Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Tip of the Hat to Justice Thomas.

Supreme Court Justice Thomas is one of the most maligned public figures of our day. Because he is black and conservative, far too many on the left assume that he must be an intellectual lightweight. I've seen many articles and facebook comments making this assertion. So it was refreshing to see this article by Jeffrey Toobin.

Jeffrey Toobin , one of the left's leading legal reporters, acknowledging Thomas's impressive intellectual credentials. Toobin may not agree with, or even like, Thomas, but his description of Thomas as a brilliant leader of the court is fascinating.

The above article is quite long. Michael Barone summarizes it very nicely. Both articles are well worth your time.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Dominionism, another Conspiracy Theory.

Today I saw a post on Powerline about Dominionism.

I thought I knew what it meant just from context, and it turns out I was right. The wiki game me some general background.

Dominionism is a belief that God gave man Dominion over the earth, and that Christians should take that responsibility seriously and apply it to all aspects of their lives. The practical implications being that they should only trust other Christians, and they should try to get political control of their locality and the whole US to create Christian based government. Some liberal author decided that this was all some kind of big secret threat. As is generally the case, this is a VERY overwrought conspiracy theory.

Until reading this article I hadn't heard of "Dominionism", although in retrospect I have experienced it. I used to run an adoption agency and found a pretty clear dividing line between agencies. There were religious agencies and secular agencies. The secular agencies made it a point of not asking about a potential adoptive family's religious beliefs, outside of health of the child issues. (Christian Scientists can find it difficult to adopt as they are generally not willing to take their kids to traditional doctors.) Religious agencies often expected an affidavit of faith, sometimes a letter from the priest/pastor of a church affirming that the potential adoptive parent was Christian.

When taking general information calls from prospective adoptive parents, I would frequently be asked if I was Christian, or if ours was a Christian agency. I would respond that my personal beliefs were private, and that we were a secular organization that accepted both religious and non-religious client families. -*CLICK*- That would be that. Most religious people weren't so strong in that requirement. We had plenty of Christian clients

A lot of folks just didn't want to do business with anyone who didn't share their faith. That was fine with me. It is important to be comfortable with the adoption agency you choose. But this kind of attitude seemed to be stronger among evangelicals than any other group I encountered, with the potential exception of gay rights advocates. (They had an edge all their own.)

I suspect that this discomfort with non-Christians led to the concept of Dominionism, apparently largely created by non-religious political authors. I don't think that Dominionism is any kind of a conspiracy, it is just like minded people grouping together. That grouping then gets interpreted as a threat by people with a different opinion. So yeah, I think this is largely an invention of the liberal media, and not a big deal in a broad based political sense.


Sunday, August 21, 2011

Conspiracy Theories, a minor observation.

The sheer nuttiness of so many conspiracies can be breathtaking. On a local Seattle blog one regular poster began claiming a conspiracy against Navy SEALs. Some members of the SEAL team that killed BinLaden were killed when a copter was shot down in Afghanistan. Note, while it was member of the same SEAL team, it was a different part of the team. SEAL teams consist of hundreds of SEALS. It appears that NONE of the SEALS who were killed were actually on the BinLaden raid.

Nevertheless, this whack job was convinced that the BinLaden raid didn't take place, and the helicopter shoot down was friendly fire designed to kill possible witnesses to the lack of a raid. Just nuts.

More rational commenters posted a host of logical and factual flaws with this "theory". To no avail. He just dug in his heels. I expected that.

I've long felt that conspiracy theory advocates are compensating for some sense of powerlessness in their lives. It lets them feel that they have higher powers of perception than those around them, and a secret knowledge that makes them special. No amount of facts or logic can sway those opinions, it is giving up the only part of themselves that they like.

Don't feed the trolls.