Friday, January 27, 2023

From Tent-Meetings To Smashing Windows

      There's a book I want to read, by a guy who started out as an Evangelical Christian and ended up as a college professor.  One of the news/opinion sites interviewed him recently and going by his own words, he's followed an interesting path.

      There are millions of religious people in the United States who are good, decent folks who believe in our representative democracy, in our conception of liberty as protected under the Bill of Rights, and who don't believe in committing acts of violence unless confronted with violence by others.  I don't have a bit of trouble with them.  In fact, I approve of 'em.

      Then you've got the people and organizations that Bradley B. Onishi covers in Preparing for War: The Extremist History of White Christian Nationalism--and What Comes Next.  They're worrisome.  Many of them have given up on our form of government, preferring something along the line of Putin's Russia or Orbán's Hungary -- and they embody hardcore Old World authoritarianism, the kind of thing (give or take a crown) the Founders and Framers were directly opposing.  It's distinctly unAmerican, no matter how many flags they wave.

      At one time, basic Civics was an inoculation against this kind of stinkin' thinkin'.  Know-Nothings or White Caps or the sneaking Klan might rise and briefly prosper, but decent Americans, many of them church-going, would slap it down, sooner or later.  The Bill of Rights provides a framework that bars government from the kinds of meddling all authoritarians long to do -- from Communists to Christian Nationalists, they're about telling people how to live their lives, with prescriptions for what to think and how to think it.  That's not what we do here, and it makes no difference if the controlling impulse comes from the Right or the Left.  This is a country where you can ask people do things, and where you have (or should have) a reasonable expectation of being left to live your own life your own way as long as you're not using force or committing fraud, but you don't get to boss around unwilling others.  Striving towards fairness -- and good-faith arguments about what's fair and what isn't -- is part of the fabric of this country.  Religious dictatorship is not.

      I'm not sure how things got as screwed up as they appear to be at this particular moment.  I'm hoping Onishi can shed a little light.


  1. This is one of the times where I wonder if these kind of clowns are more prevalent, or do we just have better communications?

    I think people like these have always been in the background noise in this country, but that current technology amplifies them.

    This is also a example of why free speech is important. It allows the idiots to self identify.

  2. RandyGC,

    Social Media is such a double-edged sword.

    Once upon a time a kid in Two Mules, KS might have thought she was the only anime or Tolkien fan in the world.

    And her dad might have thought he was the only person who knew that shape-shifting cannibal lizard people ruled the world.


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