economic group: “they will be in a socialist country, potentially one dominated by the Chinese.” For a racist group (if he thought he could get away with it), “they will be in a mongrel country, potentially one dominated by Spanish-speaking immigrants”.

  5. jocelyn stoller

    I “second” the importance of studying Altemeyer, whose work was also profiled in “Conservatives Without Conscience” by John Dean [the one semi-redeeming figure in the Watergate scandal].

    Get the free full text of his book “The Authoritarians” at http://home.cc.umanitoba.ca/~altemey/

    Instruments refined by Altemeyer and others have inspired literally hundreds of social psychology experiments on Right Wing Authoritarianism (RWA) and Social Dominance Orientation Theory (SDO) around the world, confirming robust findings. The instruments used are revised scales that have been vastly improved over the F-Scale of the Authoritarian Personality first developed by Adorno during initial studies of the roots of fascism and Nazism in the wake of the carnage of WWII.

    Note: RWA can refer to people from any ideological standpoint including “left-wing or Libertarian.

    Note: Social psychology research on situationalism and group processes show that these issues are complex, because normal people (with low scores on the RWA scale) can be influenced to commit brutal acts. Goldhagen was simply wrong about “The Willing Executioners.” [See Browning, Milgram, Zimbardo, Aronson, Tajfel, etc., etc.]

    The GOP/Tea Party of today is definitely not “conservative” in any previous sense of the term [from Edmund Burke or Adam Smith to W.F. Buckley (or even Barry Goldwater)]. They have sullied the word beyond redemption.

    Politics can be corrupting for proponents of any ideological stance, but, I believe that the GOP today has become an authoritarian, reactionary and radical cult that has mixed together the worst aspects of the likes of Muldooney, the John Birch Society, McCarthyism, Ayn Rand, Pat Robertson, Goebbels, and Lyndon LaRouche. They represent the fringe of the fringe [the Overton Window having moved so far to one extreme]—and, they are definitely the product of deliberate media manipulation.

    For people outside the U.S. who want to understand how we got to this state of pernicious pundit-ocracy [of Limbaugh, Beck, Coulter, FOX News, Clear Channel, etc.] check out “The Republican Noise Machine” by Media Matters founder David Brock, who also chronicles his own deconversion (see “Blinded By the Right”) as a true believing insider in the rabid anti-Clinton campaign bankrolled by reactionary billionaires and spearheaded by Newt Gingrich, Frank Luntz, Grover Norquist, Karl Rove, Roger Ailes, etc. [And a special thanks to the Aussies for exporting the great Asperger’s sociopath Rupert Murdoch.]

    “The World Turned Rightside Up” by Godfrey Hodgson (2000) is another great analysis of how Think Tanks, slimy political marketers, and lobbyists undermined the democratic protection of access to honest news for an informed citizenry.

    But the roots of this situation came from: the deregulation of conglomerate ownership of the airwaves over the past 40 years; the overturning of the Fairness Doctrine; and lately, the worst of all, SCOTUS derailment of decades of legislation protecting the electorate from undue influence of moneyed interests, in the overturning of Citizens United. Affirming the right of the corporation to “free speech” as an individual is what allowed the Tea Party to acquire power.

    • bob koepp

      I haven’t studied Altemeyer’s work with the care that it probably deserves. But I doubt very much that it would persuade me to change my dim view of those who make a career of pursuing power — that’s roughly what I meant by “professional politician.” And of course there are some who, when they have acquired some power, actually use it carefully, with circumspection, to the benefit of those over whom they hold power. But if they are willing to play fast and loose with the truth in order to get hold of such power, well, they’ve lost any claim on my trust. And if they think that it’s actually necessary to lie in order to be of benefit to the citizenry, well, then I think they lack the necessary imagination to be worthy leaders. But that’s just my opinion.

    • Alas we did not properly export Murdoch, as he is still able to own media empires in Australian, including Fox. We did better with Ken Ham, though. He left altogether…

      • Brian

        Not only did we not export him properly, we still claim him when he’s washed his hands of us. He’s still the top of the oz rich list each year as if he were dinky di. We’re pathetic lickspitles ( Anthropoid philosophers excepted) who’ll claim anybody of any repute because we’re afraid of not being noticed.

  6. jocelyn stoller

    Bob,

    Actually, Altemeyer’s work would probably reinforce your views of power-hungry political operatives and give you even more ammunition and evidence to back them up (: !

  7. jocelyn stoller

    correction: I mean’t to say Rushdooney, not Muldooney. [tee hee]

  8. jocelyn stoller

    At least there is some good news regarding the “Were You There?” Genesis logician

    Ken Ham was expelled! Ha haa!
    via Pharyngula on 3/22/11

  9. Welcome to my little hell. What’s the immigration policy like in Australia? Im eyeing NZ, but I might be able to tolerate all the poisonous snakes, droughts, and wallabies to escape the republican party’s idea of America.

  10. I have always wanted to know when it was that America was like the conservatives’ dream country. Do they watch too many Gene Autry westerns? Re-runs of “Happy Days?” They are nostalgic for an America that never existed except for the idealized version that they saw from Hollywood, and read about in their “Dick and Jane’ books.

    If they “want their country back’ they can get it by subscribing to NetFlix; which would be a good thing because then they would be on the couches where they belong and back out of the politics they think they can do.

  11. David Evans

    I think there is a coherent argument somewhere in what Gingrich says. something along the lines of:

    Secular atheists may come to be the majority in this country.

    Secular atheists are soft-minded liberals who lack the courage to stand up to radical Islamists.

    Therefore, radical Islamists will be able to dominate the country. The atheists won’t like this but won’t see the danger until it’s too late.

  12. jeb

    Personaly I suspect his argument and deployment of Islam is a means of allowing him to play the race card.

    The non-white Islamists have no understanding of what it once meant to be American.

    His use of the past tense when refering to American identity certainly suggests to my mind he is evoking a very culturaly specific vision of Americas past and one that is not inclusive.

    “Fear of a black planet” and the demographic shift occuring in the U.S. ?

  13. What does his sex life have to do with it? I’m sure he’s wrong, but his status as a “confirmed adulterer” has absolutely zero impact on that judgment.

  14. Brian

    John, how dare you bring fact into the argument! With facts you can prove anything! I think that’s what Homer J Simpson said.

  15. GaryB

    The right pundit-ocracy (great neologism BTW) is unapologetically taking advantage of the conservative tendency to circle the wagons and go tribal in times of high stress.

    What better way of becoming an highly trusted authority figure than increasing stress levels by coalescing the in-group, and exaggerating the size and danger of the out-group?

  16. Bill 94 when it becomes law will effectively eject the niqab from Quebec s public sphere in the name of gender equality and maintaining secular values in public services.. The general feeling that the so called war on terror has made Muslims an easy target. In the current social and political environment the most innocent of activities becomes suspicious in the eyes of the authorities.. Negative attitudes and assumptions about Muslims portrayed in the media which lead to rising Islamophobic sentiments as well as the many distorted myths surrounding Arabs Muslims and South East Asians.. Racial and religious profiling is also a major area of concern.. There are also calls for Muslims to integrate into the wider society as well as being accused of not properly embracing Canadians values and that Muslims are different and thus dont properly fit in. How do Muslims properly integrate into the surrounding society while keeping a balance between being effective citizens and realizing their distinctiveness in issues that do not align with our values as Muslims?

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